Way back in the day, the Pokemon fandom had a bit of an uprising when Brock made a bold decision in the Orange Islands. Ash's friend chose to exit the group after meting Professor Ivy, and it seemed like Brock was as good as gone. The trainer was seldom mentioned after his leave, and fans were left to wonder why Pokemon felt the need to replace Brock with Tracy. There are still fans who want answers over the odd interlude, but they don't have to wait on an explanation any longer.
After all, the topic was discussed at length by the former director of Pokemon in a past interview. One fan managed to speak with Masamitsu Hidaka at length during a visit to Los Angeles, and it was there the director admitted Brock was originally replaced by Tracey because the team was worried about the trainer being seen as racist.
"[His] translator began to explain that the Japanese crew felt that Brock might be viewed as racist by the American people because of his eyes, and that they were even fearful of it when Pokemon first came to America. I asked if anyone ever complained, and he said no, but it was just that they were worried someone might eventually," the interviewer explained in their report on PokeBeach.
As it turns out, Brock was not removed for any special reason. His exit was prompted out of caution from the Pokemon team overseas. They were worried Brock's eye shape would be labeled as racist by fans overseas, and the fear became real after Jynx was infamously criticized for its racially insensitive design.
Hidaka went on to reiterate that Pokemon's global debut caused the team to consider cultural stereotypes even more closely. That is why Brock was ultimately taken out to make room for Tracey as the photographer looked like a typical Anglican male. However, this new trainer did not stick around, and Hidaka said Brock was returned after fans made their love of the character known.
"We realized no one really cared about it and liked Brock, so we brought him back," the director shared.
You can see why Brock's exit confused fans back in the day, but Hidaka makes it clear the character himself wasn't at fault for disappearing. Instead, the choice was made out of an abundance of caution. No one behind the show wanted to prompt a scandal, and Brock became a scapegoat following Pokemon's Jynx blunder. But in the end, it seems the only thing fans can fault Brock for is his - well - womanizing ways.
Did you know this tidbit of Pokemon history? Did you protest Brock's sudden exit back in the day? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB.