Posted: December 21, 2021 | Updated: December 31, 2021

Christmas 2021: Celebrities, PokeTimes, VJump & More!

It was a somewhat awkward sight. Perched side-by-side in makeshift COVID-proof booths, the five VIPs were separated from one another by plexiglass panes. Absent the ability to fully interact, most directed their attention at the cameras trained on them, Nintendo Switches mounted on their desks, hooked up to a capture card. Only in hindsight did this scene strike me as unnatural. While watching the livestream, it barely registered with me how the celebrities at no point rose from their seats to mingle, as all instead spent the full 100-minute broadcast sedentary. I suppose it’s testimony to how accustomed to life under COVID restrictions we have become, that it now seems logical to experience the excitement of Super Contests and Pokébattles seated – none of that standing around a sidetable to stare eachother down, faces inches apart, and issue the challenge replete with funny hand gestures, Sunday-style.

Christmas exchange partyWhat am I talking about? Well, 2021’s Pokémon Christmas Exchange Party, of course! On December 18, 2021, starting at 6PM JST, Japan’s official Pokémon YouTube channel as well as LINE LIVE broadcast a celebrity studio livestream for an hour and a half of Christmas-themed Pokémon fun. Upwards of 28.000 concurrent viewers (source) watched five celebrities fool around in BDSP’s Grand Underground with members of the virtual audience, compete in a celebrity group Super Contest, promote a Pokémon goods Christmas giveaway, cheer on a Pokébattle between VIPs Hajime Syacho and Keisuke Takai, discuss new teaser information about then-upcoming Switch title Pokémon Legends Arceus, and finally… Engage in two segments of celebrity-viewer Pokémon exchanges! Ah, what a feelgood show! Even if the Pokémon-trading side of things was, well… We’ll get to that.

Some background! On December 3, 2021, a countdown to a “Christmas Pokémon Exchange” livestream popped up on Japan’s official Pokémon YouTube channel. In the description it promised – loosely translated – a December 18, 6PM JST “online event focussing on Pokémon exchanges between BDSP and SWSH” that would feature “Pokémon exchanges between guests and viewers, Pokémon battles between guests and viewers, as well as gorgeous gifts for viewers”. Wowza! Now this was a bolt from the blue! Still, the description left a lot of things unsaid. For one, it did not yet specify who the special guests would be. Moreover, it was light on details of the Pokémon exchanges. Could they be another round of PokeTimes Surprise Trade in the vein of Clefairy and Chansey from 18 months prior? Hmm.

On December 10, an article dropped on pokemon.co.jp that revealed the Christmas Exchange Party celebrity guests lineup. Further corroborated by the official “Pokémon Weekly Digest” on YouTube here, the five VIPs were going to be: Kanata Hongo, actor known for Attack on Titan and Fullmetal Alchemist; Nicole Fujita, model and tarento; Naiko Momotsuki (Nashiko), famous cosplayer and model; Hajime Syacho, Japan’s biggest YouTuber who occasionally crosses paths with TPC and in 2018 had a Corsola event Pokémon named after him; and Keisuki Takai, YouTuber who, judging from his multitude of excited tweets, could scarcely believe he’d been invited onto the panel. This was an admittedly impressive lineup and further evidence of the genuine ease with which the Pokémon franchise seems able to enlist pop stars to headline its events.1If this source is to be believed, all five are lifelong Pokéfans with a strong affinity for the franchise. And speaking of “events”, here was the kicker: all five were set to participate in the Christmas Exchange as active traders. Officially-sanctioned celebrity Pokémon – now that’s something we hadn’t seen since the days of Chief Golgo and Shokoton on Pokémon Sunday.

stars

An all-star Christmas Party lineup.

In a surprising turn, the pokemon.co.jp article also announced that a whopping further 16 “media guests” would participate in the event as trading partners in addition to – as had been suspected – headliner PokeTimes. Wow. Talk about a major undertaking! In full, these publications were revealed to be IGN Japan, Inside, Engadget, Automaton, Oricon News, KAI-YOU, Gamer, Game Watch, CoroCoro Comic, Dengeki Online, Denfaminico, Nintendo Dream, Famitsu, VJump, 4Gamer, My Navi News. Do you recognise any of them? That’s some big ticket companies right there! Hmm… Pokémon with OTN of Famitsu, CoroCoro, Dengeki and VJump? A very enticing prospect indeed. Sign me up! Given the scope of the initiative, it was the assumption – in our camp, and certainly also among many Japanese players – that these Pokémon exchanges would take place via the quick and convenient Surprise Trade feature in Sword & Shield. Hnnng. Do hold that thought.

Now, it requires little emphasis that this Christmas Exchange Party was a hugely ambitious project, perhaps designed to offer something for everyone in difficult times. Unfortunately, with the benefit of hindsight, it’s clear that the organisers bit off more than they could chew. To put it bluntly: from a Pokémon distribution perspective, the whole shebang on the PokeTimes and third-party media side of things devolved into what one might rightly dub an uncoordinated mess.

participating companies

Famit-Famit-Su, where are you?

So, what happened? Before we can examine the (thankfully!) numerous Pokémon that successfully changed hands, we need to address the elephant in the room. Or… Five of them, actually. A small herd. Yes. I hate to frontload all this information, but I have to – it’s essential context as it variously impacted the quality, numbers and record-keeping of the Christmas Exchange Party in some form.

