[prayer circle for no more fire/fighting starters] asks:

i can’t remember (or find) if you’ve covered it before, but how do you think police and the criminal justice system works in the pokemon world works? we know there are police officers, but what do they do/what are they for when most of the populace seems to police themselves?

I’m not sure it necessarily needs to work any differently? Saying that the populace “police themselves” is something I would take with a grain of salt – the games probably give us a distorted view here, because the whole point of an adventure RPG is to let the player be the hero, even when that’s a little bit unrealistic or stretches what are supposed to be the normal rules of the setting. Just because we see preteen trainers stopping crimes and saving the world doesn’t mean that’s how they normally expect criminal justice to work! In the anime the Officers Jenny are pretty numerous and never seem to be hard-pressed to find something to do. I don’t think we ever see lawyers, and criminals tend to just get thrown in prison without a trial, but would an episode of the Pokémon anime really be improved by a five-minute scene where Jenny explains due process to Ash and his friends? Continue reading “[prayer circle for no more fire/fighting starters] 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:

Are you going to talk about the final two episodes Pokémon Generations at any point? I already have an idea as to how you might like them…

…the final two episodes of what now?

…oh f#%& that’s right I was doing that whole thing

and then I started playing Moon version and forgot about it


Let’s give ‘em a paragraph each now! Continue reading “Anonymous asks:”

Pokémon Moon, Epilogue: Responsibility

Beneath the crystal dome at the summit of Mount Lanakila, all is serene; all is peaceful.  The dome sparkles in the midday sun, the air is still, pure white clouds drift softly past the mountain below, and the inlaid Pokéball design on my throne pulses gently with a warm azure light.
“…sweet Arceus, I’m SO BORED!”

Continue reading “Pokémon Moon, Epilogue: Responsibility”

Pokémon Generations: Episodes 12 and 13

The last two weeks’ Generations shorts were… less inspiring to me than the previous couple, although I will admit that this may be partly because I have irrational hatred for Looker, who once again appears in a central role in episode 12.  Then again, 12 at least does something different, even though I’m not entirely sure what it’s supposed to mean; 13 seems like it’s going back to Generations’ now-accustomed role as a cheerleader for the games.  Let’s take a look.

Continue reading “Pokémon Generations: Episodes 12 and 13”

Pokémon Generations: Episodes 5 and 6

Two episodes, okay; let’s do this thing.  Today we’re looking at two of the supporting characters from the Johto games: the rival character, Silver, and the “mystery man” pursuing Suicune, Eusine.  Jim the Editor and I have discussed Silver at some length in the past, as part of a series on all the rival characters of the core games.  Eusine I don’t think I’ve ever really talked about in detail before; he’s not a terribly deep character in his own right, but he’s sort of interesting as a prelude to the rapidly expanding role that legendary Pokémon have in the games’ storylines from the Hoenn games onward.  So here we go: Silver.

Continue reading “Pokémon Generations: Episodes 5 and 6”

Pokémon Generations – Episodes 1 and 2

So, Pokémon Generations.  We should probably talk about it.  Generations is a series of 3-4 minute animated shorts that are being released each weekend on Pokémon’s official YouTube channel, as part of the ongoing barrage of promotions to mark the franchise’s 20th year.  Its aim is to shine a spotlight on a selection of memorable events from the games, in the same sort of spirit as Origins did, but covering the whole of Pokémon’s life rather than just Red and Blue.  Its point is to evoke nostalgia in veterans of each generation of games, but also to the stress their continuity – Pokémon is the same adventure it’s always been, and will continue to be, as the first episode does its utmost to stress.

Continue reading “Pokémon Generations – Episodes 1 and 2”

