Pokémon Scarlet and Violet introduced a new gym leader today. Her name is Iono, she’s the electric-specializing leader of Levincia. But even more central to her identity, according to a translation of her dialogue in a trailer released this morning, is being a “streamer and influencer bringin’ dreams to the masses!”
Woohoo! Though many Pokémon trainers exist in different degrees of celebrity — Elesa is a model, Opal acts as a sage mentor, Brock could be a Grey’s Anatomy guest star if he needed the per diem — there hasn’t been, to my knowledge, a trainer whose influencing outshone their Pokémon-related activity. Iono, with her Ariana Grande sweater and remarkably raccoon-like teeth, is breaking fresh ground.
She’s also — as her Pokémon debut trailer revealed — willing to employ unpleasant tactics for audience-stoking, like clickbait titles and requests to “smash that subscribe button.” In the trailer, she never reveals her partner Pokémon, despite forcing her audience to spend an excruciating three minutes and thirty seconds guessing what the Pokémon is. I could have done something useful with those three minutes and thirty seconds, like microwave a hot dog.
But it doesn’t seem like Paldea region influencers are any more empathetic to their fans than your regular Logan Paul. We need to prepare for the worst. Out of kindness, I’ve predicted a few ways Iono could get cancelled soon after making her Scarlet and Violet debut. Her recent devotees should keep their expectations in line, and her PR agent should know the risks of being a girl on the internet.
- She retweeted something damning 10 years ago: it’s a rookie mistake, but many people forget to scrub their internet history even after their social media presence takes off. As a resident of the Pokémon EU, I’d guess that Iono has at some point retweeted something that called Kalos’ nationhood into question.
- “Allegations”: she’ll run a joint Twitch stream with 10-year-old Ash Ketchum knowing that a thumbnail alone will get her a bunch of views, but her plan will backfire when people on Reddit accuse her of harassing a minor.
- Not crying hard enough: in response to the “allegations,” Iono will need to create a tearful YouTube response video with the correct amount of tasteful ring light. The lighting in the video will be expertly done due to The Pokémon Company’s many funds. Unfortunately, that will lead the entire Paldea region to see, as clear as day, that the tears produced during her “I have learned from this experience” segment are recycled drops of water from Kyogre’s Drizzle ability.
- Pokémon prank gone wrong: to bounce back from the allegations, Iono will need to pivot. She’ll experiment with lighter fare, like prank videos. All will be well until she posts her “Eating Lechonk PRANK!!! GONE WRONG! (The Cops Came?!)” video to YouTube. Vegetarians and vegans won’t buy that she “accidentally” turned the oven on while Lechonk was inside, and PETA will begin a vaguely sexist ad campaign against her and also get cancelled.
- She is a girl on the internet: self-explanatory.
- Selling her used socks for $50 a pair: her subreddit will claim she’s a wily woman preying on poor, Bambi-eyed men and the allegations, finally blown over, will resurface. She’ll announce in a livestream that she’s taking an indefinite break to focus on being a gym leader, but, happily for her, she’ll still collect at least $100,000 in sock sale passive income.