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15 Anime References In 'Pokémon' You Might Have Missed

July 13, 2020 988 votes 203 voters 16.7k views15 items

Even though the Pokémon anime series has been going on for over 20 years now, Ash Ketchum doesn’t look a day over 10. Joking aside, it’s crazy that a series two decades old is still finding new ways to entertain viewers of all ages. Pokémon Journeys is the 23rd season of Pokémon, yet, it feels as fresh as season one. 

While the rich video game history of Pokémon is great for brainstorming new adventures for Ash and friends, the love and admiration the anime writers have for other anime series is also a plus. There has been so many amazing anime references in Pokémon over the years that it's hard to keep count of them all. However, given the show’s long-running status, these anime easter eggs may have gone unnoticed by even the most loyal of fans. Once you hear about all of the anime references hidden in Pokémon, you’ll be compelled to binge-watch the entire show to find even more.

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  • Photo: OLM, Inc.

    Yes. Yes, that is a JoJo reference. In the 16th episode of Pokémon Sun & Moon, Team Rocket is seen reacting in an extreme and highly-detailed way. The realistic, yet, “bizarre” expression on their faces is similar to the over-the-top reaction shots from the JoJo Bizarre Adventure series.

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  • Meowth is a big fan of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. In episode 57 of Pokémon X & Y, Meowth poses like Jonathan Joestar from volume four of the manga, and also like Jotaro Kujo from volume one. Then, he mimics Dio’s battle cry by saying "Muda-nya Muda-nya Muda-nya.” 

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  • Photo: OLM, Inc.

    One thing that’s often lost on non-Japanese viewers of Pokémon is the legacy of the Japanese voice actors who work on the show. Megumi Hayashibara, a singer; lyricist; and legendary voice actress, has played Jessie (Musashi) since the first season of Pokémon and continues to this very day. In a wonderful tribute to Hayashibara’s longlasting career in anime, Jessie was dressed up as Hayashibara’s most iconic characters in episode 93 of Pokémon Sun & Moon. Just to name a few, Jessie was transformed into Rei Ayanami (Neon Genesis Evangelion), Faye Valentine (Cowboy Bebop), Ranma Saotome (Ranma ½), Lime (Saber Marionette J), and Paprika (Paprika). And, of course, Lina Inverse from Slayers

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  • Before Cardcaptor Sakura came back into the anime scene with a new 2018 series, two of its leading girls popped up in an episode of Pokémon Diamond & Pearl. At the beginning of episode 77, there are two girls who look exactly like Sakura Kinomoto and Tomoyo Daidōji from Cardcaptor Sakura. While it’s a cool nod to the classic anime series, the Sakura and Tomoyo cameo is also a funny in-joke about Wallace’s hat looking exactly like theirs.

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