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What Canon Do You Work In?

Firebrand

Indomitable
Pokemon, as a franchise, has given us several distinct canons. Even discounting PMD and various spin off games, there's still the games, anime and manga canon. (And possibly the manga canon should be plural, but my understanding of that is pretty limited. All I know is that there are several independent titles along with Special).

So what canons do you write in? Do you try to hew close to the games' rules for how things work, or do you prefer an anime-verse slant? Do you mix the canons so that you can play by whichever rules are most convenient at the time? And if you're working with a spin-off genre, do you adopt things from the other canons (and vice versa)?

Personally, I think the games offer a good framework for a basic skeleton, but my work definitely trends towards anime overall. Maybe not the pokemon anime canon specifically, but definitely tropes that are more in keeping with anime. Anime physics are definitely A Thing in my body of work.
 

Ambyssin

Winter can't come soon enough
Well, I'm firmly in the PMD canon at the moment. Though I think I tend toward PokéSpecial logic with writing battles, in that moves can be used to do some pretty ridiculous stuff. I mean, let's face it, fics tend to go for more dynamic battles akin to the anime or manga because the turn-based stuff of the actual games is pretty vanilla.

Speaking as a reader, I'm up for anything. But I do like to see fics drawing from various canons, and will sometimes try to connect something I read to one of the canons in a review. Of course, 90% of the time the author tells me it wasn't intentional, so what do I know? :V
 

Bay

YEAHHHHHHH
It depends on the story. I think I would use primarily game canon (in terms of characters and events) but have some inspiration from the anime on some aspects. Back when I did Nothing, Everything, I mixed a lot of game and anime canon in there. Foul Play meanwhile I think I'll just stick to game canon, though I watched a few episodes of the anime's current season and might take a few ideas from there.
 

icomeanon6

It's "I Come Anon"
Firebrand said:
Personally, I think the games offer a good framework for a basic skeleton, but my work definitely trends towards anime overall. Maybe not the pokemon anime canon specifically, but definitely tropes that are more in keeping with anime.
"Basic skeleton" is a great way to put it. I almost always start with the game canon as a basis, more a set of facts and figures than a guide for how the story's supposed to feel in the moment. From there I try to make a world that feels like the real world, but one that incorporates as many of those game facts/figures/rules as possible without breaking realism or overburdening the story.

I think there's an important distinction to be made between "working in a canon" and "working with a canon." Like, is the writer trying to make it so that they can say with credibility that everything in their fic happened/could have happened in an official canon/universe without contradiction, or is this their own universe that is primarily based an official canon/mix thereof? Naturally most fics will fall somewhere on a spectrum between the two, but I feel like the latter approach has grown increasingly popular over the years. Folks seem less picky about sticking to one canon or another than they used to.
 

Venia Silente

[](int x){return x;}
Firebrand said:
So what canons do you write in? Do you try to hew close to the games' rules for how things work, or do you prefer an anime-verse slant? Do you mix the canons so that you can play by whichever rules are most convenient at the time? And if you're working with a spin-off genre, do you adopt things from the other canons (and vice versa)?

Simplest way I can say it is that I work in my own canon. The existing ones are interesting and all, but I prefer to go the extra mile that the franchise does not dare to go and put in the weight of a history more than a story. I take various elements from the various canons and mix and blend them working on various aspects, but I ultimately don't go for a "manga feel" or for "anime physics" specifically, whatever those are supposed to mean.

For example I tend to go with "useful physics" rather than with "realistic physics" (which tend to be boring) or "anime physics" (where I sometimes get the impression it's like trying to make Pokémon battles read like early Dragon Ball Z ones). Nets you the best of everything so that a Pokémon can use their natural traits sensibly without having to be called out for extremes like "aim for the horn".

I go for the "overall the world is a nice place" storytelling of the anime where in the scale of human intervention it's the side of good that wins or that at least maintains a status quo, mixed with the simple and easy to follow mechanical structure of the games where you only have to worry about pretty much one thing at a time, but mix it all with a more long-term and realistic perspective of "Nature is Nature" where things like predation and extinction events are a thing and that is not bad, and incorporate themes, lore and mechanics from the TCG, PMD and more recently Rumble World. Am hoping to do something with Trozei and Pokken eventually too. For stuff like the tech, I tend to go mostly with what is shown as "commonplace" in the games except for the Pokéball itself where I don't go with either the games' "Pokémon are data" approach or the manga's "miniaturization" approach as I find both extremely problematic in various senses (in particular, in ethical senses). I don't really approach canon characters except that time I wrote Giovanni's Persian but when I do I tend to skirt closer to the anime, simply because there the characters have actual personalities but at the same time they are not that involved in the plots that they end up inflicting agency on things. For the lore I grab from whichever canon I find it fits better for a given subject but at the same time sprinkle things in a sparse enough universe that the lore, even if true or false to events, does not really effect things, for the time being at least.

