Pokemon Discussion Post

Because, amazingly, we don’t yet have one. Are pokemon yokai or animals? Are pokemon sapient? Is pokemon training abuse? Let the world know.

153 Comments

  1. CrazyEd says:
    Oh boy I didn’t actually expect to get one of these so quickly, or even really expecting it at all. I didn’t actually have anything specific I wanted to ask, I just was wondering why a topic so discussed didn’t have a general discussion post, so because I currently lack the time to write my rant on why raichu is great, I’ll go with the other example I used.

    What kind of pokemon teams do people prefer?

    The last time I played a pokemon game, it was a run of FireRed, and during the Sevii Islands, when I was working my final team up to level 50, I was working with a blastoise, raichu (caught at level 5 in Viridian Forest), pidgeot (also caught at level 5, first route and everything), and a nidoqueen (… level 6, I didn’t really vary my party much), rapidash (or a flareon, it’s been awhile, but I remember I switched one for the other because it was a bit too fragile), and a nidoking HM slave I evolved from a safari zone nidorino because nidoking can learn a lot of HMs and looks super cool.

    I wonder what this lineup of pokemon says to other people about me.




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    1. Roarke says:

      I only earnestly played/re-played the first two games. From what I recall, I favored the bulbasaur line, followed by cyndaquil in SGC. I almost always had a gyarados, because I just found the whole deal with magikarp hilarious. I would have an alakazam pretty much all the time because I loved that all abra would do is teleport.

      Almost every time a pokemon had some idiosyncrasy, I would want it on the team. Magikarp are useless until they’re not. Abra run away and you have to teach it mega punch to make it fight. Cubone has a dead mom. Snorlax blocks your path. These things are important. I was also jazzed by how early you could get gastly in SGC and loved ghosts in general. Skarmory would have been a favorite if it wasn’t so late-game.

      I am boring and I like boring things, so I also had the pidgey line always. I also get attached quickly, so I favor pokemon found in the first half of the game. I know I played Ruby at some point, and I do remember being impressed by the early variety in that game.




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      1. CrazyEd says:
        For me, it was always Ice Punch for abra training. I picked bulbasaur my first run of Red, but ever since then I’ve been pretty consistently a fire starter kinda guy, except in the one I just mentioned, where I picked squirtle for some reason. Maybe I just wanted a change?

        I don’t think I ever used a gyrados except for the red gyrados in Gen 2.

        I don’t remember Gen 3 as well, but I do remember being very fond of my camerupt and relicanth, and hating the grass and water starters.




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    2. Hinebras says:
      For each new gen I play, I tend to build my teams around only pokes introduced in that Gen, it seems like more fun to try to test what those new pokes are good at.

      Last time I played FR, it was a Rocket Team Challenge, but I caught pokes that the Rockets actually has in Gen I, like meowth (that it was a huge help to get good money). I got hypno, arbok, venomoth, crobat, haunter and I don’t remeber what was the last one.




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    3. GoldenFalls says:

      My only constant is that I have the fully evolved form of one of the bird lines on my team. In Ruby it was Swellow, but typically it’s the three-stages bird pokemon line. I also like to have a pokemon with annoying status moves and one that can soak up hits. I might have one pokemon that only has high-power attacks, but generally I rely more on a number of pokemon having a couple high-power attacks and matching them with pokemon weak to the type and/or special/physical trait. Also, one pokemon that has a way around accuracy debuffs is a must, and it’s nice to have one that can deal with speed debuffs as well.

       




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      1. CrazyEd says:
        I’ve always gone with sheer overwhelming force. Status ailments only get used if they’re attached to a damaging move. The one exception to this is the butterfree, which usually gets increasingly loaded on on status moves for capturing pokemon until he gets benched around level 25.

        Sand attack doesn’t matter if you’re already dead.




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    4. CrazyEd says:
      Coincidentally, my brother’s friends were talking about this same thing, and she gave him a party composed of a rhyperior (or walrein, because he personally dislikes rhyperior’s design and thinks walrein would fit the role it fills), clawitzer, arcanine, houndoom, skarmory, and steelix. When she showed me the little trainer card she made for him based on the ones from the game, I looked at the party, and said “so, basically, she thinks you’re the Viridian city gym leader?”

      He said I wasn’t wrong. While not being as tied to the ground type as Giovanni, he prefers big and heavy hitting pokemon.

      Sometimes, I wish I had more of a defined preference with pokemon teams. In battle, I usually prefer quick and hard hitting pokemon because status attacks are for suckers, but in terms of type and style it’s generally a mixed bag comprised solely of what pokemon I think are the cutest.

      Oh wow, my trainer card would basically be identical to that one delinquent girl’s, wouldn’t it be? Welp. There’s that, I guess.




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  2. Hinebras says:
    “Are pokemon yokai or animals?”
    Animals. And whatever grimmer, magnemite, porygon and the likes are…

    “Are pokemon sapient?”
    It depends on which cannon you are refering to.
    Anime, most of them are (exceptions like magickarp, wobuffet and probably slowpoke apply).
    PMD, yes to all of them. Though, there are many things that are quite odd in its questionable world-building.
    Games, are a lot more unclear that the previous two. Many clues seems to suggest that they are no more than superpowered animals or some kinds of natural forces (like many legendaries). Though, some of them are very intelligent and even are able to talk, but the fact they don’t develop much of communities with complex social structures naturally in the wild, seems more like they are really clever, but still haven’t the same self-awareness as humans. Look at the example of Mewtwo, it was arguably the pokemon with the most developed mental powers and it came to the conclusion of isolate himself alone in a cave in both instances (Gen I/III and VI), it doesn’t seem like what a sapient creature will do when there are many other sapient beings around.
    My head-cannon (largely based on the games) is that they have varying degrees of self-awareness instead of a bet of all or no one. Say, feebas seems to be a lot less self-aware than a chansey that exhibits some degree of empathy. Like in the animal kingdom, there are other animals that have more self-aware than others, like shown in the Mirror Test, and animals like chimpanzees and dolphins behave differently than cows when examined.

    “Is pokemon training abuse?”
    Depends on what do you understand by abuse.




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  3. Digitalis says:
    It came up in one of the recent posts, but something I’ve been struggling with for a while is: How do you deal with a pokemon that evolves by trade when writing fanfiction? It’s one of those weird game-based features that doesn’t really translate sensibly to a fictional world, and I’m at a loss as to how to make it work.

    I had a loose concept of it having to do with pokemon evolving in the presence of some sort of vague unobtanium produced by human technology, with trade machines being the easiest and safest way of exposing pokemon to it, but I don’t know, that seems rather convoluted and not really satisfactory, I think.




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    1. Roarke says:

      What trading does is briefly pull them out of the pokemon world and into the real world, where the 0s and 1s that make up their existence are reorganized to become more powerful.




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    2. Septentrion says:

      Just ignore game mechanics were they can’t make sense. Unlockable infancy of the life cycle is not something I would ever explain, for example.

      I do have something planned out for the horsea line with horizontal gene transfer and mutation. One of Seadra’s pokedex entries implies Darwinian evolution, which could be used to drive evolution of the dragon breeding group if they take a long time to reach reproductive maturity.

      Trade can be worked in, but I’m not going to try to come up with something substantial for every trade Evolution.




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    3. Keleri says:

      I like to have all the instant evolution methods as alternatives to a longer process of aging and growing. Like you can have a pokemon evolve suddenly in a life-or-death situation, or from a stone, or from trading for whatever quirk of their biology or whatever effect of the mystical held item that trading unlocks. Or that pokemon might evolve on its own, eventually, after years. IMO making those evolutions exclusively item/trading-based is a game mechanic for spicing up the process of catching ’em all. (It also explains why you can find stone-evolution pokemon in the wild in some cases, especially in BW and B2W2.)

       

      Same with baby pokemon, although I read an interesting theory a long time ago about how they’re an adaptation to pokemon living with humans receiving better care if their babies are cuter, which is sad but also chillingly realistic.

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      1. someone says:
        Of course, the fact that evolution stones are naturally occuring items also helps :p

        On a serious note, though, this theory is supported by canon. For example: the Soul Silver dex entry for steelix: “It’s said that if an ONIX lives for 100 years, its composition becomes diamondlike as it evolves into a STEELIX.”

        I mean, the dex’s wishy-washy “It’s said” aside, anyway.




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        1. CrazyEd says:
          If I recall correctly, Misty’s polywhirl evolved into a polytoed because it was tranferred through a PC while holding Ash’s King’s Rock and that was apparently enough to count. And James once had a shellder for, like, an episode, that disappeared after it used Bite on a slowpoke’s tail.

          The item evolution ones are actually a lot easier to justify than pure trades. Just have the item act like an evolutionary stone. Machamp, alakazam, and gengar are the hard ones. It’s the reason why I’m waffling over including a haunter on the team of the original trainer I’m trying my best not to write. Though, now that I think about it, since it’s a trade evolve it can technically become a gengar the moment it becomes a haunter, and if someone gifted it to them as a haunter…

          Aaaaaaah no.




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          1. someone says:
            Well, lore-wise karablast and shelmet (yes, the terrible gimmick of only evolving when traded for each other bugs) can evolve when exposed to “electrical energy” while near each other. More practically, they basically just trade shelmet’s shell with the energy providing the extra boost needed to make it an evolution instead of just leaving a naked shelmet and a karablast hiding in a shell.

            I’ve seen regular trade evolutions interpreted regularly enough that I’d doubt many people would object to it being used in a fic as something possible once a pokemon hits the right age/amount of “power” but can be triggered artifically via trading.




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            1. CrazyEd says:
              Yeah, honestly, the best option really just seems to be “ignore the fuck out of that game mechanic”. The “trading artifically jump starts evolution” idea is a nice caveat if you want to retain the possibility of doing it like in the games, while still having a haunter just able to evolve with the power of friendship or whatever by default, though. And it’d make more sense for characters to be surprised when a traded pokemon immediately evolves if 99% of gengars are just level up evolutions.

              Replacing all trade evolutions with friendship evolutions might actually work, though, come to think of it. I generally dislike friendship evolutions in the games because friendship is a hidden stat, but it’s actually the easiest kind of evolution to do in fiction. Most pokemon in the anime seem to evolve via friendship anyway.

              In the anime, Serena even managed to get her eevee to evolve into sylveon by telling it to continue battling after it got really beat up, because she believed in it. Friendship!

              Speaking of Pokemon’s odd idea of friendship, if anyone wants to see an actual example of a trainer who seems to actually love pokemon in the anime, episode 122 (S3 E6) features a girl who has two bellossom, each with nicknames, who she used to train for battles until she realized (while teaching them dancing cross-training) that they preferred performing and decided to start coaching them as a dance team.




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          2. someone says:
            Alternatively, referring to genar in particular, wild gengar are available in Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum (if a GBA Pokemon game is inserted in the bottom slot of an older model DS, which isn’t exactly an in-universe explainable thing). So in universe, either these gengar all evolved naturally or there are a lot of people releasing fully evolved gengar into the wild after trading them.

            (Separate post than above because I just double-checked to see if I remembered right about wild gengar appearing in Sinnoh. Sorry if I’m posting too much.)




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      2. Hinebras says:
        As of trading evolution, I’ve heard the theory that the feelings of hate and resentment that come from being thrown away with other trainer are the trigger to become stronger.



