Pokémon is a multimedia juggernaut. Branching out into video games, anime, magna, and beyond, Pokémon is not slowing down at all, even though it’s been around for almost two decades.
There are many reasons why Pokémon has endured and thrived. Anyone who loves the series is more than justified in having that opinion, as Pokémon is colorful, fun, and infectiously joyous. Pokémon is for everyone-- both the young and the young at heart.
However, Pokémon is far from flawless. There are number of facts, concepts, and other aspects in the games and the anime that make very little sense. None of these logic holes or mistakes ruin the enjoyment of the series or make Pokémon a failure, in any sense of the word. They do exist as some nagging, but mildly amusing, problems with the world that has been built.
Pokémon is so goofy as a franchise that even the most unexplained mysteries can hardly break the immersion. In fact, in a perverse way the mistakes of Pokémon only make the franchise more charming as a result. The intention of this list isn’t tear Pokémon down but to just have some fun with the logical problems that emerge in franchise built on children have magical animal fights.
Here are the 15 Things That Make Absolutely No Sense in Pokémon!
15 The Elusive Fainted Pokemon
Since the very start, one of the core rules of the Pokémon franchise is that once a pokémon faints in the wild, it cannot be caught. This makes sense when viewing Pokémon as a game series, where limitations and strategy must be implemented. Thinking-- or over-thinking-- about it logically (the whole basis of this list), however, a fainted pokémon should absolutely be able to be caught.
Pokémon faint all the time and then go inside their Pokéball. There’s nothing that prevents a fainted pokémon from entering its little round home. So, there should be nothing that stops it a fainted pokémon moving into a ball.
In fact, catching fainted pokémon shouldn’t just be possible, it should be easier. The pokémon isn’t moving, it’s a completely still target. There’d be zero chance of an escape.
14 No Professor Actually Does Their Own Research
Pokémon Professors are plentiful, both in the anime and the games. Each new game begins with another teacher leading the character into the world of Pokémon. When the first and most famous one, Professor Oak, is introduced it is as a "pokémon expert." Ever since, his colleagues have followed with a similar moniker. This is all fine and good... or it would be, if it came anywhere close to being accurate.
A Pokémon Professor has never shown more than a basic knowledge of the species that they have devoted their entire life to studying. Any battle a professor undertakes they quickly lose, besides the starters they have no rare pokemon in their possession and they force underlings and children to do all their research work.
It’s fine as a game mechanic but realistically any Pokemon Professor would be viewed as a quack and fraud.
13 Charizard Isn't a Dragon
It only takes one look at the famous Charizard to determine that he looks like a cartoon dragon. The wings, the fire-breathing, everything about Charizard screams “I’m a dragon!” Yet, according to the Pokémon typing, Charizard isn’t a dragon-- he’s just a fire-type. This is insane. Even after the series introduced dual typing, Charizard remains just a fire-type.
It’s not just Charizard who feels wrongly assigned a type. Jirachi looks like your typical anime fairy type creature. Yet it’s typing is steel and psychic. There’s nothing remotely steel-like about Jirachi.
Maybe the most insulting thing though is when Alolan form of Exeggutor was introduced for Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon. Exeggutor, against all reason, became a gigantic palm tree with legs and it got the typing that has been rightfully denied to Charizard of dragon. It'd be hilarious, if it wasn’t so cruel. Okay... it's still pretty funny.
12 Ash Hasn't Aged But Time Has Passed
It’s an easy call-out but despite being around for nearly 20 years, Ash Ketchum hasn't aged a day. Ash is 10 years old in the first episode of the Pokémon anime and he remains 10 to this day. It’s weird but it’s not that unique. Cartoon characters typically don’t age. For example, The Simpsons have been stuck in time for decades.
However, there has been clear indications of the passage of time in Pokémon. The first episode begins on Ash’s tenth birthday but at the end of the first season, Ash celebrates another birthday. Time has passed, it’s mentioned, but the next time Ash’s age is given he’s still just 10 years old.
Fans have come with several crazy fan theories to explain Ash’s eternal youth-- he’s just that happy, he’s actually in a coma, etc. No matter how you look at it, it simply doesn’t make sense.
11 Team Rocket (and Every Villain's) "Code of Honor"
Team Rocket are the originals, but the Pokémon series has seen multiple criminal organizations, especially in the games. Yet no matter what name the criminals are going by, they all follow one very simple (and insane) rule. If they are defeated in a pokémon battle, they simply stop breaking the law. This should not fly.
