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.
Continue reading “Jumping Joltik asks:”
The Pokémon brand remains sheepishly heteronormative (ie, Steven Stone & Wallace are just best guy friends *wink*). On that note, the move Attract should be low-key rejiggered to also affect targets of the same gender, with its overall accuracy reduced somewhat (say down to 85 or 90%) to reflect the slightly lower incidence of same-sex interactions among animals. Frankly, it’s 2019 & kids across the globe are well-aware that LGBTQ people & same-sex “infatuation” (to borrow an in-game term) exist, stop pretending otherwise, Game Freak. Thoughts?
I mean, honestly, I don’t think there’s really any compelling game balance reason you couldn’t just have Attract work on all gendered Pokémon (or even just all Pokémon) with 100% accuracy. That’d still be strictly worse than Confuse Ray was in generations I through VI, because infatuation wears off if either the user or the target switches out, and an attack that fails due to confusion comes with some extra damage (in generation VII, the chance of a confused Pokémon hurting itself drops to 33%, so it’s a bit murkier now, but still; we can always nerf infatuation by a similar amount, just to keep “parattraction” from becoming a frustrating metagame force). All Pokémon are bi now. Really, why not? This isn’t even all that out of step with nature; there are species where same-sex sexual interactions seem to be more common (for one or both sexes) than opposite-sex ones, like giraffes. It doesn’t even have to signify homosexuality if people want to be prudish about it; you can just make it a joke, like “he’s so hot even the straight guys want him,” which is a joke the anime has made with Meowth and a wild Purrloin (also, like… straight guys… there’s one, right? You might not say it out loud, but there’s always one. We share this blessed earth with the corporeal incarnations of Hugh Jackman, Rock “the Dwayne” Johnson, Ryan Reynolds and Idris Elba, for goodness’ sake; you’re allowed one). The fact is, we don’t know anything about Pokémon sexuality. Nothing is canon and nothing is sacred; Game Freak have made sure of that. We know it usually takes a male and a female to produce an egg, but the games keep insisting that no one knows how it happens, and also claim that eggs “aren’t really eggs,” and permit all kinds of… anatomically improbable pairings (ArcheOPS WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO THAT CLAWITZER). I’m not sure it would make the system any more implausible even if you straight-up allowed Pokémon to breed and produce offspring regardless of gender (there are single-gender species already, and they must reproduce somehow).
How can the economy of the Pokémon world even keep itself stable when domestic cats can just produce money out of thin air? The coins that Pay Day creates have real value. You pick them up in the game and you use them as regular money. I can’t be the only one who would, upon manifesting myself in the Pokémon world, quickly set up a Meowth farm and made them use Pay Day all day. Preferably somewhere close to the Pokémon center for that delicious free PP refillment.
Simple answer: it can’t.
If any trainer with a Meowth can access an unlimited supply of money, then
money can’t have a stable value. It
doesn’t make sense.
If it doesn’t make sense, then we have misunderstood something or made a bad assumption (…or the worldbuilding is just fragile enough that we’ve broken it, but let’s make that our explanation of last resort). Either they can’t actually produce money out of thin air, or the coins don’t actually have value, or perhaps their capacity to produce money is not unlimited and has already been “priced into” the economic systems of regions where they are native.
Continue reading “Elchar asks:”
I don’t recall if you ever did a post on your thoughts on Z moves as a whole, or particularly how you reacted to their extreme animations. Would you share your thoughts on each one in a few words?
I haven’t, but I might have promised that I would
later. Let me check.
[Also, just while we’re here, I feel I should note (just to completely weird out the Americans in the audience) that, as I think most New Zealanders would, I have always instinctively pronounced it “zed-move” (not “zee-move”) and this should be the way you imagine me saying it whenever you read my words on the subject.]
damn it Past Chris, get your $#!t together
Y’know, in the past I have definitely made noises about it, but I was never sure what I should commit to, because I thought I might end up talking about them in the context of my review of Necrozma, since the power of Z-moves comes from Necrozma’s light. That’s something I’m now less optimistic about, since there’s a buttload of lore to study and clarify surrounding Necrozma. I think I’m going to have to beg to defer this, because it probably does deserve a full article (I did one on mega evolution, after all; I mean, it was completely bat$#!t but I did write it) but I don’t think I can properly tackle the subject with my customary brilliance until I get my facts straight on Necrozma and the cosmic light.
“Pickup is not useful. That is all.”
Along the same lines, what are other universally useless abilities?
not a lot that are literally useless
– even Pickup occasionally does something
if you’re fighting an opponent who uses berries – but there are a couple with
no in-battle effect whatsoever. Honey
Gather is used only to generate Honey, Illuminate only increases the wild
Pokémon encounter rate, and Run Away only allows you to escape wild Pokémon
without fail. An honourable mention
should go here to Zygarde’s Aura Break, which improves his matchups against exactly two Pokémon – Xerneas and Yveltal
– but otherwise does absolutely nothing.
Continue reading “Mr. Slushy Dawg asks:”
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.
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:”