27 Things You Didn’t Know About Pokémon

For many, Pokémon was a big part of our lives growing up. Based around fictional creatures which trainers catch and train to battle, the first games were released in 1996, Pokémon Red and Blue.

151 monsters were up for grabs to catch and train. The game was unique at the time, and lured people in wanting to ‘catch them all.’


Since then, Pokémon has since gone on to become the highest-grossing media franchise of all time, with $90 billion in total franchise revenue. With each new games comes a set of new Pokémon, with 802 now available to add to your Pokedex.

In this post, we’ve rounded up ten little known facts about one of the biggest media franchises of all time! Enjoy!

27. The first Pokémon created was probably not what you’d think

Pikuchu is, of course, the most iconic Pokémon in the pocket monster universe. He is Ash Ketchum’s companion who refuses to travel in a Poké Ball.

One might assume that because of this, Pikachu was the first Pokemon to be created by the team. Actually it wasn’t. According to Ken Sugimori, art designer of Pokemon, Rhydon was actually the first Pokemon to be created.

26. Pikachu’s name is onomatopoeic

As we discussed above, the yellow, electric mouse Pokemon, Pikachu, is one of the series most iconic creatures…but where did the name Pikachu come from?

It is a play on words in Japanese between “Pikapika” which means sparkle, and “Chūchū” which means squeaking.

25. There is only one Pokémon that can ‘devolve.’

Most of the time, when Pokémon reach a certain level and ability, they are able to evolve into a mightier form. After this evolution, they are unable to then revert back to how they were.

Slowbro is the only exception to this rule. Slowbro is the evolution of Slowpoke with Shellder on his tail but if Slowpro somehow loses Shellder, he’ll devolve back to Slowpoke.

24. Slowpokes are considered a delicacy to eat

Many people would just like to believe that Pokemon are just used to fight other Pokemon and to collect.

They might be a little disturbed then to discover Pokémon are also considered food (what a horrific thought.) In the early versions of the game, Slowpoke tails were worth a lot of money and considered a delicacy.

23. Counting by Pokémon

Pokemon have some of the most inventive and creative names of any cartoon or fictional world, however, many are named after simple things, such as numbers.

The first generation of legendary Pokémon, the birds Articuno, Zapdos and Moltres all end with ‘uno’ ‘dos’ and ‘tres,’ Spanish for one, two, three.

22. Cubone’s skull is that of its dead mother

Despite it being predominantly a children’s show, Pokémon mythology can take a dark turn. Take Cubone for example, famed for wearing a skull on its head.

What is this skull? A trophy of a defeated Pokémon? Not quite. It’s the skull of its mother, and Cubone is said to make an awful howl when it sees the full moon as it reminds him of his dead mother.

21. One Pokémon is the spirit of a dead human

Ok so it gets kind of darker. The shadow type Pokémon, Yamask, carries around with it a mask of its time as a human long ago.

Since it was once a human, it also has memories of being a human and if you put on its mask, you’ll become possessed by it. Sometimes it’ll look at its own mask and cry as it wanders ancient civilizations. What a positive thought.

20. The face of Pokémon could have been very different

In the comic book, Clefairy was the face of Pokemon, not Pikachu.

However, when the cartoon was being adapted from the video game, producers decided they wanted Pikachu to be the ‘face’ of Pokemon, thinking younger viewers would be able to relate more.

19. One Pokémon was created as a failed attempt to copy Mew

In the world of Pokémon, humans desperately attempted to copy Mew, the mythical Pokemon, after finding its DNA.

In one of their failed attempts, they created Ditto, a Pokémon who is able to transform into any other Pokemon. Scientists did eventually manage to clone Mew and created the powerful Mewtwo.

18. Cubone is a baby Kangaskhan

There’s been a long-running theory that Cubone is the result of a baby Kangaskhan unfortunately losing their mother. Besides the resemblance between the sprites for both a Cubone and baby Kangaskhan, there is indeed some real evidence that leads to the strengthening of this mysterious theory. Code enthusiasts have found that the missing code that results in the appearance of the infamous MissingNo actually relates to the lack of implementation of Marowak having a final evolution.

The code was moved to an empty spot and led to the creation of the bizarre encounter. The theory is that the developers ran out of time and were actually planning to make Kangaskhan the final evolution of Cubone/Marowak. The last piece of evidence lays within the Pokedex entries for both Cubone, the orphan Pokemon, and Kangaskhan, the parent pokemon. Strange coincidence right?

17. Hitmonlee and Hitmonchan have different names in Japan to honour different people

In the English version of Pokémon, Hitmonlee and Hitmonchan are named after the great martial arts legends Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan.

