Since time immemorial, Generation I has been Pokémon’s golden goose. It is the only generation that consistently gets love from series veterans, beginners, and Game Freak alike. Just about any piece of Pokémon media is bound to appeal to Gen I fans in some capacity. You can call it pandering or fan service, but it’s not as if all the love Generation I gets is somehow out of the ordinary. Not only does the first generation arguably have the strongest roster of Pokémon in the franchise, it also has one of the most memorable regions: Kanto.
For many fans, Kanto is synonymous with Pokémon. It can be hard to separate the two from each other when thinking about the franchise, especially considering how relatively down to earth Kanto is compared to other regions. It feels like a real place you’d want to live. Except… would you really want to live in Kanto? For as fun as Kanto seems on a conceptual level, it is absolutely and utterly ridiculous. Kanto may not be made up of mostly water or feature a criminal organization dedicated to controlling the very fabric of space and time, but it’s nonetheless quite bizarre. If you take even a moment to think about Kanto on a deeper level, you’ll come to realize that this is not a region worth living in.
30 Kanto Is Run By A Crime Syndicate
It’s honestly surprising just how much influence Team Rocket has in Kanto compared to other teams and regions. Of all the enemy teams in the franchise, Team Rocket is easily the most omnipresent. Formally introduced shortly before the second Gym, Generation I goes on to show Team Rocket active in just about every town in Kanto to the point where they’re the only force actively influencing the region.
With this in mind, especially taking into account how towns connect to one another, the only logical justification for Team Rocket’s massive role in Generation I is to accept that they’re actually the ones running Kanto. You could argue Silph Co. actually runs Kanto, but Team Rocket has a hold of the company by the start of the game.
29 Guards Close Down Routes Because They’re Thirsty
One of the most mind-numbing moments in Generation I has to be getting roadblocked from entering a new town because a guard is thirsty. Not just any guard, though. Every single guard in Kanto is thirsty at the exact same time and the only solution is to give one guard a drink so that he may, presumably, share it with the others despite there being miles of distance between everyone.
Video games will always have video gamey moments, so to speak, but this breaks the immersion of Kanto more than anything else. FireRed and LeafGreen try to remedy the situation by turning it into a full-blown side quest, but that doesn’t exactly help Kanto feel any more alive than before — it just gives the situation more context.
28 Celadon Has An Invisible PC
Celadon Hotel is easily one of the most memorable locations in Kanto in large part thanks to how elusive it is compared to everything else in Celadon. In a city with a stories tall department store and a casino with a massive basement, Celadon Hotel features an invisible PC for trainers to interact.
Given the general modeling of Celadon Hotel, it’s clear that the PC is just a glitch. It’s placed exactly where PCs tend to be placed in Kanto Poké Centers, but should we really deem a glitch non-canon? After all, isn’t gameplay a canonical element? By that logic, the invisible PC is very much a part of Kanto, existing in our plane of existence. You just can’t see it.
27 Professor Oak Is Incompetent
For the supposedly smartest man in the Pokémon franchise, Professor Oak doesn’t actually seem to accomplish all that much. His main achievement is creating the base for the Pokédex, but that’s really not all that impressive considering how it’s been improved upon since. On top of that, he seems to have a serious misunderstanding of how the world should work.
He somehow things there are only 150 Pokémon...
Not only does he unironically send out two kids to catch all 150 Pokémon, he also believes there are only 150 Pokémon. Granted, this is thanks to Game Freak not future proofing for sequels in Generation I, but it still makes Oak look like a massive moron. This is to say nothing of the fact that his Pokédex considers Mewtwo one of the 150, but not Mew. Think on that for a second.
26 Celadon Has A Town Creep
The Master Roshi of Pokémon, chances are you’ve encountered the old man peeping into Celadon Gym at least once in your life. If you’re younger, there’s a just as high a chance you met him in one of the later generations where he simply comments on all the women inside the Gym being particularly strong. His origin isn’t quite so innocuous, however.
In Generation I, this old man isn’t marveling at strong trainers at all. Instead, he’s ogling the beautiful women inside Celadon Gym, spying on them as they do a hard day’s work. He is none other than Celadon’s resident creeper.
