The collectible monsters of the Pokémon series will be the next Nintendo characters to be featured at Universal Studios Japan.
Universal Studios announced that they have entered into a new, "long-term" partnership with The Pokémon Company, the subsidiary of Nintendo that manages all things Pocket Monster-related. "The globally popularPokémon characters combined with Universal’s innovative approach to creating authentic and one-of-a-kind theme park entertainment promise excitement for the entire family," said Universal Studios Japan President and CEO J.L. Bonnier. Tsunekasu Ishihara, the president and CEO of The Pokémon Company, who fans of the games may recognize as the host of many of Nintendo's Pokémon Presents livestreams, said of the new partnership, "This strategic alliance with Universal Studios Japan reflects our commitment to continue delivering the joy of Pokémon in ever evolving ways for years to come. We are looking forward to the day when we can welcome fans from around the world to all enjoy it together."
Neither company announced any specific details regarding new attractions, rides or merchandise, but many are already assuming that the announcement of this partnership is the first step towards seeing a dedicated Pokémon land at the the theme park. The mostly Super Mario-themed Super Nintendo World opened at Universal Studios Japan earlier this year, and despite travel and attendance restrictions in the region due to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, the new park appears to be success, as Nintendo and Universal Studios have already announced plans to expand the park with a large, new Donkey Kong-themed area in the future. Similar Nintendo-themed expansions are also planned for Universal Studios' theme parks in the United States and other regions.
The new theme park deal is the latest announcement to come out of the year-long celebration of Pokémon's 25th anniversary. The original games in the series, Pocket Monsters Red and Green, were originally released for the black-and-white Game Boy in Japan in 1996. The Pokémon Company has celebrated the multi-billion dollar franchise's big anniversary with a number of new releases across multiple forms of media; the new season of the Pokémon Journeys anime will soon debut exclusively on Netflix, and a new Pokémon anime series, Pokémon Evolutions, has launched on the company's official YouTube channel. Nintendo has also released multiple Pokémon video games throughout the year, including New Pokémon Snap, a sequel to the classic Nintendo 64 photography game. The next games in the series, Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, are scheduled to be released on Nov. 19.
Source: Universal Studios Japan