On February 27th 1996, a new game by Nintendo hit the shelves in Japan. It was going to be the beginning of a very popular franchise, one that would stay in the players’ imagination for the remainder of their lives. It was the birth of a turning point in the video game industry and history, and clearly a masterpiece of marketing for Nintendo and Game Freak. On February 27th 1996, Pokémon Red and Green were released in Japan.
Pokémon is a series of games, anime, trading cards, movies, and toys. It’s associated with children because of the themes it exploits, such as kindness, trust, and friendship. It has a naïve visual style with vibrant colors that, often, adults are not interested into. Yet, Pokémon is one of the series in which you can find the creepiest and weirdest situations, coupled with quite a few adult-oriented jokes or scenes.
But that’s not all. Pokémon has a very rich and developed universe in which the players have a lot of space to find plot holes and make theories to fill them. There are also situations in which the mystery is total, and codes that no one has cracked up to this day. It is rich and entertaining, competitive and addicting. Pokémon was life when I was about nine years old, and to a lot of people, it still is.
This list is about things that are hidden, secret, or just weird in the overall Pokémon world. It proposes to you 30 entries about elements you may or may not have heard about before. Get ready, because we are going to delve into some strange Pokéstuff!
30. Munna Was In The First Game?
When you play one of the first generation games, may it be Red, Blue, or Yellow, you eventually end up into the Rock Tunnel. Outside of it, there’s a woman who mentions a dream she had. She describes a “pink [Pokémon] with a floral pattern!” that she saw in her dreams. Given that Munna only appears in the fifth generation, it’s unsettling. Were the Pokémon creators already designing their pocket-monsters up to, at least, the fifth generation back when the games and anime were in the first one? If it’s the case, this is amazing.
29. Mr.Bonding And The O-Power
Pokémon is filled with disturbing content. From creepy as heck creatures to creepier characters, that game which is usually associated to children is everything but innocent. When it comes to adult-intended innuendos, Pokémon has quite a few ones.
Mr. Bonding is an NPC in X and Y who tells you the kind of things that gives the creeps: “Have you heard about O-Powers? That expression of yours tells me you haven’t! Don’t worry-I’ll tell you all about it!”
Then the screen goes to black and the player receives an O-Power. Now, the player in the game is obviously underaged, and we all know what the big ‘O’ means. This is not only inappropriate, it’s not right and will possibly make you feel uneasy and dirty. Mr. Bonding is a creep!
28. “My Body Is Ready!”
Pokémon is associated with kids, and not only those who are dragged into the afterlife. It’s a cute game with vibrant colors, which exploits themes like friendship and taking care of your very own living fighting-machine. However, this series also tries to get adult players’ attention by inserting weird innuendos, like we just mentioned in the previous entry. Another moment that seems highly inappropriate happens in Sun and Moon. Professor Kukui is very close with his Pokémon. Way too close, maybe. There’s a precise moment that can make the player laugh, or feel uneasy.
As he’s training his Pokémon, Prof. Kukui is yelling “Give it everything you’ve got! My body is ready. Woo!” Now, we can rationalize ourselves and just assume he’s getting physical with his pocket-monster by fighting with them. Like, with his fists or feet. Wow, the more I write the more creepy it gets…
27. Digimon Are Corrupted Pokémon
I’m sure you’ve already stumbled upon a corrupted file in your USB key. You know, you were transferring this document from your PC to your key, and disconnected the latter too fast, resulting in an unusable file. In Pokémon, however, it’s not documents that you transfer between machines; it’s actual living creatures. But, what if you maneuver this transfer badly? Do Pokémon get corrupted?
It is believed that yes, indeed, Pokémon can be corrupted. That’s when they end up into some other weird digital dimension, their appearances and powers forever changed. They become, at that point… Digimon! Think about it: Digimon and Pokémon are ridiculously similar, we all agree on this. But what if there’s a reason behind it? Well, if that’s the case, it seems very likely that corrupted pocket-monsters would end up stuck in the Digiworld.
26. Black And White Happened After The Terror…
As we covered in entry 19, all the regions in the Pokémon universe are based on actual places in our world. The Unova region is, as we mentioned, inspired by New York. However, it’s not happening in a peaceful city of the late 90s. Pokémon Black & White happens after 9/11.
