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Look! Up in the Sky! It’s Pokemon!

June 4, 1998

TOKYO (AP) _ All Nippon Airways Co. will soon be flying two jumbo jets painted with characters from the enormously popular ``Pokemon″ television cartoon, an airline spokesman said Thursday.

Kazutoshi Tsujimura said the airline decided to paint two of its B747-400s to provide children with ``a bright dream.″

``Pokemon,″ an abbreviation for ``pocket monsters″ in Japanese, made headlines in December when nearly 700 Japanese viewers _ mostly young children _ suffered blackouts, convulsions and nausea after watching one 30-minute episode of the hit TV series.

Broadcaster TV Tokyo stopped airing the show for four months, but resumed broadcasts in April with a toned-down version accompanied by warnings to viewers not to sit too close to the screen.

ANA, which in the past has flown a passenger aircraft painted with a large whale, said it was spending 50 million yen ($362,000) to draw the cartoon characters on the two aircraft.

Cabin attendants aboard the two jets will also wear aprons designed with some of the cartoon’s characters, Tsujimura said.

The introduction of the painted jets will also coincide with the scheduled release of a ``Pokemon″ movie in Japan, Tsujimura said.

The two jets will be flown on domestic routes from July 2 through late August, Tsujimura said.

``Pokemon″ tells the story of a young boy leading a group of friendly critters against a gang of animals trained by villains. The television show is slated to make its debut in the United States and Canada in September.

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