As the father of a seven year old, it should be of little surprise to learn that I attended the opening of the new live-action Detective Pikachu movie today. For anyone curious, it’ll be a good movie for anyone who hasn’t seen many mysteries. People without young children or grandchildren, or who didn’t grow up with Pokemon games themselves, might wonder how much stranger Pokemon could get.
There was the recent attempt to promote Fukushima using Pokemon, but that’s not the first attempt to join a Japanese Province to the internationally beloved series of video games. In 2018, Kagawa Prefecture announced that they were changing their territorial name… to Slowpoke, after the Pokemon. And they were ceding the governorship to the imaginary creature, as well. Or, at least, to someone dressed up in a mascot-style Slowpoke costume.
The small prefecture is best known for its udon (a thick noodle often used in soups) and its sense of humor, and this was an example. The announcement came on April first.
The reason for the joke is that the Japanese name for the Slowpoke creature is “Yadon”… close, in pronunciation, to “udon.”
Their playfulness paid off in an unexpected way. When The Pokemon Company heard about it, they immediately contacted the leadership of Kagawa and arranged a promotion. On April 12 through April 30 of 2018, special Slowpoke and Pokemon events were held in the prefecture, unique Slowpokes were found in the area in Pokemon Go, and a new product debuted, with its own commercials. Slowpoke Udon.
For the record, udon soup was not made available at the concession stands during the Detective Pikachu movie. I think someone in marketing fell down on the job.
Question of the night: What’s your favorite noodle dish?