Pokemon has long set its place in nerd culture for its games, cards, anime, and countless merchandise. With the release of CGI/Live action movie Detective Pikachu and upcoming game Pokemon Sword and Shield, the fandom remains as strong as ever. Like anything popular, though, the property is not without it’s problems and controversies. Hard to imagine boobs, Guns, Seizures, Racism, and Death are associated with cute fictional fighting creatures… but here we are.
Ever watched the anime and wondered, “hmm, why didn’t Ash and the others visit the Safari Zone?” or ever wondered how Ash caught all those Tauros? Well, folks, there was an episode that had to do with the Safari Zone and the picture above shows why it wasn’t aired. The episode is titled “The Legend of Dratini,” and the Clint Eastwood look-a-like is the warden of the Safari Zone. The warden here, carries a gun because he is protecting Dratini. Because of the gun, the episode never aired in the U.S. Apparently, America hates guns. Who would have thunk? Thanks to YouTube, you can check out the episode in two parts, subtitled.
Like any anime, boobs are often put on the priority list and Team Rocket’s Jessie always provided that for the show However, in one case, it was James that caused the episode to be banned. There was a bikini contest held in the episode and James, cross-dressing like always, had fake boobs… boobs that he could inflate and make bigger (Can’t lie though, if ya had no idea what show it was, or who James is, he looks fine AF). The episode later aired as a “lost episode” but took out the whole bikini contest. Another “boob” controversy was a Pokemon card titled “Misty’s Tears” (above).The Japanese image of the card showed a naked Misty holding her Staryu. Kids see a little side boob and their parents goes nuts. The U.S. version of the card changed the image and sated unhappy parents.
As seen above, the manji symbol that has connections with Buddhism, has been always seen as an swastika in The States (even though the manji is a mirror image and was established WAY before the swastika) and it upset some parents. The image of the card was fixed later for the U.S. release where it now looks like a symbol that can be seen on most Chinese food bowls. Another instance was the sprite art of Registeel for Pokemon Diamond/Pearl, in which it looks like he is doing the hand salute. The European version of the game has changed to something a little more appropriate.
POKEMON IS SATANIC! If you like to listen to the guy above who compares Pokemon with Russian Roulette, then there’s a lot out there like him preaching how Pokemon, like Dungeons and Dragons, is all demonic. Apparently Pokemon introduces children to evolution, witchcraft, psychic abilities from Satan, magic, and paranormal powers. There was also the whole “listen to the PokeRap backwards” issue. During the “Gotta Catch em’ all” part, some say you can hear, “I love Satan.” There was even a Muslim community who believed that this is all a plot to promote Jewish beliefs and that the word Pokemon means “I am Jewish”.
You heard that right. A promotion for Burger King had it where kids could get a Pokemon inside a PokeBall (shown above) with their kids meal. Unfortunately, a young infant suffocated as one half of the PokeBall was stuck covering her nose and mouth. Burger King initially did not want to do a recall on the item since there was no real proof that the infant died because of the PokeBall. Some time later, another infant almost met the same fate but was save by her father. Once that happen, one of the largest and most expensive recalls happened. At least the kids were able to keep the Pokemon figures.
Jynx + Racism
There were complaints on how Jynx looked after the initial episode that introduced the Psychic/Ice Pokemon. Some people compared how Jynx looked to the features of Black Samba characters. This led to Jynx’s later appearance to be edited out and also an entire episode to be skipped. Nintendo later gave Jynx a more purple skin tone and also alter other parts of her appearance, in which, she was able to appear in later episodes with no problems. Most fans tries to defend the initial Jynx design by saying that it was influenced by the Japanese ganguro fashion style.
Electric Soldier Porygon/ Seizure
This is the infamous Pokemon episode that got the Guinness World Record for “Most Seizures Caused by an Animated Television Program” title. How many seizures you ask? Well, try 685 children having seizures. Although it didn’t lead to any deaths, it did cause a shake-up in the anime and other TV programs overall in Japan. All anime has the warning (telling kids to not sit close to the TV and watch in a brightly lit room) at the beginning of shows now because of this episode. What happened is that in one scene, Pikachu does a Thunder shock/Thunderbolt to a missile, that then was shot a by a X-Wing/Needle hybrid looking jet, which led to a series of fast-paced, flashing red to blue colors in the background. The color effects went on throughout the episode. The aftermath caused the Pokemon anime to go on a hiatus and the Japanese government put a world-wide ban on the episode. The episode is available on YouTube, view if you want to but VIEW AT YOUR OWN RISK.