[my miltanks bring several existential thoughts to the yard and they’re like, “moooooooo”] asks:

it’s pride month and we’re all stuck inside so i was wondering which place in the pokémon world would throw the baller-est pride parade?

yeah this is how long my question queue typically is these days; don’t ask me anything that’s specific to the time you’re asking it unless you’re okay with a margin of error of, like, a month

But yeah, um… I dunno, what’s the campiest city in the Pokémon world?  Saffron City and Goldenrod City are way too straight and business-y, likewise Wyndon in Galar; Ecruteak City’s probably too conservative; you’d want to get out to, like… Celadon or Olivine.  Mauville City’s glitzy and glamorous; Slateport and Lilycove have robust Pokémon Contest traditions, and you just know all the top competitors in those are queens; same goes for Hearthome City in Sinnoh (also… Fantina).  Sootopolis City and Castelia City have the campiest gym leaders – I mean… you could almost decide this with a lip-sync battle between Burgh and Wallace.  Spikemuth is probably a strong dark horse contender, ‘cause they know what it’s like to be oppressed and even the straights would be allies (less so Po Town in Alola, ‘cause Team Skull are still kinda working through their toxic masculinity baggage; Marnie wouldn’t put up with that $#!t).  Lumiose City has the highest concentration of coffee shops in the known universe, which is a very important resource, as well as the best clothes, makeup, etc.  Hau‘oli City is probably a good bet for similar reasons; it’s modern, it’s trendy, also their Captain is Ilima and just look at him; if that boy’s completely straight then I’m a shiny Wobbuffet.  The biggest regular pride parade in the real world is the São Paulo one, but there’s no Brazilian Pokémon region (yet?) and New York is also really big because of Stonewall, which is a point in favour of Castelia City.

Listen, I think there’s a lot of strong contenders here and honestly I don’t feel confident making a call.  We can turn this over to discussion in the comments; I just think the most important thing is for us not to lose sight of the fact that all the major characters in Pokémon are some flavour of queer, except for a few of the villains and, like, maybe Brock.  I don’t make the rules; I just enforce them.

Ace Trainer Fox asks:

If you had to make a pokemon team for each of the original digidestined: Tai, Matt, T.K., Izzy, Mimi, Joe, Sora, and Koiri(using the dub names here, also can’t spell Koiri’s, Kairi’s? name) what pokemon would you pick for each that shows off their individual personalities and abilities?

[This question actually landed in my inbox before I started that series doing this same thing for Fire Emblem: Three Houses. I just have a huge queue of questions and this particular one took a while to answer; it’s a total coincidence that it’s kind of on-theme.]

Hmmmm… let me see… we’ve got to get Pokémon that at least vaguely resemble their Digimon partners and their powers, and we’ve also got to get Pokémon that can stand for the virtues of their Crests, as well as for notable traits of their personalities.

Tai:

I think Tai mainly uses Fire-types like Agumon and Greymon; obviously he needs a Charizard, and I think Arcanine is a good match for his Crest of Courage.  He has a somewhat reckless and impulsive nature, so I think we should add something like Primeape.  I feel like we should include something for SkullGreymon – Houndoom, maybe?  Tai and Sora play soccer together and I think they both have Cinderace that they got at the same time.  Nidoking kinda straddles his transition from risk-taking idiot to actual leader, and is another dinosaur-like Pokémon.

Continue reading “Ace Trainer Fox asks:”

X asks:

Recently, the new episode of Twilight Wings focused on Hop and his bond between Wooloo. This made me think, how do kids under 10 have pokemon? Bonnie has Dedenne, Hop has Wooloo, and I’m pretty sure there are others. Would there be any law about this? Also, how do you think it will work if the kid won’t become a trainer?

Well, the anime has said you become a trainer when you turn 10, but the games have also had trainers who are pretty clearly younger than the player (who in Red and Blue we usually assume to be about 10) from the beginning.  There also seem to be people who have Pokémon companions but aren’t trainers (like, think even of Professor Oak’s opening monologue in the very first games; trainers are just one of several groups of people who live alongside Pokémon); you could probably weasel your way around a lot of rules if, say, your family has a Pokémon pet that technically “belongs” to your parents, but likes you enough to fight for you and take commands.  I think the situation is much more flexible than, like, getting a formal license on your 10th birthday, without which you are at risk of having a Pokémon confiscated, or regulations to that effect.  I also doubt all regions have the same rules.  There might only be age limits for the gym challenge, or for leaving on a journey with your Pokémon; some kids might have known their partners for years before “officially” becoming trainers.

(Besides, I don’t think we know Hop’s age? He might not be 10 at the beginning of the story of Sword and Shield; he clearly hasn’t finished growing but I could believe he’s, like, 13 or 14?)

