One lunatic's love-hate relationship with the Pokémon franchise, and his addled musings on its rights, wrongs, ins and outs. Come one, come all, and indulge my delusions of grandeur as I inflict my opinions on anyone within shouting distance.
This is the first of what will, in principle, be a monthly
“series” of investigations into topics chosen by the unfathomable whims of my
shadowy advisors, the Dark Council. The
Council is made up of everyone donating at least $12/month to me on Patreon – at
the moment that’s one person, the newly appointed Lord President of the
Council, Verb, who therefore gets THE SUPREME POWER to dictate the direction of
these studies. However, if you value
what I do, think I deserve something in return for my work, and would like me
to maybe someday be able to do more of it, YOU TOO could be inducted into the
Council’s hallowed ranks, nominate topics for future months, and vote on them
(listen, bribing your way to power and prestige is totally on theme with the
whole “cult” thing I’m going for here).
Here is the prompt I was given this month:
“I’ve often thought about the episode of Indigo League in
which Ash’s Butterfree is released in order to join the migration, and it’s
caused me to wonder the effects that similar migrations might have on Trainer
culture, with their inherent desire to remain with their chosen partner Pokemon
potentially conflicting with the Pokemon’s own desires.”
So let’s talk about Pokémon migration and what happens when
Pokémon leave their trainers!
They shoulda made Ash win the Sinnoh League! Ash was at his peak, his rivalry with Paul was such a huge part of that series and they had a 3-episode climactic battle and everything. They literally had to bring out a troll character with multiple legendaries out of nowhere just to stop him! They coulda made Ash win and retired him as the protagonist, and started anew for the Unova series (which woulda worked perfectly because the fifth gen was the reboot gen anyways). Do you agree?
Sinnoh is actually the series that I’ve seen the least of, so I don’t know if I can comment on the appropriateness of that moment specifically. In general, though… I don’t know, people always bring up getting rid of Ash as something that would be great for the anime and revitalise it, but I don’t think I’m convinced. For one thing, Ash is pretty iconic by this point and I think the fanbase would inevitably be deeply split on any possible replacement. For another, Ash’s ingrained cluelessness is actually a useful character trait for the lead in a story about exploration and discovery, because the audience can learn with him, so any replacement would need to resemble him in some important ways anyway. I don’t think Ash is played out; I think the whole premise of the Pokémon anime and its “Pokémon journey” format is played out – so arguably the better solution is to do exactly what Alola is doing and try to abandon that premise.
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)
Now safely back in Pallet Town, Ash has to start preparing for the Pokémon League tournament – and in order to do that, he has to visit Professor Oak to find out when and where the tournament actually takes place (evidently, the answer is: in exactly two months, at exactly the same place as every year – the Indigo Plateau). It apparently never occurred to him before now to look this stuff up. When he arrives at the lab with Misty and Brock, Oak is apparently more excited to see Togepi than to see him, but nonetheless welcomes the gang into his sitting room, where they find out that – as always – Gary is two steps ahead of Ash. They are almost immediately at each other’s throats, but Professor Oak protests that it would be a shame for there to be a feud between Pallet Town’s two “top trainers” – to the indignant disbelief of both. Ash and Gary snipe each other for a while as the Professor examines their Pokédexes, and then it’s time for a tour of his facilities.
Wishful Thinking: The anime is getting rid of Ash, and is going to start the next generation’s anime with a totally new protagonist. And YOU have the opportunity to design them~ What sort of character do you design?
Hard to say… a lot of Ash’s existing personality traits are actually kind of useful ones for a main character to have, like it’s actually good for your main character in a fantasy world to be a little bit clueless, because the audience can learn about the world as they learn, and Ash’s enthusiasm for battling and capturing Pokémon are important for getting people to buy into the main premises of the franchise. So it’s probably good to keep those things… to an extent, anyway. But what might be different? Well, it would be nice to have the protagonist be a girl, for a change… and we could contrast Ash, who is if anything overly friendly with Pokémon he’s just met, with a character who has a bit more difficulty bonding with Pokémon, and has an initially more standoffish relationship with them, more like Gary… add a very curious, analytical bent, sort of like Red from Origins, to play into the Pokédex quest and the theme of exploration… something like that, I think.
I thought they made the switch from clefairy because they wanted a more gender neutral pokemon and clefairy was too pink and girly? Or is that just a rumor that’s never had evidence?
Dunno. It would kind of make sense? I can’t find anything reputable online that discusses it in any detail. Most people who talk about the decision are pretty clearly extrapolating from Bulbapedia’s rather bare-bones account.