On February 27, 1996, Nintendo released a little called Pokémon Red and Blue in Japan. The basis of the game was to capture and collect powerful little creatures called Pokémon (short for pocket monsters) and train them to battle one another. You could also trade Pokémon with other trainers.
Red and Blue was a success and sequel games, anime, movies, books, etc. soon followed, becoming Nintendo’s second most successful media franchise behind Mario. To celebrate its 20th anniversary, here are 27 things you may not know about Pokémon.
- Pokémon creator Satoshi Tajiri took inspiration for the franchise from his childhood hobby of collecting insects.
- In 1997, an episode of the Pokemon animated series called “Electric Soldier Porygon” was banned in Japan for giving nearly 700 viewers seizures or seizure-like symptoms. Because of this, the episode has never aired internationally.
- Some of the regions in the Pokémon universe are based off on real life locations in Japan.
- There is a fan theory that a massive war in the Kanto region broke out before the start of the original Pokemon games. Many fans believe in this theory due to a lack of adults in the game and this quote Lt. Surge made in Red and Blue:
Hey, kid! What do you think you’re doing here? You won’t live long in combat! That’s for sure! I tell you kid, electric Pokémon saved me during the war! They zapped my enemies into paralysis! The same as I’ll do to you!
- Even though Arceus is the oldest Pokémon in the game universe, Rhydon was actually the very first Pokémon to be created.
- Pikachu’s name is a combination of the Japanese onomatopoeia for sparkle pikapika and chūchū, which is the sound of squeaking.
- According to former Pokémon anime director and storyboard artist Masamitsu Hidaka, Brock was removed from the anime temporarily due to the fear that international Pokémon fans (particularly American fans) would view Brock’s eyes as a racial stereotype.
- In the anime, the Pokédex entries for Farfetch’d implies that humans nearly hunted the Pokémon into extinction for food, confirming that humans do eat Pokémon.
- Drifloon’s Pokédex entries state that the Pokémon tricks children into thinking it’s a balloon and then carries them away to the underworld.
- Originally, Professor Oak was supposed to be one of the final bosses in Red and Blue. A glitch or GameShark hack will allow you to battle Oak in the game.
- Hitmonchan and Hitmonlee are named after Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee, respectively. Their Japanese names, Ebiwalar and Sawamular, are thought to be a reference to Japanese kickboxer Tadashi Sawamura and Japanese boxing champion Hiroyuki Ebihara.
- It took 6 years to produce Red and Blue. Game Freak (the company that develops Pokémon) ran out of money and the company nearly went bankrupt. Creatures, Inc. gave Game Freak the money needed to finish Pokemon and in return, Creatures, Inc. would own one-third of the rights to the franchise.
- There is a myth that shortly after the release of Red and Blue in Japan, children and young teens would become ill or even commit suicide after they reached Lavender Town. It is said that the theme for Lavender Town, which uses binaural beats (special tones that influence the brainwaves), would cause discomfort in children due to the high-pitched sound it made.
- Banette was originally a plush doll that became a Pokemon after developing a grudge over being thrown away. It seeks revenge against the child that disowned it.
- Republican politician Herman Cain quoted the lyrics to “Power of One” from the movie “Pokémon 2000” during a speech.
- The names of the Legendary Birds include the Spanish words for one, two, three. Articuno, Zapdos and Moltres.
- Yamask are Pokémon that arose from spirits interred in graves. Each retain memories of their former life and carry a mask that resembles their human face. Sometimes they look at it and cry.
- In the anime, Pikachu was originally going to learn a language, but the producers changed their minds.
- Cubone wears the skull of its dead mother on its head. It will cry when it sees a likeness of its mother during the full moon.
- Originally, fans referred to Marill as “Pikablu”, thinking it was an evolved form of Pikachu/Raichu. This was mostly due to similarities between Marill and Pikachu.
- Pokémon Puzzle League is the only Pokemon game that wasn’t released in Japan. The game was released in the US for the Nintendo 64, but due to the N64’s low popularity it was never released in Japan.
- Ash Ketchum’s Japanese name Satoshi is a tribute to Pokémon creator Satoshi Tajiri. Shigeru Okido, the Japanese name of Ash’s former rival Gary Oak, is a reference to Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto.
- In 1999, two nine year old boys and their parents sued Nintendo, claiming that the Pokémon card games were causing the boys to develop gambling addictions.
- Spoink bounce around constantly, using its tail as a spring. The shock of its bouncing keeps its heart beating. If a Spoink stops bouncing, it will die.
- Lampent arrives near the moment of death and steals a person’s spirit from its body. It hangs around hospitals waiting for people to die.
- Slowbro is the only Pokémon known to de-evolve. It will revert back to Slowpoke when the Shellder on its tail is removed.
- Contrary to popular belief, you can not unlock Mew in the original Pokemon games by moving the truck at S.S. Anne. However, there is a glitch that will allow you to unlock Mew.