First, in understanding the unexpected difficulties of this Christmas distro, it’s important to observe that the official stream devoted no airtime to the third-party media exchanges. This liveshow was not to be the command centre of a clockwork operation liaising with the various media outlets while they traded, as many had assumed. In this regard, it’s illustrative that only partway through the official Poké-stream, at the 32-minute mark, were the Twitter handles of 14 – not 16 – participating outlets briefly displayed on screen with instructions to check them out. More broadly, all evidence suggests that these publications enjoyed abundant autonomy in fulfilling the mandate of “participation” without central oversight by the event organisers, with media-and-player Pokémon trades happening separately and independently on the sidelines of and parallel to the official broadcast. In general terms, outlets like IGN Japan and Inside took up the distribution task with fervour, announcing several days in advance that they would livestream their Christmas exchanges. Nintendo Dream also opted to communicate directly with, in their case, listeners, taking to the audio-only unarchiveable Twitter Spaces to broadcast exchange details supplemented by a handful of tweets. But these were the exceptions. PokeTimes which for all intents and purposes headlined this side of the event elected not to livestream their player interactions, putting out a double tweet at 5:50PM JST and leaving it at that. A missed opportunity once again.

Denfaminico preparations

Denfaminico’s extensive exchange prepwork.

Second, while some media outlets prepared dedicated, thematically cohesive Pokémon to exchange – e.g. an assembly of purpose-bred Gible and Ralts as did Denfaminico (here) – many outlets instead sent out a grabbag of whatever Pokémon happened to languish in the staff member’s PC box without any special prep whatsoever. If the official intention was that all media companies would follow the example set by PokeTimes and hand out a finite number of Pokémon bearing the specific firm’s OT – Famitsu, Nindori, IGN, CoroCoro – then participating media did not get the memo. Furthermore, unlike PokeTimes, practically none of the media participants (clearly) communicated in advance what Pokémon they would trading – the sole exceptions being VJump, Gamer.ne.jp and Denfaminico. Confusingly, however, those three publications did not send out further tweets during actual exchange hours, leaving everyone to wonder whether they were in fact participating or not. In any case, the lucky few players who ended up trading editors of media companies largely wound up with a miscellany of exchange fodder – HM beasts, breedjects, random catches, battle favourites; you name it.

Third, it seems safe to conclude that a handful of media outlets officially slated to participate in the Christmas Exchange did not in fact take part. Or, in an enduring enigma, opted to do so in the lowest of low-key fashions without social media outreach. Among these, DengekiOnline and Oricon News at least affirmed their *intent* of presence by retweeting an official Twitter message in mid-December. On the other hand, companies like Engadget, Automaton, Game Watch, CoroCoro, Famitsu, 4Gamer, and My Navi News did no such thing. Consequently, viewers who checked out the, say, Famitsu, CoroCoro or Engadget Twitter feeds upon being prompted to do so by the official livestream, simply found no Pokémon exchange-related content there. Nor on YouTube. In short, the question stands whether these outlets engaged in Pokémon trading but failed to communicate it, or effectively went wholly AWOL from the initiative. It’s anyone’s guess.

Fourth, and perhaps most crucially: absolutely none of the documented exchanges took place via the Sword & Shield Surprise Trade feature as practically everyone had expected, given the precedent set by PokeTimes Clefairy and Chansey. This applies equally to the trades done by the studio-stream celebrities, those trades known to have been performed by media outlets, and those by standard-bearers PokeTimes – the latter whom, by the sheer volume of Gible shown off in preparation tweets, had given every impression that the little rascal would be handed out in large numbers via Surprise Trade, supplemented by a modicum of Stantler by necessity via BDSP Union Room link trade. But what nobody had understood in advance, and only the more perceptive cohort of official livestream viewers cottoned onto, is that the one-on-one link codes broadcast to steer celebrity trades were apparently also intended to be used to connect with PokeTimes and perhaps – though we can’t be certain – all other participating media outlets. I say apparently, because we’re still not sure what the plan was exactly: 36 Stantler, 36 Gible, but only 10 total trades… How does that math work out? This situation confused the living daylight out of viewers including Japanese ones — many of whom watched the stream expecting a cue when Gible Surprise Trades would begin. Fun fact: browsing the official stream’s comment section some 24 hours after the fact, we find it filled with Giblical bitterness and disappointment over this misunderstanding. In any event, Nintendo Dream, Inside and IGN Japan performed person-to-person direct trades on their own link codes communicated via their own streams and in so doing enjoyed a highly successful series of Pokémon exchanges, as we shall see below.

official event poster

Official event poster.

Lastly, it is imperative to point out (yet another) complicating factor from a documentation perspective. Developments surrounding 2020’s PokeTimes Clefairy and Chansey had been relatively easy to track through a careful monitoring of the official Twitter event hashtag. This time, however, the event organisers threw an unexpected curveball. Concretely, PokeTimes encouraged players to retweet the tags 「#クリスマスポケモン交換会」 and 「#ポケモンからのクリプレ」in order to enter into a prize-giving contest for 23 Pokémon-themed goodies promoted by the studio celebs, such as Gengar and Eevee hoodies and a Pikachu sweater. Moreover, those same hashtags were to be used to tweet predictions on the outcome of the livestreamed Pokémon battle between VIPs Keisuke Takai and Kanata Hongo for a chance to win a life-sized Lucario. (See e.g. here; offending tweet and website instructions here and here.) Why-oh-why separate hashtags were not created for these purposes, Arceus knows. But as a result, the “Christmas Exchange Party” Twitter feed transformed into a desperate scramble to win freebies – so much so that the volume of retweets swiftly propelled the associated hashtag to the #4 spot in Japan’s rolling most-used tag rankings. From a documentation point of view, the obvious upshot was that the handful of winners who successfully navigated the about-turn to link trades and came forward on Twitter, saw their victory messages buried in an endless ocean of retweet spam. This also deducted from the overall party experience, for it stifled Twitter discussion of the event and killed the opportunity for the official hashtag to become the de facto embodiment of a merry Pokémon exchange party fuelled by players who proudly showed off their Surprise Trade hauls, thanking one another for their generosity – as had been the case during PokeTimes Clefairy and Chansey.

