The Controversy of Pokemon

March 4, 2010
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Pokemon is one of the most successful gaming franchises in history. When Pokemon Yellow debuted, it sold over a million copies in its first month alone. Combined with the over 20 million copies of Pokemon Green, Red, and Blue, this proves that Pokemon is clearly a fan favorite among gamers.

But what some of you may not know is that with success, comes controversy. And Pokemon has had plenty controversy. some of it, very obvious, while some of it quite hidden. Today, I will show you in on some of the key struggles Pokemon has been through. Some it has won. Some, sadly, it has lost.
Pokemon Anime

Well, I can say that almost all of us here grew up with the adventures of beloved Ash and the gang on the television right?

Most American and European children grew up watching the adventures of beloved Ash and the gang on the television. Controversy in Pokemon first stared off very early in it's short lifetime. In season 1, episode 18, the episode, “Beauty and the Beach”, came the first in a long line of anime editing. It was a very simple and routine “day off” storyline, until the beauty contest started, which showed James, a member of the corrupt and antagonist Team Rocket sporting fake breasts to win it. In Japan, the episode remained uncut, but in America, it was edited almost instantly. This contest made up most of the episode, a very significant portion, which to the unknown viewer, makes the episode seem shorter.
This would be the first in a long line of Pokemon edits, but not the first to be pulled from the air.

Next, comes one of the most asked questions in Pokemon Anime history, “Where did Ash get all of those Tauros?”. The answer to this rhetorical question is, all of them were caught in a banned episode. What you may know, and what Professor Oak has mentioned many times, is that Ash did get them at the Safari Zone. But why was the episode not shown? Well, when Ash and the gang arrive, the owner of the Safari Zone puts a gun to Ash’s head. But it doesn't stop there. Later, Team Rocket arrives as usual, and the Safari Zone owner shoots at them, but doesn't manages to pull off a hit. Later in the episode, Team Rocket kidnapped the Owner and tied him up. Once more, a gun is pulled when James interrogates the owner of the Safari Zone about the hard-to-find Dratini. Then, right after, Jessie puts her gun to his head. This would be the midpoint of the Anime controversy, and leaving many Pokemon fans confused for years.

The First Time a Gun Was Shown In The Notorious Episode

Next, is an episode that literally hurt children all across Japan. Thought to be an urban legend to some in America, and almost got the Pokemon Anime canceled altogether, it is the famed “Porygon” episode. Yes, the notorious Porygon episode almost got the show canceled altogether. The episode went as planned, everyone from the usual cast were in cyberspace, thanks to Porygon. A few minutes in, Team Rocket (Noticing a trend here?) shot rockets at the Porygon. Pikachu destroyed them with a thunderbolt, causing them to explode into rapid flashings of Red and Blue, that sent over 800 Japanese children to the hospital. From this point, Pokemon was put on hiatus for 4 months. It was put on hiatus, but luckily, it bounced back.

One Of The Many Frames That Caused The Chain Reaction Of Seizures

There were other episodes highly criticized as well. The Jynx episode, which was never aired, has two motives. One, was the idea that Jynx, a Pokemon with a blackface and blond hair, perpetuated African-American stereotypes. Also, a romur spread that this was also not aired because of the SARS epidemic going on at the time, and in the episode, Brock showed many of its symptoms.

Of course, there were banned or rarely seen episodes that were not negative. Such as the Tentacruel episode, which no negative content at all. It featured a giant Tentacruel knocking down buildings. This episode is now rarely aired because of its negative affiliations with 9/11, which it was originally aired just before. And again, there was another never before aired episode, “Shaking Island Battle! Barboach VS Whiscash!!”, which featured a plethora of earthquakes in it. This was made around the time when Japan had gotten hit by a chain of earthquakes, so like the Tentacruel Episode, it had nothing really negative, just bad timing.
The Pokemon In General

The Pokemon themselves have also had controversial apparences. As I’ve already said, Jynx was simply controversial for it's connections to blackface. But since it’s first appearance, Jynx’s skin color is now a more bright purple. Also, Registeel and Lucario are thought by some to be references to Nazism, this is due to the way that their sprites are posed, as if they were performing a Nazi salute. Notably, the German Registeel sprite is edited to have its arm down. And a lesser-known racial stereotype Pokemon, Ludicolo, supposedly plays off a Mexican stereotype, even donning a sombrero.

A German Registeel Sprite

A Regular Registeel Sprite

Pokemon And The World

Pokemon, maybe has even more controversy when it comes to religion, personal beliefs, and morals throughout the world. One of the most debated arguments about pokemon is it having connections with Satanism.
For example of “Satanism” connecting to Pokemon, you would need to capture a demon first to make it do your bidding, and sometimes you would even need special talismans (Gym Badges), to control them. Although this maybe one of the oldest negative arguments, there really is no evidence to prove that Pokemon is a gateway to Satanism.

As I’ve said before, Pokemon also (supposedly) has links to Nazism. On some of the Japanese cards, there are swastikas(Or Manji). This can actually be disproved. Hindus and Buddhists used the swastika(Manji) to represent the sun, love, and mercy, and it has been around for hundreds of years before the Nazi used it.

Note, the Manji in the puff of smoke.

Pokemon also has a bad reputation with the Nation of Islam as well. In 2001 Saudi Arabia officially banned Pokemon. This seemed a shock to some, who just saw Pokemon as a harmless fad. The Nation Of Islam had five reasons for banning Pokemon. The first reason, it supported evolution. The second was that it distorted children’s minds. The third reason was that it damaged children mentally. The forth one says that it supports gambling, and the last, it has symbols like the The “Hexa Star”, which has connections to Zionists and Freemasons. There were also reports that the catch line, “Gotta catch em’ all” backwards meant, "I am a Jew", but there is no evidence to support that claim.

Well, I’ve taken you inside of some of the most controversial points and views of Pokemon, there are many more, but I will leave that option up to you if you would like to dig even deeper. Thank you for reading. This has been Sharamore, and remember, with success, comes controversy.

And now, you may discuss.


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This article has 4 comments. Post your own now!

Zekromboy said...
Feb. 24, 2015 at 10:36 pm
A lot of pokemon have problems like Froakie and Hawlucha
PokeGirl said...
Jun. 5, 2011 at 11:19 pm
I didn't know alot of this information before! thanks!
MetallixRose said...
Mar. 16, 2011 at 10:59 pm
I've been following the show since I was like, born, and I'm thriteen now. I love the show. I love this article. POKEMON FOREVA!!!!
china12888 said...
Mar. 8, 2011 at 4:59 pm
i know, yet have you seen the movie where there are real people playing anime characters. that movie has shifted from a calm one to one with violence unseen to the world.
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