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Reflections of the Pokemon Anime: A History and Analysis

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Reflections of the Pokemon Animé: A History and Analysis
Written by ImJessieTR and Serge165
Introduced in Bulbagarden’s History topic​

The Pokemon World: An Introduction​

A rather aloof young boy has finally adopted a pet after years of watching other pet owners become famous in tournaments on television, yearning to acquire some of that amazing glory that around which his whole world seems to be wrapped. He does not even know what “Mastery” means for his quest, but that does not stop him from desiring it with every fiber of his being.

He realizes very quickly that journeys begin on sometimes bumpy roads. His pet, having only been recently taken from its natural habitat, dislikes the idea of submitting itself to a human being and does not care to take part in fights designed to acquire even more pets, as if the task were similar to stamp collecting (to use Misty’s phrase in Pokemon 2000). However, when a huge flock of very angry creatures determines to avenge an injured member, brought about by the boy’s carelessness and ignorance, the boy stands in front of his pet, making himself vulnerable to their attacks in order to save the creature that does not like him. In a moment of clarity, the young pikachu, a yellow and brown rodent with a lightning-shaped tail, comprehends that this human, Ash Ketchum, does not see this pikachu, or perhaps any pokemon, as mere tools or weapons or servants. Ash, despite his massive lack of understanding of his own desires, nonetheless cares about the safety and dignity of his charges … and the abducted pokemon uses the remainder of its power, a terrifyingly high-voltage attack to protect its new friend.

The attack, however, has left the young pikachu virtually exhausted. As they walk away from the scene of the spearow attack, Ash and Pikachu look up and see a glistening rainbow in the sky, as well as a giant bird, at least as big as a large hang glider, which flies toward the setting sun, practically glowing in the sun’s light. Ash would later learn that this was a Ho-oh, a phoenix that appears to be similar to ancient central American designs (wildly colored, not as elegant-looking as Chinese phoenixes): in other words, a Legendary Pokemon, a class of pokemon with almost god-like power and abilities.

These encounters mark the beginning of Ash’s pokemon journey, as well as our understanding of a “whole new world to live in” -- a world with unknown continuity with our own, a world foreign and yet eerily similar, especially as modern technology and customs begin to match pace with what is seen on this animated series. The goal of this work is to provide a serious look into the Pokemon World’s history and its characters, an academic report, but without the pressure of being graded on it -- although we will strive to make this the ultimate guide to one of our favorite animés (animated traditions associated mostly with Japan).

We shall begin with the Beginning: a look into the origins of pokemon, not the show or the games, but with the pokemon themselves and how these first creatures possibly usurped that world’s ecology and became the dominant form of non-human life besides the non-sentient flora. We shall discuss what it might take to achieve the powers pokemon display, using our world’s examples. The reader might be surprised what flora or fauna in the “real” world can already do things associated with pokemon abilities.

Since the origin of pokemon determines the evolving history of the regions covered in the animé, we shall then discuss how human-pokemon relationships have molded the histories of the regions shown thus far. We shall see the technological advances that were designed to capture, train, and transport pokemon in a variety of situations, as well as look at the Leagues that were set up to regulate such procedures.

We shall continue by looking into the moralities of Pokemon, using both eastern and western concepts. What does “Pokemon Mastery” mean? Why is it fine for a city to use electric pokemon to run power plants, but not fine for people to use them as weapons? What is training supposed to accomplish for the human as well as the pokemon? In the quest to capture as many of the creatures as possible, can the dream of “catching them all” turn disastrous in perhaps a global frame? How does our real world’s sense of ethics match up to those presented in the show? We will discuss all this and perhaps more.

Finally, we shall look at selected characters, as presented in the anime, and analyze the meaning of their lives and the lessons they teach, from being a hero to unrequited love to emotional neglect to domination. Readers who do not see their favorite characters would be welcome to contact either of us to petition for the inclusion of other characters we may have missed.

Readers are also welcome to help us make this the most comprehensive piece on Pokemon history by suggesting elements or sources that would deepen our understanding of this world. Please PM or email us -- as we do not wish to spam this topic with such things. Credit will go where it is due, and please provide links/citations with your suggestions. We would like to thank you and the rest of Bulbagarden in advance for allowing us this opportunity. We hope to help stop the drain of fans by reminding them what was cool about it to begin with.

ImJessieTR
Serge165
 
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This is a weekly thing. Just so you know.

Pokemon
The first four essays will address the inspirations behind pokemon, the scientific viability of creating pokemon in our world, the anime’s Creation Story (as it were) from Mew to “modern” times, and finally pokemon and their ecological and economical impact.