Now. Considering all the above, you’ll understand that it is utterly impossible to exhaustively log all the details of what Pokémon the various media outlets exchanged, in what quantities, and of what specifications. In many cases we simply don’t know what was given away, if anything at all, much less the Pokémon their TID/OT combinations. Philosophically speaking, we might also question the official status of these Pokémon within the realm of “events”, comprised largely as they were of unbranded, personal catches by the editors of Japanese media and publications – with the exception of PokeTimes and VJump, as we’ll see shortly. The Goruchans are a decent comparison. Either way, we can only collate what we’re able to gather in the first place. So we’ll that in mind, we’ll give it a go, starting with the Poké-celebrities.

CELEBRITY POKÉMON TRADES

Right! Like mentioned earlier, the official broadcast’s final 60 minutes were devoted largely to celeb-viewer link trades. Ten trades total were made: two per VIP split across two rounds, the first five in BDSP, the second five in SWSH. In all instances, these were direct one-on-one link trades that proceeded through the Union Room in BDSP, and the Y-Comm in SWSH. As for aired footage of the trades themselves, it was marked by particularly cagey camerawork that took express care to shroud the exchanges in artificial mystery. The reason being, I can only divine, to build suspense and not reveal the Pokémon to be received before a trade completed so that the studio guests might feign surprise. I say feign, because this is quite obviously silly: During a link trade, the receivable Pokémon is displayed on screen in full detail prior to the exchange while both parties confirm they’re happy with the transaction. (Try Surprise Trade for true surprise!)

In any case, in an archivist’s conondrum, we lack a fair bit of data on the exchanged celebrity Pokémon and their recipients. Trade partners’ names, which may appear in top-right of BDSP and SWSH trading menus prior to Pokémon selection, were sometimes toggled to a Pokémon stats setting instead. Which would have been fine, if it weren’t for the fact that the accompanying text to BDSP and SWSH trade animations – which normally reveal a trade partner’s in-game name – proved to be completely obscured by a festive stream overlay that read 「ポケモン交換中」 (Pokémon Trade In Progress). It is, I assume, an unfortunate coincidence on both counts, but it does, well, suck. Unhappily from documentation point of view, it also proved impossible to glean the complete TID/OT data from the livestream, for not once was a VIP recorded consulting an exchangeable Pokémon’s summary where such information is visible.

All in all our knowledge is patchy. We have the species of all 10 Pokémon given out, but beyond that is a mixed bag: we mostly know their nicknames (where applicable), level and stats, and what Pokémon was received in return, plus, critically, the name of the sending player. But not always. Luckily, this combination of tidbits enables us triangulate footage from the horse’s mouth with the images posted by – spoiler! – the 3/10 winners who came forward on Twitter to express gratitude to Nashiko and Kanata Hongo for their trades.

Without further ado, here’s a full list of the celeb-viewer exchanges that took place.

ROUND 1: BDSP
1. Hajime Syacho: Pichu-Aipom
Keita! The exchange was with Keita (けいた)! For the briefest of moments, the name of Hajime’s trade partner appeared on stream as they greeted one another in the Union Room. Hajime offered up his Pichu; in return he received an Aipom.

Sent:
Pichu Lv.16
Nickname: ハチュー
OT: はじめ (?)
TID: Unknown
Premier Ball

2. Keisuke Takai: Rhydon-Togepi
Next up was Keisuke Takai, who selected a nameless Rhydon from his party without fanfare.

Sent:
Rhydon Lv.46
Nickname: None
OT: Unknown
TID: Unknown
Poké Ball

3. Naiko Momotsuki: Haunter-Shellder
Third up, cosplayer Nashiko! Perhaps the most diligent of panellists in preparing for the broadcast, she had bred and raised two Pokémon specifically for trade, tweeting on December 17 (here) about producing a Timid 5IV female Pokémon that turned out to be a Gastly.2One Twitterer somewhat obnoxiously cast aspersions on the sincerity of the celebs’ fanhood and the authenticity of the savegames from which they traded. Nashiko clarified how both the BDSP and … Continue reading

haunter winner

Nashiko’s Haunter, now in the care of “chip_1011_dale”.

Nicknamed タソサマ (Tasosama) and a Haunter by the time of the broadcast, it would naturally evolve into Gengar on trade, as Nashiko took care to explain on stream.

Sent:
Haunter (Gengar) Lv.26
Nickname: タソサマ
OT: なしこ
TID: Unknown
Ultra Ball

But, what’s this? OT なしこ? Didn’t you say, PokeHistorian, that you were unable to gather celebrity OTs from the broadcast? Quite right! In a stroke of luck, the recipient of Nashiko’s Gengar came forward on Twitter here, and included the pics over side.

An endearing back-and-forth series of tweets followed where “chip_1011_dale” – we still don’t know his in-game name – and Nashiko thanked one another for the trades and swapped background stories on Gengar and the outbound Shellder. See here.

4. Nicole Fujita: Pichu (Shiny)-Unown K
The second Pichu trade of the day, this one was shiny. Fancy! Nicole received Unown K in return from Mino (ミノ), whose IGN the livestream captured. I do wonder what purpose the 62 Vibrava breedjects in Nicole’s PC boxes served! Perhaps she unsuccessfully tried to prepare a shiny Trapinch for the show. Either way, the effort is commendable, and Nicole has since attempted to reconnect here with the recipients of her Pichu (and Eldegoss), without much luck.

Sent:
Pichu (Shiny) Lv.45
Nickname: あまんほ
OT: Unknown
TID: Unknown
Poke Ball

5. Kanata Hongo, Shinx-Charmander(Shiny)
The show’s final BDSP trade saw Kanata’s Shinx swapped for a Shiny Charmander with a player named rily.

Sent:
Shinx Lv.1
Nickname: ぽちまる
OT: かなた (?)
TID: Unknown
Ball Type: Unknown

ROUND 2: SWSH
6. Hajime Syacho: Cramorant(Shiny)-Ditto
In round 2, Hajime browsed his PC boxes for a long time, undecided, before settling on a lv100 Shiny Cramorant… And not one of the many, many Legendaries he scrolled past. How on earth did he come by a max level shiny birb like that? In any event, the recipient’s name was すばる, who returned a Ditto.

