Pokemon celebrated its 21st birthday this year and, in 21 years, the Pokemon universe has undergone many changes. It all started with 150 Pokemon and 15 Pokemon types in the Kanto region. Now, there are more than 800 Pokemon, 18 Pokemon types and eight regions in all. We've seen the introduction of not just new Pokemon, but new moves, mega evolutions, the Z-move, temperaments, shiny Pokemon and much more. The Pokemon universe is much bigger than it was 21 years ago.
Even with all the changes and all the new mechanics, there are still things about the Pokemon universe that don't make any sense. There's quite a bit that players take for granted or that people know about but have hardly questioned how they work or why they work. There's also a ton about the Pokemon themselves we don't know, like why do they evolve, why are so many region specific, or how did some of them come to be. Vanillite is a one Pokemon where we don't know what the universe was thinking, but weird Pokemon is another list for another day. Here are 15 things that don't make sense about the Pokemon universe.
15 Koga's Promotion to the Elite 4
Koga, the gym leader in Fuchsia City who specialized in poison Pokemon, was one of the easier gym leaders in Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow. All you needed was a psychic Pokemon for Red/Blue or a fire Pokemon for Yellow. His minions were much harder because they primarily had psychic Pokemon. So, just how did Koga get the Elite 4 job in the next set of games?
We're not saying Koga's a terrible Pokemon trainer, but poison is one of the worst types. Most poison Pokemon just plain suck or the combo Pokemon like Nidoqueen or Vileplume are week to water and fire respectively, so they're pretty easy to fight. Choosing a poison specialist to be part of the team meant to vet the most talented Pokemon trainers in the world doesn't make sense when a new ice or ghost specialist would've kept up the difficulty of fighting the Elite 4.
14 The Pokedex
Professor Oak created the Pokedex to allow trainers to help him complete his Pokemon database. If that's the case, then how does the Pokedex know so much about the Pokemon the trainer encounters? Why does Professor Oak need information he already has if the information is already in the Pokedex? If the information isn't already in the device, then how is it able to "scan" a Doduo and know everything about it, for example?
The Pokedex is a very neat tool, but beyond providing the player a few facts about Pokemon, it doesn't make a lot of sense. Besides letting the player know whether or not they've caught a Pokemon, the Pokedex isn't all the practical. It's not until Generation VII that the Pokedex functions more like Siri and less like a mobile encyclopedia.
13 How Do Poke Balls Work?
So, the Poke Ball has a red laser that summons a Pokemon back inside it. That's cool. Physics is probably involved. What's less cool is how the Poke Ball works the rest of the time.
Beyond getting the Pokemon inside the ball, how does the Poke Ball work once it's in there? Does it need to eat? Does it ever get claustrophobic? Why does it only get out when you're trying to capture a Pokemon for the first time? What does a Pokemon do in there in-between battles? Can a Pokemon "outgrow" the Poke Ball, where it might need a Great Ball or an Ultra Ball to hold it? Poke Balls are one aspect of the Pokemon universe that's kind of taken for granted, where we know what's supposed to happen but we never question how it happens. Poke Balls don't really make a lot of sense, particularly because Pikachu is the only one who hates them.
12 Where Do the Evolution Items Come From? How Do They Work?
According to the anime, the Moon Stone comes from the bigger Moon Stone located on Mt. Moon. Fine. But, where does the Thunder Stone come from? Is there a giant Thunderstone somewhere? How does a Thunder Stone actually work to cause a Pikachu or an Eelektrik to evolve? It's not simply by touch, as Pikachu knocks the Thunder Stone out of Ash's hand in the anime and Pikachu doesn't evolve. Perhaps the Pokemon has to want to evolve?
The concept of stones and items for evolving Pokemon is great, but what doesn't make sense is how the items work and why the items only work for certain Pokemon. Scyther and Onix are two very different Pokemon, but they both can evolve with a Metal Coat, but not Magnemite, Klink or even Eevee. Speaking of Eevee, how does Eevee work and why isn't there an evolution for every single type that exists? Anyway, the use of evolution items just seems haphazard.
