Just when we thought we’d caught them all…
At that time, we reported the existence of over 700 breeds of the pop culture creature, developed across a diverse canon of video games, anime shows, movies and merch. Since then, we’ve witnessed the launch of Legends: Arceus, Scarlet and Violet; the Pokémon Sleep app; and more series, including Pokémon Horizons, Hisuian Snow and Paldean Winds.
Pokémon fans are eagerly awaiting the forthcoming Pokémon Concierge stop motion series as well as a sequel to the celebrated Detective Pikachu live-action picture. And, of course, Pokémon won ‘License of the Year’ at The Toy Foundation’s 2022 Toy of the Year Awards — the “Oscars of the toy industry.”
There are now 1,016 Pokémon breeds in the Pokédex (the franchise’s in-game monster index) and many more, depending on how you count the variants that have appeared. TheToyZone analyzed up-to-date Google data to find which Pokémon is searched at the most stand-out rate in every country in 2023. (Scroll on for a detailed breakdown!)
What We Did
TheToyZone listed every Pokémon for all nine generations and used the Ahrefs search volume tool to find how often each Pokémon is Googled locally around the world. With these results, we then isolated the most uniquely popular Pokémon in each country, according to which of them had the highest search volume locally relative to each of their global search volume’s share.
· The most uniquely popular Pokémon in the U.S. is Mime Jr.
· Vaporeon is the most uniquely popular in three South American countries: Argentina, Colombia and Uruguay.
· Porygon-Z is the UK’s most uniquely popular Pokémon.
· Mr. Rime is Australia’s most uniquely popular Pokémon.
Pikachu Cannot Be Beat
As you can see on the map, Pikachu remains the most-searched Pokémon around the world. The mouse-like cutie-pie was just one among many Pokémon when the original video game came out, but it became the (adorable) face of the franchise when it went international. The most famous of the breed, who also goes by the name of Pikachu, finally retired from his leading role this year — only to be replaced by another Pikachu, Captain Pikachu.
But despite the dominance of the singular and collective Pikachu, many countries have a different favorite breed, which we define by which Pokémon they search for the most compared to the global average for each creature. For our update, we’ve also added an interactive table with filters to help you sort through the data you seek, which you’ll find at the foot of this article.
The U.S. Loves Mime Jr.
The U.S. has mellowed over the past couple of years — at least in its taste on Pokémon. In 2021, we identified the sinister Ghost/Poison-type Pokémon Gengar as the nation’s favorite. Now, the favorite is the far cuter Mime Jr. This Psychic/Fairy baby Pokémon first appeared in the fourth generation of the franchise. Although one also appeared as an NPC in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team and Blue Rescue Team. Canadians favor the fishy Dark/Fire Legendary Pokémon Chi-Yu, one of the newest Pokémon and one of the only ones with the power to bring a ‘ruinous disaster’ upon its target.
South America United in Favor of Vaporeon
Argentina, Colombia and Uruguay are united in their love for Vaporeon, one of the original Pokémon: something between a cat, a dolphin and a dinosaur. With more than a hint of mermaid. “I had the image of a mermaid in mind, so I made Vaporeon’s tail very mermaid-like, and that’s basically how I came up with the concept of a Water Eevee,” says designer Atsuko Nishida, who also designed Squirtle and Bulbasaur — which were the favorites of these countries last time we checked.
The UK Adores Porygon-Z
The UK is the only country in the world to favor Porygon-Z. A fourth-generation evolution of Porygon2, Porygon-Z is an artificial Pokémon whose polygonal shape — hence the name — shows him to have been designed on a computer. Indeed, because he is made of data, Porygon-Z can live in cyberspace and was termed the first “virtual-reality Pokémon” within the game. Porygon-Z is somewhat glitchy both in the game and in real life, where he has been ‘banned’ from appearing in the Pokémon anime since 1997 when a scene featuring him in battle caused hundreds of home viewers to have seizures — an incident which made the British news at the time.
Middle East & Central Asia Vote Charizard
Pikachu aside, this region has a distinct preference for Charizard. The OG Fire/Flying Pokémon was the first ever Pokémon to appear on-screen in the Japanese version of the anime and has gone on to appear in Super Smash Bros. games and the Detective Pikachu movie. Pokémon was banned in parts of the Middle East, and vintage cards and merchandise are hard to come by. With Charizard cards among the most expensive in the world, catching one in Qatar is particularly fortuitous.
Australia Loves Mr. Rime; New Zealand Loves Chi-Yu
Australia shares its favorite Pokémon, Mr. Rime, with just another country (Netherlands), while New Zealand shares Chi-Yu with Canada and Singapore. But several countries in this region have their own unique favorite. Japan, the home country of Pokémon, is one of them. The Japanese search for the eighth generation Drizzile the most. Drizzile, a water lizard who first appeared in Pokémon Sword and Shield, may have something of the island mentality: much like Bill from The Last of Us — of whom Drizzile is said to be the Pokémon equivalent — Drizzile knows his boundaries and is keen to police them.
Giant Bird is South African Favorite
Two-thirds of the African countries for which we have data have Pikachu as their most popular Pokémon. South Africa has a unique favorite in Pidgeot. The first-generation Normal/Flying Pokémon made a special return for Ash’s final episode of the Pokémon anime this year, which may be why he is on people’s minds right now.
Poké To The Future
Pokémon has been credited with changing public perceptions of Japanese culture around the world and becoming the first franchise of this scale to achieve mainstream popularity in the U.S. and the West. The games helped popularize the Game Boy and then augmented reality. And it powered up the “everythingization” of cult franchises, demonstrating how a video game concept can expand into trading cards, animations, live-action, AR and more without losing its integrity.
But every country has its own take on the phenomenon — favorites that are likely to evolve as the Pokémon franchise, and indeed the Pokémon themselves, evolve in the future. Starting with the enticing new shows and movies…
METHODOLOGY & SOURCES
Beginning with a seed list of every Pokémon name from all nine generations, we used the Ahrefs search volume tool to find out the Google search volume for each Pokémon for every available country.
We could then calculate the most uniquely popular Pokémon in each country, defined as the Pokémon with the highest search volume locally relative to the global search volume share. This allowed us to rank Pokémon on the relative popularity per country.
We excluded countries with a search volume of less than 200 for Pokémon names, any Pokémon with a search volume of less than 100 and certain Pokémon in specific countries where their names could be ambiguous in meaning.
This analysis is correct as of September 2023.