Pokemon: The Controvercy

Ash in a silly mask.

This is the hardest section to write. In fact, I actually took these pages down last year because I had trouble writing this. But this is necessary, since controvercy was a part of the late 90's Pokemon experiance.

Pokemon was new, & few parents really understood it. Moreover, kids were going crazy for anything with a Pikachu on it, or for anything that ended with "mon." The series takes place in it's own world, with it's own rules. There was a lot to learn, especially if you didn't have an hour each day set aside to watch cartoons, plus another half-hour at recess to talk about it. Shoot, most of Nintendo's execs didn't really get the game; Shigeru Miyamoto convinced them the series was worth developing. Tesco hired an eight-year-old kid as a consultant just so they could understand what they were trying to sell. You want to know what your kids are into; if it has a good influence or not. Pokemon was so hard to understand some misconceptions were bound to happen, especially if some one took a few moments out of context.

And now I must not this: Neither my teachers nor my parents, nor my church had any problem with the series. This is all stuff I've heard, going back to when the show was new.

Does Pokemon Promote Violence?

No. Outside of The First Movie, there were at least two episodes of the TV show which delt with that subject, Charmender, The Stray Pokemon, & Showdown at Dark City. Pokemon are there to protect their owners & other people; in the show, Ash constantly has to defeat Team Rocket's latest scheme; in the games the main character carries Pokemon to protect himself/herself from wild Pokemon.

Does Pokemon Promote Gambling?

No. Gambling exists in the Pokemon world, but both the show & the games show it as a bad influence.

In the show, Ash & co. come across a city where everyone stays up all night & day, playing slots. This makes them surley, because they never go to sleep. At the end of the epsisode, Jigglypuff accidentally forces the entire city to stop playing & start sleeping. They awake refreshed, & appologise for being so rude. In the games, Team Rocket, the series' bad guys, own the casino. Both the games & show correlate gambling with evil.

Parents were concerned that kids might be gambling with Pokemon cards, since some kids played a version of the game where the looser lost their cards to the winner.

Historically, kids have played games where the winner took the looser's toys. Marbles comes to mind. This is optional. Kids don't have to play anything "for keeps." (And they shouldn't!)

Does Pokemon Promote Witchcraft?

Pokemon are broken into several types, including a Psychic type. Spiritists sometimes clain they have Psychic powers. Since spiritism is listed as a type of forbidden activity in the Bible, this aroused concerns with some Christian parents. Do Pokemon get their powers from evil spirits? Are they evil spirits themselves?

No. First, Pokemon are not evil spirits. Pokemon have a physical presence; you can touch them, feel them, pat them on the head. Spirits are not physical; they're spiritual; try to touch one & your hand will go right through it. Pokemon may be captured by men, but that's like someone capturing & training an animal. In fact, that's what inspired Pokemon; Satoshi Tajri used to catch bugs as a kid, & he wanted to give the next generation something similar.

Second, there are no positive references to spiritism in the series. The TV show does have an old lady who sells the main characters "anit-ghost" stickers, but they don't work; she just wanted to make "a quick buck." There are channelers in one section of the video game, but they're posessed. Getting posessed doesn't sound positive; it sounds like a good reason to leave spirits alone.

Third, while the word psychic is used by spiritists, it's also used as a generic term for supernatural phenomina. Also, "psychic" refers to mental pheonomina, not spiritual phenominia. Pokemon don't call on any spirits when they use their powers, & they don't use their own spirits to generate powers, whatever they may be. Pokemon generate the phenomina themselves.

Does Pokemon Promote Eastern Religions?

No; if there were story elements inspired by Animism, Confusism, Taoism, Buddism, or Shintoism, they were rendered generically, so they could fit into any religous context. That, or the games refer to them as in-universe legends.

Does Pokemon Promote Evolution?

No, Pokemon Evolution is more similar to growth or metamophisis than biological evolution. Pokemon change through out their lives, but their kids are "un-evolved" versions of themselves. Pokemon don't pass mutations to their offspring, & unfit Pokemon don't die off.

A Conclusion...

Pokemon is a fun series, & there are even some good lessons about friendship & respect in it, but it is fiction. It's an imiginary way for kids to experiance bug-collecting in a metropolitian world where fields & forests have been paved over to build shopping centers. Don't worship Pokemon, or a Pokemon, or Satoshi Tajiri, or anyone else who helped create Pokemon. Worship God, who created the real world, & take a ride out of the city sometime, to see His great works.

Return to the Craze Page

Return to the Main Menu