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The Pokémon series tends to introduce a lot of creatures, characters, and elements across its multiple media that are a hit in their home country of Japan but not elsewhere.


General/cross-media examples:

  • Pikachu. It's undoubtedly the most popular Pokémon in Japan and a huge cultural icon. But while it does have fans in the Western regions, it mostly gets shafted by people there for being one of the "cutemons" and a symbol of the anime, and for its Spotlight-Stealing Squad tendencies. Pikachu earned a mediocre ranking in no less than two Pokémon popularity polls hosted by American gaming websites, with almost all of the top slots being dominated by more badass species, especially Charizard.
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  • Cute Pokémon in general. Duckyworth, while reviewing Pokémon: Giratina and the Sky Warrior had one of his complaints be about Giratina’s lack of appearance, appearing in only five of the first 43 minutes of the film, giving more focus to the "annoying green flower rat" Shaymin instead for most of the film. In Japan, there is a bigger focus on the lighter, cuter aspects of a franchise, where in most of the merchandising and the anime, mainly cute Pokémon take up the spotlight, while there is more focus on the "manlier" aspects in western culture. Hence, the cuter Legendary and Mythical Pokémon tend to get a bigger focus in these films.
  • Legendary Pokémon aren't immune either. In Japan, Reshiram is the more popular of the two Generation V legendaries, and Pokémon Black (where you obtain Reshiram) sells more than Pokémon White (where you obtain Zekrom). In North America, it's the opposite: Zekrom is the more popular and White sells more than Pokémon Black, while Reshiram is a Base-Breaking Character.
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  • Jynx was a big one. Americans disliked it intensely because, although it was based on a Japanese fashion style, to Americans it looked like a blackface stereotype. Jynx's skin tone being retconned to purple in all future releases unfortunately wasn't enough to make the stigma go away.
  • Pokémon games from Gen V onward appear to be universally-loved in Japan, but are met with a more mixed reception in the West; this is sometimes attributed to Japanese gamers' preference for more linear and story-driven games, as the linearity and overbearing plot of later games is a common criticism in the West. In particular, Pokémon Black and White and Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon sold better in Japan than in North America, with the former set of games getting a "perfect" review score of 40/40 from Famitsu.
  • As of The New '10s, Pokémon has engaged in the bizarre practice of eliminating some local language translations of the general franchise rather than creating new translations for new dialects, as many other franchises do. This is usually done in order to import that language's version of the games from a different country and to ensure that other media is consistent with that translation, but often provokes cries of They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
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    • French-speaking Quebecers, who generally grew up with the English games and a Quebec French dub of the anime that used the English names, get a bit testy about French-translated material from HGSS onwardsnote  due to the fact that they use the French names and terms rather than the English ones that they grew up with, which adds another dimension to the whole "Genwunner" argument akin to Subbing vs. Dubbing. It has even been compared to (and possibly accused of being a part of) the local equivalent of Political Correctness Gone Mad, where the Quebec government regularly attempts to replace English loanwordsnote  with French neologisms,note  — in fact, in an age where more and more French Quebecers want to get along with their English-speaking neighbours, the sudden switch to French names is considered by many of them to be regressive and insular, and unnecessarily brings the divide caused by the province's already controversial language politics into the Pokémon fandom. Years after HGSS started the trend, the French translations have still not been fully accepted in Quebec,note  and use of the French names is more uncommon and divisive than it is in France or parts of Belgium, where it's rare to see people not use them.
    • Similarly, Latin Americans only had English games available for a while, and are critical of Spanish character and location names (used in Spain), with some Latin American users on the now-defunct Pokéteca (the Spanish Bulbapedia) causing an uproar over the use of said Spanish names on the wiki rather than the English ones. Poketeca's successor, the Spanish Pokémon Wikia, eventually reached a compromise, with anime characters' names being listed "Latin American forward slash European", while the video game characters will be referred to by their Castilian names.
    • A third case of this occurs with the Chinese version, which had different names and translations for different Chinese-speaking regions (Hong Kong, Taiwan and Mainland China). When a unified Chinese translation was announced for Pokémon Sun and Moon based on the Mainland translation, fans of the "de-canonized" Hong Kong and Taiwanese translations outside of Mainland China took issue. While the Quebec version of the issue went by largely unnoticed worldwide due to the small-ish French Canadian market, and the Latin American version at least kept their own anime dub and Pokémon names, the Chinese equivalent was a large enough issue to spark actual protests in Hong Kong.
    • Dub Name Changes aside, another reason why the French and Spanish translations aren't fully accepted in the Americas is that they are overly specific to France and Spain respectively, with slang, vocabulary and expressions that are considered awkward and incomprehensible to people outside those countries. China, at least, gets separate Simplified and Traditional Chinese options for the games.

Game examples:

  • Lyra from HeartGold and SoulSilver. While fairly popular in her home country, there are many Western fans who hate her for her Moe appearance (accusing it of being Lolicon in the worst cases), and others who hate her simply for not being Kris. As the generations go by, the hate towards her is a lot less common than it originally was.
  • Due to the popularity of sites like Smogon and Serebii.net, unofficial competitive Pokémon battling is done largely as single battling, whereas in Japan, there is roughly even popularity between single battling, double battling, triple battling, and rotation battling. This has lessened over Generation V, however, due to Nintendo hosting numerous online competitions (with prizes) where only double battling is allowed. This has prompted many (but not most) of the formerly singles-only battlers to give double battling a chance, though good comprehensive coverage of double battling strategies is still difficult to find.
  • Tierno from X and Y is fairly popular over in Japan, managing to score third place on a popularity poll. When Western fans bother to pay attention to him, it's not good. The anime does a better job of showcasing him as a character, but he isn't at the same level of popularity as he is in Japan.
  • Friendly rivals in later games as opposed to the more antagonistic ones like Blue or Silver. Many Western fans, especially older ones who started during the first two generations, prefer the patronizing or outright hostile nature of Blue and Silver. While some of the later rivals do have their fans, many see them overall as Badass Decay, and would prefer to once again have a Hate Sink who the player then puts in their place.

