10

Let's get technical here. Have you ever seen Pikachu excrete? What about Charizard? Or Greninja? No! Well, I don't think anyone has. Is that a sign of them not being actual animals? Let's recall the seven vital characteristics for life: Mrs. Gren.

  • Movement
  • Respiratory
  • Sensitivity
  • Growth
  • Reproduction
  • Excretion
  • Nutrition

We've seen Pikachu move (obviously), breathe, touch, and eat.

Does Pikachu grow? Does he excrete?

I am missing one thing out here: reproduction. But we all know Pokémon reproduce, if not by normal means.

Throughout the series, we haven't seen Pikachu grow at all, or other Pokémon. Does evolving count?

We've never seen a Pokémon excrete.

Therefore, can we say they are animals?

Let me make it clear that this is only out of interest, and I have not gone basukas!

  • 5
    Pokémon = Pocket Monsters. – Valorum Apr 23 '17 at 19:24
  • 4
    Guzzlords don't excrete (apparently) ""A dangerous Ultra Beast, it appears to be eating constantly, but for some reason its droppings have never been found."" – Valorum Apr 23 '17 at 19:32
  • 2
    When was the last time we saw any TV character excrete? Occasionally, on some shows, perhaps, but we shouldn't assume that humans on most of those shows aren't animals. – Michael Apr 24 '17 at 1:43
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    Also, the 'evolutions' of a lot of them mimic real life animal growth stages, particularly a lot of the bug-types, who go through the larva, pupa, and adult stages. (Or in the case of some, nymph and adult) – Michael Apr 24 '17 at 1:44
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    by this reasoning, is Ash human? Do you see him 'excrete' or 'egest' : p – NKCampbell Apr 24 '17 at 14:43
24

This question has been the topic for great discussion; in providing research for my answer, I even found a fair few discussion posts on Reddit, though I can not seem to find them, now.; however there is evidence of regular animals existing in the Pokémon universe, where the lack there of appears to be the most popular argument for Pokémon being animals.

At the end of the day, Pokémon are monsters; after all, Pokémon is a portmanteau of "pocket" and "monster". Some of them are based off animals, and thus act like and can fill the roles of particular animals; others are based off plants, or even inanimate objects. Whether they are actually considered animals is an entirely different story, and there is not enough conclusive evidence.


This question appears to correlate the MRS GREN acronymn with being an animal. In actual fact, the MRS GREN acronymn does not specifically identify an animal; it identifies a living organism. We can say without doubt that they are living organisms. Let's take a closer look at the MRS GREN definition of a living organism.

Movement

Pokémon definitely move. They would not be the source of entertainment they are if they just sat there all day. Some move more than others, while some barely move at all, but there is always some degree of movement capabilities.

A group of Pokémon run towards the camera.

Respiratory

We do not really see much in the way of breathing, but every now and again, we see a Pokémon that is short of breath (often being out of breath after some overly physical action such as running or taking a severe beating). You do not get short of breath if you do not need to breathe in the first place.

A Bulbasur breathes.

Sensitivity

We often see examples of physical sensitivity in Pokémon, usually after taking a big hit or being defeated in battle. We also know that they have a physical endurance level (i.e. they "take damage"), because they can be defeated in battle, and often have to be healed.

A Pikachu lies defeated after battle. Note the clear expression of pain.

Growth

Pokémon grow in two ways. They grow in size, and when they reach certain conditions, they evolve and grow into new Pokémon. We often only clearly see the size difference when the Pokémon evolves; however, in some of the games (notably Pokémon Go), you can catch the same Pokémon in a variety of heights and weights.

Eevee and its evolution Jolteon in Pokémon Go. Note the height and weight; note that they are marked as "XS", symbolising that these particular Pokémon are of a smaller weight and height in comparison with the average for that Pokémon.

Reproduction

We know that Pokémon reproduce, because they lay and hatch from eggs. In fact, Pokémon breeding is a commonly employed mechanic used to catch Pokémon of particular rarities and strengths.

A Wynaut hatching from an egg.

Excrement

OK, so we do not see Pokémon poop. There is a good reason for that; it is a video game and TV series primarily targeted at children. It is one of those things that just go without saying. We do, however, see references to Pokémon excrementing waste, primarily through Pokédex readings:

Darumaka's droppings are hot, so people used to put them in their clothes to keep themselves warm.
- Daramuaka's Pokédex reading in Pokémon X and Pokémon OmegaRuby

A dangerous Ultra Beast, it appears to be eating constantly, but for some reason its droppings have never been found.
- Guzzlord's Pokédex reading in Pokémon Moon

The latter has been used to say that Guzzlord does not excrete; but on the contrary, this goes to show that Pokémon in general do. After all, if they did not, it would not be any mystery why one particular Pokémon's droppings have not been found.

Nutrition

We see Pokémon eat all the time. Ensuring your Pokémon has a nutritious diet is also often an employed mechanic in-game.

Pikachu and Togepi, eating.


In summary, in contrast with part of the question, Pokémon can be considered living organisms; however, there is only discussion and debate about whether or not they are actually considered animals.

After all, Pokémon are fictional organisms. The closest real organisms we have are predominantly animals. If they existed in the real world, they could quite possibly be classed as a completely seperate organism due to the clear distinction of both ability and comprehension. Since that is not the case, we can't really try to classify them with non-fictional constraints.

  • 11
    Per the criteria in the original post, Ash is not a living thing, either. After all, the show's been on for decades, and he's lived through like, 4 sets of clothing (amazingly high for an anime character) but he hasn't grown an inch...or pooped. – Jeff Apr 24 '17 at 0:55
  • 1
    He has definetley grown. After all, if he did not grow, why did he have to wait until the age of 10 to be eligable for a Pokémon license? If he was always a ten year old boy, it would not have been such a big deal, in the pilot episode, when he wakes up on his birthday and rushes off to collect his first Pokémon; he would have just turned around, one day, and decided to set off. I think we are confusing practical reality for TV tropes. In practical reality, none of them are living. They are fictitious TV and video game characters. Or maybe a wizard did it.. – Gnemlock Apr 24 '17 at 1:24
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    Obviously Ash is an android programmed to believe he is a ten-year-old boy. They gave him false memories of his prior life, arranged the building in a way he would 'remember' and set him off. This can't be disproven via canon material (it's a really good android) and makes just as much sense as "they never poop because we never see them poop". – Jeff Apr 24 '17 at 2:30
  • Excrement is not the process of excretion, it's egestion. Urinating/sweating/exhaling is the process or excretion. Egestion is unusable matter remaining from ingested food. Excretion is the removal of metabolic waste – user001 Apr 24 '17 at 14:34
  • @user001 If there was that much distinction between excretion and egestion, the acronym would be MRS GREEN, obviously. – Mr Lister Apr 25 '17 at 6:19
1

Actually there IS conclusive evidence that Pokémon are animals. At least in the game continuity. There is an NPCs, IIRC from the 4th gen games, that literally says "Pokémon and other animals" which leads to two conclusions:

1) There are ordinary animals in their worlds (in the anime we already knew that though) 2) "and other animals" implies that those characters classify Pokémon as animals

So they are not just "other versions of our animals while being their own thing" but actually animals.

I will check how I can make a screenshot. I need to find the game first, then I will edit the comment. As long as I have not edited it, feel free to ignore it. But I definitely have seen it. I only need to find it again.

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