3. The Kadabra Lawsuit
No we can get into the fun stuff, a.k.a. the really stupid shit that people have claimed about Pokémon over the years. Let's start with the claims of a litigious grade-A jerk, and hope he doesn't sue us!
The asshat in question is one Uri Geller, an Israeli illusionist who claims to be a psychic. He's notably stated that his "paranormal" abilities come from space, and allow him to bend spoons with his mind. That's the important bit to note. Although we'd also like to add that his tricks have been repeatedly shown to be fake, because of course he's not actually fucking psychic.
Throughout his career, Geller has repeatedly (and without much success) sued people. Whether it be for claiming that he doesn't have magic powers, or for infringing on his trademark, Geller wants to get his. And by "his," we mean other people's money that isn't his, but that he'd very much like to have.
Enter Pokémon, a franchise that does indeed make a lot of money. It also prominently features a number of Psychic-type creatures, and in particular one or two that carry spoons as part of their shtick. If you don't know who I'm talking about, it's Kadabra and Alakhazam. On tour in Japan one fateful day in the year 2000, Geller happened upon the mustachioed pair and took particular umbrage with the former.
Kadabra, he claims, is an unlicensed parody of himself -- one that depicts him as an evil Nazi dog monster... thing, and attempts to turn children of the world against him. The "logic" is that the katakana for Kadabra's name (which is Yungerer in Japan) is visually similar to the transliteration of Geller's own moniker. He adds that the pentagram on Kadabra's forehead, as well as the three wavy lines on his chest, are meant to make him seem evil and reminiscent of the Nazi Waffen-SS.
It's worth pointing out that both the star and lines are also found on Zener cards, which have been associated with psychic shit for longer than Geller has been alive. Of course that's not really the point. What is the point are the more than $80 million the so-called psychic wants from Nintendo.
Interestingly enough, Geller seems to have had at least some effect on Pokémon as a result. Since his lawsuit began, Kadabra has not been seen in either the Pokémon Trading Card Game, or the anime.
4. Religious objections
Obviously Geller wasn't the only person to argue that Pokémon are secretly evil. Although other reactionaries reasons come from a similar place, they're for very different reasons. Specifically religious ones.
Over the years the games have received a hefty chunk of criticism from the spiritual sector. Which at first seems surprising, but becomes less so when you consider that anything popular is going to attract attention-seekers of all shapes and sizes. Not to mention Pokémon flat-out uses "evolution" as a key mechanic. Speaking for the United States, a person doing that in certain parts of the United States can still redeem a free one-way ticket to the bottom of a creek.
It goes beyond just the buzzwords, however. A quick Google for "Pokemon" and "religion" will reveal a staggering range of religious debate both for and against the use of electric rodents, and worthless fish in media. Some claim Pokémon's signature Gym Badges are like magical charms. Others say playing with the pocket monsters is akin to summoning demons to do your bidding (which we here sincerely wish was possible with nothing more than a 27-year-old Game Boy).
Mercifully, for every "grouchy mean guy" looking to make series creator Satoshi Tajiri sad there are a hundred more just looking to enjoy the games. And the anime, and the movies, and the card game, and the pajamas, and the... Look, most people are fine with Pokémon is what we're saying.
There are, however, some very extreme cases still worth noting. Like that time in 2001, when the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia issued a ban on the game and its merchandise in the country. His reasons: that the game and its associated money sponges promote Zionism, the theory of evolution, Freemasonry, and gambling (he might have had a point about that last one actually).
In what probably wasn't just a coincidence, the clerical body recently reissued the ban. It's hard to imagine what popular new product could have possibly sparked such a decision (although if you want a wild guess, read the next section). Strangely enough, the 15 years in between didn't seem to affect the Pokémon video games-- only the merchandise. We'll chalk that one up either Nintendo's slick business practices, or the never-ending complaints of children who know how to get what they want.
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