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    General 
  • Pokémon themselves, and the practice of battling. Are they fully sapient Proud Warrior Race Guys engaging in their version of UFC with "coaches" who've earned their respect? Or are they little more than powerful animals being made to suffer through a sterilized depiction of cockfighting? Consider the real world equivalent of Pokémon battles, where human trainers force animals to fight for them? Bear-baiting, Cock-fighting and Dog-fighting! Yeah, it's suddenly become a lot harder to root for our heroes. The alternative to this comes when material for the series tries to characterize the Pokémon themselves beyond doing whatever their trainer tells them to, by saying all the fighting is just as much a game for them as it is for anyone playing the games. This is essentially a world which humanity shares with over eight hundred different species of super-powered Blood Knights. Considering how it's considered dangerously unsafe to walk in tall grass without a Pokémon of your own, and even a few generations later, Professor Birch gets chased by a wild dog pretty easily, this seems to actually be the case.
  • Pokémon:
    • The Pokémon Cubone wears a skull on its head from its dead mother. One popular interpretation is that it's an orphaned baby Kangaskhan that, because of the skull, evolves into Marowak instead of Kangaskhan, though how seriously this is believed depends on the person.
    • Another theory is that the Ghost Pokémon Gengar is a dead Clefable because of their similar body shapes.
    • Less morbid is the theory that the fossil Pokémon Kabutops is an evolutionary ancestor of Scyther because they both have blade arms.
    • Darkrai is often depicted in canon media as dangerous and shady, and sometimes all the way up to utter monster. A common fandom alternative, though, is that it is no more malevolent than any other given Legendary and suffers from Bad Powers, Good People, requiring withdrawal from people to prevent causing pain and making itself genuinely hated. This interpretation is also confirmed to be canon in the core games, with Power Incontinence on top of the harmful nature of Darkrai's powers.
  • A lot of Pokémon species get this in Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon's Pokédex entries, which are full of calling out undeserved reputations and inconsistencies. Just some examples:
    • Electabuzz is ostensibly responsible for nearly half of all known blackouts, but USUM claims it's being misblamed and scapegoated to cover for faults with the power companies.
    • Absol has classically been a walking Cassandra Truth and Chronic Hero Syndrome, but Ultra Sun sternly points out that one should be grateful for its altruism and popularity is rising in the younger generations.
    • Hypno, which, thanks to an old Pokédex entry, has become a shorthand for Memetic Molester, is commonly used by doctors as therapy for patients who have trouble sleeping.
    • Porygon-Z claims that its erratic behaviour isn't due to Min-Maxing or an unexpected reaction to new code; according to Ultra Sun, the creator was just incompetent.
  • A joke among some fans is that the highly implausible abilities ascribed to Pokémon in the Pokédex, which is cause for a lot of Gameplay and Story Segregation, is because the local Professors rely on children to fill them in and expand them: of course an eleven-year old trainer is going to exaggerate and misunderstand their observations of their Pokémon and record faulty data.
  • Due to the sparse details provided by the games, the Pokémon themselves are subject to this in the games. They display little personality outside of Pokémon-Amie, natures, and characteristics, and their 8-bit cries would be fairly implausible to produce in a "real" setting, with their text cries alternating between Pokémon Speak and onomatopoeia. As such, the Pokémon's cries and personalities (both individuals and the whole species) are largely left up to the viewer's imagination (and whichever Alternate Continuity they like best, be it the anime, the manga, Origins, Generations, etc.), which helps fuel the fandom's large roleplaying and fanwork community. An example of this is We Are All Pokémon Trainers, where Pokémon depiction bases are left up to the writer.
  • The entire Pokédex becomes suspect with the introduction of the Galarian fossils, a grotesques quartet of Mix-and-Match Critters who Came Back Wrong thanks to the scientist Cara Liss and whose Pokédex entries are heavily implied to be fabricated to make people believe these monstrosities actually existed. If these four mons can be given fake Pokédex entries, then what credibility can the rest of the Galarian Pokédex have when any random scientist in a lab coat can give a description and not be second guessed?

    Anime 
  • Team Rocket:
    • Jessie, James, and Meowth in the anime are prone to this, due to their Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain status and well-developed backstories. Depending on which section of the fandom you ask, they're one of these: A) criminals who are loved because they're so bad; B) a trio of bumbling misfits who happen to look cool; C) tragically misunderstood woobies; or D) a trio of rebels who are capable of being good but like being bad too much to do a complete Heel–Face Turn. Arguments over which portrayal is most accurate can lead to much Fan Wank. That their niceness or meaness changes Depending on the Writer doesn't help. More specifically, Meowth could be just as bumbling and incompetent as the other two; he could be a smart but conflicted villain who gets constantly dragged down by his desire to be be a good guy; or he could be a mastermind with enough smarts to learn Japanese (or English, for the dub) with a completely inhuman mouth and invent all sorts of scientifically improbable devices, and who pretends he wants to replace Giovanni's Persian cat-Pokémon because it makes him look incompetent.
