Even though I would consider the Pokémon TV show and the movies to be near perfect quality, this doesn’t stop them from having silly mistakes and plot holes that often times go unnoticed. And although there are moments in the TV show that don’t really relate to the games, people still hold the games to an incredibly high standard, as they should be. Granted, I can certainly understand what it must be like to have to be under the stress of ensuring that the TV show not only does well, but little mistakes are hard to pick up on.
Thankfully for me, the internet exists solely for the reason to rip apart TV shows and movies and present us with many plot holes shown throughout the series that would otherwise go unmentioned. I hope to not throw any flack toward the creators of the show or the show in general because I personally love everything the show has to offer. I grew up watching it on TV and when I saw the first episode, it was at that moment I realized how big of a fan I was going to be of this show and the nature therein. At the same time, I can totally understand not being a fan of this show, especially when Yu-Gi-Oh and Digimon were both making their waves on people’s home entertainment systems. Let’s be honest though, the 90’s were a big time for debuts. Pokémon is just one of the many reasons the 90’s were the prime time for a lot of us. But…let’s rip the show right open shall we?
15. Pokerap Mishap
If you weren’t aware already, at the end of every episode of Pokémon (at least in the original series) there was a “Pokerap” that would list off every Pokémon that was known at the time. It would show the name of the Pokémon, an image of that Pokémon, and the narrator would say the Pokémon in the way that fit the rap. Well, if you look back at the Pokerap in the original series, you’ll notice that when Poliwrath is called on, the image is not that of a Poliwrath. Instead, the image used for Poliwrath is in fact a Poliwag. It’s interesting to consider why this would have happened. Perhaps it was just a lazy eye or perhaps the creators of the show didn’t want to showcase what Poliwrath looked like in the first series of the show. Either way, it’s funny to look back and realize the small mistake.
14. Evolution of Exeggcute
During The March of the Exeggutor Squad episode of the Pokémon anime, you finally find Exeggcute in a major role during the show. In this episode, the Exeggcute in question is owned by a crazy and incompetent magician by the name of Melvin whom never really caught his break in regards to his magic show or his magic in general. The Exeggcute in question manages to hypnotize Ash, and subsequently that same Exeggcute evolves into an Exeggutor. Now, in the games, if you have an Exeggcute in your party, the only way to evolve it is by using a leaf stone. Same can be said for the Eevee evolutions and the Oddish family. However, in this episode of the anime, the Exeggcute actually evolves without the use of a leaf stone, giving people the confusion that Exeggcute can evolve just by simply leveling up. Since leveling up isn’t particularly a focus point in the anime, you would think they’d at least try to showcase the fact that some Pokémon do require evolution stones in order to evolve.
13. Larvitars Weight
You wouldn’t think it just by looking at him, but Larvitar is actually far heavier than is portrayed in the TV show. During the Lapras of Luxury episode, Ash receives an egg that then hatches into a Larvitar. Throughout its existence, you find Ash and Larvitar becoming very close, even though Ash didn’t officially own Larvitar as his own. Simultaneously, Ash is seen at certain times carrying Larvitar in his arms and in his backpack, but the only problem with that is simply that Ash would have to be able to comfortably carry 100+ pounds on his back and not feel any strain. According to Bulbapedia, and the Pokedex in the games, Larvitar comes out to weighing approximately 158.7 pounds, or simply 160 pounds. This would mean Ash can not only comfortably carry 160 pounds on his back, but also carry everything else he has in his backpack. Talk about being in the best shape of your life.
12. Bulbasaur & Whirlwind
A lot of these that I’m talking about today are going to be from the first season of Pokémon, but that’s because it’s probably the only season that has the most plot holes and silly mistakes. For example, during The Ninja Poke-Showdown in season one, Ash and his Bulbasaur find themselves face to face with a Venonat. When Venonat proceeds to use stun spore (which is meant to paralyze the opponent), Bulbasaur is then told to use whirlwind. Now, this wouldn’t be so much of a problem if for one, Bulbasaur was a flying type, which he is not. Bulbasaur is a grass type Pokémon, hence why he never actually learns whirlwind in the games. Then of course, the entire move is used the wrong way. In the Pokémon games, whirlwind is specifically used to get yourself out of a battle by pushing the enemy Pokémon away in the wild. In this particular instance however, Bulbasaur uses whirlwind to push away the stun spore.
