One of the main selling points of the Pokémon franchise is its fascinating world, inhabited by the titular pocket monsters. Over the years, the Pokémon Company has been notoriously vague about where the series takes place, leaving fans to wonder where exactly the Pokémon world exists. Is it a parallel universe? A different planet? All of the above?
Even so, the franchise has included several references to real-life events, locations, and even people over the years. Whether they appear in the anime or on the games’ Pokédex entries, these easter eggs suggest that these two worlds might be more interconnected than anyone imagines.
10 (Adam) West & (Michael) Keaton
Everyone loves Batman. The Dark Knight is one of pop culture’s most enduring characters, a tragic figure who’s as much a role model as he is a cautionary tale. Many actors have played the Caped Crusader over the years in animation and live-action, among them Adam West, who played Batman in the 1960s show, and Michael Keaton, who starred in Tim Burton’s live-action adaptations.
In an ode to these two brilliant actors, two Master Scientists in Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu & Let’s Go Eevee! are named West and Keaton. To make things better, they both have bat Pokémon; West uses a Zubat, and Keaton has a Golbat.
9 Mukeo & Mukiet
William Shakespeare is arguably the most influential playwright in history with a body of work that remains relevant after all these years. Indeed, multiple plays, television shows, and movies are adaptations of Shakespeare’s acclaimed plays. His most famous work, Romeo & Juliet, even made its way to the Pokémon franchise!
In Pokémon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon, the player meets a woman in Hano Beach. She’s trying to unite a smitten Pyukumuku named Mukeo with his love, a female named Mukiet. Furthermore, if the player approaches the female, she’ll actually speak, saying, “O, Mukeo, Mukeo.” Now, that’s a love story for the ages.
8 It’s A Nintendo Console!
Nintendo is a titan of the gaming industry. They have been in the business for almost forty-five years now, continuously pushing the envelope for gaming consoles. As a result, Nintendo isn’t afraid to toot its own horn or promote whatever new console they have in the market.
In every new Pokémon generation, there’ll be a Nintendo console in the player’s room. In Gen I, it was a NES, and in Gen IV, it was a Wii. Generations VII and VIII had a Nintendo Switch, and surely Gen IX will have one too.
7 There’s A Movie On TV
Some movies are so iconic that almost everyone knows them. The Pokémon franchise enjoys referencing the classic in numerous games whenever the player approaches a television. For example, in Ruby & Sapphire, the tv in the player’s house will reference Tom Hanks’ Big by mentioning a movie where “two men are dancing on a piano keyboard.”
In FireRed & LeafGreen and Sun & Moon, the television mentions “four young boys walking down a set of railroad tracks,” an apparent reference to Stand by Me. Also, in Sun & Moon, Samson Oak will ask the player to “follow the black brick road,” a blatant allusion to the timeless classic, The Wizard of Oz.
6 Pokéstar Studios
The Unova region is one of the coolest in the Pokémon world. Not only is it unique, but it also introduced more original Pokémon than any other generation, prior or since. Unova also featured many memorable places, including a production studio.
Pokéstar Studios produces original content, like the Giant Monster Series, an obvious reference to famous Japanese kaiju movies. Among the characters featured in the series in Mecha Tyranitar, a hilarious nod to Mecha Godzilla. The studios also produce the Full Metal Cop series, a parody of the RoboCop franchise.
5 Over 9000 For Sure!
The Dragon Ball franchise is a juggernaut in pop culture. Starring Goku, the greatest animated himbo of all time, the series debuted in 1984 and remains influential to this day. Among the many gifts the Saiyans have given audiences are a slew of internet goodies, including the now-iconic “Over 9000!” meme.
Pokémon X & Y makes a reference to this hilarious meme. After the player defeats Psychic Robert in Route 10, he’ll claim that the player’s “Pokémon power levels are amazing! They’re over 9000 for sure!” It’s a fun little Easter egg that might go over some players’ heads, though.
4 Life Is A Song
Music is a crucial part of life. Everyone loves to listen, sing, or dance to a good song. Pokémon knows this, and they make sure to reference multiple songs in their games. For instance, in Pokémon White, an unknown person yells, “Burn baby, burn,” a callback to The Trammps’ classic tune, “Disco Inferno.”
In X & Y, a Team Flare grunt tells the player to “don’t worry, be happy,” referencing the song of the same name. Game Freak seems to have a thing for disco songs because, in the same games, another grunt celebrates that only Team Flare will be “stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive” after they fire the Ultimate Weapon.
3 Paris & London, Baby You Can Keep
Every Pokémon region is famously based on an actual life location. However, some cities take the inspiration a tad too literally. Kalos’ Lumiose City is pretty much a replica of Paris, to the point where there’s even a massive tower that acts as the region’s landmark. Kalos also has a version of Versailles, called Pargum Palace.
The most recent region, Galar, draws inspiration from the United Kingdom. Its biggest city, Wyndon, is a blatant translation of London, with a clock tower and a cantilevered observation wheel, not unlike Big Ben and the London Eye.
2 Lee, Chan, & The Great Khan
Some people are so influential that their fame transcends every barrier. They become known throughout every field and around the world, cementing their place as pop culture icons. Some of these individuals made their way to Pokémon, becoming part of the franchise’s lore.
Beloved action stars Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan became the basis for the Pokémon Hitmonlee and Hitmonchan. Fearsome emperor Genghis Khan inspired the name of kangaroo Pokémon, Kangaskhan, and Gen IV Water Starter Empoleon takes inspiration from Napoleon in both name and design.
1 Pokémon Based On Famous Characters
Certain fictional characters can reach icon status under the right circumstances. Creations like Harry Potter, Frodo Baggins, Batman, or Superman transcend their original franchises and become synonymous with the very genre they represent. And if they’re fortunate, they might have a Pokémon design inspired by them.
Gok, himself a creation inspired by the seminal Chinese novel Journey to the West, is the basis for everyone’s favorite Fire Starter Pokémon, Infernape. Unova’s Swords of Justice are the Pokémon equivalents of Alexandre Dumas’ three musketeers, Porthos, Athos, and Aramis. For his part, young Keldeo represents the last musketeer, D’Artagnan.