    • There's also speculation that Jessie, James, and Meowth aren't villains, but deep cover heroes using the guise of incompetence to subtly influence Ash into becoming a better Trainer, and herding him into the right places to do good. Considering their motto used to start off with "To protect the world from devastation", this doesn't seem all that farfetch'd.
    • The anime quite deliberately totters between whether the Team Rocket trio are merely a bunch of incompetent losers, or the most accomplished characters in the series concerning nearly any area but Pikachu-napping.
    • Then there's the fact that they're still under the employment of Giovanni and are apparently elite enough to be in personal contact with him and his assistant despite being grossly incompetent and being highly fixated on obtaining one trainer's Pikachu. There's the interpretation that Giovanni lets them go to far-flung regions and encounter other evil teams to sabotage any potential competition.
    • Are Jessie and James Platonic Life-Partners or are they mutually in love but unwilling to take that first step?
  • This also applies to Cilan. His video game counterpart has no confidence when facing the player character and his anime counterpart is rather loud in comparison. Additionally, his anime counterpart is driven farther with what Burgundy states about him and how in her Imagine Spot, she suffered a humiliating defeat from him and he taunts her. She is already made out to be a liar in the episode but when she challenges him later on in this episode, the audience sees Cilan enjoying toying with her needlessly when it would only take one hit to KO both of her Pokemon. Somehow, the idea of him being a nice guy in both continuities is shattered if you put this into perspective. This makes the idea of Cilan secretly being a bad guy and being one of the three members of the Shadow Triad more likely.
  • It's a never ending debate on whether Paul is either a Domestic Abuser who tortures Pokemon, never shows any care for them whatsoever, and deserves to have his license as a trainer taken away, or if he's simply a Jerk with a Heart of Jerk and very strict trainer who's also fair enough to his Pokemon and knows his methods will pay off in the end. If you look at the way Paul is from his first appearances to his last, you'll most certainly see he's made some changes.
  • Ash;
    • Does Ash really keep losing league matches, or is he intentionally throwing them so he has an excuse to keep traveling?
    • Ash himself has gone through several phases of characterization Depending on the Writer, ranging from rookie to mentor and back again.
      • Some people consider him a "what-not-to-do" avatar for younger Pokémon fans for much of the series, particularly in the original and BW series. Others consider him to be a poor unfortunate soul cursed to wander endlessly without ever realizing it.
      • Ash's personality in Sun and Moon could be due to how one acts on vacation, especially given that he still shows extensive competence in battle.
    • Other fans believe Ash is utterly irresponsible trainer, dumping his Pokémon off at Oak's is especially contentious, especially with fans of said Pokémon. They view Ash's actions as a non-lethal You Have Failed Me for not winning the league. Defenders of this policy will, however, point to the issues Ash had when he did not start over his team in Johto (the comparative weakness of the Johto mons), and the additional skills the Pokemon at Oak's ranch learn being a benefit of their stay, such as Noctowl's much improved performance at the Sinnoh League, as well as the general view that Oak's ranch is a much better way of retaining his old Pokemon than the releasing and handing them off for training that Ash was prone to doing in the original series. It should also be noted that as a Merchandise-Driven show, the anime is required to showcase Ash using the newest Pokémon of every generation.
    • Smiling off his Kalos League loss is seen as either a sign of his apathy for his journey, avoiding to show his disappointment after the reprimand his first time in that position (post Indigo) got him, or a sign of maturity after the development he's gone through after several regions and the Ash-Greninja arc.
    • Ash is almost always depicted as being Oblivious to Love. Is he an ignorant Idiot Hero? A somewhat dense 10-year old who simply doesn't get romance yet and isn't interested in it? Asexual? That's not even discussing the interpretations that he might like one of his companions (typically either Misty or Serena) and either does not realize it or will not admit it. Or perhaps he does know, but intentionally plays oblivious because he doesn't see himself as good boyfriend material, or doesn't want to hurt their feelings.
    • Whether Ash's personality changes from between Kanto to Hoenn are the result of Character Development or retconning him into a Stock Shōnen Hero.
    • Is every season using the same Ash? Or did the series start using soft reboots at some point?
  • Misty:
    • Did Misty's acquisition of Togepi allow her to tame her earlier feistiness and mature her into someone more nurturing?
    • Misty is either a Faux Action Girl or she just didn't have as many opportunities to show her skills due to having a poorly defined goal and Ash being the main character.
    • Does Misty have a crush on Ash or not? There are plenty of signs but at the same time it's vague enough for them to be Platonic Life-Partners instead.
  • Ritchie as the physical representation of Ash's potential when not weighed down by his negative attributes and the Status Quo Is God constraints of a cartoon Long Runner is a popular interpretation of him...usually held by the people who don't hate his guts.
