A Pokémon Trainer is You! V: Making a New Friend, You Guess

Last time, on A Pokémon Trainer Is You:

Do you want to give Bulbasaur a nickname?
– Let Jim the Editor name it

As you walk through the soft, peaceful woodlands of route 1, you glance down at your Bulbasaur, plodding contentedly along at your side.  You suppose you ought to give it – no, him, you’re pretty sure your Bulbasaur is male – a nickname; just calling him “Bulbasaur” seems so impersonal.  You think about it for a while, mulling over the awesome responsibility of naming another sentient being.  Nothing comes to mind, until suddenly you hear a voice, distant and ethereal, as if carried to you on a divine wind…

Scallion

You think about it for a moment, turning the name over in your mind.  You seem to be seriously considering naming your Pokémon after an onion.  I’m… weirded out, but not going to judge.  You say the name out loud, testing how it feels to say it, and it seems like your Bulbasaur is totally on board with this development.  Scallion the Bulbasaur it is!

What do you do?
– Try to reach one of the meadows

Continue reading “A Pokémon Trainer is You! V: Making a New Friend, You Guess”

State of the Blog: September

…phew.

I need a break.

OH GOD THE NEW ONES ARE ALMOST HERE I CAN NEVER TAKE A BREAK UNTIL I DIE

This was… this was a pretty good month, actually. Lots of things happened this month! I finally finished the generation VII Pokémon reviews with Meltan, just in time for the lead-up to the next games. I wrote an article on Team Skull and their place in both the stories of generation VII and the society of Alola. I started a new series, “A Pokémon Trainer Is You!“, a choose-your-adventure story updated weekly where my readers decide how our character will explore Kanto and blunder through the story of the classic games, almost certainly not dying in the process. Jim the Editor and I wrote a retrospective on some of my old work on the ethics of Pokémon training. Questions from readers included the difference between archaeology and grave-robbing, and a request for me to weigh in on the “all Pokémon vs. a billion lions” meme.

Also! I joined the fansite PokéJungle as a regular contributor and published my first article, the beginning of a series rating and ranking gym leaders of the Pokémon anime (second one will probably go up next week, but the schedule is a bit up in the air at the moment). I’ll post here to let you know whenever something of mine is published, but you should check out the site as a whole as well; a whole bunch of new writers came on at the same time as me, and some of them are interested in the same kind of deep lore stuff that I write about here, so if you like my bull$#!t, you might also like their bull$#!t. As part of the application process, I wrote up short design ideas for three possible Galarian forms (which are in that announcement post), and Jim the Editor responded with three of his own.

Right now, I’m working on my article on the Aether Foundation, which is really going to be more of a character study of Lusamine. It’s going to be quite long and I want to mess with it a bit, maybe rearrange it, or take some stuff out so it doesn’t feel too bloated, so that’s going to wait until… probably early next week. After that, I think I’m going to prioritise some kind of feature on the Alolan form Pokémon. Honestly I don’t know if there’s enough time left for individual articles on Lillie, Hau and Gladion, but we’ll just have to see how things go.

As always, special thanks to my supporters on Patreon – Bradley, James Crooks, hugh_donnetono, Esserise and Hamish Fyfe – whose donations pay for my WordPress Premium plan, and keep my soul from shrivelling by providing reassurance that someone out there in the world actually gives a $#!t about my nonsense. If you too think that I’m not a pointless blackened husk of a spirit polluting the internet with my cursed ashes (or, I mean, honestly, even if you do think that, but think it’s kinda funny), then consider joining their ranks with a monthly tip.

is… is that all I usually talk about in These Things?

