When you think of cancellation and controversy, Pokemon is not the first franchise that springs to mind. Even PETA had to stretch more than usual to implicate a pop culture product in real world acts of animal cruelty via Pokéballs = Animal prisons.
The Pokémon anime has ran from 1997 and continues strong. Typically, it adheres to the archetypal children's franchise parameters of good trumping over evil, bright characters that grip onto an adjective, from cute to creepy, and embody it, and a mass of intellectual property that can be spun into any and all items and trinkets.
Pokemon, in all its guises, has been beloved since the mid '90s. It has stayed popular and prominent in the lives of many fans who discovered Pokemon as children and have stayed with the franchise, whether this is through the anime, trading cards, or video games.
However, not everyone views Pokémon in the same light. As it has spread around the world, the inoffensive and captivating franchise has managed to rile up some of the world's most powerful leaders and institutions, leading to, in some cases, the outright banning of episodes regardless of how crucial to the plot and seemingly innoxious they are...
10. Beauty And The Beach
Pokémon: Indigo League - Season 1, Episode 18
Ash and his companions have a day off soaking up the sun, however, after crashing a boat into a ferry, they must work off their debt at the ferry owner's restaurant. Meanwhile, a rival restaurant owner employs Team Rocket, bringing trouble to the hero's repayment efforts. Not content with this, Team Rocket's meddling spills into a beauty contest that Misty is hoping to win.
Call For Censorship:
It was the beauty contest portion of the episode that provoked the ban. Set on a beach, the dress code for contestants was bikinis. Though, there is nothing inherently sexual about swimwear, the team behind the episode certainly pushed it. Yet, it was not the teenage Misty that provoked ire, rather James of Team Rocket. James cross-dressed in a bikini to try to thwart Misty's victory. Audiences in 1997 were not ready for this, but it was James' use of jiggling inflatable breasts and a comment to Misty that "maybe one day, [she'll] have a chest like [his]" that pushed the boundaries.
The episode was banned in the United States, but after edits it received an English dub.