Time for another preview!
... BWAHAHAHA! Not really! Time for something completely different!
See, some fan contacted me and asked a bunch of questions regarding Occult Magazine: Evolution's Gate, Forever Legendary, Mew's Christmas Carol and The Human Species. We ended up wasting WAY too much time on it, so in a desperate attempt to make something useful out of it...
The Pokémon Trilogy (+1)
Now, since I'm such a worrywart, I should tell you that there are spoilers in this feature for each story, reaching as far as chapter 23 (Distressed Damsel Dragonair) in The Human Species. If you've already read that far or further, go apes.
The fan was bold, so his text will be quite the same while I'll be keeping my answers normal. Direct quotes from the stories will be in italics!
What up with police Pokemon? Again, this is something it strikes me as weird not to have seen in the show: if Pokemon are sentient, there's no reason they couldn't be members of law enforcement or anything else, for that matter. The ethical questions of Pokemon are a big part of what I guess we could discuss, though I was planning on saving it for THS, since you seem to be getting into it anyway. Black/White and, to a lesser extent, the Mystery Dungeon series dealt with this somewhat, but I think it's interesting that you have Pokemon having their own police forces and cafes. Hmm...
What, you're gonna let that guy with a blue cap and nightstick deal with a raging Gyrados or interrogate a someone they can't understand? Pokemon criminals require Pokemon police. All police Pokemon need at least one year of training at the academy and must be assigned to a human partner for two years before being released and becoming individual members of the force. Truly a beautiful display of human-pokemon cooperation.
For the cafe you just dig a hole and squeeze a few berries. Humans normally HATE berries, so they run no risk of getting any of those troublemakers as customers.
Does kind of make me wonder what's the problem with berries (wait should that be capitalized). I can see one not liking [here I pull up Bulbapedia] a Tamato Berry or Nomel berries, but they come in five different flavors (of which dry is...apparently one) and dozens of varieties, so it should be possible to find one you like, huh...Of course, some (B/b)erries are rarer than others, and then there are some like the Oran berry which taste like everything.
Flavors are determined from the Pokemon's point of view. See Berries as dogfood. Sure, there are some people that eat them too, but they're few.
Snivy doesn't want to evolve because he'd lose his legs, right? But Servine has legs, what is the deal.
Snivy was referring to Serperior about the legs thing. He doesn't want to evolve into Servine because his arms would turn into strange leaves and make everyday life much more of a hassle.
His small form also makes him very difficult to hit in battle... Unless he's jumping at you head-on, of course!
I have to say, he and Umk (however you pronounce that) remind me of Miles Edgeworth and Dick Gumshoe from the Ace Attorney games. Are you...aware of this?
Both the duos are based off of the classic cop team-up. One's a stuck up expert while the other one's bumbling thickie with a heart of gold. They fight crime!
... In concept, anyway. Truth is, Snivy hated Umk to the point where he asked for a transfer, and then they never saw each other again... And, strangely enough, lived happily ever after!
“This is where I’d normally say ‘I got better’…” Zerobi shouted gleefully...
Oh nooooo, is this a Monty Python reference? Either that or I'm reading too much into this again.
Sure is! In the spirit of Monty Python, Zerobi HATES clichéd terms, so you hear her groaning a lot when together with Lucario.
“Problem, outlaw?” Snivy said with a smug smile on his face while crossing his arms in confidence.
And what about this? Is Smugleaf trollin'? Or am I just too fond of italics?
He put on his cool face.
One of the things I noticed while reading through EG again was that you broke the third wall a lot more than you do now...Honestly, I think that's a good thing, even though it is fun once in a while.
The THIRD wall? I broke it so badly they had to put in a fourth one! Anyway, I did, but apparently it didn't go over too well so I started using it with reservation.
Can't let things get too serious, though. The party at the end of FL is still one of my favorite parts!
Anyway, why was it necessary to have two Astrids? It certainly caused some confusion in the "epilogue" of FL. I was especially confused, since I read that before EG, so I had no idea who half the characters were! I did really like the "epilogue," though, even if I had to reread it later.
I thought it was an interesting trait. Canon-wise, Astrid is an ancient name for rock-types, the rock-eeveelution learning about it from his father (They've been isolated from civilization a few generations). He renamed himself after evolving, thinking that was the proper way to do things. His original name has yet to be revealed.