  • Cameron could be considered the Antithesis of Ritchie. A league rival who represents Ash's negative qualities (dopiness and impulsiveness) but amplified.
  • Is Charizard a lazy, freeloading, ungrateful jerk or does the lizard see Ash as unworthy to lend his strength, explaining his refusal to listen to Ash unless properly motivated before Character Development kicked in? Or alternatively, did Charizard not listen to Ash because he didn't have the right gym badges?
  • Burgundy herself is thought to be a Tsundere with some Belligerent Sexual Tension with Cilan.
  • Something about Reggie making Paul's Electabuzz afraid of him is popular for interpretation.
  • Is Johanna (Dawn's mom) a pageant mom, conditioning Dawn into contests and making her succeed so she can live through her achievements, or is she honestly supporting her daughter's interest in contests after having a successful career in the field herself?
  • Since not much is known about Trip, it's become a fandom thing to make Trip have Hidden Depths that were never touched on in the anime. The most common interpretation is that Trip is secretly Cute and Psycho note  and is obsessed with the occult (given he has two ghost Pokémon in his party). Additionally, there are speculations that Trip actually isn't that good with battling and the reason he loses in the first round of most tournaments is because he's either letting his ego get to him or he honestly is that weak and given he loses to Ash in the first round of the Unova League makes it seem like Trip isn't up to snuff like the other rivals.
  • It might be possible that in "Bulbasaur's Mysterious Garden" Ash's Bulbasaur didn't want to evolve because he was worried that it would suddenly become disobedient like Charmander did upon evolving into Charmeleon.
  • Pidgeotto is one of very few Pokémon in the anime to follow the games mechanics of becoming compliant to a trainer just from battling and capturing it (not requiring befriending or earning its trust separately) and is mentioned as being exceptionally loyal to Ash. Being a Noble Bird of Prey, one could attribute it as a Satellite Character who got its bonding offscreen, a remnant of Early Installment Weirdness, or among the Pokémon that feels honour-bound to a trainer that bests it.
  • Was James' Victreebel another over-affectionate Pokémon or genuinely just trying to eat its master? Is it even the same Pokémon as the Weepinbell James originally possessed?
  • Croagunk as a Crazy Jealous Guy for Brock; for one thing, there's how their friendship is rated at the same level as that of Ash and Pikachu, even though Croagunk was just recently captured at the time the rating was made...
  • The Running Gag of Bianca running in, colliding with Ash, and sending him flying into a conveniently-placed body of water. Is Bianca genuinely clumsy, or is she doing it on purpose so she can have an excuse to see Ash with his shirt off?
  • There's quite a bit of speculation regarding Iris' Dragonite and his disobedient attitude. Was he abused by humans in the past? Did he once have a trainer who abandoned him for being weak like Charmander? When he let Iris capture him, was it out of gratitude for proving his innocence, or because he saw her as someone who could carry him to strong opponents? Also, while battling against Ash's Krokorok, was he finally beginnging to trust Iris, or did he not view the former as a Worthy Opponent unlike Beartic and Mamoswine until his evolution into Krookodile?
  • Many, many people have pointed out that in Episode 5 of the Sun & Moon season, when Harper and Sara ask Lana if Ash is her boyfriend, Lana's first reaction is to blush and quickly deny it. A lot of people quickly started shipping the two together.
  • Likewise, some have interpreted Lillie's interactions with Ash in a similar way, especially her Luminescent Blush from being complimented by him in Episode 8.
  • Sometimes, Clemont's eyes get obscured via Scary Shiny Glasses when he tries to reprimand Bonnie on trying to hook him up with a girl, making it look like he's only pretending to be embarrassed by his sister's antics, and in reality he actually wants to find a girlfriend. And how did he find this logical? He saw Ash as an example.
  • Is Serena really in love with Ash, or is she love with her idealized image of him? If the latter, did it ever change into the former as the series went on?
  • Does Miette actually like Ash, or does she just pretend to as a way of taunting Serena?
  • Is Lillie truly a nice and sweet girl with a tragic past doing her best to move forward, in spite of her trauma, and gaining courage to face the future? Or is she an ungrateful spoiled brat that disliked her mother for petty reasons and never formally apologized for her behavior, while never bothering to try to understand and heal from her trauma until other people solved her problems for her?
  • Delia clearly loves her son but she seems more than happy to have him gone and there's a Running Gag of her ignoring him when they meet. According to Pocket Monsters: The Animation, Delia married young and got pregnant at 19. She loves Ash but misses her youth and is happy to have him gone because now she can be more free. It's easy to also apply this interpretation to the anime.
  • Does Harley hate May because she called his Cacturne scary, called his cookies not half bad, had some random girl that look just like May steal his favorite snack, narcissistic problems, or all of the above? Quite frankly, everything about Harley seems to be up to interpretation, and no two people see him the same way.