Reflections of Our World: Real-life and Mythological Inspirations​

Occasionally, and it never fails, when one turns to a pokemon-themed forum, one encounters a thread topic that addresses the reality of pokemon or their origins from our cultures. One cannot truly appreciate the world we are addressing until we realize that pokemon are not just fantasy creatures dreamt up for the sake of children; they are modern spins on age-old traditions. These traditions, whether from sacred scriptures or folk songs or vision quests or popular culture, run the risk of being hijacked by those who wish to turn them into weapons of war or of being forgotten in a world secularizing and perhaps sadly forgetting the deep roots of cultural tradition. There are many lessons we can garner from Pokemon, not the least of which is to appreciate our own traditions.

Perhaps the reader will notice that not all pokemon will be addressed in this essay. “But, ImJessieTR and Serge165,” the reader protests, “you said this was going to be comprehensive!” Yes, it is supposed to be comprehensive, yet some pokemon are better suited to this essay, whereas other pokemon are better suited to future essays. So please be patient. After all, readers can PM us about including those not featured in this initial post.

We shall begin by examining the real-world, “our” world, influences. This essay shall not examine the real-world equivalents of the regions or various movie locations, as the focus for now is entirely on the pokemon themselves. Future essays shall address the regions in due time.

Wikipedia contains a list of pokemon and possible influences behind their names and characteristics. A charmander, for instance, “is a portmanteau of char (to burn) and salamander(a small amphibian traditionally associated with fire).” The salamander, according to Wikipedia, is associated with fire because humans inadvertently burned the logs in which salamanders hibernated, who then awoke and scurried away. It did not take long before the salamander’s “fire powers” became ever-more impressive (see a future essay about the ease with which humans deify misunderstood persons or conditions) to human minds.

Many pokemon are taken as fictional versions of creatures from “our” world. Examples include larvae pokemon such as caterpie, weedle, and wurmple (who progress through metamorphosis into a winged state in quite possibly their shortest-lived stage); pidgeys, tailows, wingulls and hoothoot (all birds of various species); ekans and seviper (snakes); and magikarp (the evolution of which, Gyrados, is mythical in nature and will be discussed shortly), goldeen, feebas, relicanth, totodile, and omanyte (various aquatic creatures). Of course, then there are the various plant pokemon, such as oddish and such, but they will be discussed in a future essay.

A small rant that cannot be helped: In various places, from various people, both online and offline, it is noted by some (usually Christian) random person that pokemon is of the devil or some such thing because their powers do not come from God. However, since many pokemon are based on real animals or plants, with the capacity in “our” world to poison, bite, peck, splash, sedate, shock, scratch (the reader, I’m certain, gets the picture) -- how can these pokemon “powers” not be considered natural? If I bit such a person, wouldn’t that be natural? Sure, the way it’s animated in the show and in even more stylized fashion in the games, it looks unrealistic (for example, a “bite” attack appearing as a big scary mouth over the opponent in the games instead of the creature simply latching onto the opponent with its jaws), but this does not make it supernatural, only stylized. There is a big difference between supernatural occurrences and lazy animation. The anime, admittedly, tends to over-dramatize certain attacks, but this does not mean magic is involved (and it would take another 100-page rant to discuss magic in religion).

So, now that this complaint is off our chests, let us turn to some mythological sources for pokemon. Let us return to the lowly magikarp, hated for its uselessness (all it does is splash around ineffectively). Based upon goldfish, it also has mythological interpretations. In one episode, on board a luxury liner, a character believes a magikarp will bring him good fortune, not knowing how unsuited for battle this fish is. This assumption brings to mind two stories heard in my (ImJessieTR’s) chilhood: the Christian story of Jesus pulling a coin out of a fish’s mouth and a Chinese Cinderella story where a large goldfish/koi acts in a typically fairy godparent role by magically acquiring the means for the young woman to marry the prince. Wikipedia also notes that karp/goldfish/koi were once believed by the Chinese to swim up waterfalls and become dragons, hence it’s evolution/transformation (and I will state it this way for those who dislike the implications of evolution) into Gyrados, a rampaging blue dragon similar in look to the kinds you see in Chinese New Year parades, with the people dancing in line to make the large dragon costume flail about in the streets.

According to Wikipedia, Jynx, a humanoid pokemon with dark skin and bleached-blonde hair, is possibly a parody of Japanese fashions or a wintry vampiric female spirit who seduces with kisses (or … otherwise). The mythic origin makes more sense (and has greater dramatic value). The mythical origin also seems to have greater support in the anime, as Jynx is usually trying to kiss somebody, which invariably harms them in some way, as well as creating huge gusts of freezing winds, and also has psychic powers, which ties into the ghostly/spiritual nature of the character. ImJessieTR has always found something unsettling about this particular character, so we won’t dwell on it too much…