I did finally recognize that Evolution's Gate is based off the the actual cult, Heaven's Gate, though. I...guess I probably should have realized it was sort of a parody of an actual cult, though (So is there a Poke-heaven? or is evolution the highest achievement a Pokemon can expect? Come to think of it, the fossil Pokemon look like ancient animals from Earth, so there seems to be the more traditional kind of evolution at work here, somehow...Oh crap, this is a long aside).
Finally someone got the Heaven's Gate thing. It was all the hubbub when I was growing up, I thought everyone knew about that!
As for the aside... There's no heaven. When you die you go back to what you were before you were born (nothing)... Unless Celebi's around, of course!
Also, there are short term evolutions that happens anywhere between a week and instantaneously (when a Pokemon evolves), and then there's the long term evolution that is more akin to our universe.
So it has been explained where Kabutops came from, and I can accept that Astrid had a similar backstory, but what up with Armaldo? No one really seems to pay attention to the fact that he's a living fossil too.
Armaldo are from a later era, and as such not as ancient. See it as the relation between Jurassic and Cretaceous!
For that matter, the name Astrid is a common name for Rock-types (for some reason), yeah? Kind of makes me wonder why the Bouldeon was named Astrid (which I've never heard of being used as a guy's name before, poor guy) if he was born as a Normal-type. Maybe it was...DESTINY!?
Getting back to the whole name discussion, Astrid was born without a name, known as "Eevee". It wasn't until after he evolved that he gave himself the name Astrid.
Just kind of a random question here: Gallade and Snivy both have British accents, right? Obviously Snivy is classy, so he has to have a British accent, but I find it hard to imagine him with an accent, maybe just because I don't hear British accents a whole lot. Maybe I need to watch more Doctor Who...
Britain doesn't exist in the Pokemon universe. Subtle differences in speaking patterns is just something I added for the sake of the story.
A crossdressing closeted homosexual? In MY story? Well, you know what they say about guys that simply can’t find a girl… Do we ever actually see him with a girl outside of his own stories? Seems like he’d much rather hang around with Pikablu and Kabutops…
Hmm. Despite those signs, and him being completely fabulous, I also find it hard to believe Gallade's a homosexual. Who knows what years as a Ralts and Kirlia can do to you, though...
The joke is that he's had more girls than any other character in the story. Getting deeper into it, he oozes beauty to the point where both men and women are affected, even if only one of them is pursued... Hence why people make fun of him for it.
Hmm...The epilogue chapter of FL got me thinking how weird it is that every Pokemon ever lays eggs, regardless of whether or not they logically should. Come to think of it, how could Pikablu and Anne ever reproduce?
... Oh wait, they all lay eggs!? Completely forgot! How do I explain that? Hmm... Hell, the games just go "An egg has mysteriously appeared!", why can't I?
I guess some simply lay eggs and some have live births with no rhyme or reason as to who. Wait, isn't that how things are in real life?
The egg group thing was too nonsensical to include, so just about every Pokemon is a match. Seeing how Pokemon from different species can understand each other and that they are all recognized by Pokeballs there's obviously a deeper evolutionary root binding them all, so it's not THAT far off.
Mew's Christmas Carol
That’s when Mew noticed what she hadn’t earlier seen
The calcium’s electrons were not twenty, but actually nineteen!
“It’s called potassium, an element the humans created!”
Celebi continued as Mew became elated...
I didn't really think of this before, but other than being naturally occurring, pure potassium is actually super-dangerous on account of its being really reactive with water in the air.
Still a pretty rad gift, though.
Hah! Never thought anyone would catch that! None of them knew that and it had been in a bag until then, so approximately 10 seconds after the end they had to evacuate the place. This is going to lead to a reference in the future, and... Not much else, really.
I also think it's a bit weird that the Pokemon world has a Christmas, given that there was probably never a Poke-Christ. I googled "Pokemon Christmas" and all I got was an album from 2001 called Pokemon Christmas Bash (including such hits as "I'm Giving Santa a Pikachu for Christmas"). Nonetheless, it's not like people haven't pretty much always celebrated around the winter solstice.
I could make up a reason for them to be celebrating Christmas, but truth is that it's just because I entered the story into a Pokemon Christmas Contest which (surprisingly enough) had to deal with Christmas... And won first prize! Heck, every story's a contest entry except for THS, and that's just because I need to constantly edit it.