The Bare Essentials

The secret level of Lysandre Labs doesn’t live up to Malva’s hype.  After she lets me in (hinting, as she leaves, that this fulfils her end of some kind of shadowy bargain Looker made with her), I find that it is laid out in exactly the same way as the main floor of the complex, though with most of the rooms blocked off and disused, and is guarded only by a couple of scientists and the members of the Lumiose Gang, who were apparently hired as security on Emma’s recommendation.  Their leader, Nix, is stationed outside a storeroom waiting impatiently for his shift to end, and suggests that we rummage through the place together to see what it is that’s so important for him to protect.  Truly, Nix, you are a model of professionalism; I, an unauthorised intruder in your workplace, will gladly help you loot the storeroom you were hired to guard.  The stolen Pokéballs are here, along with Xerosic’s notes on the “Expansion Suit,” which has four major functions.  Two are comparatively innocuous: it grants its wearer superhuman strength and the ability to change his or her physical appearance at will (using technology based on the natural abilities of Ditto and Kecleon).  It also contains a remote transmitter that allows the suit to be controlled from the comfort of the lab while the wearer is kept unconscious, which explains Emma’s behaviour while acting as Essentia, but makes me wonder why Xerosic didn’t just… y’know, build a robot.  What does the unconscious ‘pilot’ contribute here?  Perhaps the control is intended as a failsafe in the event that an operative goes rogue on a mission, which, given the kind of people that Xerosic tends to associate with, is a distinct possibility.

Then there’s the fourth function.  “A hacking cable on the neck piece allows the wearer to upload a computer virus to Pokéballs and override their systems.  This provides access to control the Pokémon.  The virus also magnifies the Pokémon’s power.”  Wait, wha- how…?  What?  Hacking the Pokéball makes the Pokémon more powerful?  How is that even supposed to work?  I… guess if it’s implied that the Pokémon are stored as data then you could just program the virus to edit the data, but what makes a Pokémon ‘powerful’ is a multifaceted and highly subjective thing.  Notice that I find this so bizarre that I am entirely passing over the implication that control of the Pokéball grants control of the Pokémon, no questions asked, which would normally occasion multiple paragraphs of inane claptrap on my part.  We’re talking about altering dozens of physiological parameters (physical strength of various different muscles, reaction times, perception, durability of skin and bone, mental processing speed, countless bizarre things specific to different species like a Fire-type’s core temperature or a Psychic-type’s telekinetic strength), many of them linked to brain chemistry, in ways that could be crippling or even fatal if pushed too far – and he’s written a computer program that will automate this process, applying it to any individual of any species on the fly?  If it actually works, which I suddenly doubt, then this is either Nobel Prize-worthy stuff or some kind of magic.  And if you can do all that, reliably and safely, why stop there?  Couldn’t the same technology be used to give Pokémon moves and abilities they wouldn’t normally be able to obtain, or even change their species?  Yes, I answer on Xerosic’s behalf; yes, I think it probably could.


According to his notes, Xerosic initially envisioned having Emma test the suit while conscious, but hit an unexpected snag.  Emma is not a trainer in the normal sense of the word and owns no Pokémon – apparently he somehow forgot to mention in his job ad that this was a requirement.  As a stop-gap measure, Xerosic took on the role of Emma’s instructor, and let her use his own Pokémon while testing the Expansion Suit, but found that his normally disciplined, ruthless Crobat and Malamar became playful and easily distracted while in her care.  In order to get anything done at all, he had to use the suit’s remote link capability to put Emma to sleep and control Essentia himself.  While the tone of his notes is normally clinical and his intentions are plainly malevolent, Xerosic does seem to be genuinely concerned for Emma’s safety in these trials, even suspending further experimentation after the incident with Looker in the alleyway because he was no longer certain she would be unharmed (although Emma herself reported only that she had had a nightmare).  She’s turning him soft.

Nix is disappointed that there are only Pokéballs and documents in the storeroom, since he promised Looker he would never take another person’s Pokéball again (the implication, I can only assume, is that if there were anything else there he would gladly swipe it).  To his delight, however, a bell sounds to signal the end of his shift, and he leaves immediately.  “Be sure to shut the place when you go!” he says cheerily to the unauthorised child in the top secret room he was assigned to guard.  Something tells me the Lumiose Gang just aren’t cut out for honest work.  As he leaves, Xerosic enters the room and walks right past me, muttering to himself about the failure of his remote control and whether he could strengthen his grip on Essentia without hurting Emma.  Suddenly realising who I am, he decides that defeating me will prove that his project has been a success and calls Essentia.  This is the kick-off for a whole string of battles with the robot ninja, using all of the Pokémon she has brought against me so far in sequence.  Essentia is supposedly ramping up the potency of her Pokéball jack’s virus with every defeat, but exactly what effect this is having, if any, is unclear.  Three battles in, Looker and Mimi arrive and attempt to wake up Emma, but Xerosic crows that he, not Emma, is the one controlling Essentia, and turns his remote up to eleven.  Essentia keeps fighting, this time with Xerosic’s own Malamar and Crobat, but becomes incoherent and appears to be in terrible pain.  Looker continues to evoke The Power Of Friendship, to no avail – Essentia is paralysed by her internal struggle.  Xerosic stares, wordless, as she clutches her head and screams.  Eventually he gives a hint of a sigh and says “remote control… power down.   Deactivate.”

