Jumping Joltik asks:

In battle, Pokémon are basically indestructible. No matter what kind of attack they endure, the worst that can happen to them is they’ll faint. A slash from a Scyther won’t sever your Caterpie in two. A punch from a Machamp won’t shatter your Rattata’s bones. If this wasn’t the case, then it would be impossible to ethically justify battles.

However, there are also many circumstances where Pokemon are depicted as being susceptible to injury. For example, I recently watched The Power of Us. In the movie, we learn that the old woman’s Snubble died as a result of a fiery explosion…but why? If every Pokémon can endure a Blast Burn from a Charizard without being reduced to a pile of ash, then why would this explosion kill Snubble?

The obvious explanation is that Pokémon are only capable of being harmed when it’s convenient to the plot, but that’s boring and terrible. If you had to come up with an in-universe explanation, what would it be? Why are Pokemon indestructible in some circumstances but not others?

I kind of suspect that this is actually part of Pokémon training – learning to use your attacks accurately, under pressure, in a wide range of situations, and non-lethally.  I mean, that’s part of martial arts in the real world; you have to be proficient in not just inflicting maximum damage, but also in inflicting exactly the amount of damage you intend to and no more.  In real combat sports, if you’re in a match and you kill your opponent by mistake, you generally have to flee Los Angeles with your petite French girlfriend and your father’s precious gold wristwatch, and I don’t think most Pokémon can even drive a stolen motorbike, much less rescue a mobster from a sex dungeon.  The point is, there is a certain amount of control and holding back that is probably exercised in all but the blackest of underground cage matches.

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So what do you think of the mystery dungeon games?

Well, I only ever played the first one and have incomplete secondhand knowledge of the plot of the subsequent titles, so anything I say here applies only to Mystery Dungeon Red/Blue and should be taken with a grain of salt.  I like the feel of them a lot.  It’s nice to have Pokémon games that are just about Pokémon, without any of those pesky humans to get in the way (even if the plot felt it was necessary to have humans exist… somewhere else… without ever really explaining their relation to the world we were actually playing in…).  It’s just cool to have Pokémon working together to solve their problems and protect each other, although some more effort could have been spent on explaining why exactly their problems seemed primarily to be “other Pokémon” (“they’re really mad at everything because of the natural disasters, okay!”).

The gameplay was… flawed in a number of ways, though (and here I will remind you that I’m going purely off the first titles in the series; many or all of my complaints may actually have been addressed later, I don’t know).  Adding new Pokémon to your team happens entirely at random, which is frustrating.  The dungeons themselves very quickly start to feel like they’re all the same – you wander through a randomly generated maze hitting anything that gets in your way until you reach whatever it is that you’re there for.  Tactical positioning doesn’t play nearly as much of a role as you’d think.  Sometimes your companions’ AI just does incredibly stupid things, like running off down a long corridor in pursuit of… something… and not being able to find you again.  Some moves are either crazy overpowered or completely useless: Silver Wind just damages everything on the screen (in addition to its side-effect of sometimes raising all the user’s stats), so sometimes you just die before you can even get close enough to attack whatever is using it, whereas your companions’ AI has no clue how to handle some support moves like Reflect, and will spam them every time you take a step until they run out of PP, which is not really helpful.  Each Pokémon’s level-up move list seems to have been directly copied over from Ruby and Sapphire without any consideration for how the strengths and purposes of the different moves are changed by the radically different demands of the battle system – I can understand not wanting to review every Pokémon, but surely it would have made sense to tinker with the ones available as player characters (I played as Psyduck, whose level-up list is appalling compared to what most of the starter Pokémon get, with no real advantages to balance that).  In short… there’s a lot of evidence in there of a general lack of effort in adapting the existing material of the Pokémon franchise to the game mechanics implied by the new concept.  Maybe it got better; I don’t know.  I hope so, because it was a very cool idea.

Why do some people equate Ash with Michael vick? Is it because of superficial judgment or real reasons with merit?

