Pokémon Scarlet And Violet’s DLC Has Gender-Neutral Restrooms

Kieran and Carmine are shown standing in front of the welcome center.

Screenshot: The Pokémon Company / Kotaku

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet’s first DLC, The Teal Mask, is finally out, and it takes the player and all their pocket monsters on an exchange student program to the land of Kitakami. In this wondrous land they’ll find new Pokémon to catch, new friends to make, and, as fans have discovered, restrooms that are gender-neutral.

I, like many other players, stumbled upon this discovery in the first 10 minutes of arriving in Kitakami, at the community center where my character was staying. In the lobby, you find three restrooms. The men’s and women’s restrooms are designated by Pikachu tails, with the former featuring the flat edge at the end that male Pikachus have and the latter displaying the rounded, heart-shaped end females do. The third restroom is marked by just a silhouette of Pikachu’s head, and when you examine it, the text reads “This restroom can be used by anyone!”

Shep is shown examining the gender-netural restroom and the text reads "This restroom can be used by anyone!"

Screenshot: The Pokémon Company / Kotaku

It’s a small thing in a universe that has certainly had queer characters and even what seem to be in-universe references to queer culture, like ex-Galar Champion Peony possibly being a gay icon with a largely male fanbase. But a lot of that has been subtext, and having gender-neutral restrooms is a pretty explicit recognition of queer and non-binary characters existing within the Pokémon universe. It’s great to see, and hopefully this means we could see an actual gender-neutral character creation option in the series’ future, with they/them or other pronoun toggles in later games.

Even if Pokémon has kept much of its acknowledgment of queer identity buried in subtext, the franchise has amassed a big queer fanbase over the years, especially surrounding the Fairy type.

The Teal Mask is the first of two DLCs coming to Scarlet and Violet, with the second, titled The Indigo Disk, set to launch later this year. Together, they make up the Hidden Treasure of Area Zero expansion that wraps up the story of the main game.

Buy Hidden Treasure of Area Zero: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop

$400 Pokémon Trading Card Game Classic Pre-Orders Sold Out

Back in February, The Pokémon Company announced it was reprinting beloved cards from the very start of the Pokémon trading card game, including the original holographic Venusuar, Charizard, and Blastoise, as part of a $400 board game set. Pre-orders went live on September 21 and sold out in the first hour.

We now know exactly which cards are in the three decks featured in the Pokémon Trading Card Game Classic set, as well as its release date: November 17. The set also features brand new cards, including Lugia ex, Ho-Oh ex, Suicune ex, and a version of Mr. Mime that’s releasing outside of Japan for the very first time.

Pre-orders went live on The Pokémon Company’s own Pokémon Center storefront and GameStop shortly after the release date was revealed, and stock immediately ran out. Pre-orders are also expected to become available at BestBuy, Target, and other retailers at some point, but it’s not exactly clear when, or if they’ll take any longer to sell out when they do. It’s also possible that some stores are reserving some stock for additional pre-order waves.

The Pokémon Company didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

A screenshot shows scalper prices on eBay.

Screenshot: eBay / Kotaku

The Pokémon Trading Card Game Classic set trades on millenial nostalgia for the original late ‘90s heyday of the Game Boy RPGs and their trading card spin-off. I still remember exactly where I was when I opened my first three Pokémon booster packs ever and got a holographic Venusaur and Poliwrath, both of which have long since vanished. I now have kids of my own, and it’s clear the set and its absurd $400 price tag is aimed squarely at me.

As news of the initial pre-orders selling out made the rounds on Reddit, collectors were quick to point out that you can actually buy copies of the original cards, including holographic Charizards, for way less. The three decks featured in the Classic set aren’t tournament legal either. It’s effectively just an expensive novelty replica. “This is so not worth it,” wrote one fan. “Cool thing but $150 is my price point. Would rather go buy the big 3 vintage and a Switch Lite for this cost.”

For anyone who does want the Pokémon Trading Card Game Classic set, they’ll have to keep their eyes peeled for new rounds of pre-orders. Scalpers are already trying to flip their existing orders on sites like eBay for hundreds more than the standard sticker price. It seems unlikely that anyone will actually buy them at the up to $800 that resellers are currently requesting per set, but if The Pokémon Company doesn’t end up printing enough stock to meet demand, a few desperate fans might.

In the meantime, the Scarlet and Violet-era Pokémon 151 set takes the original Kanto Pokémon and features them with beautiful new art. The expansion launched on September 22.

