Most of us don't consider Pikachu a harbinger of X-rated content — with those chubby cheeks? C'mon. We'd never dream that an innocent children's show and game franchise like Pokémon would need to be censored in America, yet it happened with staggering regularity. The reasons can be innocent, as sometimes things just don't translate from Japanese to American culture. Lots of anime has been censored in the US for this reason alone, including popular shows like Dragon Ball Z, Sailor Moon, and Yu-Gi-Oh!.
Sometimes, however, Pokémon just made flat-out terrible and baffling decisions. Cue the blackface and scantily clad 10-year-old girls - Pokémon has undergone some serious censorship in America, and these examples show that it was probably for the best.
Sucking on a cow's udders is apparently too suggestive according to American TV networks (even if it's totally natural). In the episode "Got Miltank?," both Cydaquil and Meowth are badly injured and lost in the desert. They are taken to a Miltank, whose udders have healing powers.
In the Japanese anime, both Cydaquil and Meowth are shown suckling on a Miltank, but this was cut from the English dub.
In the episode "The Kangaskhan Kid," Ash, Misty, and Brock meet a young boy who was raised by wild Kangaskhan. It's supposed to be similar to Tarzan, but instead of a saccharine Disney-esque plot, things immediately get twisted. In the Japanese version of the anime, the kid asks the 10-year-old Misty if he can drink milk from her breasts. The camera zooms in on her 10-year-old, prepubescent chest and Misty smacks him away. This is played for laughs, as the reproductive capacity of children is apparently hilarious.
This was (obviously) changed in the American localization. Instead, the boy asks Misty if they are people or Pokémon, and she gets outrageously offended.
Sexual innuendo and kids' shows definitely don't mix. The original Pokémon theme song, as famous as it is, is actually an edited version. The original Japanese song had the opening lyrics: "I'll get you, Pokémon! Even if in fire, in water, in grass, in forests, in ground, in clouds, in that girl's skirt (eek!)." Ash was definitely just looking up that girl's skirt "for Pokémon," right? Right?
The bizarrely sexual wordplay would have never flown with American audiences. The American theme song is so classic, it's hard to imagine what the anime would be like without it. Admit it, that sick opening guitar lick just started playing in your head.
In the original Japanese version of Pokémon Stadium (one of the few 3D, N64 Pokémon games) Nidoqueen's battle cry was actually changed. When Nidoqueen was thrown into battle in the original version, she would grab and jiggle her breasts.
Well, they really can't be called "breasts" because she's basically a cartoon dinosaur. They're really more like pectoral muscles, but either way, this offended American gamers, and it was edited out.