25 Old Men Will Collapse On The Ground To Block Your Path
They say you never forget your first. In this case, “your first” refers to that grumpy old man who teaches you how to catch Pokémon. As helpful as he is, things didn’t always sail so smoothly. The first time you encounter this old man, he’s passed out in front of the only way out of Viridian City. He won’t budge whatsoever, trapping people either in or out of the only city for miles.
Even Kanto can't escape the Baby Boomer's wrath.
If this act wasn’t bad enough, the Japanese version justifies his passed out state by explaining he had too much all along. It’s not hard to see why Nintendo changed this little detail, but it does shine new light on the old man.
24 The Bike Shop Owner Is A Swindler
The Bike Shop owner is the single worst salesman in the Pokémon franchise. Not only is he perfectly comfortable overcharging you for a bicycle, he’ll also happily accept a voucher for a free one. Why does such a man exist? What could he possibly gain for pricing a bike at 1,000,000 Poké Dollars only to give own away for free? Much needed credibility.
The Bike Shop owner is a common swindler and giving away a bike is a common swindler’s trick. In seeing a child get a free bike, customers will believe the Bike Shop legitimate, buying into the 1,000,000 Poké Dollar price tag. It is sickening and exemplary of the deceit bred in Kanto’s underbelly.
23 Team Rocket Straight Up Hires Kids
Do you remember that bridge in Cerulean City where you face off against a few trainers before battling a Team Rocket Grunt? Try to remember the context of that fight. The reason Red fights the Team Rocket Grunt at all is because the Grunt invites Red to join Team Rocket. It’s implied that, the children you just fought, were also Team Rocket members.
Start them young.
Team Rocket no only recruits children, they actually test them to see if they’re good enough to be recruited. Compared to everything else they do in the game, this is easily their most despicable. It’s entirely possible that most of the Grunts you battle throughout the game were actually just regular Kanto kids who were lured into a life of crime.
22 Cinnabar Island Is On The Cusp Of Collapse
Kanto’s Cinnabar Island is easily the smallest major location in the region, and the fact players visit it so late could imply Game Freak was pressed on time and couldn’t flesh it out enough, but there’s a good reason for its small stature. In just a few years, volcanic eruptions will erode the entire island away.
Home to Kanto’s Fire Type themed Gym, Cinnabar Island is quite close to a volcano. By the time Generation II occurs, the volcano has already erupted. Since Gen II is only three years after Gen I, however, this means Cinnabar vanishes off the face of Kanto shortly after Red’s adventure. It’s quite a dark, understated twist for a series that’s otherwise quite lighthearted and tame.
21 Scientists Canonically Tried To Clone Mew And Fail
There’s a prominent theory which states that Kanto scientists tried to clone Mew, but it’s not so much a theory as it is just a part of Kanto’s canon. What you may not have realized about said theory is that while the attempt to clone Mew succeeded and ultimately resulted in Mewtwo, the scientists did fail multiple time, leading to the creation of Ditto.
The question remains: how did other regions get Dittos?
In Kanto, you’ll only ever find Dittos in Cinnabar Mansion, the building where the Mew experiments occurred. This isn’t a coincidence. These Ditto litter the mansion only because they’re leftovers of Mew’s DNA. If you need further proof, Mew and Ditto are basically identical as far as the Pokédex seems to care, featuring the exact same weight and height.
20 People Eat Farfetch’d
The Pokédex is a wonderful source of trivia, lore, and personality and as such it brings with it the occasional dark piece of information. Most notably, Generation I’s Pokédex establishes Farfetch’d as a delicacy people enjoy eating. In a world filled with animal like creatures, it’s only natural that the inhabitants of the Pokémon universe would eat Pokémon, but it’s nonetheless quite morbid to think about. Those sweet Pokémon you’ve been catching are just as likely to become your meals.
19 The Safari Zone Is Just Wrong
The Safari Zone will always be one of the most memorable features of the early Pokémon games, Generation I in particular. Kanto made a point of giving the Safari Zone context, requiring players to go through its labyrinth-like structure in an attempt to progress the main story. Its nature as a timed dungeon of sorts filled with unique Pokémon won over fans immediately, but there’s a reason Game Freak has refrained from Safari Zones as of late.
Hunting Pokemon for sport flies in the face of the series' core message.
