The anime adaptation of Pokémon has been going on for an almost mind-boggling amount of years, churning out countless episodes in the process.
It’s incredible to think that both the games and the show have been going on this long, and we hope that they continue to go strong for years to come. That said, despite being the anime using the games as its source material, it has gotten a lot of things wrong about them, and it continues to do so even today.
So, with our list of Pokémon: 20 Things The Show Gets Wrong About The Games, we’ll be checking out exactly where the anime and games diverge in terms of concepts and lore, and maybe even learn a thing or two in the process!
20 Multiple Unique Regions/Cities
In the Pokémon games, there’s a very specific collection of locations, but the anime decided that they weren’t enough.
Starting with the very first season of the show, the anime introduces a variety of exclusive locations that have yet to appear in the games.
In the end, it makes sense to flesh out the world a bit more than the games, but there's still a staggering amount of anime-exclusive places.
19 TMs Don’t Exist
A huge part of Pokémon is the teaching of moves through the use of “Technical Machines,” otherwise known simply as “TMs.”
They have appeared in almost every single game, and even the various manga adaptations of the series, but have yet to appear in the anime.
We really couldn’t tell you why they’ve been excluded, but it is what it is.
18 Pokémon Disobey Trainers Even With The Right Badges
In the anime, we’ve seen Pokémon directly question their Trainers, and sometimes defy them outright. In the games, this simply isn’t the case.
While it’s true that high level Pokémon will ignore orders or sleep when the players don’t have the necessary badges, it never plays out like it does in the anime, where a Pokémon, regardless of a Trainer’s badges, can do as it pleases.
17 More Than Four Moves Per Pokémon
The games have a strict limit of four moves per Pokémon, and choosing what they are is a major part of the game's strategy.
That problem doesn’t exist in the anime, though, since it seems that Pokémon have almost their entire arsenal of attacks available to them at all times.
This makes sense in terms of realism, but it’s a jarring departure for those who exclusively play the games.
16 Locations That Are The Same Can Be Wildly Different
While the anime has many exclusive locations, it’s always sure to include the major ones from the games, too.
That said, some of these areas vary wildly between the show and the games, often making them practically unrelated.
For example, the Whirl Islands in the games are an uninhabited series of caverns, but the anime has people living off the land.
15 Gym Battles Have Different Rules
The Gym battles of the anime seem to have far more regulations and rules than in the games.
Even in the earliest days of the franchise, Gym battles played out like every other battle: a total free-for-all. The anime, on the other hand, often features certain rule sets and limits, typically dictated by the Gym Leader.
14 Different Championship Systems
A key component to the games is acquiring Gym Badges and then taking on the Elite Four in order to become the new regional Champion.
In the anime, this system is markedly different, as the Gym Badges allow access to the “Pokémon League Conference,” which plays out more like a major tournament.
Another anime-exclusive element is the ability to battle the current Champion directly, without the involvement of the League or Elite Four.
13 Pokémon Have More Agency In The Show
The Pokémon in the games have increasingly been given more personality as the series has gone on, but they still don’t compare to the Pokémon of the anime.
In the anime, Pokémon all have distinct personalities, with them showing a level of agency that even lets them enter and exit a Pokéball at will, or even outright refuse to evolve.
12 Levels Basically Don’t Exist
To be fair, levels have been mentioned sparsely throughout the anime, but the concept has been almost totally overlooked and abandoned, despite how critical this mechanic is to the games.
While “levels” are certainly an immensely “game-y” concept, it would have been nice to see them fleshed out in the series.
11 Pokémon Don’t Have Power Points
In the games, Pokémon can only use each moves a certain amount of times before they run out of “Power Points,” rendering them useless.
This is simply not a concept in the anime, though it could be argued that Pokémon getting tired from a fight is its equivalent.
Still, no matter how “game-y” the idea of PP is, we would’ve liked to see it incorporated and explained.
10 Pokémon Can Evolve (Or Refuse To) At Will
In the games, Pokémon evolve through a variety of methods, such as leveling up, Evolution Stones, or sometimes even happiness.
While those evolutionary methods all exist within the world of the anime, it also has one that the games don’t: Pokémon evolving (or not) by sheer will.
In moments more akin to Dragon Ball Z than Pokémon, the pocket monsters in question have shown the ability to evolve in order to protect a Trainer or complete a specific task.
9 Battles Are In Real Time
The Pokémon games are traditional RPGs in the sense that their battle system is an old-school, turn-based affair.
It’s the exact opposite in the anime, where the battles rage at full speed.
It makes sense that the anime would portray Pokémon battles as real-time events, but there have been occasions where hints of the turn-based system have been shown.
8 Some Moves Simply Don’t Exist In The Games
There’s an enormous amount of available moves for Pokémon of all Generations, but the anime seems keen on inventing its own moves, too.
Aside from allowing Trainers to order their Pokémon to dodge attacks (which doesn’t exist in the games), we’ve also seen moves that have been created specifically for the show, like “Static Jolt” or “Air Lens.”
7 Combination Attacks
The Pokémon battles of the anime are often far more dynamic than in the games, despite the advancements made through the combat system.
Regardless of how far the games have come, they still haven’t implemented any kind of “combination attacks” or assaults that utilize the environment as seen in the anime.
Whether it’s Pikachu electrocuting Onix by triggering the fire system or combining two separate attacks into one, we’ve yet to see it in a game.
6 Unrecognized Gym Leaders
There are a very specific amount of Gym Leaders in the Pokémon games, and players are required to conquer them in order to head to the Pokémon League.
While the anime does feature these plot crucial Gym Leaders, there’s also a slew of seemingly unofficial Gyms and Gym Leaders that dot the landscape.
Perhaps this is how Gary acquired all of those never-seen-again badges? That or forgery.
5 Pokémon Cries Aren't Supposed To Be Their Names
Everyone is familiar with Pikachu’s adorable voice along with how it, and the rest of the Pokémon race, all speak their names in order to communicate.
This is an anime-exclusive concept, though, as basically every last entry in the games (minus VERY few exceptions) feature Pokémon using unique “cries” that resemble growls, roars, and other animal-like noises.
4 Type-Effectiveness Doesn’t Always Make Sense
There have been moments in the anime where type resistances have been totally tossed to the wayside, such as having Electric-Type Pokémon fry Ground-Types, despite that being an impossibility within the games.
This is almost sacrilege to players, as the rock-paper-scissors Type system of strengths and weaknesses is one of the most critical components of the game’s strategy elements.
3 HMs Are Regular Moves In Anime
One of the most annoying elements in the early games was the use of HMs to teach Pokémon moves like Fly and Surf.
In the anime, this simply isn’t the case, as HMs basically don’t exist, and the moves in question can be used by Pokémon without having to teach them.
Since TMs don’t exist either, it’s unsurprising that HMs would meet the same fate. Interestingly, this is an anime trait that the games seem to have inherited as of late.
2 The PokéDex Analyzes Pokémon Without Catching Them
Playing the games for the first time after watching the show, players were perplexed to realize that the PokéDex doesn’t give you information on Pokémon until you’ve caught the creature in question.
In the anime, Ash is more than happy to brandish Dexter at all times, who gives him a variety of information about Pokémon, whether they’ve been caught or not.
1 Ghost Pokémon Don’t Beat Psychics
The ultimate lie of the Pokémon anime was that Ghost Pokémon were the key to defeating Sabrina and her army of almighty Psychics.
Those who tried the above method learned things the hard way.
In truth, the games were supposed to incorporate Psychics being weak to Ghosts, but sloppy programming prevented it from being properly implemented.