Scenic Route: Pokemon Center Osaka

Photo from Writer-2

Have you ever wanted to be the very best, like no one ever was? Has the thought of being a Pokémon Master ever crossed your mind during life’s dull moments? To do what a Pokémon trainer does is nothing short of exciting. You travel the world with your six companions trying to catch the already 600 plus Pokémon and earning badges in order to get into the Pokémon league. Sounds cool? You betcha, Pokénerd!

But alas, these things only occur in the games, in anime and in dreams. However, the closest thing to experiencing life in the Pokémon World outside the confines of the Gameboy or DS is to visit your nearest Pokémon Center.

Though this one isn’t for healing Pokémon (obviously), the Pokémon Center is a fan’s paradise. With its first store in Tokyo in 1998, these meccas of the Pokemon Fandom have branches not only in many major Japanese cities but in the United States as well. The one this Pokefan ventured to was the one in Osaka.

The Osaka Branch is fairly new, opening in 2010 after the first store closed that same year. It is located at the 13th floor of the Daimaru Department store, near the Osaka train station.

Let me paint you a word picture of that amazing floor. A Tomica shop, with their little cars and trains on the track (I was highly tempted to purchase items from this store too) is the first to be seen (from the escalators). Next to it was the Pokemon Center and in front of both was a Uniqlo. Think SM department store except, instead of a myriad of brands, there are only three, though I cannot recall if a cooking studio or other stores were also located on the floor. A Slowbro must have hit me with Amnesia.

As you pass the Tomica Shop, the face of three Pokémon greet you: the ever-adorable Pikachu with his friends Meowth and Chespin. Passing that, I felt like I hit the Jackpot at the Cerulean Game Corner. THERE IT IS, THE POKEMON CENTER! Oh, the glory of it all! The Buzz Lightyear meme would have been very applicable here.

Where to start? Oh, the stuffed toys! There were so many, from the original starters to the new ones to Gogoats, Mega Mewtwo Y, Xerneas and Yviteal. These weren’t all, of course, but plushies of various shapes and sizes littered the entirety of the store. You’d wish they were free so you could just catch them all (get it?) and hoard them in your bedroom.

Of course, other toys were being sold as well. Pokémon figurines, as well as bigger action figures, Pokéballs with stamps and figurines inside are offered as well. Pokéhats, which resemble the heads of Pokémon in beanie form, can be purchased for the Pokéheaded. The usual souvenirs such as keychains, ballpens and the like are all available in line with the shop’s theme.

If toys don’t tickle your fancy and you want to go for something practical (yeah, go to a Pokémon Center for practicality), don’t fret because they have those too! Notebooks, tumblers, pillows and even chopsticks among others are being sold there! Folders of various Pokémon with their basic information can also be found.

Those who play and are big fans of the game, especially the recently released Pokemon X and Y, can pimp out their Nintendo 3DS with plastic cases and bags with many designs to choose from. If you have an iPhone 5, the center carries cases with many Pokemon logos and characters on them.

One of the things that was cool about the Pokemon center was that they sold Pokémon themed snacks and other food! From candies to cup noodles and Macaroni (I’d like to call them Pokéronis), this place has them for you to take home.

The timing of my visit to the Pokemon center was impeccable as they were holding a Pokémon event. Pokémon events are special promos for those who own the game wherein they give away special versions of certain pokemon that are not found or are difficult to find within the game. A special Inkay from the latest Pokemon game was being given and I was able to get my own. There were many people with their handhelds there so I was able to get to “meet” them through my 3DS’ Street Pass.

The Pokémon Center in Osaka and the other branches are a must visit for fans, new and old, from the veteran trainer to the milk-lipped beginner, the center will turn anyone into a crazed, rabid Growlithe ready to pounce on anything with a price tag. I just wish I was able to take a picture of me handing my 3DS, with my game on, to the cashier!

Roy Loyola Jr.

By Roy Loyola Jr.

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