The writers and creators of Pokémon are incredibly creative, and not just because they can come up with endless variations of magical cartoon pets battling against each other for the ego of their competitive masters (which makes sense when you’re watching it as a kid, but can strike as vaguely sociopathic when you’re an adult). As it turns out, they’re also good at slipping in some adult jokes that, for the most part, whizz by the censors. In this area at least, Pokémon is amusingly deft.
Sure, it’s not exactly The Simpsons, where the jokes are often so meticulously crafted that they work on one level for the kids and on an entirely different level for the adults. Yet, in some cases, the writers of Pokémon have managed to make several slyly recurring jokes that seem to imply deviance through simplistic dialogue. This isn’t bad for a franchise that effectively exists as a commercial for plush dolls, video games, and various other merchandise, right?
It’s time to take a look at the jokes in Pokémon that you may have missed as a kid– or even as an adult if you weren’t paying much attention.
With that said, here are the 15 Inappropriate Jokes You Completely Missed In Pokémon.
15. Primeape’s Iron Tail – PokéPark: Pikachu’s Adventure
Released in 2010 for the Wii console, PokéPark: Pikachu’s Adventure is– at least on the surface surface– very child-friendly, even in relation to other Pokémon media. However, even here there’s an eyebrow raising bit of dialogue from the particularly butch Pokémon Primeape.
When wandering around as Pikachu, you run afoul of Primeape, who looms threateningly over Pikachu and boasts: “I mastered Iron Tail without a tail! And do you know what that means?”
How long had Primeape been workshopping that line? When you’ve got a one-liner that works as a wink and a leer, you know that some work must’ve been devoted to it. In the land of this haphazardly designed and rendered game, there’s probably not a whole lot more for this poor Pokémon to actually do.
14. James Staying Away From Women – Pokémon 2000
Pokémon 2000 is the second film in the franchise, and was released back when Pokémon was the kind of world-wide phenomena that justified putting out a movie, despite the critical flogging it was destined to receive. Still, this animated feature contains a gentle dig at James’ sexuality – and this is just one of many. For those who don’t remember, James is a member of the dastardly trio, Team Rocket.
Jesse offers some advice to Ash: “Listen kid, when you’re getting involved with the opposite sex, you’re only offering trouble!” Her partner-in-crime James immediately interjects, “Yes, and that’s the kind of trouble… I stay out of.”
You could almost hear the repressed laughter from voice actor Eric Stuart when he delivered the line.
13. Crabbies – Pokémon 2000
Early on in Pokémon 2000, our heroes, Brock, Ash, and Misty are dining in a restaurant, minding their own business. However, before the scene is properly established, we’re privy to some a punchline that, for a G-rated cartoon, is curiously lewd, to say the least.
A Pokétrainer says to her small group of friends: “And she said, ‘no, but I have crabbies.‘” The gang of friends then bursts out into giggles.
You have to figure that this was aimed squarely at the parents who were no doubt dragged to the theatre. It’s an odd addition to the film, as it is seemingly just there to be noticed by older audience members. It’s so blunt and obvious that, once again, it’s surprising that it slipped past the censors.
12. Fun In Five Years – Pokémon, “Beauty And The Beach”
This inappropriate joke strictly from the Japanese version of Pokémon, so it’s very possible that most fans who watched the English dub were never aware of it. It happens in the 18th episode of Pokémon: Indigo League, “Beauty and the Beach”, and it’s… pretty tasteless.
In the episode, Misty has to enter a swimsuit competition in order to raise money for restauranteur Moe. Old man Moe makes an especially leery remark at Misty when he sees her in the bathing suit, commenting: “She’ll be really fun in about five years.”
Not surprisingly, this episode was heavily chopped and edited for the US version. This comment was completely cut out, along with a scene in which James fondles his inflatable breats. Yet, somehow, it was still broadcast in Japan.