In the Japanese versions, their names are Ebiwalar and Sawamular, thought to reference the Japanese kickboxer Tadashi Sawamura and Japanese boxing champion Hiroyuki Ebihara.

16. One Pokémon technically kidnaps children

Drifloon is a ghost-type Pokémon, who’s appearance looks a bit like that of a balloon.

In its Pokédex entry, it actually says Drifloon tricks children into thinking it is a balloon and carries them away.

15. Drowzee is based on a tapir

Many Pokémon are based on actual animals. Drowzee, for example, is based on the tapir.

According to Japanese folklore, tapirs eat dreams and nightmares.

14. Poliwag mimics a tadpole

Just like Drowzee is based on the tapir, Poliwag is based on a tadpole.

The swirl on its stomach is supposed to be the tadpole’s intestines, which can be seen through its transparent body.

13. One move is actually a mistranslation

The move “Splash” is actually a mistranslation of the Japanese word “hop.”

This is why it is a normal-type move and not a water-type move and why some non-water-type Pokémon are able to use it.

12. Evolving one Pokémon turns it into a zombie

Paras is the crab-like Pokémon with a mushroom on its back. We all know that mushrooms live off of other creatures, and are a bit parasitic.

When Paras evolves into Parasect, the mushroom on its back actually takes over the host, turning it into a zombie-like creatures. This is why Parasect has blank, white eyes.

11. Mareep is inspired by a famous novel

The electric-type sheep Pokémon, Mareep, is believed to be a reference to Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? 

This, of course, is a famous novel by Phillip K. Dick.

10. Two Pokémon were going to be named after American cities

The purple, floating Pokémon Koffing and Weezing were originally going to be called “Ny” and “La.”

This is because of the smog that New York and Los Angeles are known for.

9. Was the world of Pokémon embroiled in a war before the games?

In Pokémon Red and Blue, the character doesn’t have a father. Your mother trusts you as the man of the house. Young people are in positions of power all over the place, and any adult men you see are mostly in the military or Mafia.

It is theorised that before the game, the world of Pokémon was embroiled in a big war. Even Lt. Surge says at one point, “Hey, kid! What do you think you’re doing here? You won’t live long in combat! That’s for sure! I tell you kid, electric Pokémon saved me during the war! They zapped my enemies into paralysis! The same as I’ll do to you!” If that’s not proof, then we don’t know what is!

8. Wobbuffet’s main ‘body’ is actually a decoy

The various Pokédex entries for Wobbuffet seem to imply that its ‘body’ is actually a decoy.

It is thought the small black tail with two eyes is its actual body, but that it uses the other as a defence mechanism.

7. Wobbuffet may not be the only Pokémon disguising their true features

It is also thought that the faces on Vanillite, Vanillish and Vanilluxe are actually decoys.

Some people believe that the ice crystals near their false faces are their actual eyes and facial features.

6. Psychic-type Pokémon are weak to our common-fears

It is believed that psychic-type Pokémon are weak to bug-type, ghost-type and dark-type Pokémon because these are our common fears.

It seems like there was more thought put into this than we knew.

5. One location in the games causes the player to feel uneasy

There are a number of odd things associated with Lavender Town in the original Pokémon games.

It’s thought that the music that players hear while in the town contains isochronic tones, which could be the cause of uneasiness that has now come to be called “Lavender Town Syndrome.” Some people believed it caused an increase in suicides amongst Japanese kids after playing the game.

4. One Pokémon wears the skull of a human for pants

When you thought you couldn’t handle anymore grim and dark Pokémon facts, we have another one for you!

Vullaby wears a skull almost like a diaper, and in the Pokédex it is listed as a dark-type Pokémon. The skull appears to be that of a human.

3. Humans names Pokémon after their battle cries

It doesn’t really make much sense that Pokémon would shout their own names in human language.

Instead, it is believed that the human language in the Pokémon world evolved from their battle cries. For example,  people saw a Pokémon like Charmander making a call that sounded like “charmander,” and applied the sounds to the physical features of the Pokémon. So, in this instance, the word “char” came to represent something blackened by fire, and “-mander” became a suffix that describes reptilian animals.

2. Some names are inventive while others are pretty simple

Whilst some Pokémon names have pretty interesting meanings, some are just simply animals spelled backwards.

Ekans, for example, is ‘snake’ and Arbok is ‘Kobra.’

1. One later generation Pokémon gets a very early mention

Although the Pokémon Munna wasn’t introduced until generation five of the game, it is actually alluded to in the very first game!

