An episode of Pokémon’s current anime series “Sun and Moon” will not be making it to U.S. shores due to some of its scenes allegedly featuring “blackface.”
Episodes of “Pokémon the Series: Sun and Moon’s” current arc are broadcast in the U.S. about four months behind their Japanese releases, unlike other anime titles which are streamed internationally on the same day as they air in Japan, according to SoraNews24.
“Episode 1005: Satoshi and Nagetsukesaru! Touchdown of Friendship!! (Ash and Passimian! Touchdown of Friendship!!)” aired in Japan back in March and should be making its appearance on Disney’s American broadcast lineup in early August.
In the episode, Ash befriends a Passimian and helped it in a contest to determine the leader of a Passimian pack. During the competition, Ash is seen dressed up like one of the creatures, complete with some dark paint covering his face and skin.
While Disney has yet to confirm the reason for the episode’s omission from the broadcast lineup, fans have hypothesized that the company is avoiding potential backlash due to Ash’s face painting being construed as a form of blackface.
Meanwhile, Pokémon community Serebii webmaster Joe Merrick pointed out that it may also be possible that the Passimian-focused episode will not be banned altogether and is merely being aired out of order.