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    4. CrazyEd says:
      I had the same problem with the concept of field moves. It’s easy to justify the gym badges giving you better control over pokemon. Someone with the skill to get the badge that makes pokemon up to level 50 obey you has the skill to make level 50 pokemon obey them. The badge isn’t so much the key to the skill as it is proof you can perform the skill. And it’s so easy to ignore anyway, since it only even applies to traded pokemon, and trading makes you evil outside of the games.

      But that same rationalization can’t be used for field moves. I asked what the standard treatment of field moves was underneath the short that made me raise the question, but I didn’t get an answer. I can only assume that, like the anime, it’s quietly ignoring them.

      Honestly, I don’t get why they keep making all these insane ways of evolving pokemon, especially trade pokemon. There are some pokemon evolutions that are so insanely esoteric that you’re going to need a guide to figure them out. I hope you knew to keep one of the two (insanely useless) fairy-type moves to lower enemy attack stats that eevee can learn, because if you didn’t, you can never get a sylveon. And then there’s all the hard to find pokemon in S&M. The strongest strength of Gen 1 was its super tight pacing. Filling the pokedex was almost a natural result of playing the game to 100%. S&M is impossible without a guide and GTS. How the hell are you supposed to know you can only catch a sableye if a carbink calls it into an SOS battle?

      I understand the idea of trade pokemon. It’s to encourage players to trade with each other. But it really feels like, when someone trades their haunter for someone else’s kadabra, Game Freak assumes that you’ll keep the alakazam and the person you traded with will keep the gengar. Instead, it just becomes a huge trust exercise as you have to find someone you can trust enough to trade your gengar back once it evolves.




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      1. someone says:
        and trading makes you evil outside of the games.

        Not so in the anime. When a major trade occured in the anime (Ash’s aipom for Dawn’s buizel). The pair were shown thinking over the decision alongside the respective pokemon because they discovered the pokemon preferred the other trainers’ style. They even set up a trial period of working with the other trainer before making the trade official.

        You can trade heart scales to the move relearner to reobtain fairy attacks for sylveon. While I agree that it’s leaning towards the ridiculous since nothing in game tells you you need this, this is the internet age so they likely make these methods expecting players to look them up when they get curious. I understand making new, if somewhat complicated methods for new evolutions of old pokemon to “explain” why it wasn’t available before (though I’d personally be okay if they just used the same items for magmortar, electivire, and the other gen 4 trade+item evolutions instead of making items that only matter for one pokemon). At least in Unova and beyond someone realized they could reuse things like thunderstones and sunstones for new pokemon too.

        How the hell are you supposed to know you can only catch a sableye if a carbink calls it into an SOS battle? Probably through luck of a fight with a carbink lasting long enough that it calls in a sableye? Joking aside, I vaguely remember an NPC mentioning that some pokemon call in pokemon of other species but I can’t recall the exact wording.

        Instead, it just becomes a huge trust exercise as you have to find someone you can trust enough to trade your gengar back once it evolves.

        Huh. I never say it as overly onerous because I had my sister to trade with. Even though I’m personally very shy and unlikely to trade with a relative stranger, I had her so it never bothered me much. I figured more extroverted people would naturally find this easier, but even then I do have other friends who are willing to trade and trade back and my sister’s anime club provided a Pokemon Night every couple of months for trading and battling together.




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        1. CrazyEd says:
          That trade, plus the accidental trade Jessie made for her wobuffet, are pretty much the only trades that stuck in the anime, though. I think Wobuffet was allowed to stick because she never had much of an attachment to her lickitung as a character. In fact, it took her 34 episodes, according to Bulbapedia, to actually make use of the damn thing and she only used it in 17 of the 94 episodes she had it. In fact, I watched an episode of the Johto anime and totally forgot that she even had Lickitung as an option at that point.

          And, like I said, it was a totally accidental trade. Jessie didn’t even know she had made it. They probably didn’t think anyone would care to see it go, because no one would. Who even likes it as a pokemon spcies?

          When she traded Pumpkaboo, she regretted it within the episode, and when she asked for it back, the guy she gave it to agreed with no hesitation (because he only agreed to the trade because his own pumpkaboo had fallen in love with it and was no longer interested after it evolved). It’s pretty obvious the episode was just an excuse to evolve Jessie’s pumpkaboo, which is terrible, because pumpkaboo is one of the cutest pokemon of Gen 6.

          At least Sun and Moon gave her a mimikyu. I have a thing for gross-cute or creepy-cute pokemon like banette, venonat, xatu, and slugma. Her mimikyu is played up super-creepy. It’s always twitching around unnaturally and making these horrible gutteral clicking noises like the spirit from The Grudge. Meowth even refuses to translate what it’s saying because, literally, “this is a family show” and explicitly treats it like a horror movie monster when in a locked room with it during a power outage.

          It’s adorable. I want six.

          (I was actually reading something Farla wrote about picking pokemon for some OT and she rejected reuniclus because it wasn’t cute. I didn’t even know that one counted as a gross-cute. And then I wrote an OT fic about a trainer with a banette, mimikyu, pumpkaboo, shedinja, relicanth,  and a litwick.)

          (This trainer is going to be the most hardcore trainer ever. Three of their pokemon are after their soul.)

          Ash and Dawn’s trade stuck because it didn’t actually change the character roster. Ash was still just as capable of interacting with Aipom. Making that trade didn’t actually require the sacrifice of never seeing your beloved friend again.

          I had a sister

          I have a twin brother. I stand by what I said.




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          1. someone says:
            I referenced it as more of an example of a non-game setting that examines trading in a way that isn’t evil. If a fic writer just has their player trade because they can and their will matters more than the pokemon’s, that’s one thing, but if a writer explores the issue as something the trainer and pokemon mutually agree upon it’s a different matter.

            I’m certainly not going to argue that the anime makes good writing decisions. I was merely showing an example of how a trade can be done that isn’t evil.

            Also, in-universe trading without trading back is meant to convey a sign of trust in that they’re trusting someone with a living being (based on how NPCs refer to it, not actual players who care as much about the ones and zeros as their level of emersion in a fictional universe allows).

            Unfortunately I can only provide anecdotal evidence as to the likelihood of the “average player” finding someone they can trust to trade back. I have neither the time nor the resources to survey people to see whether being able to trust other players for that is the exception or the norm.




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            1. CrazyEd says:
              While trading might be evil without any qualifiers in the anime, and there may be ways around that, I still think the problem of trade evolutions persist. While they probably wrote Buizel from the start as a pokemon Ash was eventually going to trade for, and characterized Aipom accordingly once they knew that, the primary reason an author would probably want to trade a haunter is because they want to give their character a gengar.

              The problem being, they want the gengar. No one wants to develop the haunter as a character only to trade it away so it can become a gengar but never be seen again so why even bother. And they can’t just have the traders decide to trade back immediately because that’s game logic. So the anime has to resort to weird tricks like with Pumpkaboo and Polytoed, and they can’t do them very often or they seem contrived.

              Checking the anime, in addition to the trades discussed, there was also Ash’s trade for Ratticate that lasted about an episode, James being forced to trade his Victreebell (only to shortly get it back and release it), and Bianca trading Profesor Juniper a pair of pokemon that only evolve when traded for each other Jesus Christ how did that idea make it through designing.

              Only the Aipom/Buizel trade and possibly the trade between Bianca and Professor Juniper were actual trades (and I am going to say, based on the Bulbapedia article, that Bianca’s trade stuck).

              That’s six trades total, only two of them actually involving the permanent swap of pokemon, over the course of 967 regular episodes. And only one of them was among the travelling party, but none of them actually involved a character being removed from the cast.




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            2. someone says:
              Yes? This is still based on how the anime writers opt to handle the situation. A fic writer has options to develop it well or to just blow past the implications and trade so they can get their gengar willynilly. This, then, would be a reflection of the writer’s forethought and skill.

              I’d imagine shelmet and karablast’s gimmick made it through designing because of how incredibly easy it is to trade via the GTS if the only thing you’re worried about is the pokedex entry. If you’re more concerned with getting your original back, that just goes back to how common or uncommon it is to find trustworthy traders to work something out with. I have never used them myself, but I know there are forums on Serebii devoted to discussing and going through with trades with scammers under the threat of being blacklisted if they just keep something they promised to trade back.




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            3. CrazyEd says:
              If a trainer in a fanfiction traded a haunter to someone and then immediately traded back to receive a gengar, that’d be just as bad writing as in the anime for all the same reasons. They’d still need to rely on the same use-them-too-often-and-you-get-called-out contrivances like Jessie’s wobuffet and pumpkaboo.



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            4. someone says:
              Or they can meet someone who has their own trade-evolve pokemon and work out a deal to trade back. If the mechanic exists in-universe, I doubt too many people would raise eyebrows at a pair of trainers deciding to do just that. There could be examination of the author’s ideas of worldbuilding and trustworthiness between strangers to make it less monotonous than just the scene itself being written like a checklist of explaining how they got it to evolve.

              Alternatively, develop a bond between two traveling trainers who are friends and trust each other but who also journey separately. They (and their pokemon) agree to trade with each other as a way of having their friend metaphorically always near them or they learn over a few times meeting each other that their pokemon are curious about how the other trains and want to be with them.




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            5. CrazyEd says:
              A mutually beneficial trade swap still feels like its gaming the system, though. The second option works a bit better, but really, literally any pokemon can be evolved like that. If you trade a bulbasaur to someone else for trading, and then go your separate ways for a year, its well within reason to be an ivysaur by then. The haunter does it before leaving, but the effect is the same.



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            6. someone says:
              but really, literally any pokemon can be evolved like that. If you trade a bulbasaur to someone else for trading, and then go your separate ways for a year, its well within reason to be an ivysaur by then. The haunter does it before leaving, but the effect is the same.

              I’m a little unclear about why you think this means it wouldn’t work in a fic if the author developed it well.




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            7. someone says:
              A mutually beneficial trade swap still feels like its gaming the system, though.

              Is it any more gaming the system than going to a department store and buying a rock? (Or worse, do like the anime often does and have the evolution item “just so happen” to end up on the pokemon instead of doing it intentionally like the king’s rock and Politoed.)




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            8. CrazyEd says:
              In my opinion? Yes, absolutely. With evolutionary stones, by applying one to a pokemon, you’re not gaming the system at all. You’re using the system exactly as intended. You’re not trying to have your cake and eat it too.

              The rocks coincidentally falling on everyone’s heads is definitely a contrivance, but it isn’t also two humans intentionally gaming the system, so I don’t have as much a problem with it. The equivalent would be more like if Ash “accidentally” dropped a thunder stone on Pikachu so he could still be morally justified while also getting a raichu. There’s a subtle but meaningful difference.

              It seems like the pokemon anime has a real problem with evolution a lot of the time. You’re only allowed to evolve by drawing up inner strength to protect your friends or on accident and pokemon refuse, all the time, to evolve for seemingly no reason. At least Pikachu didn’t want to evolve because of a moral code of not wanting to play into Lt. Surge’s rhetoric.

              I would’ve loved to see Serena shopping in Luminose, seeing some stones, and being all “hey eevee, do you want fins?” and then just getting a vaporeon with no hassle involved because Eevee is like “aww hell yeah, fins”.




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            9. someone says:
              I’m not entirely sure why it would be seen as “gaming the system” in-universe, though. I guess this just comes with the individual author’s worldbuilding on how well they establish what the system is “supposed” to be and whether tradebacks are commonplace or a rarity within their fic-verse.



