List of references to popular culture in Pokémon
References to other franchises in the Pokémon franchise are occasionally made.
- Snorlax's Japanese name, カビゴン Kabigon, is derived from Kōji Nishino's nickname of "Kirby" (Japanese: カービィ Kābī), which in turn is derived from the video game character of the same name. According to an interview by Game Informer, Junichi Masuda stated that Nishino, the main inspiration for Snorlax, used to be called "Kirby" during the development of Pokémon Red and Green because of his large appetite.
- Celesteela may be based on Princess Kaguya from The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, which was said to have been discovered as a baby inside a bamboo stalk, and was revealed to hail from the Moon. This may be referenced with Celesteela's design, which seems to visually combine bamboo shoots and trunks with elements of a space shuttle, and a depiction of Princess Kaguya as a woman with long hair wearing a multilayered kimono. It may also be referenced with the fact that Celesteela is exclusive to Pokémon Moon and Ultra Moon.
- Mr. Rime's design seems to reference silent film actor Charlie Chaplin's iconic Tramp character. Like the Tramp, Mr. Rime seems to wear a bowler hat, a black suit jacket, baggy trousers, and large dress shoes, along with carrying a cane and sporting a mustache. Mr. Rime is native to the Galar region, which is inspired by Charlie Chaplin's home country, the United Kingdom.
In the games
In the core series
- In the Generation I games, the television in the player's house says, "There's a movie on TV. Four boys are walking on railroad tracks. …I'd better go, too.", which is a reference to the film Stand by Me. This carries over to Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen if the player chose male for their character's gender. If the player chose female, the TV says, "There's a movie on TV. A girl in pigtails is walking down a yellow brick road. …I'd better go, too.", which is a reference to the film The Wizard of Oz.
- In Pokémon Sun and Moon, upon player interaction with the television in the player's house, it will say "They are showing a movie on TV. The scene is showing four boys walking down a set of railroad tracks… But it's time you get going!" Just as in FireRed and LeafGreen and Generation I, this is a reference to the movie Stand by Me and a callback to those earlier games.
- In the Generation I games and FireRed and LeafGreen, in the Copycat's room there is a television connected to a Super Nintendo Entertainment System running "A game with Mario wearing a bucket on his head!", referring to the Japan-exclusive game Mario & Wario, also developed by Game Freak.
- In the Generation I games and FireRed and LeafGreen, Hiker Eric in the Rock Tunnel makes a reference to the song Hit Me with Your Best Shot by Pat Benatar, saying "Hit me with your best shot!" prior to battle, and "Fired away!" after being defeated.
- In the Generation I games and FireRed and LeafGreen, PokéManiac Ashton in the Rock Tunnel makes a reference to Mobile Fighter G Gundam, saying "Pokémon Fight! Ready, Go!" prior to battle. Official Gundam Fights in the series began with both participants declaring "Gundam Fight! Ready, Go!"
- In the Generation II games, the television in the player's house says "There's a movie on TV: Stars dot the sky as two boys ride on a train... I'd better get rolling too!", which is a reference to the 1985 anime film Night on the Galactic Railroad, which was based on the 1927 Japanese novel with the same name.
- In the French localization of Pokémon Crystal, the Wise Trio are named Ken, Shuu and Raoh, referencing the manga Fist of the North Star.
- In Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, upon player interaction, the television in the player's house says "There is a movie on TV. Two men are dancing on a big piano keyboard. Better get going!", which is a reference to the movie Big.
- During the Gym battle in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, Fantina exclaims "Never give up, never surrender!", the catchphrase from the 1999 science fiction comedy movie Galaxy Quest.
- In Pokémon Platinum at Victory Road, Ace Trainer Omar says, "One day, people will run to the other side of the road when I walk by 'em." This may be a reference to Omar Little from the series The Wire where people often run away when they see him walking down the street.
- In Pokémon White, when the player reaches 6F of Dragonspiral Tower for the first time, Reshiram's cry is heard followed by an unknown person yelling "Burn, baby, burn!", which are key lyrics in the song Disco Inferno by The Trammps.