Update 9/27/2023 12:50 p.m. ET: A spokesperson for The Pokémon Company International said it’s aware fans are dealing with stock shortages and blamed global freight costs for the price of the set outside of Japan. “We are working to address it where it is within our control,” they wrote in an email. Here’s the full statement:

We’re aware that some fans are experiencing difficulties purchasing Pokémon Trading Card Game Classic due to very high demand impacting availability. In addition, due to rising global freight costs, Pokémon Trading Card Game Classic will see higher MSRPs in markets outside of Japan. We understand this inconvenience can be disappointing for fans, and we are working to address it where it is within our control. Fans will have additional opportunities to purchase Pokémon Trading Card Game Classic when it releases on Nov. 17 at participating retailers while supplies last, and some retailers will restock the product later this year.

Pokémon Trading Card Game Classic is uniquely and thoughtfully designed to be a staple playset that is both beautiful and functional, delivering a polished and elevated battling experience for all types of Pokémon TCG fans. We are grateful to the community for their continued support and patience as we work to deliver fun and innovative Pokémon TCG products, including premium items like Pokémon Trading Card Game Classic.

Buy Pokemon Scarlet and Violet 151 Collection Elite Trainer Box: Best Buy | GameStop



The First Pokémon X Hatsune Miku Song Is Intense

Hatsune Miku holds a frowning Pikachu.

Screenshot: The Pokémon Company / Crypton Future Media

If you’ve checked out Twitter anytime recently, you might’ve caught a glimpse of Project Voltage, The Pokémon Company’s ongoing art and music collaboration with the Vocaloid teen idol Hatsune Miku. So far Voltage has released 18 illustrations (one for every type of Pokémon) imagining Miku as different kinds of trainers, and as of this week, it’s continuing the project by debuting 18 original songs from various artists.

The just-released first song, “Volt Tackle,” is hyperactive pop rock from Vocaloid producer DECO*27, who has been making music featuring Miku since 2008. The music video links pigtailed Miku to electric-type ball of sun Pikachu, who crackles around very punny lyrics about shocking someone into love: “Yeah, you! I wanchu, wanchu more! Zzzzzzzzzap!” the English captions say.

Its music video alternates between illustrations by frequent DECO*27 collaborator omutatsu, who draws Miku as a devastated little girl with a Pikachu-shaped bandaid on her cheek (a physical manifestation of her interior wounds!), and Pikachu itself as the stubby ray of light that bolts her back to her feet.

By the end of the song, Miku is more determined than ever. “All your shooing can’t harm me, I’m in invincible mode!” she beeps while guitars wail. “This love zip zap zooms and the chu chu chu’s just won’t stop / You give me whiplash when you put on your aversion sash / […] Aiming my Volt Tackle to the middle of your heart / It’s not very effective…Why not!? Come on!!”

Pikachu grimaces in an illustration, and you can see lightning reflected in Miku’s eyes. I’m getting kind of scared, and I’m disappointed that the song presents multi-hyphenate Miku as no more than a lovesick school girl. You should let this love go, Miku, there are other fish in the Poké Ball.

Read More: Scalpers Are Ruining A Pokémon Art Exhibit

International pocket monster fans can keep up with Project Voltage on Twitter (or X), but only those located in Japan can access its official website. Time to bust out that VPN?

Pokémon Van Gogh Museum Collaboration Merch Raided By Scalpers

I woke up today hoping to buy a cute plush of Pikachu wearing an outfit inspired by world-renowned artist Vincent Van Gogh, but scalpers got to it the second it went up on the Pokémon Center website. I’m frustrated, and that’s the general sentiment a lot of Pokémon fans are feeling right now, as scalpers and resellers have poached the limited-time collaboration and left no scraps for the average fan.

If you’re just tuning into this whole mess, Pokémon and the Van Gogh Museum are collaborating right now. The Amsterdam museum has an exhibit on display featuring art of Pikachu and friends made to look like some of the artist’s signature works. When the on-site exhibit opened, the Van Gogh Museum store was flooded with huge crowds, several of whom were reportedly bragging about reselling the merchandise online to those who weren’t lucky enough to be there. Rather than relying on scalpers, many folks who can’t visit the museum were looking forward to the official online sales of merchandise launching today, September 29, on the Pokémon Center, as a way of buying a little piece of the exhibit for themselves.

Unfortunately, however, any such hopes have now been dashed, as mere moments after the landing page went live, several products were already sold out.

