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Messed-Up Things We Ignore About Pokémon

"Pokémon" has long been one of the world's most popular video game franchises, releasing one successful entry after another for nearly three decades now. Over the years, "Pokémon" has built up a complex world filled with so much lore that only the most dedicated fans could hope to read all of it. These include interesting little snippets of Pokédex entries, conversations with NPCs, and bizarre implications inferred through the games' world-building.


If you look a bit closer, some of these bits and pieces range from kind of weird to outright creepy. These details can paint the world of "Pokémon" as anywhere between a place where everything is just a bit off to an outright dystopian horror movie hellscape. Sometimes we just roll with it and enjoy the ride. Other times, these details can be hard to ignore. Here are a few examples of the most messed-up things we've noticed in "Pokémon."

Cubone and its mommy issues

Cubone already looks a bit strange: It's got a skull on its head and what looks like a leg bone for a club, which contrasts wildly with the rest of its body, which almost looks like a child's stuffed animal. Those features would be enough to raise some eyebrows on their own, but if a player reads Cubone's Pokédex entry, they'll find just how bizarre Cubone really is.


The skull Cubone wears isn't an uncovered part of its own skeleton, it belongs to its mother. It would be reasonable to assume its bone club does as well. That's right, it is wearing part of its own mother's dead body as a hat, and also possibly using it as a weapon. Not only that, but it is said that Cubone will rattle the skull around on its head when it gets lonely. This is its way of saying it misses its mother, while the marks on the skull come from the tears it cries as a result.

When Cubone evolves into Marowak, the skull becomes fully fused into the Pokémon's face, becoming an immutable part of its anatomy. Some Pokédex entries also say that there is an as yet undiscovered graveyard of Marowaks, where they — and presumably all Cubones — get the bones they use as tools.


Drifloon kidnaps children

Drifloon is another Pokémon that's already kind of creepy in isolation. Its main color is the same somewhat unnerving and unnatural shade of purple shared by most ghost Pokémon. All of its facial features (save for its eyes) are replaced by a single yellow X, which almost looks stitched on, as if someone has wired its mouth and nose shut. It all feels very "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream."


Like Cubone, Drifloon's true horror is revealed in its Pokédex entry. Firstly, Drifloon is said to kidnap children. Specifically, it takes children who mistake it for a balloon and try to hold it like one, then carries them away. For that reason, it also has a dislike for heavier children, whom Drifloon presumably cannot carry away as easily, if at all.

As if that wasn't messed-up enough, Drifloon is also said to be made from human souls. These souls supposedly scream when they escape after a Drifloon pops. Maybe that is why its mouth looks like it's been sewn shut — to contain the screams of the entrapped souls. Whether these souls belong to the children Drifloon kidnaps is left unspecified, but one can easily make that inference.


Pokémon have clearly evolved with humanity

In the world of Pokémon, evolution clearly works much differently than it does in ours, and we're not even talking about the in-game mechanic of Pokémon evolution. On our version of Earth, evolution is a process that plays out over thousands of years at the low end of the scale and millions of years at the high end. In the Pokémon world, however, evolution seems to operate on a scale of a couple of centuries at most — but more likely, it's just a few decades.


Pokémon like Gurdurr seem to show that Pokémon have evolved to adapt to very modern human inventions (in this case, steel construction beams). Even Gurdurr's pre-evolution form, Timburr, uses what is obviously a human-cut log as a weapon, while its final evolution uses concrete pillars. Voltorb, on the other hand, has clearly evolved entirely to mimic the manmade Poké Ball. In fact, it is explicitly said to have appeared shortly after the Poké Ball's invention. 

However the natural world works in Pokémon, one of its most fundamental forces, evolution, works far differently from how we understand it in the real world.

Carvanha is basically a miniature Kraken

On the surface, Carvanha doesn't seem all that creepy. It looks fairly typical of a Pokémon based on a fish (in this case, a piranha). The only way it really stands out is the red in its color scheme, which is a slightly rarer choice for Water-type Pokémon, especially when compared to the usual blue and white players see in the wild.


The red, however, is a fitting choice for Carvanha. Its Pokédex entry reveals it to be one of the more vicious Pokémon in the franchise. Not only is it indeed based on the piranha, but its behavior is inspiried by some of the more vicious and terrifying myths surrounding the animals. Schools of swarming Carvanha are said to sink ships, able to tear out large pieces of boats with their teeth. They also swarm like sharks when they smell blood. This is rather fitting, given its evolution, Sharpedo, is based on a shark. It's unclear why these things are allowed to roam wherever they please in the Hoenn region and beyond.