- In the English versions of Pokémon Black and White, two Driftveil Gym Pokémon Trainers (Clerk Isaac and Worker Felix) who use Ground-type Pokémon share their names with main characters from the first two games of the Golden Sun series, who are both associated with the element of earth.
- In Pokémon Black 2 and White 2's flashback Taking it to The Next Level, Elesa says, "You bet! And don't call me Shirley." This is a possible reference to a line in the movie Airplane!.
- In Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, the Giant Monster Series movies of the Pokéstar Studios are likely a reference to the Godzilla movies. Also, the Mecha Tyranitar, MT for short, is likely a reference to Godzilla's mechanical counterpart, Mecha Godzilla.
- In Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, the Full Metal Cop Series movies in Pokéstar Studios are a reference to the RoboCop films. The premise of several of them, in which the titular character battles a villainous ninja, is likely a reference to RoboCop 3.
- In Pokémon X and Y, after being defeated by the player, Preschooler Mia on Route 4 says "Hey! Hey! Listen!" before battle, referencing Navi from The Legend of Zelda series.
- In Pokémon X and Y, an non-playable character (NPC) in Lumiose City mentions the play Beauty and the Beast, with the titular Beast as a Pokémon.
- In Pokémon X and Y, after being defeated by the player, Psychic Robert on Route 10 references the famous "over 9000" meme spawned from Dragon Ball Z, commenting "Wow. You and your Pokémon's power levels are amazing! They're over 9000 for sure!"
- In Pokémon X and Y, after being defeated by the player, a Psychic near Psychic Robert says "You and your Pokémon were far more powerful than I could have imagined..." which is a reference to Obi-Wan Kenobi's line just before Darth Vader kills him in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.
- In Pokémon X and Y, a Team Flare Grunt found at the Poké Ball Factory says "Don't worry, be happy!", referring to Bobby McFerrin's song Don't Worry, Be Happy.
- In Pokémon X and Y, while the ultimate weapon is present in Geosenge Town, a Team Flare Grunt in front of a house in the west of the town comments "Only Team Flare's stayin' alive, stayin' alive.", referencing the Bee Gees song Stayin' Alive.
- In Pokémon X and Y, Veteran Timeo in Victory Road will say "my body is ready" before battling the player, a reference to the meme spawned from a statement made by Nintendo of America's President and COO Reggie Fils-Aime at the unveiling of the Wii Balance Board at E3 2007, "My body… my body is ready!"
- In Pokémon X and Y, after being defeated by the player, Wikstrom will say "My will, which even shakes spears, trembles at so fine a battle as this!", referencing William Shakespeare.
- In Pokémon X and Y, when playing the game in French, Swimmer Romy in Azure Bay sings a variation to R. Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly" before the player battles her.
- In Pokémon X and Y, in the Battle Maison, Waitress Catla makes reference to the lolcatz brand of memes with "Meow, meow, I can haz battle, meow? (Ugh, I really sound like a fool, don't I?)" before battle and "Meowww... I haz lost, meowww. (This job is sooo embarrassing.)" after being defeated.
- In Pokémon X and Y, in the Battle Maison, Roller Skater Clio makes reference to So You Think You Can Dance?, saying "Man, I'm so speedy and smooth! I should be on So You Think You Can Skate!" after being defeated.
- In Pokémon X and Y, the final chapter of The Looker Detective Agency is named "Here's lookin' at you, kid", a reference to Humphrey Bogart's quote in Casablanca.
- In Pokémon X and Y, at the Santalune Gym, whose Gym puzzle is based on a spider web, there is a Lass named Charlotte, which could be a reference to the titular character from Charlotte's Web.
- In Pokémon X and Y, on Route 16, there is a Fairy Tale Girl named Alice, which could be a reference to Alice in Wonderland.
- In Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, the fictional franchise Hoenn Rangers is a reference to Power Rangers, or possibly the Japanese show that it's based on, Super Sentai.