The Safari Zone, at its core, is a way for trainers to non-lethally hunt Pokémon for sport. It’s no different than big game hunting on a base level. It isn’t as violent, of course, but the premise is still very much rooted in that context. In general, just the idea of locking up Pokémon to be hunted and caught by trainers is morbid, especially when one of the key ways of catching said Pokémon is to hurl rocks at them. No matter how you look at it, the Safari Zone is quite cruel.
18 Fish Live In Statues
There’s a good chance you haven’t tried fishing inside any of the many statues found inside of Kanto’s Gyms because, of course, why would you? If you’re one of the curious few to try such a feat, though, you’ll be greeted with Pokémon nibbling at your rod, waiting to be caught.
Obviously, this is just a glitch in Generation I’s code, but, as we’ve established, that doesn’t mean it isn’t a core part of Kanto’s identity. Red can canonically pull out a fishing rod, toss it into a lifeless statue with absolutely no water inside or around it, and catch living Pokémon.
17 The Magikarp Salesman Is Legit
The Magikarp salesman basically gets all the hate the Bike Shop owner deserves despite actually being a legitimate businessman. While many scoff and mock the idea of buying a level 5 Magikarp who only knows Splash from a strange man outside of a cave, the Magikarp salesman is actually doing you a favor.
Never judge a Magikarp by its Splash.
By taking just a little bit of time within Mt. Moon, a dungeon filled with trainers, players can grind their Magikarp to reasonably high levels, potentially evolving it into Gyarados before ever leaving Mt. Moon. At that point, players would have a valuable Pokémon on their team far easier than they would otherwise. For the cheap price, the Magikarp salesman is selling you his karp, he’s actually doing you a favor.
16 The Only Pokémon Cemetery Is Inside Of An Unsafe Tower
A pet passing away is always going to be incredibly tragic so Game Freak trying to tackle such a sensitive matter in Generation I via Lavender Town is commendable. Unfortunately, Pokémon Tower brings with it an awakened implication. Specifically, the only Pokémon cemetery in the entire region is connected to a massive, stories tall tower haunted by Ghosts, filled with wild Ghost Type Pokémon, and trainers ready to attack at the ready. Given the fact something like Ghost Marowak exists, it’s entirely possible your Pokémon won’t be resting in peace either. You’re perhaps better off making a grave of your own.
15 Blue Only Got To Be Champion For A Full Minute
For who is arguably the best rival in terms of character and sheer skill, Blue really gets a raw deal when it comes to the Elite Four. To this day, Blue remains the only rival to actually become a Champion over the course of the game they appear in. That alone elevates him above the other rivals, but his victory doesn’t last long.
Being the rival's a tough gig.
In what most likely was only, give or take, a few minutes according to Lance’s dialogue, Blue’s reign as Champion was over as soon as he started. Red swoops into the Champion room and immediately takes the title away from Blue. The fact that such a situation could happen is exemplary of how poorly planned Kanto’s league is.
14 Kanto Didn’t Even Have A Champion Before Blue
Speaking of poor planning, did Kanto even have a Champion before Blue? The implication seems to be “no.” Blue was legitimately the first person in all of Kanto to challenge the Elite Four, win, and become Champion. Before him, Kanto’s Elite Four was just that: an elite four trainers.
There’s a problem with this, though: all other regions have a set a Elite Four and a set Champion. Logically, Lance, as the strongest member of the Elite Four, should have been Champion with someone else taking his slot. Gen II does actually use this as their justification for the Elite Four, but it doesn’t fix the fact that Kanto was missing a Champion for presumably years.
13 There Are Wild Snorlaxes Blocking Off Major Cities
If you somehow manage to avoid the thirsty guards on your road trip of Kanto, you’ll be glad to know that Snorlaxes like to hang out and block major routes at their own whim. What’s worse, you can’t wake up or move a Snorlax by ordinary means. Rather, you need a Poké Flute to wake them up so that you can battle them.
Commuting in Kanto must be a nightmare.
It is truly baffling how there aren’t just people armed with Poké Flutes to ensure their cities don’t get blocked off by massive Snorlaxes. If the guards weren’t so thirsty all the time, Kanto would be wise to train them with Flutes so they could actually do their job. Of course, there’s only so much you can do with a parched mouth as we’ve learned.
