How crazy is it that Pokémon has been around for 20 years? While the franchise has become consistently successful over a remarkable amount of mediums, it still doesn’t feel like it has been two decades since we first laid our hands on that coveted Game Boy cartridge.
But from those humble origins came one of the most recognisable and lucrative franchises in history, spreading across video games to animation to enough merchandise to fill a small country. And if there had to be a single mascot of the entirety of this thriving enterprise, it would be Pikachu.
Pikachu evolved from your start Pokémon and loyal companion in the games, to becoming the most major character in the series, effectively a mascot for the games and for Nintendo, as well as something of an icon of popular culture in Japan. After a number of spin-offs, it has been revealed that they are even making a live-action film based on the character.
And it doesn’t end there. In part to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Pokémon, McDonalds has released a limited edition Pikachu McFlurry.
McDonald’s branches in Japan have already had some dealings with the Pokémon brand. After teaming up with the developers of the games last year, they outfitted every McDonald’s in Japan to be turned into a Pokéstop for the game Pokémon Go, while free Pokémon toys were given away in Happy Meals. But now they will be making a Pikachu McFlurry available in stores for a limited period, starting this week.
This was first revealed when the chain posted a poll on its Japanese Twitter account, as well as other social media channels, which asked its users to choose between six possible flavours: Jigglypuff, made with white peach; Gengar, made with a Japanese root vegetable called ube; Charmander, made with habanero chilli pepper; Squirtle, which tastes like the lemon drink Ramune; Bulbasaur, with broccoli flavouring; or Pikachu, which tastes of chocolate and banana.
It was a pretty easy choice. I mean, I love broccoli, but I want to keep it as far from my ice cream as possible. Ube, which is similar to yam, is apparently delicious, and often used in ice cream, but the clear answer was Pikachu’s chocolate and banana flavour. Pikachu was crowned the rightful winner of the competition, and the chocolate banana McFlurry hits stores in Japan this week.
It comes in six different containers with a diffierent Pikachu expression printed on each. So they are not just a delicious combination of banana, chocolate and ice cream, but a collectable too. If I were in Japan right now, you can bet I would keep eating these until I had caught them all, and then a little longer for good measure.
But that’s not all that Japan has brought to the world of food recently – have a look at these ultra rare white strawberries.