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Thread: Argument for the Reformation of Pokémon Rights in the Kanto Prefecture

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    Default Argument for the Reformation of Pokémon Rights in the Kanto Prefecture

    Okay, for those of you waiting ever so patiently for the next page of War of the Forums, I sincerely apologize for the delay. I've been overwhelmingly busy, and now that I finally have a free moment, Ada roped me into writing this. (Yes, you did! You dared me to do this! Don't deny it!)

    I won't bother with long introductions. Please enjoy this piece of nonfiction fiction.




    Argument for the Reformation of Pokémon Rights in the Kanto Prefecture
    by Nat Ariel Persson


    "I couldn't have done it without my friend, Rapidash!"

    These were the words of famed trainer Jon Dickson after winning the Johto League Silver Conference championship last year. Dickson is quite correct: as any battling fan knows, the vast majority of Pokémon would have succumbed well before the fourth Body Slam by his opponent's Snorlax. Rapidash, one could argue, was the primary reason for Dickson's victory.

    But whether or not he was aware of it, Dickson illustrated an important point at that press conference. As he clutched his trophy tighter than a hungry baby with a bottle, as he thanked his Pokémon profusely for their determined efforts, the very comrades with whom he claimed to share his glory were nowhere to be found. Rapidash, Rhyhorn, and all the others were tucked away in their Pokéballs, never to be heard from.

    Trainers treat their Pokémon as friends; at least, that's what we tell ourselves. They are our equals, no better or worse than the people who raise them. (Some make exceptions, deeming legendary Pokémon "sacred." Other notable subcultures view all Pokémon as mere tools. These rare cases are moot points.) So why is it, then, that our allies are tossed into their Pokéballs any time it's inconvenient for them to exist in the world?

    "Pokéballs are the most humane method of Pokémon transportation available," claimed the Elite Four's Agatha Kikuko in the February 3 issue of Trainers Weekly. "They offer Pokémon the comfort of a five-star hotel even as their trainers struggle through the severest of conditions. The majority of Pokémon are thankful for their existence."

    The first part of Agatha's statement is beyond debate. Any Charmander with a brain would rather slumber in a Pokéball than trudge through a thunderstorm. Pokéballs, however, are not always welcome retreats. An injured Pokémon may be protected from further harm, and its condition may be stabilized as a result of the Pokéball technology, but what is the excuse for confining perfectly healthy partners?

    There is none. We don't even bother to say "There isn't room for all of them," or "Some people are afraid of Pokémon." Even these invalid answers are too much trouble, as we don't bother to ask the question.

    Are trainers afraid to share their triumphs with their partners? Are they so insensitive as to knowingly cast their Pokémon aside? Or are they simply too ignorant of their own malfeasance to care?

    Ignorance seems an increasingly unlikely reason. Recent research by Prof. Samuel Oak has shed new light on the topic of Pokéball rejection, the formerly obscure phenomenon of Pokémon who dislike Pokéballs. Prior analysis suggested a fear of the containment devices: a variation on human claustrophobia, if you will. But Oak's latest article, "Divisions Among Specie Responses in Regard to Compression and Transportation Devices," demonstrated that many Pokémon experience discomfort inside Pokéballs that range from subtle cramps to severe, psychologically impairing spatial distortions.

    Perhaps the most notable example Oak cited was Pikachu, a favorite of intermediate class trainers. One would think that consistent refusal to enter a Pokéball would indicate a problem to even the most amateur trainer. However, of the 37 anonymous respondents who owned a Pikachu that showed at least "moderate unwillingness" to submit, 25 said they routinely recalled their Pikachu anyway regardless of health or external factors. Convenience, it seems, wins out.

    Why is it that trainers are, in general, unwilling to heed the demands of their partners, their equals? After all, they surely would not impose their wills upon fellow trainers without due cause; one who unduly tries to control the actions of others could be considered a bully at best and a criminal at worst.