As you can imagine, this has left a lot of Pokémon fans with disappointment and scalpers with fat wallets, as these commemorative pieces are already showing up on auctioning sites like eBay. At a glance, the Pikachu Van Gogh trading card bundled with each purchase is selling for around $200+ on most listings. Some other products, such as the Pikachu plush, are starting to show up on the site as well, often bundled with the card.

Several eBay listings show the Pokemon x Van Gogh merch selling for hundreds to thousands of dollars.

Screenshot: The Pokémon Company / eBay / Kotaku

If you scroll through social media posts on sites like Twitter, you’ll see plenty of folks who either couldn’t access the Pokémon Center website when the sale went live, or were just too late to the sale before scalpers ravaged each listing. It’s disappointing, but hardly unexpected given how prevalent scalpers have become in the Pokémon community.

The Pokémon Company responds after Van Gogh Museum merch sells out

Following the fiasco, The Pokémon Company released a statement on its own social channels apologizing to fans disappointed by the whole mess. It says it plans to provide more ways to receive the promo Pikachu card, but doesn’t mention if it has plans to restock any of the merchandise.

The full statement reads as follows:

We apologize to all the fans eagerly awaiting our Pokémon Center x Van Gogh Museum release today.

Due to overwhelming demand, all our products from this collection have sold out. We understand this is disappointing to many who were looking to our official email and social media channels for guidance on how and when to purchase. We are actively working on ways to provide more “Pikachu with Grey Felt Hat” promo cards for fans shopping at Pokémon Center in the future. Details will be released at a later date.

Thank you for your understanding and continued support.

Even outside the Van Gogh Museum collab, limited-edition Pokémon merch is often reselling for ludicrous prices, such as a recent series of Santa Cruz skateboards featuring various Pokémon selling for over $20k.

The Van Gogh Museum collaboration will last until January 7, so fingers crossed we see restocks at the Pokémon Center between now and then. I just wanted the cute little painter Pikachu to sit on my shelf, for fuck’s sake.

New Pokémon Live-Action Drama Gets First Trailer

Gif: The Pokémon Company / Kotaku

A Pokémon live-action series is coming to Japan, but it’s not of the Detective Pikachu variety. No, the next Pokémon live-action project will be a drama about a woman trying to find adventure in her life through playing Pokémon, rather than it being set in the Pokémon universe.

The first episode of Pack Your Pocket With Adventure (abbreviated to PokéTsume) is set to premiere in Japan on October 19. It follows Madoka Akagi, a young woman who starts working for an advertising agency in an effort to expand her resume and pivot into content creation, but is hit with the same realizations we all have about capitalism: Working for others sucks, as you feed your body, mind, and soul to the beast. But then she receives a package from her mother containing some of her old stuff, including a Game Boy and a copy of Pokémon Red.

Madoka wasn’t like the rest of us who started playing Pokémon at a young age and then never stopped. She hasn’t played Pokémon since she was very young, so going back is pretty nostalgic for her. From the looks of the first trailer, the show will frame a lot of key moments and relationships through her playing Pokémon Red, such as one scene where she’s shown entering a battle with a character made to look like her boss.

Check out the trailer here, courtesy of Serebii:

Pack Your Pocket With Adventure is one of a few TV projects Pokémon has right now. On top of the new anime series starring Liko and Roy, The Pokémon Company has also partnered with Netflix for a stop-motion series called Pokémon Concierge set to premiere in December. The series will follow a young woman named Haru working at a resort alongside her partner Pokémon Psyduck. Actress Rena Nōnen says she hopes the show will be therapeutic for long-time fans.

Dashcam Shows Cops Ignoring Robbery To Play Pokémon Go

Newly released dashboard camera footage shows two Los Angeles Police Department officers ignoring an active robbery in order to catch some rare creatures in Pokémon Go. The footage shows how the driver ignored stop signs, sped through quiet residential areas, and drove the wrong way down a one-way road. All this was done to catch a Snorlax and Togetic.

In 2022, we reported on then-newly-released court docs that revealed a 2017 incident involving two LAPD officers who drove dangerously and ignored direct orders while playing the hit mobile game, Pokémon Go. Louis Lozano and Eric Mitchell skipped out on their job to catch some rare digital critters and then lied about their actions. The two law enforcement officers had a combined 28 years on the force. After a 2017 investigation revealed what they had done, the two officers were fired. Last year, we didn’t have footage of what happened. Now, six years later, video has finally emerged.