  • The divisive Pokémon: I Choose You! Pikachu speaking scene has several interpretations used by fans: is it their bond finally reaching a similar state as mentioned in the main series where Ash can generally pick up on what his Pokemon mean, if not their exact choice of words? Is Ash hallucinating as a result of severe injuries, as the scene itself is blurry? Was it exactly as it seems on the surface?
  • Professor Cerise explains in SS017 that he knew that there was a Gengar haunting the building that would be his laboratory and decided to buy it anyway because having a poltergeist would be so much fun. But 6 episodes prior he acts terrified when it causes a rampage, especially when Chloe's Yamper is the only one who can stop it and only Chloe can command Yamper to attack. Was he afraid of his daughter's safety? Was he acting scared so he can make Chloe gain confidence about liking Pokémon?
  • Is Chloe's cold attitude towards Ash due to not liking Pokemon as much as him, or is she jealous of his immediate friendship with Goh due to the two sharing similar interests?
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    Manga 

    Video Games 
  • In fandom, the Nuzlocke Challenge. You can only catch the first Pokémon you encounter in an area, and anytime a Pokémon faints, it is "dead" and must be released. How would this look to the actual in-game world? A trainer claims to love his Pokémon, but any time one of them faints, he sends it away because it's dead to him.
  • Cyrus:
    • Cyrus— is he Well-Intentioned Extremist? Even his die-hard fans will admit that his actions were evil and he had to be stopped, but was it as simple as defeating a megalomaniac? Or was there a good motive under that insanity? Giving him a Cry for the Devil backstory—which you don't discover until he's already gone from the plot—throws a wrench in the works, as does that some of his agents want to continue his organization even with the realization that Cyrus himself had gone too far.
    • Part of the difference seems to come from his alternate characterization in Platinum version, especially the scene where he tells the player character that he's using the other Galactic agents and LAUGHS ABOUT IT. Cyrus LAUGHING is jarring enough (and borders on completely out of character), but consider that that entire scene didn't exist in Diamond/Pearl.
      • To say nothing of the differing theories as to what that he meant in that scene. The theory that he planned to be the only thing that existed doesn't seem to hold water, as he talks later about others being there, including people he wouldn't logically know about. Was he testing the player character's reaction, as he seemed to be doing with his bomb threat in Celestic and his later threat that capturing/defeating Giratina would cause everything to end (which is counterproductive to his goals as if everything ended that way, he couldn't create his new universe)? Was the "lie" refering to how he had no intention of letting his subordinants rule rather than exist at all? Or is he just being his usual inscrutable self and the true meaning of it is known only to him?
    • It's worth noting that there is a canon where Cyrus realizes that what he had done was wrong, although we're not told the specifics of his realization. It's also the only canon where someone shows him forgiveness, and it's implied that the two are related. However, DPA-verse was for the most part written without Platinum's characterization.
    • Is Cyrus evil and twisted beyond redemption or is he a tortured soul who just needs serious therapy? Various adaptations and Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon lean toward the latter. Also, does he actually want his plan to succeed, or does he want to stop but knows he's in too deep to do it himself? He's oddly helpful to the player to the point where he even gave them the Master Ball, and he doesn't do anything that would harm anyone (or the lake spirits, who are let go when the player comes for them) beyond what he has to do, barring his bombing of one lake. While he's still a villain, he doesn't seem too invested in doing anything but the minimum amount of damage to the world he supposedly doesn't care about. In fact, he even outright says "I do not make Pokemon my friends or partners," when that's clearly a lie because his Golbat liked him enough to evolve into Crobat. It's even possible that he stays in the Distortion World in Platinum because leaving would mean that he has to either submit to the authorities and spend the rest of his life in jail or continue the plot he doesn't have any interest in accomplishing.
  • Giovanni:
  • Kotone/Lyra (the female protagonist in HG/SS). Both Japanese and Western fandom love depicting her with a few screws loose, partially related to her Replacement Scrappy status. The Japanese version takes it up to eleven by making her NEVER change her expression. However, this is rarely used seriously.
  • The nurses are caring medical practitioners who you only visit when your Pokemon are badly injured but they say they "hope to see you again soon". It comes off as malicious to some.
  • Blue Oak:
    • The internet has minorly gone nuts over an interpretation that Blue's Raticate died and was buried in Pokemon Tower. Most commonly, this was as a result of his battle with Red aboard the S.S. Anne, causing him to blame Red for it and vow to become a Pokemon Master for his dead companion. Interestingly, these interpretations tend not to focus on avenging the Raticate's death by defeating Red, but rather channeling all his sorrow into becoming a better Pokemon trainer, which would make Blue one of the most mature eleven-ish-year-olds ever. It also makes for a tragic
    • Some fans suggest your rival was actually a member of Team Rocket. He's implied to have taken the Nugget Bridge challenge which was a recruitment for the team, and he probably got the same offer to join you did, but he never brings it up to you or warns you about it. Most damning, later in the game he shows up in Silph Co. in a room right outside Giovanni's, and his post-battle dialogue has him acknowledge Giovanni is here. Why would your rival infiltrate Silph Co. occupied by Team Rocket and wait right outside his room to battle you, unless he's become The Dragon? In this theory, his conquest of Pokémon League was a back-up plan by Team Rocket to Take Over the World using his status. Further evidence of his membership can even be found in Gold and Silver, where for no given reason he's suddenly in command of Giovanni's gym.note 
    • Another interpretation to explain the rival's appearance in Silph Co. is that he's an idiot who somehow got himself stuck in the building when he tried to take on Team Rocket before the player arrived on the scene. The rival claiming that he showed up at Silph Co. just to battle the player was only an excuse to try to hide any embarrassment of being rescued.
