Pokemon today is composed of four main sectors: digital games, playing cards, animation, and stuffed animals. Demographically, roughly speaking, gamers tend to be a little older as they have more resources, card playing is very popular among the elementary school crowd as it is accessible, social, and cheap, animation would seem to be popular among the younger crowd though it is a wild card, and surprisingly, Pokemon stuffed toys have become a hot collector’s item as well as a snuggly toy.
While one vendor can and does sell all sorts of Pokemon goods (there are dedicated Pokemon shops) often a vendor will tend to specialize in a certain line, and right now the Pokemon figure (also known as the plush toy or pokedoll) is probably the most lucrative item. Vendors can be found on the Internet as well. Pokemon Cards can actually be very valuable if they are rare or very new and hard to get. My guess is that they will never receive baseball card status in price though. For the most part, kids buy cards in standard batches with their spare change and vendors who want to make money with cards must do so on volume and good outlet connections.
While Pokemon stuffed toys and Pokemon cards may be considered ‘collectibles,’ the computer game and animation occupy altogether different niches. The game, ported to Game Boy, is what first launched the Pokemon phenomena and is undoubtedly at the heart of what keeps the Pokemon spinoffs going. Like all other games, the graphics continue to get better and the story more interesting over time. Interest in Pokemon games shows no signs of abating, and it is new games like Pokemon Black and White and spread through all the other products. It is also in the games that the new ‘monsters’ evolve.
The Pokemon animation, in my mind, is controversial but market statistics belie my opinion. There have been a couple of popular Pokemon movies in facts, and loads of video translated into many languages. Undoubtedly Pokemon animation has made a lot of money and sales of DVD’s continue to do well but for me they lack plot and character development, and like most Japanese animation, fall flat on their face in the dramatic sense. I also don’t understand why Pokemon has not been produced into a non-animated version with SFX monsters and real actors. I’m sure they have the budget. Finally, what I have never understood about any of the spinoffs (the game an exception) is the sugary ‘cuteness’ of the Pokemon themselves. I would give them more ferocity in the animations. Pikachu Toy