This would make sense if the baddies were using their pokémon to pull off the deeds. Yet, while the villains’ schemes usually revolve around pokémon in some way, the monsters aren’t doing the legwork. Team Rocket aren’t using pokémon to steal other pokémon, by and large, they’re acting like any normal criminals doing the work themselves.
If some kid wanders along and knocks out all their little sidekicks though, they’re just frozen solid. Their evil plans are completely thrashed for no discernible reason.
10 Nidoqueen and Nidoking Can't Breed (But Others Can)
Honestly, Pokémon opened up a whole can of worms when breeding was introduced as a game mechanic. It asks a lot of questions, that will go over most kids’ heads, but anyone with a passing knowledge of the reproduction system will be haunted by for years. This is especially true when you learn that the gigantic whale-like pokemon, Wailord, can procreate with the tiny kitten, Skitty.
There’s an extra level of confusion though to the fact that Nidoqueen and Nidoking can’t breed with one another. They start off their evolution charts as two gendered versions of the same pokémon but once they reach their “adult” form, there’s no way Nidoqueen and Nidoking can make an egg. In fact, Nidoqueen can't breed at all.
It’s right there in their names, one’s a queen and the other a king but breeding is, somehow, impossible.
9 The Confusing (De)-Evolution
Though ostensibly all about making pokémon stronger, when certain monster reach a level and evolve into a new form, they don’t necessarily get “better." It’s sometimes better to have de-evolved pokémon because its stats will be greater than its higher form, even though that goes against all logic. This is strange but things only get more nonsensical.
Evolution, in its most basic terms, is about a species changing to better live in its surrounding. Some pokémon have not gotten that memo. An early version of a monster can have arms, legs and all other useful appendages. Yet by in its final form, all or some of those components might be missing.
One of the most infamous examples is Snivy, one of the starter pokémon from Pokémon White and Black 2. Although Snivy starts off as a little lizard-esque creature with arms and legs, it ends up becoming gigantic snake. Anyone with a basic understanding of evolution should know that things (in the real world) would go in the exact opposite direction.
8 Pikachu's Power Level
Even moreso than Ash, Pikachu really is the star of the anime. The anime Pikachu is far more intelligent, powerful and has more of a defined character than any basic run-of-the-mill electric rodent that can be found in the games. Even so the power level of the animated Pikachu is far from consistent.
Pikachu has faced and taken out legendary pokémon and even strong rock types (which also makes zero sense). Yet, at the beginning of a new series, it can struggle to take down even the most basic foes. Pikachu can go from god-like levels of powers to barely being capable of putting its little stubby feet in front of each other.
Much like Ash’s aging, fans have tried to find an explanation for Pikachu’s weird power levels. It has been suggested with each new season, Pikachu’s level “reset” and that’s why he always struggles at the start. It’s a fine explanation, as fan theories go, but it doesn’t make any sense why Ash or Pikachu would want to reset.
7 The Missing Fathers
Pokémon papas aren't completely absent. In a few games, the dads of the player characters have been mentioned or even factor into the story. However, these only a few standalone references out of many instances. In the anime, Ash's dad is an unspoken and ever-looming mystery and tons of other characters are just like him in this regard.
There could be several simple explanations for the lack of father. Yet no one mentions it at all. There's no talk of divorce, death, or anything else. The dads are just gone and without a word.
Does every Pokémon hero set out from their so early in life hoping to find the dad who left them? Is it a Shmi Skywalker situation like in Star Wars, where each Pokémon protagonist is a Chosen One conceived by The Force? We demand answers Nintendo/Gamefreak/whoever is responsible.
6 Arbitrary Move Confusion
The pokémon Scyther has wings and thus should be able to fly. The pokémon Diglett is a big knob that lives the ground and has no pointy edges whatsoever. It shouldn't be able to scratch. Yet, somehow, in the world of Pokémon, Scyther cannot use the move Fly but Digglett can use the move Scratch.
This is just the tip of the iceberg too. Kyurem has literal ice arm (in it’s Pokémon Black version) yet it can’t use the famous move Ice Punch. HoweverGastly, a ball of ghostly energy with no arms, can use Ice Punch.