    • Blue is canonically your rival because you are of similar height, age, etc. Reasons for him going from friendly to a jerk differ, such as his parents recently dying or him being jealous of you.
    • Your rival is actually the hero, and you're either the real Jerkass or some kind of uncaring unstoppable force. The "Dead Raticate" theory (which posits that the Raticate he uses in early battles isn't in his later encounters because it died from injuries attained in battle) often plays a big part in this. Granted, it requires some big assumptions (such as his post battle dialoguenote ) and doesn't change the fact that he acts like a Jerkass towards you.
  • Red:
    • Red has various interpretations on both design and personality. His remake design is always shown scowling in official art and his Super Smash Bros. counterpart is a bit of a Jerkass (or at least is quite cocky) along with his Pocket Monsters counterpart, though the games imply he's a nice Determinator. But his classic design is shown both scowling and happy, smiling, friendly, and Hot-Blooded in official art. Fans love to portray him as The Stoic. Sun and Moon seems to have canonized the stoic version of Red, at least as an adult.
    • Furthermore, with Red's appearance as the Final Boss of Gold/Silver and the remakes, there's debate as to whether he's a Blood Knight always looking for the next battle (he's found at the end of The Very Definitely Final Dungeon which has the strongest pokemon in the game), a Retired Bad Ass that just wants to be left alone (as far from civilization as possible in game), a Death Seeker in the sense that he wants someone who can finally defeat him (see previous reasons and add that he vanishes after he's beaten), or just a kid travelling around with his Pokémon.
  • Colress:
    • Colress in Pokémon Black 2 and White 2. Is it clear that he was in league with Ghetsis and the rest of Team Plasma in wanting to take over Unova with Kyurem? Or was he working with Ghetsis by force and not by habit of wanting to do such a thing? He expresses that his desire is to bring out the entirety of Pokemon potential no matter what it takes, even if the entire world is destroyed as a result. But he didn't agree with the old Team Plasma's approach of Pokemon liberation. In addition, when you approach Terrakion on Route 22, he doesn't seem concerned about the fact that you plan to confront them, and gives you the Colress Machine so you can wake up the Crustle in Seaside Cave that's blocking the path to the frigate. And after you beat him, he commends your relationship with your team and encourages you to put a stop to Ghetsis' plans. Then, after beating him in the post-game, he reveals that he detested Ghetsis from the very start, hinting that he wasn't quite in league with said plans. So what he really was out for is your call.
    • Then there's the fact that Ghetsis himself implies that Colress's goals conflicted with his when you meet him on the Frigate. While this seems to lean towards Colress not really being in the league with Ghetsis, what it really means is still somewhat open to interpretation.
  • Team Rocket Executive Ariana looks quite a bit like the HGSS rival Silver and her English name is Welsh for "Silver". Could they be related, even mother and son? If so, what is their bond like? Does Silver even know?
  • Pokémon Sun and Moon:
    • How bad of a parent is the Big Bad Lusamine from Pokémon Sun and Moon? Is her behavior due to Nihilego's toxins or not? Fans differ from her being a perfectly good parent until she became Brainwashed and Crazy, her being abusive on her own but spiraling even more out of control due to the toxins, or her being in control at all times. Depending on how much weight one gives to certain revelations, the Big Bad can be read as anything from a tragic victim to one of the most evil villains in the franchise. Lusamine, non-stop: a woman who sadly lost her remaining sanity due to her husband mysteriously disappearing never to be seen again and her children running away from her years afterwards, or a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing from the very start who knew almost nothing about the true meaning of love? Some even think that Nihilego parasitized her prior to the main story's events, thus affecting her emotions to an unimaginable degree.
    • In relation to the above, fan theories often state that the Big Bad Lusamine had goals that could destroy the world or even the universe, but beyond Lusamine saying she would let the Ultra Beasts wreck the Alolan islands if it made them happy, all she seems to want is to be alone in Ultra Space with the Nihilego. It's just as reasonable to see her plan as ultimately being very small in scale, as it seems she would have just harmlessly stayed in Ultra Space to indulge her obsession with the Ultra Beasts. In this sense, the plot of the game can be seen as an aversion to the world-changing events of previous games, as it's ultimately about saving one woman (and Guzma) from her madness and reuniting her with her kids.
