N asks:

Are bad dads a constant in the Pokémon Universe? Like i can’t remember for the life of me a single good father in the franchise. Hell, the entire plot of the Detective pickachu movie hinges on a son being unable to recognize his own father’s voice.

Well, I can think of… a couple of good dads: Professor Birch, in Ruby and Sapphire, seems to have a very strong relationship with his child, May/Brendan (whichever one isn’t the player character), while Norman, the player character’s father, is away all the time because he works in a different city but seems like a decent enough parent when we actually get to see him.  Bianca’s dad in Black and White… doesn’t really “get it,” but he’s at least trying not to be a $#!tty dad.

There is a standard explanation for this one, and there will always be one person who brings it up, which is: “absent fathers are a theme in Japanese fiction because Japanese fathers work 500 hours a day and are never around.”  That’s… true, and it explains a lot of the $#!ttiness of many Pokémon fathers – like Palmer in Diamond and Pearl being so distant from Barry, or Hau’s unnamed father in Sun and Moon being off in Kanto somewhere doing god knows what.  I think a lot of it really is just Pokémon’s own priorities, though, and a general lack of interest in the families of the player or other major characters (it would be fair to say, I think that the plots of these games are not what you’d call “character-driven”).  Like… fathers who are absent or distant because they work all the time are also a theme of American fiction; American fiction has practically created entire genres out of emotionally stunted men’s obsession with their $#!tty father figures.  But that’s not what the fathers of Pokémon’s main characters are like; they’re just not there, with no explanation and no relevance to anything.  Plenty of other characters have fathers who clearly exist, even if they’re not around very much or aren’t very good parents.  It’s also fairly common for both parents to be equally absent (as in Brock and Misty’s cases; I don’t think we ever meet Hau’s mother either).  I think the presence of the main character’s mother in each game is, in most cases, something of an admission that, at a bare minimum, it would be weird for a child to grow up completely alone.

Shauna asks:

Do you think Hau could be the “official” (non-player) champion of Alola? Would that even be a good direction for his characterization? And what the heck even happened to his dad, anyway…?

If you’re asking for, like, a prediction or something… what would that even mean?  Does Alola need an “official” Champion?  What for?  The idea of making the player the Champion was pretty cool and made Alola’s endgame unique, and I think that for Game Freak to canonically designate an NPC as the “real” Champion instead would undermine that.  But purely in terms of how being Champion might affect Hau’s characterisation… well, funnily enough this is kind of the direction I tried to explore in the epilogue to my narrative playthrough journal of Moon version, where I imagined my character trying to prepare Hau for exactly that future.  So, read that and see what you think, I guess?

Continue reading “Shauna asks:”

Anonymous asks:

I feel like that was a cop out answer on Looker, I’m curious in words what makes you hate him so much. Like I said, I’m indifferent, I personally don’t LIKE him but I don’t DISLIKE him, he’s just a thing that exists and persists at this point.

He’s just very very dumb and makes bad decisions with surprising regularity.  Like, in X and Y, the whole plotline with Emma becoming part of Xerosic’s experiments as a guinea pig for the cyborg ninja suit happened right under his nose while he was basically acting as Emma’s guardian.  He never achieves anything without the player’s help, is never particularly useful, and often doesn’t even provide much in the way of exposition.  He’s been responsible for the deaths of at least one previous partner and possibly more, but somehow remains convinced he is brilliant at his job.  He’s an irresponsible, incompetent, credulous git; I’m not sure what more justification I need.

Anonymous asks:

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.

Anonymous asks:

How do you think Team Aqua/Team Magma, as environmentalists/ecoterrorists, would react to Oreburgh City and its reliance on coal?

Well, are they environmentalists, though?  Team Magma in Omega Ruby seem very much not to be; Maxie is a proponent of human progress at all costs.  I don’t think he would be bothered by it in the slightest, and might even own shares in the bloody coal plant.  Team Aqua is a different story, because they do have a kind of cultish devotion to the primordial purity of nature, but they also have a rather obsessive focus on the ocean, not the land or atmosphere, so while I suspect they’d be bothered by coal plants, it might not be high on their list of priorities.

The Philosophical Sheep asks:

I was kind of disappointed with the plot of Sun and Moon. The whole “Aether is working with Team Skull” twist didn’t feel like something the writers had fully thought through, and thus it raised many more questions than it answered. I would have preferred if instead Team Skull had aided the player, Hau and Gladion when they invaded Aether Paradise, and in doing so learned what true strength meant and also redeemed themselves in the eyes of everyone else.

Mmm.  I thought the whole denouement felt a bit… rushed, I suppose?  Given the opportunity, I might have asked for… well, essentially something like what I tried to do with “Grunt B” in my playthrough write-up, that is, seeing Team Skull member question Guzma’s leadership (and sanity…), ultimately stepping in to help the player save Guzma from himself and taking an active role in the final mission to Ultra Space, perhaps along with members of the Aether Foundation.