In route 4, between Castelia City and Nimbasa City, there is a large wasteland. This wasteland is believed to be a representation of Ground Zero after the attacks, which occurred in 2001. The game mentions that this destruction happened after a meteor (which ends up being Kyurem) crashed on the site. This is quite similar to the attacks on the World Trade center, except that the plane is replaced by a meteor. Some may believe that it’s offending to refer to such a violent moment of History, but I prefer to see it as a nice way to remember those who perished on that fateful day.
25. Pokémon Is A Post-Apocalyptic World
Ever wondered why Pokémon are so similar to our animals and objects? It’s a bit weird that a chandelier or a ring of keys would be alive, no? Yet, maybe under some circumstances, it doesn’t sound as weird…
It is believed by some players that Pokémon takes place in our post-apocalyptic world. There would have been a global nuclear war, resulting in the mutation of people, animals, and objects, changing them physically and giving them powers. Some people would have survived this war, and carried on with life, learning to tame these new creatures. Technology would have been pushed much further, to the point of encrypting creatures and being able to transfer them into super-powerful computers. Or, it could be possible that this nuclear war is much more recent in the Pokémon universe, explaining why so many dads are missing: they would have died fighting.
24. Hitmonlee And Hitmonchan’s Names Are Based Off Real People
Pokémon names, as we’ve mentioned before, are often based on animals from our real, boring, pocket-monster-less world. Other Pokémon names contain numbers from other languages than Japanese or English. Some of these amazing creatures even have names based on objects of the everyday life. However, only two Pokémon are based on real people: Hitmonlee and Hitmonchan.
As you probably guessed by now, Hitmonlee’s name comes from the legendary Bruce Lee, while Hitmonchan’s is named on Jacky Chan. But it doesn’t stop there for these two Pokémon. Surprisingly, their Japanese names are also based on fighters. Sawamular (Hitmonlee) and Ebiwalar (Hitmonchan) are named after Hiroyuki Ebihara and Tadashi Sawamura. Ebihara was a boxer, and Sawamura was a kick-boxer, which explain each Pokémon’s fighting ability!
23. Numbers, Numbers Everywhere!
There are many Pokémon with clever names — so to speak. Many of them have names that are basically their function or their real-world’s inspiration, but in reverse, like Arbok (kobra), and Ekans (snake). Others are even more obvious, like Seal. However, there are other Pokémon who have names that still hold some little secrets, but are less obvious than the ones mentioned above.
Numbers in Pokémon are very important. They, in fact, are part of quite a few trios of pocket-monsters’ names. In the first generation, the legendary birds’ names contain the Spanish words for one-two-three: ArticUNO, ZapDOS, MosTRES. Another trio of numeral names would be Deino and his evolutions, which include the German words for, again, one-two-three: dEINo, ZWEIlous, and hyDREIgon. Is it possible that including these numbers in different languages might be a way for Nintendo to reach out to populations outside of Japan?
22. Koffing And Weezing: A Statement About Pollution
Pollution is a terrible phenomenon that is omnipresent in our big cities. This poison has caused diseases, smog, and is slowly destroying the Earth. Major cities like Los Angeles and New York are known to be some of the most polluted places on this planet. This said, it’s no surprise that when Nintendo decided to create poison-type Pokémon in the first generation. Originally, they wanted to name them “Ny” and “La.”
However, this is not what happened. “Ny” became Koffing, while “La” turned into Weezing. Changing their names was probably a good idea, as they are not targeting any place in particular anymore, but are still pretty shocking. What says “POLLUTION” more than coughing and wheezing because of the bad quality of the air? Pretty much nothing.
21. Paras And Parasect: Parasite-Infected Monsters
Paras is a cute bug, let’s be honest. Parasect, on the other hand, is a lot more unsettling with its white, empty eyes. Believe it or not, there’s a reason behind its appearance: Paras and Parasect are controlled by parasitic mushrooms.
Paras still has a soul and irises because it’s still in the early stage of the infection. The little shrooms on its back haven’t made their way to the Pokémon’s brains yet. However, when it evolves and become Parasect, the mushrooms have become one, and is bigger than the poor pokémon itself. By then, the parasite is fully controlling the monster’s mind, making it its slave. There’s no clue as to how the parasite infects all the Paras, but it clearly has something to do with the fact that Parasect has attacks such as “Spore” and “Stun spore.”
20. Drifloon Wants To Kidnap Children
There’s nothing worse than crimes committed against children. But what happens when the kids cannot be saved because they are being carried away in the air? In terms of creepiness, the cute ballon-like Pokémon Drifloon is high on the list, as its Pokédex entries in Sun and Moon are something out of a nightmare: “Stories go that it grabs the hands of small children and drags them away to the afterlife. It dislikes heavy children. / If for some reason its body bursts, its soul spills out with a screaming sound.” Yikes. That’s a pretty unsettling Pokédex entry!
