It Is a Pokémon World’: The Pokémon Franchise and the Environment

Added by: Stefan Werning

Originating in 1996, Pokémon has become the second most successful game-based franchise in the world and arguably one of the best-known examples of transmedia storytelling in youth media today. Based around creator Satoshi Tajiri’s love of insect collecting, Pokémon imagines a world where wild creatures exist to be collected, trained and battle with one another. Such an ideology, simultaneously embracing both the conservation and consumption of nature, is emblematic of the larger challenges Japan has had to negotiate as a nation trying to balance economic development and environmental protection. In this way, this article argues that, when subjected to textual analysis, the Pokémon franchise can function as vernacular theory, interrogating the relationship between environmentalism, materialism and sustainable development, a series of popular youth media texts engaging with issues and subjects that are usually reserved for academia.

Bainbridge, Jason. 2014. “‘It Is a Pokémon World’: The Pokémon Franchise and the Environment.” International Journal of Cultural Studies 17 (4): 399–414.