Thanks to 404 Media’s Jason Koebler, the dashcam footage from that day in 2017 is now publicly available following years of requests. As Koebler notes, the footage proves that the previously mentioned report was accurate. But this new video also reveals more details about what happened and shows just how recklessly the officers acted.

New footage shows LAPD officers trying to catch ‘em all

As seen in an edited version of the three-hour dashcam video put together by 404 Media, the officers can be seen driving quickly in their patrol car. The two tailgate dangerously behind numerous cars, forcing the other drivers to move out of the way. At another point in the video, the police can be seen speeding in a residential area, running a stop sign, and flying over speed bumps.

The police were apparently driving so quickly because they were concerned the Snorlax would despawn after a short timer ran out, saying in the video: “It’s gonna go pink and change into something else.”

After losing the Snorlax, the two officers track down a Togetic and while catching it, talk about Pokémon lore. According to 404 Media, the two cops mentioned that Togetic is Togepi’s evolution and discussed that the creature knows “Hidden Power,” a rare move in the series. Later, Officer Mitchell suggests that Master Ball items are buried in the game’s code and that one day they will be added to the game. He was right, but it would take another six years before the Master Ball would be added to the game.

After finally catching the Togetic, Mitchell can be heard shouting, “Holy crap! Finally!” He adds that the guys back at the station are “going to be so jealous.” Mitchell further celebrated, telling his partner—while the pair reportedly drove the wrong way down a street—that he “got a new high-level Pokémon today.”

A few minutes later Mitchell and Lozano were questioned by a higher-ranking officer, who was confused why the two of them—who were near the area where the robbery occurred—had failed to report in for 40 minutes. Their superior added that it’s “concerning” that they didn’t hear the radio or respond in a “swift manner.”

At this point the two officers decided to lie, and explain that they didn’t hear the radio, claiming they “were not always” in the car when the backup requests were transmitted. However, the video shows that at least one of the two officers was always in the patrol car during the incident. As mentioned, the two were fired in 2017 after an investigation by the LAPD.


NYC Transit App Is Like Pokémon Go For Rats

If you live in New York City, you have seen your fair share of rats. There’s the infamous pizza rat, Scabby the Rat, the recently appointed Rat Czar, and just an overall deluge of the (I think) adorable critters skittering about the city that never sleeps. Now, you can seek out those rats in a real-life version of Pokemon Go, if you so desire, thanks to a new feature in a widely used app—though I would advise against trying to catch them, for several reasons.

The Transit app provides a litany of information for car-less commuters in more than 300 cities, with accurate train schedules, rideshare options, available scooters for rent, and more. It’s been widely praised as one of the best transit app options, and even though it’s not exclusive to New York City, nor is it even its official transit app, it’s got an added feature for those living in the Big Apple: Rat tracking.

Dubbed “the great NYC Subway Rat Detector,” the feature was rolled out in early October after the Transit app “first started asking subway riders to report rats in August,” Stephen Miller, a spokesperson for Transit, told Kotaku over email. Miller said that results are updated daily and show reports from the past 30 days, with a dedicated page for people to check the rattiest subway stations, input specific stations to see rodent info, and learn more about rats in general, like when the little cuties are most active (“swarms [peak] just after 2 am”).

Most notable, however, is how the Rat Detector works in the app itself, which is sending X (formerly Twitter) into a tailspin as people report their findings. Simply click on a nearby subway station, or one you use daily, and you’ll see details on departing trains and their destinations, as well as a little rat icon. Click that icon and you’ll get some info on the rodent sitch: Rockefeller Center, which is near Kotaku’s offices, has “very few rats” but is still ranked 177th out of 445 NYC subway stations. It’s gotten 128 ratings from Transit users within the last month.

My personal subway station (I’m not telling you which) ranks pretty low, with just 12% of reports claiming “so many” rats were spotted at it within the last month. I personally love rats—my co-ed soccer team is called The Rats, and I’ve also rescued several injured pigeons (flying rats), so I think this feature is adorable. Granted, I still shriek if a rat darts out of a rustling garbage bag during a post-bar walk home, but I am personally, firmly, on the side of the rodents here.

If you want to use this app to either spot or avoid NYC’s rodent population, the choice is yours. I wish I could pretend to catch them in little Pokéballs and then set their little digital forms free at a beautiful rat sanctuary where no one ever tries to poison them and they can eat all the garbage they want. A girl can dream.