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In the real world, there are many types of Pokémon merchandise. The various types of merchandise include books, games, trading cards, plush toys, playing cards, and even jars of jelly. Pokémon merchandise is distributed in many countries. The Pokémon Company, an affiliate of Nintendo with Tsunekazu Ishihara as its president and CEO, handles licensing and marketing for the Pokémon franchise within Asia, and its subsidiary, The Pokémon Company International, is responsible for managing the franchise outside of Asia.
In 2009, 85 companies around the world made officially licensed products for the franchise; there were around 3,500 different items available.
The American box art of Pokémon Red version
- Main article: Pokémon games
The video games are the modern-day Pokémon franchise's first line of merchandise, and have some prevalence throughout the other facets of the franchises, at least in the understanding that it introduces most new Pokémon that are used in other facets of the franchise with each new generation. However, the game's established canon has been known to variate throughout the other facets of the Pokémon franchise, with some depictions being truer to the game's depiction than others. The games are very popular, and, in the case of the series often thought as the 'main' series, usually released in pairs, unless the game is a third version. New main series games were traditionally made on new consoles. This is the start of a new generation, introducing a region and more Pokémon to capture. These Pokémon and region will later appear in the anime, unless they debuted in the anime first. However, Generations IV and V were both released on the DS, breaking the tradition of new Generations debuting in new handheld consoles. Along with the 'main' series are side series, such as the Pokémon Ranger series and the Mystery Dungeon series. There has also been many other games that have no relation to any other games, such as PokéPark Wii: Pikachu's Adventure.
- Main article: Pokémon books
Many books have been published about the Pokémon franchise. Most of these books include anime novelizations, chronicles, and guides for the anime series and its movies, although there have been occasions where the plots of some books are merely based on the anime, with original stories. Other Pokémon books include activity books, sticker books, and drawing books.
- Main article: Pokémon manga
Many manga series have been created based on the Pokémon franchise, including popular series such as Pokémon Adventures and Pokémon Pocket Monsters. Most Pokémon manga follow the events of the games, either directly (such as Pokémon Zensho) or loosely (such as Pokémon Adventures) while others invent their own plots within the Pokémon universe, such as Magical Pokémon Journey and the Yellow and Emerald chapters of the Pokémon Adventures manga. Additionally, some merchandise has been released featuring characters from various Pokémon manga, mainly as promotional items.
Trading Card Game
A Machoke card from the Base Set
- Main article: Pokémon Trading Card Game
The Pokémon Trading Card Game, often abbreviated as the TCG, has many sets, with the first one being the Base Set. It has different types than the Pokémon games, with many types being represented as related types. Cards in the Trading Card Game usually have one or more attacks, with many attacks involving a coin being flipped. They sometimes have a Poké-Body or a Poké-Power. On some card sets, there is a text box at the bottom of the card. The text in this text box is usually derived from a Pokédex entry for the Pokémon species of the card in question. The cards have many different illustrators.
Pokémon Trading Figure Game
- Main article: Pokémon Trading Figure Game
The Pokémon Trading Figure Game, often abbreviated as the TFG, is a series of figures released in sets, with the first expansion being Next Quest. The Pokémon Trading Figure Game was later discontinued in June 2009, with only one expansion being released in English and one other being announced, but never released.
Toys are another common type of Pokémon merchandise. Three popular types of toys are plush toys, board games, and figures.
- Main article: Board games
The Pokémon Champion Island board game
There have been many board games released. Most of them are based on the anime, such as Pokémon Champion Island. Others are simply based on popular board games that previously weren't involved with the Pokémon series, such as Yahtzee Jr.. There have also been a couple of original board games, such as Pokémon Master Trainer. Many board games have been distributed by Hasbro.
- Main article: Plush toys
Pokémon's main line of plush toys are sold at the Pokémon Center store in Japan. One of the most popular Pokémon Center lines is Poké Doll, which is named after an in-game item and are designed as chibi versions of various Pokémon. Poké Dolls are exclusively sold in the Japanese retail stores, as well as The Nintendo World Store in NY and the Pokémon Center Kiosks in WA.
Outside of the main Pokémon Center line, the largest manufacturer of Pokémon plush toys is Banpresto. Banpresto recently released a line of plush toys called "My Pokémon Collection", which aims to feature every Pokémon. Other Pokémon plush toys by Banpresto are available exclusively as catcher prizes in Japan and are typically about 6 inches tall, with special "DX" releases that can be as large as 16 inches tall. Another brand of Pokémon plush toys is Bandai Friends, which are about 3 inches tall and come with boxes of candy.
In North America, Pokémon plush dolls have been previously been released by Hasbro and Jakks Pacific. The current line of Pokémon plush toys in North American stores are manufactured by Takara Tomy. Additionally, jumbo sized plush by the company Toy Factory are available as carnival prizes at select amusement parks.
- Main article: Figures
Pokémon figures have also been a staple in most toy retailers and departments. Takara Tomy is one of the longest running manufacturers to make Pokémon toys. They are known for the "Zukan" line, vending machine toys, and the long-running "Moncolle" line, which are 1" toys in blister-card packaging. The latter is sold in Japan's Pokémon Centers and the Nintendo World store in New York.
During Generations I-III, Hasbro distributed most Pokémon merchandise. Hasbro's Pokémon line for Generation I and II were mostly imported from Takara Tomy, but the company manufactured its own merchandise for Generation III.
Jakks Pacific was the manufacturer for most Pokémon merchandise in the US from the Battle Frontier saga to the later part of the Best Wishes series. Their main figure lines were the 3" figures, some with basic articulation, sold in single or three-packs. They also sold playsets, pocket playsets, racing toys, mega figures, urban vinyl "Cheebees", and later the Pokémon Diamond and Pearl Electronic Talking Pokédex.
Currently, Takara Tomy manufactures and distributes most Pokémon merchandise in the US.
There has also been other types of merchandise such as food, dental products, jewelry and stationery. Many of these, however, have been discontinued.