The Pokémon World Championships have been taking place annually since 2004, and this year, the event returned to Japan. Unlike previous years where the competition was confined to the convention center, the Pokémon Company organized a grand celebration in the city of Yokohama. The festivities extended beyond the confines of the event center, immersing the entire city in a Pokémon frenzy.
The competition headquarters, located inside the PACIFICO Yokohama Convention Center, showcased a typical decoration celebrating Pokémon, with banners and photo opportunities adorning the halls. The main stage had a Yokohama theme, decorated with famous landmarks of the city. However, the event went far beyond the convention center itself.
Yokohama became a playground for Pokémon enthusiasts. The iconic Ferris Wheel in the city's skyline was illuminated with Pokémon graphics, and Pokémon statues and giant Pokémon card replicas were scattered throughout parks and malls. The Pokémon Company even provided a map of all the Pokémon-related attractions in the city to help fans catch 'em all.
Before the main event, there was a spectacular symphony celebrating Pokémon and the championships. Throughout the week, there were Pikachu gatherings, parades, drone shows, stage shows, and more. One of the highlights was the musical stage show called “Imagination,” featuring Pikachu, Lucario, Cinderace, Zeraora, and Greninja dancing alongside human performers.
A “Japanese-styled summer festival” called Pokémon Matsuri Park was held at Rinko Park. Fans could enjoy special Pokémon music arrangements, play Pokémon-themed festival games, and witness an extravagant stage show featuring taiko drums, costumed dancers, and Pokémon characters. The sweltering temperatures were mitigated by Full Restore Tents equipped with mist fans and shaded seats.
According to Chris Brown, The Pokémon Company International's director for global eSports and events producer, the aim was to bring the Pokémon World Championships experience to a larger audience. The Pokémon Company collaborated with the city of Yokohama to create numerous Pokémon displays and activities throughout the city.
The event also featured a Pokémon Trainer Cruise on a massive vessel called the Nippon Maru. Inspired by the S.S. Anne from the original Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue games, the cruise ship included specific battle and trading areas. Visitors could collect Pokémon stamps to decorate their boarding ticket and even rummage through trash cans in search of hidden “items.”
While the Pokémon Company's Chief Operating Officer, Takato Utsunomiya, acknowledged that they may have gone overboard with the extra activities this year, he expressed excitement about finally having the event in Japan. Utsunomiya also hinted at the possibility of future events expanding in scale to accommodate more fans.
The Pokémon World Championships continue to grow, offering fans an immersive experience beyond the competition itself. With the commitment to accessibility and fan enjoyment, the Pokémon Company envisions a future where the event becomes even larger, attracting Pokémon enthusiasts from around the world.
– Article: Pokémon at Worlds: Cinnamon Buns, Mega Pidgeots, and the Sweltering Heat, pokemon.com
– Image: pokemon.com
– Video: Official Pokémon YouTube Channel