KalosianPorygon asks:

What are, in your opinion, the most baffling worldbuilding incoherences of the mainline Pokémon games? For me, it’s the presence of Bananas (as is, the real-life fruit) in Sword and Shield, when Nanab Berries, which are based on bananas, also exist.

That’s a tough one… See, this is hard because a big part of my schtick normally is looking at inconsistencies and figuring out why they actually might not be inconsistent.  “This is a baffling worldbuilding incoherence” is normally my last resort, after “unreliable narrators” and “differing creative visions” and “fiction has no sense of scale” and “myth and history are really complicated” and “biology is also really complicated” and “there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio” have all failed.  Actually pegging something as fundamentally inconsistent in a way that allows no more interesting interpretation is almost an admission of defeat for me.  Like, take the Nanab Berry thing.  That doesn’t even strike me as a problem; that’s just two fruit that look similar and have similar names, which may or may not be related (Jim the Editor pointed out that we have grapes and grapefruit).  Cheri Berries and Cherubi also exist in the same world; I think one is probably named after the other.

My first thought for an actual answer here was “they never really explain how Pokéballs work, and none of the characters seem to think that’s weird” but I don’t know if that qualifies as an inconsistency, so much as something that’s just never explored.  Something that really is worth wondering about is how food works – not just whether we eat Pokémon, but whether Pokémon eat each other.  I actually suspect there may not be a firm party line on this within Game Freak, because the games definitely mention hunting and predation from time to time, but when you directly ask them they’re reluctant to talk about it.  We finally get to eat Slowpoke tails in Sword and Shield, but they’re always careful to mention that Slowpoke tails grow back.  You sort of have to assume that we eat Pokémon and they eat each other, because a world with no predation whatsoever just wouldn’t have creatures that resemble real ones, but if even the lowest Pokémon are of roughly doglike intelligence and many species are superhuman, the idea of killing them for food – or of them killing each other for food, when they could easily have been friends on some trainer’s team – does make one a little bit… queasy.  And that’s just not something Pokémon’s optimistic worldview can process in a nuanced way.

ShadJV asks:

Been meaning to ask… how do you think items work? Berries are obvious, but items that give type bonuses are harder to explain, and then there’s items like EXP Share (how do they get experience without fighting) or Amulet Coin (where does the money come from)?

Well they definitely don’t all work in the same way, so realistically this is not going to be an exhaustive answer, but let’s try.

To answer the question with another question: why are Pokémon allowed to use items in battle at all?  Berries, I suppose, you can excuse, since wild Pokémon do it and they’re just natural supplements and snacks, and plausibly the same holds for Herbs (of the White, Mental and Power varieties), Leftovers and manufactured foods like Lava Cookies, but how is it fair to let a Pokémon carry a tool that measurably makes its attacks more powerful?  Why not give them Mediaeval plate armour and maces at that point?  Why has no one in any known Pokémon League cared to draw a line somewhere on the saner side of spectacles that amplify magic? Continue reading “ShadJV asks:”