'Pokémon Sun and Moon' Anime Episode Banned?

Over the years, one of the more interesting aspects of the Pokémon anime has been the localization of the Japanese-language series. Cultural differences and even health hazards have lead to the censorship or banning specific episodes in the past, and another one is reportedly being added to the list.

The 64th episode of the Pokémon Sun and Moon anime, which airs on Disney XD, is being skipped in the official schedule for unspecified reasons. The episode, which aired in Japan in the spring, features series protagonist Ash dressing up as the Fighting-type Passimian, which some fans suspect may be the reason the episode won't air in the West. According to Pokémon wiki Bulbapedia, the Passimian episode of the anime was not localized because Ash wears dark face paint resembling blackface.

pokemon sun moon anime ash passimian blackface
Ash dresses up as a Passimian in the 'Pokémon Sun and Moon' anime Screenshot: Bulbapedia

Joe Merrick, webmaster of the online Pokémon community Serebii, points out that while it's highly possible the episode has been banned, there's a chance it's being aired out of order, as was the case for for the Skrelp episode and the Pikachu movie episode from past series.

GameFreak and The Pokémon Company redesigned the Pokémon Jynx after it was criticized as a depiction of negative racial stereotypes, which led to the ban of the "Holiday Hi-Jynx" episode in America after it was initially aired.

Other examples, like the infamous Porygon episode from the first Pokémon series, which caused seizures in Japanese children, never made it stateside. The Safari Zone episode, where Ash has a gun stuck in his face, was also banned in America (many kids growing up in the 90s were confused when Ash suddenly had 20 Tauros).

The Pokémon Company has yet to make an official statement about the episode. Newsweek reached out to The Pokémon Company, which a representative said there was no further information or comment to provide. We will update if more information is provided.

What do you think of the reported banned Pokémon episode? Let us know in the comments section below.