Alright, look. You might find it a bit ridiculous to know that there has ever been a Pokemon card that has been banned. I mean… Pokemon is a bit ridiculous, after all. So I wouldn’t blame you for thinking that. I know I do. But that’s not the point. Some Pokemon cards have just been banned because of the incredible power they give players during a tournament. But others have some pretty amazing reasons for being banned.
Did you know that Grimer used to look up schoolgirls’ skirts? Did you know that Gengar used to hang out in a graveyard? Sabrina used to give the finger to players! Koga used to support the Nazi party (or at least, that’s what people thought). Even Jynx didn’t escape original release without being thought of as racist.
I’ll be totally honest, when I took this assignment, I really thought it would be pretty boring. But the creators of Pokemon have definitely kept things interesting in their designs for these creatures. Much like the animated show, a lot of it doesn’t make sense, but that doesn’t stop it from being incredibly hilarious.
15. Magmortar Was Ready To Shoot Up Players
Considering just how much Americans love guns and love their first amendment I’m kind of amazed that this card had to be changed at all. But the original Japanese version was banned because it had the Pokemon Magmortar pointing a gun at players. Maybe this was a time where people thought that this card would lead to more school shootings. Who knows. I am surprised that the NRA didn’t get involved though to try and keep the card in circulation. Either way, the Americans opted for a safer version where Magmortar holds his gun Dirty Harry-style, still ready to mow down his enemies. If anything, the updated version gives the Pokemon a pose that sort of says “guns make you look pretty cool when you hold them”. Not sure that’s the right message either.
14. No One Can Understand The Ancient Mew
You may or may not have known that Mew and Mewtwo have both been banned at various points in their history because of just how powerful they are. I don’t think they are banned any longer from tournaments (depending on where you go… and I have no idea where you’d go to find one of these Pokemon tournaments at all). But there is one related card that still remains banned from play and that is the Ancient Mew card. And why is it banned? Well, take a look at the card and tell me if you can read what it says? Do you know how much damage it does? Or what actions it can take? The language used is apparently a true rune-based language, but that doesn’t stop it from being an incredibly rare language to be found. So instead of getting translators at tournaments, they just got rid of the card.
13. Moo-Moo Milk Drinking Right From The Udder
It’s amazing what people will find offensive in “the land of the free and home of the brave”. The Moo-Moo Milk card was banned originally because it had an image of a Pokemon drinking milk straight from the udder of a cow. Now, that might seem pretty disgusting I guess. I don’t know many people who would go down on a cow to get a drink. But it wasn’t all that long ago in our history where that was basically what happened. Many farmers around the world still get up every morning, milk their cows, and bring milk in to have along with breakfast. There was a time when the whole “milk industry” didn’t treat the milk. It went from teat to taste and that was it. So, it’s not all that bizarre to have a Pokemon trying to get a drink. How do you think calfs feed every day?
12. Koga Was Thought To Be A Nazi Supporter
You might not catch it right away, but there is a symbol on this Koga card that might make some people think Koga is a Nazi supporters. The truth is, the symbol in this card is not a swastika at all though. It is actually a symbol called the Manji. It’s tied closely to Buddhism and apparently is often found in Japanese media (even though it’s a Chinese character). The general public in America can’t handle a symbol like that without calling it Nazi propaganda though. And I guess I can’t blame them considering how many Nazis seem to be parading around the U.S. these days. Richard Spencer would love this card. Even though the Manji actually faces a different way on a different angle. Hitler’s infamous swastika was set on a point and not on the flat of the symbol.
11. Grimer Used To Sneak A Peek
Yup. If you take a closer look at Grimer’s pupils as he pops out of that manhole cover, you will notice that in the original Japanese release of the card he is looking straight up the passerby’s skirt! I guess this odd sort of harassment is taken a little less seriously in Japan (even while Hello Kitty stuff is taken way more seriously) but in the United States, the card was altered ever so slightly in order to make it a bit more acceptable. Of course, since Americans love money, they didn’t opt to completely change the card design. They didn’t just give the passerby pants. They just moved Grimer’s pupils to look forward instead. All that makes me think is that the American version of the card is the expression Grimer makes after having taken a peek. But I guess it works for everyone else.
10. Sabrina Used To Flip Players Off
The justification for changing this card is actually pretty stupid. It makes me think a little less of the American company that pushes Pokemon cards. For some reason, they felt that the original Japanese version of Sabrina’s Gaze featured Sabrina giving players the finger. They said that since her middle finger was raised higher than her other fingers, it seemed like she was giving a rude gesture. Now, I don’t know if you know how biology works but, so far as I know, the middle finger on a person’s hand is longer than any of the other fingers. So, you’ll notice in the updated American version where Sabrina is throwing a Pokeball that her middle finger is indeed longer than the others. But all it takes is one idiot to decide censorship needs to happen. Her Gaze is enough. She doesn’t need to give the finger.
9. Misty Showed Off A Little Too Much For Americans
Let’s be fair here to the people who censor these cards when they come to America. Pokemon definitely started as a kid’s game, but it’s become an international game for man-children now. And add to that the fact that Misty as a character is herself a kid and it will make perfect sense that the original Misty’s Tears card was banned from the U.S. I don’t know what the original has to do with her tears, but it shows Misty just conveniently covering herself up while she wears nothing and clutches a star in her hands. I have to say that the American censored version at least makes far more sense given the name of the card because it actually shows Misty crying while a Pokemon collects her tears… which is still kind of messed up.
