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The Pokémon Company International (abbreviated to TPCi) is the subsidiary of The Pokémon Company that manages the Pokémon franchise in the West.
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The Pokémon Company International was founded in February 2001 as Pokémon USA, Inc. (shortened to PUI and PUSA). It was later merged in 2009 with Pokémon UK (itself founded in March 2003) to form the current international subsidiary. The company's president is Kenji Okubo, the former head of Pokémon USA. Okubo said the two companies had worked closely together on a day-to-day basis and that the change in name was done to reflect the connection between the two offices and ensure their worldwide reach.
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The first president of Pokémon USA was Tatsumi Kimishima. In 2002, he was replaced by Akira Chiba, when Kimishima was promoted to President of Nintendo of America following Minoru Arakawa's retirement.
In 2003, the distribution agreement with Wizards of the Coast for the Pokémon trading cards ended. After this, Pokémon USA took over as the manufacturer and distributor of the Trading Card Game.
On December 31, 2005, the licensing and merchandising agreement between 4Kids Entertainment and Pokémon USA expired. This agreement included the dubbing of the anime so Pokémon USA switched to producing the English dub in association with TAJ Productions which had worked with 4Kids on seasons one through five. The recasting of the main characters created a large controversy. In May of the same year, Kids' WB! announced that it would be dropping all anime from its autumn lineup in its move to The CW, which included the Pokémon anime. Pokémon USA went into negotiations with Cartoon Network to air past and future episodes of Pokémon, which turned out successful. In June, a Master Toy licensing agreement was signed with Jakks Pacific.
In 2007, Kenji Okubo became the President when Akira Chiba stepped down. In 2008, the production of the dub moved to DuArt Film & Video. Red Central was commissioned by Pokémon UK to create a marketing style guide for Europe.
In 2008, a partnership with Network was announced. Network would distribute the Pokémon movies and anime episodes on DVD. It was also announced Jetix Europe (now Disney XD Europe) would air the next season of the Pokémon anime.
In February 2009, PUSA announced a deal with Toys "R" Us in which stores would have a dedicated Pokémon Boutique until the end of the year. A deal was also announced with Universal Studios Home Entertainment, in which the company will be distributing the Pokémon movies on DVD.
- Main article: Pokémon.com → Errors
Despite being the official site, Pokémon.com's pages often have inaccuracies and errors. A notable example is claiming that players of Pokémon Red and Blue can find Mew instead of Mewtwo in Cerulean Cave.
In January 2005, an issue of the science journal Nature featured an article in which a group of researchers named a newly discovered cancer-causing gene "Pokémon". Later that year, Pokémon USA had promised to take legal action, causing the gene to be renamed.
Voice actor controversy
- Main article: Pokémon USA recasting controversy
The Pokémon Company International (as Pokémon USA) received criticism after the initial airing of The Mastermind of Mirage Pokémon for the lack of transparency regarding the changes to the dub of the Pokémon anime.
Anime dub edits
Like 4Kids, TPCi makes changes while dubbing the anime, but they are more limited in scope. Music edits are common and dialogue edits are usually done to obfuscate explicit religious or death references and match the lip-flap. Paint edits, which 4Kids is infamous for, are rarely performed by TPCi. Also, from Fear Factor Phony to When Regions Collide, TPCi extended the "To Be Continued" screen by three seconds. The reasons for this are unknown.