A recently declassified document from the Army’s National Ground Intelligence center details a series of proposals for non-lethal weapons ranging from a close-range laser to a device that would flood cellular networks. In particular, it contains descriptions of a weapon that would cause mass seizures. While it’s not surprising that the Pentagon would investigate non-lethal weapons, what is surprising is the inspiration for the seizure gun: a 1997 episode of Pokemon where a flashing Pikachu caused several simultaneous seizures in Japan. From the report:
The photic-induced seizure phenomenon was borne out demonstrably on December 16, 1997 on Japanese television when hundreds of viewers of a popular cartoon were treated, inadvertently, to photic seizure induction.
The Army basically wanted the ability to force combatants to drop and shake like kids having a grand mal seizure while watching cartoons. While it’s impossible at the moment to know what kind of actual weapons stemmed from the proposals in the released document, the Pokemon-based weapon well of inspiration is anything but dry: there are several super-effective techniques that can be learned from Nintendo’s monster-collecting game. Sure, the military has been investigating Psychic for a while, but have the considered the paramilitary effectiveness of skills like Hyper Beam or Razor Leaf?
If you want to take a closer look at the declassified document, it’s available courtesy of Wired here.