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Your Favorite Anime is Secretly Horrifying: Pokémon

Your Favorite Anime is Secretly Horrifying: Pokémon

It’s time for another installment of Your Favorite Anime is Secretly Horrifying. Thank you for leaving the dark corner in your bedroom for long enough to read this article. This week we’re looking at one of the most popular anime franchises of all time. If we don’t ruin this show for you then we just aren’t doing our jobs. It’s time to take a look at Pokémon.

If you haven’t watched Pokémon in a while, you’re in luck because it’s essentially the same as it was before there were more Pokémon than students in a small high school. The show follows the adventures of Ash Ketchum as he travels the world in order to fulfill his dream of being the greatest Pokémon trainer ever. But unfortunately for Ash, he will never get there.

There’s a lot of things that longtime fans of Pokémon like to make fun of. The fact that Ash should at least be in his twenties yet still seems to be ten years old, for instance. Ash’s tendency to abandon every one of his Pokémon besides Pikachu every generation or so is another one. Well there’s a logical explanation for all of that. No, I’m not going to spin some fan theory about him being in a coma or in purgatory or in Guantanamo Bay. It’s all for marketing reasons. The reason Ash doesn’t age is so that he can always be the same age as the target age demographic no matter how long the show runs. Ash routinely discards his Pokémon so that the show can tie in to the brand new toys, cards and video games they’re trying to sell. It’s all in the interest of keeping Pokémon a cash cow.

Your Favorite Anime is Secretly Horrifying: Pokémon

But while all of that makes sense in the real world, the reasoning doesn’t change how things operate within the show’s universe. Let me spell out how things work. Ash catches and trains a few Pokémon and then he almost wins a Pokémon League tournament. After that he moves on to a new region and replaces most of his beloved Pokémon with brand new ones. Finally he loses the new region’s Pokémon League and the cycle repeats until the heat death of the universe.

What kind of life is this? Ash always gets pretty far in the the League tournaments. If he decided to hang back and train his Pokémon for another year or so then he stands a good chance of winning. But instead he decides to essentially hit the reset button and start from scratch in a new region. How in the world is he going to become a Pokémon Master with this strategy? Even if by some miracle he does win a Pokémon League, he’s not going to be any match for trainers at his experience level who have teams made of Pokémon they have been training for nearly their entire lives. Meanwhile, Misty is a Gym Leader, Gary is doing great work as a researcher and Brock is training to become a doctor. No matter how long Ash trains he will forever be at the skill level of a talented ten year old.

And yes, I know that Ash never gets rid of Pikachu, but that just makes things even more sad. Early in Pokémon: Black and White, Ash and Pikachu lose a match against a trainer in the Unova region. Why is this sad? Because Pikachu was defeated by a trainer who literally got his very first Pokémon earlier that day. Sure, Pikachu couldn’t use its electric attacks because of a plot point, but Pikachu lost in two hits. Ash has been with Pikachu from the start, but they might as well have just met.

Your Favorite Anime is Secretly Horrifying: Pokémon

Just put yourself in Ash’s shoes. How would you feel if you dedicated your life to a skill or a career? The most important thing to you is becoming successful at it. But whatever progress you make gets completely erased every couple of years. Soon you’re in your twenties and middle school children across the world can easily compete with you in your own life’s passion. That’s who Ash is. And that’s who the children watching Pokémon are supposed to look up to.

Norbert Daniels Jr. has never set foot in the Johto Region. Read more of his ramblings at TheLateNightGamer.com and make sure to follow him on Twitter @norbert_dan.