Pokemon the Series: Sun and Moon made a subtle reference to the digital manga and anime series Pop Team Epic in its latest episode.
This week's episode of the Pokemon series featured Ash and his friends attempting to stop a fight between the explosive Ultra Beast Blacephalon and the electrifying Xurkitree. Ash is a member of the Ultra Guardians, an Aether Foundation-sponsored group dedicated to stopping the Ultra Beasts as they invade the Alola region.
Although Ash and his friends chuck their specially prepared Beast Balls at the two Ultra Beasts mid-battle, their special Poke Balls never make contact due to the explosive force of both Pokemon's attacks. Upon seeing the Beast Balls hurdle back towards them, both Ash and Kiawe's face contort into a particular expression...one that some anime fans immediately recognized.
I REALLY CAN'T BELIEVE THEY DID ITJune 7, 2018
That's right, the kid-friendly Pokemon series just referenced Pop Team Epic, a digital manga and anime series about two profane teenagers. The anime has developed a cult following due to its surreal and bizarre humor, although we never expected the series to get a shout-out in the Pokemon anime.
This isn't the first time that the worlds of Pokemon and Pop Team Epic have collided. Pop Team Epic actually made a Pokemon reference not too long ago, which you can check out below:
Japanese voice actor Kaito Ishikawa, who voices Kiawe in the Japanese Pokemon series, has also done work on Pop Team Epic. Maybe that's why his character got to mimic Popuko's strange expression in the clip.
Curiously, fans also got a look at another silly facial expression in this week's episode, as Ash briefly dons a "handsome face" that looks like it was pulled straight out of a joshi anime series.
Pokemon the Series: Sun and Moon has pulled off a ton of anime references during its nearly two year run. While some Pokemon fans don't like the more humorous tone of the series, the Pokemon anime definitely knows how to make otaku around the world laugh, especially with references like these.