Osprey asks:

This is a slightly odd question (or set of questions), but I’ve been thinking lately about how Pokemon perceive or relate to their own type, and whether type distinctions induce some kind of cultural difference among Pokemon. Are Pokemon aware of their own type? Do type distinctions arise “naturally,” or are they simply human-created terms used to organize and taxonomize Pokemon by their salient features? Do Pokemon feel culturally closer to Pokemon who share their type? What about Pokemon from “allied” types, like Water and Ice, or Rock and Ground? Is a Pokemon like Abomasnow who has two types that are fairly “far apart” from each other able to “code switch” to an extent– to “lean in” to his Grass-type features when he’s hanging out with other Grass pokemon, and to his Ice-type aspects when he’s up on the mountain with the other Ice-types?

What do you think about this?

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm…

I tend to think that the world makes more sense if Pokémon type is a construct created by humans in order to understand how Pokémon fight and predict which Pokémon will have advantages against certain others.  If Pokémon type is a natural thing that exists independently of humans, then you need to do a lot of work explaining what it is and how it arises (especially considering that Pokémon of the same type do not usually seem to be related species), and this is work that Game Freak has not done.  I think it would probably imply that each type corresponds to some metaphysical source of magical power that Pokémon can tap into – and honestly I think that might be true anyway for some of the more mystical types like Dragon and Fairy, but for most of them there simply isn’t anything that hints at it in official sources.  Of course, because this is something that Pokémon’s creators probably haven’t thought about, there are a few stray things that do strongly suggest Pokémon types are in some way natural and absolute, like Arceus having forms for every type, and Hidden Powers existing for every type (except Fairy), and there being no exceptions to the type chart.  So… basically, I know what the answer would be if I were in charge, but I’m not confident in anything given the world as we actually see it.

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LadySeychelles asks:

Hey, what are youre thoughts on the gym leaders? I always have fun thinking what they could do in Pokemon society

Well, there seem to be basically three things Gym Leaders do in a community: they test and certify trainers wanting to challenge the Pokémon League, they provide instruction and a learning environment to junior trainers, and they solve people’s Pokémon-related problems.  Most of them – with some notable exceptions, particularly in Kanto – are pillars of the community, well-known and generally trusted.  The last few generations, particularly V and what I’ve seen so far of VII (if we say that the Captains are basically equivalent to Gym Leaders), have been making a very deliberate effort to show that most Gym Leaders also have “day jobs” in addition to their Pokémon-related responsibilities – Cilan and his brothers run a restaurant, Clay is a mining tycoon, Viola is a photographer, Clemont is an electrical engineer, Ilima is a painter, etc.  So it might well be that, in some regions at least, Gym Leaders actually work as volunteers.  These are people who just care so much about Pokémon training that they will devote a significant portion of their own free time to running what is basically an entire sports facility (or, in Alola, administering trials) so that members of the community can learn more about it.  Which I think is pretty neat.