- In Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire when the language is set to French, before battle Brawly says, "J'ai découvert le secret de la vraie puissance en fixant un Nautile pendant des jours et des jours…", a reference to Twitch Plays Pokémon.
- In Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, an old man in Pacifidlog Town says "One does not simply walk into a Mirage spot.", referencing the famous quote from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, "One does not simply walk into Mordor."
- In Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, an Ace Trainer on Sea Mauville mentions that she found a "Hi Skitty" doll on the facility, a reference to Hello Kitty.
- In Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, there is a Young Couple in Sea Mauville named Lois and Hal, a reference to Malcolm in the Middle.
- In Pokémon Sun and Moon, Samson Oak tells the player to follow the "black brick road" to find him, a reference to the yellow brick road in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
- In Pokémon Sun and Moon, if the player takes a picture of water while using the Poké Finder, one of the possible comments is "7.8/10 Too much water ¯\_('-- ')_/¯", a reference to the meme spawned by IGN's infamous review of Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire.
- In Pokémon Sun and Moon, a man riding a Mudsdale on Route 13 says, "Hi-yo, Mudsdale! Away!", telling the player that he's pretending to be a hero he loved as a child. This is a reference to the Lone Ranger.
- In Pokémon Sun and Moon, a woman with a Rockruff in the Poni Wilds says "We're going on a Berry hunt. We're going to find a big one! ♪" This is a reference to the popular children's book "We're Going on a Bear Hunt", which has similar lyrics.
- In Pokémon Sun and Moon, Lillie talks about how she was watching a movie about a man going outside to sing in the rain, a reference to Singin' in the Rain.
- In Pokémon Sun and Moon, Hala mentions the Dr. Seuss book Oh, the Places You'll Go! while talking to the player at Route 1 Hau'oli Outskirts.
- In Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, the player can help a woman on Hano Beach to rejoin a love-smitten Pyukumuku called Mukeo with its loved one, another Pyukumuku named Mukiet. The player is able to recognize Mukiet from it saying "O Mukeo, Mukeo". These are direct references to William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.
- In Pokémon Sun, Moon, Ultra Sun, and Ultra Moon, the Fossil Restoration Center on Route 8 could be a reference to the Jurassic Park movies. This is further supported by the fact that these movies were filmed in Hawaii, which Alola is based on.
- In Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!, if Snorlax is the player's walking Pokémon, the player and their partner Pokémon will ride it by clinging on to its chest. This is a reference to My Neighbor Totoro.
- In Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!, two Master Scientists that use Zubat and Golbat are named West and Keaton, who share their names with Adam West and Michael Keaton, respectively, actors who have portrayed the superhero Batman.
- In Pokémon Sword and Shield's The Crown Tundra Expansion Pass, the fourth adventure's English title is "They Came From The Ultra Beyond!", which is is a reference to the 1967 science fiction film They Came from Beyond Space.
In the side series
- In Pokémon Stadium 2, when the player views the entire room, if a game system other than the Virtual Boy is set up, screenshots from several games for that system (such as The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for the N64) will appear on the player's TV.
- In Pokémon Colosseum, before he is battled, Fein will say, "You are me, and I am you, and we are all together here", making a reference to the line "I am you and you are me and we are all together" from The Beatles song "I Am the Walrus."
In spin-off games
- In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity, after the player's first meeting with Swanna, she says "You can call me Swanna if you want. Just don't call me maybe.", referencing the Carly Rae Jepsen song "Call Me Maybe."
- In Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon, in Chapter 5, Farfetch'd tells the tale of the Three Little Spoink and the Mightyena, a reference to the fairy tale of The Three Little Pigs.
- In Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon, the Hawlucha that operates Hawlucha's Slam School calls his followers "Hawlucha maniacs", a reference to Hulk Hogan.
- In Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon, all Meowth Theater dungeons are named after real life movies: Meowth in Black is a reference to Men in Black, My Fair Misdreavus is a reference to My Fair Lady, For a Few Boldores More is a reference to For a Few Dollars More, Casameownca is a reference to Casablanca, and It's a Meownderful Life is a reference to It's a Wonderful Life.