19. Pokémon Names Secret
This one is actually a secret that not so many players know about. Have you ever thought it would be so much better if you could change your Pokémon colors to your liking? Well, it’s partially possible! In Pokémon Stadium, depending on how you named your pocket-monsters in your Gameboy game, their colors will change. There are precise nicknames that will affect your Pokémon’s appearance. For example, if you name your Pikachu “PIKA,” it’ll be more orange than yellow.
But Pikachu is not the only one who gets special colors depending on its name. It will work with “poliwhirl” (Poliwhirl), “DRILLBEE” (Beedrill), “MAGMITE” (Magnemite), and also “MEW-TWO” (Mewtwo). Also, using all lower case for any pokémon will change its color subtly in Stadium. Now I sure wish I still had an N64 and a GameBoy to try this little trick!
18. Locations Are Based On The Real World
When you think about it, it quickly becomes obvious that every region in the Pokémon world is based on real parts of the world. In fact, the first four generations are inspired by different parts of Japan. The Kanto region, for example, is based on many Japanese prefectures, such as Shizuoka (Pallet Town), Kanagawa (Viridian), Tokyo (Celadon City), etc. Johto is similar to the Kansai region of Japan, but also combines the Chūbu region in it. Hoenn is inspired by Kyūshū, and Sinnoh is based on Japan’s major island, Hokkaido.
Other generations were inspired by other parts of the world. Generation four, Unova, is inspired by the U.S.A. In fact, it’s a mix between New York City, and the New Jersey. Kalos, is based on Metropolitan France, and Alola is inspired by -don’t be surprised- Hawaii. Now, playing Pokémon is a lot like discovering the entire world!
17. All The Professors Are Trees
Well, they are not plants. Not literally, at least. But if you look into it a little bit you’ll quickly see that all of the major Professors from Pokémon have names based on trees. Here they are: Professor Oak, Professor Elm, Professor Birch, Professor Rowan, Professor Juniper, Professor Sycamore, and Professor Kukui.
Each of them also has a preferred subject that they study. Prof. Oak studies relationships between Pokémon and humans; Prof. Elm studies Pokémon breeding; Prof. Birch studies Pokémon habitats; Prof. Rowan studies Pokémon evolution; Prof. Juniper studies the origin of Pokémon; Prof. Sycamore studies Mega Evolution; and Prof. Kukui studies Pokémon attacks. Now, I’d really like to see how their meetings go, and hear about all of their theories concerning the pocket-monsters we love so much!
16. Is This Normal In The Pokémon Universe
James has always been my favorite Pokémon character. He’s always had that little something that got me to identify with him, even if at the time I was a kid and didn’t know I was genderqueer myself. He intrigued me, mostly when he suddenly became female in some episodes. James had, to begin with, quite an androgynous appearance, so gender-bending wasn’t so hard for him. On the Pokémon-side, Azurill has a 25% chance to be transgender: when it evolves, it’s possible that it literally switches gender! That’s really cool!
15. Gengar Is Like Pokémon’s Dark Link
Clefairy is one of the cutest, fluffiest Pokémon to have ever been created. Even its evolved form, Clefable, is adorable. However, this floof-ball seems to have a darker side, one that lurks in its shadow: Gengar. It is believed that Gengar is Clefable’s evil side, its shadow, mostly because of how similar their outlines are.
This seems to be a recurring theme for Nintendo. When there’s a character that’s pure and innocent, whether it’s human or animal-like, they tend to create its evil form, much like they did with Link and Dark Link. Is it a way for them to express the need to balance the worlds that they create? Is it a metaphor for the Ying and the Yang? Hard to tell, but it certainly looks like it is!
14. Red’s Dad Follows Him Around
Dads in Pokémon are always absent. It looks totally normal to have a child and abandoning it to its mother so the dad can pursue a career elsewhere, or just disappear from the map. However, there might be one dad that’s regretting his decision: Red’s father.
In the game, there’s one NPC who’s always there, and always seems to encourage Red on his trainer path. Did you guess who that is? Yes, you’re right: the gym guide. That dude is there, always, in every gym, giving tips about the leader and obviously hoping that the player will beat them. He’s always in the city before Red, always ready to welcome him to the gym. That may be because he’s Red’s dad who has remorse about abandoning his kid, and that’s how he makes up for it. It’s such a bitter-sweet tale!