The Human Species
So, like, when the other characters say Lucario is wearing pants--they mean he's wearing actual clothes, not just his puffy leg area, right? Where might he have gotten those?
Lucario's pants are a big plot point. Maybe they're actually Mew using Transform! (WORST. TWIST. EVER.)
Whoa! I didn't know pants could be so important! Lucario is an interesting character, to be sure...come to think of it, is Rukario...an original character?
Rukario's a shiny Lucario. The only shiny in the story actually, matching their extreme rarity in the games. She kind of looks like the Swedish flag too, which is a bonus!
On a somewhat related note: what the heck do you eat when pretty much every living thing is sentient? Either you barbecue a Combusken, I guess, or you get used to the taste of berries. Come to think of it, though, in the anime I remember them eating onigiri from time to time. I'm trying to research more with Google (this is what we call "research" in the 21st century), but all I'm getting is Pokemon food products. Holy crap, they made marshmallow Pikachu!?
But Pikachu isn't weak against fire! Anyway, the speech at the end of Indomitable Father Kabutops goes into this... But yeah, since berries are enough to provide sustenance there's really no reason to kill for food.
Another thing I thought of when reading the latest chapter was how unrealistic the games are when it comes to healing injuries. Actually, I guess that's really due to them being RPGs; no one wants to wait the realistic five months after every battle for their Pokemon to make a complete recovery.
Fighting, injuries, death... I'm amazed at how media has turned these amazingly horrifying things into trivial happenings. I'm literally making things cooler by trying to keep them realistic, everything from a punch to a tidal wave...
... To a certain point, anyway. I don't think anyone'd want to read a story about Lonesome Paraplegic Lucario...
So, Pikablu is really apprehensive about being around Thunderstones since apparently he'll store his electricity in his tail and be unable to use any of his legendary-killing attacks. BUT! Some snooping around Pokedex entries tells me Raichu still store electricity in their cheek pouches, and use their tails to ground themselves (which should come in handy).
Huh? Really? Oh well, I'll attribute that to the fact that Pikablu just wants an excuse for not evolving into a fat mouse.
Lucas gasped. . . . Attempting to stand up to run away one last time, exhaustion finally overtook his body as he blacked out.
Okay, not really a question, but I just found this hilarious. So that's how it happens! I was surprised you didn't have the characters rob hi--oh wait no, they totally raid his Poke Ball belt for Celebi. Clever.
Yeah. Pikablu even stole a watch off the girl in Ilex Forest!
Hmm...so, not sure what to say about Zerobi's Song. Did you write it (and perform it) yourself? It is pretty good, but, uh...How do I say this?...It didn't really sound female in the MP3.
I was actually planning on writing tons of more songs for the story, but seeing how you're the only person to even acknowledge its existence I think I'll pass. Hey, some things work, some don't. Don't blame me for not doing what I can with the medium!
Okay, probably too early in the story to be asking who/what this "Grougaloragran" is. Still, any particular reason you picked such an odd name--or is that spoilerific as well!?
Did you try googling Grougaloragran? Anyway, it's from a dragon in Wakfu, and also the name of the Dragonite from Forever Legendary.
All of them
Well, up next is Pokemon movies and magazines. It kind of strikes me as odd that there are magazines like the occult magazine (which I guess is basically a tabloid) marketed exclusively to Pokemon. Okay, I'm probably wrong about the "exclusive" part. Still, if the Pokemon have seen the Mystery Dungeon movies, does that mean they have a separate theater? Or, do they go to a normal theater for everyone? Wouldn't they need extra-huge seats to accommodate extra-large Pokemon!? [Here I stop myself before my overthinking continues to infinity.]
No no no, no magazine or movie is ever marketed towards Pokemon. Pokemon generally don't learn how to read (and most lack arms to flip through pages or hold a pen with), so they get news from word-by-mouth or the extremely simplistic writing style of "pawprint".
Zerobi LOVES the occult and learned how to read after going through the magazines year after year (going to school helped too), and Pikablu (among others) have simply been around long enough to pick it up.
Still, all Pokemon have eyes (even Zubat) and like to watch movies, so they get a separate box without seats if they go to the theater (the smaller ones that won't set the place on fire with their tail get to use seats).
