1997 the Black Moon became one of the primary websites
in the Western world to inform people about the little
known phenomenon from Japan called Pocket Monsters
(or Pokemon as the Japanese call it). We reported
on the immensely popular Pokemon anime broadcasts
on Japanese television, and helped to break the story
when one of those broadcasts resulted in an unfortunate
incident. In the winter of '97, hundreds of Japanese
television viewers watching Pokemon experienced
epileptic seizures because of the stroboscopic flashes
of colored lights contained in the episode. Suddenly
the West became aware of anime in a big way as newsrooms
from London to Los Angeles cast it in a negative light.
Finally in February 1999 Warner Bros. broadcast a dubbed,
censored, and totally re-written version of the Japanese
original on its Kids WB! syndicated broadcasts... and
it became an immediate runaway success.
all seems so long ago now. In the West anime used to
be appreciated only by a small circle of affcianados
who really loved and cherished the artform and its being
a window to the culture of Japan. Now you can purchase
anime DVDs at Wallmart of shows that are so heavily
edited you would never know they originated from Japan.
Rather than remove this page from the Black Moon, we
thought we'd leave it on our website as a testiment
to more innocent times.
article as it appeared, originally written and posted
people outside of Japan are by now familiar with Pikachu,
the cute little fellow pictured above. He's one of
the stars in Pokemon, Japan's most popular
amusements and now America's number one cartoon show.
The video game manufacturer NINTENDO introduced Pokemon
to Japan in 1996, and in early 1997 the Black Moon
was one of the very first Web sites to inform the
Western public about the wonderful world of Pocket
premier of Pokemon on U.S. television was a landmark
for Japanese animation in North America, and on November
the 10th 1999 another giant breakthrough was made with
the release of the feature length film Pokemon, the
First Movie (titled "Mewtwo Strikes Back" in Japan).
Now Japan's 2nd Pokemon movie, Revelation
Rugia has been released in the U.S. as "Pokemon
2000"... with yet a 3rd. Pokemon movie now playing
in Japan. Some people are now under the false assumption
that Pokemon is a creation of the "Kids WB" (an
error that Warner Brothers is only too happy to foster).
However, real fans of Pokemon know that artist
Tajiri Satoshi is the creator of the series, and that
more anime, manga, and merchandise for Pokemon
exists in Japan than will ever be seen in the
little doubt that Pokemon has taken the West
by storm, but despite it's popularity in the U.S.,
Japan is still the trend setter, offering the best
merchandise from trading cards to plush toys. Sales
of Pokemon items have exceeded $4.5 Billion
dollars in Japan since 1996. Tokyo and Osaka both
have "Pokemon Center" mega-stores where nothing
but Pokemon merchandise is carried (a photo
of Tokyo's Pokemon Center appears below). Pokemon
was essentially created for a Japanese audience
and it is full of cultural references that Warner
Brothers edited out. In fact, much of the show has
been altered and everything done to lull U.S. viewers
into thinking the fantasy world of Satoshi and Kasumi
(Ash & Misty) takes place at the Warner Brothers
back lot studio in Burbank, California.
at left is the Pokemon Center of Tokyo, if you're
ever in the area you should visit this collector's
paradise. You'll find everything from special limited
edition toys to clothing and Pikachu cameras.
have changed considerably since Pokemon first
showed on U.S. television. It seems the anti-anime
barriers have at last been breached in the United
a few years ago, U.S. newspapers and televised news
shows were condemning Pokemon for having caused
an unfortunate incident of seizure among Japanese
viewers. At the time, the scandal hungry American
press mounted non-stop attacks upon anime in general
and Pokemon in particular. Many
of the voices in the U.S. who were once condemnatory
of Pokemon and critical of anime are now "singing
the praises" of Pokemon and lauding Japanese
animation as art worthy of serious attention.
is somewhat cheering but let's remember who our friends
are. Two years ago (1997), the mainstream Western
press was busy maligning anime if it mentioned it
at all... while this web site and others like it were
the ones to promote anime and manga.
hate to say "I told you so", bu - we told you so!
We've long felt that anime would eventually become
enormously popular in the West. Today Pokemon
reigns supreme in the U.S., with Card Captor Sakura,
Gundam Wing,and Tenchi Muyo now on U.S.
television. The fantastic Escaflowne series
was briefly on the air and unfortunately pulled, but
other anime shows are sure to premiere on U.S. stations.
While anime is not yet fully accepted or acknowleged
in the West, it is at last beginning to gain the recognition
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