The Pokémon franchise is known around the world for being harmless and child-friendly, which is mainly thanks to the popular, long-running anime series. The video games are similarly considered suitable for a younger audience, despite some darker elements that slip under the radar, such as creepy Pokédex references to child soul-stealing (and worse.)
Perhaps this is why it's so shocking that the Pokemon manga is chocked full of death, gore, and horror. Seriously, there are some messed up things in the Pokémon manga. Unlike the anime and video game series, in the manga, Pokémon can kill each other, trainers risk life and limb in combat, Team Rocket are far from harmless buffoons, and almost every adult in a position of authority - from Gym Leaders to the Elite Four - seems to be a villain. Not just an antagonist - an actual, evil villain.
Disturbing elements of the Pokémon manga are almost too many to count; beyond Pokémon dying - not to mention trainers - the list is longer than you'd expect. Here are some of the most messed up things in the Pokémon manga. If you're looking for more darkness, check out this grim Pokémon fan theory.
Ever wanted to know what an Arbok's insides look like? Well, look no further than Chapter 14 of the Pokémon Adventures manga, "That Awful Arbok." During a confrontation in Lavender Town, Blue's well-trained Charmeleon jumps in to protect Red and Blue from Koga's Arbok and does the job a little too well.
For fans who are used to seeing their Pokémon just "faint," this is a particularly grim moment. The trainers also aren't phased by this Poké-murder at all. In fact, Red is even impressed by Blue's skills as a trainer, proving that this is an accepted risk of battling in the manga.
While he comes across as a fairly two-dimensional antagonist in other Pokémon media, in the Pokémon Adventures manga, Team Rocket's shadowy leader, Giovanni, is a mysterious presence with even more mysterious motives. He's also really cut-throat.
This is no more evident than his run-in with a wild Magmar in Chapter 9, "Make Way For Magmar!" in which he instructs his Cloyster to freeze and then separate the poor creature from its limbs.
As a villainous Gym Leader and Giovanni's Number Two, Koga proves himself to be a blood-thirsty adversary, and he very nearly kills Red on a few occasions. One of these occasions was during their showdown at Lavender Town.
If you think that town wasn't already creepy enough with the tower full of Poké-graves, imagine how much worse it would be if those deceased Pokémon suddenly started punching their way out of their resting places? That's exactly how Koga goes after Red - using the psychic powers of a Gastly to turn Lavender Town into Silent Hill.
The "Black Fog" is an extremely old and oversized Haunter that goes after the residents of Saffron City in The Electric Tale of Pikachu. It also has a dark history with Gym Leader Sabrina. As a child, the vengeful Pokémon took out Sabrina's parents by using "Dream Eater" to extract their souls.
After discovering it's back on the rampage in Pokémon Tower, Sabrina heads there to settle the score... only to nearly suffer the same fate as her parents. Luckily, she survives (minus her soul) and manages to defeat the Black Fog by teaming up with Ash and Brock. Ash attempts - and fails - to catch it, which is probably for the best. (Do you really want that literal monster on your team, Ash?)