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            10. CrazyEd says:
              The team I mentioned putting together has a mismagius (yeah, yeah, they’re probably super overused, but I am better and smarter than anyone else so it’s okay if I do it the trainer has a bit of a spooky theme and it’s not like it’s super OP or anything) on it. The pokemon was originally from Mt. Silver, and their mother caught it on a research trip and brought it back (along with a sneasel for her twin sister)(because it’s totally not snwoflakey at all to start with that misdreaveous as well, though at least I have a solid explanation as to where it came from as an important part of their backstory, and they’d be far along enough on their journey that they had a chance to get other interesting mid-level party members, I suppose?). And then, at some point, it was willingly exposed to a dusk stone. It’s not even a particular battle fanatic. What’s the big deal (he asks rhetorically)? Maybe they won a pokeathalon and Misdreavus was the MVP so it got to pick the reward and it picked it out from the shop because mismagius has a higher speed than misdreavus.



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            11. CrazyEd says:
              God damn it, that post failed to post the first time I tried, and when I copied it to repost, it chopped off the first half. Let’s see… it was something like…

              • Trades should be about trading pokemon, not forcing evolution.
              • Bianca can trade back for her original stupid bug fifty episodes after she gets her new stupid bug and I don’t have a problem with that. It doesn’t seem like she’s doing it just to force it to evolve (even if that’s why the writers had her trade it).
              • I like the idea of trainers temporarily swapping pokemon to train them more than just immediately swapping back.
              • A writer with a problem using evolution stones (or even with pokemon who choose to evolve) should also have a problem with nonchalantly trading pokemon even if they’re going to nonchalantly trade them back. At least evolution stones make sense in-universe.
              • Something connecting it to the second half of the post that actually got posted.



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            12. someone says:
              But if in-universe it’s “just another way to evolve specific pokemon” then why would in-universe trainers treat it differently than using a stone (I mean, aside from involving more participants than a stone evolution)?

              I would say it would then come down to whether the author treats trading like a thing that can be just done for evolving but can be long term if the parties involved agree (and doesn’t always have anything to do with evolution anyway) or if they set in-universe values on trading as something that should have the intent of being long-term.




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            13. someone says:
              Maybe they won a pokeathalon and Misdreavus was the MVP so it got to pick the reward and it picked it out from the shop because mismagius has a higher speed than misdreavus.

              Maybe it’s just the simplified summery, but this kinda feels… off. Like, Misdreavus can only get the stone to evolve it it proves it’s worthy by winning (though I assume you mean it previously showed interest and winning gave the trainer the opportunity to obtain the stone, it’s still kinda weird that only one of a necessairally three ‘mon team gets to pick the prize).

              And it wanting to evolve for better stats sounds more like it wants to evolve for the trainer’s sake than its own desire to grow into a more mature form.




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            14. CrazyEd says:
              Well, I think the crux of the matter is that I think trading shouldn’t be treated as something that is done just for evolving, I guess. Notice how, even in the anime example of Jessie’s pumpkaboo, evolution wasn’t the reason it was traded, it was an unexpected side effect (though you run the risk into people thinking your characters are all idiots for not knowing everything about pokemon a player of the games would know) and in Bianca’s case (which was done specifically to evolve them) they never traded back at all, let alone immediately. But even if the author treats trade-swap evolving as acceptable in-universe, it can still cause problems with the setting’s morality, and stuff like that.



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            15. someone says:
              But even if the author treats trade-swap evolving as acceptable in-universe, it can still cause problems with the setting’s morality, and stuff like that.

              How so, in particular? People agreeing to use an artificial means for evolution that just so happens to involve a temporary swap sounds a bit better than perma-trading just to evolve and tossing your machoke to the wind because you want someone else’s haunter to get a gengar, at the very least.

              Although in-universe, I’d imagine they’d be able to create a trade-evolution effect without actually trading to another person (by, idk, trading with themself or just having a machine that sparks evolution by the same effect as trading as it’s the electrical energy or whatever that causes evolution rather than having someone with a different trainer ID number holding ownership of the poke ball if trade evolutions want to make any sense at all).




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            16. CrazyEd says:
              Well, I was thinking more that it can only get the stone because that victory provided enough points so that the trainer could afford to purchase the stone from the athlete shop and that it got to choose the way those points were spent was because it was instrumental in securing the victory. As far as I can tell, there isn’t a way you can just purchase or find a dusk stone in Johto, and that’s the best way I could find on Bulbapedia. Would you prefer “her mother had a researcher from another region send her the stone so she could give it to the trainer as a birthday present”?

              Though I’m curious as to why you assume it couldn’t just want to be faster and more durable for its own sake (evolving only increases misdreavus’s defence, sp. defence, and speed), especially if it has an interest in battling, or why doing something for its trainer’s sake always has to be a sign of an unhealthy relationship. If you could increase your speed and durability by 123.5% just by touching a magic rock with zero drawbacks and get a cool witch hat and cloak to go with it, wouldn’t you?




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            17. CrazyEd says:
              At the very least, yes. But that’s not saying much.



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            18. someone says:
              To be honest, most of what I suggested was based the way it was worded, which left things open to a bit more interpretation. I’d imagine in an actual fic rather than a brief summary it would be a lot more specific, but in general I was trying to point out potential pitfalls to avoid moreso than assuming the worst.

              As far as a preference? Maybe have one of the reasons she’s participating in the pokeathelon in the first place be to get the dusk stone misdreavus has been hoping for OR have her acknowledge that the only prize useful to her and her team at present is the dusk stone and pick it for that reason (rather than having the unfortunate implication that the non-MVPs aren’t worthy of getting a reward, as the pokeathalon is a team-based activity).

              I’m not sure on the “evolving for the trainer’s sake” thing because I’d imagine undergoing a physical transformation like that should be because a pokemon wants to do it for itself. If they also want to do it for the trainer, cool. But it’s when they only want to do it for a human that it gets iffy.




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            19. someone says:
              I still don’t see how trading for evolving is any more morally questionable than trading living magic animals that may or may not be able to have a say in general would be.



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            20. CrazyEd says:
              Nah, they’re totally doing it for the witch hat. Though I’m pretty sure the rest of the teams would still get, like, medals or something for winning and the dusk stone would just be the prize for being the lynchpin to victory; though, looking through the list of things you can buy with pokeathalon points, they’re mostly apricorns, healing items, or evolutionary stones. Misdreavus is the only pokemon I considered giving her that evolves through any stone.

              So yeah, it actually probably would be the most useful thing they could buy, except for perhaps the nugget (which is an item that’s probably better left to the games).




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            21. someone says:
              My only other major thought on alernatives would be that in a fic the dusk stone wouldn’t have to be limited to a pokeathelon prize and could be available at a specialized store written in for the fic.

              One reason I would imagine in-universe that trading for evolving as a easy alternative that isn’t somehow cheap is because a mutual agreement seems doable by anyone. Evolution stones are, based on how rare they’re portrayed, something that would only be widely available to the affulent.




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            22. CrazyEd says:
              Even the most expensive pokemon stuff seems pretty ridiculously cheap for what it is, though. I mean, the dusk stone is ten thousand, sure. But a bicycle costs a million.

              I’ve always thought of the currency being roughly equal to the yen (obviously, the bike is an exception, since its price is just “too much money to hold at once”), so a pokeball only costs like two dollars, and a dusk stone would be about ninety dollars (which is actually about the cheapest you can get the console that plays Pokemon, it seems, and plenty of people we in the first world would consider not even remotely affluent have one of those). It makes a lot more sense than it being in USD; they’re supposed to be prices a child can afford, and how many youngers can blow 1000 bucks on getting a ratatta?

              Just beat up five nerds and rifle through their pockets for change and you’ve got enough for a dusk stone in HG/SS. Literally.

              Super Nerds give between 432 and 2544 in HG/SS, and the average payout is 1766.4, though admittedly, most of them are in Kanto and are fairly high level trainers- their average level is 53 and most seem to be in Cinnabar Gym; Johto Super Nerds have a payout of only 480 but an average level of 9).

              Sure, that seems pretty steep when it’s entirely a luxury, but these are people who are economically secure enough to just wander around the world aimlessly. If you have the disposable income to enjoy the luxury of raising a team of multiple pokemon to begin with, you probably have the disposable income to afford the one-time expense of an evolutionary stone. Even a pet dog will go through more than that per year.

              Pokemon only even really seems to have different economic classes at all when they need to want an obnoxiously rich character of the day to begin with. This is an extremely child friendly world. There’s really no need to involve a classist element at all. Even though they’re extremely rare, their price is already taking that into account. If they were as common as pebbles they’d be as expensive as pebbles. Besides, if they’re giving them out as prizes for a bug-catching contest, they can’t be that rare.

              I think you’re either vastly overestimating how rare evolution stores are or vastly underestimating how affluent the average person is in the pokemon world. Or perhaps overvaluing the currency. Somewhere, I think your math isn’t right, and it’s giving you a skewed perception of the setting.




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            23. someone says:
              More like I’m considering anime episodes I (admitedly vaguely) remember wherein the characters made evolution stones sound like a big deal to come across. That, and I’d consider $90 towards something that’s used one and then gone a different sort of investment than the same $90 on something that can be used to play multiple games over a longer time. Mostly it’s the bigger deal made in the anime, though. I mean, where the Sun and Moon games are concerned you can just send a bunch of your boxed pokemon off for 12-24 hours and return to loads of shiny new evolution stones.

              Though if they are easy enough to come by, there is the question of whether your trainer can just order one to be delivered, especially with the delivery guy in Johto comstantly dropping off gifts from Mom.

              Still, the pokemon world does have poverty. It’s not shown much because, well, ideallic kids’ game, but Kalos’s post-game mission revolves around a homeless teenage girl who Looker basically adopts and teaches to read. She ends up in danger because she wants to have the money to repay Looker and gets a job with one of the remaining villains after Team Flare’s plan ended.




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            24. CrazyEd says:
              Well, I did suggest that another way the trainer could get the stone was through their mom just giving it to them as a gift (though I don’t imagine the mother specifically the shopaholic type like the mom in Gen 2 is).

              the pokemon world does have poverty

              Okay, so they remember that both extreme ends of affluence exist when they want to use it as a character trait. But it’s never implied that, say, Brock got less nice things as a kid than Misty because his parents had to buy for like ten kids on a gym leader’s salary and Misty’s only had to afford four. No one on pokemon journeys ever seems to worry about money at all. When a character laments not being able to sleep in a warm bed or eat a hot meal at a restaurant, its because there are no hotels or restaurants nearby, and never because they can’t afford them. Poverty might exist, but the default standard of living across the board for 99% of people seems to be decidedly upper-middle class, despite the fact the world is full of monster-training wandering itinerants with no steady means of income and everyone only seems to be employed if they want to do a particular job.




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            25. someone says:
              Jessie’s anime backstory is entirely about growing up in poverty.



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            26. CrazyEd says:
              And it comes up even less often than James’s backstory of growing up in extreme affluence. She’s even the one more likely to lavishly spend on everything while James tends to be the more spendthrift of the two (and its not even like the anime is saying she doesn’t know how to handle tons of excess cash because she never had any, because Team Rocket never has any either). Actually, despite being the only characters constantly moaning about being broke, they don’t actually seem to enjoy a standard of living very far below, if at all below, Ash.