12 Lavender Town Is Haunted By Actual Ghosts
The Pokémon series has made a habit of sprinkling in little hints and details lending themselves to the implication that ghosts- not Ghost Types- genuinely do exist in the Pokémon universe. Any perceptive or long time fan, however, will be able to tell you that these implications aren’t needed. Kanto has actual canonical ghosts.
Pokémon Tower in Lavender Town features Ghost Marowak, a Pokémon that isn’t a Ghost Type but is a ghost. Considering you need the Silph Scope to even see it, we can assume Ghost Marowak exists on a different plan of existence. This means Lavender Town, the town with a massive cemetery, is haunted.
11 Kanto Doesn’t Even Have Its Own League
When fans look at Johto’s Pokémon League in Generation II, they typically see it as Johto just being a part of the Kanto League since the two regions are too close together to justify two separate Leagues. Here’s the thing, though: Johto is a region with rich lore that clearly dates back to eons before the start of the series whereas Kanto comes off as a relatively new region with no such history making it a younger region in turn meaning the League was likely Johto’s first.
That’s right, the League you associated so casually with Kanto most likely began before the region was even established. Kanto simply doesn’t have a strong enough foundation in the series’ lore to be anything other than a new country. Think of Johto like Europe and Kanto like the West. It was Johto’s League all along and Kanto was none the wiser.
10 A Man Turns Into A Pokémon
Pokémon is not immune to the occasional nonsensical story beat- just look at those thirsty guards if you need proof. At the same time, however, Pokémon tends to keep itself fairly grounded, only going overboard when it either makes for a memorable moment or works in benefit of the gameplay. That’s not to say there aren’t moments where the series goes too far though. Just look at Bill.
This one's weird even for Kanto.
The man who invented the PC system, the first time players meet Bill they’ll be shocked to see that he has become a Pokémon. Bill, in an attempt to use science to better the world, turned himself into a Pokémon by accident. This is just something you’re supposed to accept. A man, arguably the greatest scientist alive, turns himself into a walking, talking, sentient Pokémon and it’s not a big deal. Only in Kanto.
9 The Pokémon Fan Club
The Pokémon Fan Club seems harmless at first. After all, who doesn’t love Pokémon? Especially in a world dedicated to Pokémon! People gather together, talk about their favorite Pokémon, and generally connect with one another over their shared love of Pocket Monsters. Or so it would seem. In talking to the members of the Pokémon Fan Club, the vibe quickly goes from charming to unsavory.
These people simply love their Pokémon too much. There’s nothing wrong with loving a pet and gushing over them, but the Fan Club members push this to obsessive levels. Their dialogue implies they live solely for their Pokémon and a life without them would be no life at all. The mere act of getting them to discuss something else seems like an impossibility. Their love is too strong, destroying the fun-loving image of the Pokémon Fan Club.
8 Team Rocket Operates Out Of A Casino
Of all the places to run an illegal organization, the basement of a casino isn’t half bad. Kind of. Since Kanto seems to be a region with little to no law enforcement, we can assume just about any establishment would suffice for Team Rocket’s comings and goings, but the Game Corner works well enough for what they’re going for. There’s just one minor caveat: it’s totally nonsensical.
No casino is going to have a basement that big.
I’m heading into the Game Corner’s basement- which can be done as easily as interacting with a poster- trainers can enter a massive labyrinthine dungeon filled to the brim with Team Rocket Grunts. How did this get here? Why was it so easy to enter? Why did no one in the Game Corner notice this child disappear into a criminal hideout? Only in Kanto can such a situation occur without so much as a nod to the player.
7 Giovanni Just Doesn’t Do His Job
It’s never easy working multiple jobs. Unless you’re extremely disciplined, you’ll sooner or later find yourself prioritizing one over the other. Such is the case with none other than Team Rocket’s patriarch, Giovanni. Kanto’s resident antagonist, Giovanni moonlights at Viridian City’s Gym Leader whenever he’s not letting himself get bogged down by his criminal doings. Unfortunately, 90% of his time is spent being a criminal.
Who has time to work when there's a region to conquer?
Viridian Gym is basically never open. For anyone trying to get all eight badges to challenge Kanto’s Elite Four, this is a massive oversight. The only reason Red and Blue can even challenging Giovanni in the first place is that the former ends up defeating him as part of the main storyline. Had Giovanni’s planned gone unfoiled, nobody in Kanto would be able to challenge the Elite Four.
