The concept of the Pokémon universe, in both the video games and the general nonfictional world of Pokémon, stems from the hobby of insect collecting, a popular pastime which Pokémon executive director Satoshi Tajiri-Oniwa enjoyed as a child. Players of the games are designated as Pokémon Trainers, and the two general goals (in most Pokémon games) for such Trainers are: to complete the Pokédex by collecting all of the available Pokémon species found in the fictional region where that game takes place; and to train a team of powerful Pokémon from those they have caught to compete against teams owned by other Trainers, and eventually become the strongest Trainer: the Pokémon Master. These themes of collecting, training, and battling are present in almost every version of the Pokémon franchise, including the video games, the anime and manga series, and the Pokémon Trading Card Game.
There are several regions that have appeared in the various media of the Pokémon franchise. Each of the seven generations of the main series releases focuses on a new region. Moreover, several regions have been introduced in spin-off games, and one in the Pokémon anime, though most of these are still within the same fictional universe. Usually, the different regions are not accessible from one another via land (or at all within a single game), with the exception being Kanto, which can be accessed from Johto and vice versa in the Pokémon Gold, Silver, Crystal, HeartGold and SoulSilver versions.
Every region consists of several cities and towns that the player must explore in order to overcome many waiting challenges such as Gyms, Contests, and villainous teams. At different locations within each region, the player can find different types of Pokémon, as well as helpful items and characters. Many regions are on separate continents, though many are based on parts of the real-world country of Japan (and the United States/France in the cases of Unova/Kalos). Most regions feature locations that have some significance to the story and are unique in that they have unique properties and usually involve myths.
The Kanto Region is the setting of the first generation of Pokémon games, Pokémon Red and Blue, their sequel Pokémon Yellow and their remakes, Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen. Based on the real life Kantō region of Japan, this setting made a staple for the geography and culture of the game's region to be based on a real world setting. This region is also visited in Pokémon Gold and Silver and their remakes.
Serving as the home of the original 151 Pokémon, the region also introduced the common theme of each region having a separate team of antagonists, each with their own goals, outfits, and leader.
The Johto Region is the setting of the second generation of Pokémon games, which includes Pokémon Gold and Silver, Pokémon Crystal, and their remakes, Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver. Again based on an area of Japan, this game's geography is based upon the Kansai, Tokai and eastern Shikoku areas of the country. The game setting shares its abundance of the region's temples, a famous architectural design of the Kansai region and its geographical sights such as Mount Fuji and Naruto whirlpools.
The Johto Region introduced 100 new Pokémon, but kept Team Rocket as the main antagonists. This generation of the series also started the tradition of having the region's legendary Pokémon on the box art. It also introduced two new types of Pokémon, Steel and Dark types.
The Hoenn Region is the setting of the third generation of Pokémon games, Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, and Pokémon Emerald as well as their remakes Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. This time being based on the Japanese island of Kyushu, the real world and game region share having an abundance of smaller islands around the main one and also share the subtropical climate.
Along with 135 new Pokémon species, this setting also introduced a new team of antagonists, different depending on if the player bought Ruby or Sapphire (though both teams appear in Emerald). The teams were Team Magma and Team Aqua, respectively for each game.
The Sinnoh Region is the setting of the fourth generation of Pokémon games, which encompasses the setting of Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, with their sequel Pokémon Platinum. It is based on based on the northernmost island of Japan, Hokkaidō. The region was meant to have a 'northern' feel, with some routes being entirely covered in snow.
The Sinnoh region introduced 107 new Pokémon and the antagonists of this region were Team Galactic. The game also introduced Arceus, a secret Pokémon who serves as the creator deity of the Pokémon universe.
The Unova Region region is the setting of the fifth generation of Pokémon games, which encompassed the setting of Pokémon Black and White, with their sequels Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 (the first time that the generation sequel did not feature one game). For the first time in the main series, the region was based on a region outside Japan, with Unova taking inspiration from New York City, more specifically the island of Manhattan.
The antagonists, Team Plasma, were slightly based on the Knights Templar, though in Black 2 and White 2 they have a pirate motif. The Unova region introduced 156 new Pokémon, the most of any previous region.
The Kalos Region is the setting of the sixth generation of Pokémon games, which is where the games Pokémon X and Y take place. Like generation five, this sixth generation of Pokémon is based on a region not within Japan, and for the first time is a European style setting, being inspired almost entirely by France, with landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower having their own representations here, along with a French style of music and fashion.
This time, the antagonists of the game were Team Flare, and the game also shed some light on the Pokémon world's history, more specifically 3,000 years before the series first game. The region introduced the fewest number of new Pokémon, totaling about 72. A new Fairy type was added, and for the first time in the main series, the games, both the over-world and the Pokémon battles, were in fully-fledged 3D.
The Alola Region is the setting of the seventh generation of Pokémon games in the Pokémon Sun and Moon games. This region is based on the Hawaiian islands, marking the second time a main entry Pokémon game setting has been inspired by a U.S. state. The name itself is a play on the word "aloha," the Hawaiian word for both "hello" and "goodbye."
The game's antagonists are Team Skull and Aether Foundation. For the first time, classic Pokémon are reintroduced with new typings, such as fire types Vulpix and Ninetales now being ice types, also featuring new designs. These are known as Alolan-variants. They introduced 81 new Pokémon.
In the beginning, there was nothing but chaos. Then, at the center of the chaos, an egg appeared, from which hatched Arceus. Arceus then created Dialga, the embodiment of time, Palkia, the embodiment of space, and Giratina, the embodiment of antimatter. Arceus then created Azelf, Mesprit and Uxie; the spirits of willpower, emotion and knowledge respectively.
Anime, films and specials
- "The Ultimate Game Freak: Interview with Satoshi Tajiri". Time. November 22, 1999. Archived from the original on March 14, 2005. Retrieved May 22, 2010., TimeAsia (Waybacked).