Anime examples:

  • Dawn's Piplup. For Japan, it was a cute, loveable penguin that became one of their mascots. In America, however, Piplup is wildly hated (if not by all, then at least by a very LOUD contingent of American fans). Not all Piplup, mind you, just this one in particular. Ironically, when the successor series, Best Wishes, introduced Piplup's Suspiciously Similar Substitute Oshawott, Western fans weren't nearly as spiteful. Besides the fact that he doesn't become as much of a Creator's Pet despite having a similar personality to Piplup, a lot of fans feel that Oshawott's generally less annoying, has at least marginally better Character Development, he doesn't need to show off in Contest battling, and his cuteness isn't quite as force-fed to the audience as Piplup's was.
  • Manaphy from Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea gets disliked by many American fans, due to it having tantrums without May so often, that it constantly comes off as whiny. In Japan, it's something of a fan favourite for its cute design.
  • The aforementioned Shaymin from Pokémon: Giratina and the Sky Warrior is a Ridiculously Cute Critter that's popular among Japanese fans. However, the West's point-of-view of it is less than admiring, as throughout the movie, Shaymin comes off as an ungrateful Bratty Half-Pint (ironic, given how it's the Gratitude Pokémon).
  • One aspect of BW that was met negatively by the Japanese fan base was the Team Rocket trio's retool into serious villains, their comedic personas being undyingly popular in the East, including among their voice actors who were not at all fond of the change. In the West, while not hated outright, many fans had started to find the trio's comic relief tiresome by this point and found the newfound badassery and arc heavy role a breath of fresh air. XY and XY&Z makes at least some attempts at a compromise, sticking closer to the comedic depiction popular in the East, but allowing more moments of competence and episodes of absence that was popular in the West, which continued to an even greater degree in Sun and Moon.
  • Virgil has notable hate in America: partly for being the essence of Merchandise-Driven, partly for being bland and undeveloped, and partly for being The Unfought. He had all of Eevee's evolutions (to date) and an Eevee itself, for the sake of making him "unique" as a trainer, spontaneously got to be in the tournament (by coincidentally getting all the badges), had almost no interaction with the main cast (at least Cameron shared tons of scenes with Ash), had zero build-up (his introductory episode was the episode right before the tournament started), and wins the tournament when his Eevee knocked out a Druddigon with a rather overpowered move. Meanwhile, he is an Ensemble Dark Horse in Japan who gets copious amounts of fanart and is even very frequently shipped with Bianca.
  • Cameron himself fell victim to this as well. His antics in Japan were seen as amusing; while the US fanbase despise him to the point where Virgil defeating him after costing Ash another League win was highly fitting. It even got to the point where when the dub used footage from the "Be An Arrow" opening, Cameron was omitted from it and a set of Event Pokémon based on his roster were not released in the US.
  • Iris and Cilan from the Black & White series are considered highly divisive characters in the West. For Cilan, it was a cross between him being a Replacement Scrappy for Brock and his "connoisseur" plot not being developed at all. Iris' problem was the general ambivalencenote  of cuteness combined with her childish Hypocritical Humor rubbing salt into the wound that was Ash's virtual lobotomy. In Japan, they were very popular with the core 5 million-some audience for the show, so much so that ratings went from 3.6 for BW's finale to 5.5 for Cilan's post-series special, and Iris' special scored a 5.6 (virtually the same viewers) despite airing five months later.
  • Misty's Togepi is simply disliked by many American fans, due to it sitting in Misty's arms so often that it makes it come off as honestly useless and often seen as the reason why Misty's personality was toned down. However, it's still well-regarded to nostalgic Japanese fans this day.
  • Latios and Latias from Pokémon Heroes are fairly popular in Japan but while they have a few fans in the U.S., they are panned by critics in the region due to their high-pitched noises and hints of Interspecies Romance between Ash and Latias (worth noting that according to the games, they can communicate with humans, but that never comes up in the movie). The film's antagonists Annie and Oakley are hated by some American fans because the English dub turned them from freelancer criminals who want to take over the city of Alto Mare to members of Team Rocket who want world domination, which is seen as an unnecessary change by purists.
  • Showcases are much more divisive internationally than they are in Japan. They're heavily based on the Idol Singer industry which is popular in Japan. However outside of Japan people have more mixed reactions to idols (think about the amount of bile that Miley Cyrus or Justin Bieber get, and you'll get the idea). Many fans find Showcases boring, too similar to Contests, or think Serena should have gotten a more tomboyish goal such as Rhyhorn racing or battling (especially since most people watch for the Pokemon battles).
  • Many English-speaking fans loathe the anime's portrayal of Erika. Amongst the already mean Kanto Gym Leaders, she's infamous for how her staff denied Ash a Gym battle simply because he dislikes perfume, which made it seem like Erika was banning him from facing her for petty reasons. It's not Erika herself, as her laid-back game portrayal is popular (as is her Pokémon Adventures incarnation), but specifically the anime version. In Japan, however, the anime's Erika is popular due to her character design and her sympathetic backstory. This may be why her portrayal in Pokémon: I Choose You! is a more Truer to the Text version of the games' portrayal.
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