The things I’ve seen.
I spent a crazy Saturday at the launch party for Osaka-based alt otaku fashion brand Invasion Club (also known as Inkura for short).
One of the main attractions was a pole dancing Pikachu. Yeah, you read that right. Not content with simply hiring a pole dancer, Inkura went for one who didn’t mind wearing all yellow, with ears and a tail. And throwing Pokeballs at unsuspecting audience members.
You’d think I’d be used to this kind of thing by now. This is Japan, right? After all, I’ve seen bouncy castles shaped like anime characters, with the door located right on the groin. I’ve got a kindergarten cosplay lined up for Halloween.
But sexing up a Pikachu… I’m a little traumatised.
(And for this post, I made the terrible mistake of Googling ‘Pikachu pole dance’. For the love of all that is holy, do not do that.)
Pokemon played a very large part in my childhood. Under slightly different circumstances, I too could’ve been a Psyduck. My drive to ‘be the very best, like no-one ever was’ started with that damn catchy theme song.
I had the original Pokemon Blue for the Gameboy. It was epic:
I named my character after a boy I had a crush on. Played along happily, levelling up and not doing too badly. And then he challenged me to a battle.
You couldn’t change your character name once you’d set the game up. I had to delete my precious saved file and start again. Obviously there was no time to bring my Pokemon back up to a decent level, and I was destined to lose. He crushed my army of monsters and my poor schoolgirl heart.
When it comes to Pokemon and me, the scars run deep. Growing up to become a Pokemon pole dancer is taking the obsession in a very different direction.
I think I may have emerged from that party more scarred than I was in the first place…