Since it launched in the 90’s, Pokémon has gone on to become one of the most popular franchises in the world! From games and card to movies and TV shows, there’s nothing that Pokémon hasn’t conquered! With nearly 1,000 different Pokémon, the Pokémon universe has endless discoveries to be made! Here are 40 of the weirdest and most wonderful facts about Pokémon, its creators, and of course the Pokémon themselves! Which of these amazing Pokémon facts is your favourite?
1. Pokémon means ‘Pocket Monsters’
Pokémon is an abbreviation of ‘Poketto Monsutā’ which means ‘Pocket Monster’ in Japanese. Because they fit in your pocket, of course! Although luckily they live in Poke balls, imagine the mess if they used your pockets as a loo…
2. Saudi Arabia banned Pokémon at one point
Saudi Arabia aren’t famous for being super relaxed about stuff. Apparently Pokémon was promoting polytheism (Belief in more than one god) and other things the government weren’t happy about. You can still watch Pokémon in Saudi Arabia, but only in English. Luckily the country is becoming a bit more relaxed about it, and younger fans can finally see what all the fuss was about!
3. Pikachu directly translates as ‘Sparkly mouse noise’
If you ever wondered where the Pokémon names come from, Pikachu is a good example of how random they can be. ‘Pika’ is from ‘Pikapika’ which means ‘glitter or sparkle’ and ‘chu’ is from ‘chuchu’ the noise a mouse makes. Put them together and you have Sparkle Mouse Noise! For some reason. Pikachu is a sort of mouse, right?
4. Lots of Pokémon names are puns
For example, the powers of Mimikyu are literally to ‘mimic you’. And Sudowoodo? ‘Psudo wood’, or fake wood. Squirtle is a reference to the fact that he’s a turtle who can squirt water, and Charmander is so -called because it’s a fire Pokémon which can ‘char’ you. Which other clever names can you spot?
5. Pokémon was created by a video game designer called Satoshi Tajiri in 1995
He first thought of the idea way back in 1990. He was inspired by the fact that Gameboys could communicate, and began dreaming up a game that would link two Gameboys. At first, no body really understood Satoshi’s Pokémon idea, and the company struggled trying to produce it. Satoshi didn’t even take a salary during this time, but eventually the game was released and became a huge success!
6. There was originally a Pokémon based on Dolly the Sheep, but it was scrapped.
You may have heard of Dolly – she’s no ordinary sheep! Dolly was the first ever mammal to be cloned, in Scotland in 1996, and was therefore very popular and well known in the 90s. Sadly, the Dolly Pokémon never happened, but there IS a sheep Pokémon – but it’s called Wooloo, not Dolly!
7. The ‘Gotta Catch ‘Em All’ ethos has a back story
Satoshi’s idea about collecting animals in Pokémon came from his love of being in the garden as a child. As a boy, he would spend hours finding and collecting bugs and insects. In fact he spent so much time doing it, his friends called him ‘Dr. Bug’, and he originally wanted to become a bug scientist – or entomologist, to give it its proper name. We’re glad he decided to work in video games instead!
8. Over 30 billion Pokémon cards have been sold
Pokémon cards are very popular – so popular, in fact that since they were first released in 1998, they’ve sold billions worldwide! The card game is similar to the video game, except it’s played in real life. Some of the rarer cards have become so sought after that they go for thousands of pounds, and tournaments are played all over the world.
9. It’s hard to say what the first Pokémon ever created was
Although most people probably think of Pikachu when they think of the first Pokémon, Pikachu wasn’t the first one designed. In fact, it’s hard to know for sure which one was. Some people say it was Rhydon, some say Arceus. Apparently Lapras and Clefairy were also early designs It may be lost to the mists of time!
10. Only Mario has sold more video games than Pokémon
Pokémon is VERY popular. In fact, last year, over 20 years since it first came out, Pokémon was still the best selling game! It’s not hard to see why – the endless types of Pokémon and scenarios means Pokémon has a lot to offer!
11. Gold and Silver were meant to be the last Pokémon games, but people wanted more!
Developed by just four programmers, the 1999 games were originally intended to be the last in the series, but they were met with such acclaim that they decided to make more! It’s hard to imagine the series ending so soon after it had begun!
12. The colours of the Pokeballs are actually based on Cambell’s soup cans
Yes, you read right, the famous pokeball is actually meant to mimic the look of a soup can! Specifically, the tomato soup cans that appear in Andy Warhol’s famous picture. We’re not sure why the design was based on a soup can, but once you see it, you can’t unsee it!
