Pokemon is a franchise that’s been going on for over two decades and there has been no indication that it’s going to stop anytime soon. The franchise is a trading card game, a wildly successful video game series, a long-running TV show, and much, much more.
That all just means that across all of those different mediums, there are more things that we’re going to miss. Sure, the series itself is pretty straightforward, but the very premise is actually a lot more complicated and invites a lot more theorizing and strategy than you’d think.
Some of the things that the average fan might miss about Pokemon relate to the gameplay, like what you should prioritize when training your ‘mons and what starter you should get (hint, the actual starter you get doesn’t matter, but other things do). Other things are a bit more complicated, like what actually happened to Raticate and whether Pokemon are actually animals at all. To be fair, some of these things are clearly animal inspired, but others are more akin to humanoids or even gods!
This is a really weird world, and if you look closely, it’s a super messed up one, too. Here are 15 things you probably missed in the Pokemon universe – right on time for Ultra Sun and Moon!
15. Type Matters Less Than Individual Values
Anyone who knows anything about Pokemon knows that the type of Pokemon you use matters a lot. Every Pokemon has a specific typing advantage and disadvantage that you need to know in order to gain the upper hand. Also, different Pokemon can learn moves from different typings, but since you only get four moves, you need to choose them carefully. That being said, typing means nothing if you don’t have the right IVs (individual values). For those of you who don’t know, IVs are basically a Pokemon’s genetics. Some are better than others, and you can actually breed to get the best IVs. It takes a really long time to do that, but when you do, you’ll have a Pokemon that’s literally the best of its species.
14. The Most Important Stats Are Hidden
Typing and IVs are one thing, but the most important things to consider when Pokemon training aren’t going to be mentioned in any game or TV show storyline. This most important thing is known as EV training. For those who don’t know, EV training stands for Effort Values. This is what makes your trained Pokemon stronger than the average wild Pokemon, by the way. The newer games are at least being a bit more obvious about pointing players towards EV training, but the older games had no mention of this whatsoever and no real mechanic to make sure you were EV training correctly. Older Pokemon trainers had to EV train by knowing every single stat of every single Pokemon in existence, then sending their Pokemon after specific ones. It was exhausting and thankfully it’s a bit easier now.
13. Get The Best Starter You Can
Most Pokemon players will pick a starter based on which one is the cutest, or speaks to them the most with their design, or even by its future typing. This is not what you want to do if you want the best starter ever. Many players will soft reset their game over and over and over again to get the starter with the best IVs. Others will do it to get a female starter, which is pretty uncommon. Still, others will sit there for as long as it takes to get a Shiny starter. For those who are unaware, a Shiny Pokemon is a Pokemon that just looks different from the normal version. Some Shinies are pretty ordinary and impossible to tell apart from the normal one, while others are unmistakable. Regardless, if you’re getting the first Starter you receive and sticking with it, you might not have the one with the best stats.
12. The Smartest Pokemon Might Be Slowpoke
You might think the smartest Pokemon might be Mewtwo, who dropped the philosophical knowledge in the first movie. You might think it would be Reshiram and Zekrom, who literally represent truth and ideals, or even Arceus, who’s basically Crystal Dragon Pokemon Jesus. However, you would be wrong. It turns out the smartest Pokemon out there is actually Slowpoke, who’s probably the Pokemon who gets mocked the most apart from Magikarp, Luvdisc, and maybe Bidoof. Even the Pokedex calls this thing dopey. However, you’d be wrong to discount Slowpoke as a slowpoke entirely, for this Pokemon is a Psychic-type, which is known for their hyper-intelligence. Slowpoke isn’t slow because he’s dumb, he’s slow because he carries all knowledge in his brain and needs to be slow in order to function.
11. The Pikaclones Aren’t Bad Pokemon
Pikaclones get a pretty bad rap in the Pokemon competitive meta. Raichu, Pikachu’s next form, gets treated with some respect, but the Pikachu stand-ins from future generations are often treated dismissively: they’re cute, but ultimately unimportant and only exist for marketing. However, that honestly couldn’t be further from the truth. Personally, any competitive team I’m going to run is going to have a Pikaclone in it. They’re faster than most Pokemon and can do a lot of damage before their admittedly lower defenses knock them out of the game. Emolga and Dedenne, the Pikaclones from the fifth and sixth generations, have some cool typing advantages, and Pachirisu was the lynchpin for a world-championship winning team a couple of years ago. Pichu is also great for any Little League (a division involving Pokemon that are below level 5) team.
10. Are Venonat And Metapod Evolving Into The Wrong Pokemon?
I don’t know how well I subscribe to this theory, but I know many other people do. For those who don’t know Pokemon well, they might assume that these two Bug-type evolution lines are correct as is, but they aren’t. In actuality, Venonat evolves into Venomoth, while Caterpie and Metapod give way to Butterfree. Venonat also doesn’t have a cocoon form: the second cocoon form in the first generation is Kakuna, which gives way to Beedril, which is weird because bees don’t have cocoons. Pokemon sometimes makes weird decisions when it comes to design. Regardless, the design similarities here are too huge for hardcore theorists to ignore.
9. Pokemon Takes Place In A Really Messed Up Universe
The very premise of this universe is beyond messed up. I love Pokemon a lot and will be religiously playing Ultra Sun when it comes out, but you have to admit that this whole universe is dark. This is a society where parents send their ten-year-olds (sometimes teenagers) out into the world with nothing but a creature they’ve just met, and it’s their job to use that creature in legally sanctioned dogfights against adults. There aren’t really any adults helping the kids figure things out, apart from the weird antagonists in the gang that keeps trying to fight them, plus the person who’s dumb enough to awaken a Legendary Pokemon in the given instalment. This is also a world where Pokemon have universal, free healthcare, but we know nothing about the technology used to catch Pokemon or how humans take care of themselves.
