Do People Eat Pokemon? 13 Examples From The Anime Of Eating Pokemon (Or Real Animals)
Warning: disturbing imagery ahead if you think people DON'T eat Pokémon.
Detective Pikachu is out now. To celebrate, we thought we'd delve into one of Pokemon's oldest mysteries. Next, read our full Detective Pikachu review. Then check out how Ryan Reynolds originally wanted to play Pikachu--it could have turned out very different--and, if you've seen the movie, all the Pokemon Easter eggs, references, and inside jokes we spotted.
It's an age-old question: Do people eat Pokémon in the Pokémon universe? If you ask the people in charge of the Pokémon universe, as Kotaku once did, they'll say that it's a mystery. But frankly, that's BS. There are plenty of examples of people eating Pokémon--and you don't even have to dig very deep. Just rewatch the original anime, and you'll see what we mean.
We know that Pokémon are intelligent--many are as smart as (or smarter than) humans. To make this matter even more messed up, there's also plenty of proof that normal, non-Pokémon animals exist within the world of Pokémon, although we rarely see them. In other words, normal animals do exist, and people choose to eat sentient Pokémon anyway.
Yes, that seems unbelievably cruel for what is ultimately meant to be a universe of games, entertainment, and toys aimed primarily at kids. But in reality, it's just another way in which the world of Pokémon is a reflection of our own.
Still skeptical? Here are 13 examples that will ensure you never look at Ash, Misty, Brock, Jesse, and James the same way again.
1. Farfetch'd Soup
In Episode 46 of the original Pokémon anime, Ash's Pokédex asserts that "Farfetch'd makes a delicious meal, especially when cooked with leek." Because of that, the Pokédex says, Farfetch'd is nearly extinct, making it both a rare Pokémon and a sought-after culinary delicacy. Later, James remarks that "it tastes good, and has good taste!"
The context within the episode, titled "So Near, Yet So Farfetch'd," makes this even more messed up: The Farfetch'd the gang encounters is so intelligent that it's able to competently run complex grifts with its trainer.
In Episode 18, "Tentacool & Tentacruel," the character Nastina goes to war against the jellyfish-like Pokémon ruining her plans to build a resort. "They're disgusting! You can't even eat them!" Nastina laments. Which means she definitely wants to eat Tentacool, and has absolutely tried. It sounds like the only thing preventing Tentacool from topping the menu at every seaside cafe is that they happen to not taste good.
3. To Battle, Or To Buffet?
In Episode 15, "Battle Aboard the St. Anne," the gang pigs out at the buffet aboard the ship the St. Anne. They're clearly chowing down on chicken drumsticks, lobster, and some other sort of unidentifiable meat. This is both proof that normal animals exist in the world of Pokémon, and more evidence that the well-documented consumption of actual Pokémon is super messed up.
4. Magikarp Sashimi
After Ash, Brock, Misty, Jesse, and James get shipwrecked on the St. Anne in Episode 16, "Pokémon Shipwreck," they eventually find themselves stranded at sea on a makeshift raft. Starving and near death, they envision several tasty ways to cook James's Magikarp, including fileted Karp, fried Karp, marinated Karp, and Karp flambé.
Granted, Misty does quickly remind the group that according to its Pokédex entry, "Magikarp is just scales and bones" (which itself is a shocking and seemingly impossible revelation). But this scene nevertheless proves that they'd be willing to eat a Pokémon (and that image will haunt us forever).
5. Magikarp: Deli Meat
When presented with a sick Magikarp in Episode 26, "Hypno's Naptime," Ash remarks that it "looks like it's ready for the deli counter." That's screwed up on multiple levels. For one thing, Ash literally just learned that Magikarp don't make good eating. On top of that, Ash's instinct upon seeing a Pokémon near-death is that it looks ready to eat. He really is the worst Pokémon trainer of all time.
6. Scrambled Togepi
In Episode 47, "Who Gets To Keep Togepi?," Jesse, James, and Meowth steal the still-unhatched Togepi egg. Meowth gets weirdly maternal with it, but James's first instinct is to crack it open and suck up what's inside. "So, shall we cook it over-easy? Or maybe we can scramble it! Or--I know! We can make a little fried rice!" Sometimes we sympathize with Team Rocket, but definitely not in this episode.
7. What's A Horse?
In Episode 55, "Riddle Me This," Ash and co. travel all the way to Cinnabar Island so Ash can get his volcano badge from the gym there. What they don't realize, because they're idiots, is that Cinnabar's gym has been shut down for years and the island is now a tourist trap. Since it's the busy season, the trio can't find a hotel to stay at, and Ash at one point laments that he's "so hungry I could eat a Horsea."
First of all, you're a scumbag, Ash. Misty has a Horsea at this point in the show, and she likely doesn't appreciate the pun. But where does the pun even come from? The saying makes no sense unless it's a play on the expression "so hungry I could eat a horse." So yeah, there are horses in Pokémon, and not just the kind with flaming manes and tails.
8. A Snake's Worst Enemy
One of the weirder moments in the original Pokémon anime--and that's definitely saying something--comes when the gang does battle with a rogue Gastly in Episode 19, "The Ghost of Maiden's Peak." The Gastly--which speaks perfect, albeit strangely accented, English--first conjures a ball to distract Meowth, then intones, "A snake's natural enemy is a mongoose!" before summoning one to do battle with Jesse's Ekans. Pokémon like Yungoose, Gumshoos, and Zangoose didn't exist yet, so the poor animators just drew a literal mongoose. It's never brought up again.
9. Fish In The Sea
The Pokémon anime actually portrayed normal, non-Pokémon fish and other sea creatures countless times, including as food on more than one occasion. But the first instance takes place in Episode 7, "The Water Flowers of Cerulean City," when Ash spies some fish at Misty's gym. We're as confused about this world as you are, Ash.
10. Digging For Cognitive Dissonance
In Episode 63, "The Evolution Solution," Team Rocket go clam digging on the beach. They're surprised to unearth a Shellder. This is confusing on so many levels. It's more evidence that real animals--in this case clams--exist in the world of Pokémon. But also, Team Rocket (and other characters) have expressed few qualms about eating Pokémon in the past. Shouldn't Shellder make just as good a meal as normal clams?
11. Leave Shellder Alone
Later, in Episode 80, "Snow Way Out," Meowth mentions clam chowder while imagining that Team Rocket is soaking in a hot spring rather than trapped in a freezing igloo. In the original Japanese episode order, this episode actually took place before "The Evolution Solution," so it's actually hilarious continuity that Meowth was craving clam chowder in this one, and Team Rocket goes hunting for clams to make soup with a few episodes later.
12. Go West, Young Meowth, And Eat Some Chicken
Episode 67, "Go West Young Meowth," shows Meowth's origin story--including explaining why Meowth can talk (he learned to speak to impress a female Meowth, which is definitely not the explanation we expected). Various foods appear in this episode, including something that looks like fried chicken, and a dead fish with most of the meat eaten off. At this point it's just more evidence.
13. Bonus: Slowpoke Tail
Heres's a bonus entry to show that this isn't just a problem in the anime: In multiple Pokémon games, including Gold/Silver, X/Y, and Sun/Moon, the consumption of Slowpoke tails is an open secret. Depending on the game, it ranges from a black market item sold at a high price and sought after by Team Rocket, to a common ingredient in home-cooked stews. There's some evidence that harvesting Slowpoke tails doesn't harm the Pokémon, as the tail later grows back. But the fact that some of the games treat it as akin to the ivory trade suggests otherwise.