Bradley_P15 [Patreon cultist] asks:

Read a thing on twitter recently that hypothesises that Gen V were the last mainline games that felt quote “Comfortable in their own skin”, since VI, VII and VIII all have big showy gimmicks whilst feeling the need to keep oldschool fans happy. What’re your thoughts on this as one of the internet’s prime Pokemon overthinkers?

Hmm.  It doesn’t especially square with my intuitions or experiences about those games – I didn’t enjoy V as much as VI or VII, in spite of it having what I still feel is the best story of the Pokémon games so far. I think I just disagree outright with the characterisation of Mega Evolution and Z-moves (I mean, I assume that’s what this is referring to; I don’t know what else it could mean) as showy gimmicks.  They never felt intrusive to me, and I always got the impression that most Pokémon players really liked Mega Evolution?  Certainly a lot of people are upset that it’s apparently not coming back.  They’re also fairly major additions to the battle system that come with a fair degree of strategic depth, and they’re part of the culture of each region in which they appear.  I don’t know whether all that’s going to be true of Dynamaxing, and frankly neither does anyone else, despite all the people lining up to declare otherwise. 

I think there is… let’s say a certain amount right now of people trying to fit their anger over the recent National Pokédex (ahem) “issue” into an overarching narrative of why Pokémon has been in decline ever since… since whichever generation they thought was best.  That’s not necessarily a wrong thing to try to do, but it rarely comes with arguments that I find convincing on the basis of my own experience of the games, and at the moment it seems like it’s tied to a desire to pre-judge Sword and Shield, which I just think is silly.  I mean, for heaven’s sake, even after a Pokémon game comes out, it takes me months to decide whether I liked it (and only some of that is because I don’t usually pick up the game on launch day).

Not Me asks:

Could the giant Torterra in Detective Pikachu be linked to dynamax somehow? Arguably, they did not have much of a purpose in the movie…

Proooooooobably not.  The movie was filmed in early 2018, and the script was written in 2016-2017, at which point Sword and Shield would have been in a very early stage of development (presumably Game Freak would still have had all hands on deck for the release of Ultra Smoon later that year).  I’m not sure even Game Freak would have known about Dynamaxing at that point – or at least, it could have been only one of several ideas they were tossing around for generation VIII’s flagship mechanic.  Even if they were already certain that Dynamaxing was going to be a core feature of the next game, Detective Pikachu was written by American screenwriters who would have had no more special insight into Game Freak’s plans for the next generation than the rest of us.  Some higher-up at the Pokémon Company could have told the screenwriters “hey, slip in a giant Pokémon somehow – no reason!” (you wouldn’t tell them why, because that’s an unnecessary risk of a leak), but honestly that seems to me like a weird process to go through.  I think it’s more likely to be a coincidence.