              James is actually probably my favourite character in the pokemon anime. Aside from the narrative constraints forced upon him by being “the bad guy”, he actually seems far closer to the ideal good guy trainer Farla writes essays about than the nominally “good guy” trainer the anime and games present for you. He might treat other people’s pokemon with light-fingered contempt, but he has a great relationship with most of his own pokemon.

              I have a far harder time believing he’d just box them for any reason than I do Ash even though they both clear their teams at the start of every series since Hoenn (though Jessie and James released their original pokemon to protect a bunch of wild pokemon despite not wanting to part instead of just throwing them at Professor Oak) because the anime writers want to give them pokemon from the current generation so they are forced to leave them behind. In Best Wishes, Giovanni tells them they have to leave Mime Jr., Carnivine, Seviper, and Yanmega at HQ because they’re not native to Unova… but he allows them to bring Meowth. Because a yanmega would attract more unwanted attention than a talking meowth. But Ash is given no such explanation. He just doesn’t care.

              Of James’s pokemon currently not on hand:

              • Mime Jr. purposefully activated a dropped pokeball after befriending James.
              • Captured Carnivine normally.
              • Baited Inkay with food instead of battling it.
              • Gave Cacnea a bag of cookies as thanks for saving them from a swarm of Beedrill, who then joined when it appeared later, after James assisted it in opening the bag of cookies and asked it if it wanted to join. Currently with Gardenia because he felt his own lack of skill was holding Cacnea’s training behind.
              • James’s best friend as a child, Growlie the growlithe, who stayed behind to keep an eye on James’s parents.
              • Chimecho, who flew up to James to use Heal Ball on him, and then joined James’s team by request. Abused by Jessie during a contest, to James’s discontent. Left with an elderly couple because it fell ill but he was forced to continue his journey, with Chimecho’s blessing.
              • Weezing was a New Year’s gift.
              • Magikarp was purchased but escaped after evolving after being kicked off a raft by a furious James for being useless.
              • Caught Victreebell normally, forced to trade it away by Jessie, and was least seen escaping into a forest with its true love.
              • Fed Yamask instead of letting Jessie battle it, but forced to give it to Giovanni.
              • Acquired Amoonguss through unknown means, but gave it to Giovanni with Yamask.

              James also befriended his current Mareanie, which means of James’s eleven pokemon, only two were captured, and only one speaks poorly of him as a trainer.

              (continued in next post)

               




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            27. CrazyEd says:
              There are some episodes that show, if you take Jessie out of the environment of Team Rocket, she can become quite a caring and kind individual, but James’s personality always seemed totally at end with his job. If you removed James from Team Rocket, he would probably end up a lot like Brock as far as caring for pokemon goes; which is why I think its so weird he’s in the career of stealing pokemon (though, to be fair, most of their “thefts” are just capturing wild pokemon with nets instead of balls). He seems like he’d enjoy being a breeder or groomer far more than a thief.

              But I think my favourite thing about the Rocket Trio is, even though they’re constantly saying how they’re the evil bad guys, it feels totally in character for these three dorks to explicitly refer to themselves as bad guys. They’re not full-on evil, they’re just idiots who got into a bad job and are too stupid to realize they’re doing actually hurtful things.

              And they also feel like, despite everything, they’re really friends. Ash changes friends like he changes clothes (literally, compare his outfit changes to his companion changes, and they usually happen around the same time), but Team Rocket are friends. In an X&Y episode, an episode synopsis implied that a long-standing friendship among the main cast might be broken, and I had absolutely no clue what friendship that’d be. None of the friendships in the main cast seemed to fit, since Ash had only met them in Kalos.

              It was Team Rocket, because Jessie was tempted to leave her life of crime to live with a rural pokemon doctor. And then actually made it feel like there was even the slightest possibility she might actually choose to leave (though, of course, you knew that she’d choose to stay at the end, because kid’s show stasis). When Ekans and Koffing evolved, it was because Jessie and James’s tears of frustration at being too inept to get them strong enough to evolve that trigged their evolutions.

              Maybe that’s why I like Mallow and Lillie so much in the S&M anime. They feel like they have a far deeper friendship than anyone else in the series, beyond just the standard “everyone is friends by default” feel. I don’t get why people like Sophocles, and Kiwawe seems like he’d be cool just being alone with himself, but Mallow was the one who managed to convince Lillie to take the first step in getting over her pokemon fear (without the slightest hint of forcing her to do it against her will but through pure support) and is at Lillie’s house so often the maids just let her in, totally unexpected, like she lives there.

              Mallow seems like a way better friend than Ash does and I’m more interested in Lillie’s subplot than Ash’s main plot. Why can’t these two be the main characters? This is why people write fanfiction, isn’t it?




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      2. Keleri says:

        Field moves (and especially locking them behind badges) feel mainly like a game mechanic to me, although I was thinking about how there might be a case for contest moves differing from battle moves in terms of their execution rather than power, and possibly the contest stream could feed into pokemon performing specialized field moves. Like not just cutting down tall grass–presumably anyone can do that, or burn it, or blow it down–but carefully harvesting crops or felling trees for lumber. Not just blowing away fog or lighting up a cave, but checking for traps and hidden dangers.




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        1. CrazyEd says:
          Well, I don’t think the problem is at all with field moves (obviously, if a 10 foot tall dragon can fly around at Mach 2, it should be capable of flying around with a trainer on its back) besides possibily removing some of the difficulty of the journey (especially with Fly), but the use of badges to allow their use is definitely 100% a gating mechanism. Notice how, in Gen 2, you need the Ecruteak City gym badge to use Surf, but basically all you can really do with Surf at the time is get to the next gym’s city (Cianwood), but after you get your fifth badge in Cianwood City and are officially on the back stretch, you can use Fly outside of battle. Or the location of the badge that allows you to use Flash compared to the location where you need to use Flash to progress.



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      3. Keleri says:

        It is sort of fun how absurd things like SOS battles calling different pokemon or level 3 Salamences travels by word of mouth over the internet, which is how the game creators always imagined it happening IRL, but it leaves kids without a lot of friends/other kids with gameboys in the lurch. Not to mention the promulgation of ridiculous rumors, although I have to admit there was a certain amount of fun frustration there in the early days of Pokemon Go.

        Inkay’s evolution was an unforgivable Guide Dang It. Like are you fucking serious nintendo




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        1. CrazyEd says:
          Inkay evolves when it hits level 30 if the 3DS is held upside-down. Man, and I thought trade evolutions would be problematic in fiction. No wonder James’s inkay never evolved.



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  4. Septentrion says:

    Pokeballs: No one questions their existence. It’s honestly the weirdest thing in the Pokemon franchise. There’s the apricorns, but that raises more questions.

    In the anime, they save animation costs. Pokeballs also define the difference between a Good capture and an Evil capture.

    So much laziness in story telling comes from pokeballs.




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    1. Hinebras says:
      Well, they seem to be so basic in the world that you tend to suspend your disbelief, like tha capsules in Dragon Ball.

      They just are. What I always wonder is: Why they only use them for pokemon an small items? They could fit houses, cars, whatever!




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      1. CrazyEd says:
        Ignoring item balls (which I always just saw as a game abstraction to redue the number of field sprites needed), and gags in the anime, I always just assumed there was something special about the pokemon themselves that made them able to be put in pokeballs.



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        1. Keleri says:

          Yeah, being able to transport items as energy is one of those things that’s like the transporter in Star Trek– mostly used as an elevator to save on shuttlecraft rendering costs, and ignored as a technological miracle that would completely change society as we know it.




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          1. CrazyEd says:
            That’s actually why the convenant, in Halo 1, use anti-gravity fields instead of ramps to get into their spaceships. It was a lot easier to just render some glowly effects and make the character fly up than make such a huge model in scale with everything and such.



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  5. Keleri says:

    Oh shoot, I just remembered this. Let’s chat about how poorly this dude I was arguing with on reddit understood Lucki, and sees it as a way to carry out a Sue Inquisition instead of using it to interrogate his protagonist-centered morality. (Also, alternatively, chat about how poorly I understood Lucki, which is entirely possible.)




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    1. illhousen says:

      Which points would you like to discuss?

      Also, I kinda got distracted by “suddenly, journalism ethics” thing.

      Also also, a very old joke:

      “How do you call a male Mary Sue?”

      “Protagonist.”

      Anyway, Lucki is a good attempt to get at the core of Suedom phenomenon and explore its nature beyond the superficial attributes like no flaws or enormous power level.

      Ultimately, I feel, the difference between regular stories and stories with a Sue lies in author’s goals and view of their work: regular stories are outward-looking, they’re ritten because the author wanted to say something. Maybe they had a message to deliver or wanted to explore some issue from different angles and used storytelling as a medium. Maybe they just wanted to entertain people and make some money out of it.

      Sue stories, on the other hand, are inward-looking. They’re written because the author wanted to live vicariously through the protagonist (or sometimes another character), to imagine themselves walking the fiction world and getting into fun adventures and so on, and, important to note, did not put much effort into making the story interesting to other people, which naturally results in the setting and the narrative wrapping around the Sue, accomodating author’s daydreams above everything else.

      Regular stories are built around a conflict, an issue that is introduced at the start and is resolved by the end. Sue stories are built around giving form to author’s dreams.

      Often, it results in Sue having unreasonable powers, having no flaws or never facing the consequences of those flaws, likeable characters liking Sue, unlikeable characters impotently despising Sue, etc.

      Lucki, however, shows fairly well that the phenomenon can be present in works that avoid overt symptoms, works built on more humble dreams. Even though outwardly Lucki appears to be a reasonable character one can imagine existing in the world of Pokemon, we can still see the narrative bending around her: she just so happens to stumble upon pokemon she wants, they just so happen to be in a position to join her, her actions are framed by the narrative as good until the absol bit, etc.

      Then the reveal and the sudden removal of narrative support forces us to go back and reexamine her character with a new perspective, showing her selfish nature imposed on the world around her.

      So, yeah, I would say the story succeeds in its goal to examine the nature of the Sue (as well as pointing out fandom-specific failings). The only issue I take with it is that you have to read a pretty by-the-numbers OT fic until things get good. I understand the point of writing it this way, but it was still bloody boring compared to Farla’s other works.




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      1. Keleri says:

        Yeah the more I argued with that guy the more I was struck that he possibly 1) just wasn’t reading any of my earnest replies or 2) couldn’t put himself in the shoes of anyone other than the MC. Like, we know that the MC is the hero and will presumably turn out all right, but how does it appear to onlookers? What does being captured look like to a pokemon? To the pokemon’s friends and family? What does haring off on a quest for items to control a quasi-divine elemental power look like to someone who isn’t also on the quest?

        Anyway, I think about it a lot because I have trouble with that POV switching and see a goal with laser focus without stopping to think, “wait everyone should be flying-squirrel-tackling my MC to stop her right now, this looks insane”. x)




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        1. illhousen says:

          Yeah, it’s interesting to think about what pokemon would think about their situation, what they get out of it, what are their goals, etc. At the very least, that would give you a more developed cast to play with, which is always welcome.

          One fun way to do so is to apply standard tropes of other genres to pokemon. Like, maybe a pokemon sees the trainer as a wise mentor figure who’s here to help the pokemon with its grand quest rather than vice versa, and so the pokemon acts accordingly and have certain expectations (like the trainer releasing it once the pokemon “is ready”).