11 Where Did the Rest of Professor Oak's Pokemon Go?
When the player starts Pokemon Red/Blue, Professor Oak says after all his years of research, he's down to only three Pokemon in his collection. Where did the rest of his collection go? Did they die? Why would he give away two of his last three Pokemon? How is he going to study Pokemon with no Pokemon?
It makes less sense in Pokemon Yellow where the rival gets Eevee and Professor Oak doesn't have any left. Maybe he goes to the grass outside of Pallet Town and captures a Rattata and Pidget in his spare time. But that doesn't make much sense either. Someone as well-known and well-respected as Professor Oak could easily pull a few strings to replenish his collection.
10 Why Are the Starters Never Found in the Wild?
Seriously, why are Bulbasaur, Charmander and Squirtle, in the beginning, the only ones of their kind in the world? The same goes for the other starters. If the Pokemon are rare, then it doesn't make sense to give them away as starters. If someone specific breeds them to be starters, as was shown in the anime, then how is it a few haven't gotten away and started living in the wild?
The starters are absolutely amazing Pokemon, but it sucks that you have to trade to get all of them. It doesn't make sense that none of them exist in the wild, even as other trainers have starters or their evolved forms in their lineup. Sure, putting them in the tall grass somewhat ruins the need to trade to "collect them all," but it doesn't make sense that the universe somehow only has one Squirtle or two Bulbasaurs, depending on the game.
9 Pokemon Breeding
Apparently, Pokemon breed by laying eggs. All of them lay eggs, even Miltank, which has nipples ready for Pokemon nursing. Not only do they all lay eggs, but they can only lay eggs at a Pokemon Day Care or Nursery. I guess wild Pokemon don't breed? If they don't breed, then how are there always wild Pokemon to catch? For over 800 Pokemon, having just one way to breed doesn't make much sense.
Perhaps Pokemon breeding will become more complex in future generations of Pokemon. Besides Miltank, what's the story with Marowak being Cubone's mother? Can Starmie and Staryu reproduce by losing limbs like in real life? How are the eggs taken care of once they are laid? Does a caretaker put them in an incubator or does the female Pokemon keep it warm? There has to be more to breeding than eggs and biking around the block until they hatch.
8 Pokemon Language
Most Pokemon communicate by saying variations of their own name. Others like Onix, Beedrill and Nidoking, grunt, roar or simply make a sound. The Pokemon, despite making different noises or saying different names, can understand each other. Meowth in the anime is the only one who speaks English, but he can also understand all the Pokemon and all the other Pokemon can still understand him, even though he speaks English. Humans only understand Pokemon some of the time, but Pokemon are completely fluent in their trainer's language.
Pokemon language doesn't make much sense because it's not clear how they understand each other or human languages for that matter. Metapod doesn't even have a mouth but it still says, "Metapod." How does "Metapod" translate into "Pikachu?" Maybe the code will be cracked in a later Pokemon generation.
7 Team Rocket
What does Team Rocket actually do? What crimes do they commit? How does the organization make money? The teams in later generations have a little more definition as to their end goal and what they do. However, Team Rocket only seems to exist to give Ash (or the player) a bit of hassle from time to time. Granted, Jessie and James don't encompass all of Team Rocket, but, as a whole, the group doesn't accomplish a whole lot.
The confusion of Team Rocket may be, in part, due to the confusion of Giovanni. Giovanni, the leader of Team Rocket, also doesn't make a lot of sense. He already had a great gig as Viridian City gym leader, but maybe that didn't pay enough, so he started Team Rocket to make more money and rule the world... selling Pokemon on the black market perhaps? It's unclear what he really gains by running Team Rocket.
6 Move Sets
Overall, the move sets in the Pokemon universe are pretty great. There's a wide variety of moves and they're awesome to see in action. A Pokemon can learn moves of different types to be a formidable fighter. What doesn't make sense is how Pokemon learn the moves and how some Pokemon are able to perform certain moves.
For example, Rhydon can learn Thunder in Pokemon Red/Blue. Yet, how does this rock rhino generate the electricity to perform Thunder? On top of that, Rhydon, and all the other Pokemon, can only learn four moves at a time. Why are their brains so small? Why only four moves? How does a Pokemon learn a move exactly? We just assume Pokemon are incredible and do amazing things but don't really think about how they pull these moves off.
