Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) has selected Vaporeon – a water type Generation I Pokémon – as their upcoming "Water Day" ambassador.
Since Pokémon was launched internationally over 20 years ago, here's a picture of Vaporeon to jog your memory.
Evolving from its predecessor Eevee, the light blue Pokémon will be the face of "Water Day", an annual event that seeks to raise awareness in Japan about water resources and conservation.
Vaporeon will be championing water conservation together with Momoka Mine, who was crowned Mizu No Tenshi (Water Angel) at the 2021 Miss Nippon Contest.
Held on Aug. 1, the event is part of a larger week-long event that is aptly named "Water Week", which has the same general message and goals of water conservation.
According to MLIT, various events, organised by the government, local authorities and other related groups, will take place throughout the week from Aug. 1 to Aug. 7.
Other Pokémon mascots
This is not the first time that Japanese officials have enlisted the help of Pokémon, or other anime characters, to promote special events and causes.
Another Generation I Pokémon, Lapras was recently signed on to promote dams and public transport in Japan.
Another water-type Pokémon, Lapras, just signed up to promote dams and public transport in Japan’s Miyagi Prefecture. Lapras is pictured here with the local mascot, Musubimaru, a samurai whose head is a rice-ball. pic.twitter.com/hjUxZLvDr7— Mondo Mascots (@mondomascots) July 21, 2021
Neither is this water-ice dual-type Pokémon's first stint at celebrity, where Lapras was previously the ambassador for the Miyagi prefecture in 2019.
Also in 2019, Geodude was appointed as Iwate prefecture's ambassador.
There is no more suitable Pokémon than the rock-ground type Pokémon with hands to represent Iwate, which translates literally to "rock" and "hand".
However, several workarounds had to be made to the real life mascot's body.
More specifically, legs were added to the mascot's costume and in a somewhat bewildering black-and-white checkered pattern to symbolise transparency or invisibility (the Pokémon character has no legs in the anime).
Other Japanese mascots
Japan sure loves its mascots, as it seems like there is a mascot for just about anything in the land of the rising sun.
Here are some that you might find familiar:
Kotoro-kun at Kagawa, Japan
Could pass off as Studio Ghibli's Totoro and we would be none the wiser.
Kotoro-kun, of Kotonami Miraikan community Center in Kagawa, Japan, looks more like Totoro than is legally advisable. pic.twitter.com/Lufceoxc5U— Mondo Mascots (@mondomascots) July 13, 2021
Firework mascot at Yamagata University
Not to be confused, nor associated with coronavirus.
An exploding firework named Hanapon is the mascot for Yamagata University’s annual fireworks display. pic.twitter.com/6foIWnaJpD— Mondo Mascots (@mondomascots) July 5, 2021
Sanda the serow mascot of Kamoshika Net
A frustrated manager – the online store's mascot is a mood.
The mascot of the online store Kamoshika Net is Sanda the serow, the site’s frustrated manager. pic.twitter.com/n5pid8kCyy— Mondo Mascots (@mondomascots) May 2, 2021
Click here for more interesting mascots in Japan.
Other Pokémon stories:
Top image from Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism website and screenshot from MLIT channel/YouTube