13. Lab Rats
Most Pokémon are born from their parents mysteriously breeding when no one is looking. They hatch from eggs, coming to life with already enough power to destroy anything on their way, like the good fighting-machines that they are. However, some Pokémon aren’t born that way: they are created in labs.
Ditto is the most famous lab rat. It apparently appeared in the Pokémon universe as the result of a failed attempt at cloning Mew. On the other hand, Mewtwo would be Ditto’s powerful little sibling since it’s a successful attempt at cloning the legendary Mew, and making it -technically- even more powerful. It is also rumored that Koffing and Weezing were first born in the Team Rocket’s labs, as the scientist tried to create new monsters from the residual smoke of some ghost pokémon… Creepy!
12. N Is A Pokémon
In every Pokémon game, there is an opposing faction. In Black, White, Black 2, and White 2, that faction is Team Plasma. Their leader is a dude with green hair named N. His ultimate goal is to separate humans from Pokémon, which is weird because these creatures are a very profitable source of everything for the human race.
However, if N is not human, but a Pokémon, it would make sense that he wants to stop being abused by the dominant species. It is believed that N would, in fact, be a Zoroark casting an illusion, as these Pokémon can take human appearances. By doing so and becoming the leader of a rebel faction, this pokémon might be very much trying to free itself and the other pocket-monsters from being slaves to humans. This would probably make this Zoroark the most intelligent Pokémon ever!
11. Who Pays The Pokécenter Bill?
Healthcare is not free. Not everywhere, at least. Often, going to the hospital means considerable debts, and that is why a lot of people won’t go see a medical expert when they are sick. However, it seems that Pokémon healthcare is the best system that has ever been designed: you get in the Pokécenter with your sick pet, hand it to a caring nurse, and 10 seconds later it’s perfectly healed.
However, that’s not how healthcare works. We know that the better the service, the higher the price. But what does that mean to a ten-year-old child traveling the world on a crazy adventure? It certainly means that this kid is not paying the bill. Then who is? Well, chances are that they are sent to your home address. And who lives there and then must pay this ridiculously high bill for your pets’ healthcare? Your single mom.
10. Remnants Of Dead Trainers
Ever wondered why you find random items scattered around the map in every game? It’s super convenient, and always happen to be where you stand, because it’s exactly where other trainers also went. And died.
No, no one drops all their stuff around. Not intentionally, at least. These items and Pokéballs, they’re just what remains of some trainers who died when they were attacked by wild Pokémon. Remember when Prof. Oak told you it was dangerous to go out in the wild without a Pokémon? We didn’t think much about it at the time, but considering that these pocket-monsters are ridiculously powerful and charged with destructive powers, they can certainly do some damage to poor humans. So, yeah, these items you find scattered all around the world? They used to belong to someone else before being murdered by that cute clefairy. Not creepy.
9. “No, You’re Not The One”
There are so many creepy things in Pokémon that I wonder why we keep on labeling it a child’s game. However, this Ghost Girl story is making me shiver, mostly because it’s not a fan theory, but something that actually happens in X and Y and has not been explained yet.
In Lymiose City, on the second floor of some building, there’s a weird cinematic that happens. The screen flashes black as you exit the elevator, and the Ghost Girl appears, stating that “No, you’re not the one.” She then disappears. People have been wondering since the games came out what that meant. Some theorize that she’s looking for a precise player ID. She is seen again in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, in a cemetary, where she repeats “No, you’re not the one.” In 2017, we still don’t understand what Ghost Girl is after.
8. Pokémon Are Used For Energy
It is rumored that the Pokémon universe was going through an energy crisis after the Great War, that’s more or less explained in X and Y. The people had to find a solution, as no energy could be gathered from the soils anymore. That’s when someone at Silph Co. found the solution. It was not an ethical decision, but it was one which would permit the world to continue as it was, as long as it was kept secret: using Pokémon as energy.
There are countless power plants in the games. This is where we can find rare and legendary electric Pokémon, usually. However, finding these Pokémon in there meant that they weren’t in these power plants innocently; they were slaves. Electric-type Pokémon are extremely valuable to their human counterparts since they now produce 100% of the electricity used to power buildings. Poor little creatures…
7. A Megacorporation Rules The World
Have you ever noticed how every public building in Pokémon has the same logo? I never really realized it until recently, and I was struck. What does it mean to always see one single image everywhere? It means that all companies are only one. Yes, there is no competition in the Pokéconomy, because there’s only one megacorporation ruling it.