A woman standing outside of Rock Tunnel in Pokemon Red and Blue dreams about a chunky pink Pokemon with a floral pattern.

Of course, one of the biggest aspects of Pokémon is the card game. They have become sought-after collectors items, with some cards fetching thousands online! If you still have a hoard stashed away somewhere, it might be worth getting them out and dusting them off, because some of them can make a small fortune.

Here are the top ten rarest Pokémon cards in existence….

10. Pokemon EX Cards

These Pokemon cards are very artwork-heavy, a variant of the traditional card series. The early EX Cards were actually printed in black and white. With these cards, you are looking for the EX symbol at the top of the cards. This denotes it’s a version that is more collectable.

The cards aren’t very hard to find, but there are a few that are rising to the forefront of rarity, such as Mew EX, Lugia EX and Doix EX. These cards are fetching between $25 – $40.

9. Gold Star Cards

These cards are a fan favourite, and feature the art of illustrator Masakazu Fukuda.

A feature of his work is that he often has Pokemon breaking the boundaries of their usual character window, with parts of them reaching out of this frame. These cards can sell anywhere between $40 – $100, with graded cards fetching prices of $200 and more.

8. Southern Island Card Collection

These are an interesting and unique set of Pokemon cards, that came in their own folder. The folder came with 18 cards, which are known at the Rainbow and Tropical Island sets.

They were released in Japan as a film advertising project. The cards fit together to make a picture and a complete set can fetch several hundred dollars when sold.

7. Tropical Mega Battle Legendary Bird Phone Card

We highly doubt that you’ve got one of these lying around in your collection, but it’s worth a look! This promotional card is slightly longer than the tradition Pokemon card, and the print is closer in size to a traditional Japanese phone card.

The image on the card serves up Articuno as depicted by Ken Sugimori. Want to add it to your collection? You should expect to part with roughly $1,200 based on past sales.

6. Magikarp Tamamushi University Promo Card

This was released as a promotional card only in Japan. The card was a prize that started as part of the Tamamushi University Hyper Test campaign in 1998. It focussed on primary-school children and challenged them with a series of tests which if they passed, qualified them for an invitation to a two-day conference in Osaka.

The players then battled as groups to qualify for the second day. The winners took home this card at the end of the conference. Some estimates put the value of the card as high as $3,700 to $4,500.

5. Charizard First Edition

It’s the card everyone wanted in the primary school playgrounds. No one would swap him, unless for a whole bunch of other shinies, and even this was rare! Because of the image of Charizard on the original Pokemon Red game, he is linked to the Pokemon brand almost as closely as Pikachu.

Because of this popularity and the fact that a good condition first edition card is very sought after, a first edition shiny Charizard can command anything between 3-5 thousand dollars.

4. Pokemon Snap Best Photo Contest Cards

These cards originated from the Pokemon Snap Nintendo 64 game. It was created as a promotional contest alongside the game’s release. Players were encouraged to take snapshots of the actual game, considering the premises of the game was to go around and take great pictures of Pokemon.

Judges evaluated the photos, and the winners that were chosen had their work printed on special cards that acknowledged them as the card’s artist. Very few were ever made, and some cards have sold for over $8000, with Gyarados being particularly sought after.

3. Trophy Pikachu Trainer Number 1 Card

During the qualifying round of the first Japanese Pokemon Card Game Official Tournament. The qualifying round was held on the first of the two days.

It was at the Makuhari Messe convention centre in China, on June 14th-15th 1997. It represents the first of the legendary “Trainer” Cards given to competition winners and has a value to prove it.

2. Prerelease Shiny Raichu 

Now this is a card that you just might have in your collection. I swore that I had one at some point, but I can’t find it. They were printed with the dark black ‘Prerelease’ text in the corner of the card’s character image.

It was first printed to showcase the then-upcoming Jungle series of cards. Many believe that only 121 copies were ever printed, and 100 of those were destroyed, leaving only 21 in existence. They have fetched up to $10,000 in the past.

1. The Pokemon Illustrator Card

This is the holy grail of all Pokemon cards! It is also known as the Pikachu Illustrator card. It is a trainer card and an unnumbered promo card which was awarded, and not able to buy. It was given as a reward for those who had a winning entry in a series of Japanese Pokemon Card Game Illustration contests. Only 39 of them were ever handed out, and experts think that fewer than 6 now exist. One of these cards has sold for $20,000 publicly.  The more recent asking price on eBay for a graded PSA 9 mint example was $100,000 which made news around the world.

It is the only card with the pen symbol in the bottom right corner and the only one to feature a double star. If you have this, then count your lucky stars, because you’ve practically won the lottery.