Anime Vice News

POKEMON Makes Time's Ten Most Controversial

POKEMON is provocative?

 It's fun and games until somebody gets hurt, right Ash?
 It's fun and games until somebody gets hurt, right Ash?

Ah yes… I remember this. Before most Americans even knew what Pokemon was back in ’98, we’d heard about this “weird cartoon” that gave all these kids seizures in Japan. Time Magazine remembers that, too, because it’s included that episode on a list of “Top Ten Controversial Toons” along with SOUTH PARK, THE SIMPSONS, SONG OF THE SOUTH and Warner Brother’s infamous “Censored Eleven.” For those of you haven’t heard of this or were, perhaps, too young to have gotten the full story when it first happened, it basically broke down like this…

The use of fast-strobing red and blue lights in one POKEMON episode incurred adverse physical reactions in around 12,000 of its viewers. “Victims” claimed nausea and seizures, and some 700 of the worst sufferers went to the hospital. Two of them even stayed in the hospital for two weeks. Because of this incident, TV Tokyo instituted guidelines limiting the using of strobing effects in programs and the episode in question was re-edited to be less intense.

I do find it amusing that this episode is grouped with toons that were controversial for a number of volatile racial and political reasons. I suppose this is the only time you’ll ever see POKEMON described as provocative. I think this would be a fun opportunity to start our own list. What do you lunatics in the Anime Vice community think are the most controversial anime of all time? I want names and incidents!

-- Tom Pinchuk is the writer of UNIMAGINABLE for Arcana Comics and HYBRID BASTARDS! for Archaia. Pre-order the HYBRID BASTARDS! hardcover now on Amazon.com.

Dream moderator on April 28, 2010 at 2:05 p.m.
That's only one of several episodes that 4Kids banned from airing here in the states. XD
FoxxFireArt moderator on April 28, 2010 at 2:19 p.m.
I don't really get why Pokemon is really all that controversial. Ever more so when compared to things such as South Park or Family Guy. Is it because the Pokemon ....evolve?
 
I think Black Lagoon had some controversial topics. More so in the whole Hansel and Gretel arc.
 
Komodo no Jikan. I read a few of the chapters online, but really couldn't get too far in. It just felt way too creepy. These incredibly young girls were being seriously over sexualized.
 
Code Geass had a kind of controversial moment in the second season. I remember reading about some issues that were being had with the one episode where a bomb goes off in Tokyo and wipes out many people. Japan does have some "issues" with the idea of bombs being dropped on major cities.
The series also had a very V for Vendetta vibe.
AHR staff on April 28, 2010 at 2:32 p.m.
it's annoying that pokemon always gets grouped into articles like this - what exactly is the controversy?  is someone arguing that cartoons SHOULD be allowed to have seizure inducing strobe lights?  is someone arguing that the animators were doing this intentionally cause they hated kids?  no.  it was negligent but accidental on the part of the studio, it spurred change in the industry, but there is no controversy.  dumb.
Count_Zeroon April 28, 2010 at 3:37 p.m.
@AHR said:
" it's annoying that pokemon always gets grouped into articles like this - what exactly is the controversy?  is someone arguing that cartoons SHOULD be allowed to have seizure inducing strobe lights?  is someone arguing that the animators were doing this intentionally cause they hated kids?  no.  it was negligent but accidental on the part of the studio, it spurred change in the industry, but there is no controversy.  dumb. "
Quoted for Truth. There's no reason for Pokemon to be on the list at all.
nandeyanenon April 28, 2010 at 4:14 p.m.
Most controversial anime? Well, there's Rapeman, the story of two guys who start a business for getting revenge on women (Yeah, it's just as bad as it sounds. I'm kind of ashamed I even know what that is.) Or Angel Cop, which in its original Japanese version contained a racist conspiracy theory about Jews and international bankers taking over the world. Then you've got Kekko Kamen, the naked superhero who saves young girls in a boarding school from the sexual torture of their headmistress. That one might sound like your standard hentai, but the manga ran in Shonen Jump back in the 80s.
 