Furthermore I like my canon to be reference-rich, not only towards Pokémon as a franchise but also towards other franchises I like, so elements and themes from things like Zelda or Final Fantasy eventually find their way adapted in.

So, going closer to icomeanon's question of "working in a canon" or "working with a canon", I'd say I work with canons. Plural.

But I am adaptable; I think I can work with plural cannons as well!


Anime physics are definitely A Thing in my body of work.
I think what is understood as "anime physics" by different writers could make a very interesting topic of discussion on its own. I at least associate it with "aim for the horn" as stuff like using a vine to grab onto something or leap across a gap is not really anime, just how things work in any reality that is even just a bit like ours :p
 

Firebrand

Indomitable
I generally agree with your approach, Venia Silente. I don't think anything I'm working on neatly fits into a canon box, and I've made up lore and locations as needed. But I also agree that the pokemon world is generally a more idealistic place where the good guys generally win. I guess my reference to anime physics might be a bit misplaced or hard to parse, mostly I was referring to characters being able to use feats of superhuman strength or agility. Actually, I think a better analogy is I tend to keep things in the realm of Hong Kong action movie physics, but those don't really have the same audience recognition.

Actually, for a while I've operated under the assumption that the pokemon world has a lot more oxygen in the atmosphere. That would explain why bugs can grow to such large sizes, but also would help people and probably pokemon in general to be able to sprint more and have faster recovery times (which is why I never write Alex and Hierro as getting winded, even when they're racing over rooftops), along with just being slightly physically stronger in general. Mostly, it explains why Ash was able to carry around that 150 lbs Larvitar with no real strain.
 
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Dragonfree

Just me
I generally work with various canon cocktails of my own making. The Quest for the Legends is in theory supposed to be the animeverse 27 years in the future, so it's generally anime-compatible, but of course since I started it the anime has repeatedly turned out to have done things that totally sink various aspects of the story, and there's not too much I can do about that. (I managed to hang on for the longest time making up semi-reasonable explanations for the presence of multiple members of legendary species in the anime when all legendaries are sexless, immortal and one-of-a-kind in the fic, but eventually gave up. I always had to just wave away that goddamned baby Lugia episode, though. Whyy.) I also draw various inspiration from the games, though, and mix it all together in some way that tickles me. My one-shots lean towards being more game-based; Butterfree is 100% game canon, to the point where it's recognizeably FR/LG in particular, because it's based on dramatizing the common in-game fate of people's early-game Butterfree, while Curse is built around a twisted reinterpretation of Curse's in-game effects, but still features an anime-style Pokémon League tournament rather than an Elite Four.

The Morphicverse is an AU that kind of reimagines Pokémon from the ground up by plonking the whole thing into a pseudo-USA where Pokémon take the place of animals. It's got the basic concepts like Pokémon training and gyms in there in theory, but I basically made up my own version of how they work (...which then never becomes relevant in the actual fic since it's not about any of that, but), and Pokémon training doesn't permeate the world in anything close to the way it does in any of the canons; it functions mostly like a popular sport. So it's not really based on any canon, just sort of the general concepts of the franchise.

I quite like the way Pokémon allows for a lot of different fan interpretations; while some fans stick very closely to one particular canon, for the most part people are picking and choosing and reimagining and effectively each making up their own Pokémon world to some degree, and I love that. I love reading fics and just seeing the different worlds people have built around the concept of Pokémon, what they use from any given canon and what they discard and what they embellish with their own twists. There's a lot of cool creative freedom there and I think it's one of the things that make this fandom interesting.
 
Hmm, this is an interesting one.

When it comes to writing for me, I've always tended to stick sort-of close to the games - just about all of my Pokemon work so far barring A Simple Kalosian's Story has been connected to game lore, story and characters, but not directly following them. I think the best example to use here is my most recent ongoing piece that I hope I'll actually finish - The Back Alleys of Ecruteak.

