1. An Unending Career with Sea Mauville

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The late-era remakes of 2003's now-ancient Ruby and Sapphire versions of Pokemon (holy hell, we're so old...) saw some of the biggest original-to-remake changes in the series to date. For the purposes of this list, though, we're most interested in the addition of "Sea Mauville." And by "interested in," we mean "sent into an old-fashioned but still classic spit take."

There's no dearth of chilling, concerning, or otherwise downright spoopy moments from Pokemon to pick from. Sea Mauville, however (which replaced the quaint, but perhaps not very distinctness "Abandoned Ship" from Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald), stands out as one of the series' more psychologically upsetting zones.

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Trawling through the deserted complex reveals quite a lot of corporate artifacts tied to shady dealings. Not the least of which is that the facility was involved in creating Infinite Energy. Which is basically the process of turning Pokemon souls into the electricity that powers your household toaster. That's not a great look for a universe that already encourages wild, kidnapped animals to fight for human amusement. Even worse, one passage seems to indicate Pokemon juices were being harvested for energy drinks. 

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What kind of company would be involved in such an endeavor (especially without thinking of calling it Pocket Monster Energy)? Not one you'd want to work at, apparently. At least not if you ever wanted to see your family, or uh, the outside world ever again. Besides a load of letters chronicling one employee's lengthy estrangement from his child, Sea Mauville also contains a number of slogans detailing the kind of work environment that led to one man's family falling apart.

They start off innocuous, and even funny at first. With instructions like "Say good morning very loudly." Eventually, though, they start to sound like the ten steps to scientology -- with propaganda that reads "Maintain top quality. Give up your sanity," and "No need to think. Just work unceasingly." That... Reads like a pretty sharp, if out of place satire of capitalism and corporate obesience in a kid's game, to us. The child's letters to his father reveal that Sea Mavuille's methods of corporate slavery worked, at least. Although it's not clear if the company's brainwashing was conventional, or involved the psuedo-science and magic seen elsewhere in evil Pokemon plots.

sea mauville

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Totally, the location makes more sense than you might think. Consider that most fans of Pokemon in 2003 -- when Emerald, Ruby, and Sapphire first came out -- were smack in the middle of elementary school at the time. Then think about what years of finding, much less holding decent jobs in the more than a decade since has done to beat the spirit out of those once fresh-faced kids, so full of hope.

Alpha and Omega's Sea Mauville is more than just an update for newer, sharper players that have grown up in a world of one-percenters, and occupying business districts. It's a furtive scream of familiarity aimed at those of us who've had the snot beaten out of us by the world since the carefree days when our parents bought Pokemon for us. Truly, those were simpler times...

2. Magnezones and Their "Signals"

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Pokemon Sun and Moon's bizarre, unnerving, and often just tragic Pokedex descriptions are no secret. Seriously, though, they're royally screwed up. Just look at some of these things, preferably on Dorkly.com! There's one pocket monster whose entries we feel have avoided our interest for too long, however. Said horror anthology belongs to the lovable, huggable, cold, stiff, and emotionless Magnezone. That is, the final evolution of Magneton.

"Wait a minute," you might say. "Magneton doesn't have an evolution!" We'd answer by saying that you should stop talking to your computer, and then inform you that, like us, you are very old and sad. Magneton didn't have an evolution until Generation IV, but got one circa Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum.

Unlike most retroactive evolutions, and, uh... De-volutions in Pokemon, however, there's actually a pretty good reason for the creature's retcon. Magnezone isn't just a product of nature. At least not entirely. The 'mon only reaches its third, and torturous form when being exposed to "special magnetic fields" that exist in certain areas of the Poke-verse. Sort of like a radioactive mutation.

This is not a good result for Magnezone. According to several Pokedex entries the creatures' (plural) own magnetic field becomes so strong that the three, individual living things that compose the Pokemon weld together until they're unable to move. If that weren't enough, the "special magnetic field" exposure has inspired human researchers to further mutate Magnezone into yet another form. Which is especially unfair, considering their overpowering, three-way bondage means they can't even try to run away.

While not as obviously unfortunate, Sun and Moon's Pokedex entries on the unnatural trio might be even more ominous.

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They describe Magnezone as not only sending, but receiving "signals of unknown origin" while tearing across the night sky. It makes sense that the tortured creatures would broadcast its cries for help into the stars. That begs the question, though: who, or what, are these tortured souls hearing back from...?

3. A World Where Everything Sucks

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Those who played Pokemon Platinum might remember the trippy, non-euclidean realm of the Distortion World. The pocket universe is home to the Pokemon Giratina -- one member of the "Creation Trio" spawned by the Pokemon god, Arceus, during the birth of the universe.

Like a lot of Pokemon lore tends to get once you scratch past the surface, it's complicated. Suffice it to say that the Distortion World is a real trip to traverse. The whole thing is laid out like an M.C. Escher sketch. Inside, you can walk on walls, swim up waterfalls, and just generally marvel at its total desolation.