11. Brock’s Job
Something that isn’t really discussed or really touched upon is the fact that Brock suddenly decides to leave his city of residence and the gym he watches over because he got defeated in a battle against Ash. I mean, this really revolves around the bigger picture that the trio of characters in the first season of Pokémon is practically homeless as they take on the world of Pokémon. They sit around a campfire and cook whatever they have, and the only shelter they can get to is whatever they can find along the way. This tends to prompt the question “well, what about Brock and his job, and his living?” I never really thought about it until I dove into it for this article, but do the characters in the Pokémon TV show just have an infinite surplus of money coming through, or are Misty and Brock just mooching off of Ash and his seemingly infinite surplus of money?
10. Ash’s Age
Alongside the everyday jobless lives of the characters we come to know and love, the other big phenomenon that revolves around the Pokémon series is whether or not Ash Ketchum actually ages. We watch him grow as a person throughout the entire show’s existence through multiples seasons, yet we never see him actually get older. There are several theories that revolve around this and although some make sense, it’s never really been confirmed or noticed by the writers of the show as to why Ash doesn’t seem to age. One theory revolves around eternal youth in the sense that the characters in the show never age, but that doesn’t seem to make sense as you plainly see the passage of time take place, and other characters do grow up in age. Another theory talks about slowed time where the time in the Pokémon universe is vastly slower than that in real life. However this doesn’t make sense either given that we watch the passage of time take place much like the previous theory.
9. Misty and Venonat
Seen multiple times throughout the series, Misty is deathly afraid of bugs. We see this for the first time when Ash wants to catch a Caterpie. Well, in the Tracey Gets Bugged episode of the second season of Pokémon, Misty doesn’t showcase her fear of bugs, at least not to the Venonat shown in the episode. The reason this is strange is because in the games and everything else surrounding the Pokémon universe, Venonat is known as a bug and poison type. Now, I can understand the TV show not directly correlating to the video games, as it has done many times before. But Misty actually goes out of her way to insist that Venonat is not a bug type at all. It’s stated in the episode with her saying “At least they’re not bug types.” Of course she was talking about Marill in that conversation as well, but she included Venonat in it which would make no sense given the defining characteristics of the Pokémon in question.
8. Poke-ball Mishap
Something I always pondered but never heavily looked into was the fact that in the very first episode of Pokémon, the Poke-balls that are laid out for Ash Ketchum in Professor Oak’s lab seem to have some writing on them. The writing on the poke balls signifies the name of the Pokémon that is meant to be inside the pokeball (フシギダネ for Bulbasaur, ヒトカゲ for Charmander, and ゼニガメ for Squirtle). However once Ash starts picking up the pokeballs to find out that the Pokémon are no longer present, the Japanese name equivalents disappear. Whether this was intentional or a lazy screen change, I’m not entirely sure. What this does tell us though, is that at some point in the first episode, Ash Ketchum would have already known which Pokémon was inside the Pokeball, hence why he names them off as he opens them up. I guess it’d make more sense had all poke-balls in the show had this indication. Oh well, can’t change it now.
7. Strange Pokemon Moves
Several times throughout the show’s existence, the process of leveling up Pokémon has been a strange one, since it doesn’t really seem to happen as fluidly as it does in the video games. But another thing that doesn’t necessarily match up to the standard of Pokémon that we know and love today is the fact that Pokémon seem to have moves they shouldn’t otherwise have under any circumstance. For instance, we talked about the fact that Bulbasaur used whirlwind to get rid of the stun spore, but there’s also a common trend of Pokémon like Beedrill and Pinsir that will simply use “tackle” when in the games, the Pokémon in question cannot learn the moves. Others include Cyndaquil using agility, Bulbasaur using dig, and Ninetales using psychic. I guess this further proves that the Pokémon TV series and the games aren’t meant to directly correlate with one another. Which is odd since the Pokémon games seem to make way more sense.
6. Ash Ketchum’s Father
Although Ash Ketchum and his age are always in question, the other popular age old (pun intended) question leads to who is married to Ash’s mom and who is Ash’s father. Several theories have been thrown around that tend to make some form of sense, but are quickly disputed with fact. One theory presents the possibility that Professor Oak is the father of Ash Ketchum since the mother and him are always seen together, and it follows the transition of the family tree in the first episode. First Ash sees his mom, leaves his house, then sees Professor Oak (his potential father). However, this would be disputed since that would mean Gary Oak is Ash’s uncle. I guess that rivalry would make sense. Another theory is that Giovanni is Ash’s father because of his prowess over the Pokémon world and his seeming hatred towards Ash and his infatuation with this Pikachu. Perhaps Giovanni knows of the power within Ash and he wants to take it for himself, or keep it from ever progressing.
