Pokemon really doesn’t need any help selling itself, but The Pokemon Company and Nintendo still like to promote the franchise as much as possible. A new TV spot straight from Japan is excellent proof of that. It’s a live action ad starring none other than Usain Bolt, the fastest man on the planet, along with some lovingly rendered game characters including Pikachu. It’s also a completely ridiculous gem that should be cherished forever.
The video is actually a pair of 15-second ads back to back, which are presumably split up when they actually appear on Japanese television. They feature a costumed Usain Bolt — a man with eight Olympic gold medals and 11 world championships to his name — challenging the player to a Pokemon battle.
Curiously, Bolt is depicted as a member of the dastardly Team Skull, who feature as villains in the most recent Pokemon titles for Nintendo’s 3DS, Pokemon Sun and Moon. Members of Team Skull are generally hated in the Pokemon world due to their bad habit of stealing other people’s Pokemon and their general dislike of pretty much everyone.
The ads show Bolt’s primary Pokemon choice, which is fittingly Pikachu, which he prompts to attack by doing his iconic lightning bolt pose. He also delivers some delightfully cheesy one-liners to open up each ad, and it really ties the whole package together with a nice layer of absurdity. It’s not clear if the ad will ever appear on TV outside of Japan, though Bolt does deliver all his lines in English, so it presumably wouldn’t be difficult to make it work. We’ll have to keep our fingers crossed.