Follow TV Tropes


Fandom Enraging Misconception / Pokémon

Go To

Pokémon has multiple misconceptions that set off fans of the games, anime, and more.


  • Do not confuse or equate it with any other Mons Series, especially Digimon. Just don't. This potentially applies not just for Pokemon fans, but fans of the franchise you are comparing it to. There are many differences between Mons Series, and it is not even a concept Pokemon was the first to use.
  • One of the most basic and widespread "crimes" is via Adaptation Displacement: mixing up Pokémon 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. An even bigger one is to say the anime came first. While the anime would come to the West before the games, everyone familiar with the franchise knows that the series started as a pair of Nintendo Game Boy titles (aside from the odd Recursive Adaptation). 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. All of them are very different characters from each others.
    • Advertisement:
    • And don't try to claim that counterparts that share the same name (like Red from Adventures and Red from the games) are the same person either. It can be perceived as applying Double Standard, especially if said-claim manages to distinguish counterparts with a different name. This is a common mistake in Red vs Ash debates, and some fans will retaliate by deliberately calling Red "Ash" and vice versa, knowing that it would enrage the debaters.
    • 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 Pokémon 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.
  • Advertisement:
  • 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 "Pokémons", 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 its line. It doesn't help that Bulbasaur actually has some things over Squirtle and Charmander both in regular 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 (starting in Generation VI, it can shut down the notorious Fairy-type with its resistance to Fairy-type moves and ability to deal super-effective damage to them, and starting in Generation V, its Hidden Ability, Chlorophyll, made it by far the best of the original three starters for a time).
  • Advertisement:
  • 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 or Psyduck being based on a platypus instead of a duck). 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 & 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 say with a straight face that Pokémon is just glorified dogfighting. 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 black and blue.
  • 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 a 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. And as the years went by and technology got better, trading with others from afar to get the ones you're missing has only gotten easier, further undercutting the complaint.
  • 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 travel when they reach the age of ten, and are not forced to do it in any way; the numerous NPC trainers are mostly stationary and don't travel. The player always receives their starter from a professor, not as a birthday gift, although in the case of NPCs it is implied that they received their starters through other means than being given them by a professor. 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. Especially the latter.
  • Calling the franchise as a whole, or all of the adaptations, shonen. There are a few shonen-aimed adaptations, but many others are kodomomuke (kid-aimed) works. There are even a couple shoujo Pokémon works, such as Magical Pokémon Journey.
  • "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.
  • Perhaps one of the biggest fandom-enraging misconceptions is believing the series is satanic and "corrupts the Christian youth". Not only is this untrue, but in 2000, Pope John Paul II gave his blessing to the series, stating that it was "full of inventive imagination" and "had no harmful moral side effects". Fans will think you're a rabid Moral Guardian who's Trapped in the Past if you believe this.
  • Don't assume designer James Turner is American just because he's a Westerner. He's actually British.
    • Yes, James Turner designed the Vanillite line. No, James Turner did not design every Animate Inanimate Object Pokémon made after Generation 4. The only other object Pokémon he designed are the Phantump, Sinistea, and technically Golett lines.
  • Applin is not an Animate Inanimate Object Pokémon. It is actually a dragon worm inside an apple, and it can be seen without it in New Pokémon Snap. Giving it the same complaints that Vanilluxe and Garbodor are given on a regular basis will have fans enraged.
  • Referring to Series Mascot Pikachu or especially anime protagonist Ash Ketchum as "Pokémon" is just as much of a fandom crime as calling Link "Zelda".
  • Don't claim that Animate Inanimate Object Pokémon are a result of the developers running out of ideas. They are based on the tsukumogami, which are Yōkai that take the shape of inanimate objects. Unfortunately, this one will have a harder time hitting since Japanese folklore isn't mainstream outside Japan.
  • Do not say that Mew is the first Pokémon that ever existed (which isn't helped by its Pokédex entries saying it's said to be the ancestor of all Pokémon). The introduction of Arceus, said to have created the Pokémon universe from nothing, means that Arceus is the first Pokémon. It's still plausible to say that Mew has the DNA of every Pokémon, though.
  • Do not refer to Mythical Pokémon as Legendary Pokémon. While Mythical Pokémon are similar to Legendaries, the key differences between the two is that Legendary Pokémon are obtainable ingame while Mythical Pokémon are usually only obtained through special real life events, Legendary Pokémon tend to be bigger and majestic-looking while Mythical Pokémon normally tend to be smaller and cute-looking, and many Legendary Pokémon (mainly version mascots) are implied to be Single Specimen Species while many Mythical Pokémon are implied to exist in small numbers.
    • Related to the above, do not refer to Ultra Beasts as Legendary Pokémon either. While their stats are akin to that of Legendaries, Ultra Beasts are stated to be common Pokémon in Ultra Space and you're able to catch more than one of each for most of them.
  • Speaking of Legendary Pokémon, Unown and Rotom are not Legendary Pokémon. Yes, Unown was the central Pokémon of Pokémon 3, and Rotom appeared in a postgame event in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, they are not and were never classified as Legendary Pokémon, with Rotom in particular being used as a Pokédex in Pokémon Sun and Moon and then in almost every electronic device in Pokémon Sword and Shield.
    • For that matter, don't think Lucario and Zoroark are Legendaries either just because they were the stars of their movies.
  • Claiming that Remoraid evolving into Octillery doesn't make sense will result in many people correcting you and pointing out that the two symbolize different types of weaponry (a gun and a tank, respectively).


