If you grew up in the early 2000s, the phrase “Pika pii!!” likely fills your mind with nostalgia. Even so, through all those late nights hunched over the Gameboy Color, you may have missed some of the oddities of the Pokémon world. Below is a list of five rarely noticed peculiarities of the Pokémon games and TV show. Feel free to add others in the comments section below. Click here for numbers 5-1!
Pokémon understand English
When watching the TV show, it seems only natural that Ash and his Pokémon can communicate. The trainer and his Pokémon share a special bond. But these creatures are wild animals—how in the world do they understand human language? It’s not just a few basic commands either. Ash and Pikachu have heartfelt (though phonetically one-sided) conversations about Pikachu’s evolutionary preferences and what it means to persevere. Pokémon seem to be bilingual as well, as the series’ native language is Japanese. When was the last time you talked with one of the furry creatures on your lawn?
We are making animals fight for our entertainment
Think you were kind to your team in Pokémon Yellow? Think again. Pokémon trainers capture wild animals in little balls and force them to fight each other. Pokémon sustain electric shocks, searing flames, and raging waterfalls all for our entertainment. We make them brave insurmountable challenges, leaving them in the battle field to stand up against a Charizard’s Fire Blast at one HP. Once they can stand no more, they return unconscious to their ball to wait until we feel like visiting a Pokémon Center. At least we occasionally give them a Rare Candy?
There were no black people….
This is perhaps the strangest quirk of all. While Pokémon vary in color, their trainers didn’t for fifteen years. Every person in the PokéUniverse before Generation V was either white or Asian (Brock could be considered the one exception). What is arguably more shocking, however, is how rarely people notice this. The games and TV show obviously do not try to emulate reality, but this one is just weird. Why is this? Nobody knows. (Thanks, IssMare, for the heads up!)
Pokémon can transcend the material world
Ever wonder how a Snorlax can fit inside a Poké Ball? When Pokémon return to their trainer, they transform into a mass of glowing red energy—a light, malleable ether with otherworldly properties. Pokémon seem to exist somewhere between the physical and immaterial worlds, crossing between the two when it suits their needs. They can also traverse the digital realm—how else could you access them from any PC in Johto? This raises a deeply philosophical question: if these wild animals exist in higher dimensions, what does that say about us?
Yes, you read that correctly. According to the Saudi government, some of the Pokémon video games and cards contain “the Star of David, which everyone knows is connected to international Zionism and is Israel’s national emblem” (Source: BBC). This assertion carries some interesting consequences. Did you know that training your starter to level 100 was actually part of an international Israeli conspiracy to convince the world’s youth of the merits of a Jewish nation? You can send your thanks to the Saudi religious police, though the envelope will probably be burned for blasphemy before it arrives there. Oh, and one last thing: just remember not to whip out your Pokémon paraphernalia during your next trip to the Arabian Peninsula.
So what do you think? Any strange things you’ve noticed about Pokémon over the years? Let me know in the comments section below! As always, please like, share, or reblog this post if you enjoy it. Be sure to check me out on Twitter and Facebook as well. Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to subscribe for new content every Wednesday! Now go read numbers 5-1!
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Comment question of the week
What other childhood pastimes of yours now seem strange?