Let us now get started on the Legendary Pokemon, since they are heavily influenced by mythology, perhaps more so than “normal” pokemon”. Only their mythological sources shall be discussed, as their places in pokemon history shall be addressed in a future essay. For starters, we will begin with Entei, as ImJessieTR fails to understand why Wikipedia does not see certain connections. Wikipedia states that … well … they have changed their story since we checked last. Oh well. Although the site still claims that the creature’s name simply means heat and majesty, it also stated that (and will be mentioned in future essay) a flareon was resurrected. Although now it states it was an arcanine previously. The latter may make more sense, as the anime has shown arcanine (a large, fire-themed dog/wolf) as a legendary along with the likes of Zapdos and Articuno. So apparently there is some confusion about the source of this creature. However, one idea we have not seen mentioned is the possibility that it refers to Inti, an Incan Sun God. Fire (or the putting out of fires) is part of the mythology of Inti, as well as its guardianship/creation of civilization, much like Entei, with the other Legendary Dogs, watch over humanity for their lord Ho-oh, who resurrected them when humans killed them for their powers. In the third Pokemon movie, a storybook and several pictures on Professor Oak’s computer show various cultural interpretations of Entei, one being with his face within the sun, much like how Inti is portrayed in their religious iconography.

Ho-oh and Moltres, the phoenix pokemon, (and we’re not going to discuss just fire Legends) are taken from various phoenix legends, but both are capable, at least, of rebirth. Wikipedia noted that Moltres is an Arabian phoenix while Ho-oh is Chinese, but, to ImJessieTR at least, it would seem like Moltres is Chinese while Ho-oh resembles the art style of central or south American civilizations like the Maya, Aztec, or Incan. Ho-oh is difficult to assess (which tradition it comes from) because the artists are inconsistent when drawing it. Sometimes it is portrayed nearly as sleek as Moltres, but sometimes it is blocky, garish, and frightening. So, like Entei, it seems there is still some difficulty pinning down some of the origins of certain pokemon. Or, it could be all of the above. Take your pick.

Finally, we shall discuss four legendaries that have great importance in terms of human ethics: the Regis and Mewtwo. In both cases, humans created or at least exploited these artificial beings. The Regis, Regirock, Regice, and Registeel, are golems, powerful inorganic creatures, apparently brought to life using the designs on their featureless faces. Just as in Jewish and other mythologies, these ancient robots served human purposes until their powers became dangerous and they were deactivated/imprisoned. However, because they are never truly destroyed (read: obliterated), they can return to cause damage at any point in time if reactivated, usually by humans. Wikipedia described these pokemon robots as personified Ages of Humanity (Stone, Ice, and Iron/Space) as well as golems. Once the United States gets the eighth pokemon movie, in which they appear, the authors can possibly say more about them. Mewtwo is like the Regis in the sense that he is created and exploited by humans because of their lust for power. A clone of the Origin, Mew, Mewtwo might possibly relate to the concept of the cosmic egg or other such primordial creation stories. Over the millennia and throughout multiple cultures (I used Wikipedia to look this stuff up quickly, the fastest way is to look up “cosmic egg“), the idea that life began through a cosmic egg, a creator, a burst of light, etc. is given form in the Pokemon World by Mew, said to resemble both perhaps the Egyptian cat goddess Bastet (since it is powerful and motherly) and an embryo, since embryos early on are difficult to distinguish among all animal species (in other words, a human embroy resembles a fish which resembles a cat …). During these creation stories, differentiation occurs: light and dark, sky and earth, fire and water, male and female, etc. The cloning of Mew seems to perpetuate this concept. Mew is fun-loving and feminine and creator while Mewtwo is brooding and masculine and destroyer. Mew lives strictly in the present (at least, that’s how it’s portrayed, since we never get to hear Mew’s thoughts like we do Mewtwo’s) while Mewtwo obsesses over the past.

An interesting event occurs at the end of the first movie, where Mew and Mewtwo seem to synchronize their auras and peace returns to the island where they had been fighting. We submit that this is a metaphor for our own future, that the past, both secular and mythological, are important parts of ourselves that must not be forgotten. They must be accepted and learned from. Which brings us back to the original point -- Pokemon is just as much about reminding us of our traditions as it is creating new ones in a fictional world. Those who decry either run the risk of taking from themselves a depth of insight that cannot occur through any other means.
 
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For how well-written most of the article is, I'm surprised you left alot of things lowercased.

I'm looking forward to the "Creation Story" essay.
 
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Would you let me edit and post these on Bulbanews?
 
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I've discussed it with Serge, we see no problem with it... that would be awesome.
 
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Pokemon
Author’s Note: There is a question about capitalization regarding pokemon names. I accept the criticism, but I will continue to use lowercase when discussing the creatures as a species and use capitalization when referring to a specific individual (ex: among the many pikachu in the forest was Ash’s Pikachu).

