Pokémon is the famous series that many of us have grown up watching with joy and admiration. Not just kids, but adults; parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles are all aware of what Pokémon is, even though, they probably call it “Pokéman.”
Mispronunciation aside, the point is that most modern-day people know about it. It’s even made a comeback in the new generation of kids. Unfortunately, this article is about to ruin a few childhoods. There are a ton of hidden edits and episodes that American producers have concealed from our knowledge. From subliminal messages to unknown scenes and facts, Pokémon isn’t quite the story that we all thought we knew. There are as many secrets surrounding the television show as there are the games; in fact, maybe even more. Some things they got away with in Japan but not in America, and there are certain dark details about your favorite creatures that maybe you’ve never noticed. Either way, we’re about to bring these things to light.
Prepare to be enlightened. If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of losing your childhood, it’s not too late to turn back, now. Would you really want to miss out on this enticing opportunity, though? There are many discoveries waiting to be unveiled, welcome to the dark side.
20. Child’s Play
Phantumps are Pokémon that can be found in abandoned forests. What’s eerier than their natural environment is what they’re made up of, though. Phantumps are actually the spirits of dead children that inhabit rotten tree stumps. What’s especially creepy about these Pokémon is their behavior seems to mimic that of a child, pretty much confirming the Pokédex entry. For instance, in the episode, “Making Friends and Influencing Villains,” Team Rocket found macarons hidden in a hollow tree and began eating them. Suddenly, they heard children’s laughter, and a group of Phantumps came into view. One tried stealing a macaron from Jessie which leads to a fight between the two. This is sort of a cute Pokémon because it acts very childish, but once you realize what this Pokémon actually is, it becomes a bit more chilling…
19. Cute, Dangerous, And Cuddly
Both in the Pokémon TV series and game, there is evidence that the young trainers we see on-screen are soldiers-to-be. A certain theory involves a quote from Lieutenant Surge in which he talks about how Pokémon saved his life during the war, which occurred prior to the series we know. This has caused many to speculate that if the war was hostile enough to involve Pokémon, then it must’ve had mass casualties, which explains the lack of characters in their twenties and thirties. This also explains why Pokémon training is so important in this community. The professors come in as manipulators who prepare the young generation of children Ash’s age to be ready for another war that may or may not occur. Which is why they push young trainers to catch as many Pokémon as possible and to compete in the gyms. The intense training is similar to a thinly-veiled Pokémon boot camp.
18. The Not-So-Sweet Theme Song
If you’ve grown up with Pokémon, prepare for your childhood to be ruined. Many people know the words to the original Pokémon theme song by heart. However, have you ever tried to play the song backward? Upon doing so, listeners claim to hear the subliminal messages stated throughout, such as; “All must die,” and, “All must testify.” No one really knows the story behind the subliminal messaging in the theme song, and though it might not be intentional, many people swear by it. We’re not sure if the Pokémon creators want kids to take their training to the next level or if it’s just a sick message that is brought in the form of an innocent children’s show. Either way, you’ll never look at this famous theme song the same.
17. What A Beach
There are a lot of uncomfortable moments in anime shows, that’s something you sort of come to terms with, however, this particular episode takes things to the next level. In the episode, “Beauty and the Beach,” Misty, Ash, and Brock find themselves in a lot of trouble, so Misty decides to participate in a bikini competition in order to pay for the damages that the trio caused, which is already a bit too adult for a child audience. It gets worse when James from Team Rocket also competes in the bikini competition and cross-dresses with huge, inflatable… well, you know. The scene was quite awkward and didn’t fit the targeted age for this particular show, causing it to be taken off air in America. What really tips the scale is when James tells Misty that she’d better hope her chest could be as big as his one day… It’s no surprise that this episode was banned.
