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Viewer Gender Confusion / Pokémon

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"Are you a boy or are you a girl?"

Humans

  • Bugsy has somewhat long hair, is too young to make out sexual characteristics, has an unusual name that isn't easily gender identifiable, has an all-female team, and wears rather ambiguous clothes. Hey, your guess is as good as mine. Two different manga have had their protagonists mistake him for a girl, something that rarely happens with other characters in the series.
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  • Silver, your Johto rival, is a long-haired boy. In the remakes they gave him a more masculine appearance, however he still invokes this due to his young age, Bishōnen good looks, and long hair.
  • Remember the Gym Leader duo Liza & Tate? They're androgynous-looking twin children with long hair who have feminine Gender Blender Names. Tate is a boy. He was so androgynous one of the English translators for the Pokémon Adventures manga wrote him as Liza's identical twin for quite a while. The remake games make Tate less androgynous.
  • Wallace. With that pose, cyan styled hair, and fabulous clothes, anyone could mistake him for a girl and never know the truth.
  • This also has occurred to the translation team for Ruby and Sapphire, who named a Team Magma admin with a slightly ambiguous-looking sprite the very feminine "Tabitha." Unfortunately, Tabitha is a man.
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  • Some fans have mistaken Salon Maiden Anabel from Emerald for a boy, due to her rather androgynous appearance and clothes. She also uses the boyish "boku" as a pronoun in Japanese. Even Ash and his friends initially mistook her for a boy in the anime. Her appearance in Sun & Moon gives her a much less androgynous and more feminine look.
  • Despite being an adult man, Will of the Elite Four has the same issue as Bugsy—his entire team is female and he has androgynous clothes. Both his in-game sprite and the Sugimori art also give him Hartman Hips.
  • Team Galactic Commander Saturn is male. However, his tunic is sufficiently ambiguous that the writers of Pokémon: Diamond and Pearl Adventure! portrayed him as an attractive girl with a visible bust for a couple of chapters before suddenly realizing their mistake and subsequently pretending it never happened. Additionally, Saturn uses a female Toxicroak as his main Pokémon (as noted, NPCs usually use Pokémon of their own gender); however, this is read more as a Ship Tease with (female) co-commander Mars, as their signature Pokémon resemble each other's hairstyle.
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  • Cheren from Pokémon Black and White created confusion when he was first revealed. His Sugimori art makes him less ambiguous.
  • N appears to be an ordinary Bishōnen, but his character art uses Whitney's girly skipping pose, which has given some fans mixed signals.
  • A lot of people thought Trevor was a girl when revealed, until his name was discovered. Even in the game itself he wavers on the thin line between looking feminine and being a cute young boy.
  • The female and male protagonists in Pokémon Sun and Moon look quite similar. The male has medium length hair and is younger than Calem or Hilbert, which has caused many to mistake him for a girl.
  • Ilima, the normal type trial captain from Sun and Moon, caused no shortage of confusion for people. He's very, very androgynous and even with the website's official description using male pronouns, some people still believed he was female while others believed that he was Nonbinary.
  • Lana from Sun and Moon is almost just as androgynous as Bugsy, due to her clothes, hair-style, and even face looking totally gender-ambiguous. The only thing that saves her is her name being a familiar female name unlike Bugsy.
  • Nascour of Cipher in Pokémon Colosseum is easy to mistake for a woman, having long flowing hair and a sizable bustline due to being muscular, in a game where female bodybuilders are rather common as trainers and NPCs.
  • A lot of fans are under the impression that Team Rocket agent Hun was given a gender change in the English dub despite the fact that the script directly calls "her" a man at one point. It really doesn't help that his dub voice makes him sound like a woman.
  • For an anime example, we have got Harley. Is it a girl, boy, bird, plane, or Superman? He has an ambiguous figure (that changes by the episode), men's clothing, very long waved and possibly slightly curled hair, platform boots, a white belt, and he is dressed as a male Cacturne, albeit Cacturne's gender differences were not introduced until gen 4. Add on to this, in the Japanese dub, his voice actor Junichi Kanemaru talks very femininely, and uses feminine identifying pronouns like atashi (keep in mind, he is not calling himself a girl, and girls will use boku, the masculine identifying pronoun, when they are tomboyish). This made some people think that Harley was a girl, to the point that they argued he was a girl in the original, and that 4Kids changed him into a man. Despite all this, Harley is referred to as a man (unless you are watching the Latin American dub, where he was called a woman in the first episode, is called a man in every episode after that), he is dressed in men's clothing, and official sources say he is male.
  • For those who have never seen the anime, James may come off as this due to his long purple hair. The now-defunct SCRYE magazine made this mistake, as they gave the Here Comes Team Rocket! card the description "Two girls and a Meowth stare at you". Granted, James DOES dress like a girl pretty often...
  • Bede from Pokémon Sword and Shield has an androgynous haircut, soft face, and dresses in purple. His name is masculine but it's an obscure name, so many people think it's feminine or unisex.
  • Due to his unisex hairstyle, hair accessories, eye shape, and eyelashes, many fans initially thought Gou was a tomboyish girl.
  • Gabby from the duo "Gabby & TY" was often mistaken as a guy until ORAS and Pokémon Generations came out.

