On this day, 25 years ago, a journey began. A boy named Red had to choose between a dinosaur plant, a fire-breathing lizard, and a water elemental turtle as his first companion on this long journey. And an untold number of people would make this boy’s choice and travel this amazing journey in his footsteps–through towns and cities, through forests and caves, across mountains and seas–all to discover a world filled with the most marvelous creatures, and to stop a group of unscrupulous people who sought to control them.
And thus, something truly wonderful came into being–a journey that gave rise to so many more journeys for others to take though various other lands and discover more creatures and have more adventures, as well as spin off a tale of another boy named Ash, and his lightning mouse as he gathered companions through the same lands, one after another.
My own journey into the Pokémon world started with Red’s and Ash‘s, almost simultaneously, when Pokémon hit the US two years after its initial release in Japan. It’s not hyperbole to say that it changed my life and shaped me into who I am today. There’s something truly special about being at the start of something that continues to grow and inspire to this day.
But it doesn’t matter who you started with–whether with Red (or Leaf) or Ash, with Ethan/Gold and Lyra/Kris, with Brendan and May, Dawn and Lucas, Hilda and Hilbert, Nate and Rosa, Calem and Serena, Elio and Selene, or Victor and Gloria. This day is our day–a day to celebrate the journeys and the characters who helped shaped us in some way.
And as we prepare to revisit Dawn and Lucas’s journey later this year, we look forward to what’s next–all while looking back at how we got here.
Happy 25th Anniversary, Pokémon. It’s been an incredible journey, and one we’ll continue to travel for many years to come.