KalosianPorygon asks:

Is there a character you think was wasted? A character you think has potential to be fascinating, but ended up to be underused and forgettable?

Hmm.

I think I have to go with Archer, the leader of Team Rocket in Heart Gold and Soul Silver.  The remakes make an effort to create these four characters – Proton, Petrel, Ariana, Archer – out of the faceless Team Rocket Executives from Gold and Silver, but they don’t… do a whole lot with them.  Honestly I wouldn’t even have expected them to, and I’m basically satisfied with the handling of Proton, Ariana and Petrel, just putting names and unique designs on characters who were formerly indistinguishable.  Once you’ve done that, though… it just sticks out that the leader of the organisation, the mastermind of the entire plan to take over Johto, has literally one scene in which he speaks nine lines of dialogue and says pretty much nothing that we haven’t already heard from his subordinates.  Why were we scared of this guy?  What was his motivation in trying to recall Giovanni, rather than just running Team Rocket himself?  What does he actually want – money, power, a golden Magikarp?  He’s just not as interesting as either Giovanni in the previous games, or Cyrus in the contemporary Diamond and Pearl.  Even after his appearances in Let’s Go I have trouble giving two $#!ts about him.  It’s a shame, because Team Rocket in Gold and Silver seem to have a kind of cult of personality around Giovanni, which is really interesting, and Archer is the “cult leader,” as it were, but he never gives us any inkling of why.

Anon the Mon asks:

Am I the only one that noticed that, while in Pokemon, they have the ability to digitize creatures and heal them from burns, poison, and even being trapped in ice with one machine, how come they don’t have cars, or any regular means of transport that does not rely on pokemon power, except for boats (which might be pulled but we never see), hell, even the technological marvel that is the Aether Foundation is held up by a metric shit ton of pokemon, any thoughts to why this is?

Don’t have cars?

Uh?

I mean, they definitely have cars in the anime, right?  Gary has one in the very first episode (despite being, to all appearances, not significantly older than Ash, who is explicitly ten years old).  We don’t see cars often in the games because it’d be kind of intrusive to our experience of the games’ city areas as pedestrians, but I don’t know if there’s good reason to suggest that they don’t exist.  And Gold and Silver had the bullet train between Goldenrod City and Saffron City.  And in Ruby and Sapphire we arrive in Littleroot Town in a moving van.  And Black and White had the subway system in Nimbasa City, and Skyla’s cargo plane.  So I think the premise of this question is just wrong.  If the focus of what we see in the games and anime is on things that are in some way Pokémon-powered, that’s probably because those things are more interesting and worth giving more attention to than things that exist in the real world, work the same way as they do in the real world, and are pretty mundane parts of our own everyday lives.  Like, they definitely have cars, but ultimately who gives a $#!t?  Riding Pokémon is just cooler.

KalosianPorygon asks:

What’s your favorite generic Trainer class, e.g. Youngster, Fisher, Hiker, Hex Maniac? And what’s your least?

So, if you shift your gaze upward, you will notice the name of this site, and my avatar above it, and I think these things are arguably clues.

Aside from an affinity with the wild-eyed manic-grinned generation II Pokémaniac, I have a strong love-hate relationship with the Ruin Maniac class, because on the one hand they’re archaeologists, which is what I am, and I love anything to do with the ancient past of the Pokémon world, but on the other hand they’re pop culture archaeologists, which basically means they’re glorified grave robbers who should probably be shot.  Just in general, I’m fond of the “mystical” classes like Channeler, Psychic and Hex Maniac.  I also quite like the Free Diver class introduced in Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby, just because I love the way the underwater areas and battles look in those games (even if they do take some, uh… stretching of one’s suspension of disbelief).  As for a least favourite… well, nothing really sticks out to me; I’m not sure it’s ever occurred to me to have a least favourite trainer class.  Is that a thing?  Maybe the “athlete” classes from the Nimbasa Stadiums in Black and White; you know, Linebacker, Infielder, etc.  You’ve all got your own sports, dumbasses; stay out of mine.

And just while we’re here, KalosianPorygon also asks:

Can you rank all eight first Generations based on the generic Trainer designs?

To which the answer is no, I genuinely cannot

Everyone asks:

Hi Chris, so after reading your commentary/essay/novel on Chairman Rose, did you know his battle theme says “Go Rose, go save everyone!” over and over?

Just an interesting tidbit.

I’m not… quite sure I hear it?  But it makes sense; like, that is definitely what he thinks he’s doing.  “Save everyone” is very much core to his motivation, and not even in a bull$#!t “create a beautiful world through Malthusian genocide” way like Lysandre was doing; he really does mean everyone.  It’s just unfortunate that he’s chosen an insane self-aggrandising way of doing that.

Ms. Guided asks:

What do you think of the original game concept of having to eventually battle the opposing Pokemon yourself should all of yours be defeated?