    • Is Hau a genuine Cheerful Child or a Stepford Smiler hiding behind a happy persona?
    • Despite Wicke's nice and helpful demeanor, she never openly opposes Lusamine's plans nor does she directly help the heroes in stopping her. Is her neutral stance because she knows that whether or not Lusamine's plans succeed she'll still be the one left in charge of the Aether Foundation? With Lusamine in Ultra Space Wicke will have free reign and if Lusamine is stopped Wicke will be able to avoid punishment. Note that Faba supported Lusamine's plans and he got demoted in the end, while Wicke remained the only high-ranking member of the Foundation. And even though Gladion is acting president, he is still a child, meaning that Wicke is most likely the one really running the Foundation. This is supported by the fact that the International Police went to her for help with their secret mission to capture the Ultra Beasts and she gave the player Beast Balls, very expensive Foundation assets, all without Gladion's knowledge.
  • A rather minor point of contention, but some think that the leader of Team Skull, Guzma, was purposely dressed by Lusamine to resemble UB-03 Xurkitree, as both wear predominantly black with white accents, have spiky white 'hair', and bands around their wrists and ankles. This is not only based on their resemblance, but the fact that it is implied that Lusamine dressed her daughter, Lillie, to look like UB-01 Nihilego.note  In addition to this, some follow the theory that Lusamine also dressed herself to look like UB-02 Pheromosa.
    • Nanu is the sole police officer of Po Town, Team Skull's base of operations. While in canon it's implied that he stays there to make sure that Team Skull stay where they are and don't do anything too bad, a lot of fans believe he stays there to take care of the Grunts, most of whom are unsuccessful trainers with low self-esteem, living in the very rundown Po Town.
    • Is Kukui's Final Boss battle really to commemorate you becoming the first Champion of Alola? Is he trying to usurp your title, creating the Alola Pokémon League in an attempt to create a title for himself after failing to win the Indigo League?
    • A case of this being applied to a species of Pokemon: Bogleech has suggested in his review of Mimikyu's design and concept that Mimikyu may be the ghost of a Pikachu that's desperately seeking the love it lost after its death.
    • Nihilego is implied to be brainless and non-sentient, acting purely on survival instinct, but in Pokémon Refresh, you can still raise its affection for you by playing with it. Is this proof that it is indeed sentient, or is it only latching on to you because you're a source of food and shelter?
    • When you find Necrozma on Mount Lanakila and rejuvenate it with your Z-Power Ring, it immediately responds by attacking you. Is it an Ungrateful Bastard who still holds a grudge against you for defeating it twice, or does it want to be caught like Nebby? There is support for the latter interpretation, given when Lillie asks you to catch Nebby one motivation is so it can use its light to provide comfort to Necrozma by being near it, and after you catch Necrozma Colress will appear and congratulate you on having befriended it. Necrozma having an unusually high catch rate, higher than even the wild Pokemon on the first routes, also supports the latter interpretation.
    • As admitted to by Game Freak themselves, it's up to the player to determine what Necrozma's morality is. A Tragic Monster who is only doing what it must to survive? Or a genuinely malicious being that steals light for reasons beyond just survival? Most likely, it's both: stealing light to survive but also desiring to harm humanity due to what people did to it in the past.
  • Guzma:
    • There are some implications that Guzma has physically and emotionally Abusive Parents. This brings his rebellious attitude and distrust of others into a new light. It also explains why he is so dedicated to Lusamine. She's mentioned to be the only adult that respected him.
    • Whether Guzma even has abusive parents is up to interpretation. In Guzma's room are a bunch of broken golf clubs. Guzma's father also says the lines "I tried to set that boy of mine straight, but when I did, I was the one who got beat". Did Guzma himself bend the golf clubs in anger or did his dad beat him with them? The German version adds a different interpretation as it censored Guzma's father by adding in a line about Guzma beating his dad in a Pokémon battle (however, even this could be interpreted as him lying).
    • A rather minor point of contention, but some think that the leader of Team Skull, Guzma, was purposely dressed by Lusamine to resemble UB-03 Xurkitree, as both wear predominantly black with white accents, have spiky white 'hair', and bands around their wrists and ankles. This is not only based on their resemblance, but the fact that it is implied that Lusamine dressed her daughter, Lillie, to look like UB-01 Nihilego.note  In addition to this, some follow the theory that Lusamine also dressed herself to look like UB-02 Pheromosa.
  • NPC trainers and the player character can easily be twisted into Jerkasses with regards to their interactions:
    • You're wandering down a road miles away from home, your Pokémon are weak, possibly paralyzed or poisoned, several are knocked out, you're out of healing items and are desperately looking for a Pokémon center to heal your Pokémon but don't know your way around the area. As you struggle onward another trainer spots you and immediately challenges you to a battle, giving you no chance to back down and having no regard for the safety and well-being of your 'Mons.
