Pokémon is arguably the biggest video game franchise of all-time and very few people have gone through their lives without hearing someone mock the sound of a Pikachu or see a little kid wearing a shirt with a Squirtle on it.
This means that learning about some of these facts can be hard, as they almost entirely change the way that Pokémon is seen in the public eye and paints them in a completely unflattering light.
From secret evil organizations to sickening dark truths hidden within the games that shake the very foundation of what the game is about, there is no end to the horror that readers might experience when reading this.
Seriously, these entries are NSFW in most cases and paint the popular series in an unflattering light that is sure to turn heads and change the perception of a lot of the childhoods of many fans.
Seeing as we have covered this kind of censorship of Pokémon before, there will be a small gloss over of information as this is as a compilation of the dirtiest, most shameful moments that the series will never hang their hat on.
Despite there being some reciprocated information here and there, there will still be a lot of brand new information for even the most seasoned Pokémon trainers from all sorts of backgrounds, and this could provide a true trivia challenge towards fans who claim to know all there is to know about when it comes to the wonderful in-depth world of Pocket Monsters!
20 Symbol Of Hate
Starting off the list with something that is absolutely daunting in how unnoticed it was, is the Pokémon trading card game that suffered this misfortune. Hidden in the background of his artwork, Golbat was seemingly going to be forever associated with a ninja star that closely resembles a swastika, a symbol of hate used by the Nazi party. It has been said that it was a completely accidental mistake and that it just so happened to look like the logo of hatred, but North American fans would have been livid upon seeing this. What makes this even worse is that this would not be the first (or last time) that Pokémon would be accused of anti-semitism in all their supposedly family-friendly content. All we know is that this Golbat would be off our list of ones to catch.
19 Good Ol' Fashioned Abuse!
One of the most iconic side characters is the tired man from the original games along with the remakes FireRed and LeafGreen that blocks off the entrance to the rest of the world for the main character when he tries to progress before doing some of the other tasks. Funny enough, his original reason for not being able to move was apparently due to a hangover. This was changed outside of Japam and most fans will remember the tired man as someone who needed “his coffee.” At first glance, it seems like an appropriate substitution to drinks seeing as it is associated with terrible things like driving under the influence, but caffeine is also a drug as well. Perhaps they should have changed it to someone who is just looking to enjoy the clouds roll by.
18 Jesse And James: Blasting Off Into The Third Reich?
As mentioned, thinly veiled anti-Semitism has a strange place in Pokémon history as it could be one of the most misunderstood series of unfortunate coincidences but this small censor completely changed the feel of this scene from the anime. During a dream sequence in which the seemingly harmless pair of antagonists is leading their own band of Team Rocket lackies, they are seen giving a gesture to the group of baddies that is just way too similar to the Nazi salute. It was immediately changed to have them both raise their two arms instead of the one, but it still comes off as a really strange way. Obviously, the pair has never shown signs of being racism or anti-Semitist but it definitely is not in the best taste.
17 Don't Wink, It Might Scare The Kids!
In-game sprites from the original games like Pokémon Red and Pokémon Gold are usually subject to A LOT of changes. Some of them are minuscule, and some of them are grander in scale and change characters. This one was just completely unnecessary like removing gambling from the game but it just does not ruin the game by taking a whole feature away. No, this was the small change of making one of the female trainer sprites look directly at the player as opposed to simply WINKING. That’s right, this character would playfully wink at the player when approached in battle and while there is hardly anything suggestive about winking at the player. This is so stupid, it just shows how overly sensitive these people are to the slightest reference to something as normal as breathing air.
16 It Ain't Safe To Pray
Another sprite that was affected by the “let’s not offend anyone” mantra that Pokémon seemed to adhere to around this time was one of the priest characters in the game. This time, the man was stripped of his ability to pray and was instead given two clenched fist. There seems to be almost no point to take away this religious imagery because it has become something so normal that there is an entire emoji dedicated to the hand gesture. Even the Canadian rapper Drake made it a symbol of peace and praise to the highest. This was highly unusual and while we have not seen the return of this character, we will probably never get praying hands in the series, and that is unfortunate for fans of both god and the 6 God.
