Highlights from Pikachu Outbreak in Yokohama 2018
posted on by Kim Morrissy
Move aside, Pikachu - there's a new mascot in town! This year's Pikachu Outbreak event in Yokohama was joined by Eevees. This was preceded by weeks of promotions and silly videos from Pokémon's official Japanese YouTube account. (Seriously, I love that video of two people in Eevee and Pikachu costumes wrestling.)
Besides the presence of Eevee, there were some further changes to the Pikachu Outbreak event this year. The Pokémon Go collaboration was ditched due to the congestion problems they caused. On the other hand, this year had night-time parades and even a water show at the Minato Mirai port area called “Pokémon Synchronicity.”
Here's a closer look at what Yokohama was like during the week of the Pikachu Outbreak (August 10-16).
The stations and shopping malls were all decked out with Pikachus and Eevees throughout the week. Event staff handed out Pikachu and Eevee hats to any passersby, which meant that kids and adults alike walked around all day looking like Pokémon.
Pikachu occasionally visited the Queen's Square during the day to say hi. During the scheduled Pikachu parade times, the mall became utterly crowded with people straining to get a glimpse of the performers.
Some of the Pikachu appearances were more spontaneous, though, like when two of them got stuck inside an elevator and spent a few minutes awkwardly waving to onlookers.
Outside near the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse, the Eevees had a parade three times a day. A whole group of them would start dancing, making sure that their fur and tails swished about cutely in time with their movements. They even let onlookers pet their fur!
Meanwhile, Pikachu greeted people from a boat in the Yokohama Bay.
The best thing about the Pikachu boat is that it doubles up as a bus. Here, Captain Pikachu and his crew are shown waving to the crowd before their vessel plunged into the sea.
Throughout the day and even during the night, a Super Soaking Splash Show was held at the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse. As Pikachu danced around the stage, water would blast off around them. There's a certain splash area where people could stand in and get wet - perfect for a hot summer's day.
This year, the Super Soaking Splash Show was supplemented with appearances by Eevee. A screen showing 3D animations of Pikachu, Eevee, and its evolutions played throughout the dance. This looked great even from a distance.
Finally, at 8pm every night, the “Pokémon Synchronicity” show took place. This was where the “Science is Amazing” theme really comes into play, because the entire spectacle is nothing if not a marvel of modern technology. The Cosmo Clock 21 Ferris Wheel lit up with the colors of a Pokeball. Meanwhile at the Nippon Maru Memorial Park lawn space, a water projection mapping show depicted all sorts of Pokémon dancing to electronic remixes of Pokémon themes.
The Pikachu boats made another appearance during the water show. But they weren't even the highlight this time - some talented dancers rode flyboards and performed moves over the water.
All around the bay, people gathered to watch this marvelous spectacle. The bridge where I watched the show from was especially crowded.
It's hard to imagine what the organizers could do to top the event next year. Personally I'm hoping for Detective Pikachu to get his moment in the spotlight with the release of the Hollywood movie, but perhaps there will be a tie-in with the next generation of the Pokémon series.
In other words, no one knows yet what the next Pikachu Outbreak will bring. I look forward to being surprised!
Additional photography: Callum May, Samantha Barruel (@tsugumogumi)