When it comes to the Pokemon franchise, the vast majority of fans are familiar with both the Pokemon games and the Pokemon anime. However, there is also one long-running manga series (though there are other manga too) called Pokemon Adventures that loosely adapts the stories of the mainline games, while also integrating its own themes and ideas. Each one follows a variety of protagonists on their adventures in the world of Pokemon as well as their own personal journeys.
Since Pokemon Adventures is based on a children’s video game series, one would imagine that it would be fairly lighthearted. And, while most of the manga does have that sort of tone to it, there are certain moments that stand out as particularly strange or disturbing and even a couple of moments that are just downright horrifying.
Updated July 23rd, 2023 by Jacob Buchalter: Regardless of the year, the other games currently out, or any present-day gaming trends, Pokemon is always at the forefront in terms of popularity. This franchise is one of the most iconic gaming franchises overall, and it both created and pioneered the monster-taming sub-genre of games. All that said, it’s not just the Pokemon games that keep fans hooked, but also the anime, the spin-off games, the merchandise, the card game, and even the manga series. In particular, Pokemon Adventures is a long-running manga series that truly illustrates the absurdities of a world infested with superpowered creatures like no other. So, let’s go over some of the moments in this manga, across all generations, that are the most disturbing.
16 Platinum: Giratina Impaling Diamond With Shadow Force
First up, let’s start things off with one of the most ‘suddenly horrifying’ events which is when Giritina impales Diamond and seemingly kills him. This happens during the Platinum section of Pokemon Adventures, in Chapter 433 to be precise. In this chapter, Charon has just revealed his plans to capture Giritina and sends out Heatran to battle both Diamond and Pearl (in hopes of beating Diamond and taking his Regigigas). As they’re battling, Giritina ends up nearby, and Charon uses his Slowking to provoke the creature into attacking Pearl.
However, right before Giritina’s Shadow Force can catch Pearl unaware, Diamond dives in and pushes Pearl out of the way, only to get impaled himself and seemingly ‘killed’. This violence comes out of nowhere and it really seems like Diamond is dead, though fans of the series should know by this point that dead people almost never stay dead in Pokemon Adventures.
15 Black & White: The Unconcious Gym Leaders Being ‘Crucified’
Second up is a moment in the Black and White section of Pokemon Adventures that is one of the rare few instances where the manga was censored in the Viz Media English translation. During the penultimate events of Black and White (chapter 520) that eventually led to Black and White 2, Team Plasma successfully ‘takes over’ the Pokemon League and has seemingly achieved all its goals.
And, in a show of power, Ghetsis reveals how superior Team Plasma is to the Pokmon Trainer world by revealing the Gym Leaders of Unova unconscious and ‘crucified’. Thankfully, their arms and legs are only tied to these crosses instead of nailed to them, but it’s still a shockingly disturbing image. So much so, in fact, that in the English Translation, the Gym Leaders are instead tied to long poles instead of crosses.
14 Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon: Lusimine Fusing With Nihilego
When the Ultra Beasts were first introduced in the original Pokemon Sun and Moon games, not much was known about them. However, during the events of Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, a lot more is revealed about Ultra Space, and in the Pokemon Adventures telling of this story, both Sun and Moon spend a lot of time in Ultra Space, and so does Lusamine.
While Sun and Moon are battling against Necrozma, who has already stolen all the light from Ultra Megalopolis and is now after Lunala’s power, Lusamine appears and butts her way into the battle. And, in doing so, Lusamine brings out Nihilego, who she has already captured in a Beast Ball, and invites the Ultra Beast to ‘become one with her’. The next panel shows Sun and Moon utterly horrified as Lusamine ‘fuses’ with Nihilego, which is a scene that also happens in the games, but is nowhere near as horrifying as it is here.
13 Red & Blue: Zombie Pokemon
Right in the very first volume of the series, quite a few horrifying things happen. Red goes through all the towns of Kanto, gathering gym badges one by one as anyone who played a Pokemon game before would expect. Then, he eventually ends up in the renowned Lavender Town. Mr. Fuji tells him about the ghosts in the tower, and how Blue went into the tower earlier to investigate, so Red goes to check it out as more of a challenge than anything else.
But, after walking not even 10 feet in the door, Red runs into the ghosts of deceased Pokemon, but they’re a lot more zombie-like than ghost-like. In fact, after destroying the degrading remains of a Psyduck, Red notices these things are basically decaying corpses piloted by Ghost Pokemon. it’s a rather dark event that’s very quickly glossed over, but that one panel of zombie Psyduck with the empty eye-sockets (save for one deflated eyeball) still haunts many readers to this day.
