Everybody knows the name Pokemon today. Hell, it's the second highest selling game series out there! And that's just the games. A popular TV show, trading cards, figurines, promotions, and so much more have Pikachu and the rest of the Pokemon on them. So which made it how big it is today?
reason why it got so popular japan was buying it tons and tons of it
Perfect timing. First there was Pokemon Red/Green in Japan, and that sold very well, so Nintendo saw potential. Then (I don't know how) Nintendo got the Triforce of Wisdom: Re-releasing with Red/Blue, making the TV show, and TCG, then some toys... There was no way for Pokemon to fail. It was new, fresh and different, and Nintendo/GameFreak knew how to approach this monster.
Look at Yokai Watch in Japan now! It sold respectably well, but then the Anime released, started selling like crazy, and the sequel is shaping up to become the new Pokemon!
Currently Awaiting: Xenoblade Chronicles X, Star Fox U, Devil's Third, and Zelda U.
It was all of the above I think. Pretty much everything Pokemon related was huge back in the late 90's-early 2000's, the show, the video games, the trading card game, the toys, the movies. I honestly don't remember how I was first introduced to Pokemon, I either started watching the show first, or a friend at school showed me Red/Blue on his Gameboy. Either way, I got hooked by the craze until about 2003-2004. Haven't played a Pokemon game since then, though I do want to get a 3DS and play the games that I missed in the near future.
"Critics who treat adult as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence." - C.S. Lewis
"Anyone who tries to use the word "fanboy" as a legitimate descriptive term in any intelligent conversation needs to go back to grade school. Immature no-brain bullshit like that is why normal people look at video game players and only see acne-ridden dweebs with severe social issues." - Myself