Derivatives of Pokémon: the list is long
Of course, there are no actual Pokémon, but there is everything from Pokémon mug cups to Pokémon Black and White plushies, all for sale at reasonable prices and ready to give your pokehungry just like mine. Some institutions have built spin-off empires based on characters that have become great legends of our time, although many of us have no idea what these characters actually represent or do. I’m talking about Disney, of course. We all “know” Mickey Mouse, but how many of us have actually seen a Mickey Mouse animation “short” (strange then that Bugs Bunny has been seen so much more, but nowhere near popularity)?
How many have seen The Sorcerer’s Apprentice? Some may have, but not most. Then there’s Minnie, two dogs (Pluto and Goofy, one talking, the other not), and the Donald Duck clan. I don’t want to talk too much about Disney, but about Pokémon. But Disney is worth noting because, like Pokémon, both are extremely successful spinoff phenomena based on very different models.
In fact, as you well know, Disney began to diversify and become very active in producing new feature animations starting in the 1990s. While the Disney features themselves were hugely successful, spinoffs continue to be decidedly dominated by classic characters rather than characters like the Lion King. Derivatives of Pokémon operate on the core concept of Pokémon evolution. For example, the most recent release of the Pokémon game is Pokémon Black and White. And in Pokémon stores now are the derivatives of Pokémon Black and White, from the Pokémon plush toys to the Pokémon card game with the new Pokémon Black and White cards, which are red hot and fly out of the shelves. Try shopping at a Pokémon store on a Sunday, you’ll learn the hard way! Products derived from Pokémon sell incredibly well.
Another reason is that for young minds, Pokémon represents a whole world. When we buy a Mickey Mouse keychain, it is an icon that everyone knows. The fun of Pokémon is owning characters that nobody knows. Plus, it’s fun knowing your powers and limits and explaining them to friends and family. Fortunately or not, my son regularly questions me about Pokémon. Pokémon are diverse, which makes them potentially confusing. But they are also well grouped into easy-to-understand categories. It is good for children’s minds to classify and group Pokémon and have knowledge about them. Pokémon, as a sales phenomenon, is completely different from Disney.