How to Make a Pokemon: Fire, Water, Grass, Ground/Rock, and Dragon​

Now that we have established the cultural significances of various pokemon, it is time to wrap our minds around the science of pokemon -- namely, the creatures themselves. This essay will come in two parts, namely due to the fact that researching the more exotic creatures is taking a little more time. For now, we will be discussing the “usual” pokemon found in the pokemon world. However, you may notice that bug types, normal types, and flying types are omitted; this is due to the fact that readers should understand what a bug is and what makes a bird fly. The only thing to say regarding each, since they seem to be somewhat larger than “our” world’s counterparts, is that early in the history of the animal world, there can be found in the fossil record large versions of any possible creature. Dragonflies the size of small radio-controlled toy planes, flightless hawks the size of (or maybe greater than) ostriches … ecological diversity could once again create giant-sized insects, arthropods, etc. The pokemon that concern us for the moment are the ones not so easily explained, the ones that are the favorites of those who despise the franchise, saying pokemon are evil spirits -- simply because they do not understand what their own world can accomplish.

FIRE We begin with pokemon such as charmander, slugma, cyndaquil, growlithe, ponyta, torchic, numel, etc. How is it possible to breathe fire? Usually a Vegas magic trick, where the magician spews out alcohol in front of an open flame to create the effect, pokemon do not seem to create fire like this. The flame seems to come from within. We do not wish to use “magic” in our explanations -- that defeats the purpose of the essay. Thus, we must come up with suitable explanations that seem scientifically reasonable. The only concept that seems to work is the combustion of compost. The online journal BioCycle discusses the capacity of compost heaps to create fire:

BioCycle said:
Microbially generated heat - or what I call a “Biological Fire” - is the match that can lead to spontaneous combustion, a chemical fire with smoking embers, and at worst, flames. While surface fires nearly always are caused by human or external situations, spontaneous combustion is the result of failing to control the internal pile temperature. In both cases, the source of this energy is oxidation of organic matter, or volatile solids. Water, carbon dioxide, energy and other gases are given off, leaving a residue. In the case of the composting process, waste energy is generated as heat, and the residue is compost.

For spontaneous combustion to occur, heat from both biological oxidation and chemical oxidation are needed. The biology of the process can bring the temperature up through 55°C to assure pathogen kill, but will continue to rise into the 70°C to 80°C range, where chemical oxidation takes over as the predominant energy source and biological death occurs. Unless immediate action reduces this temperature, a compost fire is very likely. In short, both biological and chemical oxidation - combined with retention of the heat in a pile - are required for spontaneous combustion.
The diet of the pokemon would have to include items similar to those found in compost piles. Indeed, the pokemon are generally assumed to be herbivorous or at least omnivorous, so one can imagine a charmander or a ponyta storing undigested plant pulp in a special stomach used for fire generation. Also, there would have to be special pores in their hides to facilitate oxidation of the compost heap. Based on looking at pictures of pokemon, magmar and charmanders seem to concentrate these pores in the tail; ponyta and cyndaquil have them primarily on their backs; while slugma and numels seem to possess large openings on their backs for this purpose. These pores or openings not only serve to oxidize the fires within, but they also permit the means of venting the flames so the animal does not die of overheating, which may be possible if the temperatures rise high enough to kill the microbes inside the pokemon guts that create the flammable gases.

These openings might also be the key when musing about the peculiar fate of the charmander family line when they are immersed in water. This is not mentioned (to the best of my knowledge) about any other pokemon … but charmanders are said to die when their tail flames go out. It may not be just that water weakens them … when the pores are submerged, the flames inside the body can no longer acquire enough oxygen and also the core body temperature would decrease substantially. It is reasonable to assume, then, that these reptilian, assumedly cold-blooded creatures (ironically enough) cannot withstand the sudden drop in temperature in their digestive furnaces as their bodies would go into shock. Other pokemon, such as growlithes, houndours, vulpix, and torchics, do not seem to have this problem … indeed, they seem to have no visible flame on them at all. Perhaps because they are based on warm-blooded creatures, temperature regulation may not be as important an issue as it is with the charmander line. Fire generation does not appear to be as vital to their biology as it does with the Kantonian starter.

But how can these creatures survive such extreme temperatures? Wouldn’t the constant high heat, not to mention the powerful flame attacks they must sometimes generate, burn their poor bodies to cinders? The authors suspect that it is possible that there is a tremendous amount of symbiosis occurring between the pokemon and thermophilic microbes. According to Microbe.org, thermophiles have special enzymes to keep their cellular structure together during high heat. If pokemon were somehow able to acquire these same abilities, then they might very well survive such extreme temperatures.