8. Is Pokemon A Post-War Game?
The fact that we never see any responsible adults in this series is an interesting detail that points to a truly messed up world. No one’s around to stop the attack of the crazy ten-year-olds. Sure, the player kid is pretty good, but they get into a lot of trouble, and that doesn’t mean there aren’t other kids out there wrecking all sorts of havoc. Also, why does everyone, even the little kids, focus on much on being constantly battle ready? Literally, eye contact means a battle. What if we don’t see any adults because most of them died in a big war? That would explain kids being constantly ready to fight and the increasingly commonplace appearances of the Legendary Pokemon. This even explains why the towns are all so small, even the big cities.
7. The Game Doesn’t End When You Become The Champion
Many casual fans of the series play long enough to become the Champion, then put the game down in anticipation of the next one. That’s not how the real fans play. Real fans of the games know that the games only begin once you become the Champion. Without the main storyline to keep you busy, you can get on to the tasks that truly matter, like EV training, building competitive teams, breeding Pokemon for the best IVs and natures possible, and Legendary hunting. If you’re feeling particularly up to the challenge, you can do fun things like play more advanced battles and become a detective, depending on the game.
6. So Is Cubone A Baby Kangaskhan?
This is a good example of a theory that’s become so prevalent that it’s basically just an unacknowledged part of the canon. We know that Kangaskhan is a Pokemon, but we don’t actually count the baby as one. We also know that Cubones wear the skulls of their dead mothers. One widespread theory as to why this is brings these two different species together: Kangaskhan is Cubone’s mother, then as Cubone turns into Marowak, the Marowak eventually becomes a Kangsakhan, who has a baby. When Kangaskhan dies, that baby puts on its mother’s skull, becoming Cubone. It’s morbid, but it’s probably the truth. What’s worse? Cubone’s tragic origins are nothing in comparison to some of the newer Pokemon out there.
5. Some Legendary Pokemon Have Genders, While Some Regular Ones Don’t
We often think that every Pokemon has a gender: after all, how else are we going to breed all of these Pokemon. However, that isn’t actually the case here. There are several kinds of regular Pokemon that don’t have genders, like Golem. Basically, the regular Pokemon that are based on inanimate objects are a little more likely to not have a gender. As for Legendaries, most don’t have genders, but there are a few that can be bred, like Manaphy. The Legendary’s gender can often be at least a little bit inferred by the movie it gets in the anime. For example, Mewtwo has more masculine cues than say, Mew or Victini. That’s why it’s actually important to take the anime into consideration despite the fact that both canons are separate.
4. Did You Kill Raticate?!
Think all the way back to the first Pokemon game, where you had your first big rivalry with a guy named Blue, the grandson of your local Pokemon professor. You keep running into him and fighting him, and those first few fights have you dealing with his Raticate. Later on, you run into Blue again, but he’s in a graveyard asking you if you’ve ever lost a Pokemon to death. Raticate never makes an appearance again. Sure, he could have phased Raticate out of his team in favor of a Pokemon like Eevee, but it’s just as likely that he couldn’t get his friend to a Pokemon Center in time and he died. That would make you the guy that killed Raticate. Are we sure we’re playing the good guy here?
3. Pokemon: Animals Or What?
Many Pokemon are based on real animals and things. I’m not even talking about the general overtones of the design, like Klefki being a literal ring of keys or Emolga being a flying squirrel. I mean, many Pokemon have defined influences that can be found in the real world, like this example of Caterpie and the real world version of it. However, when it comes to the actual world of Pokemon, are these things their own kind of organism or do they replace animals. Whatever the answer to that question is determines the answers to a lot of food based questions in this universe. For example, if Pokemon are animals, are there farms where some are raised as meat? Are the plant-based animals killed for vegetables? These are questions that remain unanswered…perhaps for the good of our childhoods.
2. Ditto Is Who, Now?
There’s a widespread theory about the history of the Pokemon world that brings every Legendary together in the process of its making. The theory itself is a bit too big to cover right now, but for right now, what you need to know is that Dittos and Mews are essentially the same creatures: one is just messed up. Think about it: the only two Pokemon that can use Transform are Ditto and New. Their normal and Shiny forms are the same color. They both weigh 8.8 pounds despite being different in size and shape. How did this happen, you ask? Why the same way Mewtwo was created. Mewtwo certainly wasn’t the first artificial Pokemon experiment, he was just the first successful one. It would have taken a lot of tests to get us to this point. The scientists who made Mewtwo probably made Ditto in a similar way.
1. Pokemon Isn’t A Game, It’s A Way Of Life
Honestly, once you get into Pokemon seriously, it’s really hard to go back. I’m not the most competitive player in the world, to be honest, but I can promise you that once I started taking the games seriously, I became kind of a crazy fan. The more I got into Pokemon, the more of the anime I started watching and the more of the lore I got into. I know a lot of other people who are the same way. As much as Pokemon is a video game, it’s also a lot of other things. It’s a trading card game, a TV show, and a manga series. More than any of those things, though, it’s kind of a way of life. So many of us have followed this series from the time of its inception, and future generations will probably do the same if the new Ultra Sun and Moon games are anything to go by.
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