    We come, therefore, to the crux of this argument. The ability to recall Pokémon at will is invaluable for any caring trainer; more than a few lives have been saved by this simple act to allow a hasty escape from the most dangerous of situations. Consider the infamous Cinnabar Gym, where even the hardiest of Pokémon could have perished from a simple fall into the magma. There is no arguing with this.

    Unfortunately, their use of this technology has gone too far and created a culture of dominance. When trainers recall their Pokémon for no reason other than convenience, they are exerting power instead of showing concern by controlling not only the actions of their Pokémon but their place in the world as well. It is not about teamwork, but the perception of superiority.

    This shift in power becomes very clear when we consider the trends of Pokémon battling in the last several decades. Early last century, many world leaders tried to stop the budding sport of battling, calling it "a barbaric practice that serves only to unnecessarily shed blood for the entertainment of the masses." Public opinion triumphed, however, and battling flourished; with this success came the Pokémon League and its slogan, "Gotta Catch 'Em All!"

    At the time this phrase was only the result of an unlikely collaboration between trainers and researchers. In time, however, trainers started collecting Pokémon and casting them aside just as quickly, treating each one no better than a bottle cap to be added to an attic shelf. (It should be noted that many Pokémon remain in their Pokéballs even after their trainers leave or die; a 2005 study by Pokémon Researchers of Kanto estimated that over 3,000 Pokémon are still needlessly captive in Kanto alone.)

    From the time of the first rogue battlers to the first title bout on Indigo Plateau, Pokémon trainers only tried to recruit willing partners for their teams. Increasingly, though, the competitive nature of the sport drove many to take all the Pokémon they could grab, disrupting habitats and orphaning infants with little regard. Even after the near-extinction of the Doduo species, this practice continued.

    Pokémon were not friends or even comrades. Modern trainers have grown to view them as subordinates, as tools, and as mere possessions to be collected. Even as we casually talk about "my Torchic," or "her Starly," or "his Chikorita," we propagate the mentality of ownership.

    And, of course, Pokémon are forced to battle even when they may wish otherwise. The Pokémon League has taken measures to prevent this, adding rules such as Forfeiture Condition 3.5.3.2: "Any Pokémon that is unwilling to battle shall be treated in the same manner as one which is unable to use its attacks as described in rule 3.5.1, unless it uses a move within 15 seconds of entering the battle." But this has only further exacerbated the problem. Pokémon who will not battle are treated as dead weight in a team of six and are often discarded at the first opportunity ‒ or, worse yet, disciplined for their timidity. This form of psychological pressure can be devastating to Pokémon, as Prof. Felina Ivy outlined in her 2002 article, "The Rigors of Competition and the Social Ramifications of Abstention."

    These common practices combine to create one devastating reality. We, as a society, have grown to treat our Pokémon companions more as slaves than as friends. Were a human to be caged, confined, and assaulted away from the public eye, we would view it as a tragedy; when it happens to a Pokémon we are more apt to call it "training." The collective desires of individual trainers are all too often imposed upon some of the greatest creatures in existence, and to an extent upon nature itself.

    Why should Pokémon be denied the rights of humans? Many of them, it is well established, are smarter than us. The most obvious examples, Alakazam, have an estimated average IQ of 5,000 across the species. Yet we presume to know what is right for them and to control their destinies, tearing them from their homes and launching them into battle on a whim. (If you would argue that such an intelligent being could avoid capture if it so chose, recognize that nearly 98% of all Alakazam in the Pokémon League, according to Trainers Weekly, were captured as nearly defenseless Abra.)

    If the Pokémon League wishes to "maintain the delicate balance of nature and foster the growing relationship between humans and Pokémon," as it claims in its mission statement, then it must decisively reform its policies. It is not enough simply to ask that trainers within its jurisdiction consult with their Pokémon before recalling them, as the culture of dominance has extended too far to allow for significant trainer input in such an interaction.

    With the exceptions of recalling Pokémon in battle or protecting those that are injured or in imminent danger, there is no reason why a Pokémon cannot choose for itself when, if ever, to return to confinement. A simple tap of the device, as numerous studies have shown, is enough to activate a Pokéball. Release is a more difficult problem, but one which Devon Corporation is already working to resolve; its researchers are developing a Pokéball with an LED light which may be activated from the inside.

