When a Pokémon trainer is defeated in battle, they return to the nearest Pokémon Center in order to heal up their team. In game mechanics terms, it is impossible for your Pokémon to die. The only way to permanently get rid of them is by releasing them from the PC box. This isn't always true for the other Pokémon in the world, as a few of them have passed on to the afterlife. The Pokémon video games, comics, and anime have all included Pokémon who have died. This has happened more than you think and the creators have been more upfront about Pokémon death than you might expect. It seems that not even Pokémon are safe from the ravages of time and the dangers of battle.
We are here today to look at the times when a Pokémon has been confirmed to have died. From the Stoutland who passed away due to old age, to the Marowak who died in battle against Team Rocket.
Here are the 15 Times Pokémon Actually Died!
15 Stoutland (Cause - Died Of Old Age)
There have been quite a few sad episodes of the Pokémon anime. Many fans will point to the episode where Butterfree leaves, or Ash contemplates leaving Pikachu with others of its kind as the saddest story of the show's run. A recent episode of the Sun & Moon season may have taken the prize for the most depressing storyline of the show's run, as we get to see a Stoutland dying of old age.
In the sixth episode of the season, Ash runs into a Litten that keeps stealing his food. The Litten is revealed to be bringing the food to an elderly Stoutland. In the 21st episode of the season, the Stoutland is taken into emergency care at the Pokémon Center. Nurse Joy tells Ash that there is nothing that can be done. Litten tries to find the Stoutland the next day, without realizing the truth...
The episode tastefully deals with the subject of a Pokémon dying of old age, without explicitly hammering the audience over the head with details. This episode may very well be the "Jurassic Bark" of the Pokémon anime.
14 Alder's Volcarona (Cause - Unknown)
The Champion of the Unova region in Pokémon Black & White is a man named Alder. He uses three different Bug-type Pokémon on his team, which suggests that he favours this type above all others. Alder is an unusual trainer, as he travels the Unova region and involves himself in the events of the world, rather than hanging out with the Elite Four. He also offers advice to inexperienced trainers and is quick to help people who need his assistance.
The reason Alder became the Champion was due to an incident in his youth. Alder's starter Pokémon was a Larvesta, which evolved into a Volcarona. The two of them were inseparable during his Pokémon journey. It was revealed in Pokémon Black 2 & White 2 that things did not end well, however, as the Volcarona is confirmed to have died from an illness. This death inspired Alder to become a better trainer, which resulted in him becoming the Champion.
13 Lucario (Cause - Sacrificed Its Own Life)
The eighth Pokémon movie is called Lucario and the Mystery of Mew. It starts off several centuries before Ash was born and focuses on a trainer called Sir Aaron, who taught a Lucario how to use the mysterious power of Aura. Sir Aaron sacrificed his life to stop a war the destruction of the Tree of Beginning. It is hinted in the film that Sir Aaron is actually a distant ancestor of Ash Ketchum, though this is never confirmed.
Ash reawakens Sir Aaron's Lucario in the modern era. The Lucario had grown to resent Sir Aaron, as it felt abandoned by its former friend. At the end of the movie, Lucario sacrifices its life to save the Tree of Beginning. Lucario makes the same choice as Sir Aaron did and finally understands the decision made by its old friend. We see Sir Aaron and Lucario reunited in the afterlife at the end of the film.
12 J's Team (Cause - Explosion)
It is very rare for a Pokémon to die in one of the Pokémon video games, comics, or cartoons. What is even rarer than that is seeing a human being killed.
There have been a few instances where the ghosts of humans who died long ago will show up, such as with Sir Aaron of the girl from the "Ghost of Maiden's Peak" episode. One of the few episodes in which someone directly dies is "The Needs of the Three!", in which Pokémon Hunter J meets her end.
Pokémon Hunter J is a professional Pokémon thief, who sells her targets to the highest bidder. At the end of "The Needs of the Three", her ship is hit by two Future Sight attacks which cause it to explode and crash into the Lake of Valor, where it quickly floods. We do not see J escaping from the ship, nor any members of her crew. This suggests that they all perished in the crash.
J had three Pokémon in her team. She used an Ariados, a Drapion, and a Salamence in battle. These three Pokémon presumably died with J.
11 Latios (Cause - Sacrificed Its Own Life)
The fifth Pokémon movie was called Pokémon Heroes: Latios & Latias. This movie has become infamous due to the fact that Ash gets kissed by a Latias, which is one of the few instances of human/Pokémon romance that is ever shown in the franchise.
Pokémon Heroes: Latios & Latias focuses on an item called the Soul Dew, which has the ability to drown the city of Alto Mare in water and awaken two ancient fossil Pokémon. The Soul Dew contains the soul of an ancient Latios that saved the city. Two members of Team Rocket named Annie and Oakley attempt to steal the Soul Dew.
