The Pokémon franchise has never been known for its nuanced narrative or complex themes. The series has its moments, particularly with the character N from Pokémon Black and White. For the most part, though, the series is mostly just kid-stuff. The Pokémon video games are usually about traveling to a new region and collecting as many Pokémon as you can. The Pokémon anime is almost exclusively about one trainer’s continuous failure to become the very best. Seriously, Ash, it’s been twenty years, how have you not been able to win any Pokémon Championships?
The Pokémon story is usually harmless; however, there are certain storylines that the Pokémon Company would rather have you forget. These storylines include dropped plot points in the anime. There are also some banned episodes of the show and a couple of things that needed to be censored overseas.
Of course, my job is to remind my dear and devoted readers about these storylines that the Pokémon Company wants you to forget. I’ll be going over the 25 they'd honestly rather we just forget. I’ll be covering stories featured in both the anime and games. Since I haven’t seen every episode of the Pokémon series (there are over a thousand episodes, for Pete’s sake!), my focus will be mostly on the classic anime up to a certain point. With that being said, let's get right to it!
25 The GS Ball From The Pokémon Anime
This one still angers me. The GS Ball was a special Poké Ball with strange carvings on it. It was up to Ash and the others to bring the GS Ball to Professor Oak, and later Kurt in Johto. After Ash hands the ball to Kurt, it is never brought up again. Apparently, the GS Ball was meant to hold Celebi. This idea was scrapped when it was decided that Celebi would be the main focus of the fourth movie, and the writers simply hoped that fans would forget about it. We didn’t; at least, I didn’t.
24 Whatever Happened To Professor Ivy In the Anime?
In the Orange Islands arc, there were a lot of anime-only characters that were introduced in the arc that were never part of the games. This includes Professor Ivy, the first female Professor in the series. She was a very cute younger woman, and of course, Brock falls for her hard. He even temporarily leaves Ash’s group to work for her.
For reasons that are never revealed in the anime, Brock leaves her. It is never revealed what happened between two, but every time her name is mentioned Brock curls up and asks to “not mention that name.”
23 Pikachu Caused Problems
One of the most notorious scandals in Pokémon history, there is an episode of classic Pokémon that caused children in Japan to have seizures.
The episode in question is called “Cyber Soldier Porygon.” The scene that is believed to have caused the seizures was when Pikachu thundershocks a missile, which causes the screen to flash rapidly between red and blue colors. Porygon was blamed for the issues, and has never been featured in the anime again. The episode has been permanently banned, even though there are easy solutions to make the episode safer. I guess better safe than sorry.
22 Mewtwo Probably Ended A Lot Of People In The First Movie
Pokémon: The First Movie is actually pretty dark for a kid’s movie. There are a lot of complicated themes like existentialism and force towards Pokémon.
Possibly the darkest element within the movie is the fact that Mewtwo, the main villain of the movie, clearly ends some people. The film begins with him destroying a laboratory filled with scientists. He even causes a storm that covers the whole planet—that probably caused a lot of passings. Of course, a lot of this is undone when Mewtwo somehow rewinds time (?), though those scientists remained gone. They never really focus on that.
21 A Second Mewtwo Is Introduced In The Pokémon X And Y Films
You remember Mewtwo, right? Of course you do, we all remember Mewtwo. Mewtwo was the big bad in the first Pokémon movie, and he was awesome. He was considered to be the strongest Pokémon ever.
Despite fans obviously remembering Mewtwo from the original movie, The Pokémon Company seems to want to believe that we've all suddenly forgotten and introduced a completely new Mewtwo in Pokémon the Movie: Genesect and The Legend Awakened. It didn’t really make sense to introduce a completely new Mewtwo, especially considering how iconic the OG was.
20 Ash Met With A Young Professor Oak In Pokémon 4Ever
Pokémon 4Ever was the first movie in the franchise that made me think that I may not like Pokémon anymore. There was just something about the story that made me feel embarrassed. The movie is about Ash and gang meeting a time-traveling trainer, who comes from the past. It is revealed that the trainer from the past was actually a young Professor Oak. Do you know what that means? Nothing, because that plot twist is never brought up again. I don’t really get why they had that twist, particularly since it didn’t change anything in the anime.
19 Arceus May Actually Be The Big Man In The Sky
Legendary Pokémon have existed since the first games, Red and Blue. However, it is Diamond and Pearl that went the extra mile in establishing that legendaries are omnipotent beings. In Diamond and Pearl, we receive Pokémon that are able to control time and space.
Arceus was also introduced in those games, and Arceus is supposedly a deity. Not just of all Pokémon, but the literal creator of the whole universe. And you can capture it, and have it be a part of your party… yeah, the games don’t really elaborate on how that’s possible.
