We all know Pokemon in some form or another: Some of us played/watched it as kids, some of us have kids who play/watch it…some of us are adults who play it and watch it in Spanish to try and help them pick up the language…let’s not focus too much on that for now. Regardless, we all know the basic premise: the story of a kid in a world where pets (“friends”) fight to earn their owners money and fame. Ignoring the violence and enslavement, Pokemon tells many stories of friendship, heroism, altruism and is often fairly heart-warming. Even the regular villains in the show, Team Rocket, aren’t heartless and often support team good to fight the real team bad.
But what if I told you that there is a dark theory to Pokemon that often goes ignored? No, I’m not referring to the creepy Lavender Town music from the game that made people kill themselves or the seriously creepy Cubone story but rather the disturbing level of evidence that Pokemon takes place during or after a major war…
I’m going to approach this one a little differently to my other posts. I’m going to lay the theory out at the start and then go on to explore some of the evidence afterwards. So the theory goes something like this: the game and show take place in a world where animals are far more intelligent (in comparison to our animals), have “abilities” and can actually evolve instantaneously after reaching a certain “level”. That’s the basics of the Pokemon world laid out without any storyline. In this world, you still have the same politics, the same human emotions, the same wars that we face in our world and as such, Pokemon became seen as weapons (think of anti-tank dogs, messenger pigeons, and war elephants but with abilities). So the battle for powerful Pokemon seems all fun and games in the show/game but there is more to it.
Sometime before the events of the show/game a war broke out between nations and as such, the men and their Pokemon were called to war. We never see any guns in this world and other than some makeshift bombs from Team Rocket, warfare is limited to Pokemon. Where duals or sword fights would take place in our world, Pokemon battles take place in their world. Some of these Pokemon have insanely powerful abilities and as such are better suited to war. Think Game of Thrones but with Pokemon instead of dragons and dire-wolves!
It’s hard to say whether the war is still going on or has already taken place. If it’s the latter, then the evidence certainly suggests that it was recent and that the nation we see in Pokemon is still preparing for a follow-up. So let’s take a look at some of the evidence to support this theory from the game and the TV series (I’m referring to Pokemon: Indigo League specifically)
Game vs Show
I first heard this theory in relation to the game only. However, as I started watching the show again (just yesterday), I noticed many startling moments that add evidence to this theory for the show as well. We’ll begin by looking at certain aspects that exist in both worlds (I refer to them as different worlds purely to avoid confusion because Pokemon Indigo League is loosely based on the original Pokemon game). Just keep in mind that this first section is just a very vague synopsis of the more specific evidence that exists within each world.
One thing you notice within the Pokemon world is how the population is divided: there are a lot of children (more on that in a moment) and a lot of old people but there seems to be drastically less middle-aged people. Now that on its own is fairly normal, I mean most developed populations are weighted this way. Yet it’s the sheer number of each. You’re constantly running into children everywhere and old people almost as much…women drastically outnumber the men and this is particularly true within the game world.
So what of the children? If you’ve ever played or watched Pokemon, you must have found it a little weird that children are literally being sent out into the wilderness at the age of 10. Most children in the show and game don’t have parents: Ash/Red doesn’t have a father, Gary/rival has no parents at all, Brock has no mother, and Misty doesn’t have parents. You encounter a number of children in both worlds who either live alone, are travelling alone or are living with grandparents.
One thing you notice with many of the adults is that they serve some sort of purpose. For starters, most of the men in the Pokemon world are scientists such as Professor Oak (although he’s also elderly) and his aids. The rest either live in caves, up mountains or run gyms. The reason I suspect that the war may still be going on is that there are mostly old men and as such, it makes sense that these men were too old to go to war when it broke out.
We also have to acknowledge the incredibly advanced technology that exists in this part of the world and perhaps wonder if that has something to do with the cause of the war. Modes of transport, for the most part, seem to be rather out-dated but other areas are incredibly advanced. Let’s start off with the Pokeball: it is literally capable of turning Pokemon into energy or converting them into some sort of electronic data in order to store them inside this ball. Yet as is demonstrated in both worlds, these Pokemon are still conscious while inside and can choose not to leave or fight to escape. This is stepped up further when we witness the Pokemon transportation system which is used early on in the series to transport Pokemon (inside Pokeballs) to a different Pokemon Centre but is also used in the game to trade Pokemon. We’re literally talking about some Star Trek style teleportation of matter!
The in-game technology differs slightly in comparison to that of the show but we can all agree that it’s advanced as shit! Can you imagine just pointing an empty-looking ball at your dog and it suddenly being transported into the ball as some sort of red energy? If someone invented that technology today, we would be at war almost as soon as it was made public, if not before!
