The Episode that Put Pokemon Fans in the Hospital

Here’s a little blast from the past. In this February 1998 issue of UK magazine Computer and Video Games, I found an article about that Porygon episode of Pokemon that caused some kids in Japan to have seizures. We know now that it was caused by rapid flashes of red and blue lights from one of Pikachu’s attacks (read more here), but this article was written before they knew what sent so many kids to the hospital.

It’s interesting because Japanese TV networks started banning the show in response, and Tokyo TV threatened to cancel it outright if the cause wasn’t determined. Imagine a world where the Pokemon anime ended in the middle of its first season and never came back!

2 thoughts on “The Episode that Put Pokemon Fans in the Hospital”

  1. I never could find it again but I remember reading this article on ABC News in 1998 or 1999 which said that anime was intended to cause seizures.
    Even then I was thinking like “what a stupid, and so obviously biased article”. They want us to stop watching those Japanese cartoons and more of the American cartoons, perhaps such as the Disney ones airing on their network once a week. 😛

    And I think Sabrina hardly qualifies as a “bad guy”. The worst she did was confuse anybody who tried to fight her Haunter in the gen 1 games. 😛

  2. I wonder if any of those kids that were affected were/are still Pokemon fans after it happened. Actually, a deep dive into the whole incident and its aftereffects would probably make for interesting reading.

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