WATER The primary mystery of water pokemon such as poliwags, squirtles, krabbies, totodiles, mudkip, surskit and spheals is their ability to expel copious amounts of water, especially during attacks like hydro pump, when the pokemon themselves are neither near water nor do their bodies match the volume of the expelled water. This does not seem to be a problem when the pokemon are battling in the water, since the more cephalopoid pokemon (omanyte, artillery) and mollusk pokemon (shellder, clamperl) can mimic their “real”-world counterparts and jettison water for both propulsion, attack, and play (see here for examples of real “water-gun” attacks and their uses). Perhaps the problem is trying to attach the same modus operandi to all water pokemon. It might be more useful to use a variety of explanations since the animal families they are based upon vary so widely. Two ways immediately spring to mind: 1) adaptation of swim bladders and 2) something biologically similar to fuel cell technology. Imagine a fish needs to cross a short distance of land in order to reach another pond nearby for whatever reason (mating, food, etc). Unable to breathe in such a scenario, they fill their swim bladder (the organ that usually holds air to help with buoyancy) with water and create the opposite of a diver’s air tank, allowing them to cross the land and breathe their watery reserves. Now, imagine a squirtle or some other air-breather who could also contain such swim bladders. They would adapt so that instead of breathing that water, they store it instead to use it for attacks. It’s a stretch, true, but it could be feasible. The other method would be to create a physiology that permits the intake of hydrogen and oxygen and combining them to create water. This may not be the most efficient method, but at least with this method, one does not need to store gallons of water in an extremely strained swim bladder to sustain one single attack, not to mention multiple attacks.

GRASS There appear to be two types of grass pokemon: the animal types, and the plant types. Pokemon such as bulbasaur, chikorita, treecko, celebii, lotad and tropius appear to be animals with symbiotic relationships with plant cells, supplementing their herbivorous diet with energy from photosynthesis. Others, such as oddish, sunkern, bellsprout, hoppip, cacnea and roselia, on the other hand, appear to be plants with faces. Perhaps the animal-like grass pokemon lived in regions poorly suited to serving as nutrition, so they incorporated algae and perhaps other, more parasitic plant tissue to gain energy from photosynthesis. Or, it could just be possible that parasitic plants seeded certain herbivorous animals and mixed their genomes with the genomes of the host creature. In any case, animal-plant symbiosis (for whatever reason) seems to be the most likely method of creating one’s own bulbasaur.

The plant-like pokemon, on the other hand, takes a little more stretching. Michael Davidson provides a look at plant cells and notes that animal cells lack the rigid walls necessary for locomotion. However, it does not take a great leap of imagination to see a plant in a hostile environment, especially those descended from Mew (who will be discussed in part two of this essay), retaining the common ancestor’s animalistic organelles, while keeping a more flexible version of the cell wall to accommodate greater movement. It may be necessary at times to use Mew’s almost stem-cell capacity as the Origin of Pokemon as a catch-all for improbable pokemon abilities or physiologies. Certainly the plant-like grass pokemon would fall into this category.

GROUND/ROCK Perhaps the toughest to describe so far is the ground and rock pokemon, such as geodude, onix, larvitar, diglett, and groudon. Fortunately, most of these pokemon seem to be merely animals associated with the ground, such as diglett, mole-like pokemon that eventually group together in threes to form dugtrios. Almost anything with a tough hide (rhyhorn, gligar, swinub, and phanphy) is given a ground designation, as they can withstand a great deal of physical damage and they can channel a great deal of kinetic energy through the ground or rocks nearby. Grass and water-type attacks, however, seem to cause harm because they weaken the hide to the point of losing its defensive capacity entirely, threatening exposure to vital areas. The golems (mystical creatures made of rock) such as geodued and onix are a little harder to come up with a good explanation. There are two possibilities we can think of: 1) the creatures paste bits of rock and earth on them like some crustaceans do in the ocean, giving them a rocky appearance for camouflage and physical resiliency and 2) the pokemon absorb tremendous amounts of minerals in their diet, which does not create a fatal toxicity but instead imbues upon the pokemon a rock-like nature. There is evidence to suggest both, in Wikipedia’s Graveler and Golem entries.

DRAGON Dragons, the wonderful mythical creations they are, are terrible in the sense that it takes hours just to find some decent scientific information about them. Pokemon has many dragons, based on various cultural traditions, from the river-god look to the winged-reptile look to the “whatever altaria is” look. This section will not focus so much on their physiology (but someone went to a lot of trouble) as their abilities.

What makes the fire breath from a dragon like Gyrados different from the flamethrower attack of a cyndaquil or charizard? In the games and the anime, it is presented as an entirely different concept, doing great damage to other dragons when something like flamethrower, a fire-elemental attack, does nothing special. I suspect the dragons are creating blasts of plasma. This state of matter is different from fire, may explain why Dragonbreath tends to paralyze my character’s pokemon (it’s electromagnetic), and may negatively affect other dragons to a greater extent than it does other pokemon (remember, Rayquaza is a dragon that lives high in the stratosphere, where a great deal of ionization occurs -- perhaps this is relevant).

