Four Times Pokémon Sun and Moon Get Way Too Real

Illustration for article titled Four Times iPokémon Sun and Moon/i Get Way Too Real

Something that really surprised me about Pokémon Sun and Moon were the random spurts of bleakness. The latest generation of Pokémon games aren’t afraid to go there, even if it leaves the player uncomfortable about the implications.

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I’m not just talking about the dark Pokedex entries, which make everyone reconsider their favorite monster, as well as make you feel for bad if you ever used mega evolutions. Those are messed up, but it’s also just flavor text. The games themselves can get way too real, too. Here are some of my “favorite” moments.

The bastard who didn’t deserve Stufful

Illustration for article titled Four Times iPokémon Sun and Moon/i Get Way Too Real
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Illustration for article titled Four Times iPokémon Sun and Moon/i Get Way Too Real
Illustration for article titled Four Times iPokémon Sun and Moon/i Get Way Too Real

A terrible story in three screenshots. You gotta think: if Pokémon is anything like the real world, then people are dicks. They get pets, without realizing the big responsibility that comes with it—only to panic and abandon them. And yet look at this loyal little Stufful here, still dutifully waiting for its master to return. It’s the Pokémon version of Seymour waiting for Fry in Futurama:

The Tragic Accident

Illustration for article titled Four Times iPokémon Sun and Moon/i Get Way Too Real
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Illustration for article titled Four Times iPokémon Sun and Moon/i Get Way Too Real
Illustration for article titled Four Times iPokémon Sun and Moon/i Get Way Too Real
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Illustration for article titled Four Times iPokémon Sun and Moon/i Get Way Too Real

You can see the rest of this scene, here, courtesy of asperatology.

We all know that Pokémon can die, the games have already touched on that. Here’s a look at how a trainer’s death affects a Pokémon: it’s traumatic. In this case, Machamp will never go back into his Pokeball again.

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I’m curious, though: does this mean the trainer died while Pokeriding? There never seems to be any immediate danger to the player, though it would make sense for society to use Pokémon rides alongside normal modes of transportation. Accidents such as this one might not be uncommon: can you imagine how many Charizards have probably collided with airplanes?

Really, the graveyard as a whole is a stark scene:

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The question of consciousness

Illustration for article titled Four Times iPokémon Sun and Moon/i Get Way Too Real
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Illustration for article titled Four Times iPokémon Sun and Moon/i Get Way Too Real
Illustration for article titled Four Times iPokémon Sun and Moon/i Get Way Too Real
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Illustration for article titled Four Times iPokémon Sun and Moon/i Get Way Too Real

By posing this question, this random NPC opens up a world of terrifying possibilities. Are Pokémon just data we’re transferring around? Does that data get destroyed and recreated whenever we put it in a PC? Can data really be “conscious?” This is some Matrix level shit that I’d rather not think about.

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The potential domestic abuse

Illustration for article titled Four Times iPokémon Sun and Moon/i Get Way Too Real
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Illustration for article titled Four Times iPokémon Sun and Moon/i Get Way Too Real

Images courtesy of slunchy.

As fans understand it, this scene implies that someone was beaten with golf clubs. Thing is, this is Guzma’s old house—you know, the leader of Team Skull? I never felt animosity toward Team Skull; they’re pretty cool in my books. But a scene like this helps me understand where they’re coming from, too.

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Actually, a lot of Team Skull members have quietly sad dialogue:

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Bonus: the entire concept of Mimikyu, which is sad as hell.

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DISCUSSION

Pokemon as a general concept feels like a house of cards that you shouldn’t mess around with lest the whole thing collapse in on itself. Let’s not forget that your relationships with your Pokemon are founded on an institutionalised system of kidnapping and enslavement; no Pokemon chooses to go with you or fight in battles. It’s kind of ironic that James- a recurring villain in the anime- is apparently the best trainer because he asks his Pokemon what they want to do.

It’s for this reason that, more than other mediums, storytelling (and sometimes world building) in games is fraught because the two things are invariably going to butt heads. There are some things that are really, really incongruous like the whole domestic violence bit above, but you either accept that Pokemon as a whole is a beautiful lie, or you don’t play it at all.

On a side note, I kind of assumed that that woman and a Machamp were a couple now, which is a whole other can of worms we probably shouldn’t open.