12 Yellow: The Destruction Of Vermilion City
Next up is an event in the series that’s a lot more horrifying in regard to the scale of its destruction as opposed to anything straight-up ‘scary’. The events of Pokemon Adventures Yellow feature a character of the same name (Yellow) searching for Red after he disappeared after the events of Red and Blue. To do that, Yellow has to cross the ocean but doesn’t have a water Pokemon to use as a mount or a boat to carry her.
So, Yellow enters a surfing tournament in the hopes of winning the grand prize, a Dragonair, that can take her across the sea. But, during this competition, the Dragon Tamer Lance (AKA the current Elite Four Champion) shows up all of a sudden and has his own Dragonair launch a Hyper Beam that basically atomizes a large portion of Vermilion City in an instant. It’s never brought up how many casualties this caused, but considering the crater it formed, Dragonair’s absurd power had to have killed a fair number of unsuspecting citizens.
11 Red & Blue: Arbok Being Decapitated
This next event is one that usually gives most readers whiplash when they get to the panel depicting it, as it feels like this violence comes out of nowhere. During the events of the Pokemon Tower in Lavender Town, Red bumps into Blue, who has seemingly been possessed by a ghost (along with his Charmelon). After figuring out it’s a Ghastly doing this, and using Solarbeam to blast it away, Blue breaks free of the possession to find that it was Koga’s Ghastly that possessed him. After Koga does some evil narration about the Pokemon Tower being a perfect base for Team Rocket (which he’s a part of in this story), Koga begins to use his Arbok to chase down both Red and Blue.
But, just when Koga thinks that he’s used Arbok’s acid to melt down Blue’s Charmeleon, it’s suddenly turned back on him when that very same Charmelon uses its tail to slice in Arbok in half. It turns out Blue used that same decaying Psyduck zombie mentioned above as a decoy for Arbok’s acid to get the upper hand. They leave this, now decapitated, Arbok on the ground and escape the tower, which is brutal. Even though later on in the story it’s revealed that the Arbok was fine and can regenerate its body parts at will, this was still a moment where most readers figured out that Pokemon Adventures is a lot different than most other Pokemon media.
10 Ruby & Sapphire: Archie & Wallie’s Descent Into Madness
Hopping right from Red and Blue to the Sapphire and Ruby stories in Pokemon Adventures, this next disturbing event is entirely focused on the Legendaries Kyogre and Groudon. These two primal beasts were constantly locked in a neverending battle (in the distant past) that created new islands but was also just generally catastrophic in nature. Eventually, because of the production they caused, both of them were sealed away into these orb-like Relics that allowed humans to control them, the Red and Blue Orbs.
Now, over the course of events in the Ruby and Sapphire volumes (as well as in the Ruby and Sapphire games, to an extent), the leaders of both Team Magma and Team Aqua, AKA Archie and Maxie, do a lot of evil things. And, as a result of their schemes, they both end up controlling the very Orbs of the Legendary Pokemon their organizations were built around. But, throughout the rest of the events of the Ruby and Sapphire volumes, Archie and Maxie slowly lose more and more of themselves and become more and more controlled by Kyogre and Groudon instead of the other way around. From here, the two go through quite a lot over the course of multiple volumes, as they absorb the Orbs into themselves, lose control of themselves to Groudon and Kyogre, make an alliance with each other, are essentially ‘killed’, fight each other to the ‘death’ over a suit of armor, have a brief stint as an armored villain named Guile Hideout (Archie only), and even manage to return from the Distortion Realm. Finally, in the Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire chapters (of the manga, not the handheld mainline games) these two attempt to control Primal Groudon and Kyogre once again, before eventually turning into dust after helping save the world.
9 Red & Blue: Giovanni Murdering Magmar
In basically all of Pokemon media, Giovanni is depicted as the evil leader of Team Rocket, the terrorist organization that seems to always be causing some sort of trouble. In Pokemon Adventures, Giovanni is even more dastardly than he is in the games and the anime. He proves himself to be capable of some rather heinous acts, like the time he killed a couple of wild Magmars by first freezing them with Cloyster, and then shattering them into pieces, all to prove a point to himself that Red is too soft.
Red had just battled these Magmar as they had set fire to the Pewter City Museum, and he had used a newly caught Sandshrew to create a sandstorm that both put out the fire and disabled the Magmar. But, once the Pokemon were unable to fight back, Red stopped fighting, as he didn’t like the idea of attacking defenseless Pokemon. Once Red is out of view, Giovanni notes to himself that, while Red is a strong trainer, he’s much too soft, as Magmar tends to track down and get revenge on their opponents. Just then, those same Magmar pop out of the sand and leap to attack Giovanni, only for Giovanni to use his Cloyster to freeze them whole (though Cloyster isn’t really ‘known’ for being fast). Then, Giovanni breaks these frozen Magmar into pieces, quite literally killing them. Even across all of the volumes of the Pokemon Adventures manga, this still remains one of the few times where Pokemon are fully killed and don’t come back.