I think it might be…

mis-guided?

…okay, you have to let me have that one; you were asking for it.

So, I don’t think we actually know for sure that trainers were going to take part in combat.  That’s one interpretation of some of the old concept art for Red and Green and all the trainers from Generation I who use whips, but as far as I know no-one from Game Freak or Nintendo has told us “yeah, we were thinking of letting you fight them yourself.”  Regardless… I think if you include that, Pokémon has to be a fairly different game and world from what it ended up being.  Mechanically, the trainer is going to end up acting like a seventh Pokémon, but it’s one that you can’t change or do anything interesting with, which is weird and jarring in a game that’s otherwise about building a team from hundreds of choices.  So, in order for it to not be a drag, you have to build a whole bunch of new systems and options for trainer combat, or maybe systems where you can optimise your trainer for either direct combat or other things.  That sounds interesting, don’t get me wrong, and I’ve even had a bunch of ideas for different abilities that trainers might have (haven’t we all?), but it sounds like it would be a nightmare to balance, especially if you want trainer combat to be a last resort, and you probably need to devise a whole separate experience system.  And do you use any of this in battles against other trainers?   If not, then it’s going to be a minor enough part of the game that you might as well not bother (because how often do you expect players to lose their entire teams to wild Pokémon?), but if you do, then what on earth does that do to the concept of what a Pokémon battle is?  If you beat your opponent’s Pokémon after yours have already lost, do you fight your opponent hand-to-hand?  Even if you aren’t fighting other trainers one-on-one, the world clearly feels  a lot more dangerous this way; like, in the games we have, your Pokémon are knocked out and you run back to a Pokémon Centre with them, and wild Pokémon don’t pursue you at that point.  If you’re fighting a vastly more powerful opponent by yourself as a last-ditch effort, what does that imply about the stakes?  Like, I don’t know if the Pokédex quest was a thing at this point in development, but is Professor Oak sending you out into the wild to catch Pokémon, knowing full well that they will try to kill you?  Clearly this isn’t something you can just plug into Pokémon as it exists; you have to start from the beginning and I think there’s potential for the end result to turn out either better or worse.

Mr. Rustworthy asks:

If you were a gym leader, what would your gym experience be like,?

So I have a really old thing somewhere, where someone asked me a question that was not this, but I answered this question instead by outlining a gym that specialised in nocturnal Pokémon where you had to find your way to the leader by reading glowing constellations painted on the floor.

Yeah, here it is:
https://pokemaniacal.com/2012/12/11/imagine-that-you-have-been-hired-to-become-a-gym/

Therefore, I will now continue the cycle by leaving that old answer there, then answering a slightly different question that someone else will ask me seven years from now, thus fulfilling the prophecy.

(look, if you’re going to follow this blog you’re going to have to accept that time and causality are not always super-firm in my presence; deal with it)

Continue reading “Mr. Rustworthy asks:”

Lilycat asks:

Doesn’t Raihan look like Garchomp? Considering his sandstorm…weather team….do you think it was a wasted opportunity that he didn’t have a Garchomp?

I mean I suppose they’re saving him for the rumored diamond pearl remakes…but what are your thoughts?

Yeah, I guess I can see it?  Like, those particular shades of navy blue and scarlet, together with the white “spikes” on his hoodie… seems like it could be a deliberate stylistic reference.  I can think of reasons not to give him a Garchomp, but not fantastic reasons.  Like, as you said, if they were planning to release Pokémon: Timey Diamond and Spacey Pearl or whatever in 2020 or 2021, then those games would definitely have Garchomp, so there’s a decent argument for leaving it out of Sword and Shield, but I think you are allowed to put it in both; there are several Sinnoh-native Pokémon in Sword and Shield, including the iconic Rotom and Lucario, so there is going to be overlap anyway.  You could also argue that gym leaders almost always have a signature Pokémon that’s new in their own generation – in Raihan’s case, Duraludon – and putting a “pseudo-legendary” Pokémon like Garchomp on his gym team would overshadow his star player, which is clearly undesirable.  However, his Champion Cup team actually does include a pseudo-legendary Dragon, namely Goodra.  I don’t think it was necessarily a mistake to leave Garchomp out of the Galar Pokédex and thus deny Raihan the opportunity to use it, but I do think it was a weird choice to do that and then lean into what seems like a Garchomp-inspired character design, rather than picking one of the many other Dragon Pokémon that do exist in Galar, like Haxorus or Noivern.

Then again, I can see an argument for that being kind of the point.  The Pokémon that are missing from Galar aren’t gone for good, and they even have fans in Galar; maybe Raihan loves Garchomp but has never had the opportunity to catch one.  Arguably his costume would look… well, over-the-top if it matched a Pokémon he actually used, but comes across a bit more subtle as a reference to a foreign Pokémon that he likes but doesn’t have.