This is probably a frequently asked question, but how do you think will the anime develop? So far, Ash and Go have just been flying around, catching pokémon and meeting lots of pokémon, but there hasn’t really been a goal, or even a real plot. Also, what about Ash? So far, there haven’t really been any mention of his past except for his encounter with Ho-oh, and he just seems…… less important. The focus seems to be on Go and his quest for Lugia. Then there’s the question of his pokémon. As of writing this question, Ash has Pikachu, a Dragonite he caught, and a Mr.Mime, which appears to be his ‘guardian’? I’m not even sure at this point whether he actually caught it or he simply used it for the battle. Will he have older pokémon returning (greninja) or will he still use only the pokemon he caught? He hasn’t caught any Galarian pokémon; in fact, he’s hardly been to Galar. How will it turn out? (I’m sorry if this is too long or if it spoiled anything for you)
So, I prefer watching the Pokémon anime in the English dub, in which the first episode of the new series has not yet been aired or even announced, so I have no opinions whatsoever. I think if you want to be taken seriously as someone talking about the Pokémon anime you’re supposed to watch the episodes as they come out in Japan, with subtitles if you don’t speak Japanese, and… I should probably be better about this, because in theory I’m supposed to be a serious commentator person rather than “just” a fan, and I should practise my Japanese more anyway, but… ehhhhhh? I’m an archaeologist; I’m used to turning up two thousand years late and still demanding that people care what I have to say. If it’s worth talking about, it’ll still be worth talking about in six months.
Have you seen the dialogue in Sword/Shield revealing that Dynamax Pokémon don’t actually physically change size in real life when they Dynamax? I saw an NPC mention it in the postgame content, and it’s also mentioned by Shigeru Ohmori in an interview “101 Rapid-Fire Questions About Pokémon Sword And Shield” at around 2:10:
Interviewer: So does Dynamax, is that like a projection, or a physical transformation?
Ohmori: It’s actually just a visual projection.
Interviewer: So is the real Pokémon still just on the ground doing these moves and it’s like just a big version of that?
Ohmori: Yeah, so the actual Pokémon is in that projection.
May or may not ultimately change anything, but I thought it was an odd reveal that has some interesting implications for worldbuilding.
Yeah, I am aware of this. I thought it was… odd, because I’d actually considered the possibility beforehand and decided that it wasn’t necessary for Dynamaxing to make sense. I mean, we already know that Pokémon can do a magical thing that can drastically change their size in an apparent violation of conservation of matter – evolution. And evolution is permanent; once I’ve bought into that, I don’t have any problem believing that Dynamaxing can temporarily increase the size of a Pokémon’s physical body. The animations for Dynamaxing also have this feel of mass and physicality to them that I think is weird if it’s meant to be just a projection. I guess there is, like… a square-cube law argument that a size increase like that would definitely kill most Pokémon, but since when does Pokémon care about anatomical plausibility? It makes some thematic sense, I’ll give them that, because of Sword and Shield’s interest in spectacle – Dynamaxing is actually all about appearances, style over substance, which would be a weird take on this generation’s flagship mechanic, but actually fits in the context of the story of Piers and Spikemuth. I feel like it raises more questions than it answers, though. Like, if the gigantic form is just a projection, why does it make them more powerful? How does Gigantamaxing fit into this, why is it any different to Dynamaxing, and why can so few Pokémon do it? Is there a reason Galar needs huge stadiums, if the Pokémon doesn’t physically get larger; like, can the Pokémon not just have the power without the size increase? And, well, this was a question I had anyway, but what does Eternatus have to do with any of this?
Also, apropos of nothing, I believe this is the same interview where they are asked “are Pokémon sentient?” and Shigeru Ohmori replies “they’re just getting by,” which frankly is an answer that resonates with me much more than it should. Like, sentient? B!tch, today I slept until midday and then played six hours of Fire Emblem; I’ll work on “sentience” next week.
Could the giant Torterra in Detective Pikachu be linked to dynamax somehow? Arguably, they did not have much of a purpose in the movie…
Proooooooobably not. The movie was filmed in early 2018, and the
script was written in 2016-2017, at which point Sword and Shield would have
been in a very early stage of development (presumably Game Freak would still
have had all hands on deck for the release of Ultra Smoon later that year). I’m not sure even Game Freak would
have known about Dynamaxing at that point – or at least, it could have been only
one of several ideas they were tossing around for generation VIII’s flagship
mechanic. Even if they were
already certain that Dynamaxing was going to be a core feature of the next
game, Detective Pikachu was written by American screenwriters who would
have had no more special insight into Game Freak’s plans for the next generation
than the rest of us. Some higher-up at
the Pokémon Company could have told the screenwriters “hey, slip in a
giant Pokémon somehow – no reason!” (you wouldn’t tell them why, because
that’s an unnecessary risk of a leak), but honestly that seems to me like a weird
process to go through. I think it’s more
likely to be a coincidence.
Perhaps the darkest part of Detective Pikachu is that, despite generally depicting a relatively utopian society, the Pokemon world apparently still has unpaid interns.
You hear that, Ryme
City? This is the dark side of your
“corporate utopia”! Down with
capitalism; hang the parasites!
I don’t think Lucy ever says
she doesn’t get paid, and I don’t know what the norm is in the media sector
in the real world. She says she writes
listicles, so maybe she gets paid for each piece she publishes, but doesn’t
have a traditional salary (still a pretty precarious position)? In any case, though, I think it’s an intended
facet of Detective Pikachu’s tone that Ryme City is not the
utopian society it presents itself as.