A'ight, next I have "communication." Uh...yeah. Maybe I meant to wonder why humans don't just speak Pokemon all the time? It would probably make things easier, though it must be a pain to learn to speak correctly if everything can be expressed in as few as one syllable. Writing is probably out of the question.
Have you ever talked to a person you didn't quite understand? Like, you hear what he's saying, but it's like he's from an entirely different existence then you?
... STOP POINTING AT ME! Anyway, it's like that - Pokemon understand humans fairly well, but the different speech patterns and grammar throw them off to the point where having regular conversations is out of the question.
Pokemon that spend time around humans understand them better than others, like Snivy and Lucario. Pokemon completely segregated from humans can barely understand them at all, like the Stoneon Astrid and that female Zubat (Notice how she didn't respond to anything Silver said?)
I was just thinking this morning about the oil banter from chapter 11. Hmm, Lucario does say it's compressed plants and animals...I suppose it's not that surprising that Zerobi wouldn't have heard of oil, given that she is a Pokemon...They do have cars in the Poke-world, though, so unless they're way ahead of us technologically, they probably do use oil. Apparently most oil comes from compressed algae and bacteria and such...which got me thinking about how outside of Pokerus, there doesn't seem to be any microscopic organism in the Pokeverse (what do I call this). I guess the point of this topic is...Pokemon is weird?
Cars exist, but are about as rare as unicycles are in our world. Riding Pokemon is an unbeatable form of transportation. Also, they run on berries.
Microscopic organisms exist, of course. They're the foundation of all life! They're not that different from the ones in our world, either...
Also they apparently do have guns on Pokearth, though I'm not sure if it's canon, and I'd think the names of Swords Dance and Sacred Sword have to come from somewhere.
Again, EXTREMELY rare, and pretty much useless if your opponent has anything stronger than a Squirtle.
"You're going down, Leonardo!"
"Squirtle, use water gun!"
"HAHAHA! A water gun!? You make me la... Oh... OH NO! PLEASE REMEMBER ME FOR MY GOOD DEEDS AND NOT SHOOting at an innocent pokemoooon..."
Oh yeah, I never really thought poisoning would manifest itself as huge purple spikes growing out of one's back...Though, I suppose it's at least better than turning completely purple. A bit of creative freedom on your part, I guess.
They're Poison Stings! And Lucario is immune to Poison!
Like you said, it's probably for the best that you didn't really include Ash in the canon--though apparently you did include Misty and Brock, and replaced him with Red. I guess this is really more like the story from the games, with Red being the first Pokemon Master, huh? He was always based on Ash (or vice versa), what with the Pikachu, so I s'pose it all worked out.
Misty and Brock are in, but they never traveled with Red. Just a rumor in the "correct almost 10% of the time" occult magazines. Including Ash would mean including Team Rocket who builds machinery out of nothing while still being unable to handle a bloody teenager with the help of a Pokemon that can speak because he worked really hard at it.
One thing I've been wondering about, which applies to all of Pokemon, really, is the issue of names. It seems kind of weird that Pokemon should usually be referred to as the name of their species, even though there's obviously more than one in the world. Still, others are different: while there's Pikachu the Pikachu and Kabutops the Kabutops, there's Pikablu the Pikachu and Kabuta the Kabutops. I figure it's like with last names, where other species call them by their types, but among members of the same species call them by their names (if they have one!?). Still, I can't remember a single instance where a Pokemon wasn't called by its species name in the show. I've already said too much, though; what do you think?
Pokemon have a looser society than humans, no credit cards or IDs or all that nonsense. A Caterpie would see his one friend as "that Pikachu" and his other friend as "that other Pikachu" instead of directly naming them and do fine. Close friends usually make up nicknames for each other, though... Like Uncle Sissy!
Also, there are +600 different species of Pokemon, meaning that individual names are rarely required. More common Pokemon usually have names, while rarer one (like Kabutops) don't need one (Naming his son and daughter was Astrid's idea, who dropped the whole Aerodactyl thing eons ago).
Oh, and Pokemon have different names in different regions, to reflect their Japanese counterparts. So a Weavile can be known as a Manyula, Mienshao as Kojondo etc. Kind of like how we have latin names for flora and fauna.