People keep bringing up this Michael Vick dude and I have no idea what he did (I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen anyone compare him to Ash either – just people objecting to that comparison).  I understand from what readers have told me that he was in the news a lot in the United States a few years back for something to do with animal abuse, so some of the stuff in my answer to this question might be of interest to you, but I just don’t know or care enough about this guy to say anything specific about him.

Do you think there should have been a Fairy-type that got Illusion as an ability? Not necessarily an existing one, just as a concept in general.

Hrm.  It makes sense, don’t get me wrong – fairies go well with illusion and deception – but I think the Illusion ability is something that it’s better to keep as Zoroark’s ‘thing,’ both for Zoroark’s sake (because, to be honest, it would probably not be difficult to come up with a Pokémon who gets more out of Illusion than Zoroark does) and to avoid the chaos that would be brought about by having both of them on the same team.  That’s not to say we can’t try to think of something that draws on a similar idea of deception, though… fairies from different cultures and different stories can have control over a wide variety of elemental forces, so… maybe a Fairy-type who can have several different secondary types, which the opponent can’t immediately identify.  It can be (say) Fairy/Fire, Fairy/Electric, Fairy/Water or Fairy/Grass, chosen at birth, and its appearance is the same for all four (maybe including elements from all four types), which means that the opponent has to fire off one or two “test” attacks to figure out what its weaknesses and resistances are.  Undecided on whether to have moves that are unique to each form or just give all four a wide range of attacks.  Could go either way there.

I submitted a thing to another thing

The premise of this blog is taking quotes from pop culture and tweaking them slightly so that they apply to characters from Homer’s Iliad (recently expanded to anything ‘classical’).  It amuses me.  You should totally follow it.  Y’know, if you’re a classicist.  The following is something that I actually wrote months ago and had hanging around uselessly until I discovered “OMG there is a Tumblr blog that is literally all about doing this.”


H’okay, so, here’s the Aegean.  S’chilling.  ”Dang, that is a sweet sea,” you might say.  WRONG!  All right; ruling out the Hittites invading, a huge barbarian horde becoming crashed into us, the gods leaving, and Thera exploding, we’re definitely all going to stab each other.  H’okay.  So basically we’ve got Troy, Crete, Lydia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Thrace, the Amazons and us with demigods.  We’ve got about twenty-six hundred more than anybody else… whatever.  H’anyway.  One day we decides those Trojan sons of a bitches are going down, so we launch a thousand ships at Troy.  While they’re on their way, Troy is like “shit, shit, who the fuck brought Helen here?” “Oh well, Hector will save us!”  Then Helen is like “shit, Paris, that’s my husband; he’s coming!  Fire our shit!”  ”But I’m tired.”  ”Well… have a nap.  THEN FIRE YOUR ARROWS!”  Meanwhile, Italy is over there like “mamma mia, WTF?”  Lydia, Ethiopia and the Amazons send their guys, so now we’ve got heroes charging everywhere, passing each other.  Achilles is like “PATROCLUS, NOOOOOOOOO!”  Then Hector’s like “well, I’m dead.  Better get on with it.”  So now Greece is like “fuck, we’re dumbasses,” Philoctetes is like “wait, what the hell did I miss?” Italy is still like “mamma mia, WTF?” China is laughing at us, and some huge barbarian horde is like “well, fuck that.”  So.  Now we’ve got the fall of Troy.  Everyone’s dead, except Aeneas, and he’s like “mamma mia, WTF?”  And they’ll be in charge one day.  Fucking Romans.  But, assuming we don’t all stab each other, us Ithacans just have to work out Ithaca drifting away from the rest of Greece.  To go hang with Scheria.  Cyprus can come too.

– like, Homer or someone

Which is a reference to this, if you don’t recognise it.

…and 500

I mean, I’d probably have ten times as many if I’d spent that time reblogging pictures of cats and angsting about my personal life instead, but whatevs.  Besides, I know there’s a bunch of you who don’t use Tumblr so the actual number is probably a fair bit higher.

Thank you to everyone who puts up with this nonsense and keeps coming back for more!