The ideals it was founded on are not enforced, and the man who defined
those ideals… well, he turns out to be not such a good dude. Pokémon normally likes its cities to be
bright, shiny and cheerful, which is what Ryme City looks like in the
game. The movie has a noir aesthetic
that makes its version of Ryme City… well, not outright pessimistic, it’s still
a Pokémon story, but it’s certainly grimier than anything we’d see in
Alola. The fact that a city founded by a
billionaire CEO, and apparently built from the ground up by his company in the
space of ten years, might turn out to have skimped on social programs and/or be
somewhat exploitative of its low-level workers is… well, I wouldn’t exactly
call it a glaring inconsistency in the worldbuilding, put it that way.
I saw *Pokémon: Detective Pikachu* a week ago, and I would kill to know what you thought of the movie. Can you confirm whether or not you’re going to write up a piece on it after you’ve seen it?
I’m working on it now! I’m postponing Blacephalon and making it my next major article. Should be up on Friday.
So, how about that Detective Pikachu trailer?
(Yes, this is how far behind I am; I’M WORKING ON IT)
Well, mostly I’m
just really excited that this is apparently a Pokémon movie that is going to
try to be a decent movie in its own right,
something that can be enjoyed by people who aren’t already die-hard Pokémon
fans and isn’t just product placement for the latest event-exclusive legendary
Pokémon (which, let’s be honest, is what a lot of Pokémon movies set in the world
of the anime tend to devolve into). Ryan
Reynolds’ performance as Pikachu seems promising too; he may not be Danny
DeVito, but he’s got a nice balance of heartfelt and snarky that I think should
serve the premise of the film well. I
like that, although the most prominently-featured Pokémon are first-generation
classics (presumably to draw the nostalgia crowd), there are a few newer
Pokémon as well, apparently focusing on the ones who are already big
cross-media stars like Greninja.
Jim the Editor
is not a fan of the fuzzy, vaguely felt look of the Pokémon in the trailer, and
I have to admit some of them are a bit disconcerting. It’s difficult to put creatures designed for
anime into a live action movie, and some level of dissonance is almost unavoidable
– I suspect there’s an argument that it’s a bad idea even to try. On the other hand, there’s still a prejudice
against animation in the West that makes it hard for people to take an animated
movie seriously or put much effort into it unless it’s pitched mainly at young
children, so that may be a necessary sacrifice.
I think we’ll get used to it, though, especially if this isn’t Pokémon’s
last foray into live-action.
Also no-one in
the trailer can pronounce “Pokémon” (learn to e-acute, people!) but that’s
kinda par for the course for English-speakers.
In the episode Extreme Pokémon, the day care man gave ash a (teal? blue?) egg in a glass case and he said “when the pokémon hatches, use the pokéball on top of the case to hatch it with.” So… is that what’s happening when you receive eggs that already have a pokéball from the day care man? (incidentally, was that the larvitar egg, or is it another pokémon?)
(I don’t know the dialogue from that episode offhand, but I think you mean to say “use the Pokéball to catch it with,” not “hatch it with,” because if Pokémon actually cannot hatch without a Pokéball then we have some serious problems here)
I suppose it must work something like that? I mean, we can hatch eggs even if we have no Pokéballs in our inventory, and the baby Pokémon have Pokéballs automatically, so unless we envision Pokémon somehow hatching with Pokéballs, someone must be supplying free ones with every egg. You can probably read into this, if you choose, all kinds of sinister things about being born into slavery (which could certainly be a very interesting way to take it), but I don’t think you have to for it to make sense. If you think of the main functions of Pokéballs being protection and transport… well, no one wants the most vulnerable Pokémon on their team to be forced to walk everywhere and have nowhere to retreat to in case of danger or injury. And the alternative – just releasing an infant Pokémon into a potentially hostile environment with no caregiver because you happened not to have any Pokéballs at the time – is clearly lunacy. I mean, in practice we do that in the games all the time and in astonishing numbers, but you sort of have to give them points for trying…
(also I believe the egg you’re referring to is the one that eventually hatches into Ash’s Phanpy)
Why do you think Kyogre was flying in the last episode of Generations? Isn’t it supposed to be swimming, since it’s a whale/fish? Because if it’s flying it actually shares a lot of similarities with Lugia, who also flies and also summons storms and also has weird fins/wings with fingers on it.
Well, I don’t think it needs to fly to be similar to Lugia; they’re both colossal aquatic guardians of the deep ocean, even if Lugia isn’t a literal Water-type. But as to the question… well, since Kyogre’s primal form is transparent and doesn’t seem to have much in the way of insides, I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if it turned out to be somehow made of “spiritual energy” or something, and just isn’t subject to gravity to the same degree as its normal form (note that the primal form is more than twice as long, and presumably twice as wide and twice as tall, so we should probably expect it to be more than eight times heavier, but in fact its weight increases by less than 25%). Besides, do you want to be the one to tell Primal Kyogre that it can’t fly?
Pokémon generations will be what the anime should have been from the start. Calling it now. (I can’t wait to see how much they cram into 3-5 minutes! Planet Namek exploded in approximately that long)
Past experience tells me that you and I have radically different notions of “what the anime should have been,” Billy (for one thing, I actually like the anime). It strikes me more as a successor to Origins. But I’ll see if I can write something on each of the episodes as they come out.
Sorry if this has been asked before, but do you plan on reviewing the entire Pokemon anime series? Or just Kanto, and then specific episodes that you find particularly interesting, or what’s the DEAL HERE, MAN
Put it this way: notionally I want to do the whole thing, but in practice, to say that I “plan on” it would be a bit of a stretch. At my current rate of progress, I would be lucky to finish before the heat death of the universe. So I’m just going through them more or less in order, as and when I feel like it. Plans do not mesh well with real life responsibilities.