By Hoyee Tse
In both its game and anime, Pokémon Center is known to be the place where sick Pokémons are treated with medical equipment. In Osaka, Pokémon Center is the place where Pokémon enthusiasts are treated with merchandises.
The short trip from my accommodation in HOTEL MYSTAYS Sakaisuji-Honmachi to Umeda Station was pleasant as usual. But as signs of Pokémon started to appear, the blend of massive excitement and a little bit of panic began to strike my cool—especially when a panel with typical red color of a Pokéball (the device to catch and keep Pokémons) greeted me. Using the escalator, I arrived at the side entrance whereas I turned my head to find the main hall, there I could see all my childhood elements in one big store called the Pokémon Center.
It was literally the mecca for devotees of Pokémon. Collectible items to Pokémon-themed stationery and household utensils were tucked neatly inside dozens of shelves throughout the store. I warned myself not to miss even a small part of the store, so I started from the closest area from where I appeared.
Fashion items including shirts, hats, small purses, coin holders, scarfs, bags, and socks, all with delicate Pokémon prints and designs were placed across this area. Not far from these shelves, I spotted some home products such as napkins, towels, slippers, mittens, tissue covers, mats, and umbrellas. These were all pretty, but somehow the dining utensils with Pikachu lunch boxes, bowls, plates, mugs, and coasters were the ones from this section that interested me the most.
On the other side of the store was the main part of Pokémon Center, the toys section. Plush toys and pillows were main puller for girls—but for me, and some other cool guys with hip style that were apparently shopping for Pokémon toys too (Pokémon fans are diverse!), action figures were the vein of the store.
As one of the big fans, I find action figures as proof to show one’s true devotion for Pokémon. And Pokémon Center Osaka seemed to know about this, as they dedicated one big shelf especially to showcase collectible figures. I stood there for a long time in awe, feeling extremely happy as I finally came across the figures I failed to find in other parts of Osaka—and even in Tokyo.
Just by this area, stretched a game center with arcade and gachapon machines. It was really nice, actually, knowing the fact that visitors here wouldn’t just experience Pokémon universe from well-designed items only—but also through Pokémon’s initial entertainment channel, the game.
One unique thing that I enjoyed from this store was that most visitors of Pokémon Center Osaka were actually not children. Even if these people came with their kids, they seemed to be browsing stuff for themselves too. It clearly showed that even after two decades, the amazing thrill of Pokémon still lingered on its original audience (which had grown up by today). And visiting Pokémon Center Osaka made me relieved as I discovered that apparently, it wasn’t only me who is still trapped inside my own Pokémon fantasy.
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A traveler, budding travel writer, and amateur author. Writing is my way to redo my amazing journey all over again. I started "Cheating the World" project and with it, I've made two of my annual trips in a form of a book: "Cheating Southern Vietnam", and "Cheating Hong Kong & Macau" (still in Bahasa Indonesia, sorry...). Japan? Of course it's on top of my writing list. It was too good to not be recorded.