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.
What kind of Pokémon wanted to join you? – Creepy – Intelligent
The odd thing is, you didn’t see it at first. You mostly remember releasing Bug Pokémon from the cages – Caterpie, Weedle, Ledyba, Spinarak. There were some Pidgey, even a couple of Pikachu, who immediately fled into the underbrush. Not really anything you’re surprised to see; hell, aside from the Pikachu you aren’t even sure what Pokémon there are here that are even worth poaching. What is the business model of a Pokémon poacher, anyway? You make a mental note to ask your prisoners that. The point is, everything you consciously remember seeing is… well, not that you’d ever put it like this, but trash.
But when you glance over your shoulder at Scallion and Nancy, the Pokémon talking to them isn’t any of those. It’s… a four-legged, furry charcoal-grey Pokémon with a pointed face and keen, intelligent, almost sinister eyes. Did it just come out of the forest? No, you’re sure it walked over to them from the stream of Pokémon you were releasing from the cages. You saw it out of the corner of your eye.
What do you do with your prisoners? – Restrain Kevin so you can drag them both to the authorities.
You all take a moment to revel in your victory and high-five each other before doing anything else. You’ve got time; Ned is already pretty securely tied up, and Kevin… well, Kevin’s still moping over his unconscious Zubat. Poor guy seems like he’s having some kind of breakdown. Abner has his Pokémon start spinning more silk, and you help him tie up Kevin and attach some extra leads to Ned’s cocoon so you can drag him along the ground behind you. Meanwhile Stacey and Ellis tend to the injuries the Pokémon have suffered – including Zubat. You aren’t sure about the ethics of confiscating the loyal Pokémon of criminal trainers, and you don’t want to risk Ned’s Pokémon trying to fight you if you let them out, so you get Kevin to recall his Zubat and decide to let the police in Pewter City sort it out once you get there. Neither Kevin nor Ned seem to be in any mood to talk (even if Ned’s mouth weren’t muffled by the silk), and refuse to say anything about their operation. Once you’re sure Kevin’s hands are securely bound, you start moving back in the direction of the clearing where you found them.
Somehow, after writing on this blog for nearly 10 years(!!!) and having reviews of individual Pokémon be a pretty big part of my schtick, I’ve never actually talked in depth about Pikachu – the beloved mascot, the one Pokémon everyone knows, even people who have never played a Pokémon game or seen an episode of the TV show; heck, I’d wager there are people who don’t even know what a Pokémon is who’d recognise Pikachu. But no more, for I have been commanded by the mysterious cloaked figures of my Dark Council to write next about the most famous Pokémon of all. So… what exactly is Pikachu’s deal, anyway? Where did it come from, and what makes the design so effective? Whence Pikachu? Read on, as we delve into the history of Pokémon’s favourite child.
How do you deal with the poachers? – Use your Bug Pokémon to create snares and set up an ambush.
If you get into a fight, which Pokémon will you use? – Scallion, the Bulbasaur – Nancy the Negator, the Minun
[AUTHOR TIEBREAK: Nancy can cheer for our other Pokémon from the sidelines, so let’s have Scallion take point.]
You think about the problem for a minute. Yeah, all things considered, Dane has a point; the five of you with all your Pokémon probably could take these clowns with a good battle plan, even if they do turn out to be a bit stronger than you individually. But why risk it? You all have Bug Pokémon that can spin silk (except maybe Ellis? You glance at him questioningly and he confirms that, yes, his Beedrill is still young enough to remember String Shot) – you can use them to create nets and webs, string them up between the trees, then lure the poachers into a trap. With any luck, you won’t even have to fight.
After receiving a mysterious “mission” from some potentially hostile Pokémon, what do you want to do? – Honour the agreement and investigate
…you really don’t know what’s good for you, do you, kiddo?
You’ve always been a curious kid, and there’s no way you can just let this go. A bunch of wild Pokémon, apparently asking you to… eliminate(???) another human in their territory? Who? And why? You don’t see how it can hurt to check it out; you can decide what to do about it once you know what “it” is. Besides, as you point out to persuade Dane, the Ariados could be watching to see if you’ll do as you’ve been told, and they can probably move faster than you through the dense forest. Before you leave, you take several more photos of the dirt-scratch map from a couple of different angles, just to make sure you’ll be able to find your way (and hey, if you have more images to show Professor Oak later, that’s just gravy). You notice that, quite close to the spiderweb symbol marking the Ariados’ nest, the map has another scratchy little glyph resembling a human caught in a web, which you realise is probably the campsite you just left, where most of your stuff is. If you hurry, you can get back before dark.
Surrounded by six huge spider Pokémon, what do you do?
