Despite its childlike appeal, the Pokémon franchise has a few dark sides to it and comes with a fair amount of controversy. Pokéfans, like me, are well aware of the many mistakes and WTF’s in the game – especially certain Pokédex entries. Many people have even come up with a few theories and conspiracies about certain aspects of the Pokémon universe. This list might be a little bit long, but it’s barely scratching the surface of the weird and wacky world of Pokémon.
1. Implausible Pokédex Entries
The highly popular Pokédex, an encyclopedia of Pokémon, is present in every game in the main series, but some of the entries are a little implausible, and some are outright impossible. This is probably due to lack of thought, or rather “wouldn’t this sound cool” logic, or just “power creep.” You’ll notice that some Pokémon are built to look a look a lot more impressive with each generation (usually failing) and are given pretty exaggerated Pokédex entries, most likely to out impress the Pokémon released in the previous generation. This can potentially lead to some radical abilities. Here are a just few crazy ones.
- Magcargo’s entry reads: “Its body temperature is roughly 18 000 degrees F. Flames spout from gaps in its hardened shell.” Sounds OK, right? What if I told you the sun is only 10 000 degrees F? It’s almost twice as hot as the sun, meaning you can’t even stand next to it without vapourising.
- Litwick’s entry reads: “Its flame is usually out, but it starts shining when it absorbs life force from people or Pokémon.” In other words, if you’re its trainer, it’s already trying to kill you.
- Machamp’s entry reads: “It punches with its four arms at blinding speed. It can launch 1,000 punches in two seconds.” That’s one punch every 0,008 seconds. Here’s the kicker, his speed stat sucks.
- Spoink’s entry reads: “Spoink bounces around on its tail. The shock of its bouncing makes its heart pump. As a result, this Pokémon cannot afford to stop bouncing – if it stops, its heart will stop.” So it will die if it faints.
- Kadabra’s entry reads: “It is rumored that a boy with psychic abilities suddenly transformed into Kadabra while he was assisting research into extrasensory powers.” Then where the hell did Abra come from?
2. A tale of two Wobbuffets
Back when Generation III was released (Ruby and Sapphire), Wobbuffet were flat out banned from unofficial tournaments. Why? Well, this gen introduced the passive ability function and Wobbuffet’s ability was Shadow tag – an ability that prevents the opponent from running or switching monsters. Wobbuffet is also the only Pokemon that can’t learn any offensive attacks; it can only counter attacks, unless it runs out of moves and uses struggle. Unfortunately, if both players use Wobbuffet, each holding leftovers (a recovery item), then the match would, in theory, last forever.
3. Ghost Pokémon are disturbing
While ghost type Pokémon are some of my favourites, their dex entries show them in a seriously messed up light. Drifloon are known to kidnap little children who mistake the Pokemon for a balloon. Being licked by a Haunter will cause you to shake uncontrollably until you die. Chandelure’s are known to burn people’s spirits. Banettes are abandoned plush toys that become possessed by cursed energy and seeks their original owner. And according to the game’s folklore, Phatumps were once trees that were possessed by children who died in a forest. Totally PG, amirite?
4. Pokémon Conspiracies
There are multiple conspiracy theories out there, but these two are by far the some of the most famous. It is theorized that Gengar (The Shadow Pokémon) was originally Clefable’s shadow. If you look closely at both of them, you’ll see a few similarities in their design. They’re basically polar opposites in every way. The second conspiracy is the Pokémon War in the first game. Very little info is given, but there are a few clues. In your Gym battle with Lt. Surge, he mentions that he was part of a war, and that his electric Pokémon saved his life. Many people have taken this as a sign for a Pokémon war. Another clue to back this up is the lack of men in the world, and also the fact that there’s no father figure for the main character (except in Gen III). Your rival is also an orphan. This is just a theory, but it’s a very popular one.
5. Controversy AHOY!
During its early days, Pokémon was considered to be antisemitic, due to the appearance of a swastika on one of the Trading Cards. Although the swastika is hated in the Western world (and rightfully so), in many eastern cultures, the symbol is one of good fortune. The swastika in question was printed on the Japanese “Koga’s Ninja Trick” card. The card was altered with the English release. Another case of Antisemitism occurred in an episode of the anime where the members of Team Rocket do a Nazi salute – this was only seen in the Japanese version of the anime and was censored in the western release.
Uri Gellar, a psychic who claimed he could bend metal spoons, sued Nintendo because he believed they based Kadabra off his likeness.
Then there’s the Jynx debacle. If you look at a Jynx now, you’ll see her with purple skin, but the original artwork shows she had black skin. The reason for the change is simple – people thought Nintendo was being racist and that they created a Pokémon based on an African-American stereotype. While the origins of what she’s truly based on remains a mystery, many fans have, you guessed it, come up with a few theories. One of them is that Jynx is actually inspired by ganguro, a Japanese fashion statement where women bleached their hair, tanned excessively and wore a ton of make-up. The other being that she is based on a female Viking. Another interpretation is that she’s based on the “Fat Lady,” an opera singer.
As you can see, there’s a lot more to Pokémon than catching cute critters and making them fight each other. Although this changes nothing about the game, it definitely proves that there more that meets the eye. There are other parts of the world I have yet to speak about, but I’ll leave that for another time.