If you had animals that could control the elements, produce matter and energy from nowhere, control minds, grow plants, transmutate matter and themselves, and perform magic, how would you utilize them? Why, cockfights, of course!
Welcome to the Pokemon universe! You may notice a few peculiarities.
A complete absence of leash laws, for starters.
For instance, here we named all the animal species after the only sound they are capable of making, and then call them that as their individual name, too. It's like if we named dog's "arfs" and then you named your pet arf Arf. Can you imagine what the situation is in the pound or the veteranarian's office?
"NEXT! Pikachu? Is there a Pikachu here?"
Furthermore, these animals exhibit almost no connection to the food chain, and while there is the niggling worry that every time Ash eats a hamburger it is actually made of a Miltank - or that a dinner of Peking duck, lemon chicken and a side of radish is really some kid's Psyduck, Spearow and Oddish stolen by Team Rocket and sold to the local Chinese restaurant - I suppose we live with the same feeling about our world and cats (still, best not to mention Ash's morning omlette and Misty's missing Togepii).
And all these Pokemon can perform amazing, often physics-defying traits, and even in a universe where bad guys can stalk and attack a trio of children for more than 600 episodes, no one thinks it's weird. Pokemon can create energy blasts, electric spikes, water torrents, all using far more energy than they could possibly maintain and more fuel than they could possibly hold. Meowths can apparently teach themselves to talk and stand bipedally if they really want to. A Koffing is essentially pollution with a face. Geodude is a sentient rock. A Rapidash is a horse or unicorn-like creature whose abilities to be ridden are negligible seeing as its hooves and mane are consistently and perpetually on fire. With training and time, these Pokemon can evolve into more complex and powerful form, which somehow manages to laugh in the face of Darwinism while simultaneously shitting all over Intelligent Design.
Darwin's Theory of Evolution: ur doin it rong!
And yet none of this is as weird as how humans interact with these creatures. They take them as pets, train them, keep them in tiny cages when they are not needed, and then make them fight. The only thing separating Ash Ketchum from a Guatemalan dog-fight ring is that his pets shoot electricity and use vine whips. Of course, everyone in the Pokemon universe is mentally retarded, so no one sees anything peculiar in a ten-year-old boy who wanders through the countryside picking battles with people to earn badges and collecting new animals like an obsessive-compulsive zookeeper. Which means not only is he a prepubescent animal abusing runaway, but he is also an animal hoarder, a psychological disorder now recognized by the DSM. Ash is the Everyman to help us relate to how people in this universe interact with their pets, and apparently, he's fucking crazy. Also, he sounds like a girl.
He is ruled by the Dark Side.
But these are just some of the obvious oversights to living with the Pokemon. The most implausible thing here is not how we do use them, but now we don't.
Think about mankind's history with the animal kingdom. We use horses and mules for their pulling power. We use cows, chickens, ducks and goats for their products and meat. We also use cows for leather and sheep for wool. We use cats to keep down the rodent population. We use dogs to hunt.
See the reoccuring theme there? We use animals. If they serve no use to us and present a danger - as, say, wolves or a flying ball of electricity such as Voltorb - we systematically kill them. Whereas in the Pokemon universe we leave them alone so that a child is attacked by wild feral animals whenever he goes in the ocean, in a cave, in the forest, or even through tall grass.
What we rarely use animals for is cage matches. It is, in fact, specifically prohibited by law. There are only a few places on earth where it's cool for a human to run in front of a bull or taunt it with a cape, and certainly nowhere for a cat to do it.
Also, Furries use them. But we don't talk about that.
The Pokemon universe is full of animals with amazing abilities, but it ignores the basic truth that we would use them for our own purposes beyond earning badges or collecting them, as though pets were trading cards.
Now admittedly some of these examples may get used once or twice in the anime, maybe even have a whole episode dedicated to them. That's not the point. The point is THEY SHOULD BE THE BACKBONE OF THE FUCKING ECONOMY.
Just one of these attacks could power your iPod for a year.
The second law of thermal dynamics states that energy is never gained or lost, only transformed. Yet many of these Pokemon, specifically the electric type, can generate massive amounts of energy. Some creatures in nature can do this as well, such as the electric eel, but none to the point of actually producing visible electrical arcs. Whereas Pikachu routinely blasts Team Rocket with flashes that result in muscle damage, superficial burns, and them blasting off again. The average flash burn arc that puts people in a hospital without killing them is still more than 10,000 degrees Celsius. I don't know how much electricity it takes to shoot someone into the stratosphere, but it's probably a lot.
