Tyler Robinson - January 9th, 2024
Some people loathe Pokémon and it’s entertainingly cringey.
In the whimsical world of Pokémon, where pocket monsters and human companions embark on adventures spanning virtual landscapes, it's baffling to stumble upon critiques that paint this beloved franchise in a morally reprehensible light. It’s fine if you simply don’t like it or think it’s dorky, but to call it amoral and dangerous is weird. Recent articles, one from the National Post and another from CNET, have sparked controversy by equating the fundamental concept of Pokémon to virtual animal cruelty, a stance that many might find exaggerated and unfounded. This outcry against a universally cherished game, reminiscent of a 'Karen-esque' uproar, seems to overlook the game's core themes of friendship, growth, and adventure. In this blog, we delve into the absurdity of these claims, unraveling how a simple, fantasy-based game became the target of such outlandish criticism.
The National Post article seemingly takes an overly critical and politically tinted view of Pokémon, labeling Ash, the protagonist, as "psychotically ambitious" and oddly connecting his character traits and fashion choice to political symbols such as Ash’s red hat and the MAGA hat. This analysis appears to ignore the fundamental aspects of Pokémon that resonate with audiences worldwide - the themes of friendship, teamwork, and the bond between Ash and his Pokémon, especially Pikachu. Such a portrayal not only misinterprets the character's intentions and the show's apolitical nature but also reflects a cynically politicized interpretation of a children's cartoon, far removed from its actual content and message.
Photo credit to ifunny.com
Additionally, it's crucial to recognize that Pokémon originated in the 1990s as a Japanese manga, a context far removed from current debates about political correctness and wokeness. The original creator was driven by the freedom of imagination, aiming to bring to life a world of fantastical creatures and adventures, untouched by the constraints of modern political discourse. This is a classic example of art stemming from pure creativity, reflecting an era and culture focused more on storytelling and imaginative exploration than on aligning with contemporary socio-political norms that everyone obsesses over today.
PETA's campaign against Pokémon Black and White 2, as described by the CNET article, seems to profoundly misunderstand the boundary between fiction and reality. Their argument that Pokémon's in-game experiences parallel real animal abuse overlooks the crucial distinction that Pokémon are fictional creatures in a virtual world. This virtuality is central to understanding why comparisons to real-world animal cruelty are baseless and exaggerated. Furthermore, PETA's creation of an alternate universe game, 'Pokémon Black & Blue: Gotta Free 'Em All,' where Pokémon fight for liberation, ironically departs further from reality, blending advocacy with an almost satirical portrayal of fictional characters.
Their insistence on treating Pokémon as real entities capable of suffering and needing liberation is a misguided application of their advocacy, diverting attention from legitimate issues of animal welfare in the real world.
Clip of Pokémon Scarlet and Violet shows a player's Toxtricity hugging them before falling asleep on the ground.
In the Pokémon universe, characters like Ash demonstrate deep care and affection for their Pokémon, forming bonds that transcend mere ownership. This theme of cherishing Pokémon is mirrored in real life, where fans of the franchise display their affection by adorning their rooms with Pokémon posters, carefully preserving their trading cards, and treasuring Pokémon plushies. This behavior indicates a level of empathy and care that is fundamentally opposite to the traits of someone who would engage in animal cruelty. Pokémon enthusiasts, both in the game and in reality, embody a spirit of respect and kindness towards these cherished fictional creatures and honestly, are likely to support the cause of PETA by in large.
The assertion that Pokémon cards are a major issue in primary schools, in this article, overlooks the crucial role of parenting in guiding children's behavior and emotional development. Often, children in their adolescence exhibit heightened emotions, which is a natural part of their growth. It falls upon parents to not only instill discipline and teach essential life lessons but also to use such situations as opportunities for imparting important values. Blaming external factors like a children's game for behavioral issues can sometimes be a deflection from addressing the core need for strong, effective parenting.
In conclusion, the criticisms of Pokémon, whether about its fictional world's morality or its influence on children, often seem exaggerated and disconnected from the franchise's true nature. Pokémon's portrayal of relationships between characters and creatures is founded on care and teamwork, reflecting positive themes, though if you were involved at all in your child’s life, you might have found this out. The concerns of some parents about competitiveness and behavior around Pokémon cards highlight a broader issue of parenting and guiding children's social interactions, rather than inherent problems with the game itself. These discussions underscore the importance of discerning the line between fiction and reality and the role of parents in guiding children's understanding of both.
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