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Gym Leader Bea from Pokémon Sword and Shield appears in the most recent episode of the Pokémon: Twilight Wings anime. Notice anything different about the character’s animated version?

Below are Bea’s official game art and a screenshot from Pokemon.co.jp:

Illustration for article titled iPokémon/i Anime Accused Of Whitewashing
Screenshot: Pokemon.co.jp
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Illustration for article titled iPokémon/i Anime Accused Of Whitewashing
Screenshot: Pokemon.co.jp

More in-game images from event scenes:

Illustration for article titled iPokémon/i Anime Accused Of Whitewashing
Screenshot: Giml

As Japanese site Hachima Kikou points out, here is how Bea appears in the newest episode of Twilight Wings:

Illustration for article titled iPokémon/i Anime Accused Of Whitewashing
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Illustration for article titled iPokémon/i Anime Accused Of Whitewashing
Illustration for article titled iPokémon/i Anime Accused Of Whitewashing
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Illustration for article titled iPokémon/i Anime Accused Of Whitewashing

As noted on Hachima Kikou, there were international fans who said the character had clearly been whitewashed for the anime, writing things like, “Oh god they whitewashed Bea.” In Japan, some wondered if the character’s skin looked different because of the bright and sunny way the episode was lit.

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Illustration for article titled iPokémon/i Anime Accused Of Whitewashing
Illustration for article titled iPokémon/i Anime Accused Of Whitewashing
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It was also pointed out that the character’s original name is Saitou, a common Japanese last name. As noted Hachima Kikou, there were claims online in Japan that perhaps the character was simply tanned like a Japanese gyaru in an attempt to explain the discrepancy and chalk it up to a suntan.

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Originally from Texas, Ashcraft has called Osaka home since 2001. He has authored five books, including most recently, Japanese Whisky: The Ultimate Guide to the World's Most Desirable Spirit.

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