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          1. CrazyEd says:
            Why not just treat the trainer like, well… a trainer? Pretty much athlete has some kind of coach or trainer to guide their development who is considered a vital part of their advancement.



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            1. illhousen says:

              Because it’s more amusing that way. The discussion here is about various possibilities and outlier cases, not standard situations.




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            2. CrazyEd says:
              Is that really the standard situation, though? When Ash wants a battle, he says something like “I want to battle with you” as if he will be the one battling his human opponent. In one episode, a grass-type expert tells James to have his cacnea use a move, instead of just directly informing cacnea that they should use that move now even though they were in a double battle together.

              The pokemon’s battling skill is seen as a direct reflection of the trainer’s skill as a battler, like the pokemon were just semi-autonomous shounen battle magic pods. But the best trained pokemon should actually need no commands in a battle. They should know what to do already because of how well trained as a warrior they’ve been.




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            3. illhousen says:

              It isn’t standard in the fandom, but that’s because the standard is treating pokemon as equipment, tools of power you use to defeat your opponents.

              If you’re concerned about such matters to begin with (and also want to have pokemon be sapient for whatever reason), your worldbuilding is likely to land somewhere in the ballpark of trainer-athlete dynamic as the default because it’s an intuitive leap.

              My point is that it’s interesting to then apply tropes of other genres to pokemon since it can produce amusing or just curious results and lead to establishing a dynamic that is counter-intuitive to the basic setup yet still works and produces workable plot hooks.




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    2. illhousen says:

      Also, who the fuck thought that black on green text is a good idea? My eyes are bleeding now, and I don’t even have eyes.




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    3. CrazyEd says:
      Your first mistake was reddit.



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      1. Keleri says:

        It’s an ongoing mistake I’m afraid. 😢 I’m surprised he was downvoted though, because Reddit.




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    4. Hyatt says:
      Dear god. His last comment in that thread doesn’t have nearly enough downvotes.



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      1. Act says:

        Considering it’s reddit, any negative score at all is impressive.




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    5. CrazyEd says:
      How does something get worse with consequence-free ninja sexy times, though?



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      1. Keleri says:

        lol I mean, certainly that would have been a lot of fun in the hands of a different writer, but unfortunately Rothfuss takes it to a place where it’s just another way that Kvothe is The Specialest.




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        1. CrazyEd says:
          Oh, so it’s not bad because of consequence-free ninja sexy times, but it’s bad and involves consequence-free ninja sexy times. Alrighty then, that’s easy enough to understand.



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  6. Keleri says:

    Are pokemon yokai or animals?

    Pokemon are beings with a link to base energy/elemental forces that allow them to use elemental powers and be turned to energy by pokeball technology based on apricorns–which are, incidentally, the “plant”-template version of their type of life, where pokemon are the “animal”-template version. Pokemon imitate the appearance of plants, animals, and objects in their environment in order to integrate better with it, and new ones are emerging all the time or taking on new formes as the environment or technology changes. Some pokemon appear to be more successful than others, with some being ubiquitous and others rarely seen.

    Like animals, pokemon can be social or asocial, and compete with one another for resources, including food, territory, and mates. Battles increase the strength of the participants and facilitate this competition. Their spiritual/elemental powers allow them to channel and be struck by impacts/wattages/amperages that would seriously injure or kill animals, as well as to perform feats of strength at odds with their size, or flight despite inaerodynamicity. These powers also allow them to recover relatively quickly from injury in comparison to animals, and almost instantly with the input of energy from a healing machine.

    Are pokemon sapient?

    I struggle with this one. Canonically we’ve seen their pokemon-talk translated into full sentences and simple expressions of emotion and empathy, and they seem to be satisfied by ordinary pleasures like food, affection, and playgrounds like poke-pelago. They can understand battle commands out of the box and regardless of language, and universally understand one another.

    But this also means that predator and prey can communicate, and predators have to not just hunt but murder every time they need to eat. It’s likely that their intelligence is quite alien to us, if that’s the case (or potentially all too familiar), full of compartmentalization and lack of empathy. Maybe they live in a savage world where murder is routine and death is everyday, and that makes the artificial peace and structured conflict of battling with a human trainer attractive. The best model for this is probably Watership Down, and the cheerful living in the moment of the rabbits, their vicious infighting, and the way they grapple with human artifacts that they barely understand.

    Is pokemon training abuse?

    I think it can be, and not just in the “big meanie kicks a cute little pokemon” way. More interesting to me is the way you could abuse an intelligent dragon or lion– it can kick your ass, and so you accomplish this through subtle emotional abuse, grooming, and intimidation.

    I had an argument with a guy on reddit about how pokemon not wanting to battle isn’t just about “all trainers are mean”, it’s about how a pokemon that wants to battle and has battled may not want to battle right now, or against this opponent, or for you.

    I liked Dragonfree’s essay on why it’s preferable to have pokemon that can consent to battling, but it can be hard to square that with the potentially disorienting stasis of pokeballs. We’ve seen pokemon canonically be affected by poison in their pokeballs (well, before gen 4 or whatever) and Ash’s pokemon pop out of their pokeballs at plot-appropriate moments (at least in the Lugia movie), so it might be easier to justify as pokeballs being a comfortable way to ride along with a trainer rather than a prison.

    And just, like, I struggle to keep myself entertained, how do you keep that party of 7 happy? Like big cats, I’m hoping that most mature pokemon are okay with sleeping a lot between bursts of intense activity.




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  7. CrazyEd says:
    Huh. Apparently, in the anime, Nurse Joys (which is apparently a surname) are in charge of giving out starter pokemon in cities that lack a pokemon professor, and a Nurse Joy with the Pokemon Inspection Agency used a Latias in a battle with Brock’s little brother to determine if Pewter City’s gym should allowed to continue to operate.

    And the Sun and Moon Jenny doesn’t look like she’s based on a Japanese traffic cop anymore! She’s got (admittedly, very tight) pants and some kind of vest which I’m going to say is supposed to be based on a knife-proof vest rather than a bulletproof one, because Japan. Because when you take people’s guns away, they will start stabbing each other, and when you take their knives away, they will use flamethrower cat-wrestlers and bedsheet-pikachu-ghost horror-terrors to kill each other.

    But anyway, how are Nurse Joy and Officer Jenny most commonly used in fanfiction? Are they? I don’t really think their Identical Family shtick really works in even a halfway serious story.




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  8. someone says:
    As someone who only tends to read fic that catches my interest in the first place, I’m curious.

    1) Are there any interesting trends in what is or isn’t common for writers to focus on that you’ve noticed? Like, I know you’ve mentioned “Ash betrayal fics” being a thing, but what are others and how do they tend to fall in and out of popularity?

    2) Which pokemon are over/under used in fic?




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    1. Hinebras says:
      “Are there any interesting trends in what is or isn’t common for writers to focus on that you’ve noticed?”
      Well, as far as the ones I’ve read. Ash OOC in a harem situation, and lately pokes going to highschool and college. Go figure.

      “Which pokemon are over/under used in fic?”
      Farla has a list: https://www.fanfiction.net/topic/11834/143321678/1/Pokemon-sorted-most-to-least-by-number-of-stories-that-used-them-as-a-character
      I can say it hasn’t dated that much. Pikachu on all stories involving the anime, the others keep their mewtwo, lucario, eevee, vulpix, and all those little furry pokes. Pokes under used in fic? Everybody else. When choosing what pokemon put in my stories I try to think of any poke that haven’t starring in any fic I read, others I go by a pokemon random generator.




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      1. CrazyEd says:
        I am astonished at how low down on the list some of the pokemon I’ve selected are. The highest one on the list is haunter, and it only made the selection because its a natural party choice for the area of the map they came from.

        What’s with the lack of love for mankey, pangoro, numel/camerupt, trevenant, pumpkaboo, spoink, spheal, and clauncher?




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      2. someone says:
        Wow, I’m surprised woobat is so low, given how cute it is. Guess it’s just considered a “boring regional zubat replacement” by a lot of writers. Some other placements were fairly surprising as well.

        Any trends of note that have thankfully stopped being trends?




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        1. CrazyEd says:
          Maybe it’s because, like the super cute zubat, it evolves into something very not-cute?



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          1. Mel says:
            Swoobat looks plenty cute to me, but I’ve always liked bats.



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      3. CrazyEd says:
        Does a hypothetical team of (in capture order) cyndaquil, sentret, spearow, mareep, slowpoke (later slowbro), and vulpix sound like too much for someone to acquire on the Gen 2 route between New Bark Town and Ecruteak City? They’re actually all located along that route in the games, but the highest two on the list (cyndaquil and vulpix) would both be event pokemon received at the start (to complete some errand, like in the games) and end (due to the presence of the largest shrine to Inari in Japan located in the city Ecruteak City is based off of) of the journey, and something about it still doesn’t sit right with me. But why? Sentret and spearow are both super common, and mareep’s line seems surprisingly rare in fiction. And who in the world picks slowpoke when they’ve got a choice of any water-type in the series? It isn’t so bad to have one or two more common pokemon in that case, is it?



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        1. Keleri says:

          I think that’s fine, to me the real problem with rare/”rare” pokemon is that they’re another way to make your character special in an empty way. Getting a popular pokemon from a breeder (e.g. the vulpix) is probably the way most kids get a starter pokemon TBH. I think it’s more important to make the pokemon characters interesting rather than agonizing over whether they’re overused.




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          1. CrazyEd says:
            Hm… I suppose… I definitely don’t think I’m doing that. I didn’t get the feeling I was doing that when I decided on two shiny pokemon in a single party, so I’ll probably be fine.

            Of course, they were a noctowl and dunsparce, which aren’t exactly the go-tos for Special Snowflake Shiny Pokemon, but still. Someone researching, essentially, the cosmetic differences between pokemon should have some cosmetically different pokemon. And I love the idea of someone fawning over their dunsparce (nicknamed Nokocchi, because the japanese name for dunsparce is adorable, and so is dunsparce), and having everyone be like “okay, it might be pink instead of blue, but it’s still a dunsparce” and then finding out that the dunsparce has Charge Beam.

            Here’s the way I see it: Shinies are only a big deal because of how rare they are to get in the games. Albino animals are interesting because of how rare they are in real life, especially in the wild, but no one really cares if your cat is orange or black, because cats don’t have a limited sprite selection to use. I’d probably end up showing shinies to be far more common anyway (the ones that aren’t just one shade lighter/darker or randomly green, at least). You didn’t see literally everyone gawking over Ash’s noctowl being shiny every time he brought it out of the ball. Hm… maybe I should just go all-in and say that their noctowl and dunsparce are albino, and open up the possibility for more varied pokemon colouration in general?

            I think it’d be a fun turn of events to have the person with two shinies gushing about how rare someone’s sentret is because of its unusually large number of tail rings or something. Maybe that’d be fun. Have one character go on and on about how rare the members of that team are (except for the vulpix) for super inconsequential things that only they happen to notice in the first place because it’s their life’s work, but not really care that their noctowl is shiny because they’ve had it for over a decade now.

