Saturday, 27 August 2016
Pikachu Outbreak in Yokohama!
If you call yourself a Pokemon fan you must know about the "March of the Pikachu" That has been happening worldwide. Basically, a ton of all-singing-all-dancing Pikachu mascots have been deployed around the world at various shows and events to promote the newest games, namely Pokemon Sun and Moon.
The Tokyo version is held annually and known as the "Pikachu Outbreak", however this year as temperatures in Tokyo are soaring to a sizzling 37, this year is a special "splash theme". I was unsure exactly how wet you could get at an event aimed at children, so I went to investigate.
Recently the Mega Pokemon Center in Ikebukuro started selling Pikachu ear headbands and tails, so I had to get suited up in the proper attire before I attended the event. The event actually gives out huge paper Pikachu hats if you find yourself lacking a suitable outfit though!
The event is at Minato-Mirai in Yokohama, which is a little ways out from central Tokyo and on the coast. However, there is a huge harbor, lots of boats, old buildings and a variety of European foods as its one of the first places the Portuguese docked when they first came to Japan.
The event was a little smaller than I expected, but there were many attendees and small children dressed up and enjoying the show. The main attraction was a huge stage where the Pikachus came to sing and dance, there were also other performers and staff who taught you the "Pikachu dance". The twist of the show was that during the dancing, huge water cannons either side of the show fired rounds of water into the crowd! I was expecting it to be a light pray or drizzle but everyone got soaked. Although there is a warning before the show to put away any electronic devices, I witnessed people in shock horror getting their iPhones drenched and making a quick escape. It was refreshing on such a sweltering day, but I could see a lot of parents getting angry, not expecting to be pretty much washed away.
After the show some of the Pikachu came into the crowd to spend some private time with the audience and take photographs. There were various kinds of Pikachu based around the plushies that are sold at the Pokemon center, wearing different outfits and having different themes. My favorite type was the "raincoat" Pikachu complete with little boots, these Pikachus emerged after the crowd became well and truly soaked.
Lastly there were many Gatchapon machines dotted around the event; these machines require 300yen and then give you a plastic ball filled with a random item.The name comes from the "gatcha gatcha" sound it makes when the ball is being released. The theme of these "Gatcha" was Pikachu around Japan. Each prefecture has its own Pikachu themed pin badges that you can collect if you travel around Japan. However this event had them all in one place!
I tried the "Kyoto" machine and got a gorgeous Pikachu and Geisha pin badge!
This event runs annually every August in Yokohama, so if you see yourself in Tokyo at that time please look it up, its family friendly and even the location itself is scenic enough to deserve a visit!