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Anime physics is a fanon term used to describe all the unusual, impossible, and sometimes absurd moments in the anime where real-world physics do not seem to apply. At times, the term can also be used to describe when an attack works differently in the anime than it would in the games. Some common examples are unusual feats of strength and agility, surviving lethal attacks, and the magic satchel theory (the ability to hold innumerable items in one bag).
Anime physics are often caused by several factors. Inconsistencies in animation, such as objects changing size in-between scenes or even single video frames are usually the result of unintentional mistakes on the animators part. Some mistakes, such as characters frequently having different heights throughout an episode or show (without specific reason) are simply the result lack of skill or care on the animators part.
Deviations from standard laws defined in the real world is common in some genres of animation, in this case the Pokémon anime. Characters may sustain damage that normally would result in mortal injuries or immediate death, but instead are simply left soot-covered (in the case of explosions or incineration), disheveled, or fatigued. Characters may not age, whether or not time does actually pass within the fictional universe. In the Pokémon universe, main characters often mention weeks, months or even a year to have passed, but themselves do not age. Ash, who at his debut was confirmed to be 10 years old, remains at the age of 10 to this day, despite the fact that episodes occasionally state weeks to have passed since the previous one.
A common deviation from normalcy in most fiction, especially that for children and young adults, is characters never seeming to require excretion of waste that humans in the real world require. Although references to bathrooms are made, characters may never be witnessed mentioning the need to use one, or attending one. This is usually due to the common societal taboo against discussing urination or defecation, and the fact that such references are needless filler in the context of most stories.
Some phenomena that appear in the anime (as well as the entire Pokémon canon) are impossible in real-world physics.
- Poké Balls change in size and convert Pokémon to and from a plasma-like substance (the Pokémon retains its consciousness in this state).
- Moves like Water Gun are depicted as spitting water, but usually the Pokémon spits much more water than its body could hold.
- In Mass Hip-Po-Sis!, Hippopotas initially doesn't weigh down Team Rocket's balloon, but it does after using Sand Tomb. This means the move creates the sand out of nothing.
- In the anime, many things explode. Most attacks explode when they connect with an opposing attack, even if the attacks would not normally do so (even, and some would say especially, inert, non-volatile substances such as leaves or water).
- In Pokémon Contests, almost every move will explode and send a shower of sparkles down into the crowd.
- Some moves explode when they clearly cannot, such as a Bite attack.
- Sometimes moves are amplified in power and even made to explode just to enable them to blast off Team Rocket.
- During some of the battles in the anime, the Pokémon stay in the air longer than usual despite their weight, either when using attacks or receiving attacks (not including Pokémon that fly naturally). This is evident in Dealing With Defensive Types! when Ash's Chimchar battles against Byron's Bronzor and actually can be seen floating.
- On a similar note, many attacks do not move at the speed they normally would (or should), sometimes even leaving enough time for characters to have a three or four sentence conversation. An example is in Jumping Rocket Ship!. Barry has his Empoleon use Hydro Pump a few seconds before Ash's Chimchar uses Flamethrower, and they clash in the exact middle of the battlefield. This could just mean that that Flamethrower accelerates much quicker, but before the attacks even collide, Jessie gets in several lines of dialogue.
- In Like It or Lup It! Dawn's Piplup uses BubbleBeam while spinning in the air. Defying the laws of physics, Piplup manages to "float" in the air while releasing the bubbles which spin around Piplup when BubbleBeam is supposed to travel in a straight direction, not floating around slowly.
- In almost every episode, Jessie, James, and Meowth manage to get launched hundreds of feet into the air, sometimes crashing through the roof of a building or a cave wall, by various means (usually a Pokémon attack). However, others standing near them will not be moved or even affected, and Team Rocket never get too hurt from the flight, which would surely kill a normal person. They also are in a stationary position during the first part of their flight, and then start suddenly spinning, normally after making a humorous comment.
- In Training Daze, Team Rocket is already flying when the episode starts and they don't land during the episode.
- Similarly, in Cerulean Blues, Misty is struck by numerous Poison Sting attacks, but suffers no lasting injuries. Also, the Invincible Pokémon Brothers are blasted through the Gym's roof by a Hyper Beam, yet can still be heard to make a comment as they fly off.
- Characters throughout the anime have repeatedly been shown to take attacks such as Thunderbolt (the Japanese name meaning 100,000 Volts), and Flamethrower with no long-lasting harmful effects, though there are obvious problems with this in the real world.