Sent:
Cramorant (Shiny)
Nickname: フエニックス (Phoenix)
OT: Unknown
TID: Unknown
Ball Type: Unknown

7. Keisuke Takai: Snom-Scorbunny
Leave it to Keisuke to send a player simply named “N” a weird little Snom…

Sent:
Snom Lv.1
Nickname: ぬめっ..!
OT: Unknown
TID: Unknown
Love Ball

8. Naiko Momotsuki: Snom(Shiny)-Porygon(Shiny)
A full-on shiny swap. Alright! The second of Nashiko’s breeding projects for the show was a little 5IV Shiny marvel, imperfect only in its HP stat. It was initially bestowed upon an unknown player, but!

nashiko's snom

Nashiko’s Shiny Snom, about to be traded to “sesese_po”.

As chance would have it, the Pokémon ended up with a Japanese PoGo player active on Twitter by the handle of “@sesese_po”, who tweeted Nashiko a convincing screencap (or still from a video) taken at the time of trading that shows her IGN of なしこ as well as the little bugger’s nickname. Good stuff! Exchange of tweets here.

Sent:
Snom (Shiny) Lv.1
Nickname: タソチャン
OT: なしこ
TID: Unknown
Ultra Ball

9. Nicole Fujita: Eldegoss-Dreepy
Nicole’s second trade was with an unknown player, who sent a Dreepy in return for her Lv.60, 5IV Eldegoss.

Sent:
Eldegoss Lv.60
Nickname: しらが
OT: Unknown
TID: Unknown
Ultra Ball

10. Kanata Hongo: Lucario-Riolu(Shiny)
Man, Kanata’s SWSH savefile sure was decked out. His PC Box titled “fighters1” (せんとういん1) packed no fewer than 10 Lucario, 2 Toxtricity, 3 Tyranitar, 2 Mareanie, 5 Dragapult, 5 Rillaboom, and a Noivern, Rhyperior, and Mudsdale. Yet he still lost his battles with Keisuke Takai. Heh.

Kanata Lucario

Kanata Hongo’s Lucario, now with “poke_world3”.

In any case, Kanata offered up a thematically-appropriate Lv.60 Lucario for trade. (Remember, a life-sized Lucario plush was the Christmas Party’s grand prize!) Nicknamed “ルカみ”, it too was battle-ready, sporting a competitive Modest nature and 5 max IVs. His trade partner, clearly overjoyed to be swapping Pokémon with Kanata, sent back an incredible shiny Riolu. Whoa!

Sent:
Lucario Lv.100
Nickname: ルカみ
OT: かなた
TID: Unknown
Moon Ball

And, what do you know – we can find the lucky recipient on Twitter. Going by the handle “@poke_world3”, they posted a picture of Kanata’s Lucario roaming amidst the apparent plenitude of shiny Aura Pokémon in his possession. A summary screen overview was included too. See images over side. A rare blog by one of Kanata’s many fans discussing his Christmas Party appearance and lucky Riolu exchange is here.

Okay. That all covered, let’s move on to the media outlets, starting with trusty old PokeTimes!

POKETIMES: STANTLER & GIBLE

Now then, PokeTimes. Oh boy. Where to even start? On December 16, 2021, the PokeTimes twitter account (@poke_times) sprung to life with an announcement (here) that on the 18th, concurrent with the Christmas Exchange Party broadcast, PokeTimes would be trading out a bunch of their Gible. A picture attached to the tweet showed off 30 Gible in a PC Box titled “Xmasこうかん” (Christmas Exchange), with another 6 occupying the party slots. One single thought immediately crystallised in the minds of all Pokéfans who saw this image: clearly, PokeTimes were planning another of their trademark Surprise Trade events to coincide with the Christmas stream! Copying the pattern of the previous PokeTimes “swap meet” to a tee, the gaggle of Gible looked to be all freshly hatched Lv.1’s, just like the PokeTimes Chansey had been. I have to say, Gible did strike me as a somewhat peculiar choice for the festive season. It can’t learn the move Present like Clefairy and Chansey could, and moreover evolves into a rather coarse sharkfin dragon that flies at sonic speed, can fell trees with the gust from its blades, and “dives into flocks of bird Pokémon and gulps the entire flock down whole”. Riiiight. Ho ho ho! Meeerry Christmas, Pidgey, Spearow, Pidove and friends!

Although Gible is not exactly a Pokémon that embodies the Christmas spirit, Stantler is. Stantler? Yes! Exactly 24 hours from PokeTimes’ Gible tweet, they posted another, this one showing 30+6 Stantler in an identically titled “Xmasこうかん” PC Box, now on BDSP, not SWSH. (I do love that colourful Turtwig, Chimchar and Piplup customisable PC background in BDSP.) All Stantler also looked to be Lv.1 and newly-hatched. It goes without saying that Stantler is obviously a whole lot more festive than Gible: as the Pokéverse’s nearest thing to Rudolf the Reindeer, it receives a costume treatment in GO annually each holiday season and, it would seem, some special attention in BDSP now as well.3The tweet moreover encouraged lucky recipients to transfer the deer to the Legends: Arceus Hisui region once that game releases in January 2022. Way to whet the appetite! The double distro news went over rather well, with Twitterers responding to PokeTimes’ announcements with such classic shouts as “want!”「欲しい!」. Stantler’s sudden appearance did raise the question of how exactly the reindeer would be distributed. With Surprise Trade functionality not yet implemented in BDSP, code-mediated Union Room link trades seemed the only possibility. A PokeTimes exchange timeslot had also not yet been communicated. Surely PokeTimes would clarify these key facts to all and sundry well in advance. Right?

gible stantler images

PokeTimes tweet previews of 36 Gible and 36 Stantler on December 16-17, 2021.

