A Pokémon Trainer is You! VIII: Seriously, kid, you should know his name by now

Last time, on A Pokémon Trainer Is You:

What do you say to Whatshisname?
– Ask about the health of his Pokémon.

You’re honestly not sure how trainer etiquette is supposed to go in these situations, but it seems to you like the polite thing here is to ask the other guy about how his Pokémon is doing.

“Uh…”  He blinks, fumbling for a second.  “Squirtle’s doing great.  Uh, aren’t you, buddy?”  He glances down at Squirtle, who is poking around some brush with Scallion.  Squirtle looks back up at him and replies with an affirmative-sounding squeaky grunt.  “You know a bunch of nerd stuff, right?  Think you’d be able to tell if a Pokémon was sick or hurt?”  You do, of course, know a spectacular amount of dumb nerd $#!t, but most of it isn’t directly related to Pokémon health.  You can certainly observe a Pokémon’s behaviour and take note of even fairly subtle changes, and it does occur to you that Squirtle seems to have a little more spring in its step, so you tell Prussian(?) as much.  They’ve only been together a day and a half, but some Pokémon seem to become more lively just from being in the company of humans; it’s a phenomenon that Professor Oak has always been fascinated by.

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A Pokémon Trainer is You! VI: In Search of Caffeine

Last time, on A Pokémon Trainer Is You:

Do you want to give Minun a nickname?
– Let the Narrator name it.

Me?  Uh… I mean, yeah, I guess.  Honestly I’m a little surprised you can ask me to do that; are you even consciously aware of me as a voice in your head? Whatever; by the power vested in me by… narratorial omniscience, I guess?  I hereby name this Minun:

Nancy, the Negator

Or, y’know, just Nancy to her friends.  Whatever.  Nancy seems a little bemused, like she thinks “The Negator” might be slightly grandiose for little old her, but she does also think it’s kind of badass, so she’ll give it ago.  Well… by that, I mean she cocked her head and made an inquisitive squeaking noise; I dunno how you got the rest of it, but maybe you really are some sort of “Pokémon whisperer” or some bull$#!t like that.

What will you do in Viridian City?
– Seek out coffee.

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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

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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.

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A Pokémon Trainer Is You! III: A Battle You Has!

Last time, on A Pokémon Trainer Is You:

What do you do when Oak offers you a Pokémon?
– Ask Professor Oak to let the Pokémon decide.

You turn to Professor Oak.  All three of these Pokémon are great, you explain, and you feel confident that any of them would make a powerful and versatile partner, but it seems unfair to make this choice without their input.  Maybe it should be up to them, which one goes with you?  Blue rolls his eyes, but the Professor nods sagely and smiles at you.
“I think that would be a very interesting way of making this decision!  Well, everyone, come on out!”  With a single fluid wave of his hand, he somehow activates all three Pokéballs at once, and the three Pokémon inside them emerge in a blaze of blue-white light: Bulbasaur, Charmander, Squirtle.

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A Pokémon Trainer Is You! II: For Real This Time, ‘Cause You’re Getting A Pokémon!

Last time, on A Pokémon Trainer Is You:

Are you a boy or a girl?
– Yes

What are your special skills?
– Compassion: You are less of a $#!tbag than most kids your age, allowing you to empathise with people and Pokémon, and intuit their desires or concerns.
– Science: You hang around Professor Oak’s lab a lot, and have picked up a lot of debatably useful trivia about everything from astronomy to marine biology.
– Tactics: You watch televised Pokémon battles obsessively.  You know Pokémon type advantages by heart, and know how certain moves can be used in creative ways.

What is your rival’s name?
– I think it’s like a colour or something

Okay, let’s get on with it!

You’re at Professor Oak’s lab, ready for the beginning of the rest of your life!  The floor is tiled in pristine white – or at least, it used to be; they do a lot of experiments here and the cleaners can’t keep up.  You can still pick out most of the stains that are your fault.  Thick textbooks on Pokémon behaviour and anatomy line every wall and are scattered over most of the tables, complex machines with lots of enticing buttons litter the main room, and the lab assistants are that particular kind of dishevelled that says “we barely know how to feed and clothe ourselves, but give us grant money and we’ll work 36 hours a day!”  You nod cheerily to each of them as you pass.  You have a lot of fun memories in this place – culturing bacteria in Petri dishes, mixing chemicals to create violent colours and beautiful explosions, learning to predict the weather from air pressure measurements, helping the Professor’s assistants to draw up charts of Kantonian habitats and biomes.  It’s almost a shame to be leaving, but there’s so much to do out in the world: people and Pokémon to meet, natural phenomena to explore, battles to win!  Professor Oak is standing, magisterial and dignified, but with a kindly smile on his face, just next to a high bench with three glittering round objects.

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Bye Bye Butterfree and Pokémon Migration

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!

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