In the Pokémon manga series that came out soon after the original Red and Blue Gameboy games, Pokémon have actually battled to the death.
In the Pokémon universe, hundreds of creatures fight each other as trainers battles for bragging rights. However, in the original Pokemon manga, it was revealed that battles could turn deadly. Yes, Pokémon actually have actually tried to kill each other in battle in the manga, with some extremely brutal moments happening during fights in very gruesome ways.
The Pokémon franchise was originally conceived by Satoshi Tajiri in the mid-’90s, with the series originally debuting on the Gameboy, following the release of Pokémon Red and Green in Japan. The series followed trainers as they caught creatures called Pokémon and fought them in battles against others. It was later released in the United States and Pokémon soon became one of the most popular IPs in the entire world. More than 20 years since it debuted, Pokémon still has an extremely strong and passionate fanbase as games, anime, manga, movies, cards, and more are still widely popular. But, in the manga, things are much grimmer than other versions of Pokémon.
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Pokémon Adventures by Tajiri is chalked-full with darker moments that never made its way into games or the kid-friendly anime. For example, in Chapter 14, a Chameleon uses its tail to slice straight through an Arbok – cutting the Pokémon in half (it later survives by reattaching its body). In Chapter 13, a Ghastly reanimates a number of Pokémon from the dead including a Psyduck and a Slowbro. Perhaps the darkest moment comes from Chapter 23, when Team Rocket’s Giovanni and Blue try to stop a group of Magmar’s from burning down a museum. After Blue traps them in sand, he leaves Giovanni to deal with them. When they break free, he encases them in ice. That’s when he has his Cloyster straight-up murder the Magmar’s by breaking the ice and leaving them in pieces.
Pokémon Adventures features some darker moments early in its run that almost certainly wouldn’t be included in the manga if it was adapted today for kids. Killing Magmar and chopping Arbok in half were two of the darkest scenes from the entire series and show Pokémon are very vulnerable in battle and can be killed.
It’s no surprise the anime has strayed away from this particular bit of source material. Killing Pokémon in any context is bad but especially so when it’s done by another Pokémon on direct orders from their human trainer. Those poor Magmar’s suffered the most gruesome death imaginable. In the manga, Pokémon Adventures proved it could get hyper-violent – and even deadly – when it needed to.
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