Hello, here is my 2nd question from the first one I told you about that site. A person did a nuzlocke called Pokémon Unchained. The person said this, “I read Pokémon Black/White as an allegory for antebellum US south. In a sense, a way to explore ‘How did people rationalize slavery?’ Well, in these games, they are rationalizing the enslavement and fighting of Pokémon, in a contemporary world where, at least in the US, dog fighting is illegal.” Sorry for double questions.

I don’t think there was actually a question in there, per se, but I’ll run with it anyway.

Here’s the story: http://pokemonunchained.tumblr.com/.  It sort of trails off around the Dragonspiral Tower, but it’s worth a read.

It makes me distinctly uncomfortable, which shows that it is succeeding in its aims.  One bristles at the substitution of ‘slave’ for ‘Pokémon’ and ‘master’ for ‘trainer’ – the instinct is to shout out “it’s not the same thing, damnit!”, especially for someone like me who has put so much thought into how and why it’s not the same thing – but of course impugning Pokémon is not the point; it’s a thought experiment, and one for which Pokémon is extremely well-suited.  An allegorical reading of Pokémon can give insight into the mind of an American slave owner and help understand why they felt willing to fight and die to protect a ‘way of life’ that now seems obviously corrupt and horrific to us.  To the mindset of an early 19th century white slave owner, it was all too easy to list ways in which blacks were supposedly better off in servitude to whites, which is what made the ideology so pervasive and enduring.  Morbid, perhaps, but useful.

Having said that, I feel that if one reads Pokémon the way I do, the differences are too numerous and too obvious to be worth listing.  I think it also bears pointing out that much of this narrative’s strength is drawn from the volatile and fatal nature of battle under the Nuzlocke rules (which, of course, have no counterpart in any official depiction).  It wouldn’t really have the same punch if the ‘slaves’ actually were happy and healthy, would it?  I also can’t help but wonder whether the story ends at the point it does because the author couldn’t think of a way of rewriting N’s attunement to Zekrom that fit with the slavery analogy (although perhaps I am giving her too little credit).

One thought on “Hello, here is my 2nd question from the first one I told you about that site. A person did a nuzlocke called Pokémon Unchained. The person said this, “I read Pokémon Black/White as an allegory for antebellum US south. In a sense, a way to explore ‘How did people rationalize slavery?’ Well, in these games, they are rationalizing the enslavement and fighting of Pokémon, in a contemporary world where, at least in the US, dog fighting is illegal.” Sorry for double questions.

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