- In Detective Pikachu, the names of the Baker Detective Agency and its director, Mike Baker, are references to Baker Street, where the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes's home is located.
In the anime
- The plot of Mystery at the Lighthouse seems to be based on the events of Ray Bradbury's short story The Fog Horn.
- The dub titles of Beauty and the Beach and Beauty and the Breeder are references to the fairytale Beauty and the Beast.
- In Tentacool and Tentacruel, there is a noticeable similarity between the scene where Tentacruel speaks through Meowth, and a scene from the film Independence Day, in which a captive alien speaks through the body of a scientist. In both cases, a voiceless creature covered in tentacles telepathically speaks through another being in order to make its objectives known to humans.
- In the dubs of both The Flame Pokémon-athon and Grass Hysteria, Meowth shouts "James! Stop this crazy thing!", a reference to George's famous "Jane! Stop this crazy thing!" from The Jetsons.
- In EP035, Kaiser's appearance, demeanor and handgun bear a resemblance to a character portrayed by Clint Eastwood in the Spaghetti Western Man with No Name.
- The plot of Showdown at Dark City is based on the events of Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo.
- In Pokémon: The First Movie - Mewtwo Strikes Back, when Team Rocket are disguised as Vikings, Brock says he was not aware that they existed anymore. Ash replies that they mostly live in Minnesota, a reference to the Minnesota Vikings NFL team.
- In the Danish dub, Brock says Jeg vidste ikke at vikingerne stadig fandtes., and Ash replies Jo, men de turnere mest i Sverige. and in the Norwegian dub, Brock says Jeg visste ikke at vikinger fantes ennå., and Ash replies Jo, men de turnerer mest i Sverige. This makes it likely that both the Norwegian and Danish dubs reference the Swedish band, Vikingarna.
- In the Swedish dub, Brock says Jag visste inte att vikingar fortfarande existerade., and Ash replies Jo, men de hänger mest i Norge.. Real Vikings existed in both Sweden and Norway.
- The Indiana Jones franchise is referred in several episodes, Gary's outfit in Attack of the Prehistoric Pokémon is very similar to the titular's and the giant boulder scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark is reenacted in Battling the Enemy Within! and Explorers of the Hero's Ruin!.
- In Lights, Camera, Quack-tion, Brock mentions that Cleavon Schpielbunk directed I Saw What You Ate Last Tuesday, a reference to I Know What You Did Last Summer.
- The plot of Pokémon in Love, which was first mentioned in Lights, Camera, Quack-tion, is based on Romeo and Juliet.
- In Go West Young Meowth, the movie That Darn Meowth! is shown at Camp Pokéhearst, a reference to That Darn Cat!.
- The dub title of Wherefore Art Thou, Pokémon? is a reference to the line "Wherefore art thou Romeo?" from Romeo and Juliet. The names of the two Nidoran in love, Tony and Maria, are references to West Side Story, which was based on Romeo and Juliet. In the dub, at the end of the episode the narrator makes reference to All's Well That Ends Well, another Shakespeare play.
- In The Superhero Secret, Gligarman is based on Batman. His civilian name, Mr. Parker, is likely based on Peter Parker, the alter ego of the superhero Spider-Man. When the video of Gligarman is shown, "Look up in the sky, is it a Pidgeotto, a Charizard, a Dragonite? No, it's the crime fighting superhero Gligarman!" is heard, a reference to the famous Superman line "Look, up in the sky! It's a bird, it's a plane, it's Superman!"
- The dub title of Machoke, Machoke Man! is a reference to the Village People song Macho Man.
- The disguises of the Team Rocket trio in Same Old Song and Dance were inspired by Morning Musume's outfits in the music videos for Souda! We're Alive and The Peace!.
