But the question of whether this piece of anime merchandise is actually a piece of tail is a matter of perspective.

A quick online search will turn up plenty of sexually explicit fan-made artwork for just about any piece of popular fiction, with anime and video games providing especially effective fertilizer for the minds of so-inclined illustrators. Since my browser history is filled with enough work-related smut already, I’m just going to take it as a given that if you plunk “Ash Pokémon butt” into a search engine, it’ll spit back a gallery’s worth of images that align with those parameters.

But while some anime merchandisers have no qualms about capitalizing on fans’ posterior motives, Pokémon is, above all else, a show for young children, and so the squeaky-clean franchise would never do something so scandalous as turning Ash’s bare backside into a plush toy…or would it?

Japanese Twitter user @3o__omari18 was recently in one of Japan’s Pokémon Center megastores, browsing the shelves of plushies, when he came upon the items seen above. “For a second, I though Ash’s ass was hanging out,” he laughs.

At first glance, the skin-colored material does indeed look like an extremely curvy butt, but there are two clues that tell us that’s not really the case. First, there’s a zipper running horizontally across the protruding area, and no one, even in anime, wears pants like that. Second, if you look at the “Satoshi butt” on the far right, you’ll see a protrusion sticking out of it. While a discussion of butts and protrusion might have you thinking it’s a turd, it’s actually pure white, which isn’t a hue of feces the human body would produce, no matter how many wild Pokémon you’ve been eating.

So what’s really going on here?

It’s just a plushie of new starter Pokémon Rowlet, being carried around in Ash’s backpack, as he often is in the currently airing Pokémon Sun and Moon anime.

Still, the photo has plenty of people doing a double-take, with online comments including:

“I can’t help thinking the person who stocked the shelf positioned them like that on purpose.”
“It’s like Satoshi is saying, ‘Hey, how ‘bout my ass?’”
“You can almost see his Poké Balls.”
“Wait, so does that mean it’s Rowlet’s butt we’re seeing?”

One Twitter user even saw a connection to a specific Pokémon Sun and Moon scene.

Yet in the end, Ash’s butt remains covered, and the toy innocent. Still, now that the photo is out there, you might want to think twice about buying any of these plushies on the second-hand market.

Source: Hachima Kiko
Featured image: Twitter/@3o__omari18