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18 Times Pokémon Was Too Scandalous For America

Updated July 17, 2020 269.4k views18 items

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.

  • Lenora's Apron Was Removed Because Of Racist Connotations

    Photo: The Pokemon Company

    The Japanese version of Lenora, a gym leader from the Black/White era, wears a pink apron. This apron was noticeably removed in the American anime, and for good reason. Lenora is one of the only Black characters in the Pokémon universe, and the apron saddled her with a hard-to-ignore, deeply unfortunate housekeeper stereotype.

    Her Japanese name actually translates to "Natural Born Mama," and challengers had to face a series of cooking quizzes before battle. This was, of course, changed to Pokémon trivia in the American Black/White versions, just as her apron was removed to reduce any chance of a racist caricature in the anime.

  • A Swastika Was Removed From A Trading Card

    Photo: Nintendo

    Nintendo came under massive fire when they released a trainer card called Koga's Ninja Trick. The original Japanese card featured an omote manji, a Buddhist symbol that looks like a backwards swastika. In the West, this symbol is obviously not associated with peace. It is only associated with Nazi Germany, and white supremacy.

    Needless to say, Nintendo changed the American version of the card.

  • "Tentacool & Tentacruel" Was Banned After 9/11

    Photo: The Pokemon Company

    Pokémon removed a number of episodes from rotation after 9/11, including one called "The Tower of Terror" simply because of its name. That particular episode wasn't even offensive, but "Tentacool & Tentacruel" could have been perceived as insensitive, had it aired.

    In the episode, Tentacruel destroys many buildings, including a skyscraper that was fairly reminiscent of the World Trade Center.

  • Team Rocket Originally Did A Nazi Salute

    Photo: The Pokemon Company

    Nintendo just can't shake the Nazi stuff. Seriously, it should NOT be this hard to avoid connection with the Third Reich. In an episode of the Pokémon anime called "All Things Bright and Beautifly," Jesse, James, and Meowth are talking to a bunch of Team Rocket Grunts. Then, they all appear to do a Nazi salute.

    They do it readily and in perfect unison, like it's a thing they do all the time. This was edited out in the American version, because they were doing a Nazi greeting