Pokémon, being the huge phenomenon that it is, has made all sorts of appearances in the real world, from Pikachu cars to a live-action musical. Perhaps the most impressive of all these real-world cameos are the various aircraft that soared the skies of Japan from 1998 onwards.
The tradition started after it came time for All Nippon Airways (ANA) to repaint a plane that had previously been coated with Snoopy, of Peanuts fame. Considering it was the latest craze, Pokémon was picked as the successor, and you can see the first plane below:
Over the past 18 years we’ve seen five planes decorated with the different generations of Pokémon, and on a few occasions ANA even held some Flying Pikachu distribution events celebrating their initial flights. The last plane to be painted was in 2011, and it features several Pokémon from Black and White.
Unfortunately, as of April 14th, this plane will no longer fly with the Pokémon paint-job, as it has since been repainted during maintenance. It marks the first time in 18 years that a Pokémon-themed jet hasn’t been in service. According to Sankei, the Boeing planes are gradually being discontinued due to poor fuel consumption, as even though the most recent plane was painted in 2011 the aircraft itself is actually 17 years old.
There may be a silver lining, however, as Sankei also reports that ANA is planning another Pokémon-themed plane. We’ll be sure to let you know what it looks like when it makes its debut!