15 Registeel Says He(il)y!
One last little bit of potential anti-Semitism is found in one of the most recent incarnations of the game as the sprite for Registeel was seen doing something very similar to the Nazi salute. Of course, it is probably safe to say that Registeel is not a Nazi, but it is still an unfortunate coincidence given all the other problems that Pokémon has had with this. Then the sprite was changed quite quickly to lower both arms and the problem was rendered fixed but still, it just comes off as creepy. Here is to hoping that we no longer have to worry about the impending looming releases of Pokémon titles being plagued with Nazi imagery.
14 They go Go Up In Smoke
The last of the small but disturbing changes to happen to the many in-game sprites that were used in the series is the removal of a smoke from the mouth of the fisherman trainers. Of course, tobacco smoke is one of the most harmful things to ingest and it should not really be in a child’s game. However, one big detractor from this is that it was just so small, it could have easily been seen as a toothpick. Furthermore, it is not unheard of for a child to be aware that smoking exists and just because a character does it does not mean that the player will. Seeing as the use of tobacco is an entirely different category label that gets placed on games by the ESRB that feature it, it probably would have looked worse on paper than it did in the game.
13 Leaving The Players Shook
A lot of people seem to be in-the-know when it comes to the epilepsy-inducing episode of Pokémon, but there was another incident that occurred when Pokémon Red and Pokémon Green were released in Japan. The incident in question saw a handful of powerful moves generate a flicker effect to convey the energetic power being used. That is fine and all, but the creators took it way too far by making an intense strobe effect that saw a few kids suffer from problems stemming from it. Luckily, it was not as dire of a situation and they quickly pulled the copies from shelves and subsequently removed the effect from the game. Seeing as graphics have massively improved over the years, future generations will likely never have to worry about this.
Pokémon has been censored so much, but what about the players that make up this grand world of mythical creatures and futuristic technology? Well under some very strict circumstances, playing a game in the Pokémon franchise could be perceived as enough to get JAIL TIME. After the release of the worldwide phenomenon known as Pokémon Go, a young woman in Russia was caught playing the game during church time and was sent to prison for three and a half years for “blasphemy”. Obviously, there are differences in culture all throughout the world but this kind of heavy censorship and false correlation just come off as a sick, twisted manner to punish those that even come close to questioning the religious stigma of their large country.
11 Don't Expect This Episode To Air Anytime Soon
Let us get this out of the way. The episode of Pokémon that featured Porygon was controversial when it released in Japan and caused the seizures of numerous children because of the epilepsy-inducing visuals of the show. The problem in the episode was when Porygon used Tri-Attack and the screen flashed a series of bright colors and thus put a lot of poor Pokémon fans in the hospital to be treated. It has since been one of the most infamous moments in all of animation history and was a dark spot in their past as a true tragedy that would take a long time for the company to bounce back from as it inserted so much fear in a lot of parents in North America (despite the episode never airing anywhere else after the controversy).
10 ... Or This One
Another infamous moment from the anime that was never brought to North America was the firearm that was held in the episode that centered on the Safari Zone. Sure, it is common to see guns and dangerous machinery in a lot of American cartoons but it seemed like this was done to keep in-tune with the carefree feel of the show and avoid any serious connection to deadly firearms that seem to garner a lot of controversial comments in the States. Even if it does make sense for a hunter to have a gun, the episode was doomed as soon as Jesse and James kidnap the owner of the Safari Zone that holds the pistol and actually threaten him with it. We were just a few changes away from seeing Jesse and James “blast off” in a completely different way.
9 No Match For The Censors
The anime is obviously ripe with a lot of things that have been taken out for American audiences like strikes to the head and of course the aforementioned use of firearms. However, there are a few things that got removed just for the sake of making sure there is no risk towards parent groups in the States. In an episode that saw Team Rocket members Meowth, Jesse, and James use some matches to light their way in a dark room. However, in the American releases of this episodes, the creators decided to draw over the match with a birthday candle. Never mind the fact that teaching a child to use fire is one of the most basic skills that a human being can learn, but this was one of the stupidest things taken out of the anime that is right on par with this next “dud”.
8 Only Egg Bombs Allowed
One of the most casually used props in all of cartoon violence is the benevolent bomb. Yes, we have all seen the classical round black ball with an overly long wick at the end being blown up in the faces of iconic characters like Bugs Bunny, along with Tom and Jerry. Fast forward to a much more sensitive time and it would appear as though as using a bomb in Pokémon would become a Japanese exclusive as it was removed from any and every episode aired in the States. Whether this was done for safety reasons or if it had something to do with the touchy subject of 9/11 does not matter, it is just plain strange that they would remove the name in favor of “explosive device” because it does not seem any better.
