hugh_donnetono asks:

Why do you (and so many other people) tend to refer to pokemon as if each entire species is one, individual being? We had a bit of a conversation about this in the Comfey comment section, but I didn’t phrase my question well and it ended up getting lost.

I think because we tend to imagine Pokémon as designs in the abstract, or as essentially playable characters.  When we play the games, we almost exclusively deal with Pokémon as individuals, and the games are largely devoid of ecological realism, so it’s really only in some episodes of the anime that we encounter them as species in a natural context.  We’re not thinking so much “Mightyena, the doglike pack-hunting Pokémon native to Hoenn” as “Mightyena, the Pokémon with a Dark type and attacks X, Y and Z, that was put into the game as an option for me to have in my party, as an individual.”  When I am talking about Pokémon in the context of communities and ecological relationships and their existence in an environment and so on, I think I am a bit quicker to shift over to a generic plural, whereas when I’m talking about using a Pokémon to battle I almost exclusively use singular, often gendered forms.  Also, this actually isn’t totally without precedent in the real world; like, naturalists commonly do refer to animals in the singular and using singular pronouns – “the giant anteater,” “the reticulated python,” “the Magellanic penguin” – even when they’re clearly talking about the general behaviour of the species, not the actions of individuals.

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