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“It’s super effective!” is a catchphrase stemming from the Pokémon video game series first released in 1996 for the Nintendo Gameboy. During gameplay, power moves used by various Pokémon creatures may result in additional damage which prompts the message “It’s super effective!”
Similar to the “Fake Pokémon Battles” cutscene templates that spawned out of the video game series, colloquial usage of “It’s Super Effective!” may be largely attributed to the global success of Pokemon franchise. The phrase was first introduced with the English version of Pokémon Red and Green released on September 28th, 1998.
In Pokémon battles, certain moves are considered more effective than others depending on the respective Pokémon types. For example, Water-type attacks do additional damage to a Fire-type Pokémon, which results in the announcement “it’s super effective!” on the player’s screen. A full listing of attack damages by Pokémon types is shown in the chart below:
On April 23rd, 2008, the first web comic (shown left) in the series “It’s Super Effective!” was launched on the site VGCats.com. The Nintendo Wii video game Super Smash Bros. Brawl, which was released in the United States on March 8th, 2008, also incorporated the line “it’s super effective!” following the use of certain moves when playing as a Pokemon (shown right).
The first Urban Dictionary definition for “It’s Super Effective!” was submitted on February 28th, 2010. The Pokemon-related single topic Tumblr “Fuck Yeah Super Effective” was created on March 16th, 2010. On July 26th, the first episode of the Pokemon podcast series “It’s Super Effective” was released on iTunes. On December 15th, 2011, a rage comic titled “Squirtle i choose you!” using the phrase in the last panel reached the front page of the f7u12 subreddit. A Facebook page for has accumulated 958 likes as of March 1st, 2012.
The phrase is often used in chats and forums to describe a situation in which a performed action is particularly effective against another party. An archived 4chan thread from September 16th, 2008 shows the expression being used along with A Wild X Appears!, another in-game message stemming from the Pokemon video game series.