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.
Even though Kamen Rider never made it big in America like Power Rangers did, it’s still an insanely popular franchise in Japan. It’s so respected in Japan that Pokémon: Black & White did a tribute to it in episode 57 of the show. The episode is about a motorcyclist named Charles and his crime-fighting alter-ego, The Mighty Accelguard. The Mighty Accelguard’s super sentai design and motorcycle focus scream Kamen Rider.5518Catch that reference?
- Photo: OLM, Inc.
The animators behind Pokémon Sun & Moon must have loved that Pokémon parody Pop Team Epic did, because the show returned the favor in episode 78. In said episode, Ash and Kiawe tried to capture a Blacephalon and Xurkitree with their Beast Balls, but failed in the process, resulting in that distinct look of shock only found in Pop Team Epic. Of course, the scene inspired some hilarious Pokémon x Pop Team Epic fan art.5517Catch that reference?
For the 103rd episode of Pokémon Sun & Moon, the anime staff paid homage to the series finale of Mobile Fighter G Gundam. Just as Brock and Olivia were about to face off, Team Rocket interrupts their Pokémon battle in typical Team Rocket fashion. This time, however, the evil trio is piloting a Meowth-shaped mecha that bears a strong resemblance to the Dark Gundam. They’re defeated by Brock and Olivia teaming up to deliver a heart-shaped Continental Crush attack straight to the mecha's head. The entire hand-interlocking sequence is identical to Domon and Rain performing the Erupting Burning Finger Sekiha Love-Love Tenkyoken attack from G Gundam.4714Catch that reference?
Among all the great shoutouts to Megumi Hayashibara’s career in animation, episode 93 of Pokémon: Sun & Moon featured another legendary anime reference. The way Lillie and Mallow embrace during the Pokémon School play is a reference to the central lesbian relationship of Utena Tenjou and Anthy Himemiya from Revolutionary Girl Utena. A great tribute to a defining anime for the LGBTQ+ community and a nice ship tease for fans of Lillie x Mallow.4116Catch that reference?