Pokemon Banned Episodes
The Pokemon anime started as a very Japanese show so even if it was a rather tame anime it still had to be edited quite a bit for American audiences and because of distribution rights to the rest of the world. In the first season now known as the Indigo League season or “gen 1 / Kanto” to others there were 3 episodes that were banned for various reasons. Most of us knew about them since it was very well documented online and even in magazines. Now since then there have been a few other episodes that have been skipped and even some from season 1 but let’s just take a look at the original 3 episodes that were skipped and yet apparently were dubbed as well, who knows if that’s true. So whether you’re here to see the original Pokemon beach episode, have Ash be threatened by a gun or just have a seizure with porygon, Let’s begin.
The Legend of Dratini
This episode was banned for having a gun pointed at Ash Ketchum and by skipping it, it caused some continuity problems since in this episode Ash catches 30 Tauros. You heard that right thirty of them! Anyways, after watching this episode I realized that It was really a shame that it was banned since overall the episode is actually a pretty good one. Taurus continuity issues aside this episode also featured Dratini and Dragonair, back in Gen 1 of Pokemon they were basically considered legendary pokemon. Not on the same status as Mew, Mewtwo and the legendary birds but still a legendary nonetheless so it’s an episode I and every kid who liked Pokemon would have loved to have seen. I mean the only other two appearances Dragonite line got during first gen was as a shadowy Godzilla like monster which made no sense since Dragonite was not that big and you weren’t even able to see him. His second appearance was in the first movie as a flipping mailman! Talk about lackluster. We did get to see Dragonite in a more redeeming appearance in the Orange League finals cup but that was after Kanto and we had already been wowed by Gen II Pokemon by then and even then that was the last evolution we never got to see Dratini pr Dragonair.
In the episode they are portrayed like we expected them to be; As a legendary pokemon that not many people have seen and they were awesome. The episode didn’t just get skipped for that one scene, during most of the beginning the Safari Zone warden is whipping around and threatening everyone with his gun, so at least you can say it wasn’t just for that one pointing the gun to Ash. Ironically enough pretty much every kid saw the scene of Ash having the gun pointed at him since every website and magazine would always bring up the banned episodes and include a screenshot of the scene that caused it to be banned. The episode also has one of the funniest gags the show has ever had. You see Ash trying to catch a Rhyhorn and when he throws a Pokeball, Taurus randomly start running and one gets caught instead. By the end of the episode you see that Ash sent Professor Oak 30 Taurus so you assume that every time Ash tried to catch a Safari Zone Pokemon the Taurus would end up running and getting caught instead. It’s pretty funny and a shame that they didn’t use more of the episode to actually show Ash catching Taurus as that would have been cool to see. We also get to see Misty’s lucky lure which he eventually gives to Ash and appears later in this series, though I guess technically a Gyarados ate it so I guess it doesn’t matter. A shame that the episode was banned since 4K!ds could have edited the the gun into something else like a stick or whatever, its not like they weren’t known for editing the wazoo out of the show already so why not do it like they’ve done to other of their shows and air it?
The Pokerap also teased you with scenes from this episode making people anxiously await for it. Apparently the episode was dubbed and it just never aired from an interview with the voice actors. It at least gives some hope at least that someday it may be available somehow but counting it was never released on DVD and Nintendo is persistent in being family friendly at all times, the day may never come. Overall its a good episode and if you are a Pokemon fan I definitely recommend finding the fansubs of the episode so you may finally watch it. The warden is an interesting character with a decent backstory as well.
Electric AI Soldier Porygon
Not only the most infamous banned episode of Pokemon but likely of all anime. When this episode aired it made almost seven hundred Japanese children get seizures from it. This episode has been parodied by a lot of shows including The Simpsons. In fact this is the first time I ever heard about Pokemon, since I liked anime when my mother saw this on the news she called me into the room to watch it, I don’t know if she was trying to tell me the dangers of anime that I liked or what but that ended up being my first exposure to the franchise. After this episode the show went on hiatus for a while but eventually returned to Japanese television. Of course the episode was skipped in the US and rest of the world and has never aired in Japan again. However according to Maddie Blaustein, Meowth’s Voice Actress, the episode was dubbed with the guilty section being slowed down to avoid any seizures. I’ve also read Japan did the same thing which is odd since they never re-aired it. Anyways it’s strange that they dubbed the episode, I guess that means that Japan did send the episode and allowed 4Kids the decision to air it if they wanted. And why dub it and then decide to not air it? Rather odd. Hopefully this means maybe one day we will see it released as a lost episode, counting that there’s over hundreds of episodes this doesn’t seem likely since they probably just don’t care at this point and would only bring bad press.