13. The island of Niue in the South Pacific has put Pikachu on a coin!
Yes, you can buy stuff with Pikachu! Well, if you live on Niue that is. Pikachu appeared on a special edition coin there in 2001. Does that mean the people of Niue are officially the biggest Pokémon fans in the world?
14. Ash’s Pokémon was originally meant to be a Clefairy, not Pikachu!
It’s hard to imagine anyone else as Ash’s best pal, but the original plan was to make it a Clefairy! It’s easy to see why, like Pikachu Clefairies are cute, small and portable, but ‘Detective Clefairy’ just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
15. Many Pokémon are based on traditional Japanese stories and legends
Japanese mythology and folklore is packed full of weird creatures and scary monsters, and some of them have made their way into the Pokeuniverse! Examples include Froslass, based on the Japanese legend of a scary vampire frost lady, and Lotad, who although cute, is based on a water monster called a Kappa, which holds water on its head. Vulpines meanwhile, are based on the Kitsune, clever fox creatures with many tails.
16. Lots of Celebs love Pokémon
Celebrity fans of Pokémon include Keke Palmer, Trevor Noah and Demi Lovato . Trevor was once spotted by a fan playing Pokémon Go on a park bench, and Demi Lovato has also admitted to having an obsession with the game.
17. Detective Pikachu’s hat is a deerstalker
Ever wondered why Detective Pikachu is wearing that hat? Well, it’s called a deer stalking, and its the same hat that Sherlock Holmes is often seen wearing, giving a shout out to the famous fictional detective and his inspiration!
18. The TV series was briefly banned in Sweden
Because the Pokémon series is tied in with games and other merchandise, Swedish TV didn’t show it, as it’s technically an advert for the products, and it’s illegal to advertise to children there. You can see Pokémon on Swedish TV now, but you won’t hear ‘Gotta Catch ‘Em All!’ as this is a form of stealth advertising suggesting that children should try and collect all the Pokémon they can in real life!
19. In many dubs Ash is voice by a woman
Yes, Ash is voiced by several different people, including Rika Matsumoto, and Hana Takeda in Japanese and Veronica Taylor in English. It makes sense that he’s voiced by a woman, since he’s pretty young, although in other dubs, like Portuguese and Spanish, he’s voiced by men. Ash’s name is also a bit of a joke – Ketchum is meant to sound like ‘Catch ’em’ as in Catch ‘Em All!
20. The anime was only meant to last for one season
When the Pokémon anime first aired in the 90’s, it was only planned as a one-off series to promote the game. However, it proved surprisingly popular, and there have been over 20 series and 23 films! It’s also currently one of the longest running anime series ever!
21. Ash’s Japanese name is Satoshi, which is the same name as the franchise creator
In the original Japanese, Ash is called Satoshi, like the game designer who created him. We can see why he identifies with Ash; not only is Ash the main character, he’s also an honest, loyal friend and both he and Satoshi love finding weird creatures to collect!
22. Over 88 billion Pokémon have been caught on Pokémon Go
That’s a lot of Pokémon! Between millions of different people of course – no one person has caught that many! In fact, it’s basically impossible to ‘Catch ‘Em All’ since some Pokémon don’t actually appear in the game, especially some of the rarer or older ones. It’s fun trying to find them though!
23. The smallest Pokémon is the Flabébé
The Flabébé is a cute little flower Pokémon that is only 10cm tall! Perfectly pocket-sized, the Flabébé is less of a fighter and more of a friend. Tiny and light, they can be found clinging to flowers, from which they can extract healing properties. Aw!
24. And the largest one is Eternatus!
Eternatus (A play on ‘eternity’) is a dragon Pokémon which can be up to 100m tall! For reference, the Eiffel Tower is 300m tall, meaning the Eternatus could easily scale it! With it’s scary skeleton appearance, Eternatus is a Pokémon you don’t want to mess with.
25. About 750 million people have downloaded the Pokémon Go app
Pokémon go is very popular for several reasons. Not only is it fun to play, it’s a good excuse to get outside and explore the real world too (although you won’t always like what you find). For these reasons, it’s been downloaded hundreds of millions of times!
26. For Pokémon: The First Movie, the studio wanted to replace all the voice actors with celebs
In order to try and sell as many tickets as possible, the studio planned to replace all the voice actors with celebrities, including Leonardo Di Caprio as Ash. We love Leo as much as the next listicle, but can you imagine him as Ash?
27. In Detective Pikachu, Ryme city is based on London
Ryme is not only based on London, but it’s also partially filmed there. This is probably also a nod to the fact that London is the setting for the Sherlock Holmes stories, which were the inspiration for the concept.