Well, they did not. No further PokeTimes tweets came. Or at least, not until the celebrity Christmas Exchange Party was already well underway and livestreaming to YouTube on the evening of December 18. It bears repeating once more that this official broadcast provided no information whatsoever on how fans could trade PokeTimes for Stantler and Gible. So when PokeTimes tweeted the following about the Pokémon pair at 6:24PM and 6:50PM on the 18th, 24 minutes and 50 minutes into the stream respectively, players expected instructions… But came away none the wiser.

At 6:24PM (link):

#Christmas Pokémon Exchange
Live Streaming: https://youtu.be/PnIC3zgLI40

#Pokemon Exchange started at #PokemonBDSP

The #Pokemon Information Bureau is offering #Stantler for trade. The best! Please take care of your #Stantler.

Of course, we’ll take good care of your prized Pokémon as well.

Okay. Great. Tell me how to trade for one, then!

Shortly after, at 6:50PM (link):

#Christmas Pokémon Exchange
Live Streaming: https://youtu.be/PnIC3zgLI40

#Pokémon Exchange in Pokémon Sword & Shield is starting.

#Poketimes has grown to love #Gible… Please accept them.

Just like Cynthia’s #Garchomp, it’s sure to be a powerful companion!

Oh, okay. So Stantler already ended? How do we trade for Gible, then? Via Surprise Trade?

After that, deafening silence.

As it turns out, PokeTimes was link trading on the same link codes as the livestream’s five celebraties. Meaning, when Hajime Syacho was preparing to swap his Pichu on link code 60297846, PokeTimes were offering one Stantler to one lucky viewer who happened to connect with them first on link code 60297846. When Keisuke Takai exchanged Rhydon on code 35033807, PokeTimes offered another Stantler on that code. And so on. When the celebrities switched from BDSP to SWSH so did PokeTimes, now trading Gible instead of Stantler.

You’ll gather the implications. To the extent that PokeTimes followed this system to the letter, they traded out only five of the 36+ Stantler they had prepared. Same for Gible, though word on the street (well, in YouTube stream comments) is that PoleTimes continued to exchange Gible on Kanata Hongo’s second link code, ie. the 10th and final code that was broadcast. How many “additional” Gible were sent out this way is unknown. Whether a return to Stantler trades was made is also unknown – not least due to PokeTimes’ continued radio silence after the event. No after-action report appeared on Twitter this time to show their (Surprise) Trade “haul” as they’d done post-Clefairy and post-Chansey. In fact no Twitter followup came at all; peculiar, to say the least, in light of precedent, the scope of the overarching Christmas initiative, and the fact PokeTimes headlined the media side. A subtle indication, perhaps, that something had not entirely to plan on an organisational level.

Japanese players certainly thought so – many of whom were understandably rather unhappy at the combination of mixed messaging and null-messaging surrounding not just PokeTimes, but the whole media participation part of the Christmas event. Some liberally aired their grievances in the (heavily moderated) comment section to the official livestream. It inspired one “@mai_corgi24” to a lengthy series of tweets directed at PokeTimes lamenting the miscommunication and capturing the core emotions of bitter disappointment rather well, even if their memory that Pokemon.co.jp / PokeTimes had expressly announced a Surprise Trade and then changed their minds seems to be a case of the Mandela Effect. Either way, the net result of PokeTimes’ non-exchanges made their well-intentioned “good care of your Pokémon” Stantler tweet seem almost like a bad joke.

Because I’m positive that PokeTimes intended to celebrate and satisfy, not disappoint. It’s likely that PokeTimes – and with them all 16 participating media companies – did not know the minutiae of the livestream’s trading protocol ahead of time and made “one code, many trades” link trade assumptions similar to VJump (see below), explaining why they overprepared this many Stantler and Gible. On the bright side, precisely because PokeTimes (over)prepared and attached videos to their December 18 tweets to flaunt this preparation, we possess all the basic information we could possibly want to know about Stantler and Gible.

For example, we know from the best of primary sources (ie. the PokeTimes video) that Gible had an anticipated OT of “ポケタイムス” (PokeTimes) but an unexpected TID of 676088 – different from Clefairy and Chansey’s 714674, thus indicating that a different game was used to prepare the Gible, or at least a fresh savefile. We also know that the Gible were all in Timer Balls, with 5+ perfect IVs, and without held items – with the exception of one, which carried a Moon Ball for whatever reason. As for Stantler, its OT was equally “ポケタイムス” (PokeTimes) with a BDSP TID of 500031. These were in Repeat Balls, also all 5IV+, and likely without held items.4The December 16 preview Stantler held a Lucky Egg and winner @sane_koma’s Stantler held a Choice Band. However, the 20 Stantler shown by PokeTimes on December 22 were itemless. So make of all … Continue reading

 

So! Considering the exchange confusion and the tiny number of Gible and Stantler that went out, were we able to identify any winners? Astonishingly, the answer is yes! Here no Twitter grocery list of 10-15 marvelling Clefairy / Chansey winners – or not yet anyway; see below – but just one publicly known winner of each. One Stantler winner. And one Gible winner.

So with that said, a heartfelt congratulations to Stantler winner @sane_koma (here) and Gible winner @Asashandesu (here)!

winners

PokeTimes Stantler and Gible Winners, December 18, 2021.

And that seemed to be the end of this story. …Until, on December 22 when I’d already completed most of this write-up, PokeTimes deadpanned they’d be making up for a disappointing first outing and do it all over again with the expected parameters… Grrrr. I mean. Hooray! In a first tweet here that issued an apology for “the lack of information on how to exchange”, PokeTimes made it clear that a rebranded, official “Third PokeTimes Exchange Party” (第3回 #ポケタイムス交換会) was to take place the following day, December 23 at 6-9PM JST. During the first hour, a second tweet said (here), a total of 20 Stantler was to be exchanged via BDSP Union Room link trade, the singular unchanging link code to be shared on Twitter on the day. (Note: Does that suggest a minimum of 16 Stantler went out on December 18?) A third tweet here informed readers that at 7PM, the party would continue via Surprise Trade to exchange 30 Gible. Surprise Trade. Surprise Trade.