16. Hey, This Isn’t Juice…
The last thing you’d expect people to get out of a child’s show is an inebriation-inducing adult game. The show may be beloved in the hearts of all wannabe trainers everywhere, but its predictable plot seems to be a recipe for a perfect kind of party game. Or, at least, that’s what the online community seems to think. There are many different ways to play the Pokémon Drinking Game, such as the simple version in which players would only take a shot each time a Pokémon says its own name. For instance, when Pikachu says, “Pika!” that would count as a shot. There are also a plethora of board game variations of this! It’s perfect for a flashback marathon get-together with some friends. Although, for anyone who still perceives it as an unblemished TV show from youth, this is a bit of a dark discovery.
15. Pokémon Was Actually Violent (in Japan)
This can be perceived in two different ways, but first, let me present the facts. Pokémon episodes, especially the earlier ones, portray numerous instances of violence, which almost all had been removed before being aired in America. The American production company that aired Pokémon for a number of years, 4Kids, even went so far as to remove words such as “bomb.” Which seems a bit overkill when you consider many of the other cartoons that 90s kids were watching those days. There was even a scene in which Meowth lit a match; a candle was later drawn over it to conceal the taboo item. On the one hand, it’s nice to know that Pokémon was kept age-appropriate (for the most part), on the other, it’s kind of crazy to edit so many things that most of the young viewers had already known about or had already experienced/seen. Point is, some of the censored items were child’s play, others were truly shocking… I guess 4Kids didn’t want to take any chances.
14. Pokémon: Slaves Or Royalty?
It’s not as much of a secret as it is an unacknowledged fact, that Pokémon can easily be perceived as slaves. The endearing creatures don’t exactly receive the royal treatment when they’re first captured; they fight a trainer’s Pokémon until they faint and then find themselves trapped in a tiny ball. Fans have pointed out a flip side to this, though. As seen in the Pokémon TV show, many Pokémon are actually treated very well, even choosing whether or not they’d like to fight in battle. They have carefully prepared food, groomers, and even free health care. They’re also loved and cared for by their trainers, as seen by Ash and Pikachu’s relationship. When Pokémon are not constrained to everything that a trainer wants, this lets us see their true personalities throughout the anime. Not all trainers allow Pokémon to have this right, which has been condemned by Ash and his friends.
13. Back-Masked James
In Pokémon’s episode, “The Whistle Stop,” Team Rocket trapped Ash, Misty, and Brock in a net in an attempt to steal Pikachu. Jesse and James begin letting out their Pokémon for a battle to steal Pikachu when James gets caught in Victreebel’s mouth. At this point, you’re able to hear inaudible mumbling, but when played backward James says, “Leo Burnett and 4Kids is the devil!” Eric Stuart, the voice of James, was asked about this scene, and he stated it’s because 4Kids wanted to stop paying actors for commercial clips. It’s claimed that this clip was never actually supposed to be aired, it was a “protesting joke,” but when it accidentally was aired and put on videotapes, 4Kids stopped distribution and released an edited version of this episode. But not before many people had already found this hidden message!
12. The Scene That Messed People Up
This episode is likely one of the most destructive ever to be aired in Japan. In “The Electric Soldier Porygon,” Ash, Misty, and Brock try to recover the computer programmer’s Porygon that was stolen by Team Rocket. They use their own Porygon to assist them in battle, but it soon becomes explosive… The animators used strobe lights during the battle scene to dramatize the explosions. Worst of all was the very end of the scene which had blue and red lights flashing over 100 times for five seconds, taking up the entire frame. This caused over 600 children in Japan to have epileptic seizures and have to get taken to the hospital. There was an English dubbed version with slightly altered lighting/coloring, but the episode still never made it to the U.S., which also led to very few appearances of Porygon afterward.
