Poke…mans?

(I’ve had this post sitting around since July. In the end, I decided that if I don’t publish it now or I’d never get around to it.)

We all know kids loved the hell out of Pokemon at the height of its popularity, but since Pokemon’s been around for a while, at some point, those same kids must be adults by now.

Still, there’s no shame in adults liking Pokemon. My girlfriend still plays the hell out of the games. Some people just adore cute stuff (anime like Lucky Star and Hidamari Sketch won’t be going away anytime soon). We’re not always going to outgrow stuff we fell in love with as kids. I still play Mario games and I probably won’t stop even when I’m 40. As for other people, some of us just like to collect. People collect everything. Put the love of cute animals and the obsessive compulsive desire to have everything together and you have an addiction to Pokemon games that’ll most likely never die.

And let’s face it — whether you’re collecting stamps or Pokemons, the hobbies aren’t substantially different. Rare stamps might be worth a little more money-wise (maybe — I’ve never checked if you can buy rare Pokemons or whatever) in our society than rare Pokemons, but that’s merely an arbitrary fact of life.

There’s a big problem, however, when some of the fanbase turns emo and the creators decide, “Ah, what the hell, let’s cater to the manchildren too.” This is endemic of any fandom and it spawns all kinds of weird shit (some of which, as a matter of fact, can be seen here), but let’s just focus on Pokemon for now. Who knows how deep the rest of the abyss is…

Hardly the worst you can find out there, but still...

Yeah, I watched a Pokemon movie (there are apparently twelve now) last week (more like four months ago). The inspiration behind it was “this is gonna be so bad, it has to be funny, right?” Wrong. It didn’t even manage to be amusingly bad. But honestly, being dull was the least of the movie’s problems.

I thought Pokemon was supposed to be cute. You’re not supposed to “XTREME” it up:

And this thing looks like something out of an Alien movie:

I mean, really, who wants to catch a xenomorph?

Adults play Pokemon too, fine. But when you’re designing a new Pokemon, either official or for fanart purposes, and after a few long, hard hours of trying to infantilize some poor animal, you decided that what you’ve created isn’t edgy enough — “It needs to look like something can tear limbs off of people!” — you’ve jumped the shark.

I haven’t even gotten to the “God” pokemon, which was apparently voiced by some geriatric Japanese guy. I really, really wanted to find a Youtube clip of the voice actor’s ridiculous screaming and grunting every time he was onscreen, but the closest I could muster up was the English dub:

Maybe I would have found a better video if the “Arceus is fucking cool” AMVs would stop showing up on the search results:

When I think Pokemon, I definitely think of these guys:

Why not a Creed song too? Maybe Papa Roach. Wouldn’t Mewtwo’s experimentation seem cool and tragic when set to “Last Resort?”

Oh Pokemon fandom, how low can you go?

Welcome to Rule63! “There is always a female version of a male character”

Oh. Well, I’m sure there’s fanart of pregnant Pokemons yiffing each other with giant penises somewhere out there, but this is my limit. This is a good place to stop.

11 thoughts on “Poke…mans?

  1. Yumeka

    Heh, I’m one of those fans who’s been into Pokemon since 1999 and have been playing all the new games that have come out since (as well as watching the anime, though I stopped collecting the cards a long time ago).

    I know many older fans who have since lost interest in Pokemon criticize the designs of the new pokemon. From what I’ve heard, they look a little “different” than the original 251 because different designers at Game Freak or wherever started working on them. But for a fan like me, I’m not picky and love them all anyway~ There are a few I don’t like, but the number of pokemon designs I do like far outnumbers. Sure, Giratina, Dialga, Arceus and others might look more alien-like than cute, but even the original 151 had their share of these (Mewtwo) and other strange, non-animal designs (Jynx, Magneton), so it’s nothing that new. Sometimes I feel that much of the dislike for the post-Game Boy pokemon by nostalgic fans comes from “sour grapes” more than anything – they’ve been out of the Pokemon loop for so long that the amount of new pokemon and features in the franchise in recent years is overwhelming, so they just dismiss it without really giving it a chance.