So eh, y’all want to know how that went?

Yup… PokeTimes’ Twitter account got obliterated minutes before Stantler trades were supposed to start. We’re not entirely certain why. An educated guess is that whatever message PokeTimes decided to tweet out at 6PM on December 23rd somehow tripped a red-flag Twitter algorithm, triggering an automated (temporary) ban that ultimately took four hours to overturn. PokeTimes, for one, seemed happy to point the finger at the Twitter platform as the issue’s cause (here).

Undeterred, twelve hours later in the early hours of December 24, PokeTimes took to Twitter again to announce a rescheduling of the “Exchange Meeting” to that very night at 7PM JST… Christmas Eve of all timings. How festive. Third time’s the charm, right?

And so on this occasion, the Stantlers at long last began to flow smoothly and in satisfying numbers on BDSP’s Link Code 20180424 – thereby producing a total of 6 additional documented winners. That’s not a bad strike rate for 20 more trades. Congratulations to:

@typokemonn (7:08PM), here
@pigpillow318 (7:09PM), here
@CofagrigusDream (7:14PM), here
@1219Hz (7:17PM), here and here
@7tm_poke (7:34PM), here
@daicloud5434 (8:15PM), here

All but @daicloud5434 posted their acquisition tweet inside of the full hour that PokeTimes allotted to Stantler exchanges. @pigpillow did not enclose any images to their tweet, and @cofagrigus’ Stantler pic is incredibly nondescript. Still, we have no grounds to doubt the veracity of any these.

What’s that? You want the usual victors collage? Certainly. Coming up!

Stantler winners

Christmas Eve PokeTimes Stantler winners.

An hour later on the dot, at 8PM JST, PokeTimes began the 30 additional Gible Surprise Trades in SWSH. This produced an additional nine documented winners, to wit:

@pepepeland1118 (8:18PM), here
@Poison_0710 (8:34PM), here
@HAL26398777 (8:36PM), here
@UROOBOE16 (8:38PM), here
@tjpn20 (8:43PM), here
@ra_dtan7 (8:46PM), here
@sekiei_zdtn (8:52PM), here
@ohhhkame_pg (9:03PM), here
@Noel_Maid (9:37PM), here and here

Yeah, yeah. I got you. A victors collage!

Gible winner collage

Unbelievably, HAL is our first documented repeat winner – he also got a PokeTimes Clefairy of his own back in May 2020. Some people’s luck!

Poketimes haul

PokeTimes “haul”: SWSH (top) and BDSP (bottom).

Before we wrap up, let’s take a quick look – as is tradition – at PokeTimes’ end of event “haul” sceenshots (their tweet here). I can’t see a single Karen Wobbuffet amongst the 50 Pokémon! How disappointing! Although I did notice that Machamps.com has achieved sufficient notoriety that Japanse Pokéfans may now refer to the group as “editing-kun” (“改造くん”). Yeah, it loses a little in translation. In any case, Gible winner @Poison_0710 identified the Mudkip he’d traded PokeTimes on the second row. Similarly, @pepepeland1118 espied his old Togepi, while @ra_dtan7 spotted his old Bronzor. Winner @tjpn20 also responded to PokeTimes’ haul tweet but did not specify what Pokémon had been his. In general, many players followed suit in also showing off the trading haul on event hashtag – exactly as one would hope and expect from a Surprise Trade party.

Well then! This was a delightful third PokeTimes Exchange Party. And a memorably messy one at that. Clearly, one can’t make an omelette without breaking some eggs… And not without initially disappointing thousands of viewers over a Christmas stream and getting your Twitter account to self-destruct. 10/10 would participate again!

VJUMP: DEDENNE & BUIZEL

Next up: VJump! Which, if you don’t know, is a Japanese shōnen manga magazine published by Shueisha (of Shonen Jump). One of its editors represented the publication in this Christmas exchange.

VJump being one of the bigger fish among the media participants, TPC must have observed with satisfaction how on December 16 and 18, VJump’s Twitter (@v_jump) put out a pair of posts (here and here) that evidenced a sincere interest to participate in the Christmas Exchange to the fullest. Happily for us, these messages conveyed quite a lot of information about the Pokémon that VJump planned to trade away. Which were Buizel from BDSP and Dedenne from SWSH, and solid number of them too: up to a full PC Box of each. So let’s examine these Pokémon real quick.

Let’s start with Dedenne. Out of a minimum total 26, VJump candied six up to Lv.100 and piled vitamins into their HP and Speed stats in order to make them “a little more special”. In a further touch, he took care to hatch the Dedenne “in unusual places” such as “where Pokémon don’t appear [and] places with Legendary Pokémon”.5Source is the VJump blog: https://vjumplay.com/generated/vlog/2650. The editor added how thankfully, he had “plenty of candy and money to spare” to make this happen. The remaining Dedenne were kept at Lv.1. All were Timid, including the Lv.100s, nicknamed 「デデンネV」 (DedenneV), the “V” standing for VJump, and made to hold a Big Nugget (でかいきんのたま). Meanwhile on BDSP, VJump bred a pride (?) of fifteen Naughty-natured 5IV+ Buizel variously in Dive Balls (8) and Net Balls (7), all of which received the nickname 「Vゼル」.6Source is again the editor’s VJump blog.

VJump

VJump flaunt their prepared Dedenne and Buizel. Taken from December 18 tweet.

Now, VJump posted its second and final Dedenne / Buizel tweet only 15 minutes prior to the start of the Christmas Exchange Party. Which makes it all the more remarkable how they too, like PokeTimes, fell silent in the immediate aftermath… A silence they broke on the 20th with an impressive blogpost that gave the clearest, most detailed account of their Exchange Party preparation and experience – and all that went wrong. I obviously don’t expect you to read it in the original Japanese (here), so let’s study several key (translated) quotes instead, because from a documentation perspective there’s a huge quantity of incredible insight in this part personal tale, part post-mortem. Here we go.

