Sunday, October 17, 2021

Celebrate 25 Years of Pokémon with Memorable Moments from the Kanto Region

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Over the past
several months, we’ve revisited many of the regions that make up the world of
Pokémon as part of our 25 years of Pokémon celebration. It only seems fitting that we
end our retrospective journey back where it all began: the Kanto region. This
region, of course, debuted in the very first Pokémon titles—released outside of
Japan as Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue—but that was hardly the only time we got to explore it. A reimagined
version of Kanto would appear in Pokémon FireRed and Pokémon LeafGreen before the region received a modern-day
makeover in Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee!

Given that Kanto
was the first region that many Pokémon fans experienced, it should come as no
surprise that it’s loaded with highly memorable bits. Let’s look at some of our
top moments from the region that started it all.

Welcome to the World of Pokémon

When you first
arrive in Kanto, you’re greeted by Professor Oak, the region’s expert on all
things Pokémon. He gives you a brief rundown of the basics of Pokémon before
sending you out into the world. And from there? Well, it’s practically a
nonstop cascade of memorable moments, isn’t it?

How can you forget
standing in front of those three Poké Balls in Professor Oak’s lab as you
choose your first partner Pokémon? Or how about catching your first wild
Pokémon? Or seeing a Pokémon evolve for the first time? Events like these seem
almost routine after 25 years, but when we first set out in the Kanto region,
every one of these moments was a revelation.

The thrill of
locking eyes with another Trainer to initiate a Pokémon battle provided an
instant jolt of adrenaline—what Pokémon would you be facing? Is your team ready
for the challenge? Did you remember to bring some Potions just in case the
action gets a little too heated? The experience (both had and gained) of these
matches would pay off when you confronted one of the region’s Gym Leaders.
These battles put your skills to the test and encouraged you to put together a
varied team that would be ready to take on anyone.

Journeying through
the Kanto region was so memorable because it’s the type of adventure we all
wish we could have as children: Exploring a vast world filled with forests,
caves, cities, and oceans, befriending awesome and adorable Pokémon, and
working together to become the very best? Yeah, that’s memorable.

Lavender Town

There are many
memorable locations in the Kanto region, but perhaps none more so than Lavender
Town. This town may be small, but it’s made a big name for itself as a center
of ghostly sightings. That reputation hails mainly from the Pokémon Tower, the
large structure in the town that houses the graves of many dearly departed
Pokémon.

The town’s haunting
musical theme perfectly complements its eerie atmosphere and climbing up
through the structure leads to plenty of encounters with Ghost-type Pokémon
(once you’ve obtained the Silph Scope from Team Rocket’s Hideout in Celadon
City, that is). In fact, Team Rocket is another reason that Lavender Town is so
memorable.

We learn that,
among other crimes, these nefarious villains have been stealing the skulls worn
by Cubone. One of those Cubone’s mother, a Marowak, lost its life while
protecting its child. Near the top of Pokémon Tower, you must confront
Marowak’s restless spirit and calm it with a battle, allowing it to depart to
the afterlife. It’s a surprisingly poignant moment in what is otherwise a
lighthearted adventure, adding a bit of depth and realism to the Kanto region.

Waking Up Snorlax

During your travels
in the Kanto region, you’ll encounter lots (and lots!) of Pokémon. Every now
and again, though, one of these encounters will leave a lasting impression.
Such is the case with our rotund pal, Snorlax. You’ll only find two wild
Snorlax in the Kanto region: one on Route 12 and another on Route 16. Unfortunately,
they’ve both found some extremely comfortable sleeping spots in the middle of
narrow pathways, effectively blocking your progress in both areas.

The only way to
awaken these slumbering Snorlax is to play a Poké Flute, which you can acquire
from Mr. Fuji in the Volunteer Pokémon House in Lavender Town. He’ll have the
item for you once you rescue him from Team Rocket at the top of Pokémon Tower.

Just be warned:
When these Snorlax are roused from their slumber, they’ll be grumpy and raring
for a battle! Make sure your team is ready to go before you start tootling that
Poké Flute, and remember to bring along some Poké Balls for a chance to catch
one of these scarce Pokémon.