5. Dragonite Mystery
In the Pokémon games, you meet a guy by the name of Bill, who comes off as a Pokémon maniac and intellectual that knows everything about Pokémon. In the TV show, he comes off as the same way. Something I found that seemed a little bit off is the fact that although Bill is this intellectual and know it all about Pokémon, the one Pokémon he seems to be looking for is one that is literally staring at him right in the face – a Dragonite. You see the creature a few times in the episode, and anyone with half a brain cell could tell you that it is a Dragonite, but for whatever reason, both Bill and Ash are not able to identify the Pokémon. Is it due to the Dragonite being fairly larger than the normal size, is it because it’s shadowed against the sky, or are we just not supposed to know who Dragonite is at this point and time? You would think that the Pokemaniac himself would be able to characterize a Dragonite over any other Pokémon.
4. Pikachu’s Level
Everybody who’s anybody loves the Pikachu that is showcased in the Pokémon TV show. This is evident through the fact that Team Rocket and whoever else is always trying to get their hands on it. However, something that doesn’t get mentioned as often as it should is how inconsistent the level of Pikachu seems to be. At some points in the show, and somewhat showcased in the first episode, we see Pikachu being a level 1 weakling, but also being a level 50 powerhouse against a flock of Spearow. Now, I can understand the inconsistency in the first episode since that’s opening up the flood gates for further progression. But even in the later episodes and throughout the series, Pikachu is seen weak in some battles, but a total powerhouse in others. This would signify that Pikachu doesn’t necessarily stick to a set level like he would in the video games.
3. Nurse Joy and Officer Jenny
This isn’t so much of a plot hole as it is just really strange, though I guess in some fashion you could consider it a plot strainer. Throughout the Pokémon TV show, the viewers are constantly introduced to the same characters in regards to the police officers and nurses in the Pokémon Centers. Yes, I’m talking of course about Officer Jenny and Nurse Joy. Now, I don’t place this fault on the creators of the show, since I can certainly understand why it’d be a lot easier to just make the same character over and over again. The confusion in question comes from the fact that Brock seems to fall in love with each and every one of them, implying that they are the exact same person each time, traveling to every town in front of Ash and his friends. You have to wonder if all the Nurse Joy’s and Officer Jenny’s are on two sided radios and they tell the others “Hey, watch out for Brock! He’ll fall in love with you.” That’s just messed up.
2. Pikachu vs. Onix
Yes, I’m fully aware of this whole episode and I’m fully aware of why the result came to be in regards to the battle with Pikachu and Onix. The only thing that doesn’t really make sense or gets retold in the games is…well, the entire thing. People have played Pokémon: Yellow, which in some ways is meant to mimic the anime with you and a Pikachu, but even in the game, you aren’t able to take on the rock type gym leader with just your Pikachu like what is shown in the anime. Instead, you are forced to catch a Pokémon beforehand and take it on with that. In the anime, Pikachu destroys Onix because of a sprinkler mishap. The reason this doesn’t make sense is because even in the games, the sprinklers mimic that of rain dance, which doesn’t automatically make electric type moves powerful against rock type Pokémon. In fact, electric type moves shouldn’t even be able to inflict damage on rock type, yet Pikachu was able to take down Onix with one fell swoop.
1. Legendary Arcanine
This is leaning more toward an inconsistency and not so much a plot hole, but I guess it could be both in some ways. During the Kanto episodes of the anime, there are several Pokémon that hold the title of legendary but aren’t necessarily considered a legendary Pokémon in the games or any other form of media revolving around Pokémon. The theory behind this suggests that “legendary” isn’t meant to classify Pokémon in the anime as it does in the video games. The term legendary is more used as a way of signifying that the Pokémon in question isn’t seen as often as other Pokémon. This would in turn make sense as if you’re a new viewer of the anime; none of these Pokémon have been seen before, hence calling them legendary. Though, Arcanine specifically is still rather odd as the entry in the Pokedex suggests he is a legendary Pokémon through and through. “Arcanine, the Legendary Pokémon.”