In the Pokémon lore, it is said that many companies exist. But have you ever seen two different companies using the same logo and selling the exact same product? Me neither. Also, we have heard no real company name in this universe but the Silph Co. Does that mean that they own every public shops and institution in the world? And since they are behind the use of Pokémon as energy, there is a pattern here in which everyone seems involved but you, right?
6. Professor Oak Lied To You
Wrong! Believe it or not, but you and all the other trainers are the very foundation of this mega conspiracy. Confused? Here, let me explain this to you: Prof. Oak (and all the other professors) are lying to you. If there is only one megacorporation -Silph Co.- then who funds the professors’ research?
However, to have their research funded, they need to provide Silph Co. with something. And what is the most valuable asset of this megacorporation? Its energy production. How do they produce this energy? With Pokémon. But who provides the pokémon? You, my dear.
Each time you transfer a Pokémon to the professors, they send it to be used as an energy machine. When you call back on your pocket-monsters, they are just scanned back to you, and since Pokémon don’t talk, they can’t tell you what they’ve been through.
5. Pokémon Is One Of The Most Censored Series
Did you know that there are a lot of differences between the Japanese versions of the anime and games, and the American versions? Indeed, many times the western version was censored because it was too dangerous, or too promiscuous for the American youth. The reasons why it was censored varies, but in one case, it was necessary: one of the episodes from 1997 was dedicated to Porygon, and was so psychedelic that it triggered epilepsy in 700 Japanese kids.
Here are a few other things that were censored in the American versions of the series: skirts were redesigned to be longer, the sailors lost their cigarettes, Nidoqueen stopped shaking her chest in her fighting animation, Jynx’s skin became purple instead of black, Giovanni’s wine glass was redesigned to look like an orange-juice glass, James’ chest was reduced in the beauty contest episode, many trading cards were edited, etc.
4. People Eat Pokémon
Look at your cat or your dog or whatever pet you have, and if you have none, imagine your favorite animal. Now, picture yourself on an adventure with this animal, where you learn so much about each other that there’s a real bond of trust and friendship that is born between the two of you. Now, imagine you’re seeing the exact clone of your loved pet cooked into a local restaurant.
Welcome to Pokémon! In this universe, we know that the pocket-monsters like to eat berries and such. They’re all vegetarians, which pretty much guarantee they’ll taste good once they’ll be cooked. Because, in this kid-friendly universe, humans eat Pokémon that are exactly like their own beloved companions. You thought the Yulin Dog Meat Festival was bad?
3. Regirock, Registeel, And Regice Are HOT
If you delve into the community that loves Pokémon, you’ll notice that some fanart and fanfictions make these pocket-monsters quite… hot. There is some creepy stuff out there. However, in the case of these legendary golems, we’re not talking about the same kind of hotness.
In fact, the dots on these Pokémon’s chest, when put in order, spell the word “HOT.” Therefore, if you put them in order, you can see that word appear: Regirock has an ‘H’ on his body, Registeel has an ‘O’, and Regice has a ‘T.’ Regigigas, the trio’s master, has all their patterns on its body. Does this mean that Regigigas is the ultimate Pokémon hottie?
2. Meowth And Pikachu: Absolute Opposites
Many Pokémon are opposite to each other in this universe. In the first movie, Pokémon: The First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back, the scenario concentrates around the terrible fight between Mew and Mewtwo, which culminates in Ash’s death, before he’s brought back to life.
However, there are two Pokémon who are clearly designed to be nemesis: Meowth and Pikachu. First, in the anime, their behavior is pretty obvious that they’re not meant to get along well. But if you look a bit deeper into their connection, it becomes even more obvious. First, Meowth is a cat, and Pikachu is a mouse. Another clue as to why they can’t stand each other is their Pokédex numbers. Pikachu is number 25, while Meowth is number 52, which are exact opposites.
1. Lavender Town Syndrome
My personal favorite creepy Pokémon tale, mostly because I feel there’s a certain degree of truth to it. The Lavender Town syndrome refers to a series of an incident that would have been triggered by the music that plays when you enter that town, in the first generation games. These incidents happened on February 27th 1996, shortly after the release of Red and Green, in Japan, and it involved about 200 children between 7 and 12 years old being ill or ending their lives.
Rumors say that these cases happened only after the children reached Lavender Town, whose theme music is distressingly high in frequencies that only children and teens can hear because their ears are more sensitive. That’s why I played without music during this section!
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