At the end of the movie, Latios sacrifices itself in order to become the new Soul Dew. It gives its life to save the city of Alto Mare from destruction. Ash likely thought this was awesome, as this meant that there was no one to stop him from hitting on Latias.
10 Jan's Talonflame (Cause - Petrification)
It is not unheard of for Pokémon to be turned to stone. This was the fate of the three Legendary Beasts from Johto, which were all petrified and left to rot in the Brass Tower. In the Pokémon anime, it is known that Yveltal's Oblivion Wing attack can turn anyone it hits into stone.
There was a special episode of the Kalos Pokémon season called "The Legend of X, Y, and Z", which focused on the legend of a human from ancient times, called Jan. Professor Sycamore discovers the fate of Jan and his friend Aila, who both ran afoul of Yveltal.
In ancient times, Jan and Aila encountered Yveltal. Jan attacked the Legendary Pokémon with his Talonflame. Yveltal used its Oblivion Wing attack to petrify the Talonflame. The Talonflame was flying when it was hit and it fell to the ground. This means that it would have smashed into pieces. Aila was also turned to stone, which inspired Jan to go on a quest to save her. He probably wasn't planning on saving his Talonflame, unless he found a roll of tape or some strong glue on his journey.
9 The Kanto Clones (Cause - Clone Degradation)
The most powerful creature in Pokémon Red & Blue is Mewtwo. This was a clone that was created from the DNA of Mew. The player can find documents on Cinnabar Island which detail how Mewtwo was created. When the first Pokémon movie was released on home video and shown on television, it featured a new ten minute short which detailed how Mewtwo was born.
The Uncut Story of Mewtwo's Origin tells the story of Dr. Fuji, who once had a daughter named Amber. When Amber died, Dr. Fuji dedicated his life to cloning, so that he could create a copy of his daughter. He was discovered by Giovanni of Team Rocket, who funded Fuji's experiments.
Dr. Fuji created Mewtwo, as well as clones of his daughter and the three Kanto starters. All of the clones (except for Mewtwo) disintegrate, as the process of their creation was flawed. These deaths affected Mewtwo deeply, which led to his actions in the movie.
8 The Zombies Of Lavender Town (Cause - Unknown)
The Pokémon Adventures manga is probably the most violent adaptation of the Pokémon video games. These elements were faded out over time and the manga dropped its darker tone. Pokémon Adventures featured the violent deaths of a Magmar, which was frozen in ice and shattered and an Arbok that was sliced in half (though it was later revealed to be alive, as they can easily regenerate from serious wounds). Lance also attacked Vermillion City with his Dragonair, which likely killed hundreds of citizens.
One of the most disturbing moments in the Pokémon Adventures manga happened in the infamous Pokémon Tower in Lavender Town. Red faces off against a Gastly that uses its powers to raise several Pokémon from the dead. He has to fight off a horrifying horde of undead Pokémon, which includes a Psyduck, a Slowpoke, a Slowbro, a Lickitung, and a Tangela. These Pokémon are cut down by Red's Bulbasaur, which returns them to their graves.
7 Looker's Croagunk (Cause - Unknown)
Looker is a member of the International Police of the Pokémon world. He debuted in Pokémon Platinum and has appeared in every generation of games since. Looker might not be the best police officer in the world as he only carries a single Pokémon on his person at all times. You would think that a range of Pokémon would be helpful for a policeman's duties. By the time Pokémon X & Y rolls around, Looker doesn't have any Pokémon on him anymore, which means he is defenseless against criminals with a level 5 Pidgey.
In Pokémon Platinum, Looker is shown to use a Croagunk. This Pokémon was considered to be his partner. In Pokémon X & Y, it is revealed that the Croagunk died on a previous mission. Looker has yet to get over the death of his partner and hasn't found a replacement, despite the fact that he needs a Pokémon to perform his duties.
6 MechaMew2 (Cause - Sacrificed Its Own Life)
The Pokémon franchise was once so huge that it had its own traveling musical show. Pokémon Live! started in the year 2o00 and ran for a year. The show featured a story about Ash traveling with his friends to Giovanni's Gym in order to win the Diamond Badge. They spend the whole way being followed by Team Rocket, who are still trying to capture Pikachu. Pokémon Live! featured numerous songs from the anime and the Pokémon music CDs.
