Pokemon, the famous Japanese game and animation series, turned twenty-six this year. It is the second best-selling video game franchise right next to Mario. The franchise is so popular that even non-gamers are familiar with its world. If you have been a fan of the game and series, you’d probably know who Kadabra is and wonder why he no longer appears in the trading card game.
The “Kadabra” Pokemon character stopped appearing in trading card games when magician Uri Geller sued Nintendo for basing the character on his likeness and signature magic trick of bending spoons.
What Happened in the Suit Against Nintendo?
In 2000, Israeli-British psychic and illusionist Uri Geller filed a lawsuit against Nintendo in a California court. Geller built a name for himself as a magician who possesses true supernatural powers. He is best known for his bending spoon trick. Aside from his trick, Geller is also famous for taking legal action against people who criticize or misrepresent him.
In this lawsuit, Geller claimed that Nintendo used his image and likeness to create the Pokemon character Kadabra. The pokemon Kadabra uses spoons to cast its psychic feats, something that is reminiscent of Geller and his trick. Geller also felt that the imagery Kadabra exudes an evil occult look, which the magician thinks that Nintendo is twisting his image without his permission. Interestingly enough, Kadabra’s name in the Japanese version of the game is Yungerer. Its name sounds a lot like Geller’s name.
Geller and Nintendo reached an agreement where the company will refrain from using the character in the Pokemon anime and the trading card game. The character is still on the franchise’s core games. Geller wasn’t granted the $80 million he asked for. (Source: Game Rant)
Did Uri Geller Ever Change His Mind About The Issue?
Twenty years after the lawsuit, a few years before the franchise’s 25th anniversary, The Gamer reached out to the famous magician. Geller responded via email, mentioning that he has constantly received several emails from Pokemon fans throughout the years. They begged him to allow Nintendo to bring back the character.
Geller mentioned that he had already written to the chairman of Nintendo, permitting them to relaunch the Uri Geller Kadabra/Yungeler to the global market. The magician also claimed that two Nintendo representatives picked up his letter. (Source: The Gamer)
Geller eventually took to Twitter and said he realized how much his action affected many Pokemon fans. He now regrets he brought the matter to court altogether. Nintendo acted on Geller’s letter and reintroduced the character in a new episode of the Pokemon Evolutions anime. (Source: Game Rant)
While Geller’s reaction to a pokemon loosely modeled after him wasn’t initially positive, other famous personalities welcomed the idea of a pokemon designed after them. In a 2019 interview, the frontman of the band KISS, Gene Simmons, states that he is aware of Pokemon and flattered with the franchise’s homage to the band.
Simmons states that the new character Obstagoon introduced in Pokemon Sword and Shield is an obvious nod to the band. Its black and white color pattern is similar to its iconic look. There’s also a star-like pattern on the character’s eye, reminiscent of Paul Stanley’s face paint. The Pokemon’s long tongue is also similar to Simmons’. (Source: Mashable)