Parallels Of the Pokemon World And the Natural World
As a mother watching my son thoroughly engrossed in anything Pokemon, I can’t but wonder about the story itself and what kind of world the Pokemon might inhabit. Pokemon I was a big Avatar fan- but in a sense I was disappointed in that film as well as most of the alien creatures closely resembled animals found here on earth.
Certainly, Pokemon creatures draw a lot of their features from animals already here on earth, and some from myth. But that, as far as a story goes- in regards to the relationship between trainer and Pokemon- that is about as it. The real distinguishing feature of the Pokemon is its ability to fight in the arena- what kind of special power it possesses and how effective it is against particular adversaries.
For all the genetics and science fiction surrounding Pokemon, therefore, the real core of the phenomena goes back to the excitement of pitting animal against animal and wages bets on them. Of course, I am in no way implying that kids are gambling over Pokemon, I’m just saying that it is that sort of thrill that keeps the interest and excitement in Pokemon high. While a Pokemon’s exterior may be interesting (and certainly possesses merchandising value), aficionados of Pokemon are mainly interested in the type of Pokemon and what it can do; what power it has and how strong or effective that power is against opponents. Pokemon is a game of battle, not really a coherent story, though it is marketed as such.
This is probably the only area in which Pokemon has failed (although one seriously hesitates to look at Pokemon sales and see any ‘failings’). Among the spinoffs of course is the well known animated series and movies, not to mention the ‘manga’ or comics, as they’re more conventionally known. Both media have done well around the world, but only among kids. There is just not enough of a story or enough realism in these animated tales to capture the imagination of an adult. They are shallow and simple, and I conjecture that the only reason kids are drawn to them is because of their fascination with the mythological.
In short, Pokemon do have a distinct tie and resemblance to our natural world of flora and fauna, but that’s as far as it goes. There is no complexity to the Pokemon world, only a sort of machismo mixed- in classic Japanese fashion- with a strong element of cuteness and cuddliness. The premise is actually that a Pokemon is not a creature to be messed with, but the reality is that the relationship between Pokemon and human is far more complex.
This can be seen in the very profitable waves of Pokemon goods that are sold along with each new edition. Now we are in Pokemon Black and white era and anything being sold under that label is going like hotcakes. Referring to cuteness, particularly popular for all ages are the stuffed toys (Pokemon plush toys), pokedolls, and, particularly for boys, the Pokemon cards for the card game. While Black and white cards are becoming more common now, they are still the ones to have. I’m sure you’ve heard of Pokemon, but did you know that a new release of the video game called Pokemon Black and white is out? There are new Pokemon Black and white plush toys to go along with it, as well as new Pokemon Black and white promo cards and Pokemon Black and white game cards. There are also new Pokemon Black and white Zukan figures by Tomy. My son can’t stop checking out all the new goods at his favorite Pokemon web site.
As far as individual Pokemon go, there is the phenomena of kids or gamers becoming attached to a certain Pokemon. In fact, a teenager of 17 might become so enamored of a certain character that he may even buy the Pokemon plushie (stuffed toy). Which is quite out of character for a 17 year old. And everyone who knows anything about Pokemon knows that Pikachu is of course the adored unofficial but obvious mascot to Pokemon in the same way that Mickey Mouse is to Disney.
But usually kids have a hard time telling you their favorite Pokemon character when asked. It makes sense though when you break it down. For one thing, no matter how cute, comely, or handsome the Pokemon may be, they are after all monsters. Even ‘cuddly’ Pikachu has an absolutely terrifying electric punch. Every Pokemon character is dangerous. Mickey Mouse can’t hurt you but any of the over 400 Pokemon can- lethally! So there is a dark element to the Pokemon that i think kids remain in awe and are a little frightened of when it comes to the Pokemon.
It’s a fascinating thing to be a trainer of monsters. In Ultraman, monsters represent absolute evil. There is no taming them- the only solution is to destroy them utterly. Ultraman is a savior, not a tamer. Monsters only represent chaos and destruction. The monsters in Pokemon represent something different altogether. Pokemon are animal-like creatures that in general present us with a temperate, cute, and even affectionate nature. Watch out when they release their powers though, for they become formidable. Pokemon are more like a Stegosaurus than a Godzilla: basically they are non-aggressive but are quite capable of defending themselves when necessary. Stand back when they do.