I think so?

you… you can go if you want

you don’t have to stay

I mean… come back, like, tomorrow or something; don’t go away forever

not that I’m the boss of you or anything like that

Elchar asks:

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:”

hugh_donnetono asks:

So how much of the mythological capabilities of a given legendary Pokémon DO we actually believe in, anyway? (If you can’t get into that question there, get into it here! I’m curious!)

ohhhhhhhh boy

so… what I was alluding to there is that I would eventually like to do a series on legendary Pokémon, where I look at everything we know about each of them (core games, TV show, movies, even spinoff games and the TCG) and decide “well, what actually are this Pokémon’s powers and how does it fit into the world?”  And in particular, I would like to take seriously the idea that characters in the games and anime don’t know the truth either.  Because I’m not convinced Arceus created the universe, and I’m not convinced Kyogre created the oceans, and I’m not convinced Yveltal can destroy all life on earth, and I’m certainly not convinced that Mew is the ancestor of all Pokémon.  As far as I’m concerned, all we know is that there are people who, rightly or wrongly, believe those things.  But there isn’t a simple answer to this question, because… well, that word “given” is important.  The answer’s not the same for all of them, because we don’t have the same information about all of them.  And I don’t even mean, like, some of them have appeared in a larger number of movies or episodes of the TV show; I mean in-universe the sources and reliability of the information are not the same.  Like, in Arceus and the Jewel of Life, the unreliability of history and legend is a theme of the story; in my opinion, that movie kind of invites us to disbelieve stuff the characters tell us about Arceus, in a way that isn’t really the case for, say, Manaphy’s role in Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea, which seems pretty clear-cut (although the nature of the titular Temple is less so).  You kinda have to look at everything we know about each one – or at least each duo/trio/quartet.  And the truth is, I don’t know when I’m going to be able to do that properly.  My schtick is the Pokémon reviews and, wouldn’t you know it, there’s gonna be a whole bunch of them that need doing in about two months, and I feel like more people care about those.  You can see why I might be interested in maybe coming up with a shorter format for them.

Spotlight Series: Ethics of Pokémon Training

Hey everyone! Jim the Editor once more (I know, twice in one week is a bit excessive but hey there’s a lot going on…). This time I’m here with the second entry into our Spotlight Series, where Chris and I go back into the archives in order to rediscover articles from the rather immense back catalogue here on Pokemaniacal.com. In doing so we hope not only to introduce some of the more recent additions to our little community here to the work we – mostly Chris – have done in the past 8 years but also to add a little commentary to those posts which are by now nearly three generations out of date.

Last time we went right back to the origins of the blog and revisited Chris’ Unova Reviews. This time we are taking a more thematic approach by delving into the collection of posts and articles devoted to the somewhat problematic topic of the Ethics of Pokémon training.

Enjoy!

Continue reading “Spotlight Series: Ethics of Pokémon Training”

A Pokémon Trainer is You! IV: Get Going, Kid!

Last time, on A Pokémon Trainer Is You:

How do you approach your first battle?
– Play it safe and wear them out with Leech Seed

You’re pretty confident you know all the angles here.  You and whatshisname are both using Pokémon you just met, and won’t be able to try any funny business.  Squirtle is tougher than Bulbasaur thanks to its shell that it can hide inside at will, so if they have any sense they’ll try to outlast your Grass attacks and then counterattack with a shell slam or something.  But there’s an easy way to keep that from working…

At your order, the bulb on your Pokémon’s back pulses and fires a single glowing yellow seed that arcs through the air towards Squirtle.  The turtle Pokémon reacts instantly by dropping to the floor and pulling its head and all its limbs into its shell, quick as you can blink, but that won’t stop a Leech Seed.  It hits Squirtle’s shell, sticks, and immediately sprouts a web of green that grows with supernatural speed, climbing around and into the shell.  The other guy is pretty shaken; you don’t think he’s actually seen this attack before.  He manages to call counterattacks, and Squirtle is able to fire Bubbles that knock your Bulbasaur off its feet, but it’s no good.  Water attacks deal only superficial damage to Grass-types, the Leech Seed is gradually sapping Squirtle’s strength, and all Bulbasaur has to do is use its vines to parry attacks and occasionally lash out whenever Squirtle emerges from its shell for too long.  Eventually, Squirtle sinks to its knees, too weak to go on attacking, and Professor Oak calls an end to the battle.

Continue reading “A Pokémon Trainer is You! IV: Get Going, Kid!”