Lazy Cat Thoughts: A Pokemon by any Other Name

I’d like to take this opportunity as the holidays approach to introduce a new miniblog format, Lazy Cat Thoughts. These will be small personal thoughts that I may have and would like to express, they will be significantly less formal and won’t be on any kind of schedule, they will just appear from the aether thanks to a process that no one understands, though this one will take the place of my normal weekly Blog as I’m working on something bigger for next week (it’s an essay 😉 ). So without further ado, here’s a lazy cats thoughts on Pokemon.

With all of the articles I’ve been reading (and in some cases writing) about gender identity lately it has of course been on my mind. I was watching LavaPlume’s Pokemon Let’s Play videos on YouTube (in which incidentally I am currently guest playing) and she took one of her Pokemon to the Name Rater, this is an NPC who can help you change the name of your Pokemon. This trip to the Name rater had me thinking, is changing a Pokemons name like changing ones gender?

Name_Rater_ORAS

“You’re right, that does seem to fit better. Nicely done!” – Name Rater

Later I decided this didn’t quite make sense, but the underlying point had some meat to it, in the Pokemon games each Pokemon is depicted by an identical sprite, with a few notable exceptions such a Spinda whose spots are always in different place. Most Pokemon even look the same regardless of gender, Nidoran being the only major difference, the males and females being represented as wholly different Pokemon. The only way you can personalise your Pokemon is its name, it could be argued the move set can also manifest this but at first glance this is not visible. The name you give your Pokemon gives it an identity, I don’t know about you, but I never changed my Pokemons names willy nilly, it was always a major decision if I decided to change their name. In my mind so is deciding/realising/committing to being a different gender, which I think is where I made the connection.

Random fact I discovered while exploring this subject; a female Azurill had a 1 in 3 chance to change gender when evolving into Marill until the release of Pokemon X and Y, it’s unclear as to whether this was a bug, but after X and Y it no longer happened. If it was intentional it’s an intruiging concept to say the least.

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