And just like that, everything is okay.  Emma wakes up with a loud yawn and takes control of the suit, apparently no worse for wear and slightly disappointed to learn that Xerosic is ending their trials and won’t be requiring her services any longer.  That, apparently, is that, and Emma, Mimi and I are dismissed to go and get something to eat while Looker talks things over with Xerosic.  In a cutscene in Looker’s office, Xerosic obligingly confirms that Essentia, under his control, was behind both the vandalism of the art museum and the recent Pokéball thefts.  He praises Emma’s talent, dedication and vision, claiming that his research could never have succeeded without her, but firmly denies that she bears any responsibility for her actions while unconscious in the Expansion Suit or even that she has any memory of them.  Looker formally instructs Xerosic to accompany him to the police station once he has everything in order… and then invites him to dinner, because he is Emma’s friend.

Ohhhhh no.  NO no no.  Looker, I let you adopt the homeless gang leader, and I let you invite her psychotic friends over for play-dates, but you are not going to Disney your way out of this one.  This man is legitimately evil and insane, and his obvious affection for Emma does not excuse his wanton exploitation of her for criminal ends – which, need I remind you, is far from the worst thing on his record!  And this is coming from ME!

What do you mean “I’m not even in this scene”?  I’m the narrator of this play-through, thank you very much!

Oh, whatever!

A couple of days later, when Looker is supposed to be ending his fake hospital visit, Emma and I receive a letter from him, in which he confesses to Emma his Interpol allegiance and his real reason for being in Kalos: to apprehend Xerosic.  With his mission accomplished, it’s time for him to return to… wherever the hell he comes from.  To me, he leaves his precious code name, “Looker,” and to Emma and Mimi, he leaves the office, so that they will always have a place to live.

You’re… leaving me your… code name?

Oh, HELL no; I am NOT going to rule Kalos with an iron fist burdened with THAT piece of $#!t.  Emma, Mimi and I split up to find him and prevent this atrocity.  Following a tip from Nix, I visit the art museum, where the damaged painting has been restored.  Whoo.  Meanwhile, Xerosic contacts Emma to summon us all to Lysandre Café.  When we arrive, Looker is questioning him to make absolutely sure all of the Pokéballs stolen by Essentia have been returned.  Their train is about to leave, and he is anxious to make sure there are no more loose ends.  Well, sorry, Looker, you missed one – and she’s here to confront you about it.  Emma demands to know why he has to leave, and then suggests that she and Mimi go with him to continue as his assistants.  That… wait, that might actually work; he has already started training her, right?  But no – Looker is so anxious to get rid of Emma that he decides to promote her to head of the Looker Bureau on the spot just to have an excuse to leave her behind.  Emma, to her credit, sees through his bull$#!t immediately and turns to me for support.  “Emma, please,” Looker cuts in, “I must ask you to respect the necessity of my decision.  Chris understands perfectly why I must go.  It is the way of partners.  He is my partner.  We understand each other.”  Why, that little-!

“No way.  Listen, Looker, leaving a lonely sixteen-year-old hobo in charge of a private detective agency because you can’t take responsibility for your recent insane decision to adopt and employ her may only make you the second-worst person in this room-”

“And which one of us would be the first, your imperial majesty?” Xerosic asks innocently.

“…okay, make that the third-worst person in this room, but-” Mimi gives a discreet little cough to draw my attention.  I sigh.  “The fourth-worst…” I glance at Emma, mentally weighing her recent actions as Essentia and her probable record as an inner city gang leader.  “…you know what?  F#$% it; do whatever you want.”  I slouch grimly over to a chair, muttering “you’ll all be my slaves one day anyway.”

“Well…” Xerosic murmurs, “I suppose that answers that question.”  He turns to Emma and offers her a gift – the Expansion Suit, minus its remote control function, as well as his Pokémon partners – so that she can become a masked superhero and defend Lumiose City from evil.  And then, just like that, they’re off.  Emma, vibrant soul that she is, shakes off her melancholy and pledges to do her best to keep her home safe as the new head of the Looker Bureau.

