The Pokémon anime is often left to delve into something from the games in more detail, but what could have been one of the most interesting cases of anime expansion ended up being forgotten entirely.
In the Pokémon Chronicles sub-series, one focuses on Professor Oak being kidnapped by Team Rocket’s Butch and Cassidy, on behalf of a Team Rocket scientist named Dr. Namba, who has previously appeared in pursuit of the child version of the legendary Pokémon Lugia. Dr. Namba wants all the information Oak has about the mysterious life form known as Pokérus, a virus that can infect Pokémon and make them grow stronger at a faster rate. Oak refuses to tell them anything, procrastinating by providing background information and enduring the sound of his fingernails scratching against glass, seen as a torture technique by the incompetent Rockets. Oak is eventually rescued by Tracey and Ash’s old friend Ritchie, but the episode ends by saying that Oak has decided to do some research on Pokérus. Unfortunately, however, this idea was never mentioned again.
Pokémon’s Pokérus needs some exploration
In the game, a Pokérus is a rare condition that can be obtained by coming into contact with a Pokémon that has been infected with it, usually a wild Pokémon. The Pokérus will spread among the player’s party, although it remains dormant in PC, and its main effect is to double the “Effort Value” earned by completing the battle, causing the Pokémon’s stats to increase at a faster rate. higher altitude. Team Rocket, in the episode, is said to want Pokérus to be part of their “Pokémon Power Up Project”, which is definitely something it would be good for. However, Dr. Namba mentions it in the context of helping Pokémon evolve faster, something that the Pokérus in the game doesn’t do.
Team Rocket’s plans for Pokérus may have made for an interesting arc, but what’s more disappointing is that Professor Oak never delves into the topic again in Pokémon. After all, Pokérus has always been described as a “microscopic life form,” and Oak states in the episode that it is actually a combination of Pokémon and Virus. Is Pokérus really a Pokémon, a virus, or something entirely different? Pokémon can come in all shapes and sizes, so why not microscopic Pokémon? The subject certainly seems worthy of further investigation, but alas, it’s been dropped from the screen, if at all. This is the only time Pokérus is mentioned in the anime, despite the fact that it has continued to exist in games since its introduction back in Gold and Silver form.
While not using Pokérus to its fullest is a truly missed opportunity, its continued existence means it can always become relevant again, perhaps in the future. Pokémon Horizons–even if Scarlet and Violet don’t fully have Pokérus mechanics.