Have you managed to catch a Lapras yet? They’re one of the most highly sought Pokémon in the game, and for a very good reason. Good stats, cute as heck, and you can even jump on the back of them and sail the seas like a pirate.
As you’d expect, a Pokémon this great has to be super rare. And they are. Lapras is easily in the top 5 rarest Pokémon in Pokémon GO. That is, unless you live in Japan right now. If you live in Japan right now, they’re about as common as Pidgeys. Say hello to the Pokémon GO Lapras event.
From November 11th to November 23rd, Japanese players will be finding an abundance of Lapras in the Tohoku region. For 13 days, one of the game’s rarest and strongest Pokémon will be available for all players to catch. Well, all players in the Tohoku region of Japan, that is.
Why is it only Japan that is receiving this awesome Pokémon GO Lapras event? It’s actually for a very good cause. The Tohoku region was left devastated after the 2011 tsunami hit Japan, and this is why they are the only people in the world receiving this event. You can see the official tweet on Pokémon GO’s Japanese Twitter here.
Following the 2011 tsunami, tourism in the area dropped significantly and has never quite recovered. This move by Niantic, likely in collaboration with the local Government, is a great way to boost tourism to the area, and is already seeing results.
ProfessorBarium is a Canadian Redditor who spontaneously bought a plane ticket to Japan in the hopes of catching a Lapras or two. According to his post on Reddit, he was so excited to take part in the Pokémon GO Lapras event and catch some Lapras that he didn’t even bother booking accommodation before he left. Now that’s dedication.
Nick from Trainer Tips, a popular YouTube channel that is devoted to producing Pokémon GO content, has also made plans to head to Japan for the event. These are just two people travelling half way across the world for the event. We imagine that a large number of Japanese players will be making the comparatively short journey to Tohoku to take part in the event as well.
But is the Pokémon GO Lapras event all good? Obviously the tourism boost to the Tohoku region is a big plus, but what about the effect this will have on the in-game Pokémon economy once trading is implemented?
And what about gyms? Are we going to see a Lapras at the top of every gym in Japan now? What happens when the event is over and all of the spoofers come home with an army of Lapras? These are very possible outcomes, and very serious concerns that Niantic should be thinking about before moving forward with similar events in the future.
But what do you think? Will you be flying to Japan to catch yourself a Lapras? Or perhaps more controversially, will you be spoofing to Japan to grab one? Let me know your thoughts and plans in the comments below!