The Straw Hat Pirates have a new crew member - Pikachu from Pokemon Go. Earlier today, Pokemon Go announced that a Pikachu wearing Luffy's distinctive straw hat from One Piece will appear around the world on July 22nd. The new costumed Pikachu is being released as part of an ongoing campaign supporting the reconstruction of the Kumamoto Prefecture, which was hit by a devastating earthquake in 2016. The new event will also celebrate several milestones - the third anniversary of Pokemon Go's release in Japan and the 22nd anniversary of One Piece.
So why is Pokemon Go crossing over with One Piece? Well, One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda is participating with the reconstruction of Kumamoto Prefecture by donating several statues featuring the Straw Hat Pirates, which will be installed around the Prefecture. These statues will also be turned into PokeStops, featuring special sequential images drawn by Ota that form a comic. In addition, players can also pick up Luffy's straw hat as an avatar costume item.
One Piece stars Monkey D. Luffy, a young pirate with the ability to stretch his body due to his consumption a rare devil fruit. He recruits a band of misfit pirates and goes in search of the One Piece, a fabled hoard of treasure hidden by the fabled Pirate King. One Piece is the top-selling manga of all time, having sold over 450 million copies over its 22 year history, and is one of the biggest media franchises of all time. While Pokemon is technically a bigger franchise than One Piece (largely due to merchandise sales), Luffy is one of the few characters who rivals Pikachu in popularity in Japan.