Christian Symbology in Pokémon

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“There were only two true christians. One died on the the cross. The other had a nasal voice and a yellow rodent.”

~ Fredrich Nietzsche on Ash

Ever since the first writings of the Bible, people have alluded to it. Shakespeare, for example, loved nothing better than a good reference. The Founding Fathers, using 13 all over the dollar bill, were exploiting the fact that 12 Apostles and Jesus ate at the Final Supper. However, in modern times, Christian References have been falling in number. The United States, in 1996, supporting christian supremacy, pledged to support any nation that could make a TV show full of morals for all of the young people of the world, and insert subliminal messages praising Christianity.

From left to right: Brock (Jesus), May (The Pope), Max (Moses), and Ash (Goliath).

Only the Japanese were insane enough to attempt it, having a fondness for the writings in the bible and Torah. On its opening night, 500 children attended the pilot episode screening. The strength of the symbology and excitement of the actual show was so high, they all had severe seizures, and Pokémon was banned. But it's okay to view in the US, of course. [1]

Characterization[edit | edit source]

The characters make up much of the symbology, by themselves. Many debates have been waged over what character represents what biblical figure, including one man who tried to take a bomb on an airplane, hiding it in his shoe, just because no one else believed that Brock was God. Remember that these general characterizations aren't set in stone, and a character can change roles at any time. But generally, these predictions hold true.

Ash[edit | edit source]

Ash, the famous, and infamous, protagonist, travels the land for most of his recorded life, searching for poor, defenseless pokémon with no one to guide them, which Ash then nurses back to health in only 30 minutes on his show. He only keeps 12 pokémon at a time, resetting the count every time the season changes, and the saved pokémon follow Ash everywhere, obeying him, listening to every word he says, and worshipping him. Ash often receives gashes to his hands, feet, and head. He gets dunked in water a lot, and almost drowns multiple times. Most people think of him as a representative of Jesus. Wrong. He is obviously Goliath.

"And David put his hand in his bag and took thence a stone, and slung it and smote Ash the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sunk into his forehead. And he fell upon his face to the earth." -1 Samual 17:49

In most episodes, something covers his forehead. Usually it is a strand of hair or his hat. His hat has a circle on it, similar to the stone that slew Goliath. Ash is fond of pulling his hat over his eyes while uplifting music plays and colors flash in the background, until the circle covers his forehead. If there is a child of about half of Ash's height in the course of the episode, Ash will get hit in the head very soon after.[2]

Misty[edit | edit source]

Misty usually nags Ash, but takes care of him, giving him helpful advice, such as reminding him that he needs to change his undergarments, or to command his pokémon when battling. She is obviously not Mary Magdelene, because there just isn't enough controversy surrounding Misty. She is often compared to Jesus's mother, Mary. For the lack of females in the bible, Misty is also called Eve. However, this is wrong. Misty is the Pharaoh of Egypt! She figuratively imprisons Ash, forcing him do manual labor such as setting up the campsite. And when the time comes to prove herself at the championships, she grabs her bike, runs away, and nearly drowns the next week at her water gym in Cerulean City.[3]

Misty has an unusual affinity with water. She can often be viewed swimming, although most times, she nearly drowns, through the actions of others, pokemon, and herself. Again, she has Ash do a lot of the work required for their adventurous life, and is the most expensive and luxurious member of the team, such as on Girl's Day, when she forces Ash to spend all his money buying clothes and shop at bargain bins in malls.[4]

Brock[edit | edit source]

Brock is often called Moses, being the only black character on Pokémon. However, he has an affinity with stone, a talent to cook, a fetish for aprons, a love of cheap haircuts, and an inability to get laid. Many people also think he is Abraham, citing the infertility of both men.[5] But Brock really is Adam. The biblical Adam is so pathetic that, even when God created a woman for him, Adam still managed to screw it up.

"Jesus said, 'I came into this world to judge people. Those who do not see may see. Those who see may become blind from my wonderful dancing ability!'" -John 9:39

Brock is also the best character at living off of the land. He uses all the fruits that he can find to keep himself alive, even though some are forbidden to be eaten. He uses them anyways, such as the experience on the Island of Red Berries.[6]

Pikachu[edit | edit source]

Pikachu is very difficult to give a character to. Perhaps the most debated character, there are few pieces of evidence that actually give Pikachu any form of personality. Perhaps even the writers couldn't think of a symbol. The main major event surrounding Pikachu is in the first episode, when he is struck by a bolt of lightning on a sunny day, saving Ash from some wimpy Bird Pokémon that apparently wanted to peck at him.[7] This miracle creates a bond between Ash and Pikachu, and causes the little rodent to defy the laws of Pokémon Battles. This lightning is often described as being sent from God to save Pikachu and Ash, knowing that only a bolt of lightning could be benefit them. It has also been argued that God might have been trying to assassinate Pikachu, and it backfired.

Pikachu is most accurately called Moses. Pikachu and Moses each get a gift from God, although in Pikachu's case there is a lack of bloody rivers and toads in lieu of the ability to electrocute rocks. Whatever Pikachu is, he remains very popular with all of the children of the world, to the point of being annoying.[8]

"And at the ninth hour, Max cried with a loud voice, saying, 'My Ash, my Ash, why hast thou forsaken me?'" -Matthew 27:46

May[edit | edit source]

May is incompetent, lazy, and yet extremely lucky, winning pokémon beauty contests with the ugliest pokémon ever spawned. It could be argued that she is Jesus's dad, Joseph. That lucky guy. He sits around until his girlfriend gets pregnant and then he gets remembered forever in the bible as the father of Jesus. He is also as gullible as May, believing that his wife is a virgin. However, that is wrong. May is Eve. She doesn't do anything right, is gullible, and eventually screws up life for all of Mankind.[9]

