One lunatic's love-hate relationship with the Pokémon franchise, and his addled musings on its rights, wrongs, ins and outs. Come one, come all, and indulge my delusions of grandeur as I inflict my opinions on anyone within shouting distance.
How do you approach your first battle? – Play it safe and wear them out with Leech Seed
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…
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
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.
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.
Now safely back in Pallet Town, Ash has to start preparing for the Pokémon League tournament – and in order to do that, he has to visit Professor Oak to find out when and where the tournament actually takes place (evidently, the answer is: in exactly two months, at exactly the same place as every year – the Indigo Plateau). It apparently never occurred to him before now to look this stuff up. When he arrives at the lab with Misty and Brock, Oak is apparently more excited to see Togepi than to see him, but nonetheless welcomes the gang into his sitting room, where they find out that – as always – Gary is two steps ahead of Ash. They are almost immediately at each other’s throats, but Professor Oak protests that it would be a shame for there to be a feud between Pallet Town’s two “top trainers” – to the indignant disbelief of both. Ash and Gary snipe each other for a while as the Professor examines their Pokédexes, and then it’s time for a tour of his facilities.