- In Lights, Camerupt, Action!, May describes a movie about a luxurious spaceship with a Natu and Xatu in love who are separated because of an ice asteroid, which is a parody of the movie Titanic, while the ship displayed in the film is similar in design to the titular spaceship from Space Battleship Yamato.
- Tyson's Meowth that debuted in Like a Meowth to a Flame is loosely based on the fairytale character Puss in Boots.
- In Ya See We Want An Evolution!, Meowth's remote is similar to a Wii remote, and he says "whee" once he pushes it.
- In Staging a Heroes' Welcome!, two girls near the beginning look like Sakura Kinomoto and Tomoyo Daidōji from Cardcaptor Sakura. This is most likely a joke on how their hats resemble the one Wallace wears.
- Hamilton, a character of the day in Cream of the Croagunk Crop! is based on a character named Hiroshi from the anime and manga Dokonjō Gaeru. His Croagunk, Craig, is a reference to the frog known as Pyonkichi, as it spent a lot of time on the front of his shirt.
- Hamilton's appearance and even the Japanese names of both himself and Craig were changed shortly after the episode's initial airing in Japan, possibly to avoid a lawsuit from the producers of Dokonjō Gaeru.
- In the Brazilian dub of Stealing the Conversation!, Chatot calls Jessie "Lassie." When Jessie tries to correct it, Chatot says "Lassie ran away."
- In Uncrushing Defeat!, before the group attack, the way Ash and his Sinnoh team (Pikachu, Staraptor, Grotle, Monferno, Buizel, and Gliscor) pose, strongly resembles the Super Sentai pose.
- The plot of A Venipede Stampede! references the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin when Burgh uses his bug flute to lead the Venipede out the city at the request of the mayor.
- In Movie Time! Zorua in "The Legend of the Pokémon Knight"!, Cilan mentioned Yamask of the Opera, a reference to The Phantom of the Opera.
- In Purrloin: Sweet or Sneaky?, when Meowth tries to ask Purrloin out for a date, he says "Come on baby, don't say maybe!", referring to Jackson Browne's song Take It Easy.
- In The Mighty Accelguard to the Rescue!, Charles has the alter ego of The Mighty Accelguard (Japanese: 快傑ア☆ギルダー Kaiketsu A☆Gilder), which most likely draws inspiration from Kaiketsu Zubat. Certain other aspects of his alter ego, like his A☆Gilder Kick attack, draw inspiration from the titular characters of the Kamen Rider Series.
- In A Call for Brotherly Love, during Pansear's training montage, it is seen running up a flight of stairs and throwing its arms into the air in victory. This is a reference to the film Rocky where Sylvester Stallone's character does exactly the same thing.
- The plot of Battling the Bully! is a tribute to Doraemon, with Mick, Glenn and Sean having similar roles to that of Nobita, Gian and Suneo.
- In A Restoration Confrontation! Part 2, when Team Rocket attacks Ash and the group under a tree, Jessie has a communication device over her eye. After Ash and Ferris refuse to give up Tirtouga, Jessie says "Resistance is futile." This line is the catchphrase of the Borg from Star Trek: The Next Generation, who commonly wore similar devices.
- In An Epic Defense Force, the MGM logo is referenced, with Luke's Zorua taking the place of Leo the Lion.
- In Beheeyem, Duosion, and the Dream Thief!, the character Leon's design and mannerisms, are based on the character Iyami from the manga and anime Osomatsu-kun. He even adds "zansu" to his speech and does Iyami's trademark "Sheeh" pose.
- In Team Eevee and the Pokémon Rescue Squad!, Virgil and his Eevee, along with the Pokémon Rescue Squad run by his father Jeff, are likely a reference to the 1960s TV series Thunderbirds, which features a group of brothers using specialized equipment and rescue crafts to save people in trouble in the same way as Virgil uses different Eevee evolutions to help those in need. One of the brothers was also named Virgil, and the rescue organization was run by their father, Jeff, much like the Pokémon Rescue Squad.