8 Ruby & Sapphire: Burning Norman’s ‘Corpse’
There’s a lot that happens in just a single volume of the Pokemon Adventures manga. Every character has some tragic backstory, the villains always have some world-altering evil plan, and the heroes always seem to figure out how to win, usually by creatively utilizing their Pokemon’s abilities and moves. But, in the Ruby and Sapphire story, things get pretty dark and victory seems quite far away more often than not.
Near the end of Ruby and Sapphire’s initial adventure, Ruby’s Dad, Norman, brings Rayquaza to Sootopolis City to break up Kyogre and Groudon’s fighting. But, because Rayquaza doesn’t have an ‘orb’ to control it, Norman had to sort of force it to come along through pure willpower and violence, which led to him suffering some fatal wounds at the hands of Rayquaza. He eventually dies from his wounds, but not before Ruby figures out that the whole reason his dad Norman had to search for Rayquaza in the first place was thanks to a “mistake” Ruby made as a kid, which can’t have felt great to figure out.
To make matters worse, right as Norman dies, Archie and Maxie (who were thought to be dead by everyone) come back from the Cave of Origin and literally burn Norman’s body just so he can’t take control of Rayquaza again. Of course, because this is Pokemon, Norman and a bunch of other characters are brought back later on due to some Celebi shenanigans, but in the moment this feels like such a brutal and unnecessary action on Maxie’s part.
7 Red & Blue: The Gym Leader’s Attempted Murders
Pokemon Adventures is notable for consistently keeping the stakes high as much as possible. And usually, that means putting the main characters (typically children) in mortal danger. Grown adults in the series attempt to murder the children all the time, typically in cruel and unusual ways through the abilities of their Pokemon. And, while similar acts are insinuated in both the manga and the games, the Pokemon Adventures series really goes that extra mile of showing the Gym Leaders having no remorse (and usually smiling throughout) as their Pokemon inflict the violence in question.
For example, the Fuchsia City Gym Leader Koga attempted to suffocate both Blue and Red using Grimer as well as melt them using Arbok’s Acid. Vermilion City’s Gym Leader, Lt. Surge, attempted to both electrocute and blow up Red with Pokemon like Electabuzz and Voltorb. And lastly, Ghetsis literally trapped Black in Reshiram’s Light Stone in hopes of killing him. It’s a well-known fact of the Pokemon Adventures series that it likes to use Pokemon in a lot of unique ways not seen in the games, but it’s a different thing entirely to be creative with aspects of Pokemon to show how those aspects could be used to kill people.
6 Black & White: Gigi The Tepig’s Big Betrayal
The character N, who was one of the antagonists of the Pokemon Black and White games, has always been an incredibly interesting character compared to the hundreds (if not thousands) of characters the Pokemon franchise has introduced over the years. How Pokemon are ‘forced’ into captivity is a topic the franchise seemed to avoid like the plague, given that a lackluster explanation would make players feel like they were treating their Pokemon cruelly by battling with them. Then came N, who was basically the personification of this concept.
In the games, he’s already scary enough, but in the Pokemon Adventures manga, he’s pretty terrifying. There’s a particular scene where N is sitting in a Ferris wheel compartment with the trainer named White (one-half of the Black and White chapter’s dynamic duo protagonists). In this compartment, both N and White debate back and forth about the intricacies of capturing and battling Pokemon until White decides that she’s had enough. She opens to door to hop out of the Ferris Wheel and escape, calling out for her Tepig (named Gigi) to follow along. But, Gigi instead hops onto N’s lap, completely siding with him rather than the Trainer Gigi grew up with. This moment isn’t disturbing in the typical way where it involves sudden violence or destruction. Rather, it is horribly uncomfortable because the Pokemon franchise has spent decades convincing people that Pokemon would never betray their trainers, even if the Pokemon themselves are basically useless.
5 Black & White 2: Ghetsis Almost Beating N To Death
Going right back to the violent stuff, let’s talk about Ghetsis and N’s relationship. Ghetsis took in N when he was young and basically ‘groomed’ him to hate humans and eventually become the ‘King’ of Team Plasma. Of course, this was done by convincing N that Ghetsis wanted nothing more than for all Pokemon to live in harmony, when in reality he just wanted to rule through power and N was his ticket to doing that. The two of them seemed to have an understanding relationship, but it’s revealed later on that Ghetsis simply used N’s crusade for Pokemon liberation as a way to take any possible methods of retaliation away from the populace.
