Bradley asks:

Hi Chris! I’ve been a big fan for years and you’ve been super informative on the history of Pokemon. I too am a big fan of drastically overthinking how the Pokemon universe actually *works* and recently went on a big tirade trying to explain it all. You were a big influence on certain parts of the theory so hopefully you’ll enjoy what I came up with! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-0_3ButdKzw

[Warning: the following is far too long and contains copious italics for emphasis, in order to create the illusion that I am in the room with you, gesticulating wildly at my own string diagram]

Okay, let me say first of all I am genuinely flattered and I am sorry this has had to sit in my inbox for almost two months on account of my being a lazy piece of $#!t

In the grand tradition of overthinking pop culture on the internet, I’m going to apply my standard method of engaging with anything I find even slightly fun or interesting: passionately disagreeing in excruciating detail (for other examples, see: this entire blog; my life as an academic).

Arrrright. *cracks knuckles* Let’s break this $#!t down

Now, to begin with, this whole “figure out the Pokémon world’s cosmology and all the relationships therein” thing is a project I kind of have mixed feelings about, because on the one hand, it’s exactly my type of nerdy bull$#!t as a lifelong mythology geek and strange person, but on the other hand, I think there’s basic reasons any such project is doomed from the start.  But it’s still bloody impressive that anyone ever does it, because frankly I’m too scared to, although I might give it a go if I have any time left between finishing up generation VII and the release of generation VIII.  The general problems, then.  These days, I have this sticking point with a lot of other Pokémon fans, where people tend to point at some piece of Pokémon’s mythology and say “there, it’s in the games; it’s canon” and my response (other than to explain that I don’t even like the word “canon”) is “well, no, it’s canon that this is their mythology”; we should take these as stories told by people who understand no more about the Pokémon universe than we do, and possibly much less.  Arceus says he created the universe, but, well, he would say that, wouldn’t he?  The ancient Sinnohans wouldn’t know the difference.  There’s probably other historical cults in the Pokémon world that once worshipped Rayquaza, or Xerneas, or even Celebi as creator gods.  Further to that, all these different legendary Pokémon are from different regions of the world with different mythological traditions, so even expecting to be able to fit everything into one consistent mythology might be a stretch.  We’re not talking “Zeus, Poseidon and Hades,” who have a “canonical” relationship based on the traditional stories about their family history, respective powers or domains, and forms of worship.  We’re talking “Zeus, Freyja and Nü Wa,” who not only have nothing to do with each other, but aren’t even really the same class of entity, because their cultures of origin have incompatible ideas about what a god even is.  But let’s put all of that firmly aside, and talk about Bradley’s analysis on its own terms: on the assumption that there is a single consistent cosmology, elements of which are recorded more or less faithfully by the myths referenced in the games.

Continue reading “Bradley asks:”

Anonymous asks:

Personally, I do see the Kalos Trio being based off of Norse Mythology, but more generalized, and not drawing inspiration from just the one myth. Like, eagles in general are associated with death in Norse mythology. Not just Hraesvelgr, but other beings such as the God of Death (who turns into an eagle), and the Blood Eagle ritual. (Also, Zygarde is more Jormungand than Nidhogg, with its other two forms likely being based off Fenrir and Hel.) Those are just my thoughts: you’re free to disagree.

Let the disagreement commence. [rolls up sleeves, cracks knuckles]

It is honestly baffling to me that this idea is so widely and unquestioningly accepted, because personally, I don’t think I’ve ever been less convinced by a Pokémon fan theory in my life.  I don’t even understand why people look at Yveltal and think “eagle.”  The “ruff” around its neck is almost certainly meant to make us think “vulture,” which is a much easier association with death.  Stags can be associated with nature without having to bring Norse mythology into it; birds of prey or carrion birds can be associated with death without having to bring Norse mythology into it; insisting that Norse mythology has anything to do with these Pokémon makes the concept weaker and more confusing. Continue reading “Anonymous asks:”

Anonymous asks:

How do you reckon Ghost Pokémon feel (or would feel) about Ho-oh’s death-defying, life-bringing power, particularly those who are explicitly ghosts like Yamask, Phantump, and Gengar? How would Cubone feel if it knew there’s a Pokémon that might be able to bring its mother back? Would Ho-oh’s power turn Shedinja into a new Nincada, or Ninjask? How does it relate to Xerneas and Yveltal? There’s so much potential for Ho-oh’s revival power that I feel is greatly underexplored in the series…

Hmmmm…

Interesting.  There’s probably a lot you can do with that.  There’s a great deal we don’t know about Ho-oh’s resurrection power and its limits, which I would assume other Pokémon don’t know either. Continue reading “Anonymous asks:”

Anonymous asks:

Do you get the impression Gen VI was cut short? Looking back there’s a lot about it that seems unfinished. I’m not the first to think that Zygarde should have had its own game, but the Gen VI events for Diancie, Hoopa and Volcanion are really underwhelming; all they unlock in XY/ORAS is a bit of extra dialogue. Feels like a lot of wasted potential. The fact that Gen VII only has two event Pokemon (and hackers haven’t found a Marshadow event in S/M yet) makes me think this gen will be short too.

A little, yeah.  Mostly what I think is strange is that they built such a unique subsystem for Zygarde with so many interesting little features, and then never really did anything with it.  Clearly some of it was already planned when they produced X and Y; Thousand Arrows and Thousand Waves are both in the code for the generation VI games but were never made obtainable, and Zygarde’s Pokédex data hints at a really important role that it ought to have in the conflict of X and Y. Continue reading “Anonymous asks:”

Pokémon Moon, Episode 12: In Which I Infiltrate A Gang Stronghold

The teleport pad leads to what seems to be Lusamine’s private laboratory – a cavernous space at the heart of Aether Paradise.  We’re standing on a massive white platform made of the same synthetic material as the rest of the Paradise’s superstructure, and we must be in some closed-off part of the docking level, since there’s sea water all around the platform’s base – perhaps we’re directly below Lusamine’s mansion.  At the centre of the platform, Lusamine has several consoles displaying similar information on spatial anomalies to the instruments in Professor Burnet’s lab back in Heahea City.  At her side is a black metal box, glowing from within with a strange blue light and floating just off the floor.  And all around her instruments…
“…oh my.”

Continue reading “Pokémon Moon, Episode 12: In Which I Infiltrate A Gang Stronghold”

Pokémon Moon, Episode 5: In Which I Agree To Help Resurrect An Ancient God

There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot to see in Heahea City.  Part of the town is blocked off by some douchebag with a perfectionist Stoutland that won’t move until it’s sniffed literally every square centimetre of the main road, and most of the buildings I can access are standard services: there’s a Pokémon Centre, and a clothing shop, and a tourist bureau like the one in Hau’oli City.  Hau just wants to find somewhere that sells malasadas, but Lillie, for her part, has more interesting ambitions: she wants to take Nebby to Akala Island’s guardian ruins, the home of the island’s patron god-Pokémon, Tapu Lele, and she’s hoping that I’ll accompany them when the time comes.  For Nebby’s sake, I make a noncommittal “mrrmmhmm” noise and wiggle my head in a way that could plausibly be interpreted as either a nod “yes” or a shake “no.”

Continue reading “Pokémon Moon, Episode 5: In Which I Agree To Help Resurrect An Ancient God”