Finally, this site mentions some good ideas on how different dragons can come up with different elemental “breaths”. In summary, the author of the site muses that a dragon’s diet determines the type of “breath” emitted (ex: methane for fire, nitrogen (ever put fertilizer in water -- see how cold it gets) for ice, and standard stomach acid for acidic attacks).
 
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I knew the name looked familiar. It's odd how many people you'll recognize on random forums around the 'net. Guess that's why it's good to use the same nickname at every site ;)

I'm glad they started posting this in Bulbanews or else I never would've found it/read it. Some very interesting takes already. I may not agree with it all, but I'm looking forward to reading everything you've come up with. A forum I used to visit in the past was more or less based on scientifically analyzing the Pokemon, so it'll be interesting to see if your ideas and their ideas coincide.

I look forward to your next addition :)
 
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I was kind of hoping in the talk about pokemon origins (Part 2: Mythological origins) would talk about Porygon/Porygon2's artificial intellegence, but perhaps it's planned for an upcoming article.

When talking about how flame is produced, I'm surprised that an example of a barn explosion wasn't used. Same basic principle: wet organic matter is kept in close confines causes it to rot away. The growth of bacteria causes the material to heat up until eventually it'll explode. Literally.
There has also been talks about how two chemicals could be made internally and secreted to form a volatile mixture in the air.

That's awesome how dragon == plasma. I never thought about that before, but it makes sense. Then does ice cool down the plasma rendering it inert?
 
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As I understand it, when plasma is cooled, it turns into its next stage of matter, gas -- which if cooled further becomes liquid, on to solids. Dang, you're right ... Porygon shoulda been in there.... I'll work on it and edit -- well, perhaps I could wait until we talk about the technology of pokemon... Argh! Confused... :D
 
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Lol, "The Tech of Pokemon" would be a good place. Just don't forget the Kyuukon ball from the anime when you talk about the evolution of the pokeball ;)
 
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And apricorns! But isn't plasma like burn through everything kind of heat?
 
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He's refering to the ball that Lokoko the Ninetales had in the episode "Just Waiting On A Friend". It was supposedly what bound her to the house.
 
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er.... yeah. Sorry about that ^__^;;

I think it shows an interesting evolution in the pokeball technology from the basic apricorn ball, to the Ninetales ball, to the regular pokeballs, to the newly revised apricorn balls.

(stolen from serebii. Sorry.)
 
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When is the next essay going to be posted?
 
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sadly, for a couple of weeks I've been hurt with back pain from an injury, then Serge lost the file on his computer ... so, I guess what I'm saying is ... please be patient ... we're still working on it
 
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Pokemon
Author’s Note: Sorry for the delay. Between me being hurt on the job and Serge‘s computer dying, it‘s been tough to get How to Make a Pokemon: Ghost, Psychic, Dark (well, final title unavailable for now) up and running. To compensate, I‘m jumping ahead to the next essay. Hopefully the one mentioned above will be ready sometime this week. Also, this essay is purely conjecture, as I could not find a timeline or history or anything on the internet. Readers are welcome to PM us about details from specific episodes, because I simply can‘t remember everything … and Pokemon 8 is not out yet in the states. Also, I like the idea that the Pokemon World is ours, so this history will reflect that (or, it is a different world that was just like ours until the appearance of Pokemon, anyway).

Pokemon Origins​

Sometime in the future, perhaps a few centuries from now (assuming both worlds are the same or at least similar), the ecology of the planet Earth was in turmoil. Humanity’s population had spread to the breaking point and the planet’s resources were in danger of disappearing completely. Despite conservation efforts, it was obvious that humanity and other life forms on this planet would become extinct in a century or less. At some point, in a South American country, Mew appeared. Mew, a feline psychic powerhouse, not only had the ability to reduce its opponent’s endurance (Pressure Ability: Using up your allotted moves more quickly), but also could use any major attack that future pokemon would be known for (in the game mechanics, it can learn any technical or hidden machine skill). Yet, how did Mew first appear? ImJessieTR’s own fanfics notwithstanding, it is possible that it appeared in one of two ways. The reader is invited to take their pick.

Let us imagine the silent objective hand of evolution creating Mew. Unlike the endangered “real” animals that were vanishing all over the planet, Mew was set up to grant new life by altering established members of the ecosystem or creating new ones from life forms that inspired many myths and legends. Every once in a while, one can read about elephants in India that somehow have reversed evolution and re-developed features not seen since the Ice Ages, such as large protruding skulls and the like. Personally, the “werewolf” syndrome, where people are born with excessive hair growth, could be evidence of our ancient primate past. In any case, at some point in a particular feline’s family line, a feline was born with a genetic code that either did not wear down normally or did not wear down at all, leaving the chromosomes virtually immortal. Also, although the cells of this feline differentiated to some extent, let us imagine that the majority of its cells remained in a perpetual stem cell state, which would permit it to become or act any way its situation demanded. With its ability to take on characteristics of an entire menagerie of life forms, it could thus influence the evolution of just about any life form on the planet, given enough time. It had the ability to create fire, water, electricity, and a host of other elemental abilities, which it then shared with other creatures through the process of procreation (assuming, of course, that at the time it was never caught and spayed or neutered). Thus, “pokemon” were born, humanity probably having chosen that term “pocket monsters” to describe normal animals that had acquired new skill sets.