7 The Right Kind Of Censorship
Taking a trip across the globe to the United States, and there were no shortages of controversies that surrounded the massively popular Pokémon Go. One of these controversies was the immediate backlash from parenting groups (much to no surprise) that stated that Pokémon Go was going to encourage young players to go out and venture in unsafe places. There was not much that the parenting groups could do to combat this, save for making the move to ban all registered criminals with crimes related to children on probation from playing the game in New York City. Obviously, it was done to ensure the safety of impressionable children that might be out playing the game, but it just goes to show that sometimes the world must be censored from Pokémon instead.
6 Pokemon Censoring Themselves?
Speaking of Pokémon having to do some reverse-censorship, there was a huge controversy a few years back when the unspoken argument of how the world of Pokémon compares to animal cruelty was finally brought to light by the kings of animal controversy: PETA. The organization mainly looks to shed light on the world’s abuse of animals but took it a step farther by designing a fake game that was meant to combat the releases of Pokémon Black and White 2 and Pokémon X and Y. Nintendo would go on to pretty much ignore the situation but went out of their way to mention that it could result in legal backlash if they continue to go on. It may have been an unofficial and fairly distasteful rendition but this “Pokémon” game was censored for good reason.
5 Disappearing Act
While on the subject of legal issues, this legal bout in court resulted in a fairly popular Pokémon creature from ever appearing in the TCG up to this day. Japanese psychic Uri Gellar was well known for his supposed abilities to bend metal such as spoons and katana swords and thus the character of Kadabra is said to be based on him. Uri claimed that the character was a direct copy of his likeness and thus should be rewarded some money. Instead of continuing to use the character or paying Uri his money, Nintendo and Game Freak simply opted to censor the Pokémon as a whole. Now he can only be found in the video games, where he is relatively common in the wild.
4 Not The Kind Of Toy To Play With
Some of the things that have been censored in the Pokémon world can be seen as a simple shift in culture that would shock a lot of people outside of Japan. This is not one of those things. Burger King offered a limited time deal with a children’s meal featuring a Poke Ball toy. Harmless enough, at first sight, this child’s plaything would go on to be a parent’s worst nightmare when a young girl suffocated on the toy and tragically passed away. This resulted in the parent making an entire crusade against Pokémon titled “Pokémon Kills”. The title might have been a little harsh considering Pokémon was trying to bring joy to the world, but it resulted in the toy being recalled and refunds being given out to any of the families that purchased the meals.
3 That's Racist
Ah yes, the one that everyone is familiar with. This disturbing moment in Pokémon history is marred by the lack of acknowledgment on Game Freak / Nintendo’s part as they completely stood silent and changed the color of Jynx’s literal black skin to purple. Obviously, Jynx is a Pokémon that resembles the human anatomy to the point where it has pretty much all the qualities of a woman in drag. That is fine and all, but seeing as there was a fashion statement going on in Japan that saw women dress up in blackface to perform at drag shows, it is clear where the inspiration came from and the creators never cared during production. That is what makes this so hauntingly disturbing because everyone a part of the game was okay with it until the real world intervened. Sheesh.
2 Encouraging A Generation Of Would-Be Degenerates?
Another commonly known aspect of the Pokémon game franchise is the addition of gambling in some of their older games. Now, as a child, most of these little encounters with in-game casinos that apparently do not card for identification in this world were seen as playful and rewarded the player with some of the rarest Pokémon in the game. Despite the fond memories, Pokémon was pressured by parenting groups to slowly change, then ultimately remove from the features from the game entirely. This is arguably the most disappointing censorship of the entire franchise because it blocks off an entire feature that added another layer of the already distinguished Pokémon Gold that changed the video game industry forever. Seeing as there have not been any accounts of Pokémon players checking into gambling rehab, it was probably not needed.
1 I Now Pronounce You: Man And Pokémon
The most disturbing thing ever found out in a Pokémon video game was to learn that Pokémon and humans used to get married. Yes, you read that right. In Pokémon Pearl and Diamond, there is a library that can be visited by the player that has a plethora of books with a few chapters that can be read, expanding the known universe of Pokémon by providing some information. Unfortunately, some players in Japan got to learn a little too much about their favorite creatures. A book that was on some of the myths of the old days of Pokémon suggested that not only did Pokémon and humans once live in unity (darkly implying that the removal of Pokémon rights took place at some point) but also lived together as couples.