Eventually, N figures all this out and becomes an enemy of Team Plasma during the Black and White 2 storyline. There’s a particular moment where N saves Ghetsis from falling off the Plasma Frigate. At this moment, N, who is usually cold toward humans in general, mentions that he’s always loved Ghetsis like a father, despite all that’s happened. And how does this man respond? By beating N almost to death with his cane while calling N a ‘monster’ so that he’ll let him go. It’s just a surprisingly violent and heavy scene that immediately shows the depths of Ghetsis’ villainy, and that’s not even including the times when Ghetsis pushed N off Zekrom while they were high in the air or purposely trapped him in Zekrom’s Orb.
4 Red & Blue: The Elite Four’s Plans To Destroy Humanity
Moving on to the Elite Four of the Kanto region, all of which the Pokemon Adventures manga managed to turn into pretty decently believable villains. Just to be thorough, let’s go through each of them one by one, Agatha is a conniving trickster who brainwashes Bruno and is convinced Pokemon and humans aren’t meant to get along. Lorelei is a cold and blunt person with these odd ice superpowers who despises humanity for their ‘misdeeds’ against Pokemon.
Then there’s Bruno, a man solely driven by the hunger to grow stronger and fight in tougher battles, which isn’t necessarily evil but becomes evil when Bruno is tricked by Agatha. And finally, there’s Lance, a man who can speak to and heal Pokemon with these supernatural abilities, but this is also why he’s so angry at humanity. This plan this human-hating group comes up with during the course of Red and Blue’s events is to wipe out the entire human race and create a ‘paradise’ for Pokemon to live in by doing so. Not sure what people were expecting of the Elite Four compared to how they are in the games, but a bunch of genocidal maniacs was likely not anyone’s first guess.
3 Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire: Rayquaza Stabbing Zinnia
As far as tragic characters go, Zinnia has to be one of the most tragic in all of Pokemon Adventures. Like AZ or N, her life is very dark in comparison to everyone else’s in this happy-go-lucky Pokemon world. That said, Zinnia usually maintains a jovial sort of personality, likely as a coping mechanism. Zinnia is a Draconoid, an ancient race of people from the Hoenn region who prophesied about an apocalyptic meteor ending the world.
To stop it, Zinnia goes to any lengths in order to summon Rayquaza and form a bond with it. Her method of doing so is relatively similar in both the Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire games, as well as the manga, but the result is vastly different on these pages. Sure, Zinnia is turned down by Rayquaza both times, but in the Pokemon Adventures version of this event, Rayquaza doesn’t just say ‘no’ to being her pet, it literally stabs Zinnia through the stomach using its, holds her up, and blasts her face-first with a Hyper Beam. Somehow she manages to survive this, but it is unequivocally one of the most violent moments in the entire series.
2 X & Y: The Paparazzi Pushing X To Becoming Agoraphobic
Next, let’s talk about X, the protagonist of the X and Y story arc. As far as protagonists go, X is by far one of the most depressing, especially at the beginning. Essentially, the guy won the Junior Pokemon League when he was a kid by using Kangaskhan (who oddly enough could use its Parental Bond signature ability before it had even Mega-Evolved). Because of his obviously genius-level skill, X became famous overnight and was hounded by paparazzi so viciously that he eventually became a shut-in and/or agoraphobic in response.
The entire first section of the X & Y section of Pokemon Adventures is all about X ignoring his Pokemon and sitting huddled in an empty room as his close friend Y bangs on his window begging him to come outside. Then, seemingly as some sort of cosmic ‘joke’, the two Legendaries of this generation, Yveltal, and Xerneas both start fighting outside X and Y’s hometown. The reaction from this battle is so strong it basically decimates the village, hurting people and completely traumatizing the cast of kids such as Shauna, Trevor, and Tierno. It’s like something out of the beginning of a JRPG and is much darker than the start of any other Pokemon Adventures story.
1 Fire Red & Leaf Green: All The Heroes Being Turned To Stone
Sird, the leader of Team Galactic, is such an intelligent villain. She’s smart enough to infiltrate Team Rocket without Giovanni figuring it out, powerful enough to hold her own against the Pokedex holders, and conniving enough to use whatever she can to win.
A lot of crazy stuff happens near the end of the Fire Red and Leaf Green story, such as the Legendary Birds being fused together into one big monstrosity, Mewtwo fighting Deoxys with a gigantic spoon, Silver finding out Giovanni is his dad, and Red discovering Deoxys absorbed some of his blood. But, by far the last few pages hold the biggest surprise. After all the battles are over and everything is said and done, Red, Blue, Green, and Silver decide to celebrate their victory, and then Sird shows up again. Barely standing at this point, Sird attempts to try and capture Deoxys with Darkrai, but Mewtwo gets in the way to protect them, and the two clash. Something about Mewtwo clashing with Darkrai causes a unique side effect, and the last few panels of this volume show all three Pokedex Holders now frozen in stone (as well as Silver). These three kids remain trapped in stone for quite a while, and it’s not until the events of the Emerald storyline, years later, that they are freed.
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