The horrible truth is that Team Rocket spent many, many days hospitalized after each run-in with Ash and the gang.
But imagine now, if you will, if that was power harnessed for productive use. Imagine ten thousand Pikachu (or even better, their more evolved Raichu) hooked up to generators. For the cost of feeding a large zoo you produce enough energy to power the Eastern Sea Board. Clean, renewable energy.
Now imagine it less horrible.
Pikachus are too cute to put in cages? Fine. Get Voltorb, Electabuzz, Magneton, Electrode, Zapdos, or Ampharos. Even the animal rights people won't find much support for floating orbs and giant insects who try to mate with the bug zapper.
Sure, some cities do use pokemon this way, sticking an electric pokemon in the middle of their power plant. But that's a gross oversimplification that substitutes Pokemon for plutonium.There would BE no power plants, NO power lines, NO gasoline stations. Every house, business car, plane, in fact anything which requires more juice than the average iPod would be powered by Pikachus and fueled by poke-kibble. A lithium battery costs way more in terms of dollars and carbon footprints than a pokeball.
And if you want to make jokes about the waste ten thousand Pokemon will produce, keep in mind that many dairy farms are methane powered for precisely that reason.
Or if that seems a little too cruel, let's take a step back technologically, and go for steam.
It can power anything
Between a Charizard and a Blastoise, or any fire and water Pokemon, you produce incredible amounts of steam, which can be used to generate motion and energy on a smaller scale. Or just use either of them. Train enough Blastoises or Palkias or other water-type Pokemon and they could turn any creek into a mighty river to power a hydroelectric dam. Aim the Charizards and Charmelions into a furnace and it gets hot enough to burn anything to complete incineration - including garbage or biological waste from an electric-type Pokemon energy factory - and produce plenty of heat on the side that can also be an energy source.
Pokemon are conveyed about via Pokeballs, small orbs thrown at the creatures that suck the animal into them and keep them there.
Like this, but humane.
While in a Pokeball the creature is essentially in stasis. They exhibit no need for food, air, or stimulation, and you need only take them out to stretch their legs if you are feeling particularly inclined to clean up their leavings.
Meanwhile, in the real world, America spends billions of dollars every year on an increasingly overburdened prison system. Criminals behind bars wind up engaging solely with other criminals behind bars, learning new and interesting ways to break the law and spending their significant free time doing pushups and situps so that they become even more intimidting.
Inefficient. And the orange totally clashes with the drapes.
But imagine if Pokeballs could be converted to work on humans. Criminals could be safely contained. The legal system would not be caught up in appeals, and the entire U.S. prison system could be safely confined to a large warehouse. Prisoners would require no food, no guards, no medicines, no shower rape, no nothing, just a slot on a shelf.
Though we would miss the personal touch that carbonite provides.
If worked right, this would extend to other areas of law enforcement as well. Police would have no need to draw their guns or even use pepper spray. They wouldn't even have to carry handcuffs any longer. All that would be required to incapacitate a suspect is a good pitching arm.
Now, the obvious problem is that Pokemon can only be captured in Pokeballs when they are weak. That is why you fight them when you come across them in the wild. Fine. Everyone's gotta sleep sometime. Keep your prisoners in confinement behind traditional bars until they nod off, then throw your Pokeball at them. The obvious advantages are worth exploring.
Humans have used animals for transporation for ages. Horses, donkeys, mules, elephants, rhinos, hippos, bulls, and even ostriches! Anything large enough to carry us or cart our shit around qualifies.
Sometimes in ways that don't even really make sense.
But in the Pokemon universe, we carry them around. Granted, we do it by encasing them in tiny Pokeballs that clip to the belt, but even this is heavy enough that a young man could only carry a half-dozen or so around at a time (at least according to the logical extrapolation of game mechanics).
But there are plenty of animals with the size and/or strength to carry us, and unlike Rapidash, not all of them are on fire (although, granted, a lot of them are). Dragon-type Pokemon, flying-type Pokemon, or even creatures that are just plain big like Ryhorn qualify as good providers of horsepower. If everyone kept a pet Aerodactyl or Moltres, the hell that is the airport industry would disappear. Why not ride a Ponyta to work, since according to their stats they go almost as fast as a car? Or if you are feeling particularly lazy, get a few Pokemon to pull your lazy ass in a cart. All of these Pokemon require zero fossil fuels and are emission-free.