    • But then, the reverse. You see a trainer looking down the road and talk to them to challenge them to a battle. They only have one or two Pokémon five levels lower than yours, and depending on their dialogue said Pokémon may be freshly caught, or the trainer is on a losing streak, or is just out for a stroll. They may also be a young child or an old man or lady. You proceed to crush their Pokémon, take their money as spoils of victory, and leave them alone in the middle of nowhere while you continue on to find another trainer to do the same to. Your main goal in doing this is to obtain the Gym Badges and become Pokémon Champion, something which in-universe, especially in Black and White, is seen by the in-game characters as the hollow, pointless goal of pursuing power and fame just for the sake of being powerful and famous. Congratulations, you're a Sociopathic Hero Villain Protagonist! Oh and that trainer you managed to avoid on one of the first few routes? Why not fight his level 5 Bug Pokémon with a team of level 100 legendaries, bonus points if you use Mew and/or Arceus.
  • Pokémon Red and Blue:
    • Missingno. is either a unique and interesting Pokémon if handled correctly or a horrifying abomination that will destroy your game (note that it does not actually do this, but it will corrupt Hall of Fame data).
    • One theory posits that Team Rocket's end goal all along was attempting to defeat and subdue Mewtwo. They looked to recruit powerful trainers that could face it (see Nugget Bridge), tried to resurrect powerful extinct Fossil Pokemon at Mt. Moon, took the Silph Scope to capture Ghost-types in Pokémon Tower that could trump it, hoped to steal/mass-produce the Master Ball to capture and control it, and Giovanni crafted a TM that could defeat it instantly as a last resort. Considering how Giovanni has control over Mewtwo in Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, maybe the theorists were onto something.
    • Sabrina is in cahoots with Team Rocket in the takeover of the Saffron City. She conveniently set up a Gym next to the pre-existing one and crushed them. During the player's journey, her gym is closed during the invasion of Silph Co. until Team Rocket was taken down. This interpretation is in part because she's a being a high-ranking member of Team Rocket in Pokémon Adventures.
  • Professor Oak has had a few theories devised about him over the years:
    • The first type of theory is that he's a Genius Ditz who understands Pokémon but is too stupid to keep all the data about them (or, indeed, remember his own grandson's name), hence why you have to recollect all of it.
    • The second kind of theory puts him in a somewhat more malevolent light, either as having some illegal ties to the various villain teams or as the Man Behind the Man of the franchise. Some have also suggested that he is having affair with the player character's mother, and sends an eleven-year-old child out into the world on his own to prevent him finding out.
  • Beneath her outwardly cheerful persona, Zinnia is indicated to be a Death Seeker who chose the player to take her place as Loremaster and intended to sacrifice herself to save the world from the encroaching meteor. This is based on the remarks made by the matriarch of the Draconids, Zinnia's speeches in the Mossdeep Space Center and on the roof of the Sky Pillar, and the incantation she uses to summon Rayquaza — which explicitly states "my life as well I offer." Her response to Rayquaza reacting to the player instead of her was surprise, meaning she didn't take not being chosen into account, further evidenced by her Heroic BSoD when Rayquaza failed to Mega Evolve and dialogue after the player captures it. Her speech on the roof of the Sky Pillar especially implies that she intended to die and be reunited with the original Aster.
    Zinnia: I used to watch the stars like this all the time... Together with Aster. We were always together. In good times and in bad. I loved her. I loved her with everything I had... But I still lost her. Hahaha... ... I want to see her... I want to be with her again... My sweet Aster... I will, won't I? With this... Just a little longer...
  • Pokémon Black and White:
    • Are Reshiram and Zekrom two separate entities that have come to despise each other because they are polar opposites never to meet, or do they long to turn back into the original dragon they were before and be together? The latter seems a fairly popular interpretation on Pixiv.
    • Was Team Plasma sans Ghetsis truly a Stupid Good group of well intentioned extremists who thought they were doing the right thing à la N, or were some in on Ghetsis's true intentions and merely playing up the facade in order to gain brownie points from the guy when he finished his conquering? The Sages at the very least seem aware, since they slip up occasionally and refer to Ghetsis as their leader (followed by him correcting them that he's one of the Sages and supposedly no more powerful than the rest of them). However, some of the Sages also imply that they did at the very least support treating Pokemon with respect rather than as tools, with Bronius in his last conversation with you before being taken away by Looker even denouncing those who use Pokémon selfishly. Then there's the fact that the Shadow Triad is loyal to Ghetsis even after he reveals the truth... The two grunts who kick the Munna early on hint that they were aware that Ghetsis was lying, though some of the random grunts in their dialogue do also imply supporting N's ideals. B2W2 confirms that it's a mix of both, with Rood leading a group of Plasmas who either believed in N's goals from the start or had come around later, while there's a separate group openly following Ghetsis. It's still somewhat ambiguous when only taking the initial games into account, however.
