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Gogoat: A great Pokémon, or the greatest Pokémon?
You gotta spin it to win it
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Stop the presses!
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of Spider-Man!
Extra! Extra!

Pokémon (often simplified to Pokemon when typing the accent is inconvenient) is one of the most successful and popular Japanese media franchises in the world, featuring cute (or sometimes ugly) creatures beating the crap out of each other to the point of being knocked unconscious. It started in 1996 with the first set of video games, developed by Game Freak and published (and later translated) by Nintendo for the latter's Game Boy portable gaming console (though the games didn't get an English-language release until 1998); it has grown to include many games, manga, movies, and an anime series which has been running for 15 years and counting. One equally long-lived manga series, Pokémon Adventures, includes multiple volumes based on every non-spinoff video game in the series. (There are other manga series, but they tend to feature plots focused on specific video games — such as Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl Adventure!'s case — rather than on all of them as with Adventures.)

One anime episode caused several hundred children's brains being fried, and another showed a man inflating fake breasts in order to win a swimsuit competition. Sadly, it took until Pokémon #638 until the designers finally recognized the error of their previous ways and based one of the glorious creatures on a goatCobalion.[1][2] And again in Generation VI, they gave us a true, Grass-type, non-legendary goat simply called Gogoat.

"Pokémon Shock"[edit]

There is one episodeWikipedia's W.svg of the Pokémon anime series that can seriously be hazardous to your health. "Dennō Senshi Porygon" featured explosions in which the entire screen alternated very quickly between red and blue. On December 16, 1997, when it was aired on Japanese television, it induced epileptic seizures in a large number of viewers and sent 685 people to the hospital.[3] This was dubbed "Pokémon Shock" and caused a media firestorm, resulting in some guidelines being put in place for the use of flickering images in animated cartoons. One lesser-known casualty is that Porygon and its evolutionary family members, despite not being responsible for the violent flashes, aside from extremely minor cameos, have not since appeared in any newer episodes of the series.


Some Christian fundamentalists have stirred up a Satanic panic claiming the series promotes witchcraft, occultry, and claims of blasphemy.[4][5][6][7][8][9] In particular, they've latched onto the fact that the franchise features Pokémon "evolution," concluding that the series promotes the theory of evolution[7] despite the fact that the concept of "evolution" in Pokémon is completely different from the actual theory[10] and more closely resembles stages the normal growth of an organism — most notably insect metamorphosis (the creator of Pokémon, Satoshi Tajiri,Wikipedia's W.svg had a fondness of insects when he was a kid and collected them as a hobby; the aspect of catching wild Pokémon in the games was intended to allow people in more urbanized areas to have what is essentially a virtual version of his hobby). Despite such moral panics, the Vatican has so far found Pokémon to be highly acceptable,[11] although the existence of Lord Helix may temper that in the future.[12]

Actually there's a very similar game series with Satanism and occultism in it, called as Megami Tensei, but no one bats an eye for these. Probably because it wasn't exported from Japan for a long time, the first game released in North America was a spin-off action game for Nintendo's failed Virtual Boy system called Jack Bros. Also, the newer games are much lighter and softer (e.g. the Persona series) than the older ones, with a few notorious exceptions having been released lately for the family-friendly handheld Nintendo 3DS (Namely the Devil Survivor series, Soul Hackers and Shin Megami Tensei IV, the last of which actually pissed off some people... but those were Hindus [13]).

Other lesser known "controversies" include right to publicity infringement,[14] Nazism,[15][14] materialism,[16] and gambling.[17][18][19]

It happens that in 2001, Saudi Arabia banned the Pokémon franchise completely, claiming that the series defames the name of Muhammad promotes Zionism.[18][20] Some fundamentalist Muslims also claimed "Pokémon" means "I am Jewish," showing complete ignorance of the fact that the series originated from Japan (and that "Pokemon" is a contraction of "Pocket Monsters" — Poketto Monsutā — when written in Japanese). Why the Saudi government still allows games such as Yu-Gi-Oh, a card game which has actual Jewish references [21], remains a mystery for the ages.

