Pokémon is a anime franchise which first aired on April 1, 1997 and continually produces new episodes. Since it's debut, the Pokémon franchise has expanded to include apparel, video games, toys, collectibles, trading cards, etc. It also has released 19 films as well as several different shorts.
From the very first episode, Ash Ketchum has been the central character, making his goal of becoming a Pokémon Master known to all he meets. Though initially, he only became a Pokémon Trainer with the goal of beating his rival, Gary Oak, the many Pokémon Ash has met over his journey have shown him what being a Pokémon Master really is. Unlike most Trainers from Pallet, and indeed, unlike players of Pokémon Red, Green, and Blue and Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, Ash did not start his journey with Bulbasaur, Charmander, or Squirtle, as he arrived late to Professor Oak's lab to receive his starter Pokémon. Instead, Ash was given the only Pokémon Oak had left to give, a Pikachu that did not enjoy being inside its Poké Ball, and from there Ash learned to treat his Pokémon as partners, earning Pikachu's trust by keeping it safe from a flock of Spearow he angered.
Since then, Ash has journeyed across all six of the regions that appear in the core series Pokémon games
- The anime has been broadcasted in at least 74 different countries, many times being dubbed into other languages for different locales.
- Animator Masāki Iwane 岩根正明 once stated that the series was originally slated for a 1½-year run, which corresponds approximately to the length of the Kanto region saga (had it not been delayed due to the Porygon incident). Due to its popularity during the run, however, the show was extended and continues to be one of the longest running video game-based anime series.
- Fingernails were not consistently drawn on characters until the XY series.