The single most influential franchise to Gen Z is Pokémon


After 25 years, the Pokemon company has announced the last eleven episodes of Ash Ketchum’s journey to becoming a Pokemon Master. The anime will air its last episode late in January, officially ending the long-standing series. 

This stinks, but not as much if I didn’t appreciate it for how strong of an impact it had on the people who shared a deep interest in its picture-perfect memories with me. For the few short years of elementary school, friends alike collected binders full of multicolored cards and explored a frenzied trading world. 

Then, I was only ten or eleven, and now, six years later, I am finding those wonderful feelings through collecting and finally playing my first Pokemon game, courtesy of my friend. Of those people I have talked to, there are few who don’t share my experience. I claim it hard to find anyone who can’t recognize Pikachu’s iconic yellow color palette and cute cry. 

Pokemon is one of the biggest franchises in the world, having sold three hundred million games alone, not accounting for collectible cards, plushies, and other miscellaneous items that the company has come up with. My point is Gen Z grew up when Pokemon was hitting its golden age. It has been with this generation and has changed and grown along as they have. 

You said you have a dream, that dream, make it come true! Make your wonderful dream a reality and it will become your truth and reality. If anyone can, It’s you.

— N

The game itself, in retrospect, is a journey to set out alone, make lasting relationships, learn new things, and overcome obstacles through the new skills one has mastered. It encompasses the life someone growing up has to look forward to.

Not only that but especially the generation of Pokemon I grew up with, Black and White tackles issues of extremism and slavery, no joking about this. Unlike games geared at kids that dumb down concepts, Pokemon forces players to learn and think about actions through battling and interaction with multiple characters. 

Scarlet and Violet, the newest in the series of games, opens a whole new concept of an open world and paths to take. The more it grows and changes, the more it matches the development of a single generation. 

It teaches people how to put time and effort into something they care for: a lesson that should be learned in the real world to become successful. 

Now, however, as the generation has witnessed Pokemon’s rise, the game is now falling. This couldn’t be more evident at the end of a long-winded adventure with a character that never truly seemed to age or learn.

Things are now changing, and the audience is seeing a shift as all long memories do. The golden age for this Pokemon is ending, and now, it’s time for something different. 

Who knows what the future holds for not only Pokemon but for all of the things Gen Z knows. Nothing stays the same, but that’s not such a terrible thing. I await something even more refreshing and eye-opening. 

With an ever-attention-hogging, content-driven internet, and demanding future that awaits the next generation of teenagers, there is not much to say, except for this:

“You said you have a dream, that dream, make it come true! Make your wonderful dream a reality and it will become your truth and reality. If anyone can, It’s you.” -N