Pokémon has multiple misconceptions that set off fans of the games, anime, and more.
- One of the most basic and widespread "crimes" is via Adaptation Displacement: mixing up anime and game characters, such as thinking that Ash and Red are the same character and/or wondering why the Pokémon don't say their names in the gamesnote or why Jessie and James aren't aroundnote . Many shallow parodies of Pokémon do exactly this, making fun of very basic elements of the anime even when they're allegedly parodies of games which include none of those elements, and this never fails to get on fans' nerves. The worst thing you can do is to claim that the video games are based on the anime or trading card game; the video games came first (aside from the odd Recursive Adaptation), and fans will be very quick to remind you.
- In general, mistaking any counterparts from different continuities (such as Ruby and Brendan) for each other will get you berated by dozens of fans quickly. It's an especially big deal if you call the Pokémon Red and Blue player character "Ash". See how fast you get eaten alive. His name is "Red". This (usually) doesn't even work for Pokémon Yellow, despite that game being heavily based upon the anime and giving "Ash" as one of the default name choices; his name is still Red. The same tends to happen if the name "Gary" is used for Blue. Some fans use these names precisely because it upsets others.
- It extends to more than just characters: Referring to the anime's English dub theme song when you're specifically talking about Pokémon video games (where no dub song exists at all, being a Japanese product) will get you bombarded with corrections at best, called out as a poser at worst.
- For some strange reason, Koffing's sprite in Pokemon Red & Blue portrays it as having the skull and crossbones above its face instead of under. Do not make the mistake of claiming that the reason Koffing has the face above the skull and crossbones in later games is because they were trying to match it to the anime; they were below the face in the original Red & Green releases.
- When Pokémon was first starting to get popular, kids would cringe whenever their parents (or some other adult figure) pronounced Pokémon as "Pokey-man" or "Pokemons", and in Spanish-speaking fandom, pronouncing the accent on the "E".
- Calling Bulbasaur useless will generally not end well, especially if said in front of fans of the Bulbasaur line. It doesn't help that Bulbasaur actually has some things over Squirtle and Charmander both in gameplay (it has type advantages over the first two gyms in Red/Blue, and access to Leech Seed, a potent move that it gets at level 7) and competitively (in later generations, at least, it can shut down the notorious Fairy-type with its resistance to Fairy-type moves).
- Claiming that Charizard is a "lizard" rather than a dragon, especially if done in a Memetic Loser light. While there are fans who genuinely believe the Pokémon to be based on lizards like its pre-evolutions due to its lack of Dragon typing in its base form (not helped by its English and Japanese names), it has very little in common with real-life lizards, and the Fire/Dragon Mega Charizard X is a clear acknowledgement of Charizard's draconic basis; in most cases where Charizard is called a "lizard", it's done out of spite towards the species and/or for trolling purposes, exacerbated with the introduction of Dragon-types that really pushed the definition of "dragon", such as Altaria and Alolan Exeggutor.
- Be careful claiming that a certain Pokémon was (more or less) based on a certain obscure animal (like Charmander being based on the real-life salamander). It can go many ways from there.
- Never assume Slowbro will evolve into Slowking.note Although an honest mistake made by non-fans, casuals and actual fans who forgot the little detail, you'll receive a lot of messages and replies reminding you otherwise (that, and mockingly comparing you to the very memetic Slowpoke). The same holds true for other Pokémon species that look similar but may not be related via evolution (such as Arbok and Sevipernote ). Also don't confuse Pokémon that look similar with others.
- No matter what you really think, don't say Pokémon isn't a "real" RPG, or that its anime and manga adaptations aren't "real" anime and manga.
- Implying that the Eevee evolutionary line is female-only or female-biased (or treating them as such), when it's exactly the opposite (to the same degree as the traditional starters; around 7/8 of Eevee are male). Particularly if you do it to them specifically. Especially particularly if you're okay with males of any other species. Really especially particularly if those include species that really are female-biased.
- While it's often a topic for Dark Fic, never claim that Pokémon is just "glorified dog/cockfighting." The entire fandom will yell at you for missing the franchise's message of teamwork and friendship, that Pokémon are never seriously hurt during battles and actually enjoy fighting so that they can grow stronger, and that you're probably a member of Team Plasma. PETA learned this the hard way when they made Pokémon Black and Blue, and effectively neutered Trolls who try to use this to set off Pokémon fans. Now anyone who makes this comparison will just be compared to PETA and mocked thoroughly.
- Assuming that Pokémon as a whole is Merchandise-Driven, rather than just having a lot of merchandise — in particular, that all of the different Pokémon are "sold separately" or that kids are stealing money to feed a "Pokémon habit" — is a sure sign you're dealing with Shallow Parody. While the series does wallow in One Game for the Price of Two, all but a handful of that generation's Pokémon are included in the initial game purchase; you just have to go get them.