6 The Daycare Man Doesn’t Know How To Do His Job
Daycare Centers in Pokémon serve one purpose and one alone: breeding. While your Pokémon can certainly level up from being placed in the Daycare Center, chances are that matters naught to you. What matters is mixing and matching your favorite Pocket Monsters to create new monstrosities capable of power the likes have never been seen before. Too bad Kanto doesn’t offer this service.
Although Kanto does have a Daycare Center, the Daycare man has absolutely no clue what he’s doing. He only takes care of one Pokémon at a time; he doesn’t even know what breeding is, and his Daycare is disgustingly out of the way. Of all the businessmen in Kanto, the Daycare man is perhaps the very worst, completely incapable of doing his job to the fullest.
5 There’s An Entire Burglary Sub-Plot That Goes Unresolved
Team Rocket being notorious for stealing Pokémon from other trainers isn’t just an anime invention, the Gen I games themselves establish that trait quite early on with Team Rocket breaking into a house to burgle the homeowner. While Red does inevitably challenge the thief to a battle, the plot itself never comes to a resolution.
Kanto: Where Crime Sort Of Just Happens
At the end of the day, Team Rocket gets away with continuously stealing from trainers; the homeowner never gets his comeuppance, and no one ever acknowledges that Red defeated the Rocket Grunt. It’s an odd bit of flavor for the Kanto that really just zooms in on how easily Team Rocket gets away with just about everything.
4 Victory Road Is Stupidly Dangerous
Kanto’s Victory Road is the most dangerous in the entire franchise if only for one reason: Moltres. It is all too easy for trainers to walk into Victory Road ready to challenge the Elite Four only to accidentally stumble upon one of Kanto’s three legendary birds. While Moltres is a bit of a pushover from a gameplay perspective, it’s absolutely ferocious in-universe.
Bumping into Moltres in Victory Road could very well be the end of a young trainer’s journey. Moltres may not attack on sight, but it brings the heat, unlike any Pokémon. If anything else, Moltres can scare off accomplished trainers from progressing all the way to the Elite Four. A massive legendary beast hiding in an easily accessible cave is nothing to scoff at.
3 Red Is An Incredibly Violent Trailer
Red is easily the most hardcore protagonist in the series. Not only does he eventually grow up to hang out on top of a mountain ready to challenge anyone who dares make their way to him, he also battles his rival so hard to the point where Blue’s Raticate more than just faints.
Who's Kanto's real villain?
Before players reach the Pokémon Tower, all encounters with Blue will feature a Rattata who eventually evolves into a Raticate. Once players meet Blue in the Tower, however, the Raticate is missing. The implication, of course, is that the Pokémon passed away in between encounters, most likely due to the frequent battles with Red.
2 Mt. Moon Is Just A Place Trainers Hangout
There are a lot of trainers inside of Mount Moon. An almost unrealistic amount of trainer… For an incredibly dangerous cave filled with ancient fossils and Team Rocket at the ready, Mount Moon gets a lot of traction. Considering Red ends up making Mount Moon his home base at the end of Generation II, we can come to a safe conclusion: trainers just like hanging out in Mount Moon.
There’s honestly no logical reason for it, all things considered, but it does add a bit of flavor to Kanto. In a rather diverse region, the average kid would prefer to just hang out in a dangerous cave. Maybe it’s all the Moon Stones that attract them to it. Maybe they just like Zubats. Either way, Mt. Moon is the place to be.
1 Kanto Is Unsafe
So what have we learned about Kanto? Let’s review. Kanto is home to: a criminal organization; three legendary birds that roam around at their leisure; a cloning experiment gone wrong; an active volcano; a haunted stories tall cemetery; guards who can’t be bothered to do their jobs; and easily accessible caves that any child can just stumble into.
We hear Kalos is lovely this time of year.
When it comes down to it, Kanto is simply unsafe. It might genuinely be the least safe region in the entire franchise. While Generation I never reaches a world-ending cataclysm like Gen III on, Kanto is full of subtler dangers. It’s no place to let a ten year off do whatever they please. You’re better off moving to Johto or Hoenn.