The Pokémon Jynx's design and appearance has been heavily criticized by cultural critic Carole Boston Weatherford, who described Jynx as representing blackface after seeing the character's depiction in the anime.[22] Due to complaints, Gamefreak modified her appearance and now depict Jynx with purple skin instead of black, though criticisms from and similar sources have persisted. It should be noted that Jynx was likely inspired by ganguro, a Japanese fashion where women tan heavily, bleach their hair, and apply large amounts of makeup, instead of a black stereotype.[23] And, for some reason, PETA has had no issue over a game where wild creatures are captured and forced to battle. They then released a "parody" game on the day of release of Black 2 and White 2, proving again that they don't do any research.[24][25]

Other weirdness[edit]

In 2011, long after most people other than PETA had stopped complaining about the series, Republican Presidential hopeful Herman Cain killed his chances of being president (again) by quoting the theme song from the second Pokémon movie in a speech, refering to the writer for said line as "a poet".[26][27] Some analysts have noted that the decision might not have been as bold as many people thought; by then he had already lost most of his support, it was in fact his concession speech, and much like poor Kadabra he had already been accused of wearing the Number of the Beast.[28]

External links[edit]


  1. Yet there have been a plethora of sheep Pokémon over the years: Mareep, Flaaffy and Whimsicott.
  2. Arceus, however, was goat-like. And also God
  3. Oh noes! It's Pikachu, Causing children to die have seizures!!
  4. Religious Objections to Pokémon
  5. "Christian perspective on Pokémon"
  6. The Dangers of Pokemon!
  7. 7.0 7.1 Pokemon: What is it?
  8. "The Danger of the Pokemon Fascination"
  9. It happens that if you backmask the Pokemon rap, you'll get "I love Satan!" Coincidence? I think not! (The rap haven't even been used in the anime for over ten years.)
  10. The concept of Pokemon "evolution" fully explained
  11. That's right, the Vatican said it: There is no Satanic brainwashing in Pokémon
  12. Leave it to the hivemind of the Internet to create a cult out of a bloody fossil.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Uri Geller sues Pokemon, claiming it defames his name!
  15. See here, keep in note that the swastika (or manji as the Japanese call it) have a completely different meaning and it's not always associated to Nazism.
  16. Pokemon the Movie: 2000, Pop Matters
  17. Lawsuit Slams Pokemon as Bad Bet for Addicted Kids
  18. 18.0 18.1 Banned in Saudi Arabia, now I wonder if anyone have the guts to bring in Pokemon Platinum into the kingdom now.
  19. Note that although the "gambling" (which actually involved game tokens and not the in-game character's money) was removed in the non-Japanese versions of HeartGold and SoulSilver, it was for the purpose of making it easier to release the games in Europe — for some reason the video game-rating system there is extremely strict when it comes to gambling references. (In case you were wondering, it was replaced with a card game that resembles a cross between Minesweeper and PicrossWikipedia's W.svg, which the guy that wrote this can't stop playing.)
  20. It is speculated that this is because the symbol for colorless energy in the spinoff trading card game resembles the Star of David.
  22. Question of the Month (September 2009): Racism and Pokemon, David Pilgrim, The Jim Crow Museum, Ferris State University
  24. Their parody suggests that characters don't care about the well-being of their Pokémon, but in fact the player characters all do, and only villains are shown not caring for their Pokémon (with animated series protagonist Ash Ketchum suffering the most grievous character derailment of all the human characters, all for the sake of a shallow parody). This was in fact a plot point in the original Black and White games, proving that the PETA parody is obviously uninformed.
  25. If you really want to see it...
  26. We have to link to this again.
  27. If he wanted to be profound and quote Pokémon, he should've stuck with this line from Pokémon: the First Movie and villain Mewtwo: "I see now that the Circumstances of one's birth are irrelevant. It is what you do with the gift of life that determines who you are."
  28. 999 is awfully close to...