11. Are Americans More Feminist?
This episode is a particularly strange (and possibly super offensive) unknown purely because of the unidentified motivation behind it. In the episode, “All Fired Up!” Gary Oak makes it into the top thirty-two at the Indigo Plateau Conference but is knocked out by a trainer named Melissa. At least in the English episode, anyway. As it turns out, the mysterious trainer was a female only in the English dub; in the Japanese version, the trainer was actually a boy. No one knows exactly why this is the case, however, speculation can be made that it may have something to do with a cultural difference. One explanation is that it may make it more crushing for Gary to lose to a girl, especially after telling Ash that he’ll do better than him. On the other hand, maybe the American producers value equality more than the Japanese… Nothing has been confirmed as of yet, so don’t boycott Pokémon right away. But this definitely seemed like an unnecessary change to the original.
10. Bruce Lee Tribute
This easter egg is more sad than anything. It’s interesting to discover that Pokémon references real-life people and events within the show in very subtle instances. In the episode, “Holiday Hi-Jynx,” it flashes back to when Jesse was a child and her doll was broken then later stolen by Santa so that he could fix it. The doll itself was actually made to look just like Bruce Lee. The name of the doll is Acha Ningyou, or A-cha Doll. “Acha” is the way of saying, “Bruce Lee’s battle cry.” It’s cool that a huge figure in the Asian community was featured in a children’s cartoon, especially since he changed the way Asians are perceived and presented in American films. This little-known fact from the episode is a tribute to the famous martial artist.
9. Creepy Kid
Poor Misty can’t catch a break in the Pokémon series. In the episode, “The Kangaskhan Kid,” a young boy named Tommy is dropped out of the window of a helicopter by his parents. Five years later, Ash, Brock, and Misty are healing a baby Kangaskhan in a remote area when Tommy strikes Ash in the face with a boomerang. Misty begins yelling at him for his rude behavior but things suddenly become awkward when she realizes that the boy isn’t looking at her face. In the Japanese version of the show, there is a two-second zoom in on her chest. The barbarian kid asks Misty if he can nurse from her, for lack of a better term. I know… pretty bizarre. And, obviously, this is viewed as highly inappropriate in our culture. So, in the dubbed version, Tommy asks if Misty is a Pokémon. Nice save, Pokémon.
8. That Rap Was Fire (Or At Least Someone Thinks So)
I’m sure we can all recall the annoying kid that tried to memorize the entire Pokémon Rap (and failed epically). Who am I kidding, we’ve all been there… right? Well, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s not just the Pokémon theme song that’s been exposed, but the Pokémon Rap also has a subliminal message of its own. If played in reverse, listeners might be able to hear, “I love you, Satan,” repeated. This is shocking and depressing for those that wish it to be nothing more than a happy TV show full of pocket monsters. This could explain why tons of churches back in the 90s condemned Pokémon and claimed that it was the devil’s work, only bringing damage to the lives of children. This one might not be completely true, but either way, that’s one creepy secret message hidden in a song that was once loved by elementary-schoolers.
7. Weapons We Never Knew About
It’s very difficult to find clips of this episode as it never aired in the U.S. That being said, anyone who is able to find shots of “The Legend of Dratini” can see the obvious issues that would arise right away. For one thing, guns are used by several characters, pointing them at the heads of Ash and Misty, which is already crossing the line for a kids’ show. But what really becomes a deal-breaker with this episode is the scene with James and Meowth’s interrogation. Meowth is sporting a familiar mustache and detective outfit. This isn’t the first time Pokémon has made a parallel with Team Rocket and the Nazis; with all of the adult themes in this episode, it was deemed unfit for children to watch in the United States.
6. Child Bride
In the Pokémon episode “Misty Meets Her Match,” the character, Rudy, very clearly takes a liking to Misty. After Misty saves a girl from drowning, she discovers that the girl’s brother, Rudy, has a crush on her. Rudy is the gym leader of the Trovita Gym and is also Ash’s opponent in the episode, but this didn’t deter him. After Ash’s battle with him, Rudy asks Misty to stay with him on Trovita Island. At least, that’s what he says in the English version anyway. In the original Japanese dub, Rudy actually asks Misty to marry him. It’s kind of unsurprising as to why this didn’t make it into the U.S. on a children’s show, seeing as how Misty is only ten years old. Although, a little part of all of us would have enjoyed the heightened drama that much more.
