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Times the Pokemon Series confronted fans with serious questions about the Pokemon World

Discussion in 'General Pokémon Discussion' started by shoz999, May 23, 2019.

  1. shoz999

    shoz999 Thorton hears a battle

    Discuss the times the Pokemon series has confronted fans with serious questions about the Pokemon world.

    I'll start. Competitive Pokemon! Friendship! & Loneliness!

    Competitive Pokemon. It's joked by some where the consistent themes of friendship featured in the Pokemon series has no meaning in competitive Pokemon outside of being a literal mechanic based on numbers. In Pokemon adaptations, the standard to explain competitive Pokemon to fans in a story is usually through a rival like Paul of the anime or Green (Rival) of the manga. It's here that Pokemon Adventures Emerald Chapter shatters fans expectations by not giving them the competitive rival but the competitive hero, Emerald.

    "I don't like Pokemon, I like Pokemon battles!"- Emerald's Philosophy

    The quote above philosophizes that this kid has no interest in the friendship of Pokemon. He's interested in the sport of Pokemon battles. He sounds kind of like a jerk right? He kind of is and we can see this quote expressed through how he has access to a PC BOX that is an endless supply of Pokemon for him to use to challenge the Battle Frontier. It's not until this competitive player is confronted by several important characters that his philosophy is put into great question. His own consistently used Pokemon team cares a great deal for him. Ruby who comes in not as the friendly hero but temporarily as the friendly rival confronts Emerald about the friendship of trainer and Pokemon through his own Milotic. Palace Maven Spencer confronts Emerald that his facility relies not on the competitive abilities of a trainer but the trust of his Pokemon. It's here that Emerald is pushed into a corner, refusing to listen each and one of them, ignoring each of these confrontations for some reason, going so far as to send his bonded Pokemon away to the PC as the thought of it clearly bothers him.


    Emerald - "Don't look at me like that! This is a competitive sport! I'm in it to win. So what if everyone's telling me that feelings and bonds are important? I can't take on a challenge with a team that doesn't have a chance of winning!"

    It's this quote that readers see a conflicted and lost Emerald. The philosophy of "I don't like Pokemon, I like Pokemon battles!" is slowly breaking away as his past is chasing him and when Emerald chooses the Pokemon he bonded over competitively-viable Pokemon, it's also here that the ruthless villain who has a complete disregard for both human and Pokemon life, Guile Hideout, ultimately puts Emerald's philosophy into great question when he confronts Emerald's philosophy not by arguing with him but by agreeing with him.


    Guile Hideout - "I thought you liked Pokemon Battles and not the Pokemon? I heard you. These Pokemon don't have an ounce of strength left in them. Using them to fight Pokemon battles is out of the question. They're trash. You might as well dispose of them. They aren't the only Pokemon in the world, you know. There's nothing wrong with liking battles over Pokemon. Don't you agree?"

    It's in the final chapter that Emerald confronts fellow trainers as to why he was acting like such a jerk to his Pokemon and to people who cherish the bonds of Pokemon, revealing that his wacky hair and clothing is merely a facade hiding his true identity, a pre-teen in a small body suffering from a growth spurt-related condition similar to that of dwarfism. As a young boy, he often relied on Pokemon he befriended for help only to be mocked for it because of his condition and this pressured him to refuse any Pokemon's friendship. It's from this pressure that Emerald reveals...

    "I've always been alone."

    Pokemon Adventures Emerald Chapter is a story that draws readers into promising them a Battle Frontier full of action and the utilization of many competitive mechanics of the Gen 3 era but is also unafraid to confront Pokemon fans with serious questions about the subject of competitive Pokemon, friendship and loneliness.
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
  2. Storm the Lycanroc

    Storm the Lycanroc Unova Bound

    I'll be honest by saying I have a minimalist approach to catching Pokemon. In any playthrough I'll usually catch around 6-10 Pokemon and rotate them throughout the journey.

