Pokemon has long been considered something made almost exclusively for children. While a large number of fans of the series are adults, evidenced by the strong sales each new entry into the video game franchise brings, the majority of those players will have first played the titles when they were in their youth. It’s not surprising that Nintendo and the Pokemon Company have focused on kids as their primary audience. Pokemon is by its very nature, very children friendly. The various spin-off entities to the video game series, including the hit anime show and hugely popular trading card game, as well as the cute and friendly creatures themselves, all lend themselves to drawing in young fans and keeping them hooked.
This isn’t a problem for most franchises that are aimed at children but Pokemon is different. Although it may seem innocuously innocent from first appearances, the series has parts that are simply not suitable for the very young. This may seem strange when you consider the colorful and child-friendly visuals but Pokemon actually includes a number of dark themes, controversial moments and downright inappropriate sections that you would never expect to find in a franchise widely seen as something for children to enjoy. Even the main premise of the series is somewhat suspect, as you will find out in the rest of the article.
9 Children Sent Off By Themselves
Pokemon, from the very beginning, has always had a core idea at its heart. It is essentially a collection of stories about youngsters going out to explore the world, catch Pokemon and then go on to trade or battle with them. All of these ideas may seem perfectly reasonable at first, but it is important to remember that the main protagonists are generally aged between nine and eleven years old. Once they reach that age range, they are effectively sent out by their parents into the world without any form of adult supervision and are expected to make their own way with very little assistance. They are not only expected to adventure in their own hometowns, but actually travel across great distances going around entire countries.
8 Something Strange Is Going On
The world of Pokemon definitely seems to have seen some hard times. There seems to be a distinct lack of adult males in the franchise, especially in the earlier titles, and those that are around tend to be either elderly, gym leaders or part of criminal gangs. There must be a reason for this, and the most convincing and widely accepted theory is rather grim for something aimed at children. It has been suggested that the Pokemon world saw some kind of massive war that has killed the vast majority of the male population dead. It explains why only those who would not have been on the front lines of a conflict are seen. Gym leader Lt. Surge also backs up the argument when he states that his Pokemon saved him during the war, suggesting that humans fought alongside Pokemon.
7 Animal Cruelty
The Pokemon, who are basically animals with more advanced intelligence and powers, are often taken advantage of throughout the franchise. This manifests itself through many different actions that other people do and that the player is encouraged to do, despite the fact that Pokemon are said to be more like friends than pets, and that they clearly trust their owners. Some of the best examples include trainers forcing them to evolve, forcing them to breed with other creatures for selective breeding purpose,s and basically keeping them as slaves to carry out tasks on demand for humans. Oh, and information in both the anime and the video games suggest humans also kill and eat Pokemon. These are not really good lessons to teach children watching and playing, for obvious reasons.
6 Battling Pokemon
The main activity in Pokemon is essentially a game of people trying to raise and collect better creatures than their opponents so that they can defeat them in battle. It strongly resembles illegal animal fighting that has been banned in most parts of the world, such as cock and dog fighting. These battles, which the player takes part in constantly, see the trainers order their own Pokemon to burn, poison, freeze, electrocute and blast others until they fall unconscious from the wounds they have suffered.
5 Pokemon Are Genuinely Hurt
The games and various spin-off media make it perfectly clear that Pokemon can be genuinely hurt and therefore, must suffer a great deal from the various actions they are forced to carry out. Battling them may seem harmless as they are simply taken to a Pokemon Center and completely healed, but that process in itself suggests that the creatures need to be healed in the first place. There’s also the point that when they battle they only lose when they faint, either from their wounds or exhaustion. Add that to the fact that trainers in the franchise often show concern for the own Pokemon and rush them to hospitals, and it is clear that Pokemon can definitely be hurt.
4 It’s Full Of Controversy
The franchise has also been full of controversy from its initial conception. Some of the more famous examples include suggested Nazi symbolism in the various games, anime shows and trading cards that have been released. Other more widespread complaints have also been made. One of the more serious was the accusations of racism that came with the depiction of Jynx, forcing Nintendo to alter her image to purple rather than black due to it being criticized for furthering racial stereotypes. Other controversial instances have come from the use of a firearm in an episode of the anime, and the ability to gamble in many of the early games in the series.
3 The World Is Full Of Evil
All through the series, in both the games and the anime, it is clear that the world is a very different place to ours. It is filled with ghosts who want to haunt people, psychics who use their powers to their own end, and magic like powers that are often used to cause pain and misery on innocent bystanders.
That’s not to mention the vast amount of organized crime that litters the entire Pokemon world, something that is not generally present in children’s TV and games. These are not fluffy criminals either, but hardened thugs who are willing to steal, kidnap, extort and even use violence to get whatever they want. Entities such as Team Rocket are actually gangs that players have to fight against routinely.
2 Pokemon Themselves Are Dark and Scary
The Pokedex is a great place to look in order to see how unsuitable Pokemon is for children. It is full of descriptions of the various Pokemon that inhabit the world, some of which are incredibly dark and scary. These include the likes of Drowzee, who purposely puts people - specifically children - to sleep in order to give them nightmares, or Kadabra, who originally started as a young boy who awoke to find himself magically transformed into the creature. Others include Lampent, which waits near hospitals to steal the souls of people who have recently died to power its fire, and Gorebyss, that inserts tubes into its prey’s mouth and sucks out all of the fluid.
1 Some Are Even Scarier
Some Pokemon are even more frightening than those discussed previously. Yamask is a perfect example of the darker and more scary Pokemon that exist within the franchise. This particular creature is described in-game as the spirit of a dead human that has risen from its grave. It also carried around with it a mask made out of its human face that it will sometimes look at and become sad over. Another terrifying example is Drifloon, which purposely looks like a balloon in order to trick children that it then kidnaps and never returns. Lastly, Phantump are described as possessed tree stumps that are inhabited by the spirits of children who died in the forest.