Of course, there is also another possibility. With the current furor over stem cell research (and cloning, for that matter), it is possible that a human team of scientists in South America, away from the prying eyes of any scientific ethical board, learned how to reverse cells to their original stem cell state, and began this project with local feral cats. In the course of the research, one particular feline, embued with an abnormal level of stem cells and nearly immortal chromosomes escaped from the laboratory and lived the life of a feral feline, complete with procreating with multiple species, transferring its abilities to other life forms similar to the first scenario.

Mew probably began creating almost immediately. The ancient pokemon, such as aerodactyl, relicanth, kabuto, and omanyte, were created either by adapting any descendants or by somehow reviving fossilized tissues (of course, after creating Ho-oh or Moltres, the phoenix pokemon, these could have revived life forms as well for Mew to empower). These ancient pokemon, coupled with the appearance of the Legendaries, naturally frightened the human population as it faced near extinction from the pokemon wrath. Also, natural disasters would have increased in number and intensity since some, like Kyroge or Lugia or Zapdos can control or at least influence weather, climate and perhaps the entire water cycle. Faced with this horrible onslaught, humanity searched its own myths and legends and recalled the golems from different ancient cultures. Having been brought almost back to the Bronze Age from all the destruction, humans created the Regis: Regice, Registeel, and Regirock (as homages to different periods of human history). These golems were designed to protect humanity against the awesome power of the new creatures threatening their survival, but the Regis soon escaped the control of their creators and ransacked whole landscapes until they were sealed away. Sadly, this would not be the first time nor the last that humanity would try to control animals or technology for their own purposes, from greed to mere survival.

The human population then divided on how to deal with these new creatures: some began forming cooperative relationships (with and without religious undertones … note the many pokemon-centered cults, particularly in the islands) with them, while others saw them as biological weapons that trumped current (and possibly heavily damaged) military technology. Wars were fought with conventional weapons and powerful pokemon. Villages were built with the help of friendly pokemon. Societies fled to major urban centers where their technology could protect them, or fled to island locales presumably far from the major sources of pokemon-human violence, or fled to distant rural or forested locales to commune better with nature.

As time went on over the centuries, and societies regained a technical strength not seen since before the creation of pokemon, humans began to take an even greater interest in the multitude of forms possible. Porygon (a sentient artificially-intelligent “cyber-pokemon”), magnemite (a floating steel ball with U-shaped magnets on either side and a giant eye in the middle), and the glitch pokemon of the games (non-canon, but an interesting concept -- after all, research leading to the creation of porygon must have been prefaced by earlier, less well-programmed pokemon) seem to be human attempts at creating their own pokemon. Porygon, with its trace and conversion abilities, make it seem as though this pokemon was developed specifically for the purpose of studying a wide range of pokemon from the comfort of a computer lab.

As the Pokemon World enters the modern ages, we will begin to see the formation of pokemon schools, Leagues, etc. We will also chronicle major technological advances as well as challenges to ethics and morality that this world faces. Also, we shall take a look at specific characters and draw very appropriate conclusions from them. We hope you shall continue to travel with us to this whole new world.


Edits/Amendments: I totally forgot about mentioning certain aspects of Pokemon Origins that I promised to include earlier. Whoops.

How could Mew create mythological creatures? If they had no base in the fossil record or in living species, these creatures should not exist. Yet, there is a way. When ancient cultures (on "our" earth) developed writing, they gave it a religious significance -- in other words (so to speak), writing conferred immortality (in the sense that people could read your thoughts long after you died) and could even alter reality (in the sense of spells and such). Now, where in the Pokemon World do we have (to borrow Christianity's terms) "Living Words"? Ah, there are the Unown ... a group of pokemon that appear as the 26-letter alphabet and apparently live in an alternate dimension (to borrow from Rod Serling) -- perhaps a "dimension of mind"? After all, in the anime especially, the unown read the thoughts of someone and create that reality for them. What does this have to do with Mew? Well, Mew, being in the vicinity of libraries or temples (remember the temple its fossils were found in in the first movie), would breathe life into the written words, which then used their own reality-altering powers to create the more fantastic creatures such as Celebii or the Legendary Birds or Kyrogue or Rayquaza.
 
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Pokemon

How to Make a Pokemon: Ghosts, Psychic, and Dark​

This essay will relate ghost pokemon with psychic types and dark types.