11. Onix and Cloyster – Pokémon: HeartGold and SoulSilver
Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver for the Nintendo DS are updates of the hugely popular Gold and Silver games which were released in 1999 for the Game Boy. However, these updated versions have become known for a particular young couple, Duff & Eda, who at one point challenge you to a battle.
So what are their Pokémon? Onix and Cloyster– two Pokémon which happen to look like the male and female genitalia, respectively. Subtle, Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, very subtle.
To add to the already striking sexual connotations, Eda even states: “My heart’s feelings for my boyfriend are as wide and deep as the ocean.” In the Japanese version this translates into: “I want to wrap my boyfriend with a wide, deep, big heart!” The level of playfulness here alone surpasses the Pokémon cartoons.
10. James’ Personal Add – Pokémon 3
The sequel to Pokémon 2000 has another terrifically sly James joke, although this one is far more clever.
In Pokémon 3, Team Rocket see an Unown, a psychic Pokémon species that resemble letter or punctuation mark-like runes. James quips: “I haven’t seen this many strange letters since I wrote that personal ad!”
We don’t think it’s controversial to say that there was a huge missed opportunity for a Pokémon short about James writing that personal ad and the reactions he received to said letter.
On the other hand, this is one of those quick, easy-to-miss jokes that instantly engages the imagination. Clever and genuinely amusing, this joke is a winning a moment in Pokémon 3 that provided disgruntled parents with at least one nice moment.
9. The Rare Bone – Pokémon Sun and Moon
Pokémon Sun and Moon are two role-playing games that were released in 2016 for the Nintendo 3DS. The games are actually pretty infamous for the sheer amount of innuendos that flirt with being just blatant inappropriate references. With that said, it’s not surprising that a few gems from this game stood out.
One particular joke is made curtesy of Pokétrainer Lana, who says: “The flavour of the Rare Bone seems to fill my whole mouth.”
This brings up so many questions. Is this purely an awkward translation from a Japanese script or was this put through to the final product for the sheer sport of it? Is she talking about, like, bone marrow, which is indeed flavoursome… or something else?
Even in the innuendo-heavy game that is Pokémon Sun and Moon, this one sticks out.
8. James Flaming – Pokémon, “The Fortune Hunters”
The 41st episode of Pokémon: The Johto Journals features a flamboyant James who is insistent in telling us all that he is flaming. He backs this up by dressing up as the most flaming Pokémon of all: Moltres.
However, not content with just leaving this as a visual gag, James pronounces: “I am the flame that burns the brightest, a flame that lights the night, a flame that shatters the darkness… I am a flaming Moltres!” Subtext, meet flame.
Of all the, James gags, this is somehow simultaneously the least and most blatant joke. If you were a kid and weren’t aware of “flaming” connotations, then this gag goes completely over your head. For everyone else, it’s clear which team James is batting for– and it’s not Team Rocket.
7. Pokéballs – Pokémon X and Y
Pokémon X and Y are two role-playing game released in 2013. They pose a question that most people would never blatantly ask aloud. This is question is a bemusing and strange one.
In the games, a female Pokétrainer muses aloud: “If I’m wearing a bikini, where do I keep my Pokéballs? Tehe, a woman’s secret.”
Although, to be fair, as far as gags about Pokéballs go, it could’ve been a lot worse– at least the writers decided to give this dialogue to a female character, which can excuse it’s crudeness a little bit. Still, this is another example of the Pokémon games jamming in way more suggestive and inappropriate content than what would be acceptable on a typical morning cartoon.
6. Onix Is A Big Pokémon – Pokémon X and Y
In a one particular part of Pokémon X and Y, you can encounter a female Pokétrainer girl who throws out some subtle hints about the Pokémon Onix. In fact, she blatantly states: “You know what? I love big things! Wow, Onix is so big! Riding on Onix would be so much fun!” Fun or cringe, you can decide.
