10 Things You Should Never Say To A Pokémon Fan

10 Things You Should Never Say To A Pokémon Fan

Pokémon fans come in all shapes and sizes. There are the competitive sickos, the shiny hunters, or the lore nerds that just want to learn more about Game Freak’s world with each game. On top of that, there’s anime watchers, card game collectors, Pokémon Go players whose biggest touchstone with Pikachu is catching one on their walk. There’s just such a wide breadth of Pokémon fans that each of them has their own view of what the series is all about. So when it comes to things you shouldn’t say to a Pokémon fan, there are plenty of rakes to step on that might not apply to every circle. But we can cover the bases.

“I don’t care about EVs, IVs, Natures”

Screenshot: The Pokémon Company / Kotaku

If you’re like most Pokémon fans, you create your team of six almost entirely on vibes. Yeah, Beautifly isn’t that great, but I love and would die for her and mediocre stats. But for others, Pokémon aren’t just friends, they are numbers on a spreadsheet that are connected to movesets and abilities that make them the ultimate competitive battling machine. Oh, your favorite Pokémon is a cutie patootie and you have an adorable plush of them on your desk because they bring you joy? Good luck becoming champion if it hasn’t been hyper-trained for optimal stats.

“I just catch my Pokémon in whatever ball I have”

Image: The Pokémon Company / Bulbapedia (Fair Use)

For me, I love the classic red-and-white Poké Ball. I love the uniform look of a party of six all in that clean, iconic capture device. Others are a little more particular about which Poké Ball they use to capture their Pokémon. Some want the balls on their belt to be aesthetic. Catch your favorite fairy-type Pokémon in a Love Ball because it’s pink and you want to make Margot Robbie’s Barbie proud. Use a Dive Ball on your favorite water Pokémon because it will remind it of its sea home that you stole it from.

But don’t tell a Pokémon fan you just use whatever Poké Ball you have on hand. Quick Balls are effective for catching a critter right at the beginning of a fight, but they’re ugly. Don’t just chuck a Heavy Ball at a Gastly when that thing is weightless and you could use that ball to capture something heavier. These balls have inherent effects that make choosing which one to use a big part of the strategy, and they’re a small part of the expression you get because it’s part of the customization. But shit, sometimes you’re 50 Ultra Balls in and you’re just tired and start throwing out whatever’s in your bag. Your Poké Balls are ugly but it was an ugly, arduous process to get the little shit to stay in the ball.

“Shinies are ugly”

Image: The Pokémon Company / Bulbapedia (Fair Use)

Look, Shiny hunters work hard to find their rare, differently-colored Pokémon, and there is no need to diminish their perseverance and accomplishments in collecting the rarities in a game all about collecting things. Sure, large swaths of the shiny Pokémon in these games look much worse than the original, but it’s not about how good they look. It’s about the principle of the matter. Don’t tear them down just because their Pokémon are ugly. They worked really hard to find those uggos.

“Kanto Pokémon weren’t that great”

Image: The Pokémon Company / Bulbapedia (Fair Use)

The nostalgia for the first-generation Pokémon is very strong, but love for the first 151 is still pretty ingrained in modern fandom because Game Freak loves to spotlight them. A lot of complaints around some recent new additions like Scarlet and Violet’s Flamigo, which is mostly just a flamingo, have centered around a perceived simplicity. Which, yes, there are some real stinkers in recent games, but if you point out that some of the earliest Pokémon designs were also pretty much just animals with a bit of elemental styling like Seel or Charmander, a genwunner will likely clap back. You don’t need that. Enjoy your simple little guys. Don’t open that can of Wurmples.

“I don’t feel like Charizard gets enough love”

Image: The Pokémon Company / Bulbapedia (Fair Use)

There are two reasons to not say this to a Pokémon fan. 1. You’d be wrong. 2. One of the notable effects of Gen I nostalgia and The Pokémon Company’s willingness to play into it is that it’s bred some resentment from folks who love anything that’s come after those original Game Boy games. As the series mascot, Pikachu is inevitably going to be repeatedly featured with new forms, significant anime appearances, and is going to be catchable in most games. But there’s a strong sentiment that Charizard, the iconic fire starter from the first generation, is featured too heavily. He gets two mega forms, has a gigantamax form, and his original card is still one of the highest-value pieces of Pokémon merchandise. But now that Pokémon games no longer feature every Pokémon, some feel that the not-dragon is taking up a seat at the table for other starters from later generations.

“I didn’t cry during The First Movie”

The Pokemon Company / RLDP Pokemon Battle

Ash’s near death in Pokémon: The FIrst Movie is a moment of collective trauma for millennials, and when Pikachu and the other Pokémon cried to bring him back to life, those were our tears, too. No need to let anyone know you watched this scene with the deadpan expression of a Ditto.

“Do they really need to include every Pokémon in the next game?”

Screenshot: The Pokémon Company / Kotaku

Look, there are a lot of logistical reasons for why Game Freak stopped making every Pokémon available in each game during Sword and Shield. There’s also a lot of very valid criticism that removing Pokémon from mainline games feels directly at odds with a series that is all about attachment between player and pocket monster. But this argument has been going on for four years and Game Freak seems intent on standing its ground on this issue. So just spare yourself the headache of digging that grave.

“Can you explain the card game rules to me?”

Image: The Pokémon Company

No, I just like the pretty pictures.

“Let’s Go is my favourite game”

Image: The Pokémon Company

Hey, Pokémon Let’s Go, Pikachu and Let’s Go, Eevee had some cool ideas. The remake of Pokémon Yellow is one of the best examples of a game really weaving in the theme of friendship between you and your titular starter, and because it was streamlined with only the original 151 Pokémon it cut out a lot of the glut that can weigh down other mainline games. It’s approachable, and likable, and the vibes are just good. But it also is such an off-the-beaten-path choice with so many controversial design decisions (motion controls and Pokémon Go-style catching mechanics remain controversial to this day) that you’re bound to get a weird look if you say it’s your favourite. Live your truth, friend. Just, you know, be ready for someone to get suddenly inquisitive.

“So it’s like a Digimon knockoff?”

Image: Toei Animation

Okay, now you’re just trying to start a fight.

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