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.
Gym Leader Sabrina's Soul Is Sucked Out By A Giant, Murderous Haunter Called The "Black Fog"
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?)Is this disturbing?
The Kanto Elite Four's End Game Is Genocide
The Kanto Elite Four - Lorelei, Bruno, Lance, and Agatha - are evil with a capital "E." (They even have a volcano island base.) In fact, they were so bad, they forced the other weaker villains - Team Rocket, Sabrina, Lt. Surge and Koga - to team up with the heroes to take them down.
Throughout Pokémon Adventures, the four displayed a distaste for their fellow human beings, particularly those they thought weren't nice enough to Pokémon. Their solution? To eradicate the entire human race, save for themselves and their allies. They're basically an even more extreme version of PETA.Is this disturbing?
Most Of The Protagonists Suffer Terrible Fates
The Pokémon world is a dangerous place, and though death is a clear part of life there, there are far more disturbing ways for a trainer to suffer. At the end of the Black and White arc, Black ends up being sealed into the Light Stone along with the Legendary Pokémon Reshiram while villain Ghetis is still at large.
Before this, Red, Blue, Yellow, Green, and Silver are all turned to stone during the conclusion of FireRed and LeafGreen, with villain Sird able to escape. What's with all these unhappy endings, Pokémon manga writers?Is this disturbing?
The Elite Four's Lorelei Loves To Make Ice Voodoo Dolls And Freeze People
All of Kanto's twisted Elite Four members have their own unique ways of inflicting pain on people, including Ice-type user Lorelei. She possesses the strange ability to create voodoo dolls from ice to help her capture her opponents. She also has a penchant for freezing people.
Freezing Pokémon solid is a normal status condition in the games and anime, but never are its horrific aftereffects explored. In Pokémon Adventures, Lorelei's freezing of Red and Sabrina actually causes them terrible, long-term damage. She's also not adverse to using moves like "Ice Spike Cannon" (a cocktail of moves from her Dewgong and Cloyster) to almost deadly effect.Is this disturbing?