Spoink can never stop hopping

Spoink is one of those adorably huggable Pokémon that looks like it was specifically designed to sell plushies to toddlers, lifelong fans, and collectors alike. So, why does it find itself on this list? Well, if you look into it, Spoink is actually a bit terrifying. Not in the jumpscare or the keep-you-up-at-night kind of way, but more like in a sort of existential horror sense.


According to the Pokédex, Spoink can never stop hopping on its tail. If it stops for even a second, it dies. This is because its heart is kept beating by the rhythm of the bouncing. If that stops, its heart ceases to beat. This is probably based on popular myths surrounding hummingbirds, which are said to never be able to stop beating their wings, lest they die. This is not true. Like every complex animal, they need sleep, for example, but it still makes for a compelling concept — and one upsetting Pokémon life cycle.

Parasect is a zombie

There are lots of fungi and parasites in nature that can manipulate or outright take over the bodies of their hosts. Probably the most famous of these is the cordyceps fungus, which was made well-known to gamers in particular via "The Last of Us." In case missed it, that series takes place in a world where a mutated version of cordyceps has caused a zombie apocalypse.


Parasect is basically the "Pokémon" version of a cordyceps-based horror concept. It starts out as Paras, which looks like a fairly normal crab or lobster, at least by Pokémon standards. The only features that stand out are the two mushrooms growing on its back, but they're seemingly innocent. Then, Paras evolves into Parasect.

When it does, the two mushrooms merge into one massive one, engulfing almost the entire creature. Almost none of Paras' original physiology is still visible, and its former wide and beady eyes have been reduced to milky white dots. According to the Pokédex, the mushroom has completely taken over. In other words, there is no trace of the mind that once inhabited the body of Paras.


Team Rocket tortures Pokémon

Team Rocket are the chief bad guys in many of the "Pokémon" games and in the "Pokémon" TV series. Obviously, after this long in that role, they will have gotten up to some pretty messed-up stuff. Perhaps the most consistent type of evil they carry out is torturing Pokémon. Two prime examples of this come from "Pokémon Gold" and "Silver" and their remakes, "Heart Gold" and "Soul Silver."


The first is when Team Rocket forces a Magikarp to evolve into Gyarados, resulting in a "shiny" red Gyarados. The name of the location in which the red Gyarados is found, the Lake of Rage, implies this is not a pleasant process for the Pokémon. Another place we can see Team Rocket torturing Pokémon in the various "Gold/Silver" versions is at their headquarters, where they use Pokémon as slave labor. In particular, their use of Voltorbs as batteries to power the facility appears particularly upsetting. There are countless examples of this kind of cruelty towards Pokémon, which seems to skew a bit darker than the rest of the game world.

Haunted stuff is everywhere

On top of all the little details above, the world of "Pokémon" has general horror vibes to it. For starters, Ghost-type Pokémon are just a fact of life. They have been observed, cataloged, and studied the same as any other Pokémon, or like any group of animals would be in real life. "Pokémon" also has its fair share of obviously haunted places, usually inhabited by the aforementioned Ghost-type Pokémon. One example of this is Lavender Town, which appears in multiple entries in the series. Lavender Town contains a massive tower where trainers' dead Pokémon are buried when they pass on. According to those who live there, the ghosts of those Pokémon roam the area.


Another obviously haunted place is the Old Chateau, which appears in "Diamond" and "Pearl" and their respective remakes. It is located in an isolated, hard to access portion of the game's map, deep within an already untamed forest. There, the player encounters a large abandoned house that's filled with Ghost-type Pokémon. The B-horror movie ambiance is further solidified by the creepy music that plays the entire time the player is there.

Some Ghost-type Pokédex entries do imply that they are a bit more mysterious and less well-understood than most other classes of Pokémon. Still, ghosts are just casually accepted and known about in this world, and no one seems to care.

The fate of the world keeps being left up to children

The "Pokémon" world has a bit of the same problem that many superhero universes have: The world, or at least society as we know it, is frequently in existential jeopardy. A world like this is great for the hero to show their stuff, but it would be hell for the average person to have to live through. Experiencing a near-apocalypse or an attempted takeover by some totalitarian force every couple of years would take a toll on just about anyone.


In the case of "Pokémon," this is made even worse by the fact that the fate of the world is pretty much always being left in the hands of people who are, at oldest, tweens. Why does this keep happening? Why is one plucky child the only person who is able to stop the latest Team Rocket takeover attempt or keep Dialga and Palkia from destroying the world? Where are the adults or the governments or any of the other entities that should be worried about this stuff? A world that's frequently left in the hands of people less than a decade removed from being in diapers doesn't sound like a fun one to live in.