jeffthelinguist asks:

So we got our latest “Pokémon made up of separate entities” (Falinks) and I was thinking… how do these exist as a single Pokémon? What happens if you… separate them entirely? What if you divide an Exeggcute into two sets of egg-seeds and keep them apart? Could they still evolve? Can one or two members of a Falinks survive on their own? What would we call them? I never could wrap my head around the idea of multiple creatures making up a single Pokémon, especially when they don’t evolve from a single unit (like Dugtrio or Magneton)…

There’s gotta be an anime episode that covers this.

…huh.  I don’t think there is?  Or at least I can’t find one.

Well, we know Exeggcute at least must be able to survive on their own, because we’re told that a new one forms from an Exeggutor dropping an extra head… but six is clearly the optimal number for them to be healthy.  I suppose in nature Exeggutor live in groups, so that there are always plenty of spare Exeggcute lying around to form clusters of six.  When they’re with trainers… well, when they’re with trainers they lay eggs that hatch into six more eggs, so that doesn’t really help us much (maybe this is one of the examples we should think of when looking at that one random X and Y NPC who claims that Pokémon eggs “aren’t really eggs” but “more like a Pokémon cradle” – in nature they actually don’t lay eggs but have other, weirder forms of reproduction).  Honestly I think an Exeggcute that loses one of its heads and can’t get it back may just be permanently impaired, and if it gets down to less than three it could well be impossible for it to evolve.  On that point, though, what I want to know is, if Exeggcute form clusters of six and Exeggutor normally have three heads, what happens to the other three?  Maybe the three heads don’t each correspond to one of the six Exeggcute heads at all, and their consciousnesses all sort of blend together during evolution (after all, they’re Psychic-types and make decisions collectively via telepathy anyway).  Now, Falinks… the whole point of Falinks is that it’s supposed to reference ancient Greek and Roman infantry tactics, fighting styles where teamwork and cohesion are the units’ main strength (and we can debate ad nauseam exactly how hoplites and legionaries actually fought and whether Falinks is a good representation of either, but… dear gods, please not now), so I kinda think it would be thematically appropriate if a lone Falinks without its comrades just couldn’t survive – couldn’t fight predators, couldn’t find food, just generally couldn’t function.  Maybe different numbers are viable, maybe you can have a five-member Falinks or a seven-member one, but they haven’t evolved to live independently.  As a trainer you might be able to separate them and support them individually, but I suspect it would be psychologically damaging and frankly kind of abusive.

Anonymous asks:

Do you think pokemon are carbon based life forms? I’m aware that it’s a make believe world with screwy physics but I just want to prentend we can apply some sort of logic to the world.

…yeeeeees?  I mean, most of them?  Like, there are a lot of them where that seems like a sensible assumption, but then there are also ones like Geodude that should perhaps be silicon-based, or ones like Bronzor that ought to be metallic, and then there’s Carbink who is carbon-based but in a very different way to what we’re used to.  I’ve given up on thinking that “Pokémon” is a biological category that implies common ancestry, so I’m okay with some of them being carbon-based and others not.

The Philosophical Sheep asks:

Are pokemon all made of some kind of energy? Is that the unifying factor? That would explain a lot.

Well, matter is a kind of energy, so in that sense, yeah, they are.  The problem I have with “energy” is that it’s a good way of sounding like you’ve explained something when you actually haven’t – sort of like how calling a substance a “chemical” is always technically correct, but so broad that it’s meaningless.

Anonymous asks:

Based on your answer to the Ultra beast question, WHAT IS A POKÉMON??

Well, I think the Ultra Beasts (and Deoxys, for that matter) suggest that it’s not actually a biological distinction, or even anything scientific at all.  I think they just call something a Pokémon if it can battle and take orders.  Pokémon moves and types are categories invented by humans to describe what different creatures can do; they don’t necessarily indicate anything consistent about physiology.  So it’s not clear whether Ultra Beasts are Pokémon or not, until someone catches one and uses it in a battle, and that fact is formally recognised by one or more Pokémon Leagues; after that, they definitely are.  I suspect it’s almost more of a legal/rules issue than anything else.