Max[edit | edit source]

Max is annoying, confident that he is very intelligent, and also very many people hate him; but people disagree on who he is. But it is now common belief that Max is Jesus. He is run out of nearly every town. Because he is in charge of food collection, and can't do anything right, the party goes 40 days without food. When he leaves the show, he is crucified, but that didn't air in the US because of the censors.[10]

"Dawn hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of her iniquities, by the iniquity of her traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of her, it shall devour her, and I will bring her to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all perverts that behold her."
-Ezekiel 28:18

Dawn[edit | edit source]

Dawn is hot,[11], stupid, pathetic at times [as in all the time], tempting to Brock, but there is much argument as to who she is. Not knowing any more bible charcters, they'll start telling you she's God, or some blind guy or a leper or something. But this is the most obvious of them all. Dawn is Satan! All the time people are getting tempted by her. Satan is hot, in a different sense of the word. Dawn is ineffective at fighting with pokémon, similar to the fact that Satan has little power in the average man. Dawn is extremely controversial.

Events on the Show[edit | edit source]

There are many events on the show that connect charcter references, and subliminal messages. A short list can be found here, but it doesn't include everything. There are many references per episode, and even some unintentional ones.

Theme Song[edit | edit source]

Another strong example of some references is the theme song to Pokémon, although some lines are left purely to speculation.

I want to be the very best, like no one ever was
I want to be Jesus, because no one else does a good job at it, except for, well, Jesus.

"Yet Emos shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit by Dawn herself." -Isaiah 14:15

To catch them is my real test, to train them is my cause
In other words, To catch convert them is my real test, to train them forgive them for their sins is my cause

I will travel across the land, searching far and wide,
Jesus wanders across the land desert, searching for Jews to convert.

Each Pokémon, to understand: the power that's inside!
Each Pokémon Jew to understand forgive: the power sinning that's inside!

Pokémon, gotta catch 'em all!
Pokémon, gotta catch 'em all! I will die on the cross for your sins!

Ohhh, it's you and me, I know it's my destiny
Enough said

Pokémon, oh, you're my best friend, in a world we must defend!
Defend from Satan

Pokémon, ohh, a heart so truuuuee, our courage will pull us through,
Have courage to admit your sins, and your heart will be cleansed.

You teach me and I'll teach you, pokemon!
I will teach parables and random stories until you convert.

Gotta catch 'em alllll, Pokémon!
Gotta catch 'em alllll, Pokémon! Worship Jesus!

How you can find your own symbols[edit | edit source]

There are some things to keep in mind when watching episodes. Remember the characters' basic identities. Look for things that appear in the bible. Fish, bread, and crosses are major. Also look for virgins getting pregnant, 10 commandments, and angels.

Use this video as a case example, and analyze it. Assign roles to characters, and find important biblical events that this video alludes to.

Test[edit | edit source]

How Did You Score?[edit | edit source]

First things first, Tentacruel is Jesus. The name 'cruel' is to throw you off. It has loads of followers, and creates thousands of fish (Tentacool) out of one. When upset, it destroys everything. This scene is a representative apocalypse. Tentacruel is judging the people, finding them unworthy, and destroying them, just like the bible predicts. The ugly lady is Satan, doing anything in her power to bring Jesus down. Team Rocket is complex. They are Noah, the only survivors of a flood. However, after the flood, they are left "high and dry." They could be called crucified, so Team Rocket is also Jesus. You may be noticing that Team Rocket was not mentioned in the character list. They usually represent 2 different people at the same time such as this example, and their identities swap often.

Ash represents Goliath still, a strand of hair covering his forehead. Misty tries to drown in the flood twice, once by staying near the beach, the the other by going to Tentacruel, so she is still Pharaoh. Brock is already in the tower when it looks like trouble. He is, in this scene, Judea. Watch him squirm at the sight of Jesus. He hides, and in the original version, throws money at a temple and hangs himself.[12]

Did you do well? No? By watching Pokémon episodes, keeping watch for symbols and charcters, and by looking for scenes similar to biblical ones, soon you will be great at scanning for some things. Because the world needs more Pokémon Analysts.

Look! Look! There's a cross in the circle!

In Conclusion[edit | edit source]

Pokémon is full of symbology. The Japanese writers studied the bible well, and produced a cartoon that made the US proud. Pokémon's popularity has soared ever since, and details about the 11th season are still being worked out. There are still some that argue that Pokémon really doesn't contain any true references to Christianity, and that everything about such a topic is a lie. It is also stated that Pokémon cannot contain any references to Christianity due to the important role of evolution. Most pokémon generally suck unless they evolve enough, a direct conflict with the bible. But there is controversy with every entertainment hit. In the bible, men grow stronger and evolve. Battles and violence are common in scriptures.

Pokémon continues to have many fans across the world, especially in Japan and the US. Children worship their pokémon, and church attendance is at a record high. Video games and trading card games have successfully advanced the show's fame, and Pokémon entering its 11th season on the air, bringing the amount of completed episodes to an amazing 960, each one packed with symbology and religion. But please, stop watching Pokémon, you geek.[13]

Footnotes[edit | edit source]

  1. The Original Japanese Version
  2. Usually because Misty throws something at him.
  3. (Season 5, Episode 1;27)
  4. (Season 1, Episode 46)
  5. Although Brock is really 10 years old. He just looks 25 and has an oversized hypothalamus.
  6. (Season 2, Episode 18)
  7. Wooo! Scary!
  8. I'm going to strangle the next brat that squeals 'PIKA pika CHUUUUUUUU!' at me.
  9. How? By being on Pokémon
  10. United States Censors and Pokémon
  11. for a ten year old...
  12. Which is why this episode was banned for the US.
  13. No, really. I'm not joking.