The episode was banned because of the infamous crossdressing scene where Kojiro wears an inflatable bathing suit to win money for Team Rocket in a swimsuit contest. It wasn't so much that Kojiro had crossdressed (James still did that a lot), but that Kojiro was wearing a very skimpy outfit, especially after making his breasts gigantic. He also taunted Kasumi and flaunted his stuff in front of her, which I can see would be inappropriate for a children's show even if it was Musashi doing the mocking. In the Japanese version, Deliah also beat out Team Rocket, Misty and Gary's cheerleaders to win the contest's trophy, which is a scary thought indeed. At the end of the Orange Islands arc, Kids WB aired the episode with Kojiro's scene cut out (which makes one wonder why 4Kids didn't just cut it out two years prior, since only about 35 seconds of footage was removed altogether) and the Contest trophy being given to Ash for saving the resort from a Gyarados. With the episode altered, and the objectionable scenes removed, we're left wondering why Beauty and the Beach hasn't been seen since 2000.
2. Miniryuu no Densetsu (Dratini's Legend)
This episode has a lot objectional content that led to it's demise. You've probably heard about Kaiza, the Safari Zone's Warden. Unlike the video game's Warden, Kaiza isn't an old man who lost his teeth. Instead, he's a very overprotective old man who not only points his gun directly at Satoshi's head, but also opens fire directly at the Rocket Dan during their motto. The episode explains that people used to swarm the Safari Zone in search of the rare Miniryuu, causing the Safari Zone to introduce its 30 Safari Ball rule. As Satoshi-tachi heads into the Safari Zone (where Satoshi catches his thirty Kentaros, an event unexplained in the dub, with one of Kentaros being captured by Takeshi with Satoshi's Safari Ball), the Rocket-Dan tries to force the location of Miniryuu out of Kaiza through seduction, holding a gun to his head and torturing him with a copy of Nyasu no Uta (Meowth's Song). They succeed, but Satoshi and a Hakuryuu (Dragonair) that was a friend of Kaiza as a Miniryuu save the Safari Zone from the Rocket Dan. Like Holiday at Aopolco, 4Kids received Miniryuu's Legend, as footage from the episode appears in the Pokerap. However, the episode itself has never been dubbed.
3. Dennou Senshi Porigon (Electric Soldier Porygon)
The most famous of the banned episodes, due to hundreds of Japanese children suffering seizures triggered from Pikachu destroying anti-virus missiles that produced red and blue flashing lights, and the only episode banned in Japan. Due to the controversy surrounding the seizures, this episode was the first and, most likely, last major appearance of Porygon and brought major changes to the show: it was put on a four month hiatus, not only causing Rougela's Christmas("Holiday Hi-Jynx") and Iwaku as a Bivouac ("Snow Way Out") to be shown completely out of order, but also for a special New Year's episode of Pocket Monsters to be shelved entirely. TV Tokyo also had to go back and tone down the flashing effects in the 37 episodes that aired prior to the accident, including the first opening of the anime by using a split screen effect. However, according to Meowth's voice actress, Maddie Blaustein, 4Kids actually received this episode and dubbed it. If this dub exists, it has not aired. In Japan, Inuyama Inuko, the seiyuu for Nyasu (Meowth), has stated that those associated with the franchise would like to treat the episode as if it never existed.
4. Kori no Doukutsu! (The Ice Cave!)
After people realized that The Ice Cave was banned, they rushed to figure out a reason why. Such rampant speculation included that the Rocket-Dan gave Takeshi flu-like symptoms resembling symptoms of SARs, or that a deliriously sick Takeshi trying to kiss Ruujura after mistaking her for Joi would be offensive. In all reality, the episode was banned because Ruujura/Jynx (see below) was in too much of the episode for the dubbers to cut out.
5. Yureru Shima no Tatakai! Dojotchi Tai Namazun! (The Battle of the Shaking Island! Barboach vs. Whiscash!)
In a rare twist of events, Japan "banned" an episode of the anime before it ever aired. The plot of this episode had a lot to do with earthquakes, and as Japan had recently suffered from a series of earthquakes at the time, the episode was skipped in Japan and later the U.S.