- The MGM logo was also referenced a couple of times in Pokémon the Series: XY;
- In To Top a Totem!, a fantasy depicts a Gumshoos and some Yungoos scaring away Alolan Rattata and Raticate in a similar fashion to the title card for the anime series Gamba no Bōken.
- The inside of the mecha Meowth pilots in Alola, Kanto appears to resemble the controls of the mobile suits that appear in Mobile Fighter G Gundam, specifically the head and wrist attachments resembling the Mobile Trace System.
- In A Mission of Ultra Urgency!, just before he prepares to capture Buzzwole, Ash's face briefly changes to resemble the titular character of the long-running manga series Golgo 13. Also, the way that the Alolan Exeggutor move their heads as the Ultra Guardians prepare to launch is a reference to the way the palm trees move during the launch of Thunderbird 2 in the 1960s TV series Thunderbirds.
- In Acting True to Form!, when demonstrating how to perform Z-Moves, Alolan Meowth briefly does the transformation pose of Kamen Rider 1 before switching to the pose for Breakneck Blitz.
- In SM064, the scene in which one of the Passimian jumps on the back of another one and the second Passimian appears to be hurt is a reference to a scene from the television series Mobile Suit Gundam.
- In Smashing with Sketch!, Ikari acts as a homage to Ryūichi Kazama of the manga Ping Pong. In addition, Kiawe's pose when mentioning Ikari's nickname "Ikari the Dragon" is the same pose of Gendo Ikari from the series Neon Genesis Evangelion.
- In Sours for the Sweet!, after Jessie's scolding of James and Meowth, Jessie's face momentarily turns into that of a Kewpie doll.
- In Why Not Give Me a Z-Ring Sometime?, in one scene, James pulls a face that resembles the character of Iyami from Osomatsu-kun.
- In The Prism Between Light and Darkness, James references the series Dragon Ball Z by appearing as a pseudo-Super Saiyan, emanating the typical yellow Super Saiyan aura with his hair spiked upwards while still retaining his hair color.
- In Lillier and the Staff!, there are multiple references to other anime.
- Near the beginning of the episode, Jessie is seen dressed as Chigusa Tsukikage from Glass Mask.
- Jessie's outfit choices when she introduces her fake persona are references to some of her Megumi Hayashibara's roles throughout her career, including Rei Ayanami from Neon Genesis Evangelion and Lina Inverse from Slayers.
- Lillie and Mallow's embrace during the play is a reference to the series Revolutionary Girl Utena.
- The clash between Team Rocket's mecha and Sophocles's Charjabug in a mechanized suit is a reference to Tetsujin 28-go.
- In addition, during the Poké Problem extra scene of SM093, Rotom shows a picture that is a reference to a poster for the first Star Wars film.
- In Alola, Alola!, the Robo-Meowth mecha from Alola, Kanto! returns with a red-colored appearance. This is a possible reference to the antagonist of the original Mobile Suit Gundam, Char Aznable, known for his custom, red-colored Mobile Suits.
- In Heart of Fire! Heart of Stone!, the pose Brock and Olivia make when using Continental Crush is a reference to the Erupting Burning Finger Sekiha Love-Love Tenkyoken from the anime series Mobile Fighter G Gundam. The mecha Team Rocket uses is a reference to the Dark Gundam from the same series.
- Visquez from Destination: Coronation! appears to be based on the character Vasquez from the Alien franchise, given her name and military look.
- The animated short opens with a scene of the four protagonists of Stand by Me walking along a railroad, a reference to the film which played on the television in the Generation I games.
In the manga
The Electric Tale of Pikachu
- Brock sings a line of the Sesame Street song "Rubber Duckie" in the hot springs in To Evolve or Not to Evolve, That Is the Question!.
- Dahlia's catchphrase is "Que Sera, Sera", a reference to a popular song by the same name.
- Jet, a competitor in the Pokéathlon, is based on Jet Link (or Cyborg 002) from Cyborg 009, having a near identical resemblance and his reputation for being fast.
Pokémon Pocket Monsters
In the TCG
In the books
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