Pokémon Species

  • Although often thought of as male due to its telepathic voice in the first movie and in the Super Smash Bros. seriesnote , Mewtwo is officially "genderless" . This applies to many Legendary Pokémon, while all Mythical Pokémon are genderless (even the very female-looking Meloetta).
  • Although they have an equal chance of being male and female, Lapras is usually assumed as female due to its face resembling the always female Nidoqueen.
  • Mew:
    • Like Mewtwo. While it doesn't speak, its cute, pink design and the fact that it is referred to as "giving birth" is enough (completely reasonably) to cause a large number of fans to think of it as female.
    • A small number of fans also think of it as male due to the masculinity of its clone and also due to its voice actor. It is referred to with masculine pronouns in PokéPark Wii.
  • Chikorita. The most feminine-looking of the starters, but they have the standard gender ratio of seven males to one female. Its depiction in the anime and the names Chikorita and Meganium doesn't help either.
  • Gen VI introduced Fennekin, which like Eevee looks pretty androgynous, but evolves into Braixen and Delphox, whose designs are like Mismagius in that they are very obviously based on witches. Braixen in particular bears heavy resemblance to a Magical Girl.
  • Gen VII pushed the envelope even more with the Popplio line. While Popplio itself has a fairly gender-neutral appearance, Brionne is pretty feminine and cutesy, and Primarina looks about as male as Gardevoir. However, just like all the other starters, they still only have a one-in-eight chance of being female.
  • Like Mewtwo, genderless Darkrai is often referred to as male because of its telepathic voice in the anime, and because its counterpart Cresselia is female. Even the dubbers of the tenth movie were not immune, although Darkrai is clearly labeled as male (along with other legendaries) in the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series.
  • While some legendaries have genders (and can be female), all Mythical Pokémon are genderless. Meloetta, the most feminine-looking Mythical of all time, is genderless.
  • Despite their names, Slowbro, Kingler, Goldeen, Seaking, and Mr. Mime can be of either sex, but since they were introduced before the introduction of gender mechanics, it can't really be helped. Slowking, Kingdra, and Slaking, however, were introduced alongside or after gender mechanics. Though Slaking was saved — at least somewhat so — for those who recognised the pun behind the name. Some of those can be blamed on Dub Induced Plothole, since their original names didn't mention a gender, like Mr. Mime being Barrierd. Not all though, most notably Slowking, who was already Yadoking in Japan despite being introduced on the generation that also introduced genders. That, and it evolves with a King's Rock.
  • Eevee, though gender-neutral in appearance, is often referred to (and portrayed) as female, at least partially due to its name, as is anything it evolves into, despite seven-eighths of them being male. A few of its evolutions, namely Vaporeon, Espeon, Glaceon, and especially Sylveon look very feminine in appearances. The worst culprit was the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon spinoffs (especially the first two games), where Eevee can only be picked as a female despite being of male-heavy species in main games. With these spinoffs, imagine how infectious this affected on most fan works.
  • Reshiram and Zekrom are genderless, but both of them have masculine voices in the anime, which undoubtedly means they'll be referred to (and thought of) as male. Adding to this confusion, both of them are also thought of as female on occasion; Reshiram has a feminine design according to Word of God, while Zekrom has wide hips and also represents yin, which is feminine in mythology (although the latter is being mitigated by Game Freak attempting to show that Zekrom is the manliest Pokémon ever).
  • Gothitelle wears "dresses" but can be male. For more fuel, Gothitelle is the evolution of Gothorita, the evolution of Gothita. As in Elegant Gothic Lolita. And they have a 25% chance of being male. On top of that, the only Gothorita with Shadow Tag released in Gen V was always male, so you would only ever see male Gothitelle in Wi-Fi battles.
  • Would you believe that Granbull is in fact female 75% of the time?? Its pre-evolution being pink probably has something to do with it.
  • Meowstic comes in both male and female forms, which some people tend to mix up. Both look like feminine cats, but the male leans slightly more into stereotypically feminine in both move pool and looks. The female probably wouldn't be mistaken for male as much if she were not the same Pokémon as him.
  • Pokedex entries for Solgaleo and Lunala refer to them as male and female evolutions of Cosmog, respectively, however all three as well as middle stage Cosmoem are genderless.note 
  • Lopunny. There is a 50/50 chance that the Pokémon is a male/female, and it doesn't help that it has a feminine appearance. It helps even less that most people say the name is a caricature of Playboy Bunnies.
  • The Ralts line is the most well-known example of this in the series. While Ralts itself looks like a small child with a gender-neutral figure, the evolutions are ballerina based. However their "clothing" is feminine. As in "female tutu" and "dress" feminine. They gained a male counterpart the next gen, however you still have to go through the Kirlia stage and the males evolve into Gallade by a (somewhat rare) evolutionary stone; also, male Gardevoir still exist. Even odder, Gardevoir has a very masculine name in Japan: Sirknight, which has both "Sir" and "knight" in it (while knights can be female, we typically think of male ones); though it may also refer to "come, Knight". To make it even worse, Mega Gardevoir appears to be wearing a ball dress.
  • Some people have mistook Hitmonchan for a female due to its shirt awfully resembling a dress. (Though Bulbapedia calls it a 'kilt')
  • You can get female Machop, Machoke and Machamp, even though they all look like bodybuilders in speedos. (Or some wimpy, naked dude with a tail in Machop's case)
  • If it weren't for the fact that it has a pouch and carries a baby in it, Kangaskhan could easily be mistaken for being male due to its rather masculine appearance. The fact that it's named after a male ruler (Genghis Khan) doesn't help, either.
  • Celebi is tiny, cute, and has a soft voice in the anime. Its shiny version is also pink. Like all Mythical Pokémon, Celebi has no sex. It doesn't help that the Celebi in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers is explicitly female.