In this story, I'm planning on using an interesting mix. The universe is grounded in the games, specifically Johto but in the FRLG/RSE times (that becomes relevant a little later). However, I've taken many things to help logically ground certain aspects of the universe - I've decided how, in my interpretation, a Ditto's transformation would work, by looking at unique Dittos from the games and anime - a Ditto can change its size and face, proven by two unique Dittos from the anime and manga not being able to change their size and face respectively (with these two being shown to be unique Dittos). Ditto is also stated in Pokedex entries to become a rock when it wants to fall asleep and evade foes, meaning it can become inanimate objects. From there, it most likely means that Ditto learns how to shift its DNA to become basically anything. The rest I worked out on my own, such as "why would put a Ditto just become a speck of dust to evade foes?" (I decided for that one that it would most likely try to avoid the risk of being crushed by someone standing where it sleeps.) And even leading from there, I've used not one, but fan theories (one I can confirm is the "Ditto is a failed Mewtwo" theory) to add to my work, since they fit perfectly with the idea I have in mind for the fic as a whole. Overall I just adapt whatever is necessary to form the story I want to tell.
 

Samayouru

Rabid Dusclops Fan
I generally use the in-game canon, but try to add in anime/manga canon when it comes to battling and worldbuilding. I even use concepts from the real world sometimes to try and give my stories a little more depth.

Like, take the concept of Levels in the games. I've seen it used in other fanfics and honestly it can actually come off as jarring. To me it sort of reinforces the idea that, when it comes right down to it, pokemon are nothing more than bits of data in a video game. So when it came to deciding things for Balance, I knew that I'd have to make the concept of Levels justifiable if I wanted to use them. I simply turned it into a method that trainers could use as a way of grading their pokemon's strengths, something that is also done in real life with certain types of animals (besides it would also make certain trainer classes like the Ace Trainer more believable too).
 

The Great Butler

Hush, keep it down
For me, I constructed an alternate universe that I put together from pieces of different canons. It's mainly the mainline games plus the anime, but there are elements from various manga series, Mystery Dungeon, just about a little of everything.
 

Venia Silente

[](int x){return x;}
I'm beginning to notice a trend here ;-)

@Firebrand: Yeah, I like that overall feels-good aspect of the Pokémon anime. I guess part of that is an idealization of escapism as the franchise presents it - since you are presumably playing or watching Pokémon because it's not like IRL in terms of cynicism/idealism, then why not go the whole mile?

Oh and your idea about the Pokéworld having more atmospheric oxygen would also help explain how Ash or TR catch fire so easily :p

@Dragonfree:
There's a lot of cool creative freedom there and I think it's one of the things that make this fandom interesting.
Frame this and hang it somewhere.

In general it is pretty enlightening to see what constitutes each author's grab-and-bags, and how up to a certain point we seem to change the same things. Dragonfree put it in better terms than I usually can, so... I guess there's that, and then there's what do we change and how much are we willing to change things. A good nod to those of you who also pick up fan theories too, my fave is the Johto Gerbils as Eeveelutions one but I've heard a number others before, it does suggest the question of why do we pick the theories that we do.
 

DeliriousAbsol

Call me Del
I write mostly PMD, but as far as canon goes I tend to take a twist on things and deviate away from the main plot ideas. Rescue teams are very thinly woven into my 'fics in some form or another. Glitched, for example, actually had rescue teams but they were pretty rogue in a way. The End had the Outcasts Guild looking out for those being persecuted by The Darkness. System:Reboot has Space Pirates running odd jobs, which could be perceived as criminal since they go against the region's law.

As for tropes, I lean towards anime tropes. Attacks being countered by other attacks, or used in some form for every tasks. Water gun being used to knock things from high places, an ivysaur reaching for things with its vines, water amplifying electrical attacks etc. Although pokemon assisting with everyday tasks is hinted at in games (and used, too, if you consider HMs and Ride Pokemon).

I don't often write trainer 'fics, but my attempts at it would be classed as anime canon. In a story I have on long-term hiatus, I even had the main character not be able to enter another region with more than one pokemon (a hat-tip to Ash only taking Pikachu at the start of every new generation). I can't quite remember off the top of my head what the reason was. I think it was to protect the region's local fauna. The in-game trope of nicknaming was heavily implemented, too, even so much as to have canon characters nickname their pokemon. (It bugs me a bit that anime and game characters - particularly PMD - don't use nicknames. I mean, it's like opening your front door to call in your cat by shouting 'Cat! Cat!' XD ) I didn't get deep enough into the 'fic I was working on to explore these tropes too much, however.
 

