The Pokémon anime series, a cornerstone of many childhoods, is known for its adventurous spirit and beloved characters. However, not all episodes made it to air worldwide. Some were banned due to various reasons, ranging from cultural sensitivities to health concerns. Let’s check out some Banned Pokémon Episodes and the stories behind them.
Episode 38: Electric Soldier Porygon
“Electric Soldier Porygon” is perhaps the most infamous episode in Pokémon history. It was banned worldwide after airing in Japan causing a health scare. Approximately 20 minutes into the episode, a sequence featuring rapidly flashing lights triggered seizures in hundreds of Japanese children, a condition known as “Pokémon Shock“. This incident not only led to the episode’s ban but also prompted changes in animation production standards globally.
Episode 252: The Ice Cave
“The Ice Cave” faced a ban due to concerns over Jynx, a Pokémon character in the episode. Jynx’s original design, with dark skin and large, pink lips, was perceived by some as a racial stereotype, leading to accusations of blackface. Although later versions of Jynx were recolored to purple, this episode remained unaired outside Japan to avoid controversy.
Episode 18: Holiday at Acopaulo
“Holiday at Acopaulo” (also known as “Beauty and the Beach”) was initially banned due to its content being deemed inappropriate for a younger audience. The episode featured a beauty contest with suggestive scenes, including one where James of Team Rocket wore an inflatable bodysuit to impersonate a woman with exaggerated features. This episode was later edited and aired in some countries.
Episode 35: The Legend of Dratini
“The Legend of Dratini” was banned from international broadcast due to the prevalent use of firearms. In this episode, the Safari Zone warden points a gun at Ash and his friends, and later at Team Rocket. The depiction of firearms and the threatening manner in which they were presented led to the decision not to air this episode outside Japan.
Episode 377: Shaking Island Battle! Barboach VS Whiscash!!
This episode was pulled from airing due to an unfortunate coincidence with real-world events. Scheduled to air around the time of a devastating earthquake in Niigata, Japan, in 2004, the episode’s content, which included a storyline about a giant Whiscash causing earthquakes, was considered insensitive in light of the tragedy.
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