To say nothing of the Pokemon who can actually teleport. Abra, Mew, and a slew of others can achieve literal instantaneous matter translocation, beamed up like fucking Scotty on the Enterprise. Meanwhile, Professor Oak and most of the other scientists we meet dedicate themselves to taxological identification instead of INSTANTANEOUS MATTER TRANSLOCATION!
No, yeah, that's cool. It's really way more important that we figure out the best way to block a water-type attack.
All of these transportation techniques are touched upon in the Pokemon universe, and yet Ash walks everywhere. You can't say it's because he's searching for new Pokemon: even on safari you drive in a car. And since he knows for a fact that he's being hunted by a trio of admittedly inept hooligans out to rob him, you'd think he'd be interested in, at the very least, something slightly faster than a slow amble.
"Catch me now, Team Rocket!"
Or if you don't want to deal with the Pokemon themselves, just use the Pokeballs. Having already converted them to human use to deal with prisoners, nothing says they can't be used on civilians as well. The biggest hassle in transportation is and always has been the time involved, but since Pokeballs act as stasis units you could make an eighteen hour flight in the subjective blink of an eye. It also saves on fuel and unclogs the freeways, road and airways. A bus, ship or a plane has to be a certain size just to hold people: what if you could carry an entire busload of individuals in a knapsack, an entire airplaneful of passengers in a large suitcase, or an entire town in a large shipping crate? A certain amount of trust would be required on the part of the transportee not to wake up in the driver's basement, but not much more than the trust people exhibit every day assuming that the bus driver is not suicidally depressed or so stoned that the streetlights are winking at him.
If you just realized you'd never again have to be frisked by a TSA employee
before a bumpy flight in coach, you'd be smiling like a mook, too.
See that? Most plants don't do that.
Plant-type and grass-type Pokemon are a vastly underused group as a whole. These are creatures that can often make bushes and vines grow; some of them actually seem to be sentient and animate plants. But here's my thinking: if a Bulbasaur or Venusaur can make certain plants grow, why not others? If they can make vines move like whips, what's to prevent them from using this power productively and increasing grape production? If they can make trees grow faster, why not apple or orange trees?
For that matter, you don't need to hire any migrant workers to pick them, either. Ash's Bulbasaur really only ever uses one attack, and that is his vine whip. There is no reason it could not be trained to aim for fruit instead of innocent animals.
In fact, you don't need to traditionally farm at all. A lot of pokemon ARE plants. Why farm when you can ranch?
Meanwhile, you get water-type Pokemon irrigating the fields, grass-type Pokemon patrolling the outskirts for pests, and ground Pokemon diggers like Sandshrew to plow. A farmer who put the amount of training that you do into ten dogs could wind up with the Pokemon run the farm for him, if he didn't mind the overwhelming Orwellian allusions.
Animal Farm, manga-style.
Rock-type Pokemon can dig through the ground. Some of them can smash the earth itself asunder. Onyx, basically a big igneous snake, leaves large tunnels in his wake. And plenty of Pokemon seem at least as smart as Lassie, so they could probably be trained to identify certain types of rocks.
Mining inherently has three difficulties. First, there is finding anything worth mining, and most of that is either luck or a numbers game. But if a rock-type or Pokemon can be trained to polish rocks ("Rock Polish" is actually an attack) it can surely be trained to dig for specific types of valuable minerals, such as gold, silver, gems, oil, etc. and then report back. Second, there is getting to the minerals. Mining is a dangerous occupation and mines must be structurally reinforced for miner's safety. But you get a Magmar or something melting through the stone and those hole are sturdy as lava tunnels as soon as they cool. Even if you want additional support, an animal like Graveler or Golem that eats rocks makes excavation a fraction of the cost. Thirdly, there is retrieval. Even if you can't get the Pokemon to actually dig this stuff up (though you totally could, since Mankeys have been shown to be able to follow commands on the level of complexity like "hit the rock with the pickax") you can get Pokemon involved in the transport of it to the surface. Many cave-dwelling Pokemon like Zubat seem to enjoy nothing more than picking shit up and flying away with it: train them to pick up the rocks and watch 'em go!
They can also entertain the miners by looking like penises.
Animals have been used in warfare since we even had the concept. Dolphins have been used to deliver torpedos, elephants and rhinos have been used as battering rams, and never underestimate the efficacy of a mounted cavalry. So it only makes sense to use Pokemon for war, too.
Cry havok, and let slip the Eevees of war!