We’ll look at Mewtwo in more detail later on but let’s just take a moment to appreciate what Mewtwo is: a clone! OK, that simplifies the situation drastically as there are two areas (both of which appear later) we need to explore in relation to Mewtwo.
- Mewtwo marks a revolutionary step for science as the first successful clone of Mew along with gene splicing and DNA engineering to make him in theory the most powerful Pokemon (as far as anyone is aware). His psychic abilities, his level of communication, his intelligence all outrank his fellow Pokemon.
- Mewtwo’s existence isn’t solely so someone can win badges and battle children on the side of the road…no. We know from both worlds that Pokemon often serve a function: Pikachu’s are used for power, Chansey’s work in hospitals, ETC and so it is hardly surprising that during or after a war, a nation would want to create the most powerful weapon. Think about how countries advanced their weaponry between WW1 and WW2…and how it’s advanced since. Mewtwo is quite simply an attempt to create the weapon to end all weapons, maybe even a deterrent.
Mewtwo goes on to become smarter than humans (arguably) and is certainly more powerful than any other existing Pokemon.
We’re going to take a look at the anime first and explore some of the new details I’ve noticed and some of the theories I’ve concocted since. Some of these I will admit are grasping at straws slightly but it’s all just fun and games…mostly.
THIS IS SP…PALLET TOWN!
We’re going to start off with a pretty brutal fact: In ancient Sparta, boys as young as 7 were taken from their mothers to start their training. In Pallet Town, they are a little more lenient and waited until the age of 10 but the fact still remains that they are leaving home to go off and train animals for battle. It’s seen as an honour to be the most powerful Pokemon trainer in the world and it seems to be how one earns celebrity status in Pokemon.
This isn’t anything new though as in the show, Ash’s mother even comments on how she remembers it taking Ash’s father 4 days (or something similar) to reach the next town. So this is a tradition (or law-mandated) that certainly dates at least a generation back. This seems like a pretty barbaric situation if there wasn’t a war or the fear of one. Children aged 10 are given their “weapon”, they then head out and train themselves and their Pokemon in order to be the strongest. The way they test this is by fighting gym leaders. Tournaments are held for “fame” but in reality are just part of a never-ending series of training through which Pokemon just get stronger and stronger.
Brock and the Rock
Fairly early on in the show we encounter Brock who is the leader of the Pewter City gym. Not much is known about Brock (I had to do some research) but we do know from the early episodes that he cares for his numerous brothers and sisters due to his parents not being around. Ash and co encounter his father selling rocks near the entrance to Pewter City. It is his father who tells Ash all about Brock’s life. This is my theory as to how Brock’s father fits into this whole war scenario:
When the war was taking place, Brock’s father was called to action and had to leave his family behind. His wife not only has responsibility of the children but also of the gym (we learn in the show that she was once the gym leader and she even takes control of the gym again). Brock’s father even says himself that he was never a very good Pokemon trainer so he clearly didn’t have control of the gym before. This explains why Brock’s father was called to war while other gym leaders weren’t. I think that while at war, Brock’s father was bested in battle and as a result all of his Pokemon (rock types) were either captured or killed (it’s obviously unclear what the Pokemon war etiquette would be). When Brock’s mother leaves (probably due to the strain of having to raise 11 kids, Brock’s father returns to look after his family but suffers from PTSD and can’t manage it and so Brock steps in. Brock wasn’t surprised to see his father, meaning that he had been back home regularly enough to be known to each other. As a result of the PTSD, Brock’s father collects rocks to remember his fallen Pokemon but has no choice but to sell some (unsuccessfully) to try in his own way to provide for his family.
Fathers and in fact father figures are frequently missing from the show. You have Ash, Gary and Misty for starters. If we expand our search a little, we find that Jessie (Team Rocket) lost her mother in an avalanche but her father is never mentioned. I even expanded my search to main characters from later versions of the anime (who I had literally never heard of) and found that Serena (apparently one of Ash’s travelling companions) had a mother but no mention of a father; Clemont and Bonnie do have a father who is an engineer (the best in the city); Dawn also has no mention of a father; neither does Iris; Clemont and Bonnie have a father but he was also a gym leader.
This adds more evidence to the idea that all the men from this nation (other than those serving a scientific role or one essential to the upkeep of society e.g. engineer or a gym leader (training future soldiers and their weapons)) are away fighting or have died fighting in a previous war. There are of course those within organised crime but I feel like that’s a topic for another time. But speaking of families, let’s move onto the next bizarre piece of this puzzle.
