NinjaFrog184 asks:

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.

Mewitti asks:

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.

Not Me asks:

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.

Dosidicus Giygas asks:

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!

uh

I mean

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.

RandomAccess asks:

So, how about that Detective Pikachu trailer?

(Yes, this is how far behind I am; I’M WORKING ON IT)

(I’M FINE)

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.

VikingBoyBilly asks:

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)