Differences between the games and anime

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The Pokémon anime can often differ to the Pokémon games. While the games tend to dictate the venues and main events that occur within the anime, and tend to correspond on basic information, there are many noticeable differences or contradictions that can be seen between the two medias.

Most notable differences

  • Pokémon with colors different from their normal or Shiny ones appear in the anime, though Pokémon with the official Shiny colors do appear.
  • Eggs have a different appearance depending on the Pokémon species that is inside of the Egg. This is debatable, however, due to the appearance of differently colored Eggs in the Generation II instruction manuals. An example of this would most notably be Togepi's Egg's blue and red triangles, mimicking Togepi's physical appearance.
    • Somehow, even with the hint of the Egg's appearance looking like the Pokémon inside, the characters never seem to know what it will be.
Contests are different in the anime from the games.
  • In the anime, Pokémon Trainers are not forced to wait for the other Pokémon to make a move. However, most Trainers usually wait for the opponent to finish talking.
  • Pokémon can have more than four moves in the anime, and are not required to forget an old move in order to learn a new one (although some of the moves a Pokémon is shown using when first introduced will generally fall into disuse as the Pokémon learns more powerful moves as the series continues).
  • Egg moves, which a Pokémon has to be bred (and therefore born) with are able to be picked up naturally as the Pokémon grows (the most obvious example being Ash's Pikachu learning Volt Tackle 424 episodes after its first appearance).
  • The Pokémon Leagues feature a tournament rather than just battling five Trainers straight to become Champion. Trainers may just also challenge the current Champion, as seen in several of Cynthia's battles in the anime.
  • In the anime, there can be more than the 8 usual Gyms in each region. However, Ash only ever faces the ones from the games, with the others challenged by Rivals.
  • Multiples of each legendary Pokémon have been sighted. In the games, it's only one per game. This also states that the legendary Pokémon in the anime have the ability to breed, contrary to the games.
    • However, game canon seems to imply that more exist, but the player only ever encounters one, while breeding in captivity, rather than the wild, may be awkward for legends much as it is for some species of animal, such as echidnas or pandas.
  • Starter Pokémon can be found in the wild in the anime. In the games, players can only receive one from the regional professor. They must trade to obtain others.
  • In battles in the anime, moves can be used together to make a totally new move.
  • In the anime, characters change their clothes when they go swimming. However, when a player dives underwater in the games, the player is still wearing their normal outfit.
  • In the anime, Pokémon Contests have an appeal round where Contestants show off a combination of moves, while in the games, there isn't one. The second round is different as well. Contestants battle each other in the anime while in the games, Contestants show off only one move to the judge and are able to affect the other Contestants' Pokémon (Hoenn Contest only).
  • In the anime, the Trainer can order their Pokémon to dodge attacks, regardless of the accuracy of that move in the games. Additionally moves that normally cannot miss in the games, such as Swift, Shock Wave and Aerial Ace, can miss.
  • HMs are shown as regular moves in the anime, yet they are not used as tools for certain situations like in the games.
  • TMs do not seem to exist. Instead, TM-exclusive moves must be taught to the Pokémon over a period of time.
  • Locations are not the same between the anime and the game. Multiple locations are added to regions to carry out plots in the anime.
  • Regular Poké Balls are generally used to catch Pokémon. In the games, Pokémon Trainers use different kinds of Poké Balls to catch Pokémon. The only other Poké Ball types seen in the anime were the Safari Ball, Lure Ball, Fast Ball, Heavy Ball, and Master Ball.
Dustox cannot learn Stun Spore in the games
  • Occasionally the anime shows Pokémon using moves they cannot learn in the games.
    • However, some of these cases may be attributed to a translation error or a misinterpretation. Examples include Ash telling Pikachu to use "electric attack" when he could just mean to use an electric attack, or Pokémon using basic attacks like Tackle or Headbutt simply because they are just simple attacks.
  • Pokémon using a technique that normally cannot affect the enemy Pokémon's type in the games, such as with Pikachu most notably who had occasionally been able to affect Ground-types with Electric attacks which it can't do in the games.
  • Like people, Pokémon can be worn out from constant battling and eventually collapse from exhaustion which is something that can't happen in the games. However, a Pokémon that runs out of PP in every move can faint from the recoil damage of Struggle.
  • Official Gym and League battles set limits on how many Pokémon a Trainer can use to fight with, whereas in the games only facilities like the Battle Tower set limits.
  • All official Pokémon Trainer battles in the anime have a judge, who sets the rules and referees the battle, and is able to declare when a Pokémon is unable to battle which would eliminate that Pokémon from the match. In the games, however, aside from a battle facility match, any Pokémon that fainted can be revived and used again in battle as long as the Trainer has at least one Pokémon left.
  • Pokémon have the right to decide if they want to evolve, and can choose if they don't want to evolve, where in the games the Pokémon only evolves when the player wishes it to once the requirement has been met. Notable examples are Ash's Pikachu and Bulbasaur, Meowth of Team Rocket, and Dawn's Piplup.
  • Pokémon in the anime occasionally undergo changes in their personality when they evolve. In the games, their personality remains the same after evolution.
  • In the anime, some Pokémon that have been recently captured or evolved disobey their Trainer until that Trainer is able to find a way to get through to them with the prime example being Ash's Charizard. In the games, only traded Pokémon disobey their Trainer until Badges that can neutralize this problem are acquired.
  • It is possible in the anime to render moves harmless in an unorthodox way which is not possible in the games. Sometimes this is used to counter type disadvantages. One example is with Ash's Pikachu during its battle against Winona's Pelipper, where Pelipper used Steel Wing to attract Pikachu's electricity and divert it into the ground to render it useless.
  • Occasionally there have been cases where move or status mechanics have been ignored or altered in the anime that contradicts the games. A few examples are Volt Tackle causing recoil damage when blocked with Protect instead of being caused from a small amount based on the damage inflicted, or when Toxic Spikes was used to poison Ash's Pokémon when they touched the ground instead of when they were switched out, including his Staraptor and Gliscor which are immune to that move in the games due to being Flying-types.
  • The cries in the regular games differ significantly from the cries in the anime. An exception is Pikachu in Pokémon Yellow, which actually says its name when interacted with or when called into battle.
  • Some towns and other locations also differ between the anime and the games. In the anime, the Whirl Islands are populated, but in the games they are just a series of caves. Also, Littleroot Town is shown to be a coastal town in the anime; in the games, it is surrounded by woodland on all sides. In addition, the Seafoam Islands in the anime is depicted as a beach resort town with a warm climate, while in the games the Seafoam Islands are depicted as a location of icy caverns.
  • In the games, evolutionary methods revolving around leveling up usually occur after a battle, while in the anime these kinds of evolution can occur during a battle or a serious situation. One example is when Ash's Chikorita evolved into Bayleef to protect him from Team Rocket.