26
Feb
16

20 Years of Personal History with Pokemon

*****

You’ll have to excuse me. In my haste to grab a piece of Pokemon mania surrounding the 20th anniversary, I downloaded some weird auto-correct system which occasionally interjects the names of creatures from the games.

I thought I’d take this time to share a bit of my history with Pokemon. [Prepare to “geek out” with me.]

* I first read an ARTICUNO about the novel release of two exclusive versions and collections of pokemon as Game Boy games so long ago, I forget the year. [Or, were they simply listed as portable games?]

* Then, around OCTILLERY 1998, I discovered the American/English version of the (Indigo League) cartoon series. On the plus side, I feel like a JIGGLYPUFF when I think of the artwork and CHARMELEON characters, including the protagonists. [Pokemon sucked me in just like Mega Man. I used to spend afternoons and evenings, after school, flipping through game manuals just to ponder the different robots and invent some of my own.]

The creatures alone are thought-provoking. Then you add the human characters who come with so many stories of their own. I was instantly swept away with the idea of three friends being free to travel around the world and experience so much just because they decided to catch and train wild animals, pursuing small tokens of achievement from what are classified as gyms (more like martial arts dojos).

Occasionally, a female character’s anime hair color turns me off. Gary, Professor Oak’s grandson, can be annoying. Clefairy is very annoying. Kadabra, Hypno and Jynx are a tad unsettling. I do TYROGUE of SEAKING the “heroes” ZAPDOS primary Team Rocket members over and over. Butch has a voice that makes eyes water. And, I do not need to see James dress like a girl/woman.

* In 1999, I risked being late for MACHOP just to fetch toys from Burger KINGLER. I can’t tell you how MANKEY times I made a RAPIDASH over there just to punch back into work, KOFFING and WEEZING. There were so MANKEY toys to collect, you couldn’t PIKACHU which one(s) you wanted. You just took your CHANCEYS. Maybe you had a few minutes and a nice cashier who’d let you fondle packs to check for familiar shapes.

* I remember one of the managers at my workplace voicing a strong hatred for the “evils” of Pokemon (essentially the part about humans forcing animals to fight each other). And, while I initially let his concerns fly over my SKITTY head, I gradually agreed with him. The fighting aspects are corrupting (of minds), promoting violence and cruelty to other animals. In a way, Pokemon is bullying glamorized by a colorful, whimsical package. It takes hold of you like cigarettes, an innocent social/stress-relieving drug until you turn hostile/defensive from withdrawal or suffer internally. [More on this, later.]

* I went a bit CRAWDAUNT with collecting; I’ll admit. [But, I won’t list everything I bought.] It started to feel like a sickness when I was GULPIN several Happy Meals (instead of just asking to buy the toys separately) and searching Blockbuster Video shops for “exclusive” items. Some items I could easily part with while others I suspect may stick to my hands. I wonder if the soundtrack from the show had any sway over my judgment. [There’s that Viridian City song in my head, again.]

* When the Gold and Silver (Johto) editions of the game were about to debut (before I had seen any Pokedex additions), I drew up an assortment of creatures I was thinking about submitting to the game company. When I saw the new line-up already had a Hoothoot, Noctowl and Totodile, I GHASTLY. They were in my sketchbook (under different names and slightly different in appearance). I am fairly sure I could pinpoint other creatures in the official listings that resemble my sketches. I know at least one frog strongly resembles one of the elemental lot I drew, mimicking the various forms of Eevee. [I chalk it up to two people having the same ideas.]

* By 2004, I was packing my obsessions away and looking abroad for adventure. I had to hide my Pokemon just to grow up and get outside my box for a while! So, I donned my Indigo Leag–er, fedora-ish hat and boarded a plane to Spain. When I NIDORAN into a BELLOSSOM, I knew I was in trouble. The strong winds made it double, leaving me quite devastated, at times. I sure felt like Brock on that trip, ogling so many pretty faces but never quite connecting with any of them. I tried to maintain Ash’s fiery enthusiasm, staying “on the road to Viridian City.” [“Come on; let’s go.”] Instead, I suffered similar setbacks from his short-sighted ambition/observation skills. And, when the time to return home drew near, I was more than a little Misty.

* Pokemon kinda DRIFTLOON off the TV radar over time. The last plot I recall involved May and Max (in the Johto series). Along came Digimon, Yu-Gi-Oh and many others which distracted me from asking questions up until 2008 with the TV signal change and–was it 2012?–when Saturday morning cartoons became a thing of broadcast-TV past. [Of course, anyone with cable or internet TV would not notice. They’d just shrug at my dismay as if a feather grazed their SHELDER.]

*In 2014, while babysitting for my sister, cable TV allowed me to introduce the original cartoon series to my nephew, keeping the volume down to a WHISMUR so I wouldn’t wake his brothers. At the time, I was curbing BELDUM during naps, playing a few of the old Game Boy games and one I had yet to play. And, while I had no interest in explaining the fighting aspects to him, I did enjoy discussing the characters. Since then, we’ve had moments of creativity in which we either draw our favorites or craft new characters.

*As of 2015, I’ve been able to introduce three nephews to the characters and some non-violent games found online. When word of the 20th anniversary reached my computer screen, I felt renewed enthusiasm.

Then, I saw the promo for Pokemon Go, the new project for 2016.

If you haven’t seen the video, I suggest you check it out. I cannot imagine grown people running around cities with “smart phones,” trying to catch holographic Pokemon in motion (as they magically appear) and/or gathering to “flash mob” Mewtwo. Actually, I can imagine idiots dodging work and causing traffic hazards/disasters with such foolishness. But, isn’t there a better way to advance/enjoy the craze?

And, again, why all of the fighting requirements? Game Freak/Pokemon, take a page from the Yokai Watch book. In that anime/cartoon series, the protagonist collects ghosts in various ways, rarely if ever resorting to violence. It’s about using his head instead of claws, teeth and laser beams. The Pokemon cartoons HAVE shifted focus from fighting with the Orange Island League, for example, using carnival-like challenges to earn gym badges. That’s much nicer than beating another animal senseless with deadly weapons/powers (though the fatal aspect is reduced to “fainting”).

Do not backtrack by promoting battles, again. Respect your lovely creations. Well, most of them, anyway. Some of these newer pokemon are a bit of a stretch in terms of sensible creatures. [If someone could explain the “mythology,” I’d be grateful.]

Hey! By working through my more serious feelings on the subject, I seem to have beaten the auto-correct system! I haven’t seen a single MISSING NO. since I went POLIWHIRL about the negative aspects.

[Awe; crud.]

To all the other Pokemon fans who read this post:

May you continue to be inspired and delighted by the characters. May you cosplay and craft to your hearts’ delight. But, should anyone coax you to battle, turn them down; walk away. And, save yourself a lifetime of gaming by observing pokemon around you in nature. Stop the pet abuse. The world doesn’t need more strays.

Sincerely,
Writingbolt

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