- One example of this is in The Ninja Poké-Showdown, where Brock is shown to survive taking one of Charmander's Flamethrowers to the face. Less than ten seconds after the attack he is shown looking perfectly fine with the attack not even damaging his clothes. These types of scenes often are like this one in that they are intended to be humorous.
- Pokémon often disobey Newton's Third Law: Attacks, such as Hyper Beam, that blast the target backwards do nothing of the sort to the user. This is especially notable with flying or levitating Pokémon; they can't even brace themselves against the ground.
- In An Elite Coverup!, Team Rocket's Mime Jr. can be seen running on top of Wobbuffet while staying in place. This would be impossible because then Mime Jr. would run in Wobbuffet's inertial reference frame and increase speed in respect to Wobbuffet.
- Whenever Team Rocket has prop decoys such as a fake building to hide away from pursuers, the building always decreases in height after it falls so that the pursuers are not crushed.
- In the games, the HM Move Fly can be used on many tiny Pokémon such as Pidgey. In reality, a human being would crush the tiny bird. Regardless, a 1'00" Pidgey wouldn't nearly have enough strength to lift the character.
Contents of Cilan's backpack.
- Ash and his friends seem to have an unlimited amount of space in their bags or pockets, especially Brock and Cilan, from a sleeping bag to the things they use to cook.
- In A Tent Situation, Tracey brings out around 40–50 sketch books to show to Professor Oak and then puts them back in the same bag that they should not have fit into in the first place.
- Cilan appears to keep a table, chairs, and a miniature kitchen complete with tableware in his backpack.
Move and type effectiveness errors
- Many times when Ash's Pikachu fights a Template:Type2 Pokémon, it uses an Template:Type2 move and it will cause damage.
- May's Squirtle attacked and damaged Harley's Banette with Tackle in New Plot, Odd Lot, despite the Ghost type's immunity to Template:Type2 attacks.
- In multiple instances, Shadow Ball is able to hit Normal-type Pokémon, despite being a Ghost-type attack.
- Pokémon surviving one-hit knockout moves, like Horn Drill, without fainting.
- Some non-damaging attacks cause damage to the Pokémon being attacked, such as Lt. Surge's Raichu using Tail Whip, and Brandon's Dusclops using Will-O-Wisp.
- In the case of the latter, it affected Ash's Charizard which, as a Fire-type Pokémon, should be unaffected by Will-O-Wisp.
- Safeguard has been able to protect against attacks instead of status problems.
- Light Screen has been able to block physical attacks, even though it usually only affects special attacks.
- Psychic-type moves have had effect on Dark-type Pokémon, even though Dark-type Pokémon are immune to the effects of Psychic-type moves.
- In The Grass-Type Is Always Greener!, Gardenia's Turtwig used Leech Seed on Ash's Turtwig, even though Grass-type Pokémon are immune to the effects of Leech Seed.
- In The Evolution Solution, Shellder was knocked out by James' Weezing's Haze attack. Haze does no damage, therefore can not replicate this effect. Furthermore, Shellder is resistant against Ice-type attacks, which would make this even more impossible.
Other conflicts with the games
- The weight of some Pokémon is sometimes ignored in the anime:
- Ash was able to pick up Larvitar despite it weighing more than 150 lbs (70 kg), according to game data. Hippopotas is also similar, due to the fact that there are 109 lbs (49 kg) of weight is bearing down on Ash's head and neck. Someone of similar stature in the real world would be prone to serious (if not irreparable) head, back, and/or neck injuries. Similarly, May's Beautifly has often landed on people's heads with no adverse effects despite the species weighing 62 lbs (24 kg).
- In Sweet Baby James, Jessie picks up May's Munchlax and puts it in a bag, despite it weighing over 220 lbs (100 kg). On another note of this, in Off the Unbeaten Path, Max was able to carry it on his back despite Munchlax weighing around four times as much as Max.
- The anime often makes Pokémon bigger than the games say they are, like Groudon and Kyogre.
- In the anime, certain Template:Type2 Pokémon like Carvanha and Sharpedo can't be used by Trainers without being in water when battling, unlike how they seem to "float" over the ground in the games, specifically the 3D games.
- In Second Time's the Charm!, Ash recalled his Corphish and sent it right back out again, which is impossible in the games.