In Pokémon Live! Giovanni has created his own robotic Pokémon, called MechaMew2. This robot has the capacity to learn all Pokémon moves and improve them with technology. MechaMew2 crushes all opposition until it faces off against Mewtwo. It is finally defeated when Mewtwo uses the Care Bear Stare to fill MechaMew2 with love, which causes it to turn on Giovanni. MechaMew2 uses Selfdestruct to sacrifice itself, in order to foil Giovanni's plans and destroy his Gym.
5 Magikarp (Cause - Player Incompetence)
Nintendo has recently entered the smartphone game market. This turned out to be a good move, as it led to the creation of Pokémon Go, which became a cultural phenomenon and was a huge success for both Nintendo and Niantic.
In 2017, Nintendo released a new smartphone game, called Pokémon: Magikarp Jump. The game involves you raising a Magikarp so that it will be the best... like no one ever was. This involves taking part in battles and competing in minigames to raise its stats. It's essentially another glorified tapping the screen game with some Pokémon-themed visuals.
It is possible for your Magikarp to die in Pokémon: Magikarp Jump. If your Magikarp jumps too high, then a Pidgeotto can snatch it out of the air and fly off with it. This means that your beloved Magikarp has just become some Pidgeotto's dinner. That's what you get for being a horrible Pokémon trainer.
4 The Victims Of Froslass (Cause - Frozen To Death)
The Pokédex can be a dark and disturbing place. A lot of the Ghost and Psychic-type Pokémon have horrifying origin stories which are only ever discussed in the Pokédex. These include Kadabra, who are said to be little boys who one day woke up as a Pokémon. Drifloon is also disturbing, as it is said to kidnap children and float away with them.
One of the most disturbing Pokémon in existence is Froslass. This is due to a few Pokédex entries which make it sounds like a mixture between a Dexter villain and a member of House Bolton from Game of Thrones.
According to the Pokédex; Froslass uses its Ice-type attacks to freeze its enemies to death. It then takes the corpses and displays them in its lair. The Pokédex makes it clear that Froslass does this to both humans and Pokémon. It is also said that when a woman dies on an icy mountain then they are transformed into a Froslass.
3 Sharpedo (Cause - Hunted For Food)
One of the big questions of the Pokémon world is whether humans eat Pokémon or not?
The Pokémon anime often depicts its characters eating meat and fish. This suggests that Pokémon were killed and cut up for food, as we never see any non-Pokémon animals in the world. The show never outright confirms this, but it is strongly implied. We do know that Pokémon will eat each other in the wild, though this is never shown on-screen.
One of the few Pokémon that is definitely eaten by humans is Sharpedo. According to its Pokédex entry in Pokémon Moon; the Sharpedo were almost wiped out in the Alola region. This was due to the fact that their fins were prized as food, which led to them being overfished to the point where they were almost all killed.
Sharpedo's Pokédex entry is definitive proof that humans will kill a Pokémon and eat it if it tastes good enough.
2 AZ's Floette (Cause - Died In Battle)
In Pokémon X & Y, the player will encounter a mysterious character called AZ. It is revealed that AZ is actually one of the ancient kings of Kalos, who created a machine that could grant eternal life. He used this machine on himself, which is why he is still alive in the modern era. AZ might be smart enough to create a machine that can grant immortality but he wasn't wise enough to not send his beloved Pokémon off to die in a war.
AZ once owned a Floette, whom he loved dearly. This Floette was sent off to battle during one of the ancient wars that rocked the region. AZ thought this was a great idea, despite the fact that Floette is a tiny flower Pokémon. The Floette died during the battle, which prompted AZ to create a machine that could bring it back. He was successful and the Floette was revived. The Floette left AZ when it discovered that he sacrificed other Pokémon to power the machine.
The player faces off against AZ at the end of Pokémon X & Y. This prompts the Floette to return to AZ's side, as he has finally forgiven himself for the crimes he had committed long ago.
1 Marowak (Cause - Killed By Team Rocket)
The rules of the Pokémon world were still being decided in Pokémon Red & Blue. This is the reason why the Pokémon Tower in Lavender Town is so different from the rest of the series. You cannot see the Ghost-type Pokémon in the tower without a special device, which is never brought up again in the series. At the top of the Tower, the player needs to put the ghost of a Marowak to rest. This Marowak was an actual ghost - not a Ghost-type Pokémon.
Team Rocket was responsible for the death of the Marowak. They invaded the Pokémon Tower as they wanted to steal the valuable Cubone skulls that are contained there. The Marowak fought them off in order to protect her child. She was successful and managed to defeat Team Rocket, but passed away due to the wounds it suffered in battle.
Pokémon Sun & Moon introduced a new version of Marowak which is a Fire/Ghost-type Pokémon. This is believed to be a reference to the brave Marowak that passed away in Pokémon Red & Blue and returned from the grave in order to stop anyone who would try and hurt her child.