While we the new Pokémon anime has officially released, fans have discovered some lost episodes of Ash Ketchum’s journey that never made it to air. This is because of a tragic earthquake that hit the country back in 2011 and these episodes were canceled as a result.
Recently, fans were able to buy the scripts to these lost episodes (via Kotaku), thanks to community funding that ensured this piece of lost media would be saved. Shockingly, these two episodes were the proper conclusion to a Team Rocket arc during the Black and White series. Unfortunately, reading the scripts made it easy to see why these episodes were pulled.
In these episodes of Pokémon, Team Plasma steal a powerful rock called a Meteonite from Team Rocket’s Giovanni. Eventually, Team Plasma aren’t able to control the rock and the heat waves end up destroying plenty of buildings as a result. The imagery was presumably too similar to the damage this earthquake did in 2011, so it makes sense that these episodes were pulled.
Although lost media should always be mourned, it’s totally understandable why this episode didn’t air in Japan at all. Considering how many earthquakes the country has been subjected to, including this particularly massive one, no one can blame the studio for pulling the plug. We’re sure that the animators and actors were paid for their work, though compensation for those jobs is an entirely different conversation.
Pokémon is no stranger to lost media, as numerous episodes have been banned or only shown once before getting removed altogether. Most infamous is the episode with Porygon, where there were so many shining lights that it caused hundreds of kids to suffer from seizures. Recently, there was also an episode of Sun and Moon that wasn’t broadcasted to other countries because it looked like Ash was doing blackface.
The new Pokémon anime is already airing in Japan, while the current English dub is finishing up older episodes with Ash. Nintendo Switch owners can pick up Pokémon Scarlet and Violet right now.