So you’ve been at this a while…. What are you most proud of?
That’s a tough one…
To be honest, I don’t much like thinking back to things I’m proud of, because most of them are quite a long time in the past and it just makes me feel as though I peaked a while ago. By the time I finish reviewing all the generation VII Pokémon it will have taken me almost two years, and there’ll probably be precious little time left before I have to start doing something about generation VIII (which is coming; you know it’s coming; there’s always another bloody one coming). In some ways it’s sort of justified, because my Alola reviews are twice as long and much better researched than my Unova ones, and I wasn’t taking regular questions from readers when I did Unova, so of course it takes me longer, and there are quite a few more new Pokémon in Alola than in Kalos, so of course it’s longer than that generation too. The trouble is that Pokémon reviews feel very routine, very business-as-usual, and they’re a bit formulaic in format (especially the mechanics/competitive second half). They’re good, and frankly I am proud of how much better they are than the Unova ones, but they don’t make me feel like I’ve written something important and challenging, like when I used to write about the ethics of Pokémon training. I think the most important and significant thing I’ve written recently was a couple of months ago, when I wrote about why Pokémon may need – may have a moral obligation – to embrace a more pessimistic worldview than has always been its preference. I don’t feel proud of that, though, because I don’t feel like it accomplished anything – just set out something that needs to be accomplished, that perhaps I need to find some way to do myself.
The Pokémottos do provoke a certain feeling of achievement just for the sheer scale of them – I’ve got one for every family of Pokémon, up to and including the ones I’ve reviewed from Alola, which I’m doing as I write my full reviews, and I suppose I’ll continue with that project when generation VIII materialises. I’ve always been rather satisfied that several ideas in my series If I Were In Charge anticipated, if not the precise details, at least the general direction of a number of changes made to the games during generations VI and VII, as some of my readers pointed out shortly after the release of X and Y. I would repeat the exercise, but for one thing we’re probably too close to the next generation, and for another I’ve been moving steadily away from wanting incremental changes and towards thinking that the best thing for Pokémon might actually be to rip its guts out and start over, which is both a harder project and less applicable to the other work I do here.
To be honest I’ve sort of always felt that a lot of my best work was actually on the anime commentaries I used to do (and I’m going to have to link to where you can find those on Tumblr because we aren’t even close to reformatting and tagging all of them for WordPress yet). Using one-episode plotlines or background details from the anime to extrapolate to big worldbuilding-level ideas about culture and ideology is just fun to me, and it’s something I think I’m genuinely good at (certainly better than, say, building competitive movesets). I had some really fun ideas. The trouble with writing about the anime is there’s so damn much of it – there are over a thousand episodes now, plus all those godawful movies, and I’ve only done the first 70. It’s too open-ended a project; I feel like committing to it locks me out of doing anything else. Which… is what continually reviewing each new generation’s Pokémon is turning into now, so I really outplayed myself on that one.
What do you think? Anyone who reads this blog – why are you here? What about it do you think is worthwhile? What should I be proud of?