Ghost pokemon are a great mystery, not only to pokemon scientists but also to pokemon fans. Are they sentient gases or dead pokemon? What is the extent of their powers? Let us look at the available evidence…

First, in the Pokedex, ghost pokemon such as gastly are said to be “gas” pokemon; in other words, living gaseous entities. They also apparently inhabit noxious areas. Later generations of ghost pokemon such as duskull and misdreavus do not entertain such a notion, so it may be that the gastly line is unique. Perhaps there is some extra-dimensional being, a gaseous being, that appears in the Pokemon World. Perhaps they are also related to the unown, who also live in another dimension and can alter reality as they see fit (isn’t it strange that all ghost types are purplish, and the vortex the unown come from is purplish? Hmm….). As gastly and haunter have shown, they can have indeterminate shape until properly ‘revealed’ in some way, either with the Silph scope or with a move such as foresight. It is quite possible that these sentient gases, being known for mischief and deceit, take on the form of ghostly terror common in a certain locale (vampire, grim reaper, disembodied head, gremlin, etc) to take advantage of people’s fright. Later pokemon such as shuppet appear to feed off negative emotions of humans and/or pokemon, and the gastly line can steal one’s life force, which may be saying the same thing. Perhaps, as a gas, they are unable to maintain their favored form unless supplied with energy from solid living beings. By extracting some unseen energy from people or pokemon, they acquire the atomic bonds necessary to gain greater cohesion.

Second, ghost pokemon could literally be just that … ghosts, or, specters of deceased pokemon. After all, they appear as ghosts, phase in and out like ghosts, regularly inhabit cemeteries and other abandoned dark buildings, and they have the same playful or sinister attitudes that our understanding of ghosts share. The Gastly from the Stone Maiden’s Peak, for example, stated that it could visit the spiritual realm. The ghost pokemon aboard the haunted pirate ship in the Orange Island saga maintained watch over their deceased master’s ship. In the games, particularly the first generation, ghosts are present in Lavender Tower, a cemetery for pokemon that is haunted by the ghost of a pokemon poached by Team Rocket.

However, something isn’t quite right about seeing these pokemon as real ghosts. The Ghost of Marowak, for example, was revealed in the game as a marowak, not a gastly or gengar. Supposedly, real ghosts maintain their forms (or have demonic-looking versions of their living bodies): note the Stone Maiden, Ambertwo, and the Ghost of Marowak. I think the real reason ghost pokemon frequent cemeteries and other unpleasant areas is not that they are deceased pokemon but pokemon searching for negative emotions on which to feed, and there will always be plenty to be found in such dreary surroundings.

Finally, ghost pokemon seem to have a wide variety of tricks to pull on others. Most ghost pokemon in the anime at least accomplish the hypnotizing of unwary travelers, creating poltergeist phenomena in buildings, and grossing out people and pokemon with cartoony gross depictions (eyes bulging out, disappearing except for their toothy grin, etc). And yet, some seem very powerful and sophisticated. The Gastly of Stone Maiden’s Peak was able to pose as a human, a human ghost, a ‘real’ animal (a mongoose, if memory serves), and even create a hybridized pokemon that does not exist in either game or anime reality. The ghosts of the pirate ship, meanwhile, appear to share Latios’ sight-sharing ability, allowing others to see events as they remember them in an almost holographic manner. There does not seem to be a limit to a ghost pokemon’s creativity.

Psychic pokemon also seem to share the ability to look into the minds of others, not to feed but to communicate. Possibly the closest descendants of Mew on the evolutionary chain (at least the abra line, since it shares some characteristics with Mew), psychics differentiated over time into a multitude of forms, such as Jirachi, Latios/Latias, and others. It is also possible that only a few psychic pokemon actually share genetic ties with the Origin, since some pokemon, such as Deoxys, presumably came from space and thus is independent of Earth’s evolutionary history. In any case, ghost pokemon can damage psychic pokemon greatly. It must take a considerable amount of concentration to read minds, move objects telekinetically, etc. A ghost pokemon’s ability to prey upon one’s thoughts for nourishment must disrupt a psychic’s command of atomic forces (read The Science of X-Men by Yaco and Haber to get a good grasp of how to be telepathic and telekinetic).

Dark pokemon, too, provide obstacles for psychic pokemon. Apparently evolving around the Saffron City area at first (since that is where you acquire them in Gold/Silver/Crystal) in response to the tremendous psychic presence of Sabrina and her psychic pokemon, dark pokemon developed a means of immunity against psychic attacks. Presumably, dark pokemon disrupt the neural pathways of psychics rendering them ineffective, or they simply lack the neural mechanisms present in all other beings that would put them at psychics’ mercy. As darkness is just the absence of light, this latter explanation seems more reasonable.
 
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