18 Giratina May Actually Be The Devil
Arceus may have created the Pokémon world, and Giratina is implied to be the opposite. It is suggested in Pokémon Platinum that Giratina may be the antithesis of Arceus, and is the ruler of the Distortion World.
If it isn’t apparent to you, the Distortion World may actually be a representation of the underworld in the Pokémon universe. If Giratina is the ruler of the underworld and is the opposite of Arceus, that would imply that Giratina is the devil. While it isn’t as clear as Arceus being a metaphor to the deity, the implication of Giratina being the devil is perceptible.
17 The Vs. Seeker
Vs. Seeker was an item introduced in Gen. IV, and it was awesome. It was a device that sends out a signal to nearby trainers to see if they want a rematch. If a trainer has an exclamation point pop over their head, that means they want a rematch. Before the Seeker was introduced, players would need to level up their Pokémon by fighting in random encounters. With the Seeker, players could now level up faster against strong trainers. For no good reason whatsoever, the Vs. Seeker has not been in any games since Pokémon Platinum.
16 Alder Was The Pokémon Champion In Unova
No matter what issues fans may have with the fourth generation of Pokémon games, I think most would agree that Cynthia is an awesome Pokémon champion. The Pokémon League Champion of Sinnoh, Cynthia had a cool design and was a vital ally in the story.
This is in contrast to Alder, the League Champion of the fifth generation of Pokémon. Alder was boring, and you don’t even face against him at the end of the Champions League. He is beaten by N and does nothing afterward. He was quickly replaced by Iris as the League Champion in the sequels.
15 Iris And Cilan As Ash’s Companions In Pokémon Black And White
The Pokémon anime has had a lot of ups and downs. Arguably the first season is the most popular and iconic, with most people remembering it fondly. I’ve heard the seasons that focus on Pokémon X and Y were pretty neat, primarily due to the fact that the battles were great.
With that said, there are not a lot of fans of the Black and White seasons of the show. Most of the blame comes down to Ash’s companions in those seasons, Iris and Cilan. They weren’t popular among fans, and their replacement Serena proved to be a much bigger hit.
14 Tracey Sketchit
Remember all the hype for the Pokémon Sun and Moon anime when they brought back Misty and Brock back for guest appearances? It was awesome and drew in more interest towards the new season. Apparently, it was so popular they are going to have them guest star again.
I can’t imagine Tracey Sketchit drawing that much attention if they announced him coming back, though. Tracey was the first replacement companion in the series, replacing Brock briefly. He still makes some appearances in the anime, though he is mostly ignored by the fan base now.
13 Lots Of Weapons In The Original Show
There is an infamous episode of the original Pokémon series that had lots of guns. The episode is “The Legend of Dratini,” and it is banned in the US. This is because a character within the episode excessively pointing guns everywhere. The episode being banned caused a lot of confusion among fans, as it is in “The Legend of Dratini” that Ash captures all his Tauros. Since we Americans didn’t get to see that episode, Ash suddenly has thirty Tauros. Side note: “Here Comes the Squirtle Squad” also had guns and it wasn’t censored in the US.
12 The Other Banned Episodes
“Cyber Soldier Porygon” and “The Legend of Dratini” weren’t the only banned episodes. While banned episodes were the most common in the original season of the TV show, there are a few that happened later in the show’s run. There was an episode during the Hoenn seasons called “Shaking Island Battle! Barboach VS Whiscash!!” that never aired, not even in Japan, due to an earthquake hitting Japan around that time. There was also supposed to be a two-episode conflict between Team Rocket and Team Plasma that also never aired for a similar reason; another earthquake hit the country.
11 “Holiday Hi-Jynx”
Jynx has always been a Pokémon that they try to sweep under the rug. Many people find Jynx’s original design too similar to that of insensitivities. I don’t think the designers had ill-intentions, and I honestly do believe a lot of Jynx’s unsavory aesthetics came about by accident.
Jynx is now purple rather than pure black. Despite that, Jynx is still tricky to portray in anime. The “Holiday Hi-Jynx” episode has been taken out of syndication and is no longer available on DVD, despite it being edited to have Jynx match her more modern design.
10 Team Plasma Are Liberation Activists
Team Plasma has some of the more fascinating ideology in the entire game. They are an organization that wants to release all Pokémon back to the wild and for them to no longer be trapped in Poke Balls. They force other trainers to release their Pokémon with their own Pokémon, making them somewhat hypocritical.
Team Plasma is very similar to real-world animal liberation activists; people who free animals from confinement illegally. There are a lot of complicated ethics with Team Plasma and animal liberators, something the games don’t really elaborate on more thoroughly.