    These are simple solutions that escape any undue inconvenience, yet they cannot be effective without force. Only the Pokémon League has the authority to change the rules governing Kanto trainers, so it must take responsibility for the well-being of Pokémon in the care of trainers who they license. The treatment of Pokémon by its legion of trainers has long since crossed the boundary of inhumanity, but simple action by authorities at the birthplace of battling can send us on the road to rectifying our wrongs. Continuing in this fashion is not only hopelessly cruel, but it risks a great deal of well-deserved backlash from our closest "friends."




    References

    Devon Corporation. (2007). Annual Shareholder Report. Rustboro: Stone Press.

    Gabby, S. (2008, February 3). Agatha Kikuko ‒ Elite Four Exclusive! Trainers Weekly, 265, 19-25.

    Goodshow, C. (Ed.). (1991). Pokémon League Official Rulebook. Indigo Plateau: Competitive Pokémon Battling Association.

    Ivy, F. (2002). The Rigors of Competition and the Social Ramifications of Abstention. Journal of Pokémon Battle Theory, 8(15), 41-57.

    Krane, J. (1997). A History of Pokémon Battling. Agate, Orre: Pokémon Research Foundation.

    Oak, S. (2007). Divisions Among Specie Responses in Regard to Compression and Transportation Devices. Pokémon Research Quarterly, 38(30), 58-91.

    Roxy, D. (2007, December 9). Top Trainer Trends. Trainers Weekly, 258, 41-45.
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    Default Re: Argument for the Reformation of Pokémon Rights in the Kanto Prefecture

    A research paper for the Pokemon world? That's original.

    Make a paper arguing the opposite. That would be interesting too.


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    Default Re: Argument for the Reformation of Pokémon Rights in the Kanto Prefecture

    Hmm I kinda feel bad actually rating this because its not like its a story designed to be rated or anything. But nonetheless, I will have a go.

    Its confusing, it reads like an editorial/opinion piece for a newspaper rather than a research/academic paper. I guess thats the first thing I have to say. I find it confusing that you provide references and yet theres no actual in-text referencing or endnotes/footnotes, which I find weakens the argument a bit. I feel it needs some type of hypothesis statement, which, I can't see.

    There is no arguing with this.
    - That is not a statement that should appear in any academic or research type essay/project.

    The first part of Agatha's statement is beyond debate
    - Not to be used in an academic essay.

    The writing is very good, it reads easily and flows superbly. I really can't find any error in the sentence structure or anything like that.

    I don't find it particularly academic and thats my main point, is to treat this as an editorial or opinion piece for either a newspaper or a specialist magazine. Suggestion of something like, PHS. Quarterly - Pokemon Humane Society (obviously make up your own title etc because but you get idea about it). That way you don't have to edit anything other than removing the referencing.

    Otherwise I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. So well done.
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    Default Re: Argument for the Reformation of Pokémon Rights in the Kanto Prefecture

    That was super cute! The idea, I like the whole...idea...thing. Ah, that sentence got away from me! ^-^ Now, Sir Pika, get back to work! *scampers away*
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    Default Re: Argument for the Reformation of Pokémon Rights in the Kanto Prefecture

    A whole new kind of fiction at TPM, if you ask me! Once more (as with WoTF, well done!

    I felt like it could be something you (in the PokéVerse) write after having a discussion as you may see at General Discussion sometimes.
    For the first autonomous paper I've seen written like this (outside of a FanFic), it's very recommendable!
    The references to PokéDex entries (Alakazam) and the Anime (Pikachu) are nice, but maybe too obvious. For a future paper, maybe add some references that aren't understand but by a PokéFanatic as yourself.