    Personally I'd feel guilty about catching hundreds of Pokemon for the sake of completing the Pokedex and leaving them abandoned in the PC. Suppose one could adopt a catch and release policy for the Pokemon you dont want or need.
    Dream Lad, wolf jani and shoz999 like this.
  3. Divine Retribution

    Divine Retribution Master of the freak show

    Okay, so uh...

    I'm sorry, but this plot seems paper-thin to me. People bully him because he likes Pokemon so suddenly he hates all Pokemon and poses as a little kid...? Maybe the execution is better than the pitch but I feel like that's pretty weak in terms of character motivation.


    I'm not sure that's a joke, because if we look at it objectively... it is a literal mechanic based on numbers. I'll touch on that later.

    Anyways as for competitive battling... The way I see it, competitive Pokemon doesn't exist in the Pokemon world, at least not in the same way we view it. That's why I think all the cute little quips about competitive battling (like Karen's quote from G/S/C and HG/SS that people love so much) completely miss the point. They're commenting on something that, at least from a lore standpoint, doesn't really exist. In the anime and manga and other mediums (and at least in the lore of the games), there's more to battling than just math and strategy, but if we look at what battling in the games is objectively, well... that's all it really is. It's chess mashed with rock/paper/scissors with some extra math sprinkled in for good measure.

    Using your favorites is nice and all, and if your goal is just to have fun, then by all means go ahead and do it, but if you're looking to succeed in a ladder or tournament setting, then you need to learn to separate competitive play from Pokemon in general. For a lot of people, thinking about Pokemon like that kind of ruins the experience because it sort of depersonalizes it, which is why I think it's important to remember that competitive battling is a completely separate entity to the Pokemon world as a whole. I can appreciate Pokemon from an aesthetic or lore standpoint without worrying about their competitive viability, and I can also use Pokemon competitively without worrying about whether or not I like them aesthetically.
  4. shoz999

    shoz999 Thorton hears a battle

    1. Nope. People bully him because he has a condition similar to dwarfism as a little kid. And yes, part of his rejection of Pokemon is because at one time he felt helpless alone and wanted to prove how not to depend so much on others. HOWEVER! I didn't actually spoil the entire background of his story lol. There are two key details I failed to mention purposely out of spoilers sake. Would you like to hear?

    So here's the thing. Emerald's parents died when he was young and because of that he kept on moving to relative after relative. The "people" who bullied him were his own relatives. They hated and made fun of him just for his puny size and so the next home he moved to, he just ran away home.

    And with that, Emerald's backstory is something I feel a lot of depressed and hurt kids can actually relate to. In terms of character motivation, you may think it's weak unless I mention the spoilers but I think even without spoilers it's realistic and plausible for an 11-year old protagonist as this actually and unfortunately happens to a lot of little kids.

    2. I'm saying I've seen plenty of Pokemon fans interested in the story of friendship so much that they made fun of Competitive Pokemon as this "cold, by the numbers" side of Pokemon where many of Pokemon's themes become lost. When I say friendship, I'm saying friendship as the theme on one side and the mechanic on the other side.

    The way I see it, a form of competitive Pokemon does exist in the Pokemon world, the games, the anime, the manga, all three of these continuities in some form or idea. It may not be the exactly the same as the real-life competitive Pokemon organized and managed by VGC or Smogon, but they do exist and the general idea is to use the best most viable Pokemon which is the same in real-life. In fact if anything I think competitive Pokemon only enhances the lore and story of Pokemon as seen in the Emerald Chapter where a huge mystery is literally kicked off by a mechanic. SPOILERS. Just read the manga at this point, it's more exciting if you read it instead of me spoiling it for you.

