Friday 18 October is been inaugurated a London the first Pokémon Center European. The store is only temporary and will close the November 15, serving only as a promotion for the arrival of Pokémon Sword and Shield. Nevertheless, it is the first time ever that fans can enter a store in the Old World, and it is obvious that enthusiasm is soaring. So much so that on the opening day they were spotted queues even for six hours: the line reached the Sheperd Bush metro station, a few hundred meters from the shopping center, and then wound through the building to the first floor.
Thanks to a special press invitation, I and thirty other lucky fans were able to visit the Pokémon Center in preview, Thursday 17. Considering the post-opening crush, it was a real godsend. The restaurant is spread over two floors: below is the actual shop, while upstairs there is a space to try out game demos and Nintendo Switch Lite, and where to take photos in company. As an extension it is certainly not enormous: it is obviously not comparable to the "fixed" Pokémon Centers present in Japan, but the shelves are literally crammed with gadgets.
Awide range of soft toys the most beloved monsters, including the three original Kanto, Bulbasaur, Charmander and Squirtle starters, in chibi version, at the price of 14,50 pounds. In addition, you can put your hand on the puppets of Charizard, Venusaur, Blastoise, Alolan Vulpix, Eevee and all the eevolution, Mewtwo, Greninja and Gengar, as well as versions really giants of Mimikyu and Wailord (fortunately not life-size!), on the 45 pounds each. The TCG section is home to many really nice theme decks, bags and accessories, as well as slightly less popular mini Pokémon dolls, like Onix, Dugtrio and Venomoth.
The real gem of Sheperd Bush's Pokémon Center are obviously the exclusives: a myriad of London Pikachu gadgets, starting with the ever-present soft toy for sale at 20 pounds. In addition, here comes sweatshirts, t-shirts, umbrellas, key rings, posters, stickers and cups, as well as a fantastic limited edition of the Chilly water bottle, moreover in 25 pounds, or the normal cost of the standard version. Great for reducing our use of plastic bottles with style. It is obvious that these objects will not be sold elsewhere, except on ebay resold by individuals.
A fairly large area of the Pokémon Center was dedicated to the merchandising of the new Spada and Scudo starters, celebrated with plush toys for £ 18, very nice sports themed sweatshirts, mugs and keychains. For both these gadgets and the exclusive ones, there was a purchase limit of one each. It goes without saying that the majority of those present bought it: someone spent up to 1000 pounds. And I envy him a lot.
If you want to visit the Pokémon Center, the dispassionate advice is to go there on a weekday, since the turnout on the weekends makes it impossible to jump. The second piece of advice is to hurry up: the official announcements clarify how the store can close even earlier than expected, if the stocks of material on sale quickly ended, and it is clear that the request is very high. The shop is in the Westfield shopping center, easily accessible by the London Underground line.
To finish and entice you, here is the content of the goodie bag that they gave me at the exit (after, unaware, I had already spent billions): the Pikachu plush, some packets of cards and the pokéball with other cards, stickers and a booklet Nintendo theme.
Not a nice booty? Pikachu is very cuddly!