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This following is a list of frequently asked questions about the anime, along with the accompanying answers.
What is "shipping"?
Shipping is a belief that two characters have or will have some intimate relationship with each other. At one level, this is simply believing there's a boyfriend ↔ girlfriend connection going on. Each different character couple is named using the suffix -ship. People usually try to support their "ship" with various factors from the anime and movies. The Shipping between Ash and Misty is a very popular one.
Who are Satoshi, Kasumi, Takeshi, etc.?
Satoshi is the name of Ash Ketchum in the Japanese version of Pokémon. Similarly, Kasumi and Takeshi are the Japanese names of Misty and Brock, respectively.
For more details, see List of characters in other languages and List of Japanese Pokémon names.
What is in the GS Ball?
According to an interview with one of the writers, the GS Ball was originally going to have Celebi in it in the anime. However, they changed it so Celebi could star in Pokemon 4Ever. Due to this, the GS Ball was never revisited in the anime.
How old are the characters?
Only Ash, May and Dawn have ever mentioned their age - all three were ten, at the time of EP001, AG001 and DP001, respectively.
Will we ever see Samurai, A.J., etc. again?
The anime has only a few recurring guest characters - Casey, Harrison and Ritchie, to name a few.
Who is the girl that Pikachu jumps through in the first opening theme?
The character has never been seen anywhere else in the anime. The reason why the scene exists is because of this line in the lyrics of that Japanese theme: たとえ … あのこのスカートの中 - even under that girl's skirt. Although an official identity does not exist, many fans speculate that she is the Lass character from the Generation I games.
Why does Jigglypuff always follow Ash and his friends around?
Although no official answer exists, many speculate that it is because Ash and his friends helped Jigglypuff realize its talent of singing. The answer may never be known, as Jigglypuff hasn't been seen since the early Hoenn region.
Is it true that in the Japanese version, the characters swear all the time?
In the Japanese version, though anger and disappointment is vocalized more often, the use of such language is not equivalent to cursing in English - that is to say, it is not regarded as something that would require mouthwashing with soap. Unfortunately, in fansubbing, there is often no alternative but to translate, for example, しまった shimatta as damn, due to the literal translation, What a mistake! not always making sense given the context. The only known point where a character has actually sworn outright in the Japanese version was Lt. Surge, who said "God damn" in complete English.
Airing in America
We're too far behind Japan! Why doesn't 4Kids/PUSA release more than 52 episodes a year?
The American dubbing companies (4Kids, TPCi) are usually only contracted to air 52 episodes within a certain time span. This usually consists of September to June, approximately nine months. The reasoning behind this may be because of the length of time needed to dub and edit an episode. Both Kids' WB! and Cartoon Network find that 52 episodes per year is sufficient enough to meet their yearly quota of airing without reruns.
Well then, why don't the channels just air the episodes we know have already been dubbed?
The dubbing company has no say in the network's scheduling. Despite the fact a company may have finished dubbing an episode weeks before, they cannot force the networks to air it immediately. They air the episodes when they feel it is best, and the dubbing company cannot change that.
Why do the networks keep airing reruns!? They should air new episodes!!
Every year, the show is usually picked up for 52 episodes, which comes out to one episode every week. However, when they decide to air more than one episode a week, they're also using up the episodes they can air for that year. Once they're finished with the episodes, there's nothing to do but air reruns until the new episodes are ready.
What are banned episodes?
Banned episodes are ones that have been deemed unsuitable for American audiences. As a result, they are not allowed to air or reair in America.
Which episodes have been banned?
- Beauty and the Beach - It was aired once in America, in a heavily edited form, and has not been released on DVD or VHS in America. It is available on Japanese VHS/DVDs though.
- Tentacool and Tentacruel - This episode has been unbanned. It was shown on its Cartoon Network and Boomerang re-airings, and has been released on several DVDs and VHS.
- The Tower of Terror - This episode has been unbanned. It was shown on its Cartoon Network and Boomerang re-airings, and has been released on several DVDs and VHS.
- EP035 - This episode has not been aired or released anywhere outside of Japan. It is only available on Japanese VHS and DVDs.
- EP038 - This episode was only aired once in Japan, and has never been aired anywhere else, nor was it released on VHS or DVD.
- Holiday Hi-Jynx - This episode was only aired once outside of Japan, but it is available on VHS and DVDs.
- EP250 - This episode has not been aired or released anywhere outside of Japan. It is only available on Japanese VHS and DVDs.
- AG101 (unaired) - This episode has not been aired in any country, and it has not been released anywhere.
- AG120 - This episode was skipped by 4Kids Entertainment, as they felt no need to dub it, as it was a clip show. This episode has not been released on DVD or VHS anywhere.
- DP048 - This episode was skipped by Pokémon USA, as they felt no need to dub it, as it was nothing more than a clip show. This episode has not been released on DVD or VHS anywhere.
Why were they banned?
Please note that the reasons given may not have been officially corroborated.
- Beauty and the Beach - James wears an inflatable body suit to give him large breasts in order to win a beauty contest.
- Tentacool and Tentacruel - Banned on Kids' WB! after September 11, as towers are destroyed
- The Tower of Terror - Temporarily banned after September 11 due to the nature of the title.