6-8. Date Expectations/Mean with Envy/Pacifidlog Jam
These three episodes chronicled the events of May's final Pokemon Contest and were not shown in America for several months. Although Jynx had been recolored purple by this point in the show, it was speculated that her appearance had originally led to the skipping of the episodes. Ironically, the episodes originally should have aired in February 2006, (Black History Month), but were eventually shown in America during May 2006.
9. Satoshi to Haruka! Houen de no Atsuki Batoru (Ash and May! The Hottest Battles of Hoenn!)
This is the only episode that the dub has skipped since "The Ice Cave." And its exclusion from dubbing really isn't that big of a deal - 99% of the episode is a clip show that recaps Ash and May's Badge/Ribbon victories.
Other Things1. Onigiri
In Japan, onigiri are small snacks made up of balls of rice and containing a center of plum or something else sweet. In Pocket Monsters, Takeshi can commonly be seen making these treats for the group when they stop for a snack. Due to 4Kids Entertainment�s erasure of the Japanese culture in their programming, inPokemon, these little treats have been referred to as a variety of different types of food - Eclairs, donuts, ice cream sandwiches, regular sandwiches and rice balls. This has sort of developed into a joke among followers of Pocket Monsters; a type of "What will the onigiri be called this week?" deal. Starting with Pokemon Advance, the dub seems to have made efforts to refer to onigiri as simply "rice balls," but have still messed up a few times (sandwiches in You Can Never Taillow!.) However, with Pokemon Advanced Battle, 4Kids has been painting away onigiri in favor of western foods such as sandwiches.
2. Blaster Balls
Despite the fact that many other mainstream American Saturday morning cartoons feature bombs and refer to these weapons as such, 4Kids is again hesitant about saying the "B-word," in Pokemon. Team Rocket can often be found saying ridiculous phrases like "Blaster balls away!" which seems like a really foolish attempt at censorship because most children actually know what a bomb in a cartoon looks like. The word bomb has sometimes made it into the dub and not at others, showing 4Kids is just as schizo with the issue as onigiri.
Like bombs, 4Kids seems awfully preoccupied and paranoid that their eight year old viewing audience is stupid, and by seeing a lit match on Pokemon, they'll become deranged pyromaniacs and burn down everything in sight. Anything that has to do with matches or lighters has been edited out of Pokemon, including freeze-framing a scene of Meowth with a lighter in Attack of the Prehistoric Pokemon, editing out a entire scene of Snow Way Out due to Meowth lighting matches, and in the same episode, drawing a candle over Meowth's match. Again, we're left to wonder how sad a view 4Kids must have on the youth of America.
4. Excessive Violence
Cartoonish violence is always a fun thing, but again, 4Kids shows hesitation in Pokemon. While 4Kids allows the showing of Jesse and Misty hitting the guys with mallets, paper fans, and frying pans, direct violence is still unacceptable. Early scenes of Misty slapping Ash were poorly edited out so that you could still hear the sound of Kasumi slapping Satoshi, and other scenes like Satoshi being attacked by Kibania and Kasumi bonking Takeshi in the head with a giant log were also taken out. Because as you know, all eight year old kids are capable of picking up a log and bashing someone with it.
5. Lost in Translation
Many scenes of Pokemon possess plays on words of the Japanese language. Often times, puns with Japanese jokes in Pocket Monsters are rewritten poorly and completely void of humor in Pokemon, such as Ash's "Cowterpie" joke. In Pocket Monsters, Kasumi says Mushi!, which means bug, and Satoshi replies Ushi??which means cow, and we end up getting a completely random attempt at humor in the dub. Confusion worthy scenes like this are just a direct result from translating from Japanese to English. There wasn't any real way to include a joke like that one (and others) in Pokemon without messing them up.
6. Culture Shock
Like the language, many episodes of Pokemon also include storylines embedded in Japanese culture or mythology. Two of the best examples of this are the holidays celebrated in Princess vs. Princess and The Purrfect Hero. 4Kids was probably considering shelving these episodes due their celebration of Japanese holidays (as seen by the out of order airing dates), but decided not to. Yes, there is a Girl's Day and also a Kid's Day celebrated in Japan. In The Ghost of Maiden's Peak, the characters took part in a Japanese Summer's festival (celebrated at the beginning of summer) with kimonos, drum music, and the like. Koga's Gym was modeled after a traditional Ninja house and so was the Team Rocket kabuki motto of that episode. In most cases, 4Kids can be seen trying to pass these events off as a "Pokemon World," thing and usually only allow Japanese culture when discussing ninjas or karate masters (which are supposed to equate "Asian" to us stupid American kids...)