Specific Pokémon

  • Ash's Pikachu was struck with the biggest case of this, with heated debate over its gender until it was finally confirmed as male 15 years after its debut. Pikachu is a rather gender neutral character who has some feminine-seeming elements (being the 'girl' while dancing with both Meowth and a Raichu due to the size difference, having Foe Yay with Meowth, having an almost maternal affection for Togepi, etc) but could also easily be seen as male. Pikachu had been called a "he" a couple times in the English dub, and was implied to be male in Japan as he uses "boku" as a pronoun according to a Kanto episode, but his gender wasn't explicitly confirmed until the infamous Diamond & Pearl episode with Rayquaza and an evil Togepi. Past Best Wishes the series makes more of an effort to emphasize that Pikachu is male. Pokémon: I Choose You! could also be confusing - although Pikachu's gender had long since been confirmed by this point, his speaking voice doesn't really carry that across.
  • Wes' Espeon in Pokémon Colosseum is male however many fans fail to notice the fact. He's pink and is paired with an (equally male) Umbreon, which looks "more masculine" than him. Many fans are also used to fans writing Espeon as female (while Umbreon are usually written as male).
  • Wigglytuff from Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers is a pink and cheerful character but is male. The anime adaptations didn't help by giving him a blatantly feminine voice which made many believe he was a girl in the specials.
  • Wally's Gardevoir in Generation 3 is hardwired to be male. He cannot be female. Due to the above many people mistake him for a female. Averted in the remakes, where he evolves into a Gallade instead (though it's ambigious whether Wally's Gallade is his original Ralts or not).
  • Shaymin in Giratina and the Sky Warrior. Cute little flower hedgehog... forme change to kickass doggy-reindeer thing. Coincidentially, its dub VA is well known for voicing Tails in Sonic the Hedgehog games and Sonic X.
  • Manaphy in the ninth movie has a higher voice and pony tail-like antennae may make it seem like a female, its gender is never officially mentioned, so its real gender is unknown. It's maybe leaning more towards male since it's named the "Prince of the Sea" a countless number of times. However, it still looks like it should be female, though.
  • Jessie's Yanmega and Pumpkaboo are both female, but even she was confused.
  • The Mewtwo from the sixteenth movie has a very feminine voice, but is physically identical to the (very masculine) original Mewtwo, and it presumably lacks a gender entirely. The same movie has a Genesect that (like Mewtwo) looks masculine and dangerous despite being genderless, but speaks with a soft, child-like tone. Good luck figuring out if it's meant to sound like a young boy or a young girl, though.
  • Pichu in the Team Go-Getters anime special is called Pikachu's little brother, but he has a very feminine voice.
  • Snubull from Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team is only confirmed to be male in the post-game. He's pink and comes from a majority female species.
  • Cutesy Cheerful Child Azurill from Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers at first glance could be assumed to be Marill's little sister, but he's actually his little brother.
  • Red's Clefairy from Pocket Monsters is a boy, but the dub gave him a feminine voice when he cameoed in the episode "Lights, Camerupt, Action!"

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