Wait… Xerosic said he took out the Expansion Suit’s transmitter (and, well, he easily could have been flat-out lying, but let’s assume for the sake of argument that he was sincere), but he said nothing about the Pokéball jack.  That, I’ve got to assume, is still in there, with all its nebulously defined, potentially horrifying, and tremendously versatile functions.  And now Emma has it.  Emma who,need I remind you, is a sixteen-year-old street gang leader.  Emma whose best friend is a telepathic cat who hates adult humans.  Emma who in a few short weeks earned the respect, the admiration even, of one of the most dramatically evil villains in the history of the Pokémon franchise.  And… come to think of it, do we have any proof, beyond Xerosic’s word, that Emma had no control over her actions as Essentia?

I see no way this could possibly go wrong.

Robot Ninja Bandit Zombie Pirate Shapeshifter

Our next mission has arrived!  Kind of!  Well, no-one has actually hired us, or for that matter even inquired about hiring us, but there’s been a break-in and some vandalism at the Lumiose Art Museum, and Looker has decided to investigate.  Considering how massively strapped for cash he apparently is, Looker is mighty keen on spontaneous pro bono work.  Anyway, he sends me to the museum, conveniently just around the corner, to force our services on the unsuspecting staff.  I find the vandalised painting on the third floor, covered by a broad squiggle of sky-blue spray paint.

…well, it looks like a perfectly fine piece of modern art to me.  Maybe that’s just my disdain for the blandness of Kalosian art, though.  I say as much to the director, and find to my surprise that he agrees with me.  Something about a statement of rebellion against authority.  He even muses that the defacement has drawn publicity for the museum, but is concerned that trying to restore the painting could even make things worse (he’s absolutely right, by the way).  Though mystified at how the tagger got inside, he makes no indication of wishing to hire an investigator.  Oh, well.  I’m sure Looker will find some bat-s#!t reason to take the case on anyway.

…but no.  By the time I get back to the office, Looker’s attention has been caught by a completely different crime: a string of Pokéball thefts in Lumiose City’s alleyways, the thief normally striking in the moment of inattentiveness after a battle ends.  They are thought to be the work of a single individual, but apparently there are no consistent reports of what this person looks like, or even whether it’s a man or a woman.  Um… wait, what exactly is making us think it’s a single individual, then?  Oh, whatever.  Looker, as always, has a cunning plan: he suggests that, since I have plenty of enticing Pokémon, I can act as bait for our mysterious bandit.  Yes.  As the famous destroyer of Team Flare and the most powerful trainer in the Kalos region, I am an ideal choice to be the bait for these criminals who prey on the weak and helpless.  Looker, immune as always to my perennial sarcasm, is delighted at my assent to the plan, which we set into motion at once.  Entering the nearest alley, I am quickly challenged to a battle by an elegant middle-aged woman with a Jellicent and a Volcarona – clearly a skilled trainer, but nothing exceptional… until the end of a battle when, with a flash of blinding light, she turns into a lithe, inscrutable figure completely concealed by some kind of black jumpsuit and an orange perspex visor, speaking with a harsh, synthetic sounding voice, almost like a robot.

…Viscountess Julia the robot maid, is that you?

Looker bursts into the alleyway to confront my assailant before she (he? it?) has a chance to make a grab for my Pokéballs.  “OBSTRUCTION DETECTED.  PROCESS JEOPARDIZED.  RELOCATE HUNTING GROUND,” the figure decides, before springing with lighting speed onto the roof of a nearby building and dashing away across the rooftops.  Okay.  The keen detecting skills I have learned from Looker are suggesting to me that I might not be dealing with a typical Pokémon rustler here.  Looker seems to think that trying our plan again in a different alleyway may get us another shot at apprehending the rogue, and despite my habitual scepticism I agree to give it a shot – this time coming up against a little girl with a Whimsicott, a Mawile, and a Granbull.  She too appears to be only another face of the robot ninja we are hunting, who is again chased off pretty quickly by Looker’s intervention.  A third alleyway yields not another of our enemy’s guises, but one of her victims – a young Black Belt who was enthralled by her beauty and had his Pokémon snatched away.  He does manage to give Looker enough information to point us towards another alley, though, sending me dashing across the city once again to put my life and Pokémon on the line in the pursuit of… *shudder*… justice.

…if this robo-chick is Emma using a personal holo-field and a voice synthesiser I am going to be so pissed.