The Snorlax
encounters stand out because they stray from the typical “run around in the
tall grass until a wild Pokémon leaps out” method of encountering Pokémon.
These Pokémon become a sort of mini subquest that you must complete before continuing
your Kanto journey, turning them into a couple of truly memorable moments.

Facing Your Rival

At the start of
your adventure in the Kanto region, you’ll meet your rival, a character you’ll
cross paths with at multiple times during your travels who’s always ready for a
quick battle to test your skills. In the earlier games in the series, your
rival is Professor Oak’s grandson, Blue, but in Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu!
and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee!, the role is filled by another Trainer, a
young boy named Trace.

Although neither
character is especially antagonistic, Trace is certainly the friendlier of the
two. Indeed, at the start of the game, Blue will go out of his way to choose
whichever first partner Pokémon has a type advantage over yours, making your
battles against him that much more challenging. No matter which rival you’re up
against, though, expect plenty of confrontations with them as you make your way
to the Pokémon League at Indigo Plateau.

In fact, your rival
has one final surprise in store once you reach the Pokémon League. After
defeating the Elite Four, a shocking twist reveals that your rival arrived
shortly before you and has already become the Pokémon League Champion! That’s one
final test to prove you’re the real Champion.

Mewtwo

Once you’ve
defeated your rival and entered the Hall of Fame as the Pokémon League
Champion, your Kanto region adventure isn’t over. You still need to complete
your Pokédex, and that includes tracking down the powerful Legendary Pokémon
Mewtwo.

If you’ve
thoroughly investigated the burned-down Pokémon Mansion on Cinnabar Island, you
probably discovered some journal entries that provide insight into Mewtwo’s
origin. A mysterious Mythical Pokémon that researchers called Mew was
discovered deep in the jungle. Another Pokémon, dubbed Mewtwo, was created by
scientists using Mew’s DNA, but it was far too powerful to be controlled.

Mewtwo can be found
hiding deep within the labyrinthine Cerulean Cave, and only the most qualified
Trainers are allowed inside. Even when you find the elusive Pokémon, it will
take all your skills to catch it (unless you happen to have a Master Ball on
hand). Once you add the mighty Mewtwo to your team, though, you’ll find it to
be a valuable companion that will have your opponents trembling with fear.

There are, of
course, a few Legendary Pokémon to be found in the Kanto region, but Mewtwo
worked well as the “ultimate” Pokémon to catch. From the bits of its backstory
that you uncover throughout the game to its unusual (and undoubtedly cool)
appearance, obtaining Mewtwo was a way to show that you were a true Pokémon
master.

Honorable Mentions

Any trip to the
Kanto region should include a visit to the Safari Zone, located just north of
Fuchsia City. There’s a small fee to get in, but this preserve is a great place
to see (and hopefully catch) Pokémon that might otherwise be difficult—or
sometimes impossible—to find in the wild.

Interestingly, you
don’t take part in traditional Pokémon battles within the Safari Zone. Instead,
you go in equipped with Bait, Rocks, and a limited supply of Safari Balls—the
only tools at your disposal to catch these Pokémon. During an encounter,
tossing Bait at a Pokémon will make it less prone to running away, but more
difficult to catch. Rocks will have the opposite effect. Carefully balancing
when to use your Bait, Rocks, and Safari Balls is the key to coming out of the
Safari Zone with new Pokémon for your team. You’ll have to carefully plan your
route, too. After taking a set number of steps, your visit is over, and you’ll
have to exit the preserve.

The Kanto region is
filled with passionate Trainers, and if you’ve been to Kanto, you’re bound to
remember Ben, the shorts-loving Youngster who challenges you to a battle along
Route 3. He’s not particularly difficult to defeat, but his pre-battle cry of
“Hi! I like shorts! They’re comfy and easy to wear!” is such a charmingly goofy
non sequitur that he’s become a fan favorite character over the years.

The world of
Pokémon is truly vast, with many varied places to explore! Thank you for
joining us throughout this past year as we’ve looked back on some of our
favorite moments from these beloved regions. Hopefully we’ve rekindled some
fond memories or helped foster a few new ones.

And don’t miss our
previous Pokémon region retrospectives! They’re filled with incredible moments
and tons of memories:

The Galar region

The Alola region

The Kalos region

The Unova region

The Sinnoh region

The Hoenn region

The Johto region

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