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Duke University Professor Study Thu Nov 7 12:21:20 2002 Pacific Time

Duke University Professor Study
Thu Nov 7 12:21:20 2002 Pacific Time
Item# dukunprofstu

Product Description

Thu Nov 7 12:21:20 2002 Pacific Time

      Duke University Professor Studies Whether Pokemon's Appeal Will Last '4ever'

       DURHAM, N.C., Nov. 7 (AScribe Newswire) -- Parents who happily stashed away the Pokemon cards and videos when the craze began to fade might have to unpack Pikachu now that a new Pokemon movie has been released and the Japanese animation television show is on cable television.

       What's the secret of the enduring appeal of these animated creatures?

       "The marketing is really clever," said Anne Allison, chair of the cultural anthropology department at Duke University who has studied the Pokemon phenomenon. "But it couldn't be marketing alone. Kids are no dopes and they wouldn't respond if it didn't have some meaning for them."

       Allison, who has done years of research talking to children about the appeal of Pokemon, said part of the reason for its success is flexibility. The fourth Pokemon movie, "Pokemon 4ever," opened in theaters last month.

       The premise of 10-year-old Ash Ketchum who tramps around in his quest to collect Pokemon (animal-like creatures with different powers) and become a Pokemon master appeals to children's sense of adventure and competitive desires. The collectible creatures also are desirable because they're cute and cuddly, she said.

       "There's something very cute about it," Allison said. "But these other things -- competition and mastery -- tap into different needs and desires growing up."

       Some of the same dynamics are at play with Beyblades and Yu-Gi-Oh!, the latest Japanese imports to grab American youths' attention.

       Beyblades are fast-spinning tops that children customize and then engage in battle in a special plastic stadium. Like Pokemon, there are hundreds of different "character" combinations that can be created and collected; there is also a companion television show.

       "Lots of kids like to have competitions," Allison said. "But if it's miniaturized, you can hold it in your hand, it's cute, too."

       Yu-Gi-Oh! is a game with a related television show on the WB Network. The game features trading cards that depict monsters and other figures and that have value and powers singly or in combination with other cards. Players start with a basic pack of cards and then improve their decks with booster decks.

       "Japanese creators create things differently from the way American creators do," Allison said. "It's very playful, it's very fanciful, but it speaks to kids at a level of everyday life."

       Allison, an associate professor of cultural anthropology at Duke, has written a book called "Millennial Monsters" about Pokemon, Power Rangers, Sailor Moon and Tamagotchi toys that will be published in 2004.

       Allison's current research is on the recent popularization of Japanese children's goods in the global marketplace and how its trends in cuteness, character merchandise and high-tech play pals are remaking Japan's place in today's capitalistic world.





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