roughly 3,700 bees ask:

why does sableye have stall? it was already one of the absolute weakest pokemon in the game prior to prankster or its mega, it was introduced a generation after sableye itself was made, it’s on nothing else, and as far as i can tell there’s no flavour reason for it, so why?

I suppose it could be a joke ability – something that intentionally made Sableye worse than it already was in generation III – but that seems unlikely; Sableye was bad all right (and believe me, I know; one of my partners on my first playthrough of Sapphire back in the day was a Sableye), but not comically so.  I think it has to be a flavour reason, right?  Because nothing else makes any damn sense; Stall is too weak an ability to have been intended as any kind of buff to Sableye.  We’re told that Sableye (a lot like Wobbuffet) are reclusive Pokémon that spend most of their lives in darkness.  When attacked, their instinct is to keep to the shadows, to hide and try to avoid combat.  That instinct can be overpowering even in a serious fight, to the point that, in most exchanges, they will hang back and wait for their opponents to attack first.

Anonymous Nobody asks:

I am sorry but reading your last answer to Ty and seeing the part where you said “unless Mewtwo is somehow half human, which I don’t think is what anyone ever intended to imply”… well, that is actually the case in Pokémon Aeventures manga at least in which Blainehad to use some of his own cellsto create Mewtwo as they did not have enough Mew cells. I am just curious to know what you think about that.

Well, Pokémon Adventures does tend to have a lot of independence and I don’t think it necessarily says much of anything about the “intent” of writers working on the games or anime.  I suppose more than anything I think it’s a little encouraging that I’m not the only person who played the games and thought “you know what would be a plausible explanation for Mewtwo’s background?  Human DNA.”

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.

[Don’t worry, you’re the ONLY Chris the Pokemaniac] asks:

I saw your recent post…and with that being said:. Seeing how regular and….. irregular Pokemon can be found in other universes…could it be that Pokemon could be descendents of ultra beasts? Or is this something Chris the pokemaniac doesn’t want to get into?

So, I’ve had this suggested to me before, and it doesn’t strike me as wildly unlikely, but I’m also not sure I can think of any good reason to actually believe it.

I think Pokémon as a franchise likes to keep some things intentionally mysterious, and the origin of life on its version of Earth is one of them.  However, it’s at least somewhat amenable to something like the panspermia hypothesis – the idea that very simple life, or its chemical precursors, might be commonplace in the universe and could have spread to Earth from extraterrestrial sources rather than developing here spontaneously.  I doubt Pokémon are descended from Ultra Beasts as we know them, but from some microorganism that emerged from Ultra Space a billion years ago?  Sure.  Or, from some microorganism that arrived on an asteroid a billion years ago?  Sure.  Or, and I think this is what people actually mean when they make this suggestion, from some ancestral Ultra Beast that wandered through to Alola in ancient times?  That one seems to me less likely but yeah, whatever. Continue reading “[Don’t worry, you’re the ONLY Chris the Pokemaniac] asks:”

Ty asks:

I’m familiar with your thoughts on how the games try and paint Mew as the ancestor of Pokemon and how backwards their logic is claiming it’s due to Mew having the DNA of all Pokemon. That, as you’ve pointed out multiple times, is not how ancestry works.

I wanted to share with you an idea I’ve had about how I’d handle the Mew situation and what your thoughts about it are. For me, since Mew is the only Pokemon barring Ditto that can learn transform, I really like the idea that Mew could be the ancestor of all Pokemon, or at least the Mew species. In how I’d handle it, Mew would be #1 in the Pokedex and would be the original Pokemon that could change shape at will. As the curious creatures as they are, mews explored endlessly, tackling any environmental challenges by changing shape into the various Pokemon species we’re familiar with to suit that environment. Over time, those mew who grew older and decide to settle in their areas in whatever shape they were in, over thousands of years, lost the ability to transform and remained in that shape as whatever new species they were. Because so few environments are comfortable for Mew’s natural form, and/or so few mew continued to travel endlessly, modern day mews are fairly rare, hence their legendary status. This would really help explain a lot of artificial Pokemon since the mew that originally became that species took on an artificial form for one reason or another somewhere down the line, rather than Pokemon like Klinklang, Electrode, and Klefki existing and being able to breed in some degree for no particular reason.

Continue reading “Ty asks:”

Jim the Editor asks:

How does the use of pokeballs by oranguru and their inherent empathy impact the pokemon training as enslavement argument?

So this is something that came up while Jim and I were proofing the Oranguru review, and frankly that was long enough already, so we decided it would be better to publish this separately in question-and-answer format. I haven’t talked directly about the whole Pokémon-and-slavery “thing” in a while, so to summarise my “standard” views on the subject (which are, of course, anything but standard): Continue reading “Jim the Editor asks:”

Anonymous asks:

Thoughts on the Pokemon Tree of Life? (Search on Reddit.) I just spent a good half hour marveling at how much work must have gone into it!

I’ve seen an earlier version, I think in generation V or VI. And, well, I can certainly appreciate the effort, and it is a beautiful thing in its own way. Sort of artistic, really. The trouble I have is that it almost certainly doesn’t work like that. Two kinds of animal that can breed to produce viable offspring (e.g. horse and donkey) almost have to be more closely related to one another than two that can’t (e.g. horse and goat). But here we get Pokémon that can breed with each other despite being from distant parts of the tree, like Tangrowth and Venusaur, and Pokémon that can’t breed with each other despite being adjacent on the tree, like Gardevoir and Medicham. Pokémon clearly don’t follow the real world’s rules of genetics, heredity and speciation; they can breed across species lines and they can inherit at least some acquired characteristics (Lamarckian evolutionists represent!). What that means is that, if it’s even possible to come up with a schema that represents the evolutionary relationships of all Pokémon in a consistent and meaningful way, it probably looks nothing like a real-world “tree of life” or cladogram. It’s… probably more of a Venn diagram situation. Or, like, a spirograph or something.