8. Pikachu’s Birthday Card Requires I.D.
Yup, Pikachu’s birthday card. Now, you can play the card even if it’s not your birthday. And in that case, you can deal 30 damage. Not bad. But if it’s your birthday, you get to flip a coin as well. And if it lands heads then you deal that initial 30 damage plus an extra 50! That’s a pretty incredible birthday gift if your idea of a birthday is playing a Pokemon tournament. But this card was banned from tournaments because of the amount of time that it wasted. How did it waste time? Well, anyone dropping the card into play had to prove it was their birthday, of course. It’s not like any player is just going to take their opponent’s word for it. So, instead of bringing a driver’s license or passport along to the tournament, the grand “Professors” of Pokemon decided to do away with the card.
7. Archeops Probably Believes In Intelligent Design
Given the main reason this card was banned, I actually can’t believe that it was! Especially in America. Archeops has a very incredible ability in that it prevents other players from evolving their Pokemon. Considering how many people in the U.S. believe that evolution is a crock of sh*t, I’m personally shocked that this card was banned. Of course, I don’t think Pokemon players are historically podunk Republican rednecks. I think they tend to be more liberal, basement-dwelling, dweebs. But maybe that’s just me. Either way, the supreme power of this card to stop other players from evolving has ended up with a ban. If the card is played early on, its Rock Slide attack is strong enough to waste most basic Pokemon, so players just wouldn’t really have a chance.
6. Jynx Was Accused Of Black Face!
That’s right! We live in an age where if a completely fictional creature happens to be made literally black it’s taken to be a racist creature. I feel bad for all of those Dungeons and Dragons players who use Drow elves (a little inside joke for the nerds reading this). But it’s true. When Jynx first appeared in the Pokemon stadium, she was not the purple hue that everyone has come to know and be annoyed with. Nope. The Japanese version of the card sees her entirely black. Well, when the card hit the United States… it didn’t last very long. Given the history of racism in the U.S. and how very serious the issue still is these days, it was immediately changed so it didn’t look as though Jynx was intentionally putting on blackface.
5. Forest Of Giant Plants Breaks All Rules of Evolution
Unlike Archeops who doesn’t allow evolution (and probably believes in “Intelligent” Design), Forest of Giant Plants actually speeds up Pokemon evolutions to a very unfair degree. There are strict rules about Pokemon evolution during games. Basically, a Pokemon can only evolve once per turn. And only one stage at a time. And final evolutions cannot attack on the turn they evolved. But Forest of Giant Plants allows those rules to be shoved to the side. Well, sort of anyway. Basically, the card allows a player to evolve a Pokemon on the turn it is summoned. So you immediately begin with a higher level Pokemon against your opponent. Of course, this card only works if you’re using grass-based Pokemon, so it’s a very specific sort of cheat.
4. Lysandre’s Trump Card Keeps Games Going On Forever
The Lysandre’s Trump Card has no special attack that can waste other Pokemon very quickly. It actually has no attack at all. Other than it using the now very sad word “Trump”, there is really only one thing this card can do. But the power of that thing is what makes this card banned from tournaments. The Trump Card allows a player to reshuffle their discard pile back into their playable deck. If you only have one Trump Card then you can double the length of a game by bringing back all of your previously used Pokemon and powers. But if you have two of these cards, you may very well end up dragging the game on for hours because just when you get close to running out, you can get everything back again. One of the ways you traditionally can lose a match is by running out of cards. Lysandre puts a stop to that!
3. Sabrina’s Gengar Hangs Out At The Graveyard…
It might be a little difficult to see in this image (my apologies for not having the cards to take pictures of myself), but the Japanese version of this card has Gengar hanging out in a graveyard. Now, I’m not quite sure why this deserves a ban or a re-design, but apparently, it does. I’ve spent plenty of time in graveyards (mainly because I work seasonally as a gravedigger) and I don’t see the problem with them. But I guess because people are so afraid of death, they want to keep their kids from thinking about tombstones and maybe even the things that go bump in the night. Either way, when Gengar first hit America, designers decided to drastically change Gengar’s hangout from a graveyard to a cosmic field of stars.
2. Wormadam Was Just Too Powerful
The interesting thing about Wormadam is that there really isn’t much interesting about it. However, if you look at the difference between these two Wormadam, you’ll notice right away that their hit points have a difference of 20. that can be pretty significant in a battle. And that was the main issue about this card. There are several versions of him kicking around out there and each one is different. So you’ll never know who might have the stronger Wormadam. And besides that, the Pokemon “Professors” (the nerds who run all of the tournaments around the world) have decided that this card is too powerful both for a common and uncommon card. I just think they were tired of someone having a better Wormadam than their’s and that’s why they banned it.
1. Slowking Was Banned Because Of A Typo
I have to say that this is a pretty lame reason to ban a Pokemon. It probably would have made more sense just to reprint the guy. It’s not like Pokemon wasn’t making a ton of money already when Slowking came out. But, the reason Slowking was banned was because of a pretty important typo in the American translation (you notice how the Japanese don’t give a sh*t about how powerful or offensive their Pokemon are?) that allowed his abilities to be used even when he wasn’t the active Pokemon in your play. So, every time that an opponent uses a Trainer card, if Slowking is on the field, you can flip a coin. If it lands on heads, the Trainer card is put back on the top of your enemy’s deck. And if you have more than one Slowking, you get to flip a coin for each one!
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