Sad Realisations About the World of Pokémon [ ARTICLE ]

After posting the latest ‘Did You Know Gaming?‘ on Monday, I decided to locate something that I had read a while back about Red’s rivalry in the original Pokémon games. In my search, I also found an interesting entry about the Pokémon war theory. So I decided to share them both here.

First off, the Pokémon war theory which is the shorter of the two:

You have no father, and your best friend is an orphan.

Children are journeying all around the world.

Your mother accepts you as the man on the house, making your own decisions.

An old man warns you of dangers around the corner.

Most people you meet are children or gym leaders.

Most adult men are either very old, or have a job related to the military or organized crime.

Hospitals and gyms are everywhere, but no forms of entertainment such as movie theaters.

LT. Surge: “Hey kid! What do you think your doing here? You wont live long in combat! That’s for sure! I tell you what kid, electric Pokémon saved me during the war!”

You now realize that there was a war in Kanto.

Your father died, and your rival lost his parents.

You are amongst the first generation of people to live in peace at post-war time.

Dark right? Well, just wait until you read about your rival’s life:

In the original Pokémon Red/Blue, when you encounter your rival in Lavender Town, he asks whether or not you know what it’s like to have one of your Pokémon die. At this point in the game, he no longer has his Raticate that he used in previous battles.Your rival battle before this took place aboard the S.S. Anne. Your rival’s Raticate sustained serious injuries from the battle…but, because crowding and confusion on the luxury liner, he was unable to make it to a Pokémon Center in time and the Raticate passed away. The real reason your rival is in Lavender Town to begin with is to lay his deceased friend to rest.

Despite all of this, your rival never outwardly tells you that you’re responsible for the death of his Pokémon. He hides his grief and instead channels that energy into the motivation he needed to continue his quest to become Indigo League Champion. The death of his Raticate effectively destroys your rival’s impish, childhood innocence. Although he tells himself that he doesn’t hold you responsible, he subconsciously holds a great deal of resentment towards you which further fuels his ambitions.

Tearfully swearing upon his Raticate’s grave to not fail in what he set out to do, he trains hard in hopes of becoming better than you…defeating you…and to eventually make it to the Pokémon League. Mere moments after he became Indigo League champion, he was defeated…by you. Although he fulfilled his promise to his fallen Pokémon, it was only for a painfully brief instant.

In the end, your rival is scolded by his grandfather while you receive the professor’s praise. During the course of the game, you steal your rival’s innocence, crush his dreams, and ultimately snatch away the love of his own grandfather. Oh, and by the way, your rival doesn’t have any parents. He’s an orphan.

The best part about all of this is that the subtext has always been there. Most people just overlook it when they’re playing a “kids” game.


  • Klaaism

    A slightly less darker little detail is you never see regular animals like cattle, pigs, or chickens… so where did all the meat come from? Think about it >.<

    • sPiN

      Taurus meat? :D

      • UNG

        indeed, but remember that japanese people are not so afected by those kind of things like the rest, the Bambi movie is one, huge consequence on USA , but nothing on Japan.
        Remeber the shown? a farm of marieep for the cotton, farm of magnamite for eletricity, and theres one episode of a farm of Taurus racing against a farm of doduos… what are those farm for? big mistery…

    • Matt

      In the game (and possibly in the show) they have a place where you can buy Slowpoke tails to eat, it was either in Red/Blue or Gold/Silver.

  • BigLord

    Don’t forget about the Coma theory! ;)

    • M.A.D.

      No, anything but that D;

    • PrinceJonathan

      Ah yes the Coma Theory, that first battle against the horde of Sparrows put Ash in a coma and the rest of the series takes place in a dream world where everyone is just another aspect of Ash’s consciousness. I tear up every time I read it.

      I imagine him waking up maybe 5 years later, old Pikachu curled up by his side. Pikachu is probably too old to battle now (how do Pokemon age? Like dogs maybe?). So instead of picking up where he left off, he just says forget it and stays in Pallet Town…and bangs Gary’s sister.

      • Triaxx

        Who can blame him? Gary had a cute sister. :D

  • Triaxx

    I always thought about that. I was annoyed that Gary was the most helpful rival. All the others seemed to be just unpleasant for the sake of being unpleasant.

    I never really noticed that he no longer had Raticate. I’d actually just sent mine to live on Oak’s ‘Pokemon Farm’ after I picked up a Cubone. I always thought he’d done the same. Interesting hypothesis.

  • The Hero Hartmut

    You’d be surprised on the things you pick up on about Pokémon, especially if you play it Nuzlocke style. That the fact that Parasect is basically a zombie, for instance. Now, consider that it’s based on an actual thing, in reality.

    • Phaelin

      Great, now every time I look at Paras, all I will see is it saying “Please help me, these mushrooms are taking over my SOUL.”

      • Neospector

        Still not so bad. Several types of Pokemon are said to be able to steal your spirit, Shedinja is the one I remember the best. It’s basically a shell that’s been brought back to life. Don’t look into the crack.

  • Tatsurou

    Recent Game Theory video has disproven the bit about his Raticate dying, since the Raticate he uses on the SS Anne *can’t* be the Ratata used in previous battles, since it’s only level 16 and Ratata doesn’t evolve until level 22. Ergo, both the Ratata and Raticate are more likely in storage with Bill’s PC.