- There's a comic you should never bring up around fans: a boy is given a rat for his tenth birthday, and demanded by his mother to not come back until he explores the entire continent. The last panel reads, "This is basically the plot of Pokémon." This is a Shallow Parody that gets almost everything wrong; Trainers are simply allowed to have Pokémon when they reach the age of tennote , and are not forced to do it in any way. Starters are given out by professors, not as birthday gifts. Your goal isn't to "explore the continent", you're just trying to be the best and challenge the league. And you're free to visit your mother anytime. The wording in the last panel implies that every single piece of Pokémon media has this exact plot or that there is only one Pokémon game, neither of which are true.
- Calling adaptations shonen. There are a few shonen-aimed adaptations, but the anime and Pokémon Adventures manga are not shonen despite many fans' insistence. They're kodomomuke (kid-aimed) works.
- "Gotta Catch 'Em All" is Pokémon's classic slogan, no one can deny that. However, treating it like it's the original slogan or asking why the anime and some mainline games seem to undercut the message can make a few fans familiar with the Japanese market annoyed. They'll point out that the original Japanese slogan was just "Let's Get Pokémon," emphasizing on the variety of Pokémon to catch rather than encouraging a collecting spree. The emphasis on "all" was made by the Western marketing team.
- On the topic of the infamous "Electric Soldier Porygon" incident, do not say that it was Porygon that caused the seizure-inducing flashes, since it was actually Pikachu who was responsible for that. The flashing was caused by Pikachu's electrical attacks. Porygon was made a scapegoat because Pikachu was the franchise mascot.
- Despite what his Memetic Loser status may lead you to believe, calling Ash Ketchum an incompetent, dumb Trainer who constantly fails at everything is a sure way to get diehard anime fans to lecture you about Ash's achievements throughout the series, how he's no longer an unskilled Trainer thanks to Character Development, and how his League losses were actually justified. Seen as horribly unfair in some instances, but still justified within the story. Especially after he actually won the Alola League.
- Do not claim that winning a Pokémon League makes you a Pokémon Master. A Pokémon Master is a position that is deliberately made vague by the show, with the only hint being that it's greater than becoming the world's strongest trainer. Much of the misconception originated from a 2008 interview where former director Masamitsu Hidaka stated that Ash becoming a Pokémon Master would be the last episode and that the show is cyclical for newer generations, which many cynical fans interpreted it to be proof that Ash will never win a Pokémon League. Never mind the Fridge Logic of how winning just one regional League of variate strength would make Ash into a Pokémon Master. Even Sun & Moon director Takayasu Yahan had to clarify what a Pokémon Master is because of how widespread the misconception was.note
- That same misconception also led to the "Common Knowledge" that if Ash were to ever win a Pokémon League, the show would end (or at least end Ash's journey). This greatly irritated many long-time anime fans, especially fans of Ash, because they knew that Ash won the Orange League and the Battle Frontier before, even offered a position for the latter, yet still continued on as the main protagonist. And every time when the 2008 interview was brought up, those fans would point out that Hidaka had never once said that Ash couldn't win a Pokémon League. They were vindicated when Ash won his first Pokémon League in Alola but the next series still featured him as the main protagonist.
- Do not treat the Pokémon Leagues in the anime to be the same as the Leagues in the games. In the anime, the Pokémon Leagues are known as League Conferences, where over a hundred trainers from around the region gather in one place and battle to see who's the next regional champion. They do not operate like in the games, where it's just a Boss Rush with the Elite Four and the defending Champion. The only League that has ever come close to emulating the game format is the Orange League (four Gym Leaders, one Champion), which ironically doesn't count as a true League in the anime. If you use this an example of why Red is better than Ash, you will earn the wrath of Ash's fans. However, Pokémon Sword and Shield replaces the Elite Four with the anime's League Conference under the name "Champion's Cup".
- Do not refer to the Orange League as an actual Pokémon League, due to the fact that it isn't something originating from the games and how it operates is completely different from how the Pokémon Leagues work in the anime.
- If you only got into Pokémon through the 2016 Pokémon GO phenomenon, don't go around assuming that Niantic Labs created Pokémon. Furthermore, don't go around assuming that Pokémon that aren't available in Pokémon GO yet are merely "fanart" or "fake".
- Calling the later-generation protagonists their game-title-based Fan Nicknames (Brendan as "Ruby", Lucas as "Diamond", Hilbert as "Black", etc.) will cause trouble, unless you're referring to their Pokémon Adventures counterparts, who actually are named such.
- Amongst fans of the character Red, believing that the Self-Fanservice version of him is the canon Red is this. Red has never had that design. It is a bishied up version of his classic design, and many fans really hate "uber!Red", as he's called.
- Don't assume remakes are in the same generation as the game they're based on. For instance, HeartGold and SoulSilver aren't Generation II games; they're Generation IV remakes of Generation II games.
- Calling the protagonists "ten-year-olds" bugs many fans. Several protagonists are teenagers and the youngest confirmed age is eleven. The protagonists being ten is an anime thing.
- Calling Pokémon Adventures "the Pokémon manga" is guaranteed to get you berated in many circles. There are literally dozens of Pokémon manga, not just Adventures.
- Calling Pokémon Adventures "the real story" just because many anime shows are based off of a manga is also very objectionable to many fans.