This is another case where it is uncertain whether it is merely an awkward, innocent translation that went horribly wrong or something that the writers decided to slip in, hoping that it would go under the radar.
She probably isn’t even thinking this “riding on Onix” thing through. Does she really want to be caught in a fatal rock slide? I know she loves big things and all, but just look at him. The Pokémon writers team should really stick to focusing on adventures about friendship.
5. Master Roshi – Pokémon Blue/Red
One of the most popular character types in anime is the peeping/inappropriate elderly man. Perhaps the most well-known of these is Master Roshi from the Dragon Ball series. In fact, he makes an appearance as an NPC in Pokémon Red and Blue– two of the earliest Pokémon games that were released for the Game Boy in 1996.
In Celadon City, you come across an old fellow who is loitering by the window of a local gym. He says to you, without a hint of shame, you’ve got to assume, because he’s so obvious about it: “Hehe, this gym is great! It’s full of women!”
Evidently, over the years, Pokémon would refine its sneaky inappropriate innuendos in addition to its gameplay mechanics. Later this line was even changed to “It’s full of strong trainers!” We still see you, Pokémon Red and Blue, we know what you meant.
4. Going Straight – Pokémon, “The Water Flowers Of Cerulean City”
This is yet another episode of Pokémon that takes a subtle crack at James. This was early on in the series in the first season’s seventh episode, “The Water Flowers of Cerulean City”.
When Team Rocket are– once again– defeated by our heroes, James exclaims: “It’s times like these that make me want to go straight.”
To be fair, “going straight” is an old expression for going on the straight and narrow, but in light of all the succeeding James gags, it’s easy to read it as implying something about James’ preferences.
As with a lot of clever jokes, this can potentially be read both ways. However, kids watching the show and adults viewing it now will see things very differently.
3. Piece of Fruit – Pokémon, “Like It Or Lup It”
Clearly Pokémon contains no shortage of gags and hints about James and what’s going on in his private life in between episodes of scheming and making life hell for our main heroes.
“Like It or Lup It” is the seventh episode of the Diamond and Pearl series. It contains a gag that pokes fun at James’ sexuality, which he may actually be in denial about.
The Pokémon Carnivine tries to bite James’ head in one sequence, to which James protests: “Carnivine, I’m not a piece of fruit! No matter what anybody says!” Whether he was talking to the legion of fans breathlessly speculating in the message boards or he was simply trying to convince himself, we’ll never know.
2. Dorido’s Three Heads – Pokémon Sun and Moon
In Pokémon Sun and Moon, one implication about the three-headed bird Pokémon Dodrio sticks out for its inappropriate content. This gag isn’t even mentioned in passing, however, and instead, is blatantly plastered in the Pokédex.
In the game, a portion of the description of Dodrio reads: “Apparently, the heads aren’t the only parts of the body that Dodrio has three of.”
Surprisingly, this is actually a necessary piece of information in the game, since Pokémon Sun and Moon also involves a lot of Pokémon breed. So perhaps the creators decided to slide this extra information into the game because they felt that it was relevant in someway… except it isn’t– it isn’t relevant at all.
In fact, most players would be a lot happier without knowing this little interesting tidbit of information.
1. Pokemon Sun and Moon – The Finishing Move
Perhaps the most eye-brow raising moment in all of Pokémon Sun and Moon happened when encountering one particular NPC. In one scene, a grown woman appears, corners our hero, and hits them with a line that is either incredibly awkward or completely innocent and naïve.
This woman states: “It’s so hot in Alola. I’d love to get doused with a water-type move!”
Well, you can’t exactly blame her– Alola is incredibly hot. However, since this could easily be a double entendre, it might be wise to avoid saying this to a child protagonist. In fact, the entire encounter is incredibly inappropriate, and while kids playing the game may not realize the implications, it is pretty obvious to older gamers.
Are there any other inappropriate jokes in Pokémon that we missed? Let us know in the comments.