Pickachu Takes Over Japan

New movie promotion includes life-sized versions of Pokémon's most popular character

To promote the 17th movie in the Pokémon franchise, The Pokémon Company recently flooded Akarenga Park in Yokohama, Japan, with 50 full-sized, dancing Pikachus. Called “Pikachu Outbreak,” the event spread out all over the city, and will last until Aug. 17.

In addition to the Pikachus in the park, the lightning-based character can be seen as large inflatable balloons, in seating areas, riding elevators and escalators, and with posters and other graphics in a wide range of locations. People participating in the event who play the Pokémon series of games also received a level 10 character housed in a “Cherish Ball.”

While the new movie—translated as Pokémon the Movie: Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction—focuses mainly on the newer generation of characters from the franchise, the most-recognized character should help drive awareness of the film. The franchise is now 18 years old, and includes an animated children’s show, trading card games, animated movies, video games and a wide range of merchandise.