In its 25 years, the Pokemon franchise has taken players to a wide variety of locations. Fans who have been with the video game franchise since its inception will have been to eight different regions, each of which has a distinctive history, culture, and population of Pokemon.
What some fans might not know is that most of the Pokemon regions have long-established histories, often involving the unique and powerful Legendary Pokemon that reside there. Additionally, each region is based on a real country or location. It should come as no surprise that The Pokemon Company was first inspired by Japan, but it has since expanded to include aspects of recognizable locations from all around the world. There are several minor regions in the Pokemon universe, but the core series of games focus on eight regions: Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, Sinnoh, Unova, Kalos, Alola, and Galar.
Kanto is the first major region that Pokemon fans would have been introduced to in the first generation of games, Pokemon Red and Green. It’s easily one of the most well-known regions in the franchise, thanks in part to its iconic resident professor and even more iconic starters. Professor Oak is the resident professor in Kanto with whom players interact. The Kanto starters, Charmander, Bulbasaur, and Squirtle, are easily some of the most popular Pokemon to this day.
The Kanto Region is themed around colors, with each town being named after a specific color. Pallet Town, the base where Professor Oak resides, is a reference to an artist’s palette which would contain all of the colors. Although the Kanto region doesn't emphasize mythology and lore as much as some of the other regions, it's also home to the original Legendary Pokemon. The legendary bird trio made up of Zapdos, Moltres, and Articuno were introduced in Pokemon Red and Green along with Mewtwo.
Kanto is inspired by the real Kanto Region located in Japan, which is one of the most densely populated areas in the country. Kanto encompasses the major cities of Tokyo and Yokohama. The Kanto Region stands out among other Pokemon regions by being more grounded in science when it comes to catching and training Pokemon; while other regions are home to rich lore and mythology about the creatures, Kanto is more focused on technological advancement and innovation, as exemplified by its improvements to the Pokeball.
Johto is the second Pokemon region to be introduced to players, making its first appearance in Pokemon Gold and Silver. It’s located west of Kanto and south of Sinnoh, is home to Professor Elm, and features Chikorita, Cyndaquil, and Totodile as starters. Where Kanto was themed around colors, Johto gets a lot of its city names from plants- though color-themed names still occasionally make appearances.
Johto is the first Pokemon region that taught players about some of the mythology surrounding Pokemon. Johto mythology revolves around Ho-Oh and Lugia, known to fans as the “tower duo.” Ho-Oh is the guardian of the skies while Lugia has domain over the seas. The Legendary Pokemon lived in the Bell Tower and Brass tower, respectively, until the Brass Tower was struck by lightning and burned down, forcing Lugia to flee to the Whirl Islands. Three other Pokemon are said to have died in the fire, whom Ho-Oh resurrected as the legendary dogs Raikou, Entei, and Suicune.
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