Anime physics

Anime physics is a fanon term used to describe all the unusual, impossible, and sometimes absurd moments in the anime where real-world physics do not seem to apply. At times, the term can also be used to describe when an attack works differently in the anime than it would in the games. Some common examples are unusual feats of strength and agility, surviving lethal attacks, and the magic satchel theory, sometimes called hammerspace (the ability to hold innumerable items in one bag).

Inconsistencies in animation, such as objects changing in size between scenes or frames, or characters being depicted with inconsistent heights (without specific reason), may be the result of unintentional mistakes on the animators' part.

Deviations from standard laws defined in the real world are common in some genres of animation, in this case, the Pokémon anime. Characters may sustain damage that normally would result in mortal injuries or immediate death, but instead are simply left soot-covered (in the case of explosions or incineration), disheveled, or fatigued. Characters may not age, whether or not time does actually pass within the fictional universe. In the Pokémon universe, main characters often mention weeks, months, or even a year to have passed, but themselves do not age. Ash Ketchum, who at his debut was confirmed to be 10 years old, remains at the age of 10 through to the end of the 25th season[1], despite the fact that episodes occasionally state weeks to have passed since the previous one.


Loose physics

Some phenomena that appear in the anime (as well as the entire Pokémon canon) are impossible in real-world physics.

  • Poké Balls change in size and convert Pokémon to and from a plasma-like substance (the Pokémon retains its consciousness in this state).
  • Whenever a character throws a Poké Ball they usually throw it forward, but once the Pokémon is released the ball falls back down as if thrown up.
  • Moves like Water Gun are depicted as spitting water, but usually the Pokémon spits much more water than its body could hold.
  • In Mass Hip-Po-Sis!, Hippopotas initially doesn't weigh down Team Rocket's balloon, but he does so after using Sand Tomb. This means the move creates the sand out of nothing.
  • In the anime, many things explode. Most attacks explode when they connect with an opposing attack, even if the attacks would not normally do so (even, and some would say especially, inert, non-volatile substances such as leaves or water).
    • In Pokémon Contests, almost every move will explode and send a shower of sparkles down into the crowd.
    • Some moves explode when they clearly cannot, such as a Bite attack.
  • During some of the battles in the anime, the Pokémon stay in the air longer than usual despite their weight, either when using attacks or receiving attacks (not including Pokémon that fly naturally). This is evident in Dealing With Defensive Types! when Ash's Chimchar battles against Byron's Bronzor and actually can be seen floating.
    • On a similar note, many attacks do not move at the speed they normally would (or should), sometimes even leaving enough time for characters to have a three or four sentence conversation. An example is in Jumping Rocket Ship!. Barry has his Empoleon use Hydro Pump a few seconds before Ash's Chimchar uses Flamethrower, and they clash in the exact middle of the battlefield. This could just mean that that Flamethrower accelerates much quicker, but before the attacks even collide, Jessie gets in several lines of dialogue.
  • In Like It or Lup It!, Dawn's Piplup uses Bubble Beam while spinning in the air. Defying the laws of physics, Piplup manages to "float" in the air while releasing the bubbles which spin around Piplup when Bubble Beam is supposed to travel in a straight direction, not floating around slowly.
  • In almost every episode, Jessie, James, and Meowth manage to get launched hundreds of feet into the air, sometimes crashing through the roof of a building or a cave wall, by various means (usually a Pokémon attack). However, others standing near them will not be moved or even affected, and Team Rocket never get too hurt from the flight, which would surely kill a normal person. They also are in a stationary position during the first part of their flight, and then start suddenly spinning, normally after making a humorous comment.
  • Characters throughout the anime have repeatedly been shown to take attacks such as Thunderbolt (the Japanese name meaning 100,000 Volts), and Flamethrower with no long-lasting harmful effects, though there are obvious problems with this in the real world.
    • One example of this is in The Ninja Poké-Showdown, where Brock is shown to survive taking one of Charmander's Flamethrower to the face. Less than ten seconds after the attack he is shown looking perfectly fine with the attack not even damaging his clothes. These types of scenes often are like this one in that they are intended to be humorous.
    • However, this is not always the case. For example, in Lessons in Lilycove, when May was almost attacked by her Combusken's Fire Spin, people were very worried about her.
  • In All Fired Up!, when Victreebel swallowed a burning Meowth to put out the flame, the fire continued to burn, even though its oxygen had been cut off.
  • Pokémon often disobey Newton's Third Law: attacks, such as Hyper Beam, that blast the target backwards do nothing of the sort to the user. This is especially notable with flying or levitating Pokémon, which cannot even brace themselves against the ground.
  • In An Elite Coverup!, Team Rocket's Mime Jr. can be seen running on top of Wobbuffet while staying in place. This would be impossible because then Mime Jr. would run in Wobbuffet's inertial reference frame and increase speed in respect to Wobbuffet.
  • Whenever Team Rocket has prop decoys such as a fake building to hide away from pursuers, the building always decreases in height after it falls so that the pursuers are not crushed.
  • In Shell Shock!, James is knocked off a cliff by a giant boulder. He is later seen to be perfectly fine with no hint of the fall.

Magic satchels

Contents of Cilan's backpack.
  • Ash and his friends seem to have an unlimited amount of space in their bags or pockets, especially Brock, Cilan, and Clemont, from sleeping bags to cookware to machinery.
    • This was played for laughs as early as The School of Hard Knocks, when Ash and Misty watch in disbelief as Brock produces a full dining set out of his bag. This comes complete with a table, chairs, and fine china in perfect condition.
    • Cilan appears to keep a table, chairs, and a miniature kitchen complete with tableware in his backpack.
    • Clemont's backpack contains thousands upon thousands of his inventions, some of which are even too big to fit inside an ordinary backpack.
  • In A Tent Situation, Tracey brings out around 40-50 sketchbooks to show to Professor Oak and then puts them back in the same bag that they should not have fit into in the first place.
  • Dawn's Piplup is never seen holding the Everstone he was given in Stopped in the Name of Love!, yet its effects remain. Even then, it could be that the Everstone is now linked to Piplup, though as of A Midsummer Night's Light!, it's unknown whether this is permanent or not.

Move and type effectiveness errors

Other conflicts with the games

  • The weight of some Pokémon is sometimes ignored in the anime:
  • The anime often makes Pokémon bigger than the games say they are. This is especially common for species of which there is only one, like Groudon and Kyogre.
  • In older series of the anime, certain Water-type Pokémon like Goldeen, Carvanha, and Sharpedo cannot be used by Trainers in battle without being in a body of water, unlike how they seem to float over the ground in the games. This has lessened in prominence over time, with Pokémon such as Elesa's Tynamo and the Sharpedo used by Levi and Cherie in Volcanion and the Mechanical Marvel floating over the land as they do in the games.
  • In Second Time's the Charm!, Ash recalled his Corphish and sent it right back out in the same turn to cure its confusion, which is impossible in the games.

Related articles


  1. Ash's character profile (in Japanese) mentions that he is 10 years old as of Pokémon Journeys: The Series.

  This article is part of both Project Anime and Project Games, Bulbapedia projects that, together, aim to write comprehensive articles on the Pokémon Anime and Games, respectively.