I was a Pokemon kid, through and through. Pokemon Blue was one of the first Gameboy games I ever owned (Blastoise FTW), I had the trading cards, the trading card game, Pokemon Pinball and a bunch of other stuff.
It was great, especially because my brother was into it too: I got Blue, he got Red, I always had a card opponent, I got Silver, he got Gold. It’s fair to say that for a three or so year period in primary school, we were Pokemon kids.
I lost touch with the franchise after the Gameboy Colour era (I never owned anything better than a pocket) and haven’t played one since, but I can still remember the setting fairly vividly- I’m sure if you put one of those early two games in my hands now, I’d still know where to look for a bunch of the Pokemon. The more I think about it though, the stranger and darker the world of Pokemon actually is. There’s a couple of major reasons that something is rotten in the state of Kanto.
Just a note: I’m picking on the early Pokemons here. I’m sure in the however many games since Pokemon Silver there have been changes or revelations about this, but I’m not addressing that here. Go for it in the comments though.
Also, yes, it’s a game, and I’m overthinking it. Indulge me.
1. Pokemon fighting is essentially cockfighting with public acceptance
In the Pokemon world, it’s perfectly acceptable to capture wild beasts and pit them in battle for fun and profit. I know this has been picked up by others, but I think the acceptance of it is weirder than the act itself. Where are the protesters against Pokemon fights? What kind of society sees animal fighting as totally normal? Just once, I would like to see a protest, or a battle-free zone, or even a letter to the editor in the Pokemon world decrying the fact that they pit animals against one another.
It hit me, however that you’d never get that in the Pokemon world. and that’s for an even weirder reason:
2. Everyone in the Pokemon world is obsessed with Pokemon
It’s not just the Pokemon battlers that use Pokemon for their own ends. Everything in the Pokemon world revolves around Pokemon. Every research laboratory in the Pokemon world is researching Pokemon. All of the physicists are researching Pokemon physics, and all of the observatories are looking for Pokemon in space.
We live in a world with a remarkable diversity of species. We live on a planet where we have everything from giraffes to whales to snakes to syphilis, yet every scientist is not a zoologist. Pokemon has so thoroughly dominated the research of this world that if I wrote a grant application to do geology, I’d only get it approved if it involved Geodudes.
Pokemon are even integrated into stuff that doesn’t actually need a Pokemon. Electricity plants are filled with Voltorbs and Magnetons, which are harnessed for generation purposes, when electricity can be generated by other means. The Pokemon society is obviously high tech- they have magnetic trains, digital uploads of Pokemon, and world-class healthcare and emergency services that can deploy to random caves in an instant, should you be attacked. Yet the people have integrated Pokemon into everything, even when it’s not required.
It’s not just the scientists either. All of the entertainment in the Pokemon world is centred around Pokemon. You go to the casino, and what do you win? Pokemon, or Pokemon accessories. What is all of the entertainment based around? Pokemon. You’d almost think that there was something pushing this agenda.
3. The media is obviously being used for nefarious purposes
There’s only one thing that could cause this total society wide focus on one aspect of the world: the media and government are in cahoots to make this the front and centre issue. The reason you never see someone protest Pokemon fights? The media doesn’t ever air them, and the government either intimidates them into silence or disappears them. The public, tuned in at the same Poke-time on the same Poke-channel, doesn’t notice at all.
And if someone does notice? Well, the official excuse is that they “left to try their luck as a Pokemon trainer.” When they don’t come home?
“I’m sorry, Mrs Ketchum, your husband was killed by Clefairies”
This fascist situation could only occur with the consent of the people, and that makes it even more terrifying. I’m pretty sure this is why your rival is so messed up: His parents were obviously disappeared at young age. The government has such a strong hold on the populace that it convinces people that letting wild animals into their hospitals is not only sanitary, but beneficial. They want us to know how they behave and what they can do
But why would a government do this? Why place all of a society’s resources into making brutal animal fighting normal? Why research them so extensively?
4. Pokemon are freaking dangerous
This point illustrates itself: whether through their command of natural forces, their incredible psychic abilities, or the fact that they are FRIGGIN DRAGONS, Pokemon are an incredibly dangerous threat to humans. Although the official line is that they can be tamed, you can’t even travel from town to town without being set upon by giant rats, killer bees, feral birds or Metapods (which are totes dangerous). The Pokemon world is so dangerous, that the government is doing all it can to control the threat by containing it and attempting to fight fire with fire. I’m sure just offscreen at the edge of Viridian City is a bunch of turrets and SAM batteries to hold the wild creatures at bay. What’s more, it’s a changing threat.
5. They keep evolving
Just when you think you have a handle on the threat, that it’s contained, new Pokemon begin to emerge. Stronger. Different. Tougher. It’s an obvious evolutionary arms race, taking place in a world where evolution occurs WITHIN INDIVIDUALS (cue Darwin sobbing). And it keeps happening. Over time, the capacity of humans to stop it will be reduced, one step at a time. We’ve already let Pokemon into our hospitals. Into our infrastructure. Into our homes.
It’s only a matter of time before the Pokemon revolt. It may not be with conscious intent- a Ponyta pulling a cart whipped too hard, a Lapras that’s been carting people all day, or an Alakazam that’s sick of performing party tricks for rich people. They will revolt, and they will win. And who’ll be in the Poke-ball now?
Don’t go to the Pokemon world. There’s only so long the threat can be held off. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a yellow foot stamping on a human face and yelling “PI-KA” — forever.