In the summer of 1998 I was ten years old and a subscriber to a now-defunct magazine called Nintendo Power. And it was in this capacity as a Power subscriber that I received a mysterious VHS cassette in the mail that looked a lot like this:

It being 1998, when you received a videotape in the mail, you played it! Those things weren’t cheap, so whatever was on it must’ve been worth watching at least once. Vexed nonetheless, I inserted A Sneak Preview of Pokémon into my VCR and viewed the following program.

To a 1998 American completely unfamiliar with anime, the peculiarity of Ash Ketchum’s giant eyes cannot be overstated. Then he began speaking.

In an impossibly shrill voice and with a wide mouth whose movements didn’t match the audio, Ash yelled: “You’ve been selected to receive a sneak-peak look at a phenomenon known as