The more you study the moves of every pokémon, the more it seems like decisions were made at random. It’s true there’s an element of balancing the game at play. No one pokémon should be too over-powered with what moves they can learn. Still some effort should have been done so obvious moves matched up with some monsters.
5 Professors Are Always Watching You
Pokémon heroes might not have dads but they do have a professor (whose name is inexplicably related to some type of tree). It’s these Professors who watch their pupils like hawks. They might not be their dads, but they certainly tell the heroes what they can and can’t do, even when it makes precisely no sense.
The worst/most hilarious example of this is in the early games, when Professor Oak would prevent the player from using their bike in any area where bike riding wasn’t programmed to be possible. Out of nowhere Professor Oak would tell to stop as if sensing their transgression from miles away. This little trick then carried over to future games in the series, becoming a bit of a running joke.
While it’s certainly funny, it’s also complete nonsense. Unless Pokémon takes place in some 1984 hellscape and the Pokédex is just a fancy spying device, there should be no reason that any professor should know what item a kid is (or isn’t) using at any given moment.
4 All Cubones Wear the Skulls of Their Mothers
The Pokédex entry for Cubone isn't one of the most bizarre and terrifying but it certainly isheartbreaking. Evidently the skulls which every Cubone wears are from their dead mothers. This is enough to make anyone cry, until the possibility is considered that it can’t possibly be true.
There are hundreds of Cubone out in the wild, so that means that every single one of them has a dead mother. Unless an adult Cubone (or more accurately Marowak) dies immediately after giving birth, there’s no way that’s possible. At some point, there would have to be at least one mother who survived, or the species would just die off.
It’s more likely that Cubone is just lying about its tragic backstory to make its design a little less creepy. Or, you know, no one thought about the logic of the admittedly gut-wrenching and memorable story that was created.
3 The Leg Strength of Incredibly Tiny Birds
Anyone who has played a Pokémon game knows that the move Fly is a godsend. Once it's acquired all you need is a pokémon in your party who can use it and you zoom all over the map. Yet thinking about which pokémon can use fly to transport trainers doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
A basic Pidgey, which according to the lore of the game, is a little bit bigger than your average pigeon can somehow support the weight of an entire small child. A Pidgey can’t just lift their trainer off the ground either, they can carry them for hundreds (maybe even thousands of miles).
Recent games have negated this logical flaw with the Pokémon Ride system, where a designated large creature carries their trainer around. Yet for years, little birds were somehow possessing a leg (or back) strength that far defies logic.
2 Meowth's Miraculous Speaking Ability
In the games Meowth is really nothing special. It’s just one of many cat looking monsters. In the anime, however, it was decided that Meowth would be the perfect evil sidekick for Team Rocket’s Jesse and James.
To give Meowth more of a personality it was decided that it, unlike pretty much every other pokémon, would be able to talk in complete and coherent sentences. Mewoth doesn't just squawk, mew, or crow its own name. Never in the series is this extraordinary feat ever explained.
In some semi-canonical sources like the magna, it was revealed that Team Rocket’s Meowth spent time in Hollywood and grew enamored with the glitz, glamor, and language. This inspired it to talk. This means that all pokémon have the ability to learn language, Meowth was just the only one driven enough to do it.
It might technically count as an explanation but it’s not a satisfying one and doesn’t really explain why a pokémon like Ash’s Pikachu (who is also so wonderfully unique) hasn’t developed speech.
1 Ash is an Absolutely Terrible Trainer
When it comes to illogical Pokémon mysteries though Ash Ketchum’s status as the hero of the franchise is the most perplexing. This is because Ash is a terrible trainer in almost every respect. It’s not that odd for anime hero to be a bit of dunce, just look at Goku in Dragon Ball Z, but Ash is so clueless it defies all reason.
Ash doesn’t have the simplest grasp on pokémon typing or what moves are effective against which monsters. He just screams, rants or throws his wildly inconsistent Pikachu at a problem. Any battle Ash has won, has been due to luck or more accomplished friends.
Ash, not only doesn’t age in the series, he never learns. It’s been 20 years and Ash is still pulling the same rookie mistakes. It’s not surprising that after almost a thousand episodes, Ash has yet to win a Pokemon League tournament. Ash might be the (human) face of the franchise but that makes no sense based on his feats.
What part of the Pokémon universe troubles you the most? Which mystery makes the least sense? Sound off in the comments!