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Original content (this page; 2000)
(+ related ep. updates, notes)
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Additional content (2003-12)
Pokémon and Prejudice...
t's one thing for parents and teachers to not understand Pokémon - in fact, it's expected - and considering that fans (i.e. their children/students) experience the world of Pokémon through comic books [manga] (*gasp!*), television (*bigger gasp!*), and video games (*faints!!*), it may be difficult for adults to see beyond the stereotypes. But there's a difference between just not understanding and forming opinions and campaigns against it based on ignorance. The media (i.e. TV/film critics, parenting 'experts', etc...) seems to be the universal translator of Pokémon to baffled adults, but where do they get their information? I ask, 'what information?' From movie reviews to talk show toy segments, almost every adult who has ever had to report on Pokémon begins their dialogue with something like 'I don't know the first thing about Pokey-MAN...' followed by more cruel jokes than descriptions of the film or products they are supposed to be telling their viewers about.
eleased during the height the Pokémon phenomenon (namely the first film with its irrelevant U.S. pop teen idol soundtrack), the first two films endured the harshest criticism compared to other Pokémon media events. Both heavy with issues parallelling those faced by our planet's own non-human creatures, their important messages went unnoticed by critics who instead translated the movies' themes into subliminal messages about the card game and its influence on kids. During the scene in "Mewtwo Strikes Back" (Pokémon: The First Movie [Myuutwo Strikes Back]) where the jealous and humiliated artificially-created Mewtwo along with the other cloned Pokémon are urged by Ash to stop the senseless fighting against the Pokémon born of this world, the story which centered around the genetic enhancement of innocent creatures for humans' own personal gain and the realization that despite their origins, all Pokémon are equal living beings was lost (the fault of 4Kids' deliberately poor English dubbing; which doesn't surprise me, also being a Sailor Moon fan, initially dubbed just as badly by DIC) and replaced with the theory that battles with (or battles over) Pokémon cards had become too violent among kids. They also tried to sneak this one into the 3rd movie ("Spell of the Unown" [Emperor of the Crystal Tower]), but the argument against fighting was too relevant to the story to be taken so grossly out of context. And in "The Power of One" (Pokémon 2000 [Revelation Lugia!]), a one-liner that
targeted humans' insensitivity and selfishness of keeping exotic animals in private collections was twisted by critics
to mean that kids should not collect Pokémon cards¹. And while that one individual began his 'collection' with a mere Mew card, unfortunately, it grew to the point where he could no longer see the difference between displaying objects and caging living beings. The villain was the guy on the screen wreaking havoc by removing the birds from their natural elements, not the kids sitting in the audience with pockets full of inanimate trading cards!
ow is all this supposed to help those poor confused parents? It doesn't and it only leaves adults to form their own notions about Pokémon...and could very well leave their children with the message that it's okay to be prejudice. History always repeats itself. In one of the animé's most important episodes, a mother's deep-rooted disdain for Pokémon is 'unmasked' by a supportive, pro-Pokémon father when she realizes that carrying this hatred not only hurt her husband and her son caught in the middle, but also herself.
|Text and artwork copyright © 2000-2013 by Kimberly (RageOfInnocence)
Pokémon © Satoshi Tajiri, Nintendo/Creatures, Inc./Game Freak, The Pokémon Company International
The beautiful screenshots of Ash, Pikachu, and their friends and Pokémon are from various themes and episodes from Pokémon
(Kanto/Orange Islands/Johto series), Advanced Generation, Diamond & Pearl, and Best Wishes!/Black & White
Dream Valley | Oak Branch Woods | We All Live in a Pokémon World | Kimberly's Attic