Everybody knows what Pokémon is these days. From Pokémon GO to the anime show to the ever popular card game, it is a trend that is only looking to grow in the future. Now you may not appreciate how big Pokémon has become and that’s fine, but don’t let that stop you from reading any further. You might actually get some enjoyment.
While Pokémon has primarily been targeted at kids, that doesn’t mean that it’s completely pure. Just ask any kid that watched Johnny Bravo. People love to sneak dirty or inappropriate things into kids’ media- heck, Disney does it all the time. Pokemon is no different either.
Bear in mind that some of the questionable things in Pokémon aren’t as ridiculous as they could be, and don’t I want this to serve as a reason for people to start hating on the franchise or believe conspiracy theories. However, the little things that Game Freak has done with their creatures over the years is quite…interesting, to say the least.
Dirty jokes aren’t really the theme of Game Freak’s Pokémon, but instead offensive content. After all, with over 700 creatures and counting, how could you not end up with something that upset someone? Granted they may not have done it by intention, but for some Pokémon, the nuances are almost too out there to not be on purpose. Remember that this is a franchise aimed at kids. These are fifteen of Game Freak’s Pokémon that were shockingly offensive. I hope we don’t upset you too much!
This is a Pokemon that everyone knew would be on this list. Perhaps the spokesperson for offensive Pokemon, Jynx has been scarring everyone’s memories since the good old days. Why is Jynx offensive, you may ask? Well, just take one look at its design. Since its inception, this lip-heavy Pokemon has had a strange resemblance to that of stereotypical African American people. From the long hair to the big lips and the dark skin. As a matter of fact, Jynx as we know her today is a purple Pokemon. When she was first introduced into Game Freak’s virtual world however, she was pitch black, which only alluded to her more offensive traits. Many of these similarities to African Americans were considered too heavy-handed to be accidental. As such, Game Freak removed the black coloring on Jynx and hasn’t featured her in an episode of the Pokemon anime for a very very long time. At least when they decided to give her a baby Pokemon called Smoochum, they opted to go for a much cuter look than what it evolves into. Unfortunately, Jynx was a huge reason why many kept their children away from Pokemon, thinking that there was some hidden agenda behind it all.
Registeel is an epic Pokemon, and anybody that has seen Lucario and the Mystery of Mew will most likely agree with me. When I first played through Pokemon Emerald at around age 10 (how appropriate), I toiled for days trying to figure out how to find the three legendary golems. The one I was most excited for back then was Registeel, and my love for him stands true today. Despite this, the iron golem has suffered much hate and backlash in the days of Diamond and Pearl. First off, let me state that nothing about the character’s design has anything to do with it. It’s not hard to see that Registeel is based off of the old legends of living golems. What set people off was actually his sprite in Diamond and Pearl. Many of the older Pokemon in that game were given poses to stand in rather than a neutral position to offer some variety. Registeel’s showcased him lifting one of his hands forward in a manner very similar to that of the Nazi salute during Hitler’s reign. Many concerned individuals got a hold of Game Freak and they changed his sprite for Pokemon Platinum, returning him to his neutral stance.
When Game Freak created their first generation of Pokemon, they tested the waters to see what kind of creatures they could and couldn’t create, setting the stage for every generation to come (that’s why we have sentient keychains and ice cream cones now). One of their more unique design choices came in the form of Porygon. This digital fellow was a digitally created Pokemon- nothing more than the result of some expert coding. It wasn’t long before Game Freak wanted to bring him into the anime. As fans of the Pokemon show know, that episode became Electric Soldier Porygon, and it stands today as one of the most infamous episodes of Pokemon. In that episode, a lot of intense battles took place with the Pokemon that involved bright flashing lights of all sorts of colors. This resulted in giving many young watchers seizures. The incident was so widespread and extreme that the episode became banned and has never aired since. Even worse is that Porygon himself has never appeared in an episode of the Pokemon anime to this day. While it’s not entirely Porygon’s fault, he is the face of the darker side of Pokemon.
The Pokemon anime is home to a lot of horrible coincidences that lead to dire consequences for their beloved critters. Porygon is one of them, and Tentacruel is another. While the incident was not as bad, it was still a problem for Game Freak. One of the more memorable episodes of Pokemon showcased an army of Tentacool invading a small town, led by an oversized Tentacruel. The attack was brutal and violent, leading the squid Pokemon to destroy multiple buildings, leaving the city in a ruined state. Unfortunately, this episode aired much too close to the 9/11 attack, and many viewers found Tentacruel as a representation of the bombers that struck the Twin Towers. Because of this, the episode was banned for quite a long time, but it is allowed to air now. Strangely enough, while the episode was canned for a while, the clip of Tentacruel smashing a building was kept in the anime intro. The hate for Tentacruel and that episode together thankfully has died down quite a lot, and like the case of Porygon, it’s not Tentacruel’s fault that it garnered such controversy. Let’s just all be glad that we can still catch him in the games.