5. Gary Oak: Worst Pokémon Trainer Ever
In the Pokémon games, fans might recall their skilled opponent, Gary Oak, seemingly one step ahead throughout the game. He’s skilled in battle and has won against champions. In contrast to the Pokémon games, Gary Oak isn’t exactly the most skilled trainer on the TV show. In fact, Gary Oak isn’t very good at all, since he never even battled a champion. Throughout the TV series, Gary almost consistently fell short of Ash’s performance at various conferences and other battles. In the end, Gary Oak “chooses” to become a researcher like his grandfather, Professor Oak, instead. Did he really have a choice, though? His future in Pokémon training wasn’t looking too bright, to begin with.
4. Brock’s Mommy Issues
Many loyal viewers have noticed and commented on Brock’s obvious infatuations with girls throughout the Pokémon series. The common belief is that his behavior is caused by his own relationship with his mother. At the beginning of the Pokémon TV show, Ash meets Brock’s dad who claims that his mother is dead. Well, producers didn’t plan that one out very well, because years later they began using her character. It turns out that Brock’s mom marries multiple men, has children with them, and then abandons them. She later decides to also abandon the children to pursue her own dreams. Many fans believe that Brock’s own desire to fulfill a mother-role for his younger siblings is the reason that he overzealously seeks out a girlfriend. Either way, whether she died or not, Pokémon was really aiming for Brock to have mommy issues.
3. Pokémon’s Infatuation With Historical Villains
It’s no secret that offensive symbols are one aspect that the Pokémon creators have kept consistent. From swastikas to the infamous mustaches, the U.S. production companies have taken painstaking efforts to remove all of this imagery. However, there was one instance that was especially shocking. In the episode, “All Things Bright and Beautifly,” Team Rocket trainers and minions gather together for a malevolent meeting. Long story short, it basically ends with the entire group saluting together in unison. American production companies found this scene to be too reminiscent of a Nazi salute and, therefore, it had to be cut out before airing in the U.S. Luckily, we didn’t lose the entire episode altogether!
2. Delia’s Questionable Past
A lot of fans are beginning to speculate, in growing numbers, that Ash’s mom may have had a past of her own. The word on the street is that she’s a former member of Team Rocket. I know what you’re thinking: there’s no way, she’s too caring and warm-hearted. However, there are a few questionable instances. For one thing, Delia has always protected Ash and is very knowledgeable about Pokémon and training. This could be explained away by the theory that Ash’s dad is a trainer. Even Brock comments in the show that Delia would make a great trainer… maybe because she was one before Ash was born? In a recent episode of Pokémon Sun and Moon, Delia even steps up to battle Team Skull with no qualms. It was a pretty phenomenal moment. Lastly, in Pokémon Live! the play, Delia had previously dated Giovanni, the head of Team Rocket. Although this doesn’t necessarily make an argument for the anime, it does confirm the fact that many fans have probably considered Delia previously associated with Team Rocket.
1. Some Pokémon Are A Little Too Into Kids
After discovering the eerie Pokédex entry for Hypno, stating that it has used hypnosis to take a child away, many fans of the Pokémon series have come to the conclusion that Hypno is, in fact, a pedophile. However, this belief is only reinforced if fans take a look at an early episode of Pokémon, “Hypno’s Naptime,” in which Hypno hypnotizes many children, causing them to sleep and also believe that they’re Pokémon. Many children begin disappearing due to Hypno’s hypnosis because they forget their normal lives as children and act like wild Pokémon, taking to the forests and other landscapes. The fan theory is that this wasn’t accidental, but a malevolent scheme of Hypno’s. Some say that he’s just an innocent Pokémon, others think he’s capable of much more than it would seem. No matter what, I wouldn’t take any chances leaving my kids around a Hypno.
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