Top 10 Most Controversial Pokémon EpisodesWhen it comes to the longevity of an anime franchise, very few can compete with that of Pokémon. It first aired in Japan on April 1st, 1997 with the episode "Pokémon, I Choose You!". As of this writing, there have been 23 seasons of Pokémon that aired all around the world and I still remember the first time I saw the anime. It had something for everyone whereas Dragon Ball appealed mostly to males and Sailor Moon appealed mostly to females. Or is that just me? But as light casts darkness, the series was bound to have some mishaps along the way. From scenes that North American parents won't find appropriate for their children to episodes that actually sent people to the hospital and episodes that upset fans in general, here are some to get started.
What did you expect? In this episode, Team Rocket tries to steal Pokemon in the electronic storage boxes and Ash and Co. have to go in to stop them. An antivirus shows up and starts wrecking havoc. It's when Pikachu fires a thunderbolt at some missiles under Ash's orders that things really go sour. The flashing lights were so intense that it caused seizures in almost 700 Japanese viewers and some even had to stay in the hospital for at leas two weeks. After that, it never officially aired again and the show was put on a 4 month hiatus.
Controversial? Yes. The whole thing about seizures was an urban myth, though. More of a mass hysteria, as the actual number of seizures was less than hundredth of the 700 that people keep throwing around..
As far as Pokemon episodes go, this is the only one that had a good reason behind it being banned. As for everything else..., americans are just too prude and sensitive
This episode is what set many fans off. After 19 years of losing championship after championship, you think this would be the one where Ash finally catches a break. It was so close and yet so far. In the finals, he goes up against Alain in the episode "Finals Not For The Faint-Hearted" and at the end of the episode, it's down to Ash's Greninja and Alain's Charizard. Although Ash used Pokémon that were super-effective against Charizard's Fire/Flying type, it proved too strong for the typecasting to be relevant. Everyone thought that Greninja, being a water-type, would finally net Ash a 19 year overdue victory, right? Wrong. As it turns out, Alain was able to defeat Ash despite how his Charizard took one "super-effective" hit after another and fans completely lost it. Of course, Patrick Stewart's Jean-Luc Picard once said; "It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That's not a weakness. That is life." Thankfully, the animators threw fans a bone in the episode "Enter The Champion" where Ash finally wins an official Pokémon league.
While an episode where girls compete in a beauty contest is nothing overly offensive, there was this scene where Jessie and James decide to compete against Misty. To ensure victory, James wears a pair of inflatable breasts that are already pretty big but soon inflates them so they're even bigger than Jessie's. This episode did eventually air in North America in the second season with these scenes cut, but those familiar with the original Japanese version won't be able to un-see them.
In this episode, Ash and company reach the Safari Zone and learn about the legendary Dratini, one of three Dragon Pokémon that were known at the time and how the warden named Kaiser met one in his youth. This was also the episode where Ash catches a bunch of Tauros. What 4Kids didn't approve of was how Kaiser whipped out his pistol all the time. Also, Meowth is dressed as Adolf Hitler for some reason. Whatever it was, it was enough to keep this episode on the Asian side of the Pacific.
While this episode might seem harmless because of how it's a Christmas special where Ash and Company help Santa Claus, a lot of people had issues with how Jynx was drawn to represent black face and many people didn't take kindly to this. As a result, it was removed from rotation shortly after airing. While there were other episodes that featured Jynx drawn this way such as "Stage Fight" and "The Mandarin Island Mismatch", this one seems to take a lot of the heat.
In this episode, Ash meets a group of Passimians known as the Red Buns who are notorious for their violent behavior. In order to establish a less violent leader, Ash disguises himself as one of the Passimians so he can get close to them. The reason this episode never aired in the United States is because Ash's Passimian disguise is too close to that of black face, which many people in North America see as racist. While the Japanese don't seem to have too much of a problem with it, they know well enough that it's a dark part of U.S. history most people don't want to be reminded of.
What makes this episode controversial is how it really starts the waterworks. Misty joins Ash in Pokemon Emergency after his Pikachu accidentally uses its Thundershock to turn Misty' bike into a mass of useless molten metal and has been journeying with him ever since. 272 episodes in, it felt like the tomboyish mermaid was here to stay until they make a stop at Viridian City where the Nurse Joy working there was able to restore Misty's bike to pristine condition. With the debt repaid and her older sisters going on some kind of tour, Misty decides to bid farewell to Ash and Brock as she takes on the mantle of Gym Leader in her sisters' absense. What made this episode upsetting is how Misty has become a fan favorite and although she would appear in later episodes, it was clear that she wouldn't be in the show as often.
In this episode, Ash and May clash over how May's tendency to prim herself delayed the group's journey to Fortree City and the two start to argue. They're then challenged by Oscar and Andi, a couple who specialize in tag battles. After Ash and May lose, they start blaming each other. Oscar and Andi soon cross paths with Team Rocket and also challenge them. Much like Ash and May, Jesse and James lose and blame each other. When the two groups cross paths (again), Ash and May are able to put their differences aside and give Team Rocket another blasting off. While countries like Canada and United States might not have a problem with this kind of thing, other countries such as Ireland found qualms with this kind of thing and therefore didn't air them.
Ah, yes. The number sparks a sense of horrible memories to all those who witnessed what happened to the Twin Towers in New York City on September 11th, 2001. In this episode, Nastina is trying to build a luxury hotel on a coral reef that the local Tentacool and Tentacruel population call home and offers $1 000 000 to anyone who can neutralize the Pokemon she calls 'pests'. Team Rocket try to use a serum to stun them only to cause one of the Tentacruel to grow to Kaiju-sized proportions and start destroying the nearby city. It's easy to see why this episode was pulled from rotation because it was similar to how Osama Bin Laden used airplanes to destroy the Twin Towers and kill almost 3 000 people in the process. Even today, this episode will probably bring back some painful memories.
Anything that contains towers is bound to be controversial sadly, because America. The Two Towers of LotR also got controversial.