    Your still looking at spoilers? Okay. So Glalie's Sheer Cold successfully hits Sceptile at the Battle Factory but the strangest thing happens during this fight that makes the Frontier Brains, these battle genius's, raise an eyebrow. Sceptile survives the hit. No, the hit didn't missed. It struck Sceptile directly, up-close but it somehow survived and that's when Emerald grows suspicious after he wins the battle. What does this mean? Here are the clues. The Battle Factory uses Lv. 50 Rental Pokemon and yet this rental Pokemon, Sceptile, got struck by Sheer Cold, a KO move. It didn't missed, it hit him and Sceptile somehow survived. What do you know about KO moves? Are you thinking what I'm thinking? That's because Sheer Cold didn't missed, it failed because KO moves have absolutely no effect on Pokemon at higher levels. But wait? All the Battle Factory Pokemon are at Lv. 50? What does that mean? Are you thinking what I'm thinking? Emerald concludes that the Sceptile he used at the Battle Factory is not a rental Pokemon and has grown a level during it's battles at the Battle Factory. This means some mysterious character put that Pokemon there and thus kicks off a huge mystery on the identity of this character.
    Last edited: May 24, 2019
  5. Divine Retribution

    Divine Retribution Master of the freak show

    Maybe, but let's take a look at what a viable Pokemon is. In the games, this is pretty much mathematically quantifiable. We can take a look at a Pokemon's stats, movepool, ability, typing, etc. and get a pretty good idea of its viability, because its viability is pretty much solely based on the numbers. I don't watch the anime or read the manga (or any anime/manga for that matter) but my understanding is that "viability" in those mediums is a far looser concept, because it isn't based on stats or anything of the like. There aren't any numbers, just generalized, ambiguous levels of power that can be adapted to fit the writer's needs.

    Let's take a look at a matchup between an Infernape and a Scizor. In the games, the Infernape is going to win in just about every circumstance. It's going to outspeed and OHKO Scizor in almost every single matchup, regardless of the sets or specific EV spreads or almost any other factors. In the other media, the Infernape definitely has the advantage but the Scizor can win if the writer wants it to. Maybe it dodges attacks that have 100% accuracy in the games. Maybe it uses the environment to its advantage. Maybe it just overcomes the opponent through sheer willpower. The point is, it's not based on numbers, it's not based on math, and it's not based on really anything objective, making it much more malleable to suit the writer's needs. This is actually a good thing as it gives them a lot more creative freedom, presumably resulting in a more interesting story than if they had just stuck to a literal interpretation of the games.

    The problem is, this isn't anything like what competitive battling is as we know it, because our version of competitive battling is 100% based on math and numbers. My Scizor can't dodge Flamethrowers, it can't use the environment to its advantage, and no amount of willpower, training, or love and caring is going to let it survive an attack that the game's mechanics dictate it will not survive. This is where I think a lot of the commentary and comparisons to real-world competitive battling break down is that they are objectively two completely different beasts, and while they share some similar concepts, they're dramatically and irreconcilably different when you break then down to the fundamental principles they revolve around.
    BTS_fan and shoz999 like this.
  6. shoz999

    shoz999 Thorton hears a battle

    Fair enough.
  7. Leonhart

    Leonhart Well-Known Member

    I liked how the anime tackled the competitive Pokemon scene by making Shinji (Paul) into a stereotype of competitive battlers. While the anime often tried to paint him as a cruel and uncaring trainer, I thought that they handled his storyarc in a realistic manner and by the end of it we the audience gained respect for him since he was a decent person underneath it all.
    shoz999 likes this.
  8. RedJirachi

    RedJirachi Veteran member

    Team Plasma tried to bring up points questioning the role Pokemon have in the world and the basic premise, but it devolved into strawmanning
    shoz999 likes this.
  9. MockingJ

    MockingJ Banned

    I liked how the Aether Foundation at least tried to make a point about stored Pokemon since it feels kind of bad when you think about how most Pokemon that people catch never end up doing anything. They're just bits of data but I did start thinking about what a waste it is for Pokemon to rot in my pc boxes.
    wolf jani and shoz999 like this.
  10. Zadent

    Zadent Active Member

    Well that was a Sucker Punch to the gut I didn't think I needed as I'm attempting to build a living dex at the moment (makes me slightly more thankful for Poké Pelago).
    shoz999 likes this.

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