            But speaking of pokemon breeders being a source for first pokemon, that reminds me of another thing I like which lends itself to overused pokemon: Eevee as a common starter because by the time it evolves the trainer has matured as a trainer and probably has a pretty good idea of what kind of pokemon he wants to train and can now choose from one of eight types to progress his starter into. Eevee starts off a normal type, just like most of the player’s early game party, and eventually gains an elemental typing around the time the player starts figuring out what other types he’ll have covered in his party. The last time I played FireRed, my eevee became a flareon because I had a blastoise and raichu in my party since day one, and I needed some fire coverage.

            And I really like the idea of siblings getting a pair of eevees at the same time, and years later ending up with radically different pokemon. All I have to do is avoid combining this with my first point, even though shiny umbreon looks like a cyberpunk motorcycle cat. I might be able to convince myself shinies are okay, and that umbreons are okay, but I think shiny umbreons are going a bit too far.

            The only problem with that is that I dislike the idea of “starter pokemon” in the first place… that cyndaquil is going to be the rarest pokemon on that team (I imagine a lot of people in Ecruteak have vulpixes for the same reason this team will get one), and the trainer would not get it just because they turned ten and barged into a pokemon professor’s lab (my dislike of trainers having to start at ten has been pretty well documented by now). Most people get starters through gifts or chucking pokeballs at bellsprout until one clicks. But still, if the kimono girls just said “oh, yeah, one day our mom came home with a load of eevee eggs”, whatever. Actually, now that I think about it… are the kimono girls actually sisters or just members of the same dance troupe? I always kind of assumed they were related for some reason.

            Actually, I’m having far more of a problem justifying the inclusion of Generation 5+ pokemon in a Johto setting than I am shiny umbreons. Stupid, right? It feels way more special snowflake to put a mimikyu (adorable) on a Johto team than it does two shinies, even if I say that mimikyu generally live wherever pikachu do. And what to do about the two cosmetic difference pokemon, vivillion and gastrodon (adorable)…

            At least the gym leaders have canon Gen 5 teams thanks to the pokemon world tournament. There will definitely be a moment where the Standard Original Trainer Archtype sends out their flaffy (named Fluffy, because mareep is fluffy, and they didn’t think that mareep gets progressively less fluffy as it evolves when they named it) against Whitney’s own Fluffy (a bouffalant).

            Also, because I mentioned nicknaming: Since I decided I wanted all pokemon nicknamed, because people name their pets, I’ve had to come up with a lot of nicknames. And boy let me tell you, I have terrible taste in nicknaming. If it wasn’t for the fact that this sentret would be starting as a sentret and not a furret, I would steal Farla’s idea to name a furret “Noodle” in a heartbeat. Because it’s adorable. Though maybe the fact I am probably the only person on the planet who thinks dunsparce is adorable might indicate my concept of cute is a bit broken… Half of them sound like what a japanese schoolgirl might name her pokemon and the other half are really obscure references or linguistic reaching.

            And while I’m here, for some reason, of all the canon characters to sneak their way into my framework outlining, it’s Whitney (whose miltank is named after one of Taft’s presidental milk cows). Weird, huh? Maybe she met the pokemon researcher when they were both students at All-Girls Slice of Life Academy where they both got A+s in Cutesy Nicknames class.

            I think I should end this post right now before I am tempted to write K-On But With Gym Leaders…

            … Fuck, too late. I shouldn’t have described it like that. Giving it a name gave it power. Fuck.




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            1. Keleri says:

              looooool honestly an actual collector trainer would be a real change of pace, there’s a big difference between someone who just ~randomly~ comes across special, strong pokemon and someone who actually pursues little breed variations and, maybe, trades for competitively worthless but cool pokeys.




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            2. CrazyEd says:
              Yeah, something like that exactly. Sure, the sentret, spearow, mareep, and slowpoke would be come across randomly, but… sentret, spearow, mareep, and slowpoke. So what? (Well, okay, the sentret would be caught going through their supplies and captured, and the mareep would attack in the middle of training because it wants to play too, but still, so what?)

              The idea of someone breeding vulpixes to trade to people with rare variations of common pokemon would be hilarious, but I don’t want someone who “collects” living creatures like that, even if my pokemon aren’t people. Someone who seeks out and captures rare variations? Sure. But they’ve gotta do something with them afterwards. In my example, it implies that the trainer cares enough about a dunsparce to buy a TM for it because dunsparce can’t learn Charge Beam naturally. Even if they got it as a gift, they’re still seriously training it, and it’s not just a show piece.

              The only pokemon I think it’d be okay to collect like that (so far) are unown. But I’ve also decided to establish the temperment of unown as being totally fine with chilling on the walls of their house being decorative living art (and a rad home security system). So I don’t see a moral problem with that. So, of course, this reseacher has nearly an entire set of the damn things. Plus a few duplicates to spell her name in flying letter pokemon.

              In other news, I’ve even got a framework to get my spunky rookie out into the field. The researcher takes a liking to them after seeing some grafitti of a typhlosion fighting a scyther the spunky rookie(/delinquent) spray painted on a wall and taking note of just how anatomically detailed and accurate it is. And obviously the way (with no ulterior motive at all) to stop their delinquency is to let them burn off some energy going on a journey as a research assistant. The rookie accepts because this woman is offering her a cyndaquil (she assumed the rookie would like it, since she painted a typhlosion) and a chance to leave her hometown (because hometowns are lame yo) and the alternative is no cyndaquil and a vandalism charge. Oh no, this is getting dangerously close to being written! This is all you guys’s fault, and when I die, I will personally make a point of haunting each and every one of you. (Just wait until she finds out her cyndaquil is a bit of a coward who can’t even use fire attacks yet!)

              Anyway, the rookie’s team is pretty simple. A typical starter pokemon plus five pokemon (that I can give cutesy nicknames because I will only use pokemon my warped definition of cute includes) you can find on the route between New Bark Town and Ecruteak City. Plus, their final team of typhlosion, furret, fearow, ampharos, slowbro, and ninetales is actually pretty interesting aesthetically. The researcher’s team is even more simple to explain: a umbreon (their starter, but given to them as a pet eevee by their mother from a breeder or some such to see what they’d make of it), haunter, mismagius, sneasel, noctowl (shiny, one of their early catches and the inspiration for their life’s work), and dunsparce (shiny, also a gift from their mother who found it while she was doing her own research, and the newest member of the team). Yeah, yeah, two shinies and an umbreon, but the umbreon is just an umbreon and not some special sign of legend and prophesy, and the shinies are pretty whatever pokemon and I’m not just doing it because wow oh look how special they are.

              As you might be able to tell, the researcher has a bit of a menacing vibe going on, because she’s an elegant and sophisticated flower of Kyoto Ecruteak City (who is also a bit of a spazzy dork around unique pokemon), and that kind of person commands respect and authority in all situations. Even when spazzing about sentret tail rings. Especially when spazzing about sentret tail rings.

              They even have a neat little group of parallels going along. They’ve both got a bird (noctowl/spearow), a battle fanatic (sneasel/mareep), a super chill pokemon that’d totally let you use it as a pillow (dunsparce/slowpoke), and a prankster (haunter/sentret).

              A yankii, an ojou-sama, and a dozen semi-youkai go on a trip from not-Shizuoka to not-Kyoto. That’s so animu my blood just turned to pocari sweat. I am a terrible person for even considering not-writing this. Everyone please turn in a short summary of the way you would most dislike being haunted by the end of the week, please.




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    2. CrazyEd says:
      Most of the current trends, based on what Mini-Farla reviews, seem to be things that either shouldn’t be trends at all or are pretty ridiculously uninspired.

      I can understand, say, putting Naruto or Ichigo Kurosaki in a harem situation in a fanfiction. In the process of joking around about anime with friends, I’ve personally watched a lot of harem anime, including some truly shameful things. And I just can’t wrap my head around someone using Ash in a harem fiction. I mean, yeah, he’s about as dense as the average harem lead, but so is Goku, and you don’t see tons of harem fanfic about him. Who do you even populate his harem with? Dawn, May, and Character of the Day Girl?

      And if you do see a lot of Goku harem fic, please let me keep my fantasy to the contrary.

      As for pokemon-in-high-school fiction, this is even more baffling. Ash is a male main character of an anime. Anime fans like harem situations. Ash should, logically, get a harem situation. But why force pokemon into typical high school slice of life shenanigans instead of just writing high school slice of life shenanigans?

      I love high school slice of life shenanigans anime, and yet this just goes straight over my head. Writing an anime fic about Lillie and Mallow hanging out after Pokemon School (it feels really weird to capitalize that even though it actually is the school’s name)? Yeah, sure, I totally 100% get that. Writing an anime fic about Bounsweet and Vulpix going to Pokemon School instead of Mallow and Lillie? Why. Why, why, why.




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      1. someone says:
        About the only reason I can think is that maybe they’re just writing what they know (and what they know can allow them to write “drama”) but with pokemon just because they think including pokemon will get them more readers or some such nonsense.



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        1. CrazyEd says:
          But, surely, writing about the human characters of the anime or games would be tapping into the pool of dem sweet pokemon-views as well?



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          1. someone says:
            You’d think. Maybe it’s the potential of elemental superpowers that they usually end up forgetting to use?



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            1. CrazyEd says:
              You could get that same effect with any of the many number of variations on pokemon that makes them more human-like, though. They wouldn’t even have to be straight-up furries if the author is avoiding that because he’s not into it. Just give a girl a weird blue hair cut and breath that condenses like it’s winter even when it’s summer, and you’ve got a glaceon. In Japanese, glaceon is named glacia, which would make for a perfect human name for her.

              Then you write it like its a magical girls series. Boom, easy peasy.




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    3. Keleri says:

      My interests have always been with the OC-on-a-journey fanfics, but I suspect that the “Nuzlocke” has poached a lot of interest in this genre. The Nuzlocke challenge is supposed to be the process of playing through a pokemon game with a team that can be made up of only the first pokemon you encounter on a new route if you capture it, and if any of your pokemon faint, they’re “dead” and must be released or placed in the PC permanently. How this translates to fic is presumably that that author will play through the challenge and then dramatize the wins, deaths, and close shaves in ‘fic form, and there are some comic versions that are pretty good and popular, inspiring imitators.

      In practice, though, this results in a lot of forgettable game novelizations With Death!!! and occasionally the idea that all the NPC pokemon that your MC fights and wins against also die, which starts to stretch believability about how pokemon training is even a thing given the swathe of carnage that seems to result.

      Fix-it fic where Ash/Red is smarter, cooler, and gets the girl (i.e. is a stand-in for the author) has always been popular.




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      1. CrazyEd says:
        What kind of fic is there that is decidedly not trainer-on-a-journey stories at all? Erika hosting a cute tea party for the other gym leaders?



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        1. someone says:
          I know I’d love to see well written stories about people with other careers with goals other than “being a pokemon master” like the archeologists or pokemon researchers or the like who live in a world full of fantastic creatures. The writers could explore so much but they tend to opt for journeying trainers or high school settings 90% of the time as far as I can gather from poking at the reviews here.



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          1. CrazyEd says:
            … Oh, oh yeah, “pokemon researcher” was my second guess. Totally.

            But yeah, if you put it that way, I get what you mean. They still use pokemon and have battles and all that stuff, but the goal is more than just “train pokemon to make them stronger” with a possible subplot of “acquire badges”.

            I wonder how common it is to feature a protagonist who wants to be a pokemon coordinator or any of the other performance-based subplots. I want a sports manga about a trio of pokemon doing the pokeathalon and their coach.




