With reference to our discussion in class around TV merchandising, this clip from South Park hilariously addresses the cult around Pokemon toys. In the episode Chinpokomon (season 3, episode 11), Cartman is brainwashed by the Chinpokomon TV show into acquiring all its collectibles. He pleads with his mom to take him to the store, only to find that all the other kids from town have already got their hands on the toys. The episode posits this as a culturally inflected phenomenon, portraying the Japanese as particularly efficient at whipping up consumerist frenzy. Anxieties around possible geopolitical shifts play out in and through the domain of popular culture as the massive explosion of objects and hypnotic quality of the Chinpokomon broadcasts threatens to subjugate unsuspecting American children into aligning with a foreign power. This sets the stage for revisiting history as Japan plans to bomb Pearl Harbour once again with its newly-minted recruits.
Ironically, the South Park creators went on to develop an RPG game based on the episode called The Stick of Truth where players go on a quest to find 30 Chinpokomon. With objects like 'Shoe' and 'Fetuswami', the game both parodies and participates in the Pokemon-fuelled culture of consumption for its own sake. According to this gaming website, "Collecting all 30 will reward you with a friend request from the Chinpokomon Co-orperation, this is needed for the Trophy / Achievement. You will also unlock and on your way to the 30." Divorced completely from any notion of use value, the game highlights the absurdity of it all.