It got me thinking, though: that was a fun summer, wasn't it, when the Pokémon Go craze swept the world? I never did download the app, but I still appreciated how it brought people together. I may have even used Pokémon as a conversation starter myself once or twice during that time.
|Works every time.|
Image credit: Yuuki_Radosian on Anime Forums
A few months ago I introduced my sons to the original Pokémon anime, and we've had Pokémon fever ever since. In March I got to hear the Utah Symphony perform music from the Pokémon video games, and I was still on an emotional high from that when the boys and I finished the Pokémon XY anime in June (which is even better than the original show, so go watch it on Netflix right now!).
I have often asked myself, why does Pokémon draw me in so completely? What is it about these TV shows and games that I just can't resist? And I finally realized it's not necessarily the variety of cool creatures or the sense of adventure.
It's the world.
Numerous bloggers have already expressed what they find disturbing about the Pokémon world. And let's just clear the air here: yes, the entire society is built on animal fighting. Michael Vick would probably be considered some kind of hero there, and that's just plain messed up.
But I would jump at any opportunity to live in the Pokémon world. Animal fighting aside, that place has a lot going for it--and, in my opinion, is even better than the world we currently live in.
Here are ten reasons the Pokémon world is better than our own:
1. Children Can Travel Alone
Almost any article about the disturbing aspects of the Pokémon world will include something about children leaving home on cross-country, often solitary treks in search of wild Pokémon and ever-intensifying battles.
Sure, anything you let your children do sounds dangerous and irresponsible if you put it like that. But think of it this way: shouldn't the fact that so many parents feel comfortable sending their children on Pokémon journeys say something positive about the world they live in? Of course it wouldn't fly in our world. But apparently the Pokémon world is safe enough for children to travel alone in, and I find that worth aspiring to as a civilization.
|Image credit: Imgur|
2. You Always Have Friends
Even if things do get a little hairy, you're never really alone anyway in the world of Pokémon--at least if you have a Pokémon of your own. No matter how safe the world is, I'm sure any parent would sleep better at night knowing their son or daughter had a Charizard with them.
But it's not just a safety thing. If you have Pokémon, you never even need to feel lonely (unless you have a Snorlax, but they can be fun sometimes, too). Those Pokéballs on your belt are there for you no matter what, whether you're hiking alone through the forest or need someone to go clubbing with. We all wish we had friends like that.
3. All That Walking Is Good for Your Health
You may see the occasional car or truck in the Pokémon world, but no one really drives anywhere. Cities and towns are connected not by highways, but by foot and bike trails. All that walking means better health--and longer life. No wonder Ash Ketchum still looks so young after all these years.
Bonus: if you really want to get your blood pumping, swarms of Beedrill aren't hard to provoke, either.
|Spoiler: he threw a rock at a Spearow and has been running ever since.|
Image credit: Know Your Meme
4. Clean Air Makes Breathing Fun
People walking and biking everywhere also means dramatically lower vehicle emissions polluting the air. And while pollution and waste management remain challenges for the Pokémon world (as evidenced by Pokémon like Trubbish, for example), I guarantee any place there provides a much more pleasant respiratory experience than, say, Los Angeles or Pittsburgh. Citizens of the Pokémon world actually enjoy breathing--ten out of ten would do it again.
5. You Can Afford Healthcare
Clean air and an active lifestyle help, but eventually everyone gets hurt or sick. In the Pokémon world, however, you don't have to start a crowdfunding campaign to pay medical bills. (Actually, you don't have to do that lots of places, but that's none of my business.) Just drop into any Pokémon center and the friendly nurse will heal your Pokémon for free, any problem, any time. And if you can get that kind of service for veterinary care, just imagine what they can do for people! The folks in the Pokémon world have got this healthcare thing figured out.
|Image credit: Reddit|
6. Gender Equality Is a Thing--Or at Least It's Pretty Darn Close
Speaking of friendly nurses, every town has a Nurse Joy and an Officer Jenny. Let's ignore the rabbit hole of explanations for the multitude of identical nurses and police officers and appreciate, instead, that no one makes a big deal out of them being women. They give orders, excel at their jobs, and are respected in their communities. And female gym leaders? No one ever cries about getting beaten by a girl when they win.
Plenty of men hold important positions and do well in the Pokémon world, too. But where they live, it doesn't matter that they're men. And the fact that even I'm making a big deal out of this shows that in our world, we still have a long way to go.
|"Talk about a family resemblance."|
Image credit: TV Tropes
7. Dirty Politicians Aren't a Thing
With the exception of an occasional mayor, the Pokémon world lacks any visibly structured government. I'm not endorsing anarchy here; I just want to point out that a lack of structured government also means a lack of dirty politicians.
In general, citizens of the Pokémon world look to the heads of their local Pokémon gyms for leadership. And given that the majority of gym leaders are good, wise, experienced people, I'd say their world is in worthy hands. Know who could really "make America great again"? I've got a list of 'em.
|Starting with Olympia, of course. Because the whole future sight thing.|
Image credit: Giphy
8. Crime Almost Doesn't Even Exist
Here's another reason parents might feel okay letting their kids roam the country on their own: the crime rate in the Pokémon world is practically zero percent. Sure, nefarious organizations like Team Rocket like to steal Pokémon, and others like Team Aqua and Team Magma are into eco-terrorism, but it's not the kind of stuff you'd worry about day to day. Things like drug dealing, murder, sexual assault? Unheard of.
9. Guns Almost Don't Exist, Either
Sure, something that shoots a net or tranquilizer darts will show up now and then, and there was that one awkward moment in the anime when Ash ran into a store and had a bunch of guns pulled on him. But other than that, where are the guns in the Pokémon world? No one has them.
I'm not here to debate gun policy. But reasonable people can agree that, assuming the bad guys can't get them, either, a world without guns is a safer, happier place.
Well, in the Pokémon world, the bad guys don't have guns. And considering the low crime rate and undesirability of Pokémon for game meat, no one needs guns. Fire-breathing flying lizards, on the other hand. . . .
10. People Live in Peace with Animals
I consider this one of the most endearing things about the Pokémon world: people living in peace with Pokémon. They work together, play together, grow old together. People see Pokémon as their friends. Businesses welcome Pokémon in their doors. Major elements of the infrastructure exist to make Pokémon comfortable.
I believe the way we treat animals says a lot about us. And yeah, the Pokémon world has the whole animal fighting problem--but look at what happens outside the arena, too. Their animals are the heart of everything they do. They're not perfect, by any stretch of the imagination. But between our two worlds, I believe the people of the Pokémon world are ahead of the game.
We have a lot to learn.
|Image credit: TV Tropes|
Know any other reasons the Pokémon world rocks? Share them in the comments!