9 Team Flare
Whereas Team Plasma was filled with a lot of ethical complexities that the Pokémon Company simply didn’t want to particularize, Team Flare is just lame. Team Flare’s leader, Lysandre, is the only good thing to come from them. He has an imposing design.
However, the rest of Team Flare is bad. Their goal to make a more beautiful world really comes off cartoonish, especially compared to the more complex motives of Team Plasma. They are easily the worst organization in all of Pokémon, and the franchise has rightfully ignored them, other than Lysandre.
8 Lavender Town Was Replaced By A Radio Tower In Gold And Silver
Lavender Town is one of the most memorable things in the original games. The town of Ghost Pokémon, fans of the series remember it for its haunting music and sobering story.
In the first direct sequel, Pokémon Gold and Silver, you can return to Lavender Town. Except there’s no sad music, and there’s also no iconic tower where you encounter the Ghost Pokémon. Instead, they have a radio tower, which is lame. The Lavender Town radio tower returns in the remakes, HeartGold and SoulSilver. But thankfully old-school Lavender Town returns in Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee.
7 The Elite Four Were Meant To Be Villains (In The Manga)
So in the original Red and Blue, you’ll only meet the Elite Four at the very end when you fight them in the Pokémon League. You don’t get much of their personality, and only Lance is properly expanded on in the sequels.
With that said, in the Pokémon manga, the Elite Four were meant to be totally villainous. They were all stuck-up trainers who try to take over the world at some point in the manga. It is such a stark contrast to what the games showed that I almost wish that the Elite Four were villainous in the games.
6 Sevii Islands In FireRed And LeafGreen
FireRed and LeafGreen are remakes of the original Pokémon games, Red and Blue. They included many new things, like better graphics and the awesome Vs. Seeker. They even added in a bunch of post-game stuff, including the Sevii Islands. The Sevii Islands are brand new locations that players can traverse, and were filled with a bunch of extra content.
When it was decided to remake Red and Blue again with Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee, for whatever reason, they chose to exclude the Sevii Islands. This exclusion made some fans upset, as that gave Let’s Go a lot less content.
5 Ash’s Female Companions Are Fan Service
I always assumed that Ash gains a new female companion in each generation because the writers want to bring in new blood for the series. However, the real reason I found turns out to be much more insulting. Apparently, according to the original director of the series, Misty and the other female companions were designed to be fan service for young boys.
It makes the female characters seem more disposable. I would argue that most of the female leads in the anime are more interesting than Ash has ever become, and I would prefer them to stick around instead of him.
4 The Mean Rivals In Early Pokémon Games
This is another entry on this list that infuriates me, mostly because it just shows how out-of-touch the developers are. In the first two generations of Pokémon games, your main rivals were people you absolutely hated. Blue from Red and Blue was a rival you always wanted to beat, which is why defeating him at the very end in the Pokémon League was so very satisfying.
The developers completely move away from mean rivals in Gen III and onwards. They give out pretty ridiculous excuses why they don’t go back to the mean rivals, none which have been gratifying answers.
3 Ash May Have Gotten Kissed By A Pokémon
Pokémon Heroes may actually be one of the best films within the series. The setting was beautiful, and Ash’s relationships with the Legendary Pokémon, Latios and Latias, is enduring. Ash may have actually gone a little too close to Latias.
Latias has the ability to make herself appear like her human caretaker, Bianca. At the very end of the movie, someone who looks like Bianca kisses Ash close to his mouth. It is never stated if it was the real Bianca, or if it was Latias. The series never really dwells on the fact that Ash may have been kissed by a Pokémon.
2 Mewtwo’s Tragic Backstory
Mewtwo was a great character because he was very complex. He had a tragic backstory of being a clone of the original Mew, and not understanding his purpose. There was a Pokémon special that was about Mewtwo befriending a clone girl within his psychic mind. The clone girl eventually passes away, with Mewtwo’s memories being erased from it. It was a really sad special, and it's something that the series has constantly forgotten about the character. Hopefully the upcoming Pokémon film, Mewtwo Strikes Back: Evolution, will bring back the pathos that made Mewtwo popular in the first place.
1 They Got Rid Of The Original Dub Actors
In 2008, the Pokémon Company decided to dub the Pokémon anime themselves rather than have 4Kids do it. They changed the entire cast, replacing everyone. It was a controversial move at the time, and I personally refuse to forgive the company for doing that. While 4Kids made a lot of controversial edits to the anime, the voice actors have become iconic with their roles. Even today, most people recognize the original cast as the main characters.
Other than a few exceptions over the years, the Pokémon Company hasn’t rehired any of the most iconic actors from the series.