This weirdo appeared in the market in mid 90’s. Immediately after that, its franchise grew up to be “Pokemon Company (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pok%C3%A9mon). None of you would say, “Don’t know Pokemon!” since you are here at JapaneseExperts.net.
I left Japan in late December of the year 1998. By then, they had already established their reputation, and started to enjoy their huge revenue coming only from this franchise. However, they were exposed to public’s severe accusation regarding the special effects they use for the show, including the “beam” Picachu uses all the time. Once I heard the news, saying “Kids watching the show and being exposed to Picachu’s super strong flashing beam nationwide were carried into the hospital because of the super strong special effect at aroud the same time….”
Pokemon’s popularity hasn’t gone down yet. It’s a big franchise all around the world after all. Even my older son (13) has been a Picachu’s big fan for the last 5 – 6 years, which I never understand. Although I am NOT interested in this weirdo personally, I had to “mention” Pokemon at least once here because Pokemon is one of Japanese biggest money making machines.