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Pokemon Fans Can't Overlook This Detail In The Anime

It's easy to suffer from déjà vu in the world of Pokémon. From nearly every region sporting an eight-tiered, legally chill dog-fighting tournament to the absurd frequency with which the animated 'Mons look like angry little pigeons ... it's kind of like McDonald's — there's simply no escape. This, of course, extends to other aspects of the animated story, too, like how often Ash Ketchum battles Team Rocket's Jessie and James, almost exclusively to the same result. It's as if the property is formulaic in nature. Gasp. 

If such a "glaring" thematic oversight can be forgiven in an animated children's television production, then it's possible to make something of a game out of spotting all of the many repeatable characteristics displayed throughout the series. In fact, there's one particularly noteworthy one that fans of the series have noticed during the course of Pokémon's 1,000-plus episode run, and it's actually pretty funny, even if it's just a teeny bit inexplicable. 

Pokémon features a LOT of identical characters

In a subreddit dedicated to the Pokémon anime, u/BeerMan595692 posted a picture collage that documented an odd trend (more on that in a second), along with the caption, "We talk about how all the Joys and Jennys look the same. But we forget that..." The Redditor's sentence trailed off to let their visual aid do the heavy lifting. And lift it did, because each image noted just how often the Pokémon anime recycled facial sprites. To be fair, most of the pictures entered into evidence are from storylines in which characters intentionally appeared similar, identical even, but that, too, is a bizarrely frequent occurrence.

Hilariously, the aforementioned Reddit post only covered a fraction of the instances in which this occurred. It listed four times (for Max, Paul, Professor Oak, and Dawn) that Pokémon characters dealt with doppelgängers. In reality, there are actually so, so many more. For example, u/MCCGuy called to attention the multiple characters who share a face with Team Rocket's Jessie. Amongst them is Jessebelle (yes, seriously), James' erstwhile fiancée from the bygone days when he obeyed his rich parent's every command.  

In other comments, u/DonutMaster56 added that a slew of identical men named Porter work on boats in the animated series, and u/Y3C3NN3KMI1S reminded everyone that even the protagonist's features aren't sacred. Ash Ketchum shares a character model with not one but two other kids (Travis and Arnold, the poor kids), both of whom only briefly appeared in separate episodes. Actually, aside from Samson Oak, Professor's Oak's cousin, most of these look-a-likes are never seen a second time. 

So, what's going on here? Why does the Pokémon anime so often look like a silly version of an episode from "The Twilight Zone"

It probably stems from Nurse Joy and Officer Jenny

The short answer is that there is no official answer. Seriously, Google is distressingly devoid of conclusive responses, which honestly kind of hurts. The long answer requires some mental math, as well as a bit of Pokémon knowledge, so let's do a little digging. As previously noted, Pokémon has always done this, and nowhere is it more apparent than in the identical copies of Nurse Joy and Officer Jenny, both of whom appear in every town of every region. If Ash Ketchum ever traveled across the galaxy to a distant planet, chances are that planet would already be populated by nearly identical Jennys and Joys, that's just how many of them there are.

While their specific cases are passed off as a running joke in the series, the similarities between these characters more likely stem from the nurse and officer NPCs who were first introduced in the Pokémon games, which were released a year prior to the anime. Hey, if the designs worked once, right? From here, it's a only slight sidestep to conclude that the Pokémon animators chose to apply such a handy visual shortcut elsewhere in their work. While the correlation between Nurse Joy and Officer Jenny and their video game counterparts is practically a one-to-one sort of deal, everything else is wholly theoretical. 

In this way, it could also be argued that there are so many duplicate humans out there because, once upon a time, Pokémon and humans canonically entered into ... relationships, a delightfully horrific detail that the English translation of the games didn't quite expunge. Try unlearning that, dear reader!