Sometimes, Pokemon themselves represent pieces of Japanese culture, and 4Kids tends to ignore it. In Just Waiting on a Friend, Ninetales represents the legend of the kitsune, who is able to create illusions and turn themselves into humans. Koikingu/Magikarp explain the Japanese myth of a carp that turns into mythical dragon creature (apparently from having the patience to swim against the current if I remember correctly, which I probably don't...) and before racial issues were brought up, Ruujura/Jynx was believed to be modelled after Gangura Girls, Japanese women that dye their hair blonde and dance. Meowth's charm is modelled after a statue of a cat that brings luck. These's also other things representing Japan, such as the Daruma doll in A Scare in the Air, which is rooted in Buddishm, the main religion of Japan. Oh, but celebrating Christmas in Holiday Hi-Jynx is fine, because it's an American thing. Whatever.
Often times when Pocket Monsters provides an unhappy situation of reality, 4Kids often cops out and takes the easy road with Pokemon in an attempt to sugar coat things for kiddies. Often times, people who have died in Pocket Monsters, either "leave," or "mysteriously vanish," in Pokemon. In the same way, Takeshi�s mother in Pocket Monsters really left the family in a similar way that Takeshi�s father did. Meanwhile, Brock�s mother passed away trying to make ends meet. Similarly, it was once believed that the Zukan (Pokedex) explains that after Butafrii mate, they die, which would have made Satoshi�s parting with his Pokemon more dramatic. Although this has been proven as a mistranslation, it's clear that the original scripts are mature enough for events like these to be believable, whereas the dubbed episodes tend to be fairly sugarcoated.
As everybody knows by now, Porygon was featured in an episode of the original Indigo season that left hundreds of Japanese child in seizures. While it was really Pikachu that caused the flashing lights, Porygon seems to be seen as the culprit of the seizures. Think I'm lying? Okay, explain to me then how both Porygon andPorygon 2 have never made another major (if any at all) appearance in the Anime? Not even during Johto, where a Porygon 2 episode would easily fit among Johto's mountain of fillers? While not specifically referred to as such, it seems like the Porygon clan are unofficially banned from the anime.
Although a lot of people hated Jynx back during the Red/Blue/Yellow generation, a new kind of shunning came to Jynx after she made her first major appearance in the American Anime. A Mrs. Carol Weatherford saw Jynx, and wrote an essay on how Japanese export characters such as Jynx and Mr. Popo from Dragonballstrongly resemble blackface characters. Blackface is commonly seen as stereotypical and offensive to people of African descent. Unfortunately, Japan is a homogenous country and there aren�t a lot of "Africans" there, so they saw nothing wrong with Rougela's design. Nintendo of America freaked, though, and pulled Jynx�s merchandise, seemingly stopped showing Holiday Hi-Jynx, banned The Ice Cave, which was the episode majorly featuring Rougela, and edited out her other cameos from the series, including a 13 second appearance in All Things Bright and Beautifly. Jynx is now considered a controversial Pokemon in America, and in an attempt to make things right, Nintendo has recolored her purple in the video games. You can still see clips of the old Jynx in the Pokeraps, Pikachu�s Jukeboxes and The Mandarin Island Miss-Match. The anime finally got around to using the new design of Jynx in the Pokemon Advanced episodes mentioned above.
Due to 9/11, not even Pokemon was safe from censorship in an attempt not to offend anybody. Much like the ridiculous claims that Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers were some kind of 9/11 reference, A Scare in the Air from the Orange League was renamed Spirits in the Sky. The Tower of Terror and Tentacool and Tentacruel stopped playing for a while; the first because of the episode's title, and the second because it featured a giant Tentacruel destroying buildings. The Tower of Terror's tape wasn't given to Cartoon Network by Kids WB, so it's still not being shown in America. In addition, a small scene where the Rocket Dan shoot rockets at a building in The Poke-Spokes Person was also taken out.