Posted: 12 July 2010 in Reflections

Is it just me, or is there something ethically disturbing about Pokemon?

Consider this: You’re a happy-go-lucky Squirtle, squirtling away in the woods, when some nutjob with a magic gun zaps you. You are now shrunken to minute size and confined inside a small spherical prison. Your only contact with the outside world is when your captor temporarily releases you to fight some other poor monster to the death for his glory and amusement, but as soon as you win (or lose) you’re back in the ball again.

Strangely, you now seem to fawn on the vile teenager who took you prisoner. Stockholm Syndrome? Charm spell? Geas?

Enslaving wildlife and forcing it to fight in gladiatorial combat is not Politically Correct, I fear.

Consider the Pokeball now as a magic item.

  • Is the Big Bad going to use it on the party tank, turning him on them whenever they interfere with his schemes?
  • Is the party going to capture their foes in it? (Come to that, what’s in there now, and how does it feel about that?)
  • Is the party wizard going to keep another PC in there? You know the one, because of his job/family/illness he can only turn up every fifth session or so. Slap his character in a Pokeball, explains everything.
  1. David says:

    Sounds like the Frozen Watch in Traveller – crew in a can, LOL.

    When you look at Pokemon that way, there is something very disjointed about it, particularly the “Green” messages of protecting the environment, while the characters love their little slave-fighters to death. Must admit, I do recall an episode where Ash released his moth-like Pokemon so it could go and find a girlfriend.

    And why does the Big Bad put up with the Team Rocket underlings? Do they have some sort of watertight employment contract that stops them getting the boot for continually underperforming?

    It is an odd story that just doesn’t bare close inspection – though my daughter loved it when she was about five or six.

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