Anonymous asks:

You’re a chemist, right? Mind watching a Youtube video called ‘EVERY Steel Type Pokemon EXPLAINED!’ by Lockstin&Gnoggin and tell us what you think? I watched that video and immediately thought it might be something you’d be interested in! 🙂

This is the video we’re talking about

Okay, so, saying that I’m a chemist would be a slight exaggeration; I mean, I have an undergrad degree in chemistry but it is not my professional field.  But whatever.

There’s a few, like, miscellaneous mistakes/head-desk moments scattered through the video, like saying that basalt is a metal (it f#%&ing isn’t) or that hydroxyapatite is “a form of calcium” (in much the same way that pineapples are “a form of carbon”).  Also Gnoggin says EVERY Steel-type Pokémon but I’m pretty sure he missed Bronzong for some reason?  He mentioned it in a list at least once, but I don’t think he ever actually discussed it individually like all the others.  I’m nitpicking though; most of the specific things he says are basically fine. Continue reading “Anonymous asks:”

Anonymous:

How do you think Pokemon breed?

…hoooooo boy.

So I wrote this thing about it once upon a time, and I think the big takeaway from it should be not so much anything I actually said, but that we know so little, and what we do know makes such little sense, that you can pretty much say just about anything and have it be on some level justifiable.  Game Freak has always been quite insistent in telling us that there’s an awful lot about Pokémon reproduction that no-one knows at all.  Back in the original Gold and Silver, a Pokémon egg was supposedly a major discovery because before then, no-one actually knew for sure that Pokémon hatched from eggs, which sort of makes you wonder how Pokémon ranchers and the like ever managed to do their jobs.  Then in X and Y, sensing that we foolishly thought we knew what we were talking about, Game Freak decided to remind us that we don’t know a damn thing by telling us that Pokémon eggs aren’t really eggs.  At this point you could tell me that Pokémon come from spontaneous generation and I wouldn’t quite be willing to rule it out (I mean, I’m also on the record as suggesting – only half-jokingly – that Pokémon originally evolved from rocks, so it’s not like I’ve got a whole lot of credibility to protect here).

Anonymous asks:

On your entry about Goodra you got a comment from someone who (rather crudely) claimed that male Goodra were worthless. I first looked at this comment and thought it was rather stupid… but it isn’t. A female doesn’t need a male of the same species to reproduce. In Goodra’s case any Dragon egg group Pokemon will work. Surely this puts the species with a larger percentage of females at a massive advantage? And for that matter how do you think male species like Tauros can exist at all?

Just so that no one is in any danger of taking it seriously, I will quote here the comment that we are currently referring to:
Goodra is a girl. She cannot be male.It’s nice to see you agree. There’s a place called 4chan who is in denial about it. They constantly say that Goodra can be male, but it’s obvious she can’t. As for me, I’ll keep reminding them that she is indeed of the female gender only. I hate male Goodra to the point where I spam on 4chan about how horrible it is. I hate it with a fiery passion that nobody could ever match. As for the female, It’s just that in reverse. I love her with an angelic passion that nobody could ever match. Nobody likes male ones. They’re treated like pigs because that’s really what they are. Whatever you do, never refer to Goodra with anything other than female pronouns. OP, you focused very heavily on using femnouns and I salute you for it.”

…quite.

Continue reading “Anonymous asks:”

RandomAccess asks:

I was thinking about Pokemon not being classified by sex but their internal gender, and that pokemon are sexless. But then I was thinking how these genders are classified by male and female which are classifications for biological sex, not one’s internal gender, which would be man, woman, or non-binary. It’s probably because the word sex is a bit too PG for an E rating, so they just used gender instead. Though male and female can be used for gender. Would the original Japanese reveal anything?

Oh, that is almost certainly what they really mean; I don’t even think there’s any doubt about that (although I can’t read Japanese, so I’m afraid you’re on your own there).  I just think it’s more entertaining to make wild speculations based on their poor word choice.