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          2. Keleri says:

            “Professor Jiggly is loose in the Pokemon Room” (postgradmon-go) is an RP blog/ask blog/interactive fic from the POV of a grad student working with Professor Willow of Pokemon Go, I enjoy it.

             

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            1. CrazyEd says:
              Th-that title. It doesn’t… are you absolutely sure you got the right one? Maybe it’s because I just scrolled past five too many Ash-impregnates-everyone fics looking through AO3’s pokemon category, but… “Professor Jiggly”? Is this some kind of trick? Am I missing an injoke because I never played Pokemon Go or something?



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            2. someone says:
              I’m guessing it comes from some picture shared on the Internet of a closed door with a sign on it saying “Professor Jiggly is loose in the cat room” and a cat seen through the window.

              (Apparently the cat’s name is actually Profesor Jiggly if I recall correctly, and the sign was because they let the cat wander for exercise but put the sign up to make sure no one just left the door open when the cat was loose and could get out and lost.)




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          3. Hinebras says:
            Yeah, it will be pretty interesting to see other point of view. I mean, there are police forces, day-cares, fishermen, or even a PC, how the nurses are doing there? Are there specialist to attend uncommon ilnesses or they cure all stuff with those big machines? What about emergencies? Any job related to pokemon services can be explored.



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            1. CrazyEd says:
              Yeah, that’s why I’m currently working out to make a pokemon researcher focused on studying shiny pokemon without making them sound like they’re IV breeding for certain in-game statistics or flooding the world with hoothoots.



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            2. Septentrion says:

              It depends. Is there anything particular interesting about shinies?

              You would need less time playing with popular shiny pokemon and more time going through databases and historic records.




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            3. CrazyEd says:
              I think I’m pretty set on convincing people it’s not just an excuse to play with a shiny pikachu and ninetales. The only two shinies I’ve ever considered giving them are a shiny noctowl (the inspiration for their interest) and possibly a shiny dunsparce.

              The idea would be that they’re trying to breed shiny pokemon (or maybe even breed a new colour scheme of shiny pokemon) in an attempt to determine what it is that makes a pokemon shiny. Unfortunately, since the actual answer to that is “IV scores”…

              Either way, I think it would be far more hands on than digging through databases and historic records, and a lot more like those Russians trying to breed domesticated foxes.

              If only I’d ever played Gen 4 past the first gym or two, and knew more about Sinnoh, I could just set it there and have them researching shellos speciation. Nobody would object to a person with a shiny gastrodon.

              That’s the kind of thing I want them to study. I’m extremely underwhelmed with the regional variant concept in Alola (aside from a research trip being a possible excuse to give them a mimikyu), but I’ve always loved pokemon that just had different patterns or fur lengths or things like this. I think this person would also be interested in things like gender differences and possible effects of long term domesticated breeding (such as that one theory that baby pokemon are the result of human interference with pokemon breeding, which I consider untrue, but that’s the kind of thing I’m talking about).




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        2. Keleri says:

          PMD fics, although that’s just pokemon-on-a-journey instead of trainer fic. The various story exchanges on AO3 have a lot of romance, slice-of-life, and halloween darkfic. Shorter introspective ‘fics exploring how a character deals with something in canon. Tellings or re-tellings of in-universe legends.




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          1. CrazyEd says:
            I could never get the appeal of PMD. I never even really liked the episodes of the anime with only the pokemon that subtitled their conversations so you could hear them. And PMD is almost certainly responsible for the high-school-slice-of-life-but-pokemon-attending genre of fiction. So there’s that.



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            1. Keleri says:

              Kids on my friend’s pokemon forums are WILD for high school RPs, I assume it’s the appeal of the legend of “high school” to younger middle schoolers or something.




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            2. CrazyEd says:
              I get the high school genre. I get the pokemon genre. I just don’t get mixing them. Or rather, making pokemon attend them.

              Pokemon: Sun and Moon actually seems to be working fairly well with the premise of Ash going to a pokemon school without being a school randomly forced into the setting for no logical reason like Rogue Trade: the Anime (Mouretsu Pirates). It’s probably because the Alola region is absolutely tiny and there’s really not that much landmass to explore so they felt safer giving Ash a home base to range out from. And it even seems to avoid the pitfalls of the other trainer schools (the ones Farla complains about in her Trainers Start At Ten essay) seen in the anime, somehow.

              But like I’ve said before, it’s Mallow and Lillie going to Anime School, not Bounsweet and Alolan Vulpix.




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            3. Hyatt says:

              And PMD is almost certainly responsible for the high-school-slice-of-life-but-pokemon-attending genre of fiction. So there’s that.

              I actually doubt that. Only PSMD, the latest game, actually has a school setting, and even then it’s more like elementary school or an old-fashioned all-ages-single-class school than a traditional high school AU.

              The appeal of PMD is that it’s a rogue-like but with Pokemon mechanics. The rogue-like aspect brings randomized dungeon exploration, random quests with random rewards, and class skills of a sort to Pokemon, and Pokemon brings the diversity and flexibility of having every existing pokemon available to play as.




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            4. CrazyEd says:
              Yes, but PMD is the justification used to have pokemon that act exactly like people save for the fact they’re piplup. I’m not saying it’s directly responsible, otherwise it’d all be labelled PMD fiction, but it opened the floodgates for people to consider it acceptable characterization.



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        3. Oh! The FFN author Renn Ireigh has a lot of really good stuff about the human characters, largely focused on Sabrina and Giovanni, though it takes inspiration from a hodgepodge of sources (including the manga) and works in a lot of her own interpretations of how the magic system works. I’d recommend checking it out if you’re interested in non-journey fic.




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          1. CrazyEd says:
            The magic system? This is still Pokemon, right?



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            1. Pokemon canonically has human psychics. Renn Ireigh’s universe expands it to say there are humans attuned to ghost and dark energies as well.




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      2. CrazyEd says:
        I have a feeling that I already asked this somewhere, but do you have any suggestions for good OT-on-a-journey fic, or any suggestions for the idea of including a typical waking-up-eating-breakfast-getting-starter trainer as a supporting character? I had vague ideas of having a main duo where one is a somewhat experienced trainer of pokemon (and slightly experienced at journeying) and the other is a fresh out of the gate newbie, and it takes the form of a teacher-student relationship.

        But how to successfully accomplish that?




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        1. Hinebras says:
          https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12156887/1/Redel-eng

          Not the best grammar, but a very interesting teacher-student dynamic between a hermit experienced trainer and a just starting amateur.




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          1. CrazyEd says:
            My primary worry, for my teacher, is that she would just end up getting used to dump exposition about how training should be done. I wouldn’t mind if it was presented as just the teacher’s approach to things and that it wasn’t the standard, but since it’d be a short story at best (I’d definitely want to avoid the “50,000 word first attempt” pitfall Farla warns against) I don’t think I’d have time to make that apparent.

            I don’t think it’s immoral to capture pokemon without always first asking them and obtaining their explicit consent (especially since I prefer pokemon intelligence to be far too animalistic for that), because that kinda undermines the core premise of the series, but I would have the teacher suggest things like “if the pokemon tries running away when you want to battle it, it probably doesn’t like to battle, so you shouldn’t capture it if your intent is using it for gym battles” and instead suggest they find a slightly more aggressive specimin.

            Ironically, I actually have far less concern about the Standard Original Trainer archetype. All I’d have to do is make them spunky enough to be likeable and intelligent enough to not be Shirou. They wouldn’t have to carry the thing on their own, which I think is one of the problems most of the archetype has. It’s always harder to write someone who knows what they’re doing.




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  9. CrazyEd says:
    Does anyone remember where that discussion we had where I rambled at length on the historical nature of youkai and their cultural evolution into the modern day trend of monster-raising games from Japan was located at? There should really be a link to that somewhere in this post. It was a pretty good discussion, and I’d hate to have to retype out all my thoughts on youkai again  for this thread because it will get even bigger and more rambling.



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      1. CrazyEd says:
        Thanks! I’ll be sure to link it here if I ever actually do clean it up into a proper essay instead of just a mad rant and post it somewhere.



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    1. CrazyEd says:
      On a slightly related note, can anyone name any pokemon from Generations 1 and 2 that are explicitly based on a mythological youkai besides vulpix, meowth, drowsee, voltorb, jynx, electabuzz, sneasel, and espeon? As much as I like to throw my weight around as the bestest and greatest youkai expert around, all I did was skim through the national dex page on Bulbapedia, and I’d hate to have missed something.

      I kinda want to put together a 100% youkai team now. It’d make a great team for a Johto reseacher with a focus on the region’s past.




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  10. CrazyEd says:
    Does anybody still watch the anime or read the manga? I’ve been checking it out for background noise sometimes and the anime’s gotten infinitely better both in animation quality (the first episode of Diamond and Pearl still has attack stock footage, but by the time of XY’s first episode, it seems to have been totally abandoned and they’ve replaced it with surprisingly dynamic fight scenes) and writing (the XY and Sun and Moon arcs, and possibly Diamond and Pearl, aren’t half bad if you acknowledge they’re a kid’s anime) since the original series, and the manga is one of the top ten highest selling manga in history and has over 50 volumes.

    The manga’s actually pretty interesting, if only because Satoshi Tajiri said that it is the closest to his vision of what Pokemon should be, and it goes all out with all the weird gimmicks of the series like trade evolutions (which are played totally straight). For example, after Gold’s polywhirl isn’t able to fill up a room with water fast enough (it makes sense in context), Silver gives him a king’s rock and they trade-swap to evolve it into a polytoed. The narrative doesn’t have anything to say about this behaviour at all. It really feels like a narrative version of the games for better or for worse.

    And Red has an aged all the way to 20. That alone is something. I’m not sure how much time is supposed to have passed (there’s a gap of two or three years between the Red and Green arc and the Yellow arc at the very least), but the older protagonists age and advance in experience even after new protagonists replace them for every new plot arc. Most of the older protagonists have pokemon with levels in the 80s by now.




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    1. someone says:
      I read the Pokemon Adventures manga up to the Black and White chapter, at which point I dropped it because they couldn’t seem to go a chapter without a close-up of Bianca’s butt. (Sigh) I don’t know if that fell off after a while or if it continued through the arc, and don’t really care to find out the answer. I largely enjoyed it prior to that, but I’m not sure how much of that is nostalgia or if I’d like them as much if I read them again now.



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      1. CrazyEd says:
        Yeah, I’m kinda not sure how much I’m actually enjoying rereading it a decade after first finding scans and reading at least into the Yellow arc, but it’s… well, I’m still reading it? I’m only a couple volumes into the Red and Green arc, though, and I skipped ahead to read about a volume of the Gold and Silver arc because Gen 2 is my nostalgia-bomb gen. There’s really… not much to it, I think is the problem.

        I am definitely skipping ahead just to see how much butt needs to be shown for someone who has read hundreds of chapters to decide enough is enough, though. That sounds, like, I dunno, Electric Tale of Pikachu level intrusive fanservice. And there’s no way it could be that bad. EToP is… well. Well.




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        1. someone says:
          I mean it wasn’t just that, of course. The Black and White arc just seemed to take a general downturn in quality overall.

          I think the “not much to it” factor is because it seems to do more with action than character development a lot of the time (and like, everyone’s just sort of over-the-top from the get go) and the pokemon are usually just sort of … there. Like you had the beginnings of the original Red and Green arc and the Yellow arc have the pokemons’ personalities show but it seemed to drop off after a bit.