    Do you want marks with that? B++!
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    Default Re: Argument for the Reformation of Pokémon Rights in the Kanto Prefecture

    I think rabid WotF fans will have my head for daring you. Oh well, it turned out well, so it's all that matters! It's weird criticising this because it's written by a fictional character. The good stuff is obviously to your credit but the bad stuff could just be character, right? I reckon "my Torchic" could be argued to be equivalent to something like "my friend", which doesn't have a trace of possessiveness. The very fact that these Pokemon don't have names and are referred to instead as 'my Torchic" shows a lack of equality though; their only identity is their species for catch-'em-all purposes. As firepokemon said, the points flow very nicely into each other and the argument is strong, although sometimes it does get too tabloid-like for an essay ("devastating reality" anyone?) It might have been better to have a broad introduction rather than jumping into Pokeballs right at the beginning though; I almost forgot it was an essay on Pokemon rights in general. Oh, and I love the references although footnotes would look more academic (and I'm sure are a pain to format on the forums).
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    Default Re: Argument for the Reformation of Pokémon Rights in the Kanto Prefecture

    I agree it is too opinionated to be a true essay. My english 1A teacher would most likely not give this a passing grade for the clear bias tone of the writing.
    That aside it is nicely written, but I have to say I disagree with the speakers' viewpoint .
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    Default Re: Argument for the Reformation of Pokémon Rights in the Kanto Prefecture

    Almost as boring as an article in a Finnish newspaper in reality...

    Oh, forget what I said, it was actually interesting and original. But I wouldn't have read this if Inferno_Dragon hadn't quoted it in PCG.

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    Default Re: Argument for the Reformation of Pokémon Rights in the Kanto Prefecture

    PsiUmbreon: Yeah, it isn't the sort of thing you see very often.

    A paper arguing that Pokemon are our slaves, or that we aren't infringing upon their rights? Hmm... interesting either way.


    fp: Hey, don't feel bad! I wouldn't have posted it if I didn't want genuine comments!

    I considered endnotes but, like Ada said, that probably would have been next to impossible with the forum formatting. I might edit in some if I can figure out a good way to do it... or just use standard in-text citations. Meh.

    It's funny you mentioned the "there is no arguing with this" trend, as that was actually intentional. I considered adding "teacher's comments" and a grade, or something, but decided to leave it as though it was a standard research paper. It would be weird to have a grade for an obvious gimmick like "Nat Ariel Persson," anyway. So I just decided to make it slightly amateurish.

    The intro, on the other hand... I cannot believe I forgot section divisions. Clearly, it's been far too long since I've read a peer-reviewed research paper.

    Thanks for the honest critique, fp! I'll keep your comments in mind in case I decide to do a project like this again.


    HL: Hehe! Yeah, I thought it was a fun idea... as I mentioned before, Ada challenged me to write a piece of nonfiction fiction, so here we are. Glad you liked it!


    Mike: A whole new type of fiction, huh? I didn't think it was quite that original... could've sworn I saw something like this several years back. Maybe I should look through the old fics when I get a chance.

    Yeah, I've had some crazy debates in GD. One of my favorites was the whole "Fire Blast kanji" argument... that one was awesome.

    As for the "obvious references" thing, I think you may have missed a few of my obscure ones... *laughs heartily*

    Thanks for the grade! I was going to limit myself to a B+, but I'll take an extra mark any day! ^_^


    Ada: *grabs guillotine*

    All kidding aside, this was a fun piece to write. Probably should've taken more than a day to work on it, but that's how long I usually spend on papers anyway.

    I actually disagree with you on the "my Torchic" part, because in that context it's a name rather than a general term. I wouldn't say, for instance, "my Ada," because that would probably creep you out. For good reason. (If it was instead used as the species, it would be the equivalent of "my person"... also bad.) The general species aspect is also a good point that probably should have been noted. The "devastating" comment is duly noted; I definitely used that word a few too many times, now that I think of it. And yeah, that missing introduction was a big mistake... agh!

    As for footnotes, does anyone know how to do superscript on TPM? Anyone?


    Orange: Ooh, ouch! Well, I will say that I've seen more than one type of essay; this was designed to be an "argument" more than an "analysis." But you do make a good point, and it reminds me of some of the things fp said as well. Too strong a claim with too little reasoning. Still, I'm glad you liked the writing style over all. I'll try to work on the legitimacy in the future.