See, the Distortion World is almost completely devoid of life. Save for the aforementioned Giratina. Time doesn't move there, the laws of physics are out of whack, and anytime something bad happens in the physical world, it's reflected as toxic clouds in the Distortion World. Which all makes sense, given that the entire reality was created as a punishment for one being.

Pokedex entries for the legendary creature specify that Giratina was so violent that it was exiled to the realm -- presumably by Arceus, and/or the other two members of the Creation Trio -- for its violent behavior. Making the Distortion World itself a sort of cosmic solitary confinement for a cruel Pokemon god.

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That's a disconcerting scene all by its lonesome. Especially, as players of Platinum know, the Distortion World isn't completely separate from the "real" world of the games. Platinum climaxes with its main antagonist, Cyrus, being dragged into the dark dimension by Giratina in order to pause his evil plans. Which implies that a Pokemon so brutal it needed to be separated from a culture based almost entirely around fighting has free rein to just kidnap people on a whim, and trap them there.

Of course, players themselves can't actually become entombed along with the beast for all eternity. And, of course, going to the Distortion World to beat Cyrus actually saves both worlds from destruction. Eventually. None of that erases the knowledge that there are apparently punishments worse than death in the Pokemon universe. Even for gods.

4. Mega Evolution is Torture

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Mega Evolution is a relatively recent addition to the Pokemon universe. As such we honestly don't know that much about what makes it tick, or why.

Besides the obvious, of course. Which is that when certain breeds of Pokemon is exposed to a certain kind of stone, they can temporarily take on new powers that actually warp their physical bodies into new shapes. Try to imagine your family dog going Super Saiyan, and you'll be in the ballpark.

Despite the relative lack of information on the process, Pokemon Sun and Moon have given us some insight in the form of Pokedex entries for the explosive new forms. They are, as you might expect from this list, horrible.

Take Aerodactyl, for instance. Sun's description states that part of the Fossil-type Pokemon's body transforms into stone during Mega Evolution. Nothing too worrisome there, right? Not until you pair it with Moon's description, anyway.

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Turns out Aerodactyl's Mega Evolution turns the flying lizard vicious because "its excess of power is causing it pain." Of course, it's not much of a leap to assume all those needle-sharp, stone spines sticking out of its Mega form's flesh has something to do with it, too.

Other entries Mega forms are similarly heinous. Mega Salamence goes so apeshit that it can turn on its trainer, Mega Pinsir is described as "shredding" its enemies with its massive horns, and a Gyarados will basically shut its brain off in favor of an overriding "destructive instinct to burn everything to cinders."

Since Sun and Moon's descriptions were discovered, many players have (correctly, we think) pointed out that this is tantamount to psychological torture for Pokemon. Mega Evolution isn't a natural process, either. It's instigated by trainers mid-battle, rather than a representation of the creature's own growth. So, Mega Evolution isn't just emotional torment from a stranger. Players themselves are the ones heaping on the abuse. Just remember that the next time you use Mega Evolution to speed up a fight with a pesky Raticate.

5. The Corruption of MissingNo.

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If you're reading this list, odds are good that you're a Pokemon fan already. And, despite it not being an official creature, that means there's an equally good chance that you're familiar with the series' most famous glitch: MissingNo.

If not, MissingNo. was a recurring quirk of programming that made garbage data into a real, live... thing that players could encounter and catch in the early days of Pokemon. Although it could sometimes come at the minor cost of wonky graphics. The thing is such a part of Pokemon history that it's the only glitch to have its own art painted by one of the franchise's own artists.

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via TOKIYA
 

The "garbage data" part of that description is important, because Pokemon themselves are, or can become, data. Not just in the sense that they're part of a video game, but in the actual lore of the series itself. Every time you dump your party into a PC at the nearest town, you're converting them into and out of data.

Lest we forget, there are even Pokemon made entirely out of digital code. As much as Nintendo would like us to forget the seizure-inducing Porygon, and its evolutionary forms, there's no denying their virtual nature.

MissingNo., especially in its most famous form as a blob of corrupted text, was a pretty memorable reminder of Pokemon's artificial forms. So much so that some players came to a startling conclusion: that MissingNo.'s themselves were Pokemon whose data had been corrupted.

The idea that one's adorable pet/friend/conscripted soldier could become a horrible mass of writhing digits is bad enough. It only gets worse when you ask these theorists what could corrupt Pokemon in the first place. The usual answer is from spending too much time in the ol' Pokeball. Which, taking things just one horrible step further, would likely be the result of a Pokemon's trainer dying in the field, and leaving their companions to "spoil," as it were.

This one is firmly in the realm of fan theory, but as such things go it's a pretty convincing argument to canonize one of Pokemon's most memorable mistakes. One that paints the bond between Pokemon and trainer in a sinister light.