If you think celebrities are getting canceled is a new thing, you may not know the story of the first Pokémon to lose its career over a digital mishap. Back in 1997, a Porygon-centric episode of the animated series was released with visual effects that led to some viewers experiencing seizures. Due to this, Porygon and its evolutions have never appeared in the anime since, robbing this poor Generation One favorite of years of animated adventures. It seemed that no one would speak up for this de-platformed Pokémon… until now. This past Sunday, on Porygon Community Day, the official Pokémon Twitter account posted a now-deleted tweet saying what Porygon Pokéfans have been saying since 1997: "Porygon did nothing wrong."
The episode was called "Dennō Senshi Porygon," and it was the thirty-eighth installment of Pokémon's first season. The incident in question referred to as "Pokémon Shock" by the press, led to the hospitalization of 685 people. Following this shocking reaction, the series went on hiatus and, when it was back, essentially scrubbed Porygon from the TV show's existence. No English translation, no edited episode, and no future roles for the canceled Pokémon. What many don't know, though, is that clips of the episode can be viewed now on YouTube… and even a quick glimpse will show that it wasn't Porygon itself that created the seizure-inducing flashlight light effect, but rather Team Rocket's attack on Porygon.
Porygon did nothing wrong indeed.
Porygon has been a scapegoat for years, and it appears that those who run the official Pokémon Twitter thought that Niantic's Porygon Community Day in Pokémon GO would be a good day to finally take a stance and right this wrong. "Porygon did nothing wrong," they tweeted, speaking up for the voiceless. Well, not so much voiceless, but perhaps for the only-able-to-screech-its-own-name.
The Tweet has since been deleted, apparently because of Twitter users pointing out an obviously mistaken connection to a controversial meme from the past. So the final defense of Porygon, twenty-three years too late, falls as soon as it speaks up.
Will Porygon's name ever be cleared? Do you blame it for its dangerous episode? Is it time for this Pokémon to finally meet Ash, get captured, fight loyally by his side for a season, and then be forgotten as Ash moves to a new location? Only time will tell.