The boys and their classmates are caught up in the latest fad from Japan called Chinpokomon that contains subliminal propaganda to bring down the American government.
The boys and every other kid in town become fascinated with Chinpokomon, a Japanese franchise that centers around fictional creatures called "Chinpokomon" and spans cartoons, video games and toys. The parents disapprove of the franchise's popularity as they see it has no intellectual value and is simply a marketing scheme to take money from their children. Nonetheless, South Park's kids continue to flock to the toy store to purchase Chinpokomon products.
At the same time, Kyle struggles to keep up with the latest fad. He asks his parents for money to buy Chinpokomon dolls, but his dad Gerald explains he shouldn't follow fads just because everyone else is. Kyle reasons that if he doesn't he will get bullied. Gerald quickly understands and gives Kyle enough money to buy dolls for both him and Ike. When at the toy shop, Kyle agrees with the owner that he doesn't know what kids see in Chinpokomon.
After Chinpokomon toys and video games, the next popular thing is a special Chinpokomon camp that all the kids including Kyle attend. Here, the real reason behind the collecting craze is revealed by Emperor Hirohito. The kids are being fed military tactics and propaganda through their toys and games to bring down the American government. Soon they will be used as pawns to pilot jets to suicide bomb Pearl Harbor.
Seeing their kids have been essentially brainwashed, the adults try to snap them out of it. Yet, whenever any adults step in, the Japanese successfully distract them by telling them how large American penises. In the nick of time, South Park's grownups figure out how to counter the Chinpokomon threat. As the kids board their fighter jets to attack Pearl Harbor, their parents inform their kids that they now like Chinpokomon too.
Suddenly Chinpokomon is lame and the kids immediately abandon the plan. All except Kyle, who is again late to what's going on. Stan gives a speech on how group mentality is bad, so Kyle decides he needs to bomb Pearl Harbor to be an individual. Stan retracts his lesson, stating group mentality is sometimes good. Confused, Kyle simply gives up.
What I Learned Today
"This whole Chinpokomon thing happened because we all followed the group. We only liked Chinpokomon because everyone else did. And look at the damage it caused."
- "I love you! Let's be friends and destroy the capitalist American government!" (Chinpokomon doll)
- "Thank you for stopping by with your gargantuan penis." (Mr. Hirohito)
- "But Mo-om! I have to get a Chimpokomon doll before anyone else does because then I'll be cooool!" (Eric Cartman)
- "The Primary Main Objective is to destroy the evil power!" (Stan Marsh)
- "We very are very simple people, with very small penis. Mr. Ose penis is especially small." (Mr. Hirohito)
- "Jesus tap dancing Christ! Get with the program, Kyle." (Eric Cartman)
A whole bunch of Chinpokomon: Furrycat, Donkeytron, Pengin, Shoe, Lambtron (called Lambtor in this episode), Roostor, and Chu-Chu Nezumi. More Chinpokomon are introduced in South Park: The Stick of Truth. Collect them all and you just might become Royal Crown Chinpoko Master.
Mr. Hirohito, President of the Chinpoko Toy Corporation, and his associate Mr. Ose, who we learn has a microscopic penis. Also Red Harris, owner of Luau's Toys. You can see him again in "A Very Crappy Christmas".
Kenny has a violent seizure while playing the Chinpokomon video game and stays comatose for the rest of the episode. At the end of the episode his body bursts open, revealing that he's filled with rats. So he was probably been dead for a while.
Behind The Scenes
Where Did The Idea Come From
This episode is a critique on the Pokemon phenomenon that exploded back in the late 1990's in both Japan and the United States. The video game-based franchise encouraged consumption of their products through collection: the main video games and anime are about collecting fictional creatures; their English slogan is "Gotta Catch 'Em All"; and the franchise even spanned a trading card game. Despite critics waving off the franchise's initial popularity as a fad, Pokemon continues to be a global success and highly influential in the media today.