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          1. CrazyEd says:
            I tried skimming a bit of the Black and White chapter, and honestly, I couldn’t find a single panel with Bianca in it in the first place. How weird.



            0
    2. CrazyEd says:
      So, I just happened to learn that, at the end of volume 2, Red is 14 years old. I suppose that means that a total of six years have passed from the start of Pokemon Special to the present chapter. But what an interesting counterpoint to the Trainers Start At Ten thing. I’m honestly starting to wonder to what degree that was marketing or the anime team or Nintendo or whoever. It doesn’t really seem to have come up in at least the first three generations (certainly not the first two).

      Satoshi Tajiri and Game Freak don’t seem particularly beholden to the idea trainers start at ten, especially when compared to the anime, which is written by the same people who explicitly refuse to allow Ash to age or pass the role of main character on to a new character in the same way Pokemon Speical does because they think it would alienate their target demographic. How very interesting.




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  11. mcbender says:

    So I posted this on Farla’s suggestions page, but I realised that doesn’t show up in the “recent comments” thing and other people weren’t likely to see it, and it might be of more general interest. So apologies for repeating myself but I have my reasons.

    A few days ago, I reviewed a fangame called Pokemon Sage.
    https://pointstick.wordpress.com/2017/10/01/more-fangames-a-first-look-at-pokemon-sage-demo-2-0/

    This game is fantastic. I don’t praise things lightly, or at least I don’t think I do – this was an uncomfortable review to write because I’m really not good at gushing about things and that’s the mode I ended up in for most of it. It’s not complete by any means, but there’s still a decent chunk of content in the extant demo and (IMO) enough to be a good experience in its own right.

    I was also utterly shocked by how well this game did on the sexism front, especially considering it’s being made by a team from 4chan. I go into that in more detail in the review, but long story short, it did quite well on all the metrics I used and playing it felt really good on that front. Certainly better than Pokemon Uranium, where the best I could say was “canon games have sexism too so eh I’ll put up with it” but in retrospect I’m not sure how I convinced myself to tolerate.

    Anyway, I really enjoyed this game and I think people here probably will too. Plus I think there might be some conversations worth having about it, and about what makes a successful fanwork and/or successful Pokemon game in particular.




    1
    1. mcbender says:

      So… apparently my review got linked on 4chan yesterday. Which was rather surreal for me, my tiny blog got a huge uptick in traffic relative to usual (although thankfully no brigading occurred).

      I made the (possibly rather foolish) decision to try to track it back and see what they were saying about me, which meant wading through the cesspool and trying to parse the incomprehensible mess that is that site’s layout, but I did eventually find it. It’s… very weird to me. There’s a strange combination of valuing my feedback on the actual gameplay-related stuff (apparently, especially from people actually working on the game), and utter disbelief that someone could actually hold my opinions care about sexism in games (“OMG this guy can’t possibly be serious, it sounds like he gets his political views from Tumblr!”). And, of course, the utter cliche “it’s just a joke, why the outrage” re Pokemon Clover, as if jokes are inherently consequence-free and can’t reinforce stereotypes or make people feel unwelcome etc. It’s never been more obvious how they look for reasons to dismiss people for caring about things like this, but actually seeing it in action was… interesting. Good thing I didn’t mention being Jewish in that post.

      In a way, I feel oddly gratified that some of them were willing to engage with me at all, and then a bit dirty about that because why should I give a rat’s arse about what these people think or if I can get through to them? (On the other hand, having been unable to fail to see other things on the pokemon board I can at least confirm firsthand that 4chan is a cesspool everywhere. I hadn’t been sure whether there might be pockets of decency considering what I’d seen of the game itself, but honestly no, it’s all veined through with shit.)

      I’m not sure if I really have a point here but this was weird and I wanted to talk about it.




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      1. Farla says:

        I think it’s best to remember a whole lot of 4chan is trolls trolling trolls trolling trolls. So some of them are sincerely WTF IS THIS SJW BULLSHIT??????? at minor things, and some of them are trolling those people by screaming WTF IS THIS SJW BULLSHIT??????????????????????? at even more minor things, and some of them are ten years old, have no idea what a troll is, and only know the big cool kids just shouted WTF IS THIS SJW BULLSHIT????????????????????? so they should copy and paste that response and they’ll be cool too! It is literally impossible to tell any of this apart because it’s designed around being able so able to blend into the group even fellow members can’t tell, so outsiders have no hope of doing so. And because it’s a culture based around trolling the people around you, the one universal belief is that caring about anything is pathetic weakness. It can only be approached in oblique and deniable ways and you’ll still get insulted for any investment in a subject.

         “LOL LESBIAN TUMBLR CUCK!!!” they type through tears. “HAHA FEELINGS WHO HAS THOSE EVEN!!! I LOVE GAMES SHITTING ON MY BASIC HUMANITY WHAT SORT OF PUSSY BABY WOULDN’T???”




        4
        1. mcbender says:

          That may explain some of it!

          I don’t know, I actually have Thoughts about this, and I’ve been thinking for a while about trying to write a long-form piece about it. I think the very aspects of that culture you describe are part of a machine that teaches people to rehearse bigotry and leads them down the rabbit hole to Nazism, so while it may be explanatory I don’t think it behooves any of us to treat it as exculpatory. There is a decent amount of psychological research that shows that rehearsing and expressing ideas, even if one didn’t agree with them initially, is one of the best ways to convince oneself in the long term (I think some of this has to do with how repetition is involved with the way we code memory, and some of it is cognitive dissonance theory – “I keep saying this, and people praise me when I say it, that must mean I believe it!”). Combine this with just the increased volume these ideas get even when people say them without meaning them, whether because of the belief that transgressiveness is inherently funny, or the belief that pissing people off and basking in their outrage is funny, or simple follow-the-leaderism, and it’s a natural contributor to shifting the Overton window. All while the trolls and jokesters and the like are giving plausible deniability cover to the people who really believe it, and the number of true believers grows (whether just from the rehearsal phenomenon, or because they’ve also isolated themselves to a subculture and convinced themselves their free speech is being oppressed by people who dare to criticise this behaviour). Next thing you know, they’ve taken over a major political party and contributed to the “election” of a burning pile of orange garbage, and spend their time revelling in the thought of people they don’t like being oppressed.

          I doubt I’m telling you anything you don’t already know, lol. (And yes, I did just make Pokemon about politics. Oops.)




          1
          1. Farla says:

            Oh yeah, I don’t mean to say it’s harmless. Just that it’s not that they’re inherently terrible but they’re caught in a vortex. If you say something that hasn’t got meme consensus behind it, they can say completely reasonable things like they’re unique, thinking individuals…but so much of the conversation there is treated like solved game where all the winning responses are to explain who cares the least and how much you hate everyone who doesn’t feel this way.




            0
      2. CrazyEd says:

        The Traditional Games (/tg/) and Weapons (/k/) are pretty good for the most part. /k/ is a truly magical place at times (all the time). Mecha (/m/) was good, last I checked, which was probably four years ago but eh. And all the image dump boards are probably pretty good for their respective class of image (though I couldn’t say that for certainty for all of the image dump boards, I feel it’s a pretty safe bet). For example, /c/ is for cute anime girls, and if you want pictures of cute anime girls, /c/ will satisfy your requirements. But /v/ and /vp/ (which makes /v/ look like /tg/) are up there on the ranking for Worst Board of the Lot.




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  12. CrazyEd says:
    So what’s the deal with the subgenre of Pokemon fanfiction about people betraying Ash, anyway?



    0
    1. Negrek says:

      It has a long and storied history!

      Evidently it’s fairly common in some other fandoms, too–probably a wish-fulfillment thing in that it plays into the desire to get back at people who’ve wronged you and to finally have everyone acknowledge how wonderful you are. May also appeal to people who want Ash to be more badass, although there’s straight-up OC Ash-fic for them as well.




      2
      1. CrazyEd says:
        So it’s just your typical wish-fufillment revenge fantasy with the harem fantasy added on top that got super popular in one fic and spawned way too many imitators?

        That’s significantly less interesting than I expected.




        0
  13. EC says:

    Quick shot in the dark: Does anyone remember the rules for choosing and switching pokemon in the silver conference? Specifically, does one person choose first or is simultaneous? Can you switch out after knocking out a pokemon or not?

    This vital info is for some reason not included on the relevant Bulbapedia page. Shocking.




    0
  14. Keleri says:

    Yooooooo I finished my OC-on-a-journey fic, 198k words. It’s one I started writing back in high school, abandoned and then took up again to reboot it. I got some great feedback from Negrek, and if any of y’all would like to take a look it would mean a lot to me. I’m particularly concerned about whether the pokemon characters have enough agency and if the battles are fun and exciting.

    Gods and Demons

    It’s heavy on the fakemon, but I’ve got most of the significant ones drawn over here.




    1
    1. aaaa I’ve been meaning to read this but things have been so busy over here. I’ll be sure to give it a look now that it’s finished.




      1
    2. Act says:

      oh shit, really? Congrats!




      1
    3. EC says:

      I’m intimidated by that word count, but I wanted to let you know that those are some great pokémon names. Leaflet & Arboar are A+




      1
      1. Septentrion says:

        Word Counts can be scary, but there a many stories that long that hover around the 3 badge point.




        0
    4. I just finished, it’s really good everyone go read it!!!




      1
      1. Keleri says:

        Thank you so much for your reviews, u r da bes! Uh I mean longwinded and shortsighted attempt to refute your points




        0
        1. By the way, would you like me to crosspost my AO3 comments to FFN?




          0
          1. Keleri says:

            Sure! I love when my review counter goes up >:D




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    5. Hinebras says:
      Congrats for that, the vast majority of journey fics are never completed (most not even get half-way), so, that’s really something.

      I like fakemon and with St.Elmo’s seal of approval, it’s a sure read.




      1
  15. Anonymous says:
    Will there be a liveblog or single post review on Ultra Sun/Moon?

    Also, I noticed that there aren’t liveblogs of any of the games in Gen 2 or 4. Is there a reason for that?




    0
    1. Farla says:

      I don’t have the game at the moment.

      There’s nothing from gens 2 through 4 because I started at BW and the games are coming out so rapidly there hasn’t been time to work my way through the earlier ones.




      0
  16. Keleri says:

    “Ash by now has literally ridden through the sky on the backs of gods, but how much better would that be if Gary was still around to cruise on by astride a shiny Pokemon god with radical shades on it? “Oh, hey there Ash. Chosen One again, huh? Yeah, I’m just the Chosener One, no big deal.” Cue sound of a car horn playing “la cucaracha” from nowhere in particular as Gary’s shiny Arceus accelerates through space, somehow leaving a dust trail for Ash and his regular Arceus to choke on together.”

    http://www.bogleech.com/pokemon/humans-redblue.html




    0
    1. CrazyEd says:

      Sorry but “SOME JERK WHO SAID MEAN THINGS ABOUT CATERPIE WHILE CATERPIE WAS LISTENING” and “not to get weird here, but ‘Prima’ was also the first time a hormonal teenage me really took notice of an anime character, something people at the time considered odd and geeky and kind of embarrassing instead of basing their entire personalities and pillowcase purchases around” are what you should’ve quoted.




      2

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