Not all of them, obviously. Some like Clefairy, Lickitung and Mr. Mime are completely unsuited for combat. But there are Pokemon who enjoy nothing more than fighting. Throh, Machamp, Hitmontop, and others are specifically fighting-type Pokemon. One of them, Hitmonchan, actually wears boxing gloves.
Pacifism: ur doin it rong!
Imagine if we had Pokemon throughout the wars of history. How far would into Europe would the Nazis have progressed if the Belgians included armies of trained Flareons and Jolteons, and France focused on training Gengers, Ghastlys, and Psyducks instead of digging trenches. How much would America have feared Soviet spies if we had Growlithes and Vulpixes to sniff out the Communists? How long could Osama ben Laden keep hiding in caves if we employeed Onyxes, Geodudes, and Tyranitars to search and smash the Middle East? Who would ever even think to invent guns and send soldiers out in the first place?
Protectors of freedom
The Pokemon universe hides a wide variety of dangers. Often creatures that look painfully cute are quite capable of laying out a 2,000 lb. Snorlax with a few moves. Some of these include poison so acute that it is their defining characteristic: they are actually called poison-type.
And yet it looks less threatening than a Teddy Ruxbin doll.
Imagine the real-life parallels to this. A tabby who can shoot spikes. A Chihuahua who can burst into flames. A terrier that releases poison into the bloodstream through barbs on its fur. A mouse trained to go for the jugular. A parakeet that can place you into a hypnotic trance and compel you to write your own suicide note before you play "Take one of everything in the medicine cabinet."
"Fatcat! I choose you! Laser eye attack!"
Do you see the frightful implications in this? As products of evolution, humans instinctively shy away from spiders, snakes, bugs, and large angry creatures with fangs because millions of years ago the humans who didn't wound up dead. Yet in the Pokemon universe humans not only don't run like fuck when they see a three-foot insect, they keep them as pets! I had a bug collection as a kid, but at least I waited until the squirmy little bastards were dead first!
Pokemon make the perfect assination weapon. They are intelligent enough to follow orders, up to and including "sneak through the drainpipe into the government complex and release the nerve toxin." There do not seem to be any registration or license laws for Pokemon as there are for dogs, so they are pretty much untraceable if found. Best of all, the victim will coo over how cute they are and even come pick it up of their own volition!
Look at his wee li'le boots!
And speaking of dying:
There are psychic-type Pokemon. PSYCHIC. TYPE. POKEMON. Animals who are half-spectral, intangible, and often even look like ghosts. They can control minds, communicate telepathically, invade dreams, perform magic, teleport, and regenerate, not to mention performing telekinesis, energy bursts, and other unusual attacks.
The people of the Pokemon universe never have to wonder if there is an afterlife. Their pet Kadabra can communicate with the goddamned dead more effectively than a Black Power Ring.
I know Dex-Starr isn't a Pokemon and he's actually a Red Lantern. I just really wanted to include this picture in something.
A lot of those psychic-type Pokemon just mentioned can control minds. Hypno is the obvious one but Drowzee, Grumpig, Mesprit, and Clefairy amongst others have power over the minds and emotions of not just Pokemon but also humans. Hypno on more than one occasion puts Misty into a trance for comedic effect, after which presumably Ash and Brock have their way with her during the commercials and then wake her up with no memory. And even if those two never realized that a Jigglypuff song would be more effective and untraceable than rohypnol, surely someone else has.
Plenty of fetishists on the internet did.
Likewise, someone MUST have realized that Pokemon could be used for propaganda. If trained Pokemon can control minds and emotions, how long before a corrupt trainer out there realizes that he can make everyone vote for him in an election? How long before he starts breeding Clefables to charm the proletariat into obeying his wishes? How long before Gary decides he wants Ash to worship him as a god and Jesse to felate him while James and Meowth watch?
Assuming Hypno doesn't just go after the Oval Office himself.
And most certainly someone has already thought of this. Keep in mind, Mewtwo was a genetically-altered Mew who turned evil and could control minds. Someone had to be funding that research. I guarantee you, sooner or later some evil mastermind will train his Pokemon to induce a hypnotic trance over a worldwide broadcast and take over the world.
After all, when you get right down to it, how much difference is there between this:
Read more articles that are way too long and probably wrong by Phillerspace in 15 Loan Words That Perfectly Encompass Their Nation/Culture of Origin and 10 Most Implausible, Unpleasant, and Infuriating Ways Sci-Fi Shows Kill Off Main Characters.
Or check out his web comic here.