Pokemon Makes Rare Reference to Banned Porygon Episode

Anime fans love a good story, and that goes doubly so when the tale involves a bit of drama. From cancellations to recasts, the industry has drummed up some serious drama over the years, but fans have a hard time believing Pokemon had one of the biggest anime scandals ever. Decades ago, the show prompted a public health scare after a specific episode aired which has since been scrubbed from history. And to everyone's great surprise, it seems like the series inadvertently referenced the episode in Japan recently.

For those needing more context first, the episode in question is "Denno Senshi Porygon" from the first season of Pokemon. On a popularity high, the anime brought in viewers from all over the world, and this new episode was meant to be about Porygon, a digital pocket monster made up of digital polygons. Fans were excited to watch the episode, but its fast animation sequences led 685 children in Japan to have seizures thanks to photosensitivity.

After the episode's tie to the seizure epidemic was found, Pokemon went on a long hiatus and returned with a vow to never air the offending episode again. The episode hasn't aired since its 1990s premiere, and Pokemon has gone so far as to scrub Porygon entirely from the anime. However, over in Japan, Hulu updated all of Pokemon and included the official preview for the episode.

While the episode itself is not shown, the clip above is perhaps the best footage of "Denno Senshi Porygon" in existence. None of its offending animation sequences are included in this preview, so fans can get an idea of how the fabled release might have looked. With so much mystery surrounding the episode, fans can only hope an altered version of the episode is shared one day so they can enjoy a piece of Porygon's history regardless of its problematic past.

Of course, there is hope that Porygon might make a comeback in a future episode of Pokemon. After 20 years, the pocket monster has yet to appear fully in the show, but the anime's latest series did reference Porygon. A character was shown holding their cellphone which had a Porygon phone case, so it seems the monster did not get erased from the anime. One day, justice might come for the Digital Pokemon, so fans will have to continue waiting for that day to arrive.


Would you like to see this episode get edited and re-released one day? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB to talk all things comics and anime!