Jim the Editor asks:

How does the use of pokeballs by oranguru and their inherent empathy impact the pokemon training as enslavement argument?

So this is something that came up while Jim and I were proofing the Oranguru review, and frankly that was long enough already, so we decided it would be better to publish this separately in question-and-answer format. I haven’t talked directly about the whole Pokémon-and-slavery “thing” in a while, so to summarise my “standard” views on the subject (which are, of course, anything but standard): Continue reading “Jim the Editor asks:”

Vikingboybilly asks:

The poképelago ironically seems more like slavery than when they were just left in boxes. They’re dropped off on islands where their job is to… harvest beans, farm berries, and mine for materials. That is exactly the kind of thing human slaves (and some animals, I guess) were forced to do in the real world. Oh, there’s islands for playing on obstacle courses and bathing in hot springs, but, be honest, how many of us use those more than the others?

Ehhhhh?  I mean, they don’t harvest the beans (you do), they’re not “mining” but exploring a cave system, and you don’t actually assign them to any of those three jobs, they just kinda wander in and out as they please.  I think your interpretation requires a certain level of wilful misreading.

Anonymous asks:

As you’ve often mentioned, a predominant theme of Pokemon is that humans and Pokemon both prosper by working together and treating each other with respect and friendship. It’s not only the ethos of most inhabitants of the world, but built into the metaphysics of the game itself (friendship evolution, etc). Why is it that (most of) the evil teams seem so convinced that it’s better to treat mons like tools or slaves instead, when their ideology is demonstrably wrong? Obviously, it shows that the evil people are, in fact, evil, but Team Rocket, who cares solely about money, should at least be able to crunch the numbers and see which technique is more profitable in the long run. Plus, who’s on the buying end of these smuggling rings? Do you think something else is going on? Either something implied or an unintentional interpretation?

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Anonymous asks:

Can you PLEASE talk about why Pokemon aren’t slaves? I’m tired of that being thrown at Pokemon as an insult.

You probably want to start here – my “Ethics of Pokémon Training” is by a fair margin the most popular thing I’ve ever written.  I essentially try to argue here that the act of catching a Pokémon represents a sort of ritualised contract that is made between a Pokémon and a trainer, and that this contract can be broken by either party.  You can also read this, where I compare Pokémon to professional gladiators and Greek teachers and doctors under the Roman Empire, who were technically slaves but in some cases got a pretty good deal out of it.  See also here, here and here.

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