Do you know the name of the Pokémon anime’s main character? Congratulations! Here’s a thousand dollars!

Society seems to be pretty much in agreement that Jeopardy is the smart person’s game show. No spinning wheels, melodramatic spotlights or other gimmicks. Just questions in the form of answers and answers in the form of questions, with the whole thing presided over by Alex Trebek, the illustrated example in most people’s mental dictionaries’ entry for “intelligence.”

But Jeopardy’s recent attempt to throw players a curve ball had all the difficulty of slow-pitch softball, at least if you happen to be even a moderate fan of the Pokémon franchise.

While Jeopardy occasionally mixes pop-culture categories into its question mix, as far as we know this is the first time it’s focused on a singular anime/video game franchise, and it’s pretty clear the producers weren’t sure how well contestants, or viewers, would handle the “challenge.” The panel of players seemed plenty intimidated, only daring to venture into the Pokémon category after they’d exhausted every other question on the board, presumably having already answered difficult questions relating to science, history, and world events. As a matter of fact, the contestants put off the category for so long that they didn’t even have time to get to the $1,000 block.

The answers (questions) are in the video above, but the prompts were:
● $200: Pikachu, the most iconic Pokémon character, has shown up as a 50-foot balloon in this annual U.S. parade.
● $400: In the franchise’s 20th anniversary in 2016, this in-the-real-world version was released—“Gotta catch ‘em all!”
● $600: The process of a Pokémon turning into another is known as this, like plants and animals adapting and changing over long periods.
● $800: Like a person who prepares horses for racing, it’s someone who captures Pokémon and readies and directs them in battles.
● $1,000: This anime character picked Pikachu as his Pokémon in the TV show’s first episode and they soon became best friends.

Not exactly a grueling gauntlet of Poké-facts, is it? The $400 and $600 prompts are as much about grade-school-level English vocabulary as they are Pokémon, and the $200 one is an extremely easy guess too, considering there’s exactly one noteworthy annual parade in the U.S. that features giant balloons. Factor in that the $400 prompt is related to a global social phenomena, and really the only one that requires any direct Pokémon knowledge is the $1,000 capper, which requires you to have maybe watched the first few minutes of the first episode of the anime (or, really a few minutes of any episode of the anime).

For their part, the contestants had no trouble once they were left with no choice but to brave the category, answering with aplomb even as some of them, and Trebek, referred to the series as “Pokey-mon.”

In all fairness, Jeopardy is first and foremost a mainstream quiz show, not an otaku trivia arena, you really can’t blame the producers for erring on the side of caution in not wanting to completely stump the in-studio contestants and baffle those playing along at home. The recognition is also a feather in the cap for Pokémon all the same, though now that Jeopardy has gotten the basic questions out of the way, maybe if the category makes a repeat appearance in the future they can ask slightly trickier questions like “This Pokémon is the only one regularly cooked and eaten in the city of Yokohama,” or “A life-size version of this Pokémon greets visitors at the only Pokémon Center that sells the limited-edition graffiti Pikachu.”

Source: YouTube/Jeopardy! via Kotaku
Top image: YouTube/Jeopardy!
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