Everyone caught ‘em all.

Once the domain of boxes of cereal, in Japan tea and coffee are items that are frequently sold bundled with toys and other novelty goods. This year beverage maker Ito En especially went all out by selling bottles of Kenko Mineral Mugicha with free Pokémon bottle sleeves.

This was music to the ears of our resident born-again Pokémon fan P.K. Sanjun who also happens to have a deep affinity for Ito En, having fought them in a death match last year, so he eagerly awaited the special offer’s start date of 12 July.

His passion for Pocket Monsters and tea paid off and he was able to score bottles with each of the three designs for 129 yen (US$0.93) each.

Basically, these are cloth pouches big enough to fit a 670-milliliter (23-ounce) plastic bottle. They can come in especially handy during the summer months when it certainly helps to keep a cold drink on hand, but also so humid that condensation can turn said drink into a wet mess.

They’re also adorably decorated with various classic Pokémon like Psyduck and Cyndaquil, as well as symbols of summer in Japan such as water balloon yo-yos, often found at festivals.

And they each have a draw string with an Ito En logo.

P.K. was so impressed with these freebies that he felt an urge to go out and get some more. However, that very same day when he returned to the same convenience store, they had already sold out…

Clearly he was not the only fan seeking these bags and the demand was far greater than even Ito En had anticipated it seems. The relentlessly parching heat likely fueled cold tea sales even more. Hopefully, the popularity will motivate Ito En to release a second wave of covers, but we’ll have to wait and see.

In the meantime, if you are dying for a Pokémon bottle cover of your own, there’s still a remote possibility you can find one in one of Japan’s many convenience stores or train stations where they’re sold, but with each passing day those chances are getting dimmer than an Umbreon’s back.

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[ Read in Japanese ]