Mr. Hirohito and Mr. Ose's constant flattery of American penises is based on a true story. Trey and Matt were visiting their friend Junichi Nishimura, who was working in Beijing, China at the time. They met Junichi's boss named Mr. Ose who kept telling them how small his penis was and how lucky Americans were for having big penises. "That's going right into a show," Trey and Matt determined immediately.
Pop Culture References
Some Chinpokomon have designs directly inspired by actual Pokemon. Furrycat is a green version of Meowth. Chu-Chu Nezumi's name is based off of Pikachu's (nezumi means "rat" in Japanese like what Pikachu is; chu chu is the Japanese onomatopoeia of squeaking like a mouse). However, Chu-Chu Nezumi has wings and an orange color similar to Charizard.
The main character of the Chinpokomon cartoon show resembles Ash Ketchum, the main character of the Pokemon anime with a trucker hat. One of the villains resembles James from Team Rocket (with the colors of Butch, another Team Rocket member).
Kenny's seizure is a reference to a controversial incident in Japan, where the broadcast debut of a Pokemon episode called "Dennō Senshi Porygon" or "Electric Soldier Porygon" caused seizures in 685 viewers. The episode included strobing red lights which can induce seizures, a condition called photosensitive epilepsy, in a small portion of the population. The episode was never rebroadcast worldwide.
After the kids' parents get them to stop liking Chinpokomon, Stan's mom tells Mr. Garrison to "Get on the wire to every parent around the country and tell them how to bring those sons of bitches down." Mr. Garrison promptly uses a telegraph to spread Sharon's message. This is a reference to the 1996 film Independence Day.
When talking about how stupid TV shows can destroy a child's mind, Sharon begs Randy to "remember what Battle of the Network Stars did to an entire generation." Battle of the Network Stars was a long-running TV series from 1976-1988 that pitted popular television stars against one another.
Kyle uses the phrase "ay-eet", trying to say it the way Lauryn Hill used to. Lauryn Hill is an American singer known for being a member of the Fugees, a hip hop group in the late '90s.
- Trey Parker is a Japanophile and studied a double major in music and Japanese during college. Thus, the Japanese names and dialogue in this episode are pretty accurate. The only exception is when Stan calls Mr. Garrison using the suffix -san when Stan should address teachers with -sensei.
- Mr. Hirohito was played by Trey and Matt's Japanese college friend and animator Junichi Nishimura, who also supplied the narration for Trey's college short film American History. Junichi is referenced as the small Asian boy in "Jewbilee".
- Hirohito was the name of the actual 124th Emperor of Japan. However, the real life Hirohito died 10 years prior to the airing of this episode, succeeded by his son Akihito.
- Cartman shows off his ability to play guitar in this episode, as he sings on the sidewalk for people to give him money for more Chinpokomon.
- We see two live-action commercials for toys developed to subvert the Chinpokomon phenomenon: Alabama Man, a plastic doll which spends a lot of time bowling, drinking and beating its wife; and Wild Wacky Action Bike, "the bike that's hard to ride!"
- In Japanese, chinpoko is a colloquial term for "penis". The "mon" in Pokemon is a contraction of "monster" (Pokemon is short for the original Japanese title Pocket Monsters). As a result, the phrase "Chinpokomon" means "penis monster".
- e1 Rainforest Shmainforest
- e2 Spontaneous Combustion
- e3 The Succubus
- e4 Tweek Vs. Craig
- e5 Jakovasaurs
- e6 Sexual Harassment Panda
- e7 Cat Orgy
- e8 Two Guys Naked in a Hot Tub
- e9 Jewbilee
- e10 Chinpokomon
- e11 Starvin' Marvin in Space
- e12 Korn's Groovy Pirate Ghost Mystery
- e13 Hooked on Monkey Fonics
- e14 The Red Badge of Gayness
- e15 Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics
- e16 Are You There, God? It's Me, Jesus
- e17 World Wide Recorder Concert