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:”

Chris the Pokemaniac asks:


I think you’d like this one

Wait, wait, you- no, no, hang on, no, I’m Chris the Pokémaniac, that’s me! You’re not me!

…unless you’re… me from the future…? In which case you’re enacting the Sarpedon Contingency and you’re here to kill me… or you’ve promised your own soul to an eldritch entity from beyond the Seventh Veil and you’re here to kill me… or you’re from an alternate timeline that doesn’t have my recipe for sour cherry cheesecake and you’re here to kill me.

Well, whichever one it is, I guess I’d better answer the question.

“Hi, this a continuation of my theory Pokemon Cults, Infinite Energy and how it shaped the Pokemon World.

Ohhhhh boy, this again. Continue reading “Chris the Pokemaniac asks:”

[prayer circle for no more fire/fighting starters] asks:

i can’t remember (or find) if you’ve covered it before, but how do you think police and the criminal justice system works in the pokemon world works? we know there are police officers, but what do they do/what are they for when most of the populace seems to police themselves?

I’m not sure it necessarily needs to work any differently? Saying that the populace “police themselves” is something I would take with a grain of salt – the games probably give us a distorted view here, because the whole point of an adventure RPG is to let the player be the hero, even when that’s a little bit unrealistic or stretches what are supposed to be the normal rules of the setting. Just because we see preteen trainers stopping crimes and saving the world doesn’t mean that’s how they normally expect criminal justice to work! In the anime the Officers Jenny are pretty numerous and never seem to be hard-pressed to find something to do. I don’t think we ever see lawyers, and criminals tend to just get thrown in prison without a trial, but would an episode of the Pokémon anime really be improved by a five-minute scene where Jenny explains due process to Ash and his friends? Continue reading “[prayer circle for no more fire/fighting starters] asks:”

Jeffthelinguist asks:

What is the distinction between animals and Pokémon within universe? Granted they rarely allude to real animals in recent games, but canonically animals due exist in the Pokémon universe, so what do humans use to determine the difference between the two? Some Pokémon are pretty unremarkable and there are animals that are conversely more fantastical than Pokémon. Intelligence seems to not be a defining trait either. And I’m not really referring to game mechanics like “moves” and “abilities”, as surely a real bird can do things like peck and a real elephant could do things like stomp and tackle… heck archerfish can essentially use water gun and could probably splash which is already more moves than Delibird learns.

I… don’t like that word, “canonically.” I think Pokémon has been around long enough, spread itself across enough different media and subjected itself to enough retcons that the idea of “canon” oversimplifies to the point of meaninglessness. References to real animals almost always predate the introduction of Pokémon that would be able to supply those references – cows only exist until Miltank turns up, mongooses stop being a thing when they’re superseded by Zangoose, etc. Continue reading “Jeffthelinguist asks:”

Jeffthelinguist asks:

So (almost) all Pokémon evolved from Mew. What about the rest of life, did Arceus created humans and/or other animals separately? If humans came from Mew as well (I mean humans supposedly married Pokémon and I think there were other hints that early humans didn’t see themselves as that different from Pokémon), then what type are humans? If they have their own type… what would their weaknesses and resistances be?

This is an area where I have a few old sticking points that make me possibly the wrong person to ask. I’m on the record as not believing the standard line about Mew being the ancestor of all Pokémon and thinking that the Pokémon world’s scientists must simply be wrong about that. They believe it because Mew’s DNA has been shown to contain the genetic code of all known Pokémon – which is not something that any real-world geneticist or evolutionary biologist would expect a common ancestor to have. In fact it strikes me as basically impossible for a common ancestor to contain the genetic code of all its descendants, barring some kind of bizarre time loop in which Mew is somehow also descended from every known Pokémon. On the other hand, it’s entirely possible that genetics and evolution don’t work the same way in the Pokémon world, and that the idea of Mew being the original ancestor must be correct given the unknown biological laws of that world. Or it’s literally magic, in which case, who knows? Continue reading “Jeffthelinguist asks:”

[A Foursome with Chris Pratt, Grant Gustin and That Garbodor Evolution] asks:

I know this is pretty broad and vague, so no pressure to answer it super deeply and completely, but I’ve found it to be a pretty fun thing to think about and I’m curious to know what you would say to it.
Which specific set of Pokémon games do you think had the most missed opportunities, or could be some of the best games in the series but fell short? (That can be in terms of the story, the gameplay or anything else you think you’d want to be changed about them.)
And if you were put in charge, not of making a NEW set of games or changing the series as a whole but just of fixing up that one set of games, what would you want to do to it to take advantage of that potential?
(By “set,” I just mean a pair like Black 2/White 2 or a single game like Platinum, not a whole Generation or every game taking place in one region, haha.)

That is one confusingly recursive name you’ve given yourself there.

So… I feel like in almost all of them there’s something I would change.  Heck, in almost all of them there’s probably something the designers would change if they could; no one ever gets to put everything they want into their game because time and budget constraints exist, even for a franchise as successful as Pokémon.  And I have a really peculiar love/hate relationship with Black and White specifically, because those are the games that started me writing this blog, and I think they are in some ways the best games in the series but in other ways deeply “meh.”  I guess a lot of my old “If I Were In Charge” article series is kiiiiiind of a response to this question with reference to Black and White, but also not at all.  Assorted thoughts on why Black and White are interesting here, here, here, here, here and here, and although I don’t 100% stand by a lot of it anymore you can also pick up something of what annoyed me about Black and White from my assorted reviews of 5th generation Pokémon from 2011.

All that being the case, let’s talk a bit about a completely different set of games instead. Continue reading “[A Foursome with Chris Pratt, Grant Gustin and That Garbodor Evolution] asks:”