- EP035 - Excessive threatening and firing of a gun. Some believe the shootings at Columbine High School had something to do with this episode not airing, as evidence suggests it was dubbed.
- EP038 - Strobe effects caused seizures leading to the hospitalization of approximately 700 children, and has since been removed from all media.
- Holiday Hi-Jynx - The large presence of Jynx, which has been viewed as a negative stereotype of African Americans. Aired only a few times in the US before being banned altogether. However, it is available on DVD.
- EP250 - The large presence of Jynx. Others believe it was banned because Brock exhibited symptoms of SARS epidemic at the time.
- AG101 (unaired) - Has not aired in Japan, due to the strong earthquakes which occurred shortly before the airing of AG100. This episode has neither aired in Japan, nor been dubbed by either 4Kids or Pokémon USA.
How can I see them?
Tentacool and Tentacruel, The Tower of Terror, and Holiday Hi-Jynx are available for purchase on the American DVD box sets. EP035 and The Beauty and the Beach can only been seen by getting the Japanese VHS/DVD. EP038 can only be viewed by illegal downloading or buying bootlegs, as it has aired only once and never officially released. Only a preview of the unaired AG101 was released, and the full episode has never been aired, not even in Japan.
Who is Ash's father?
According to one of the Pokémon scriptwriters, the official answer is 'we don't know yet'.
Why doesn't Ash evolve his Pokémon?
Although not as applicable now as it used to be, the reason Ash didn't evolve his Pokémon previously can be broken down into several points:
- The anime is meant to appeal mostly to kids, hence the "cute factor" of the first-stage Pokémon.
- The anime is meant to advertise the games, hence the featuring of the 3 first-stage starters that you choose from at the beginning.
- It delivers the message that stronger isn't always better, it's what's in your heart that counts
Ultimately, it is up to the writers as to who evolves and who doesn't.
Why does Ash leave all his Pokémon (aside from Pikachu) at home whenever he starts a new journey?
Ash proclaimed that he wanted to start all over again. His only companion was to be Pikachu, who has been with him ever since his journey began. It is also meant to be an advertising tool to promote the new generation of Pokémon video games. When Ash went to Hoenn, only Pikachu went with him. When he went to Sinnoh, Pikachu came with, and Aipom was a stowaway. Aipom's evolution was one of the new Generation IV Pokémon, and it was correctly assumed that Aipom would evolve.
How come Ash sometimes wins Badges even when he doesn't battle the Gym Leader (or he loses)?
Gym Leaders have full authority and a great deal of discretion when it comes to giving out Badges. If a trainer meets whatever qualities and abilities they seek to see, they can give the Badge without the trainer winning a battle. Individual Gym Leaders differ in terms of what they look for and what it would take for them to be willing to give a Badge without a battle.
Examples include Koga telling Misty that her Psyduck's abilities made her worthy of a Soul Badge, Erika giving Ash his Rainbow Badge because he showed empathy with his Pokémon, and Pryce forfeiting the match because he believed in Ash's strength.
It may also amount to the regulations set by the Gym Leaders. Daisy, for instance, was going to give Ash a Badge simply because they had no more Pokémon to battle with.
How can Ash's unevolved Pokémon beat evolved Pokémon that have a type advantage?
Many Pokémon have done this, not just Ash's. When it does happen, it's often a combination of several factors.
1. The opponent has an advantage and/or is more evolved, but poorly trained. In the Japanese version of the first movie Misty remarked that this was true of the pirate trainer and his evolved Pokémon that Ash fights in the beginning.
2. Good strategy can make up for weaknesses and lack of power.
3. Some Pokémon are special or have been specially trained to overcome weaknesses. Ash's abnormally powerful Pikachu and AJ's water resistant Sandshrew are among the more famous examples.
4. It is likely that in a few cases the writers have forgotten about weaknesses and power levels.
5. The anime is more "realistic" than the games, so a smaller, unevolved Pokemon would be faster than a bigger, evolved Pokemon, but would take huge damage if it was hit by the evolved Pokemon.
Will Ash ever go back for his old Pokémon?
At this moment, it is unknown. Many fans had given up hope, believing the writers forgot about them until the Japanese opening Spurt!, which featured all of Ash's previous Pokémon. Since then, however, no mention has been made of them.
But didn't Butterfree die after mating?
This is a misconception, popularized by a fan's mistranslation of the Japanese version of the episode; nowhere in the episode, however, is this ever stated.
Why do Jessie, James, and Meowth always go after Pikachu?
Team Rocket is always after Pikachu because, as Meowth stated in the second episode, "its powers exceed its evolutionary level." Ash's Pikachu is much more powerful than the average Pikachu, which appeals to Team Rocket, who are after rare and valuable Pokémon.
How do they pay for their stuff?
As members of Team Rocket, they get regular salaries. They also do odd jobs in order to get money. They are also constantly in debt, so one can assume that they take out loans frequently.
Where does James get all those roses in the early episodes?
It is one of the many typical issues of an anime series that is meant to just be accepted. There is no explanation.
Who is Mondo?
Mondo is a member of Team Rocket who idolizes Jessie and acts as a personal assistant to Jessie, James, and Meowth by bringing them food and machines when they order them. The only time he has appeared was on a CD story only available in Japan.