    Like you are with Mario, I’ll probably always be a Pokemon fan and overlook the minor issues that casual fans have XD

    Reply
    1. E Minor

      You don’t think Mewtwo still retained some kind of cuteness? And c’mon, Magnetron’s cute. Plus, it’s not so much that the new Pokemons aren’t cute, but that they seem more “XTREME” than anything else.

      And I dunno, if Mario started showing up with guns and some ‘tude like how Sega tried to update the Sonic series with Shadow, I’d find it hard to overlook. Take Zelda for instance, which was another beloved childhood series. I found it very difficult to enjoy his latest furry escapades. I maintain to this day that the “kiddy” Wind Waker is still superior to Twilight Princess in every way.

      Reply
  2. Anonymous

    Of all the horrific, gory, immoral fan porn on the internet, I can honestly say that Rule 63 Arceus is one of the creepiest things I’ve ever seen. That doesn’t even have a hint of eroticism, it looks like something that should belong in a nightmare.

    Reply
  3. Ryan R

    Excellent post, E Minor! :)

    This reflects a lot of my own thinking as well.

    Like yourself, I see nothing wrong in adults still watching Pokemon. Not every childhood hobby is lost when we become adults – your stamp collection analogy works well to support that point, as its not majorly different than “collecting” Pokemon in a Pokemon game.

    I also agree with you, though, that this doesn’t mean that a long-running anime kids show should majorly change itself to appeal more to adults. Because in doing that the show might lose much of what made it appealing to kids in the first place. Some of the latest Pokemon material has struck me as perhaps being a bit heavy for a kids audience, and I do get the sense that its like this to appeal to adults.

    I think that there are a lot of “manchildren” that while continuing to like something they liked as children, they also want to make it more adult. It’s like to make themselves feel Ok about continuing to watch something originally intended for a younger audience, they feel a need for that something to become much more adult.

    I actually find this kind of sad, since it demonstrates a certain insecurity that they have about continuing to watch childhood favorites. It would be better if they simply admitted to themselves that even things aimed at kids can still be entertaining to adults. That certainly doesn’t mean that such kids shows need to shift gears and be aimed at adults, though.

    Reply
    1. E Minor

      I think that there are a lot of “manchildren” that while continuing to like something they liked as children, they also want to make it more adult.

      That certainly doesn’t mean that such kids shows need to shift gears and be aimed at adults, though.

      As I see it, some people might think these changes are geared towards an adult audience, but I have my doubts about that. We have seen Pixar and Studio Ghibli movies appeal to both children and adults so the two spheres aren’t exclusive. When Pokemon or other series trend down the “mature” and “edgy” road, it is in my opinion that it actually moves away from maturity. My ‘manchildren’ remark is meant to be blunt and somewhat derogatory, but I really do believe that what we see in such designs (e.g. a more “badass” Pikachu) is the typical teenage rebellion against both childhood and adulthood. What has always been a transitive, intermediate space between the two major phases of life that most people go through becomes a luxury in our 21st century world of abundance and convenience. Simply put, few had time to daydream of an edgier Huckleberry Finn a hundred years ago. But I’m starting to meander at this point with a bundle of unfocused ideas so I’ll stop here.

      Reply
  4. adaywithoutme

    This is why I’m not terribly fond of most newer Pokemon – they’re just ugly, they don’t even manage ugly-cute. Also, that first one you show from the movie reminds me of the creepy centipede-style demons in the final arc of the Yami no Matsuei anime. Blech, skin officially crawling.

    I never really marked it down to the shifting of ages, honestly; I generally have considered it all to be indicative of the Pokemon collective running out of ideas. But I think that you may have hit on at least part of the motivation.

    The female Arceus reminds me of what always kind of bothered me about Digimon – there were quite a few sexualized Digimon, and it always made me feel uncomfortable. Its a children’s show… why are the characters sporting secondary sexual characteristics?

    Reply

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