Discussion Roundup: What is Pokémon About?

All right, we had another One of These Things, and an appropriate Arbitrary Duration has passed, so here’s what I think of what people said in response to my dumb question: what is Pokémon “about”?  Part of the point of this one was I didn’t even know, necessarily, exactly how people were going to take the question; there’s several different ways you could reasonably have interpreted what I was asking, so there’s a lot in there, and I’ve almost certainly missed some good angles that came up in the comments.  Still, I’ll do my best to hit most of what we came up with and what I think of it.

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Open Discussion Topic 2: Electric-Type Boogaloo

welcome to a This
another This
one of the Thing
another one of These Things. Yes. Two weeks ago I asked you all a dumb question and for some reason many of you saw fit to humour me with well-thought-out and reasoned answers to my dumb question, so I see no reason not to abuse this frankly outrageous goodwill by doing it again. Here is my second dumb question:

What do you think Pokémon is “about”?

And, by this, I mean not “it’s about fighting monsters who are your friends” but what it’s “about” in terms of themes and messages. There are a lot of one-word answers I think I could justify for this question: discovery, adventure, childhood, friendship, ambition, nature, hope.  I think probably most people would agree with all of those to some extent, but certainly wouldn’t place the same weight on each of them as I would, and would have their own additions to the list.  We probably also have different thoughts from Pokémon’s creators, and yet more different ideas on what Pokémon should be about. So… yeah, tell me what you think!

Be as broad or as restricted in the scope of your answer as you feel is appropriate: you may think that the themes of the Pokémon TV show (or individual series thereof) are different enough from the themes of the “core” games’ stories that it’s not worth trying to bring them together; you might even be a TCG player or a Masters player or, gods forbid, a Trozei! player who takes some personal meaning from your experiences with those games that has nothing to do with any of the stuff I usually talk about. Or you might be interested in trying to describe some fundamental theme that you think is present across all Pokémon media. I’m interested in the variety of answers that might be out there, is the point.

Shauna asks:

Do you think Hau could be the “official” (non-player) champion of Alola? Would that even be a good direction for his characterization? And what the heck even happened to his dad, anyway…?

If you’re asking for, like, a prediction or something… what would that even mean?  Does Alola need an “official” Champion?  What for?  The idea of making the player the Champion was pretty cool and made Alola’s endgame unique, and I think that for Game Freak to canonically designate an NPC as the “real” Champion instead would undermine that.  But purely in terms of how being Champion might affect Hau’s characterisation… well, funnily enough this is kind of the direction I tried to explore in the epilogue to my narrative playthrough journal of Moon version, where I imagined my character trying to prepare Hau for exactly that future.  So, read that and see what you think, I guess?

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