Poké Balls. Probably the most popular item from the Pokémon series in regards to things used in the game, and they are pretty indistinguishable. Sure, there are loads of different Poké Balls nowadays, but in the beginning, the original red and white with the black lining (Known as Monster Balls in Japan) served the series well and still is often represented in cover art and even logos. So it is a bit mind-boggling to know that at one time, Red, the main protagonist in the original Pokémon games and manga, was unfamiliar with the concept and tried to use his own balls in one of the old manga for the series.
Well, this is the second week in a row where we will be talking about some questionable content from old Japanese manga, so if you are not in a safe place, I highly recommend waiting to read this later.
This is that time Red tried to use his balls instead of Poké Balls.
Released in November of 1996, the very first issue of Pocket Monsters brought the world of Pokémon into the manga world. Created by Kosaku Anakubo, the series very first volume introduced us to Red (赤井 勇, Akai Isamu) and his two companions, Clefairy and Pikachu, as he attempted to compete with Green to complete the Illustrated Pokémon Encyclopedia and become the Pokémon master.
This manga series is incredibly interesting for one major thing, and that is the fact that Pokémon are able to talk like humans… well, all of them except Red’s Pikachu. This means Clefairy and Red are constantly having full conversations, and it is even assumed by many fans of the series that Clefairy comes off as more of a main character in the early stages of Pocket Monsters than Red does, especially thanks to its knowledge and comedic timing.
The first cell from this page shows Clefairy trying to help Red with his first wild Pokémon catch:
Clefairy screams at Red saying, “When you are trying to catch a Pokémon, you have to use your balls!”
Red seems confused and asks, “Huh? Where are these balls?”
You can see how infuriated Clefairy is at this point, so he yells again, “They are around your waist, Red!”
Now, I have to warn you once again that this is about to get serious, so if you want to protect yourself from looking at some questionable content, I would advise closing this tab and coming back later while you are on the toilet or just somewhere safer.
Are we ready yet? Again…
Your warning is done, because it is time for Red’s response to Clefairy:
Red responds with his pants down to his ankles and painfully stretching his ball sack, “Is this it?!”
In the midst of his first ever wild Pokémon encounter, Red stupidly drops his pants, exposes himself, and yanks on his balls, separating them in the most horrific-looking way. You can see by the response of the other Pokémon that this is beyond shocking, and I find it even more alarming that we can see some Poképenis and balls in the top right corner.
Clefairy is clearly dumbfounded by Red’s insolence and lays into him once again:
“Those are your testicles (金玉 or 玉金, Golden Balls, refer to testicles in Japanese)! The balls are here!”, Clefairy instructs once more as he directly points to the Poké Balls around Red’s waist.
“That?! When did that show up?!”, Red amusingly says, as this belt of Poké Balls was nowhere in the previous cells, setting up for a good laugh before he finally composes himself with Poké Ball in hand and says, “Let’s do this! Do you think I’m actually gonna miss?!”
Like I pointed out during the Mario’s “Member” article, Japan is not so prude about such things, as even the original Dragon Ball series shows little Goku’s twig and berries and the same character slapping Bulma’s vulva. It is a culture that finds a lot of humor in this sort of thing, so it is without question that Japanese manga creators from the 1990s would use such ballsy jokes… like this:
Sorry again. That was more than too easy.
But we are thankful for such silly creations, because otherwise we wouldn’t be talking about it and we wouldn’t remember that time we got to see Red trying to use his balls instead of Poké Balls… his smooth, stretchy, hairless, golden balls.
Thank you for stopping by Nintendo Link and enjoying this “That Time” article. What did you think of Red and his balls? Are you surprised this even exists? Let us know what you think in the comments below! Happy gaming, everyone.
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My name is Jason Capp. I am a husband, father, son, and brother, and I am a gamer, a writer, and a wannabe pro wrestler. It is hard to erase the smile on this simple man.