I prepared a few 5IV Dedenne and Buizel with matching natures, and I’m ready! …But when I saw the tweets from the Pokémon Information Bureau [PokeTimes] and other media at the #Christmas Pokémon Exchange, I was pretty stunned by the number of Pokémon they had prepared… Don’t I look inferior to this? Should I prepare a lot of them? I resumed the hatching work in a hurry. This was on the Thursday the 16th, so it was pretty last-minute.

Right! Much like Denfaminico (see below) VJump was intimidated (and thus misled) by the sheer scale of PokeTimes’ Pokémon preparations, and went to work hatching to match their numbers. They continued:

The day of the broadcast, the 18th, was also the day of the Jump Festa. I was watching the livestream from home, and kept hatching until the very last second. […] However, we didn’t know how many Pokémon trades would occur until after the start of the broadcast, so we had to worry about whether we’d have enough or not.

I couldn’t state it more clearly than this. VJump had no idea what the exact exchange plan was for media participants. We can thus infer that other media outlets also were clueless – including perhaps even PokeTimes. Brace yourself for a long one:

Then at 6PM, the Christmas Pokémon Exchange started. I had been told beforehand that the media would participate in the same way as the audience, but I didn’t know the details of the process, so I decided to check it out in the programme. At first, I thought that the same password would be used at all times, and that the guests, media, and viewers would randomly mix and exchange passwords for 30 minutes or so… But in fact, the method was “change the password for each guest, once for each guest.” So, just like the viewers, I had to enter the password that was given in the program and participate each time. If it matched with a viewer, Pokémon would be exchanged.

Now for the main issues with this system:

But there was one problem… There was no explanation in the programme as to how the media would be participating. Therefore, most people probably didn’t realize that the media side was taking part in the same way as the viewers, and it was a situation that caused confusion. Many people may have thought that there was a time to exchange with the media separately from the guests. The viewers who happened to be matched with the media side may have thought they were the same ordinary users. [Moreover], the password display time was short, so it was difficult to get a match if you were late, and even if you did get a match, you might be rejected (or leave immediately) because you were judged as not a guest. […] If I had at least told them on V-Jump’s Twitter page beforehand or during the distribution that I would be participating just like the readers, or if I had given them the name of my Trainer, it might have helped them make a better decision.

Speaks for itself, doesn’t it? More straight confirmation from VJump that the livestream organisers indeed fell short in explaining the advance plan for media exchanges, putting those companies in one hell of a bind. Still, despite it all:

Despite these circumstances, I was able to exchange both Dedenne and Buizel five times. I’m glad that I managed to exchange them successfully.

Which is excellent news. And it explains the one VJump Lv.100 Dedenne winner who came forward on Twitter. Congratulations to @sasapksasa here.

sasapksasa Dedenne

Sasapksasa’s VJump Dedenne.

Now, like with PokeTimes this would normally be the end of the story… If it weren’t for the fact that the VJump editor felt majorly apologetic over the difficulties viewers experienced, and decided to give away the remainder of his Dedenne and Buizel in an independent “second chance” link trade event. Or in his words:

The exchange method with the media side was unclear and the number of exchanges itself was small, which I think was regrettable since more viewers wanted the Pokémon. There were some people who were puzzled after the delivery, and this was also painful. […] [Therefore,] I would like to hold a “Pokémon exchange party … on the VJ Pokémon Club. […] I don’t know how many people will trade for VJump, but it is down to me to deliver them. If implemented, it will take place Saturday evening, December 25th or near the end of the year… Is it better to decide a common password and exchange each Pokémon for one hour, for example?

To answer that question – yes, it most certainly would be!
As it was, the VJump Buizel and Dedenne repeat distribution got pencilled in not for the 25th, but one day later on Sunday December 26 at roughly 6-8PM JST. Altogether, another 20 Buizel were handed out on BDSP Link Code 0252-2414 (tweet here), with a massive 50 (!) more Dedenne given away on SWSH, also through Link Trade (2982-1133). VJump quantified the 50 Dedenne here, a number which you’ll note is a marked increase from Christmas Exchange spares, meaning the magazine’s editor kept true to his word and bred even more critters for trade.

Participation rates in this officious event distribution were comparatively modest, leading to an unusually happy outcome from a collectors’ perspective – our very own ICanSnake and ChrisD secured a Buizel and Dedenne, and three (!) Dedenne respectively. The repeat distro’s full documentary record for each:

Buizel
@Yuk1_JPN (6:06PM), here
@7tm_poke (6:13PM and 6:32PM), here and here
@ICanSnake (6:41PM), here
@uringuma (6:46PM), here
@Univers00___ (7:45PM), here
@asakage_poke (8:35PM), here

Dedenne
@Soma_Pokemon (7:24PM), here
@SashaMetralleta (7:37PM), here
@Univers00___ (7:45PM), here
@ICanSnake (7:47PM), here
@asakage_poke (8:35PM) x3, here
@Victini92959388 x3, here
ChrisD, Dedenne Lv.1 x3 (no Twitter)

You’ll notice a good number of duplicate winners: besides Snake and Chris, @7tm_poke picked up two Buizel, @asakage_poke one Buizel and three Dedenne, @Victini92959388 three Dedenne and @Univers00___ one of each VJump Pokémon.

Now, as far as the Pokémon their specifics are concerned, we can confirm first-hand that these “repeat” Buizel and Dedenne were a mixture of stragglers from December 18 and new(er) hatches through to the 25th. Of the 20 (still) Naughty-natured Lv.1 Buizel, VJump confirmed, 7 were in Net Balls and 13 in Dive Balls. The Dedenne mix proved a little more eclectic, with 3 at Lv.100, 3 at Lv.50, and all the rest at Lv.1. Moreover, the sparkmice came with various held items ranging from the signposted Big Nugget to Comet Shards, Balm Mushrooms, and who knows what else! Hatch locations ranged widely too, as Mr. VJump had promised.