The first time I ever saw this Pokemon, I thought it was one of the funniest things I ever laid eyes on. As I got older however, my laughter quickly turned into suspicion. Game Freak is no stranger to conforming to racial stereotypes, and when they’re not careful, they create Pokemon like Ludicolo. This chunky duck sports a hat that strangely looks like a sombrero and a covering over its body that resembles a poncho. Both pieces of clothing are largely associated with Mexican culture. If that wasn’t bad enough, Ludicolo’s happy-go-lucky attitude only feeds the discord over its design. It is also known to dance incredibly well. Are you starting to make the connection yet? If you think that’s the worst part, to top it all off, the anime episode in which Ludicolo was formally introduced, he had a trainer who was clearly designed like a Mexican individual, complete with the moustache and the accent. If you are a lover of Pokemon, I would be careful who you show this dancing duck to- it might be a huge mistake. After all, you never know who you’ll offend nowadays.
At first glance, you can already tell that there’s something about Lopunny that doesn’t seem quite right. Generation four was full of some interesting Pokemon, but the one that raised the most eyebrows is definitely Lopunny. While her head and ears might be clearly that of a rabbit, the same can’t be said for the rest of her body. Her design resembles that of an adult woman, complete with the curves and long legs. However, in combination with her rabbit head, Lopunny ends up looking almost exactly like a Playboy Bunny. You can imagine why this would be a problem, as parents wouldn’t want their kids catching anything that would be associated with the sex industry. Even when I was a young kid playing Diamond and Pearl, I could tell there was something odd about her design. It adds insult to injury because Buneary is so lovable and cute. Thankfully, Game Freak made up for Lopunny’s design when creating Mega Lopunny, who resembles an athlete more than anything else, which definitely fits with it being a rabbit and all. Let’s just hope Game Freak doesn’t make anymore Pokemon like this. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, and they just might lose some customers.
Hypno has garnered some interesting fan stories that have made it a target by Creepypasta and conspiracy theorists alike. This psychic dream eater was introduced all the way back in generation one, but it wasn’t until generation three that some unsettling information was revealed. In its FireRed Pokedex entry, Hypno is stated to have hypnotized and kidnapped a child, forever keeping it within its grasp. What it does with the child is up to the imagination, but the thought of being kidnapped by a Pokemon that eats dreams is chilling nonetheless. To make matters worse, in Pokemon FireRed, you even find a child crying in the woods because they aren’t allowed to go home. Then the moment the conversation is over, you are attacked by a wild Hypno. Coincidence? I think not! Because of this, there have been Creepypasta’s created about Hypno consistently taking children away from their homes. After all, if it kidnapped one child, who’s to say that other Hypnos haven’t done the same thing? Just to drive my point home, if you look up and listen to Hypno’s Lullaby, you will never look at that Pokemon the same way ever again (disclaimer: do not show children).
Murkrow is one of the cooler Pokemon introduced in generation two. After all, having a dark type crow Pokemon with a hat is one of the most awesome things to come out of Game Freak’s mind. Surprisingly, they managed to take Murkrow and make him even cooler when they gave him an evolution in generation four. That didn’t stop people from making connections with its design and that of the Mafia. Honckrow sports a very rough and sophisticated design. The hat on its head grew much larger and more pronounced to resemble a fedora, and its plumage gives it the appearance of a Chicago- style mob boss. Because of this, people have taken it to heart, and Honckrow has received some flak for it. While I won’t deny that the similarities are uncanny, when you evolve a dark-type crow that sports a pointy hat, turning him into something reminiscent of a mob boss is the best case scenario (as far as design goes that is). It probably doesn’t suffer as much hate now as it did back then, but Honckrow has always been a favorite of mine and will continue to be for many years to come.
Sometimes Game Freak thinks through its designs, and we end up with some of the coolest looking Pokemon in existence. Other times, Game Freak has taken a design and didn’t think it through at all. That’s when we end up with Pokemon that make it on this list. One of Game Freak’s worst offenses in not thinking a design through is the Pokemon Cloyster. Another creature introduced in generation one, Cloyster is the evolution of the ever adorable Shellder, and evolves via a Water Stone. For the kids that finally get a Cloyster, it’s a result worth forking over the stone for. Us adults, however, notice that Cloyster bears a striking resemblance to a part of the female anatomy. The similarity is so apparent that Cloyster has become the butt of many jokes as a result. The reason that the Pokemon is still widely beloved is that it remains to this day one of the best fighters to use in the competitive metagame. While many Pokemon on this list almost have to be intentional, Cloyster seems more of an accident, and for those of us that can get past his likeness to other things, he is a must catch Pokemon.