5 Where's PETA?
Seriously, how isn't there a People for the Ethical Treatment of Pokemon, or PETOP, in the universe? Yes, some people find PETA super annoying. But considering the universe has groups like Team Rocket, trainers that abandon their Pokemon and near-death encounters in battles, it doesn't make sense there isn't a group in the Pokemon universe seeking to end all battles and make abandonment punishable by law and other ethical treatment efforts, similar to Lord N's views in Pokemon Black and White.
Unlike many other animals, Pokemon are much more sentient. They have language. They have emotions. They are aware of themselves and their capabilities. They can make rational decisions. In many ways, Pokemon have more rights than other animals and more ways to rebel against trainers and oppressive Poke Balls. Although Pokemon is fiction, it's not much different from chicken fighting. Perhaps adding PETOP creates a level of morality to the universe that many would rather not create.
4 How Do Pokemon Not Interrupt Everyday Society?
Charizard is over five feet tall. It breathes fire and can fly. How does a wild Charizard avoid accidentally setting a forest on fire? Snorlax is over 1000 pounds and often sleeps in inconvenient locations. How does it avoid sleeping on someone's house or on someone? Tentacruel is also more than five feet tall and has at least 10 tentacles. How are Tentacruel not a problem for ships or a hazard at the beach?
Pokemon are cute and cuddly, yet fierce in battle. It doesn't make sense that Pokemon are able to exercise so much self control that they don't wreck havoc or kill their trainer out of spite. There are still wild Pokemon who've never received any training. There are others, like Ash's Charizard, who refuse to listen. What's keeping a Pokemon from going rogue? It doesn't make sense that even the largest and strongest of Pokemon behave just like a domesticated pet.
3 Pokemon Food
Food is explained somewhat in the anime and in the games. Pokemon can eat berries and apples, while Pokemon breeders make their own recipes and Pokemon eat that. Others bake treats like Poke Puffs. But, what do Pokemon eat exactly? What are the recipe ingredients? What do Pokemon eat if they are still wild? Do Pokemon like Feraligatr and Krookodile eat other, smaller Pokemon?
Pokemon food, as it stands right now in the lore, doesn't make sense. How do creatures who expend so much energy go about replenishing that energy? How do they stay alive if they don't have a trainer to put food in bowl for them? How do they eat if they are in a Pokeball? There way too many unanswered questions to accept that they simply eat the equivalent of dog kibble. They all can't like dog kibble.
2 Where are All the Adults?
In the Pokemon universe, when you finally turn 10 years old, you can get a Pokemon license and start roaming the world, capturing and training Pokemon. It's not the exact age that doesn't make sense, but the fact that in the games, only children participate in the adventuring and battling of Pokemon.
Where are the adults, besides in the homes and gyms and working at the Poke Mart? How are there no degenerate adults travelling and training too? There are a few adults in the anime (Brock has to be at least 20), but most of the trainers you fight along the way in the game are fellow kids and teens. Kids grow up and surely not every child can start at 10-years-old. There has to be a mean 40-year-old trainer out there running around, whose only goal in life is to teach these "tweens" a lesson.
1 Where are the Disgruntled Teenagers?
Okay, if 90 percent of the Pokemon trainers are going to be children and teenagers, then dating and hookups have to happen eventually. If Pokemon trainers are meeting other Pokemon trainers (and some do end up dating), then there have to be a few broken hearts in the process. And a broken-hearted teenager is never a pretty picture.
Add a Charmeleon to that broken-hearted teenager and, next thing we know, the ex's house on fire. Why isn't this problem in the Pokemon universe? It makes no sense that all the children and teenagers don't get into any mischief. Somehow, no one pulls a Halloween prank by using Caterpie to string shot someone's house. Or, has a Ditto to turn into a Dragonair and then troll someone by having "Dragonair" show up as a "wild" Pokemon. They just stand around, perfectly content with the boredom, and wait until they spot a trainer.