Friday, July 19, 2013

Squirtle Unchained

The grandparents are here this weekend, so it's been all socializing and entertaining and doing things that will produce grandchild adorability to entrance grandparents. So you can imagine how little of "everything else" I'm getting done.

One thing that did occur to me while I was doing all this kid-and-grandparents stuff.

I really hate the hell out of Pokémon.

You're familiar with this kid thing, right? It's basically a card-combat game that has franchised out into movies and television. There's about a gajillion versions of Pokémon crap; cards, books, movies, and a television show. The Boy is a semi-regular Pokémon consumer. He "plays" the card game tho he cheats like a goddamn investment banker (he just ignores rules he doesn't like) and he watches the movies and the television show.

It's not the incoherent "plot" or the ridiculous characters that get me about this silly thing; it's the entire premise.

Which is about enslaving fictional animals and forcing them to fight each other.

Sound nasty? That's because it is.

I've mentioned this to the Boy who agrees, shrugs his shoulders, and goes off to watch another episode. He gets that this is a goofy Japanese anime' series and geez, pop, quit being such a derp.

But the whole Pokémon macguffin drives me kinda nuts.

The premise, if you've never encountered it, is simple, as the Wiki entry says:
"...a Trainer that encounters a wild Pokémon is able to capture that Pokémon by throwing a specially designed, mass-producible spherical tool called a Poké Ball at it. If the Pokémon is unable to escape the confines of the Poké Ball, it is officially considered to be under the ownership of that Trainer. Afterwards, it will obey whatever its new master commands, unless the Trainer demonstrates such a lack of experience that the Pokémon would rather act on its own accord."
And what these mooks command is that these critters fight each other.

So this is basically Spartacus only with freakish little cartoon monsters. To make it a little more palatable the little buggers don't fight to the death; they are "knocked out" - by getting blasted with lightning or fried with fire. Tell me that you get your ass zapped by a Pikachu lightning bolt and see how "knocked out" you feel.

And don't get me started on Pikachu, the Vidkun Quisling of the Pokémon universe. He pals around with the TV series hero kid and helps him zap and beatdown the various people and critters he meets. He's a Judas Goat, betraying and helping his buddy Ash enslave new gladiators.

The entire notion squicks me out.

I won't put the thing off-limits, but I do try and make the point that the central idea of Pokémon is based on a notion that civilized people pretty much tossed into the trash heap of history hundreds of years ago.

He nods and smiles and ignores me completely.

I still want to think that there's some alternative Pokémon universe where Squirtle gives Ash the finger, kicks Pikachu's little rat ass and stomps off down the road vowing to fight for his own Pokédamned reasons or never again.


Leon said...

As a classics(ish) major, I heartily approve of your son's taste in gladiatorial games.

What you need to add to the experience, since your son is acting as the trainer (lanista) and the sort of the agent giving it (editor), you must be the public.

You must cheer the brave, call out cowards, and call for blood occasionally.

FDChief said...

Funny thing; even as a kid I kinda got that while the Romans had the cool uniforms and all, the raggedy-ass "barbarians" were the guys who were usually fighting for the right stuff, like their own liberty not to get worked to death in silver mines or butchered in the arena.

But the Boy has a harder head and heart than I did; he gets that power is power and that the weakest goes to the wall.

So I'd either have made a really poor Roman...or a really good one; checking my morals at the barrack door, taking my solidus, and laying on the vine staff like a good 'un.

Syrbal/Labrys said...

Glad my kids were grown before this became a 'thing'....cause yeah, it drives me nuts, too.

Ael said...

Gotta catch em all!
(or at least pay for them all,
preferably over and over)

FDChief said...

Ael: I gotta tip my hat to the creators othese damn things; they're like a license to print money.

Even today, slavery is good business.

Ael said...

Yes, I recall the very first time I saw and understood baseball cards.
I was gobsmacked in admiration.

Mass produced scarcity!

What an amazing concept.