  • 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 Ash's Pikachu who was responsible for that. The flashing was caused by Pikachu's electrical attacks blowing up a missile. Porygon was made a scapegoat because Pikachu was the franchise mascot, and because Porygon is heavily associated with the episode.
    • Another layer of misconception on top of this is the idea that Pikachu even made the missile explode (causing the flashing light effect) in the first place - earlier in the episode the missiles are repeatedly shown to explode and flash no matter what they hit, meaning the incident would've happened even if Pikachu did nothing. This is a case of fans and non-fans both having different-but-equally-common misconceptions.
  • 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. Not helping was that after Ash won the Alola League, numerous articles about it all made this exact mistake, spreading this misconception further out into the mainstream. Even Sun & Moon director Daiki Tomiyasu 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 is a completely anime-exclusive one. If you use this an example of why Red is better than Ash, you will earn the wrath of Ash's fans.
    • Amusingly, Pokémon Sword and Shield replaces the Elite Four with the anime's League Conference under the name "Champion's Cup". Double irony is that this is after Ash won his first Pokémon League Conference and Galar is the first region where Ash will not be staying for the majority of the 2019 series, which instead favors a world tour across all the regions.
  • 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.
  • Do not mistake the Mewtwo seen in Pokémon: Genesect and the Legend Awakened as the one from Pokémon: The First Movie, as it's supposed to be a completely different (albeit very similar) character. The reason they didn't use the one from the first movie was due to legal issues involving Takeshi Shudō's estate.
  • Those who do not ship Ash and Misty as a couple (and even some who do) will be quick to harshly correct you if you cite any dub-original dialogue or supplementary material as "proof" that the two are romantically interested in each other. At the same time, many who do ship them will be annoyed if you claim that every Ship Tease between the two was invented by the dub (while the dub makes it all but explicit on Misty's side, there were certainly some moments between them in the original that could be interpreted as something beyond simple friendship).
  • Overall, insinuating that any romantic ship involving Ash is "canon" (even in a tongue-in-cheek manner) will get you this reaction outside of circles involving the ship in question. The same can be said for treating Jessie and James like they're in a established relationship outside of The Electric Tale of Pikachu's universe (especially from people who believe James is gay or asexual).
  • Referring to Pokémon Journeys: The Series as "the Sword & Shield anime" (This Very Wiki has been guilty of this). While episodes do take place in Galar, and there was a four-part arc based on Sword & Shield 's climax, it is more of a "world tour" anime that takes place primarily in Kanto and features Ash travelling through every region.


  • 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 Generation III-onward protagonists and rivals the game-title-based names of their Pokémon Adventures counterparts (Brendan as "Ruby", Lucas as "Diamond", Hilbert as "Black", etc.) will cause trouble.
  • Amongst fans of the character Red, believing that the Self-Fanservice version of him is the canonical 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 (due in part to this misconception).
  • 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. This applies even to Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!, which are considered Generation VII games despite containing only two Pokémon past Generation I.
  • Calling the game protagonists "ten-year-olds", bugs many fans. Several protagonists are teenagers and the youngest confirmed age is eleven. Pokémon X and Y protagonists even are implied to be sixteen years old at minimum. The protagonists being ten is an anime thing.
  • Regarding the original games, do not say with a straight face that Lickitung evolves into Luigi when fed a Rare Candy while holding the Game Boy upside-down. The source is an old article published by Nintendo of America that was written as an April Fools' joke, and therefore is not meant to be taken seriously. Similarly, there is no way to evolve Dragonite into Yoshi; that was also an April Fools' joke published by Expert Gamer, which was unaffiliated with Game Freak or Nintendo.
  • Regarding Pokémon Sun and Moon, don't treat the rumor that the Ultra Beasts destroyed the pre-Gen VI universe as canonical fact, as that was a theory that got out of hand to the point that it was even initially treated as fact on This Very Wiki.
  • Regarding Pokémon Sword and Shield, claiming that the Pokémon added in the Expansion Pass are locked behind a paywall will get you some eye rolls from fans of the game. While the Expansion Pass Pokémon are primarily obtainable in-game via the DLC areas, it is still possible to catch them in Max Raid Battles or transfer them over from previous installments like Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Eevee! and Pokémon GO note  or via Pokémon HOME even if the player has not purchased the pass. The only Pokémon that completely requires the pass is Calyrex's Ice Rider and Shadow Rider forms due to requiring a key item in the Crown Tundra.


  • 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.
    • Likewise, calling Pokémon Adventures "the real story" just because many anime shows are based off of a manga is also very objectionable to many fans.
  • Saying that Pokémon Adventures is edgy or needlessly dark (especially by talking about the Koga's Arbok scene) won't go well, since they generally want others to know that the Arbok scene isn't representative of the entire series.