Fans are keeping their fingers crossed about this summer’s “Not Just Pikachu Pikachu Outbreak” event.

Is it finally happening?

For the last three summers, the city of Yokohama, Japan’s second-largest city, has played host to the biggest Pokémon celebration in the world: the Pikachu Outbreak. Every August, adorable, human-sized Pikachus spend a week frolicking in the Minato Mirai harbor district, greeting the locals and day-trippers who come down from Tokyo, which is just 20 minutes away. If you’ve got even a passing interest in the Pokémon anime or video games, the event is so awesome as to seem surreal.

▼ Pikachu Outbreak 2015

The Pokémon Company has just announced the dates for this year’s event, letting us all know that the Pikachu packs will be rolling in on August 9 and staying until the 15th. Including live Pikachus (some people say they’re actually performers in costumes, but we refuse to believe such slanderous lies) and decorations, there will be more than 1,500 Pikachus covering the area, with an especially large concentration to be found at the 100-Pikachu parade taking place on August 14 on Nihonodori street.

▼ Photos from 2016’s Pikachu Outbreak

Each year, the Pikachu Outbreak has a different theme. In 2015 the Pikachus showed off their dance moves, and last year was a water-splashing festival. The August 14 parade has a Brazilian carnival theme, but the thing that’s really got fans talking is the official name of this year’s event: Pikachu Dake Ja Nai Pikachu Tairyo Hasseichu.

That translates to “The Not Just Pikachu Pikachu Outbreak.”

The Pokémon Company is remaining coy about details, but the name strongly seems to imply that this time it won’t be a one-species Pokémon event. While Pikachu is by far the most recognized and broadly popular Pocket Monster, he’s far from the only Pokémon with significant number of fans.

Because of that, it’s always seemed like a possibility that someday, if the Pikachu Outbreaks were well-received, the Pokémon Company would start adding in other members of the pantheon. As a matter of fact, they did just that, slyly sneaking in a single Ditto among the Pikachus in 2016.

While there’s still no confirmation that other species will indeed be joining Pikachu on his annual trip to Yokohama, right now it’s hard to imagine that name referring to anything else. Will we get a chance to meet the classic starter trio of Bulbasaur, Squirtle, and Charmander? Consistently popular, variably evolvable Eevee? Darkly charming newcomer Mimikyu? Or could “Not Just Pikachu” be referring to some other, non-Pokémon pals Pikachu is bringing with him?

We’ll have to wait until August to find out, but one thing’s for sure: those dates are now marked on our calendars.

Source: The Pokémon Company via IT Media
Images: The Pokémon Company

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