This episode was all the rage during the Pokemon fad though, I remember one of the first videos I saw online of Pokemon was of the seizure inducing part of the episode, ironically enough it became the scene to watch. Of course this was really crappy quality and in .rm format which you played with realmedia. Basically if you don’t -buffering- know what that -buffering- is then you are bett-buffering-er off. Its one of those things we had to suffer through back in 1999 to watch video. Anyways it was great finally being able to watch this episode in all its glory and overall it’s a pretty good episode. Not as enjoyable or relevant in continuity as The Legend of Dratini though, but its a solid episode. We meet Dr. Akihabara who created the computer transportation system in which there is a problem with Pokemon being stolen from inside the computer. Ash and his crew go inside a computer to find Team Rocket (Rocket-Dan!), they stop them however Nurse Joy unaware of all of this calls a computer repairman who installs an anti-virus who is now trying to delete Ash and the others. However they escape just in time and everything is fine, well except for Dr. Akihabara’s house that is destroyed by the anti-virus. Dr. Akihabara is an interesting character, the typical crazy japanese scientist with big thick glasses you see in anime.
The saddest thing about the episode being banned is Porygon was banned because of it. Porygon in this episode is awesome, I never realized how awesome he was until I saw the episode. Sadly since this event he’s never appeared in the anime again and neither have his evolutions. Porygon would make a great Pokemon to have episodes revolve around him and it’s a shame we’ll never see them. Maybe in the future they’ll give it a chance but its been nearly 15 years and they have yet to do so. At least they didn’t ban Porygon in general, he’s gotten plenty of cards in the TCG and got evolutions in two generations. Hats off to you Porygon, a damn cool Pokemon who took the blame for Pikachu so he could continue his legacy with the show. And damn that Pikachu who was the one who caused the seizures but allowed little Pory here to take all the blame. Overall this is a good episode and if you’re curious or a Pokemon fan you should definitely watch it.
Beauty and the Beach
After Porygon this is probably the most infamous banned episode of Pokemon and that is because James wore fake boobs. Like The Legend of Dratini; Banning this episode was ironic since every magazine and website back in the day had information and screencaps from the infringing scene. Now unlike the other banned episodes this was eventually aired on TV during season two. The offending scenes were cut and it aired along the orange island episodes which even though it didn’t fit continuity wise it was still a beach episode in a tropical island themed season so that fit nicely there. The odd thing is it was eventually aired and promoted as the “lost” episode, it was later re-run and after that it disappeared. It never re-ran again and has yet to do so, even the DVDs skipped the episode and so does the Pokemon TV app. Why this was done is boggling. I mean they had already cut the offending scenes and aired it twice, its almost as if they forgot they did this and is still seen as the banned episode that they can’t air even though they edited it and it should be able to air. Hopefully in the future this will be fixed and we’ll see the episode again but who knows maybe they kept it off since it featured so many bikinis?
As for the episode itself, its a pretty fun one. While not continuity heavy it does continue straight were the last episode finishes with them finding a beach, nothing too big but it did continue from the previous epiosde.. Besides that we also miss out on seeing Gary again who never appears enough in the series, we see Professor Oak randomly show up in beach attire with Ash’s Mum Delia. It also introduces Brutella who shows up again in the next episode and in the Japanese version she was the “Who’s that Pokemon” Silouhette.
Anyways the episode deals with Ash and friends trying to raise money for a boat they trashed and to do it they try to advertise a restaurant at a beauty contest in which Misty enters. This is the contest that Jessie and James enter with James crossdressing which was cut, Gary’s cheerleaders also enter the contest and apparently Ash’s mom does too at some point as she ends up winning the contest, a classic Japanese trope. not to mention this is also the first time we see the Gyarados submarine that Team Rocket uses. So yeah, I’d recommend this episode to any Pokemon fan and anyone who likes anime beach episodes for pure fan service. The scene with James in a bikini with inflatable boobs is indeed quite funny, especially when Misty starts to cry for being flat chested.