While we’re on the subject of Pokemon that didn’t go through design check, I felt it appropriate to get the main trifecta off of the table. The second is Roggenrola, and it is on this list for the very same reason that Cloyster is. Roggenrola is probably a worse offender, due to the design of its single eye, and I’ll be honest- it’s hard to overlook. Fortunately, this time around, Roggenrola is not a final evolution and for those of us that are uncomfortable with its design, we can simply level it up a few times, evolve it, and we’ve solved that problem. When Pokemon Black and White first came out, there weren’t a lot of Pokemon that I really liked or wanted to catch. One of those few Pokemon that I did like was Gigalith, but in order to get one first I had to catch a Roggenrola. While he is awfully cute, anyone with a dirty mind is going to make a connection that shouldn’t have to be made when playing a game made for little kids. I’m actually quite surprised that there wasn’t enough uproar to prevent this Pokemon from even getting into the anime, as well as Ash’s roster.
The third and final offender of the “skip design control” trifecta is the legendary Pokemon Palkia. Don’t get me wrong, I love this Pokemon and is one of the biggest reasons why I opted for Pokemon Pearl instead of Pokemon Diamond. His attacks are strong, and any being that has powers over space is something worth trying to catch. However, a closer look reveals something a bit off about his design. The most notable aspects are his shoulders, neck, and head. As you can see, the shoulders are perfectly circular, and the neck extends out to form the head. From the side, Palkia looks shockingly close to the male anatomy. Once it was pointed out to me, I was unable to get it out of my head. It’s quite sad as well, considering that Palkia is one of the coolest Pokemon to come out of generation four, and one of its strongest with attacks like Spacial Rend at its disposal. Like Cloyster, Palkia has been subject to many jokes and snide comments across the Internet, and will mostly remain joked about for the foreseeable future. The controller of space and dimensions itself reduced to a dirty joke. Who would’ve guessed?
While I largely like generation three in its entirety, there are a handful of Pokemon that I just couldn’t get behind. One of them was Nosepass. He was ugly, obscure, and not worth using in a Pokemon battle (in my opinion). For some reason, Game Freak decided that it was a great idea to evolve the Pokemon and turn it into something a bit more obscure. This is how we ended up with Probopass. This evolution is like Nosepass, but with a bigger nose and gigantic moustache. While I wouldn’t think anything of it except for the fact that it was ugly, Probopass has been accused of being designed off of a racial stereotype as well. The small hat on top of its head and big moustache bear an interesting likeness to that of Jewish individuals. While that may not have been the intent of its design (it looks like a weird cross between Mario and an Easter Island Head more than anything else), you can’t argue that the resemblance is there. It doesn’t help Probopass’s case at all, and as such, it is widely disliked by much of the Pokemon community. I am a firm believer that the only Pokemon that can pull off the moustache is Mega Alakazam.
Poor poor Kadabra. A few years after Game Freak had launched their anime and their game franchise, they suffered a huge controversy with one man over the issue of Kadabra. The man’s name was Uri Geller, and he had a bone to pick. Geller was a self-proclaimed psychic, and as such, he was proficient in the art of spoon bending. He stated that the Pokemon Kadabra was a rip off of himself, due to the character’s inclination to bend spoons and the likeness of their names in Japanese. To further prove his case, Geller stated that the star on Kadabra’s head as well as its head shape resembled that of a pentagram; an image used in occult practices. Geller ended up suing Nintendo for nearly $80 million. Because of this, Pokemon has not released a card of Kadabra since 2003, yet cards of both Abra and Alakazam are continuing to be made (the newer Abra card allows it to evolve straight into Alakazam without needing Kadabra). Apparently, it has been hinted that Kadabra is not allowed to be on a card until an agreement is made, but it seems unlikely that will happen anytime soon.
As Game Freak continued to make new and more powerful legendary Pokemon to discover and capture (like the creators of the earth and sea, Groudon and Kyogre), they eventually came to the point where they made Arceus, who essentially created the entire Pokemon Universe as we know it today. He is like the god of Pokemon, and it’s not hard to see why he has been subject to controversy. Arceus has been targeted by many religious groups, who state that he is blasphemous, and claim that Game Freak made their own version of God. Despite the intentions of Game Freak, it’s hard to argue that the inspiration of Arceus didn’t come from a supernatural being. This is another contributing factor as to why many Christians want nothing to do with Pokemon and will not allow their kids to indulge in it. After all, you can catch Arceus in the game, and being able to call upon “God” to battle for you would put some people on edge.
Naturally, if there is a god, there is also a devil. In Pokemon, many associate the role of the devil with that of Giratina. One of the most sinister looking Pokemon to date, Giratina used to live in the real world. However, because of its extreme violence, Giratina was banished and cursed to live in an alternate existence dubbed the Distortion World. Sound familiar? Giratina was created in the same generation as Arceus, and naturally, it was subject to a lot of controversy as well. After all, the Pokemon can change form into a more serpent-like being that can move across worlds as it wishes. Many have associated Giratina with the demon Satan, and as such have chastised Game Freak for allowing such a Pokemon to exist in their games. The legendary Pokemon is also highly protective of its home and will attack anyone that gets too close to it, and when you encounter it in Pokemon Platinum, it doesn’t hesitate to fight you. Personally, while the similarities may be there, Giratina is still one of my favorite Pokemon to this day (especially its Origin Form). If you feel this Pokemon is Satanic, that’s perfectly up to you though.