Well, I’ve heard worse ideas. True, most of them were Larry’s, but under the circumstances I guess talking is relatively unlikely to get you all killed.
Abner, Stacey and Dane are standing back-to-back and glaring defiantly at the spider Pokémon surrounding them, with all their own Pokémon at the ready. Dane’s Weedle and Stacey’s Caterpie are clinging to their trainers’ arms, but are poised to fire String Shots; Abner’s Metapod and Kakuna are both on the ground, already using Harden; and Stacey’s Ledyba is zipping around their heads, glaring at each of the fierce-looking Bug Pokémon in turn. Ellis and his Beedrill move to join them, but you catch him by the elbow and hiss a warning. Between the five of you, with all your Pokémon, you have your attackers well and truly outnumbered, but frankly they’re bigger.
What do you want to do tomorrow? – Explore the deep forest.
Part of you wants to focus on getting to Pewter City so you can get that whole gym challenge thing back on track after your frustrating false start in Viridian City. On the other hand, though… this forest is fascinating to you. People in Viridian City called it a “natural maze” because of the way the vegetation swallows any artificial path that isn’t constantly maintained, leaving a tangled mess of Pokémon migration paths, treefall clearings and hill crests as the only real landmarks. No one alive really knows Viridian Forest, and even your new friends who’ve spent time here before are only truly familiar with a small part of the southern reaches. Still, with your scientific knowledge, their wilderness skills and a bit of luck, you’re confident you can map out a sector of the forest and gain some valuable data about the ecosystem – maybe even find a cool new Pokémon or some kind of, like, lost treasure or whatever. You all pack up your gear and set off northward, most of your Pokémon out of their balls and playing together as you move.
Which Pokémon will battle Ellis’ Beedrill, and how? – Use Scallion the Bulbasaur, and try to think of an unconventional strategy.
A Beedrill is a tough opponent, especially for a Grass Pokémon like Scallion, and unlike the other bug catchers, Ellis seems to have experience to balance your knowledge of Pokémon and battle tactics. You’re going to need to pull some kind of bull$#!t to win this one. You glance around the clearing – tents, leaf litter, a couple of hillocks, tall trees all around…
You glance down at Scallion, catching his eye, and jerk your head at the tree branches. He follows your gaze and looks back at you in confusion. You jerk your head again and make a motion with your hands as if pulling on a rope. Scallion stares, baffled, then something clicks and his eyes widen. He looks at you nervously and tilts his head. You nod vigorously and give him a manic grin.
I gotta tell you, kid, I do not like where this is going.
What do you say to Stacey about her love triangle situation? – Commiserate but don’t interfere; it’s none of your gosh-damn business.
You only just met these people yesterday. It may not be the most interesting way to approach this situation, but you decide it’s best to stay out of it. You listen sympathetically to Stacey as she tells you about her crush on Abner and possible rivalry with Ellis, nodding along and making thoughtful “hmmm” noises at the right moments, and doing your best not to sway her towards any particular course of action. Before too long, the two of you are close to base camp, and Stacey changes the subject before you get into earshot of the others.
Would you like to battle in the bug catchers’ tournament? – Battle with Aura, the Silcoon.
Who would you like to go with? – Help Stacey find a Bug Pokémon that’s rare in Kanto.
Once everything is settled, Ellis has elected to follow Dane and look for battles with wild Pokémon while doing general exploration, and you have volunteered to search out some unusual Bug Pokémon with Stacey. Rather than join either pair, Abner decides to stay at the group’s base camp so he can try his experimental evolution ideas on his own. Sticking to the ground, you can see tell-tale signs that the vegetation has been invigorated by the presence of wild Grass Pokémon, and occasionally you spot intriguing blackened marks near the base of tree trunks that look to you like electrical burns. If you want to find different Bug-types, though, you suspect you’ll need to get off the ground and into the treetops. You’re not much of a climber, and Stacey is only a little better, but using Scallion’s Vine Whips and Aura’s String Shot, you’re able to create makeshift ropes and nets that help you up into the highest trees without breaking your fragile child necks. Of course, you make an awful racket in the process, and you can tell there are Pokémon fleeing just out of your sight, but once you get used to what you’re doing, you can move from one treetop to the next with surprising ease, thanks to the interlaced branches of Viridian Forest’s dense canopy. You suggest focusing on trees with sweet berries and listening carefully for the low-pitched hum of Bug Pokémon wings; Stacey catches on pretty quickly and leads the way. After half an hour picking your way through the upper levels of the forest, you stumble into a tree filled with red, black-spotted beetle Pokémon, which you vaguely recognise as Ledyba.