Spotlight Series: Ethics of Pokémon Training

Hey everyone! Jim the Editor once more (I know, twice in one week is a bit excessive but hey there’s a lot going on…). This time I’m here with the second entry into our Spotlight Series, where Chris and I go back into the archives in order to rediscover articles from the rather immense back catalogue here on In doing so we hope not only to introduce some of the more recent additions to our little community here to the work we – mostly Chris – have done in the past 8 years but also to add a little commentary to those posts which are by now nearly three generations out of date.

Last time we went right back to the origins of the blog and revisited Chris’ Unova Reviews. This time we are taking a more thematic approach by delving into the collection of posts and articles devoted to the somewhat problematic topic of the Ethics of Pokémon training.


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Anonymous asks:

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.

Rivals, part 6: Colress

Colress, in all his scientific glory.
Colress, in all his scientific glory.

Okay, I realise that we’re pushing it by including Colress in this series; it’s easy to come up with reasons to lump in N with the list of ‘rival’ characters, even though he behaves very differently to the rest of them, but Colress is very clearly not the same thing.  However, I don’t care and I want to talk about Colress, because shut up.

Nice reasoned argument there.

Thank you.

So, Colress.  Crazy mad scientist character.  I was underwhelmed by him, to be honest.  I mean, what does he even do?

I actually liked him!  I enjoyed the fact that he was working pretty much at right angles to what literally everyone else in the story was trying to do.

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