    • N is often interpreted as a tragic, sympathetic Woobie who's shipped with the player characters or a mouth-breathing Stalker with a Crush...who is shipped with the player characters.
    • Are Cilan, Chili, and Cress just innocent novice gym leaders or are they hiding something? A common interpretation is that they're the Shadow Triad. They display ninja-like movements in their introduction, are young adult male triplets, and aren't anywhere during the climax against Team Plasma. The sequel reveals that they're not the Shadow Triad, however it's possible to interpret there as being two Shadow Triads (especially since the Triad has been redesigned).
    • Is Elesa really The Stoic, is she a poser due to being a Volkner fangirl, or is so Not So Stoic because she's a model?
    • While Skyla acts like a Nice Girl, the way she has you reach her in the gym implies she may actually be a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing or at the very least a cruel prankster.
    • Ghetsis may be a Take That! towards the more competitive Stop Having Fun, Guys; he merely sees Pokémon as tools, and as for his poor treatment of N and other people in general, keep in mind that there are some people who prioritize their own virtual pet monsters over their friends and family in a similar way, though maybe not as much. At most, the sequel shows him as being the living, breathing antithesis to the games' message — he's the guy who simply will not listen to or tolerate the ideas of others since he only thinks of himself, and he cannot be reasoned with, given his Redemption Rejection. Which could be Hard Truth Aesop about how there are some people who are just intolerant assholes.
    • Victini's cry has lead many players (and YouTube commenters) to believe that it's laughing at them. For good reason, too; being a Legendary, Victini is one of the hardest Fire-types to catch.
    • Was N really just an orphan Ghetsis came across one day or did Ghetsis abandon his own son in the woods to spend his early years being raised by Mons in order to more easily indoctrinate N to his goals and to be able to present a miracle child as the king of Team Plasma and get more loyal followers?
  • Pokémon X and Y:
    • He seems goofy and harmless enough, but Sycamore may possess a sharp mind of Chessmaster proportions. Unable to act against Lysandre and Team Flare because of politics, he makes use of a Batman Gambit to make things right that he couldn't personally fix. Having left the Tower of Mastery fairly quickly after joining, fans also joke about him being incompetent at his job, or just getting you away from the house so he could bang your mom.
    • Lysandre's brief attempt at We Can Rule Together with Diantha and general belief that she should remain beautiful eternally can be taken as something else entirely...
  • Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!
    • Green throwing Pokéballs at you and asking you if you want to be their Pokémon. Is this just her being a Troll who's initially annoyed about you capturing Mewtwo first but ultimately decides to make a joke out of it, or is she completely serious about wanting to capture you? The fact she doesn't emote much, only giving you slight smiles and frowns, doesn't help.
  • Pokémon Sword and Shield:
    • Chairman Rose isn't evil, so much as Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds. He's not doing his thing for nefarious purposes, or even as a Well-Intentioned Extremist. He just wants to secure the energy future of Galar without the pollution prevalent in its past. The problem is, he chose a horrendously bad way to do it, and nearly destroyed the world—at bare minimum, all of Galar—in the process. That's not to say his comeuppance in the end isn't well-deserved. He wasn't "evil" per se, he was just criminally negligent to an apocalyptic degree.
    • Instead of being The Dragon, is Oleana really The Man Behind the Man, pulling the strings at Macro Cosmos? Even before The Reveal, Oleana seems to be the one guiding Chairman Rose in all his actions, and preventing the protagonists from digging too deeply into what Macro Cosmos is really up to. She seems even more determined to see the completion of Chairman Rose's win-at-all-costs gambit to risk a repeat of The Darkest Day in exchange for securing the energy future of Galar, and sees beating the player character as a way to keep Leon in line if he starts asking too many questions. Even if the ends are those dreamt by Chairman Rose, perhaps Oleana is the real force behind the means to those ends.
    • Once you beat Leon, he seems to take it pretty well, tossing his hat in celebration of your achievement and smiling at the audience. This pose repeats if you beat him in the Champion Cup rematches. However, if you beat him in the much more secluded Battle Tower, he'll frown and pull his hat over his face as if in shame, as his hand begins shaking. This carries the implication that he's not as much of a Graceful Loser as he presented himself, and could have just been putting on a brave face for the audience.
    • Is Cara Liss really just blissfully ignorant of the less than stellar results of her Fossil Revival process, or is she a Mad Scientist who turns unfortunate Pokemon into sick parodies of life just to see if she can? The Pokedex entries that insist said Pokemon were always like that are implied to be written by her, and it's hard to imagine mere ignorance could explain how she seriously believed that a fish's head should attach to a dinosaur's tail tip and somehow survive, especially when the resulting entity is unable to breathe properly, leading some to theorize that she did understand on some level that she'd done something wrong but didn't want to admit it.
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