Spoon-bending magician Uri Geller gave Nintendo permission to use the character Kadabra on Pokémon cards today, after a 2o year legal dispute in which Geller claimed the Pokémon’s Japanese name and image were too close to his own.
“I am truly sorry for what I did 20 years ago,” Geller tweeted today. “Kids and grownups I am releasing the ban. It’s now all up to #Nintendo to bring my #kadabra #pokemon card back. It will probably be one of the rarest cards now! Much energy and love to all!”
As Screenrant explains, while Kadabra is a word associated with magic, the Pokémon’s Japanese name — variously written as Yungerer, Yungeller, and Yun Geller — seems to be a reference to Geller. Kadabra holds a spoon, a seeming reference to Geller’s most famous illusion. Geller sued Nintendo over Kadabra in 2000, seeking damages and insisting the card stop being used in sets. “Nintendo turned me into an evil, occult Pokémon character. Nintendo stole my identity by using my name and my signature image,” Geller said at the time.
Subsequently, Kadabra hasn’t appeared in a Pokémon card game since 2003. Kadabra’s other evolutions, Abra and Alakazam, also have Japanese names that reference real-life magicians; those characters have appeared on cards by bypassing the Kadabra evolution.
Speaking to website The Gamer, Geller wrote, “Due to the tremendous volume of emails I am still getting begging me to allow Nintendo to bring back Kadabra/Yungeller, I sent […] a letter to the chairman of Nintendo giving them permission to relaunch the Uri Geller Kadabra/Yungeller worldwide.” The Gamer writes that Geller said his request was “picked up by ‘two Nintendo representatives,’” but it’s not clear yet whether Kadabra will make a reappearance.