    Mikachu: Whew, catching more flak! Well, I suppose that's the downside of nonfiction fiction... since we don't live in the fictional world, the morality isn't striking enough to carry the piece. But I'm still glad I did the experiment.
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    Default Re: Argument for the Reformation of Pokémon Rights in the Kanto Prefecture

    Hehe, this was cool. I mean, essays are never fun. But this was a very interesting challenge from Ada, and an even more interesting execution from you, Brian. As interesting as you can make this kind of stuff, anyway...

    Nat Ariel Persson? I had to actually write that before I realised what it stood for. I hate you.

    I thought overall it read like something you might find in a newspaper's editorial section. An opinionated editor having a go at something. Grouse.

    Oddly, my favourite bit was the part about an estimated 3,000 pokemon left to die in their pokeballs. I think I need help.

    Good procrastination, at any rate.

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    Default Re: Argument for the Reformation of Pokémon Rights in the Kanto Prefecture

    Many of those points have been raised before, but you've written an interesting and coherent essay. Funny, I wrote something about the use of pokeballs in the Battle Range story which I started over a month ago and haven't yet finished (from a Caledorian point of view, and Caledor is more progressive than Kanto in that sense). I'd like you to read it when it's done.

    I liked this especially because it could be in-continuity with the Battle Range.

    And no, it is not my intention to shamelessly plug the Battle Range (even if I'm probably doing so), it's just that I was impressed by how well both stories fit together.

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    Default Re: Argument for the Reformation of Pokémon Rights in the Kanto Prefecture

    O.o Ok, well Brain I agree that it's very well written, it some what reminds me of the old Mystery 101 and 102 we used to have on the main site, or more like the Editorials even thought I forgot what they were about. the only one I truly recall is the Dragon report. ^^;

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    Default Re: Argument for the Reformation of Pokémon Rights in the Kanto Prefecture

    This was cool. ^^ I found it very readable, and thought that it offered some very interesting points. I also thought that the references were a nice touch. So was the whole "Nat Ariel Persson" thing--I couldn't help but laugh at that. XD

    I'm glad you were dared to write this; it made for a good read. ^^

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    Default Re: Argument for the Reformation of Pokémon Rights in the Kanto Prefecture

    This was an interesting piece of non-ficition, Mr. Pikachu. (BTW, shameless plug for all your people who replied - go over to the Writer's Lounge and read my Pokemon Mystery Dungeon thread! I need more people to participate! )

    I think Ash and his friends are the "humane" trainers who don't just stuff their Pokémon into their Pokéballs for convenience. They keep them there while traveling, but once in a while they let them out to play or eat. (I've seen a few scenes where the Pokemon share the table with their trainers!)

    But I feel guilty of pumping a lot of random Pokemon in my computer in the games just to fill out my Pokedex. I should release everyone I don't plan on training. The poor things.

    Maybe we should write a petition to Nintendo asking them to change the game mechanics of the 5th generation(Pokemon Aether/Plasma, anyone?) so that you can let one of your Pokemon follow your around and interact with you like in Pokemon Yellow and have some of the NPCs stand next to Pokemon and talk about them, just so that the player gets the feeling that he should treat Pokemon with more respect.

    Oh yeah, and they should ditch the mandatory use of HM moves, or at least have them work like in the old Mystery Dungeon games(just have it in your inventory and get the badge, then any Pokemon in your team capable of learning the move will use it even if it's not a part of their movelist); this way, we can make HM Slaves obsolete. (I mean, the name itself is degrading - HM "slaves.")

    Great work, Mr. Pikachu.
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    Default Re: Argument for the Reformation of Pokémon Rights in the Kanto Prefecture

    I've never had HM slaves. I had a rotating team of 10 active pokemon, which allowed enough room for each of the TMs... even more than one pokemon for Surf.

    Although I admit I had many other pokemon stuck in my PC, if it hadn't been just a game, I wouldn't have caught them in the first place. It would be too cruel to imprison a living creature just to get a new Pokedex entry.

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