The One Pokémon Toy

The year when I entered primary school, the Pokémon anime series came on the national television network. Everybody around me, both boys and girls, became crazy about the series. Except me.

At my home, I was only allowed to watch one anime per week – a rule my mother had made to prevent me from becoming a couch potato – and I chose to watch the Doraemon series, another popular anime series at the time. While my classmates talked about different Pokémon characters, I’d walk around the room telling everyone how much I loved Doraemon. I never felt I was missing out on anything important.

One day, I was at a grocery store with my mother when I found a snack box with a tiny Pokémon toy. The toy was a miniature figure of a Pokémon character, but you wouldn’t see which one until you opened it.

“Mommy, can I get this one?”

For some reason, I wanted the snack box even though I wasn’t a Pokémon fan. I’d barely known anything about the series. But perhaps, that’s why I wanted the toy.

When I opened the snack box, a miniature figure of a monster that looked like a frog with a flower sprouting on the back came out. Ivysaur. That was the name of the Pokémon I got. The accompanying card explained some key features about this monster. I didn’t really understand what they were all about, but I liked the way the tiny monster figure fitted in my palm.

The next day, when my classmates were discussing which Pokémon they liked most, I eagerly expressed my new preference.

“My favourite is Ivysaur.”

That was the first and the last Pokémon conversation I ever participated, and I was proud to be part of it.