In the fourth alley, I am challenged by a beautiful young woman, perhaps the same visage who appeared to the Black Belt.  She now seems to have all but abandoned her pretence of being an innocent member of the public, and challenges me right away with a powerful Persian.  When she loses, she again reveals her true form and attacks, and again is confronted by Looker.  This time, though, she seems to have decided that any risk involved in engaging him is worth being rid of us, and threatens to “eradicate” him.  Looker, plucky and clueless as he is, threatens her right back with his skill as a fist-fighter.  I quietly suggest to him, my hand slowly reaching for Xerneas’ Pokéball, that anyone using the verb “eradicate” is probably thinking of a slightly more sophisticated level of combat than fisticuffs.  Before we can get down to eradication, though, Mimi the Espurr rushes into the alley… and jumps enthusiastically to greet the robot ninja, smiling as she smiles for only one person…

Wha- THAT WAS A F$#%ING JOKE!  How am I supposed to make jokes when the plot is just as crazy as anything I can come up with!?


…then again, I gotta say; I’m not normally into chicks but the whole shapeshifting cyborg assassin thing is kinda hot.

The robot ninja denies that she has any familiarity with Mimi, or that she is Emma, calling herself “Essentia.”  She tries to “eradicate” Mimi, but Looker heroically causes the screen to fade to black so he can absorb the attack, and tries to get through to Emma, presumably reasoning that she is under some kind of compulsion (or she could be doing this entirely of her own will… I mean, she was a gang leader, and as backstabs go, I have to admit this one has me in awe).  This only causes Essentia to go haywire, give an unholy robotic screech, and retreat to the rooftops.  Well.  That certainly happened.  Looker tells me he means to check into hospital to sort his injury, but secretly reveals to Mimi in a cutscene that he is leaving on an especially dangerous mission.  A few hours later, I get a call on my holo-caster from Emma, and hurry to the office to find her.  She gives no indication of awareness that anything is the slightest bit unusual, other than concern for Looker, and dashes off to get back to her “job” before I can tell her she’s grounded.  What’s more, before I can pursue her, I am interrupted by a butler who seems to be interested in hiring us, but wants to check out my strength first… despite apparently knowing that I am the Champion.  I punish him and his Braviary for their insolence, and he reveals that he is a former member of Team Flare, like the mistress who sent him – one of the scientists, I can only assume, maybe Aliana?  She is waiting for me in the penthouse suite of the famed Hotel Richissime.  I am told to hurry, since the man’s mistress does not like to be kept waiting… so, naturally, I go for a walk, get some fresh air, buy some Lumiose Galettes for my Pokémon, and stay a while at the Café Triste for a light afternoon meal.  For members of an organisation I destroyed, these two have a frightfully poor notion of the respect I am due.  Once I feel appropriately rested, I head for the penthouse…

…and come face to face with the Elite Four’s Fire Pokémon Master, Malva.

Furious at being kept waiting, Malva demands a one-on-one battle before she will even speak to me.  I indulge her and destroy her Pyroar with Orion’s Aura Sphere, leaving her smouldering but prepared to talk.  Malva confirms that Essentia is Emma, wearing a special suit invented by none other than Xerosic, Team Flare’s chief scientist.  Malva wants me to get rid of Xerosic for tarnishing the honour of Team Flare with petty crimes – she claims that, despite our disagreements, they were always doing what they believed was right, while Xerosic is just plain evil.  In exchange for this service, she offers to lead me to the secret level in Lysandre Labs where he does his work.  As I turn to leave, she warns me, almost as an afterthought, “be prepared to face death if you go.”

…WOW.  Interesting tone for a Pokémon game, don’t you think, Malva?

Remind me to fire her (pun most maliciously intended).  Anyone who still believes in the rightness of Lysandre’s insane self-aggrandising mission will not be serving on my Elite Four, nor can anyone so recklessly insubordinate be trusted with an important role in my insane self-aggrandising mission.  Perhaps Serena could replace her; she does have a Fire-type partner, after all…

Ridiculous quote log:

“Museum staff said that security is very tight and breaking into the museum is impossible.”
…much as I try to refrain from telling random Kalosians how to do their jobs, if your security team is telling you that a break-in is impossible in the aftermath of a break-in, it’s time to find a new security team.

“She’s no Pokémon, yet she can use Transform!”
As always, Looker, your observational skills are second to none.