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How do you create a sense of ridiculousness that doesn't break immersion?

shoz999

Sure, sure. Go for it.
The following contains some spoilers of the Pokemon Adventures manga.

So one thing I like about Pokemon Adventures is that it knows how to be serious, it knows how to show off the darker moments but what is it when its not being serious or when its not diving into darker twists? Pure absolutely light-hearted fun on often ridiculous levels and it does all this without breaking the immersion.

You chuckle at seeing a Poochyena performing dancing moves in a Pokemon battle, excitement grabs a hold of you to see a serious penguin fly and carry a full-grown man into an legendary epic battle, you laugh when you see a Dusclops ending an argument by creating a black hole, you go "OH MY GOOOD!" when you see a perfect IV Togepi challenge a Champion-level Tyranitar and what's funny about this is, I almost never see a fan question the ridiculousness that goes into this. Instead they are immersed by this ridiculousness, feeling amazement and joy that some have described Pokemon Adventures as a light-hearted kid-friendly JoJo's Bizarre Adventures.

BUT! BUT! Why doesn't the Pokemon anime often capture this same feeling? It has its own sense of lovable ridiculousness but there have been many times it has caused fan drama with many citing along the lines that the anime is breaking its own rules, its sense of immersion. It makes me wonder sometimes what does the writing in Pokemon Adventures do differently from the anime? Why do I see people celebrate Adventures as a light-hearted JoJo's Bizarre Adventures while fans have sometimes facepalmed at the anime's writing? To be honest I don't quite really understand it myself. In the Pokemon Adventures manga, a favorite Pokemon among fans is Gold's Togepi and many sincerely believe that this is indeed an unusually strong baby Pokemon that still has a lot of development potential whereas fans have found themselves bored and cringing of Elesa's Tynamo, a tiny Pokemon with little to no moves in the games, from the Pokemon anime which is often looked down upon by anime fans as one of the worst Pokemon of a Gym Leader to debut in the anime.

With these two greatly different fan receptions, there does seem to be a way of how to do a sense of ridiculousness the right way or the wrong way and I believe in the end it all counts down in how immersed the audience is. Not just that their immersion isn't broken but are they immersed in that ridiculousness? I think that's arguably one of the hardest tones to do in just about any piece of writing, including fanfics as this is something I still don't quite understand as to why am I immersed into believing this really is a strong baby Pokemon as opposed to why am I cringing at the Gym Leader's signature Pokemon being one of the weakest Pokemon of the games?

This is something I want to better understand at because I believe creating a great Pokemon fanfic that follows more closely to the games and not just the Adventures manga or the anime is that ridiculousness and the best kind of ridiculousness is the kind that doesn't break immersion. With that being said, how do you create a sense of ridiculousness that doesn't break immersion? Especially on JoJo levels of ridiculousness.
 

Kyuu-Tales

織田信長☆FAN
As a writer, a hardcore Jojo fan, and a hardcore Pokemon fan, your query resonates with me. I feel there are many different facets of both series that need to be examined and considered so that we can better understand the ways in which one can be successful in maintaining immersion in lieu "ridiculousness" (which I'm going to refer to as "incredulity" hereafter).

Let's take a look at the former series first. Araki Hirohiko, the creator and manga-ka of JJBA, progressively stretched those boundaries (likely unwittingly, since he only planned it to be three parts long, but who knows with him) by starting off with a moderately plausible fantasy setting of Phantom Blood and tweaking a few things. He worked from there, using elements of hamon to provide the foundation for Stands. We can also see the gradual exaggeration of characters' wardrobes with each installment of the series, which further establishes the abnormal as commonplace. (Though that's not intentional so much as it's just something he loves. After all, he was originally a fashion student.) Araki never skimps on the narrative details, and can make his audience believe in the implausible through in the exposition of minutiae, often grounded in pseudo- or legitimate science. His audience thereby remains immersed in spite of incredulous circumstances and occurrences.

Pokemon is slightly different in that it's so far removed from our own reality: you're supposed to play pretend in the Pokemon world. The JJBA universe is supposed to be a universe that is/mirrors our own, whereas Pokemon's does not, which implies the latter is subject to its own rules and laws. The powers to be never determined exactly what those are, meaning they are up to personal interpretation. So, using your example, while we as fans uniformly believe that a monster is fighting a small egg baby thing, we can't all agree that the baby thing could win because it doesn't align with common sense.

Regardless, in order to be immersed, one needs to be willing to believe that something can occur. Fortunately, the audience for fanfiction is presupposed to have suspended its disbelief when engaging with/consuming derivative work. It knows what to expect with respect to a given world's bounds of realism.

TL;DR, I've found the following to be effective ways of promoting continued immersion in a story:

- Use a plausible setting. Be it a physical, mental, or emotional one.
- Introduce and emphasize relatable elements to characters or situations. Do this early on.
- Always be mindful of unlikely elements, be prepared to remedy doubt with appropriate story devices. Avoid Deus ex machina and "just 'because" reasoning whenever possible. Remember pseudo-science is your best friend. Use narration or character exposition to clearly communicate these to the reader.
 
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