Breaking the fourth wall

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"Breaking the fourth wall" is a term that refers to a point where a character acknowledges that he or she is fictional. In the Pokémon franchise several characters appear to break the "fourth wall" in both the anime and less commonly in the video games.

There are several ways of breaking the fourth wall. For example, when characters refer to events that happened in a particular episode, when characters stop others from performing an occult or criminal act by referring to the fact that it is a "children's show", when characters respond to a real world person who is not physically present such as the narrator, or when characters within the anime persuade people to buy merchandise of the subject in question.

In the anime

In the anime, the fourth wall has been broken numerous times. The most common characters to do this are Team Rocket.

Episodes which break the fourth wall

Movies which break the fourth wall

  • Mewtwo Strikes Back: Meowth says "For once a happy ending" as Team Rocket is stranded on an empty New Island but seemed happy about it.
  • The Power of One: Slowking told Team Rocket that lots of people saw them risk their lives to save the world, then all four of them look at the audience and say hi. Earlier, when Team Rocket is saying the motto for the first time, Team Rocket proclaims that they're now on the big screen (since they've forgotten the events of the first movie). Ash then makes the quip of saying he'll "catch it (motto) on video".
  • Spell of the Unown: Team Rocket mentions that they would be "out of show business" if anything happened to Ash while helping to save him near the end of the movie. Meowth also asks Jessie earlier in the movie whether or not she thinks they will get a bigger part in the next one.
  • Mewtwo Returns: James comments that "this feels like a sequel to a movie I missed". This is the sequel of the first movie, Mewtwo Strikes Back, the events of which were erased from the characters' memories.
  • Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea: The wall is broken twice with Meowth commenting that Diamond and Pearl are "good names for games" and later says, "let's get through this season first." when James says that they would find diamonds and pearls. These are both obvious references to the upcoming games as well as the tenth season.

In the games

  • In all the main series games, signs known as Trainer Tips and message boards provide advice to the player in using the game's control scheme. Similar instructions also appear in the laboratories of regional Professors.
  • The third floor of the Celadon Condominiums in Kanto is the Game Freak development room. The characters there will announce their role in the game when the player character speaks to them:
    • "I'm the game designer!"
    • "I wrote the story!"
    • "I'm the graphic artist! I drew you!"
    • "Me? I'm the programmer!".
    • In addition, examining the computers gives this message: "It's the game program! Messing with it could bug out the game!"
    • In other games, Game Freak employees are seen on vacation. A group stays in the Cove Lily Motel in Lilycove City and a single member stays at the Hotel Grand Lake in Valor Lakefront.
  • There are also instances where in-game characters give the player advice on gameplay, especially near the beginning of the game, such as a character in Oldale Town mentioning they are saving to record their progess.
  • At the beginning of the first Pokémon Ranger game, when explaining the control style of the game, an NPC says that he uses the stylus instead of the D-pad because he is from the "touch generation". This is a reference to Nintendo's Touch! Generations line of games for casual gamers, which were brand new at the time of Pokémon Ranger's release.
  • At the end of the Heatran Mission in Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs, the Capture Styler breaks the fourth wall, telling the player themselves to wait a moment during Nema's explanation of how Heatran learned Eruption.

In the manga

In the Electric Tale of Pikachu manga

In the Magical Pokémon Journey manga

See also