Hmm...Though, that does raise the question of how one would explain away the rate at which they're finding Pokemon. Black and White's cities seem like they've been there for a long time; you'd think someone would have noticed the hundreds of new Pokemon out there. Meanwhile, I was going to ask about the Japanese names in some of the stories, but I guess I can check that off the list!
Many decades have passed since Pokemon Red/Blue, Pokemon from every region now exist pretty much everywhere. Most Pokemon don't even remember where their species first came from!
I can understand Gallade having a camera, but...where does he keep it? And how does he update his blog with only three fingers and no thumbs!? I must know!
Minimize. Bags of holding. Under his freakishly long arms. I leave out describing every one of them because, unlike everything else, that makes for a REALLY boring read...
Psychic Pokemon don't even need a keyboard to interact with computers!
I s'pose even in the games you're able to hold up to 99 of everything, so I'll give you that.
Movin' on, though: how much do you make type matchups count in your stories? It certainly seems like the characters worry about it (Zerobi is extremely careful around Fighting-types, and with good reason), but it's not like Lucario sat out the fight against the Fearsome Four (though I think at that point he was unaware of matchups).
I'm complicating it to keep battles interesting. Kabutops takes X4 damage from grass attacks because the grass sucks up the water in his body. Lucario takes extra damage from fighting abilities (not punches and kicks since Mega Punch and Kick are normal type attacks, but rather stuff like focus blast... Hence why the aura is burning him so badly), but has the speed to avoid getting hit.
To REALLY complicate things, Lucario's lack of spikes also reduces his Steel affinity, giving him less protection against many types yet less weakness towards some.
It's...unfortunate that some dual-Fighting-type Pokemon are super-affected by Fighting (like Lucario and Scraggy/Scrafty). Kinda weird how that works out.
I mean, come on! Lucario was in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, it's not like he took X2 damage from every punch and kick there!
Hmm...If we're talking about writing, I might as well ask: do you have a favorite author?
Sadly, no. If we were to extend it beyond the range of literature I could name Eiichiro Oda and Don Rosa, just that most books I've read have been too formulaic and predictable to be called 'good'. 300 pages containing like 3-4 memorable events padded out with useless filler? It should ALL be memorable!
To be honest, I respect far more authors than I like. You know, for being able to entertain people.
I guess I'd go with Stephen King for some of his short stories and The Stand, but even he has issues. You wanted a recommendation? Try 'Skeleton Crew', that's a good one!
So! How long does it usually take for you to write a chapter of THS? Clearly, with the shorter chapters, it's less time than the others in the series. I don't know--what's your writing process, if you will?
Depends on the type of chapter, quite frankly. For chapters where the dialog is the most important, I start with that (Remorseful Vampire Zerobi). When the chapters have big fights in them, I start with the descriptions (Fearsome Four Mienfoo). When they've got both... I just write both at the same time!
While I wrote everything in order between Evo's Gate and Forever Legendary, my writing has become very splintered as of late with me jumping between chapters and just adding tiny pieces to completely different parts. It feels unorganized and makes chapters take longer to write, but all in all I think they become more streamlined that way.
It might be a bit premature, but...If this is to be your last Pokemon-themed story, what're you planning on doing afterwards, writing-wise?
Stories not involving copyrighted characters. I already have tons of great ideas, characters and events for a novel that can be published to an audience outside of the Pokemon fanbase. Heck, it will certainly end up being a much better story than anything I've done that's related to Pokemon...
... But I have too many good ideas for THS to leave it hanging, so I'll finish that one first. Stick with me after that and I'll be able to take you beyond the realms of Pokemon... And it'll be great.
Um...Here I have "generic closing question." So how's this [holding a microphone entirely too close to your face]: is there anything else you'd like to say to your adoring public?
Not really. I'm writing stories that you're reading, and so I feel we've already got a relationship far beyond that of strangers. Even though we've never met or even spoken to one another, this story and everything that comes with it connects us. It is something only you and I share!
... Well, you and I and like 3 others!
Hey, I just realized that this would serve as a pretty good Q&A chapter. Mind if I post all these questions/answers when we're done? Cutting out the... Private parts?
Oh my god no you can't cut out my private oh I see what you're saying. But yeah, that would be amazing! I do seem to have unwittingly written half of a Q&A chapter for you. Curses!