Cutlerine

Gone. Not coming back.
The common thread here, I think, is that we all start with a canon and then build on it until it isn't necessarily that canon any more -- which is more or less the heart of what fanfiction is, so I guess I'm not totally surprised. My own answer to the question is kind of dull and predictable -- I base things on the games, because that's what my experience of the pokémon world consists of, and then in the process of trying to turn that into something resembling the real world I get further and further away from it. Canonicity has never been a major concern, not least because most game canon is ... I'd say flexible, but even that's too generous; it's pretty much just skeletal. Most of the Kanto Gym Leaders are basically cardboard cutouts supported by a bunch of pokémon, in-game, and even the Fame Checker didn't do much to humanise them. I've never written fic for a fandom that has more developed canon, and I'm not sure I'd care to; like we've been saying, I think the freedom the pokémon world affords is one of the reasons why you get such varied and staggeringly original fic about it. It's not a freedom I'd like to give up, particularly.
 

roule

take it all or leave it... I Feel You
I take... pretty obvious liberties with canon. I'm similar to Firebrand as in I use the games as a sort of framework. Other than that, I think I use more elements from PokeSpec than the anime. I stopped watching the anime around age ten, but I really read PokeSpec when I was relatively older, after first reading a friends copy (which was all in Chinese) when I was around six. I just feel like the protagonists are more likeable there.

In terms of playing by the canon's rules (the little rules present), I... pretty much destroy them. As much as I love the regions in game, I just can't really write in them. I'm not a fan of making up names of places (which is why AMAB is such a struggle for me) or locations, so why not just use to real ones? If I use real world locations, I can research them, read from the people who live or lived there, and see images of the specific street my character would walk down in my story. I can't really do that for the in-game regions, because there's so many possible towns and experiences to make up (I've been convinced since I first played Fire-Red that there are more towns in Kanto), and that's hard as ****.
 
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The Teller

King of Half-Truths
I tend to combine anime and games canon, though the ratio differs depending on the project. When I was working on Happenings Between Goals, I had each Pokemon learn moves in the same sequence as they would learn them in Black and White, and TMs and HMs existed, but I also incorporated how the anime depicts Pokemon battles (i.e.: lots of commands to dodge, using the environment to your advantage, combo-ing attacks or using them in an unorthodox manner). I guess Pokemon Origins also made canon that the Gym Leaders alter their teams based on the number of badges the challenger has, so I used that detail before it was cool. For my PMD story, I didn't watch the anime episodes featuring that universe, so I relied entirely on the games; but even then, I altered some things here and there for the sake of the story. As far as The Grunt Anthology goes, I mostly go with the game canon unless I want to throw in a cute reference to either something anime-exclusive or fanon-related.

I guess that's something else that would be interesting to talk about. Do you guys ever incorporate common fanon ideas that are/were never officially declared canon by GameFreak/The Pokemon Company?

(It bugs me a bit that anime and game characters - particularly PMD - don't use nicknames. I mean, it's like opening your front door to call in your cat by shouting 'Cat! Cat!' XD )

ACTUALLY...I had a cat named Cat, so yes, I would, in fact, open my front door to call in my cat by shouting 'Cat! Cat!' She wouldn't listen, for some reason. Maybe I didn't have enough badges to control her? Also, that reminds me. I also tend to use the 'Pokemon say their own name' trope the anime follows in my works. Makes acknowledging the fact that living creatures make noises easier for the audience to read than just "AAAAIIIIIIEEEEEEEEE!!!"
 

DeliriousAbsol

Call me Del
I guess that's something else that would be interesting to talk about. Do you guys ever incorporate common fanon ideas that are/were never officially declared canon by GameFreak/The Pokemon Company?

Yes. 'N is a Zoroark'. I love that fanon idea so much it's crazy. The trainer 'fic I mentioned in my previous post actually had that in as a sub plot.

Also,
Missingno being a baby kangaskhan

Regards Pokemon saying their names... I don't use that very often. I tend to have them make noises, such as chittering or chirruping, barking etc. Although the comedy Mystery Dungeon I wrote did kinda reference Pokemon saying their names. My human-turned-Oshawott asking her friend 'Do I sound... Oshish to you?' XD
 

Victorian Rush

Weather Manipulator
It honestly depends ln what I am writing. I can write for any canon in Pokemon but it all depends on the idea I have and who the characters are in it. I tend to prefer to writing in the manga canon but the only Pokemon Manga I have read is Adventures, but I can also write for the anime and the games. Once in a while, I have written something where it’s kind of like a crossover between the games and the anime but that’s about it.

So yeah, I’m not limited to one canon in Pokemon. I can write for all of the Pokemon canons.
 
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