When I received the press release three weeks ago, I casually mentioned to Solvay that the Pokémon Black Version & White Version Tour was coming to Arizona Mills. “When?” she asked breathlessly. “March 19th and 20th — you wouldn’t want to go, would you?”
Now, I already knew the answer to this. Solvay is a HUGE Pokémon fan. Every time she earns her allowance, she saves the money until she can afford a new game or figure. No matter what, I knew we would be going to this event! Mylan also tagged along, mostly because it would involve going to a mall.
I didn’t really know what to expect when we got to the mall. We were joined by Karen Barr and her friend Ace Jenkins (10) at the entrance by the SEA LIFE Aquarium. When we first entered the mall, we looked around and saw people with Pokémon-related visors and figures, but no evidence of where they were obtaining these items. Eventually we came upon the Pokémon Center Store (where you can purchase plush characters and other items that are not yet available in stores) and inquired where the events were being held. We were told that we needed to get a booklet, then get it stamped at various stations throughout the mall and when it was full, turn it in for a chance to spin a wheel and win a prize. Then we asked where one would get this booklet, only to find out it was at the entrance where we had started (halfway across the mall!). So, back we all went to retrieve the booklets.
One of the stamp rally locations was in GameStop, where Solvay was excited to receive a free Celebi character distribution (make sure that you bring your Nintendo DS system and one of the games: Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, Heart Gold or Soul Silver). She just opened up her game while in the store, clicked on “receive a mystery gift” and — viola! — she had Celebi. Then we proceeded onward to the various “stamp stations” to receive more stamps.
With one stamp left to retrieve, we headed over to the food court. There we found Pokémon central! There was a large-screen television playing the series, a chance to play versions Black & White and a character meet-and-greet with Snivy, Tepig or Oshawott. The longest line granted you a chance to redeem your stamped booklet for a spin on the prize wheel. (Everyone wins, which is a good thing, and the line moved quickly.) A helper from the tour worked the line, answering questions.
I knew they were playing the feature-length film, Pokémon—Zoroark: Master of Illusions, throughout the day, so I asked where we could get tickets. She told us that there were only a limited amount of tickets and they went to the people who were there first thing in the morning. Solvay had already seen the movie, so it was all right that we weren’t going.
Our last stop on the tour was a photo opportunity with the character Tepig. (The characters take turns and the schedule is posted). Solvay and Ace got next to the character and Karen snapped away, only her flash wasn’t working quite right. Everyone was really nice and didn’t rush her, and finally the camera cooperated and she was able to get the photos.
After spending several hours at the mall and experiencing everything that the tour had to offer we were all exhausted! It was fun to spend some time in this mostly-foreign-to-me world. (I did know who Ash and Pikachu were prior to the event.) It was entertaining to listen to these otherwise shy girls, Ace and Solvay, chat animatedly about the games and characters they have and which ones the want to get in the future.
Sunday (March 20th) is the last day, so don your favorite Pokémon T-shirt, or dress-up as your favorite character and head over to Arizona Mills from 11am-6pm. If you are a Pokémon fan (or the mom/friend of one) you won’t be disappointed!