28. And for the Japanese dub of the film, Ken Watanabe voices himself
You might know Ken Watanabe from Transformers, Godzilla and Batman, but one of the perks of being a bi-lingual actor is that he was able to dub his own voice for Japanese!
29. There are some really weird Pokémon
Lots of Pokémon are kind of weird, but these ones are REALLY weird. They include Trubbish, which is a bag of rubbish, Burmy, a weird bug that hides in things, and Mega Mawile, which has another head coming out of its pony tail (Another Pokémon based on a Japanese legend). Imagine if your job was coming up with these crazy characters!
30. Pokémon Red & Blue only reached Europe three years after it was made
The first Pokemon game, Pokemon red and blue, wasn’t released in Europe until a few years after it debuted in Japan, making it look a little dated by the time it finally got there. However, this didn’t stop people going crazy for Pokémon!
31. Misty and Jessie are both voiced by Rachel Lillis in the English dub of the series
At first glance, Misty and Jessie might not seem to have a lot in common; Misty is sweet, caring and good and Jessie is…well, Jessie! But they do share one very important trait – the same voice actor! Both characters are voiced by Rachel Lillis in the English dub of the show. Next time you’re watching, listen carefully and see if you can tell!
32. Some of the rarest Pokémon cards are worth over $100,000!
Rare Pokémon cards include No. 1 trainer, which sold in 2020 for $90,000! Apparently there are only a handful in existence, meaning that its potentially the rarest Pokémon card ever! Other rare cards include a 1999 Charizard, a 24 carat gold Pikachu card, and a Blastoise card. Do you own any rare cards? Check down the back of the sofa, they could be worth a lot!
33. The ‘Rocket’ in Team Rocket apparently stands for “Raid On the City, Knock Out, Evil Tusks”
Everyone knows Team Rocket and there constant schemers, Jessie and James, but have you ever wondered why they’re called that? Well, apparently Rocket stands for ‘Raid on City, Knock Out, Evil Tusks’. We’re not entirely sure why… Apparently Team Rocket’s oath is; “Steal Pokémon for profit. Exploit Pokémon for profit. All Pokémon exist for the glory of Team Rocket’ So basically, it’s pretty clear they have bad intentions.
34. There are nearly 1,000 different species of Pokémon in total
Split into 18 different categories, there are nearly 1,000 total different species of Pokémon out there! Originally, there were just 151 (although that’s still a lot!) but over time the number has grown and grow to a current total of 898, and there are more to be discovered!
35. Mewtwo was meant to be the most powerful Pokémon ever
Although Mew is known to be one of the most powerful Pokémon ever, Mewtwo has overtaken it as the most powerful. Originally made in a lab by scientists, Metwo’s is a psychic Pokémon who’s powers include telekinesis. However, since Mewtwo’s creation, other, newer Pokémon have surpassed it’s strength, including Arceus, Rayquaza and Ho-Oh
36. Currently, there have been 23 animated Pokémon films released
That’s a lot of films! The first Pokémon film was helpfully called ‘Pokémon: the First Movie‘ and the latest one, which came out in 2020 is called ‘Pokémon: Secrets of the Jungle’, and features fan favourites Ash, Team Rocket and Meowth.
37. Female Pikachu’s have a dent in the end of their tails.
Next time you spot a Pikachu in the wild, you’ll be able to tell if it’s a girl or a boy by its tail! The Males have a standard lightning shaped tail, while the females have a little dent in the top making it look heart shaped. This makes Ash’s Pikachu a male!
38. ‘Kanto’ is based on a real region in Japan, also called Kanto
Yes, there is a real place in Japan called Kanto! It’s a region of Honshu, the biggest Island in Japan, and it’s where Tokyo is located, among other cities. In Japanese, Kanto means ‘East of the Barrier’, and Saffron city is based on Tokyo. Now you know!
39. The ‘Splash’ move actually usually means ‘hop’ instead
‘Splash’ is Magikarp’s signature move. But it doesn’t necessarily involve water. In fact, when you ‘splash’ on land, you mostly just flop about. It’s not a very intimidating move, we have to admit. Splash is a bit of a joke move that shows just how useless Magikarp can be on the battlefield. The move was originally called ‘Splash’ because only Magikarp used it, but as time went on, the splash move (Originally called ‘hop’ in Japanese) can also be used by non water Pokémon in non water environments. So next time you see a non water Pokémon ‘splash’, now you know what it actually means!
40. There are 18 different types of Pokémon
Those 18 are: Fire, Dark, Ice, Fighting, Onix, Steel, Poison, Psychic, Flying, Ground, Electric, Fairy, Water, Bug, Grass, Dragon and er, Normal. Imagine being a Normal Pokémon, you wouldn’t feel very special, would you?