Have you been watching the Pokémon Sun & Moon anime series? If so, what do you think of it?
Only a little, though I have been thinking about trying to remedy that soon (if only by making time for the episodes that feature whichever Pokémon I’m currently reviewing). I think the idea of abandoning the “Pokémon journey” premise in favour of Ash attending Professor Kukui’s school is a welcome bit of experimentation. I’m… not convinced by Ash’s new look, I’m afraid; it somehow feels to me as though his design has changed more than the show’s art style as a whole, and now he’s out of step with everything else.
Are you ever going to continue your anime reviews? You left it hanging 8 episodes away from the end of the Indigo league! The people demand a conclusion!
well the people are a bunch of demanding little $#!ts, aren’t they
In principle, yes; in practice, there’s always something else I should be doing. Like, should I do that instead of reviewing 7th generation Pokémon? Clearly not. But even when I’m done with that (which, at my current pace, is likely to be some time in 2039) there are other things I have in mind to do which I’m more excited about.
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)
What do you think of the comment going around the internet about James actually being the best Trainer in the anime, because he actually asks and/or invites his Pokémon to join him? What do you think that says about his character?
Well, I don’t know about best necessarily, but he definitely has a lot going for him! We don’t actually see how a lot of his Pokémon join him, but off the top of my head, Yamask, Mime Jr., Cacnea and Inkay all come along because he shows them kindness (and Yamask is particularly interesting because it shows that James retains this trait even during the Unova series, when he and Jessie are portrayed in a much more sinister manner than at other times). I probably see this somewhat differently to a lot of people because I think Pokémon usually choose their trainers, to an extent – the battle is a test, of sorts; ultimately Pokémon are captured when they feel they’ve found a trainer who will make them stronger. I think the fact that James doesn’t do things this way speaks to his very unassertive personality – next to the domineering Jessie and Meowth he sometimes seems outright wimpy, but he also ends up being the closest thing their group has to a voice of reason sometimes, because he’s not so concerned with imposing his will on others. Winning a Pokémon’s respect by defeating it in battle, as most trainers tend to do, probably seems needlessly confrontational to him. This kind of approach sets a different tone for how he interacts with his Pokémon, because they’re not necessarily joining him to grow stronger by fighting for him; they’re joining him for more of a mutual protection/benefit arrangement. The result is probably a degree of equality that we don’t normally see between trainers and Pokémon – though of course James is still nominally in charge.
Does it bug you when people associate anime only elements (like Pokemon speak or the player characters being ten) with the games/manga?
In a word, no. The way I see it, the games don’t do a huge amount of world-building. They’re getting better, of course, but it’s still not a task to which their format is terribly well-suited. The anime is just better at that. Obviously different writers are responsible for the two, but they ostensibly have in mind versions of the same world, and every detail is a useful one. And there’s room to fudge things too – like, maybe there isn’t a strict age limit of 10 years that applies everywhere, but pretty clearly the point is that kids can become Pokémon trainers at a fairly young age, though not without some restrictions or oversight. If something directly contradicts, sure, that’s something you have to resolve, one way or another, but there’s lots of ways you can do that, depending on exactly what the problem is. I have very little patience for the word “canon,” or any argument that surrounds it.