Those are all pretty obscure though, so I guess they're not "controversial" in the sense that anyone ever made a big stink about them.
Bellumon April 28, 2010 at 4:20 p.m.
Bwahahaha, that's great. I remember that. Wasn't there another episode that was banned in the US because that dude in team rocket wore a bikini?
Kelleth moderator on April 28, 2010 at 4:25 p.m.
@Bellum said:
" Bwahahaha, that's great. I remember that. Wasn't there another episode that was banned in the US because that dude in team rocket wore a bikini? "

http://www.serebii.net/anime/banned.shtml Thats about it
Edit: sorry wrong qoute lol
Sombreon April 28, 2010 at 4:41 p.m.
I'm getting sick of all the news being "Everything is bad about anime at the moment".
hitsusatsu11on April 28, 2010 at 4:57 p.m.
actually lots of weird concerned  parents groups used to go around saying pokemon was satanic...........
Dream moderator on April 28, 2010 at 5:02 p.m.
@FoxxFireArt:  Kodomo no Jikan is the least likely candidate for licensing thanks to the lolicon. Seven Seas tried snagging the series for distribution. But they got squeamish over the content and backed off.
 
I also remember folks going nuts over the Pokemon Jynx because of seeming to be in blackface.
Kelleth moderator on April 28, 2010 at 5:06 p.m.
@hitsusatsu11: Yes but those are the same religious nuts that think everything else is satanic. Seriously if i were at a convention filled with those morons and i threw a stone in a random diretion the chances are 100% that i`d hit something that they find satanic
sickVisionz moderator on April 28, 2010 at 5:20 p.m.
@FoxxFireArt said:
" I don't really get why Pokemon is really all that controversial. "
It sent people to the hospital.  The other cartoons in the article just hurt someone's feelings.
FoxxFireArt moderator on April 28, 2010 at 5:35 p.m.
@Dream:
That's why I didn't like it. I'm alright with things being a little loli. I enjoyed Strike Witches
I don't think the anime in Japan lasted very long of Kimodo no Jikan.
 
@sickVisionz: 
It's not like that was their intent with the series. Most of the other series on that list are intended to push buttons and walk that line of offensive. Pokemon is on this list due to an accident.
sotyfan16on April 28, 2010 at 6:09 p.m.

This..is a bunch of bullshit. God forbid Pokemon is bad for people. We must understand here that Time is owned by Time-Warner though and is just another company run by politics for news and information. 
 
I want to make the most controversial and extreme anime ever in this case just to spite American tastes and general thoughts of what anime is.

Burntlettuceon April 28, 2010 at 6:18 p.m.
I mean pokemon is controversial in the sense it's basically promoting slavery. But as for this episode that induced seizures, I don't think it belongs there. 
JJOR64on April 28, 2010 at 6:39 p.m.
The only controversial thing about the show was the episode they mentioned.  Other then that, I don't see what the problem is.
goradaon April 28, 2010 at 8:29 p.m.
Sometimes I can't take that magazine serious.
ShadowKnight508 moderator on April 28, 2010 at 8:47 p.m.
@JJOR64 said:

" The only controversial thing about the show was the episode they mentioned.  Other then that, I don't see what the problem is. "

Well said, JJOR64. I am really surprised that the media has seemed to developed a grudge against anime recently....first was the Japan trying to ban certain Loli material, then came the RapeLay issue that CNN completly freaked out about, the big Wikipedia controversy being accused by a disgruntled co-founder for pushing Lolicon and Child Porn, Google removing several links that take you to sites that have "questionable" anime material on them, and now this.
Oishi_47on April 28, 2010 at 9:09 p.m.
@nandeyanen: Of the Go Nagai stuff you have to pick from, you chose Kekko Kamen? Not Violence Jack? The one where people were raped then eaten? 
 
@Burntlettuce: Your wrong, it also promoted evolution. It's controversial because the people who support slavery also think that Jews buried dinosaur bones to undermine Jesus.
Konandaon April 28, 2010 at 9:11 p.m.
@Dream said:

"That's only one of several episodes that 4Kids banned from airing here in the states. XD "


Ya I thought they would at least mention the episode which was never show in North America where a bunch of guns are pointed at kids. I don't think it's too crazy but I could imagine certain groups getting all over that or James comically inflatable breasts in one of the early ones.

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