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 media.

Most notable differences

  • Despite not being caught by a Trainer, the Pokédex can show the data of any Pokémon.
  • 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.
Contests are different in the anime and in the games
  • In the anime, Pokémon battles take place in real-time as opposed to being turn-based. This means that 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 issuing commands.
  • In the anime, Trainers are also not allowed to use medicine or Berries during battle.
  • 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). Later series are more likely to have Pokémon stick to the four-move limit, however.
  • PP does not seem to exist in the anime.
  • Egg Moves, which a Pokémon knows upon hatching in the games, are able to be picked up naturally as the Pokémon grows (one example being Ash's Pikachu learning Volt Tackle 424 episodes after its first appearance).
  • In the anime, there can be more than the eight usual Gyms in each region. However, Ash only ever faces the ones from the games, with the others challenged by the rivals.
  • In the anime, all Trainers who collect at least eight Badges compete in a Pokémon League Conference. In the games, Trainers who manage to collect all the specific regional Badges are qualified to challenge the Elite Four and the current Champion.
    • In the anime, Trainers may also just directly challenge the current Champion but does not involve the Pokémon League defense without additional requirements, as seen in several of Cynthia's battles.
  • Multiples of various species of Legendary and Mythical Pokémon have been sighted. In the games, only one can be found per game. This also states that Legendary and Mythical Pokémon are able to breed in the anime, contrary to the games.
    • However, game canon seems to imply that more exist, but the player only ever encounters one.
  • 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 Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, the player will change into a diving suit.
  • In the anime, Pokémon Contest rounds work very differently. In the first one, called the Performance Stage, Coordinators display an array of moves and skills to showcase their Pokémon, while in the games, the player simply presents their Pokémon so its condition can be evaluated. The second round is different as well. In the anime, contestants face each other in a Contest Battle, while in the games all the participants take turns showing off one move at a time.
  • In the anime, the Trainer can order their Pokémon to dodge attacks, regardless of the accuracy of that move in the games, though starting from Generation VI, Pokémon with high affection can occasionally dodge moves that would usually hit. 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, 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. Along with the core series regions, there are also two regions exclusive to the anime: the Orange Archipelago and the Decolore Islands.
    • 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.
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.
  • The physical and special concept is rarely mentioned in the anime.
  • Pokémon can sometimes use a technique that normally would not affect the enemy in the games, notably with Pikachu who has 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. However, in the games, 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 has 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 in the anime, and can choose if they don't want to evolve. However, in the games, the Pokémon only evolves when/if the player wants it to and 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 that 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. One example of this is Volt Tackle causing recoil damage when blocked with Protect instead of being caused from a small amount based on the damage inflicted. Another example is Toxic Spikes poisoning Ash's Pokémon when they touched the ground instead of when they were switched out. This affected his Staraptor and Gliscor, which would be immune to the move in the games due to being Flying types.
    • Sometimes the anime contradicts its own rules. For example, when Ash asks his Aipom to dodge and counter with Focus Punch when it's been explained before that the Pokémon needs to concentrate a moment without being disturbed to be able to use the attack.
  • In the anime, Ultra Ruin is an alternate dimension of Alola and not a part of Ultra Space.
  • The cries of Pokémon in the core series games differ significantly from the cries in the anime. An exception is Pikachu in Pokémon Yellow and the post-Generation V games, as well as Eevee in Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee! and Generation VIII games. Both of which actually say their names when interacted with or when called into battle. Both Pokémon also have unique speech for their Gigantamax forms' cries.
  • 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.
  • Move effects differ as well. For example, Will-O-Wisp acts more like Ember and does direct damage, whereas in the games it only inflicts a burn. Confusion and Psychic deal direct damage in the game but in the anime it has a psychokinesis-like effect, able to move the target to the user's will. Hypnosis puts a Pokémon to sleep in game, but in the anime, while it can be used to inflict sleep, it also has effects similar to the alleged effects of real-life hypnosis - putting the target into a trance or suggestible state.

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