KalosianPorygon asks:

What are, in your opinion, the most baffling worldbuilding incoherences of the mainline Pokémon games? For me, it’s the presence of Bananas (as is, the real-life fruit) in Sword and Shield, when Nanab Berries, which are based on bananas, also exist.

That’s a tough one… See, this is hard because a big part of my schtick normally is looking at inconsistencies and figuring out why they actually might not be inconsistent.  “This is a baffling worldbuilding incoherence” is normally my last resort, after “unreliable narrators” and “differing creative visions” and “fiction has no sense of scale” and “myth and history are really complicated” and “biology is also really complicated” and “there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio” have all failed.  Actually pegging something as fundamentally inconsistent in a way that allows no more interesting interpretation is almost an admission of defeat for me.  Like, take the Nanab Berry thing.  That doesn’t even strike me as a problem; that’s just two fruit that look similar and have similar names, which may or may not be related (Jim the Editor pointed out that we have grapes and grapefruit).  Cheri Berries and Cherubi also exist in the same world; I think one is probably named after the other.

My first thought for an actual answer here was “they never really explain how Pokéballs work, and none of the characters seem to think that’s weird” but I don’t know if that qualifies as an inconsistency, so much as something that’s just never explored.  Something that really is worth wondering about is how food works – not just whether we eat Pokémon, but whether Pokémon eat each other.  I actually suspect there may not be a firm party line on this within Game Freak, because the games definitely mention hunting and predation from time to time, but when you directly ask them they’re reluctant to talk about it.  We finally get to eat Slowpoke tails in Sword and Shield, but they’re always careful to mention that Slowpoke tails grow back.  You sort of have to assume that we eat Pokémon and they eat each other, because a world with no predation whatsoever just wouldn’t have creatures that resemble real ones, but if even the lowest Pokémon are of roughly doglike intelligence and many species are superhuman, the idea of killing them for food – or of them killing each other for food, when they could easily have been friends on some trainer’s team – does make one a little bit… queasy.  And that’s just not something Pokémon’s optimistic worldview can process in a nuanced way.

11 thoughts on “KalosianPorygon asks:

  1. I know in the new games that they drew attention to how the Fossils went exist because of the how the Prey/Predator relationships were out of whack. So if you assume the creatures actually *were* like that and it’s the scientists who put the rocks together wrong (as opposed to the rocks being right and the Pokedex talking out of its arse claiming they existed at all) then that’s the most explicit I think it’s been about “this thing eats pokemon”

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    1. Honestly, I will take any excuse to tell the Pokédex that it’s talking out of its arse. Come to think of it, the fact that the Pokédex acts as though the Galarian fossil Pokémon are real creatures that actually existed, when they were actually just invented by the fever dreams of a drugged-up scientist with a roll of duct tape, would have been a really good answer to this question…

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      1. To be fair, I figured that was an intentional extension of the joke. Rather than being confirmation that they were real in-world, I think it was just supposed to highlight that the “scientists” involved still didn’t realize that anything was unusual or wrong about the Pokémon they assembled – to emulate the (more educated) conjectures people draw from assembled fossils in general about how the extinct animal might have lived. It’s definitely not supposed to be taken as fact – Dracovish alone should be proof enough of that!
        (This does lean pretty heavily into the idea that the Pokédex is unreliable, though – it literally is just a “scientist” making something up and the Pokédex reporting it as fact. I don’t think you’re wrong to come to *that* conclusion! I just think the entry itself isn’t an in-world inconsistency, haha.)

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  2. This is (kind of) touched on in DPP when you take your Pokemon to Doctor Footstep. My Staraptor said that some wild Pokemon look down on trained Pokemon for travelling with Trainers and “forgetting the wild”. I kind of rationalise that that means they essentially grow out of the urge to hunt and kill other Pokemon. It raises other issues and doesn’t fully explain it, but that’s partly how I see it – that wild Pokemon (on the whole, but not exclusively) tend to behave more like wild animals and that domesticated/trained Pokemon (again, on the whole but not exclusively) tend to act in a more “civilised” (for lack of a better word) manner.

    Did that make sense or did I just ramble?

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    1. Those are also the games I cite when I use “does an Ursaring **** in the woods” as a throwaway line, because the mulch saleswoman all but directly stated that Pokemon do in fact defecate.

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