What’s that? You’re itching to see a collage again? Boy, quite demanding, aren’t you!

Finally, to close out this highly successful repeat distribution, VJump posted its “haul” here.

IGN Japan

Alright. IGN Japan! As one of only two media outlets to livestream their viewer trades (here) – the other being “INSIDE” – its editors exchanged 10 total Pokémon via Link Trades coordinated over said broadcast. Editor 1 gave out a mixture of five Mons in BDSP, while Editor 2 traded five of theirs in SWSH. The deetz:

Editor 1, BDSP (OT/TID: Unknown)
1. Buizel (shiny) (NN:ブイたろう) lv.9 for Shinx (shiny) lv.4, OT/TID: ヒカリ 305172
2. Giratina lv.70 (NN: はんこう) for Bulbasaur lv.58, OT/TID: セイヤ 494386
3. Dratini lv.58 (NN: ミニリュウ) for Bidoof lv.10, OT/TID: ニル 342160
4. Bibarel lv.15 (NN: ひでんマシン) for Slaking lv.10, OT/TID: めぐむ 241785
5. Bidoof lv.5 (NN: きょうキャラ) for Vulpix lv.1, OT/TID: シュイ 121117

Editor 2, SWSH (OT/TID: ガプリエル 130362)
6. Bisharp lv.60 for Audino lv.1, from さしづめ
7. Perrserker lv.41 for Charmander (shiny) from まー
8. Growlithe lv.30 for Cryogonal lv.65 from いぶき
9. Snorlax lv.1 for Magikarp (shiny) lv.60 from ステラ (TID: 456612)
10. Lurantis lv.75 for Jirachi from ユメ

Inside Games

Well, here’s a twist. For the public face of its participation in the Christmas Exchange, Inside Games – usually stylised as INSIDE – picked a pair of purple-haired VTuber avatar by the names of One-chan (おねちゃん) and Tsuu-chan (つーちゃん). In a stream that lasted just over an hour, the girls roamed the Grand Underground for a bit and dug out some fossils, before transitioning into a bloc of about a dozen Link Trades on various codes with viewers in YouTube’s livechat. At the time of writing, the VOD is still up here. Details of the exchanges made on Tsuu-chan’s savefile with her very own OT are below, courtesy of ICanSnake:

1. Kadabra for Azurill with もにい
2. Lickitung for Sneasel with まりー
3. Golbat for Eevee with コウノスケ
4. Hoothoot for shiny Rayquaza (!) with はるき72
5. Magnemite for Giratina with はるき72
6. Misdreavus for Stunky with つーちゃん
7. Chingling for Murkrow with つーちゃん
8. Abra for Chikorita with たかひろ
9. Psyduck for Vulpix with ニキ
10. Shinx for Feebas with ユウキ
11. Pachirisu for Clefairy with コロコロ

Yup… INSIDE’s final trade of the stream was with OT “コロコロ”, ie. CoroCoro. The CoroCoro magazine, you ask? CoroCoro presented no signs of life during or following the scheduled exchange timeslot, so… Who knows!

Nintendo Dream

Enthousiastic from the get-go, Nintendo Dream (or “Nindori” for short) encouraged participants in a December 18 tweet to collect the full suite of Nindori editorial staff TIDs. As mentioned earlier in the article, Nindori audio-streamed the experience to Twitter Spaces, which I can’t link to you, because that platform goes unarchived by default. When the time came, Nindori posted BDSP link codes for Twitter to meet the editors on (e.g. here), of whom there appear to have been four: りふぁ [Rifa], ひろぽん [Hiropon], まさと [Masato], かややん [Kayayan].

Of these four, Rifa (りふぁ) only distributed Bidoof. Hiropon (ひろぽん) exclusively gave away ten freshly caught Feebas (here). Masato and Kayayan – we’re not sure. A mixture of whatever, quite possibly. In any case, all appear to have given their Pokémon nicknames ending in “N” to signify Nindori. Cool beans.

The best illustration of these nicknamed Pokémon is a series of three tweets by Twitterer @plumeage, who traded each editor once for a full complement of four Pokémon: Bidoof, Feebas, Drifloon and Steelix. Their tweets here, here and here.

In more detail:
1. Bidoof (NN:り003N) from Rifa
2. Feebas (NN: ニンドリN) from Hiropon
3. Drifloon (NN: フワンテN) from Masato
4. Steelix (NN: ハガネールN) from Kayayan

Other winners include @primo_roma who traded Rifa for a Bidoof (here), @tk… who also traded Rifa (here), and @laigeorge89 who received one of Hiropon’s many Feebas (here).

Afterwards, Nindori thanked players for taking part.

Denfaminico


COMING SOON!

Footnotes

Footnotes
1 If this source is to be believed, all five are lifelong Pokéfans with a strong affinity for the franchise.
2 One Twitterer somewhat obnoxiously cast aspersions on the sincerity of the celebs’ fanhood and the authenticity of the savegames from which they traded. Nashiko clarified how both the BDSP and SWDH games were her own, the files advanced by herself: 「剣盾もBDSPも自分のデータで自分で進めてます!!!」See here.
3 The tweet moreover encouraged lucky recipients to transfer the deer to the Legends: Arceus Hisui region once that game releases in January 2022. Way to whet the appetite!
4 The December 16 preview Stantler held a Lucky Egg and winner @sane_koma’s Stantler held a Choice Band. However, the 20 Stantler shown by PokeTimes on December 22 were itemless. So make of all that what you will.
5 Source is the VJump blog: https://vjumplay.com/generated/vlog/2650. The editor added how thankfully, he had “plenty of candy and money to spare” to make this happen.
6 Source is again the editor’s VJump blog.