The Clone Wars
Early on in the show we meet several of the “sisters” who are all identical and share the same name in the form of Officer Jenny, the collection of same-named identical sisters in charge of law enforcement and Nurse Joy, the separate collection of same-named identical sisters who cover healthcare. This is just part of a running gag within the show but what if there is a more sinister reason? We know that cloning is not only possible but has been done before (Mewtwo). However, Mewtwo wasn’t the result of simple cloning: it actually involved gene splicing and DNA engineering which was one of the reasons for so many failures. We’ll soon look at a theory which also explains why cloning a pokemon may be more difficult than cloning a human but I think the Jennys and Joys of the world are evidence enough of its existence.
You may be wondering why such an experiment would ever have been carried out. Well, during war you would need two majors function of society to remain intact above all others: law enforcement and healthcare. The men are sent to fight, the women raise their children (future Pokemon masters/soldiers) and as such, other positions needed to be filled. This is particularly true if this is a post-war situation.
In case you’ve never heard the term before, panspermia refers to a theory about the origins of life on Earth (or other planets). It suggests that bacteria capable of surviving extreme fluctuations in temperature and the vacuum of space could be moved from one planet to another by an asteroid or meteorite. Imagine that the Earth explodes or is victim to a giant asteroid impact and chunks of it fly through space for hundreds of years. One chunk could contain such life and may land on a planet where this bacterium thrives and evolves. You’re probably wondering what the fuck this has to do with Pokemon. Well, that’s where the moon stone comes in.
In the early episodes, the group meet a man (a scientist, shockingly) who is studying the moon stone. He believes that Pokemon came to Earth on this rock. While he describes it as being a spaceship, it’s not ridiculous to believe that a meteorite brought early Pokemon bacteria to Earth. Due to their rapidly evolving nature (which can be seen through both their own evolutions and the difference in generations that span across one human lifetime) this bacteria soon birthed the Pokemon we see in the show.
This idea goes a step further when we look at the abilities of the Pokemon as it explains why they can do the things they can do. We also know from early episodes that animals and Pokemon are not the same thing. We see a Pidgey eating a worm from the ground that isn’t a Pokemon. Misty also says that she hates bugs and doesn’t care if they are Pokemon, implying that there is a difference between bugs and bug Pokemon. It’s possible that Pokemon arrived on Earth a very long time ago (but after humans) and wiped most native animal species from the planet other than those that are at the bottom of the food chain.
Mew is seen as the ancestor of all Pokemon but this is just based on the human history of things. It’s completely possible that Mew was simply one of the earlier more advanced forms of Pokemon and due to its incredible abilities, ancient humans worshipped it and added it to art and stonework. Bonus theory: there is an idea that Ditto is simply failed attempts to clone mew. True story!
I’m going to keep adding to my evidence and theories for the show as I continue to re-watch it (I’m only on like episode 5 now). For now, let’s run through the original theory and how the game has evidence of a war.
As I mentioned before, I originally heard this theory in relation to the game and not the anime (while the theory is not mine, all the evidence I mentioned above and all the theories within it are my own). I won’t repeat any evidence that I’ve already mentioned for the show (such as lack of male characters, the population being mostly children and old people, ETC), however there are some points to be made in similar areas.
The population issues mention previously exist even more so in the game world. The player finds that as they enter cities with gigantic stores, houses, casinos, ETC there are almost no people. You find that other than casinos which seem to provide entertainment to the elderly part of the population, there isn’t much else to do other than gyms. You never see any cinemas, football pitches, parks, or anything that would be seen within a normal society. This is because the children can’t get distracted from their training, the adults can’t be distracted from their caring and as such the elderly and the useless are the only groups allowed to take life less seriously.
This character deserves a section all to himself and while he does appear on the show, it’s not so much who he is but rather what he says in the game that matters. In the show, Lt. Surge looks pretty much the same as the game describes him: tall (gigantic even), muscular, short and spikey blonde hair, he wears military clothing (jacket, trousers and boots) and even has dog tags. In the game, when approached by the player Surge says: “Hey kid! What do you think you’re doing here? You won’t live long in combat! That’s for sure! I tell you what kid, electric Pokemon saved me during the war!”
So we can see that there is certainly some supporting evidence of this theory…although this is all entirely confirmation bias and obviously it isn’t likely that the creators had this Pokemon war in mind when creating the game and anime. It’s certainly fun to think about though and as I continue to play the game (again) and watch the anime (again), I will continue to add any evidence I find to this post.
If you have any comments or opinions, be sure and share them below! Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter to be kept up-to-date with various blogs and announcements!