Today, I would like to take you into the mind of Sora, a Pokémon Card collector unlike any other. Sora, otherwise known as S_O_Resistance on Twitter is a collector from Osaka, Japan and is known worldwide for his astonishing collection of Lugia cards.
Let’s start from the beginning. Sora, what was it that attracted you to collecting Pokémon cards?
[Sora] When I first saw Pokémon cards, I was attracted by the beautiful artwork and cool designs.
There were many Pokémon products in stores when the Base Expansion Pack set was released  in Japan, but most of them were limited to officially licenced illustrations only. Pokémon cards used original illustrations and I could imagine what their lives would be like living in that world, It was so novel.
The Pokémon game designs also excited me. Building my first and only deck at the time and battling with friends from the cards available to us - It was most exciting game I had ever met.
What is your earliest memory of Pokémon?
[Sora] When the Pokémon game was released in 1996 [on the Nintendo Gameboy], I wasn’t so interested in it. I first played the Pokémon game about a year after they were released. My sister played Pokémon Red and when I borrowed it from her, It was very fun. I enjoyed catching my own partner Pokémon and battling against various other Pokémon and trainers. That was very exciting. Soon after borrowing that, I acquired Pokémon Green and played it a lot!
Why do you collect Lugia cards? Do you have any other favourite characters from the Pokémon universe?
[Sora] When I first picked up a Neo Genesis booster pack, I pulled a Lugia card. I was attracted its’ beautiful illustration and three color gradient background. Lugia was very unique as it was the first Pokémon to require different energies for its attack. Of course, Lugia itself is has a very simple but sophisticated design. After that, Lugia became my favourite Pokémon.
Other than Lugia, I also love the designs of Tyranitar, Armaldo, Solgaleo and Giratina. Tyranitar due to the powerful form it poses; Armaldo possesses very cute eyes; Solgaleo is cool and divine whilst Giratina is very mysterious.
I know that a lot of people ask you this question, but do you know how many Lugia cards you currently own?
[Sora] I currently have 14,469 Lugia cards as of 29th June 2019/ Some of the cards in this count include cards that contain Lugia in their artwork, for example the HeartGold SoulSilver Water Energy, or the Illusion’s Zoroark cards [Elementary school 4th Grade winner & CoroCoro Ichiban winner].
You have recently completed a collection of Shining Lugia cards in every language, along with a signed Lugia from Hitoshi Ariga himself! Please tell me, how did it feel owning all languages for such an iconic card design?
[Sora] I was very excited that I was able to gather cards from all over the world in my binder. Of course, I could never achieve this without the help of me friends, so I am filled with gratitude too!
Do you have a favourite Pokémon Card artist? If so, why?
[Sora] I love sowsow very much. His artwork seems to cut off part of a story and this allows your imagination to build the rest of the picture.
If you could choose between all of your cards, what would your top 10 cards be?
[Sora] I love many cards so it’s hard to choose only 10 cards:
- Lugia (Neo Genesis) - this was the card that become the origin of my Lugia collection.
- Lugia (Fates Collide/Awakening Psychic King) – Its’ illustration of Lugia in the deep depths of the sea is very mysterious.
- Lugia GX (Lost Thunder/Super Burst Impact Full art) – The standing pose is cool and its’ silver background matches the Lugia artwork.
- Lugia (Aquapolis/Wind From the Sea) – The Japanese version was printed with 2 combined holographic patterns and it appears as though Lugia is wearing light.
- Lugia EX (Ancient Origins/Bandit Ring Full art) – Its’ illustration is powerful and cool.
- Shining Tyranitar (Neo Destiny) - The illustration looks like Tyranitar is gathering the power of the universe. It’s so cool!
- Lillie (Ultra Prism Full art / GX Battle Boost) Very cute cute cute!!
- Ultra Necrozma GX (Dragon Majesty/GX Ultra Shiny) - The texture pattern of the background is matched with shining Ultra Necrozma image.
- Giratina EX (Dragons Exalted/Dragon Blast Full art) – The background seems like Giratina appeared from the broken time-space.
- Arceus subset of cards (Acreus/Advent of Arceus) - It is very beautiful that the ripples of light are connected on each card.
The next question may be difficult, but please tell us, do you have a card that you treasure the most? If there are multiple cards that you treasure, please tell us why you treasure these cards.
[Sora] Signed cards and World collections. They are filled with my memories of when I obtained them. When I look at these cards, I remember my friends who helped me get them.
What has been your biggest achievement in collecting?
[Sora] Completing the Legendary Collection set. It was the first time I imported cards from overseas. That was the turning point of my collection. After that, my collecting activity spreaded globally.
Have you faced any challenges in collecting? For example, price increases for certain cards or the lack of cards on the market to purchase due to rarity?
[Sora] Obtaining the Spanish Neo Genesis Lugia and French Crystal type Lugia were challenging. They were very rare when they were on the market and stood as high barriers to me completing my world collection.
Following on from our previous question, do you admire any other collections around the world? I can appreciate that there are so many different collections out there, do you have any favourites?
[Sora] アダム(Teammagma) possesses a lot of amazing rare cards.
The Charizard Network has worldwide Charizard collections.
白音紅 (NASTYCAT222) has a large Sabrina collection. He is the first person I met who is doing the limitless collection. If I never met him, I might have not started my huge Lugia collection!
Do you think the Pokémon Company and Creatures Inc. will produce a Tag Team Lugia GX? If so, who do you think will be Lugia’s Tag Team partner?
[Sora] I think they’ll release a Lugia Tag Team GX card because the Kanto legendary Pokémon have already been released as Tag Team GX’s. I think Lugia’s partner will be Ho-Oh similar to the Legendary 3 birds or Mewtwo & Mew GX.
Moving into the future of collecting, where do you see your collecting in 5 years?
[Sora] I can’t see what will become me in future, but I’ll keep my collection along with my pace. Now I want to complete my 1,000 cards set of Neo Genesis Lugia. I might be able to achieve that in 5 years!
Now Pokémon Gold & Silver is almost 20 years old. These were the first games to introduce the Johto Pokédex which include the legendary Pokémon Lugia. Do you think there will be a big release of Pokémon products that will celebrate this amazing anniversary – similar to that of the CP6 20th Anniversary set? If The Pokémon Company and Creatures Inc. did release anything, which products would you like to see the most?
[Sora] I don’t think there’ll be a big release or celebration, but I want to see the Neo series remake set like CP6/Evolutions along with promo cards like the 20th anniversary Festa’s Pikachu if possible.
Coming away from Pokémon, do you have any other interests or passions?
[Sora] I like building plastic models of Gundam and other mechanical robots.
That has been my hobby from my childhood before I met Pokémon and still is now.