You may remember that my friend Evan wrote a guest-post last October, where he explained his theory about twin zangetsus in Bleach. Now, he’s back with another fan-theory — this time about Pokemon, which I understand just celebrated its 20th Anniversary. ((Belated) Happy Pokemon Day!) Check it out and let Evan (and me) know what you think….
Pokemon Fan Theory: Why Do New Pokemon Keep Popping Up?
by Evan Minton
When the first Pokemon games came out, we were told there were only 151 of them, and Professor Oak wanted Red (i.e., the main player) to go out and capture them, so that a brief synopsis of information about them could register in an electronic encyclopedia called the Pokedex. But 3 years later, when Gold/Silver came out, we found out there were 100 more. Fortunately, you could transfer the pocket monsters you caught on Red/Blue over to Gold/Silver, so it’s not like you had to start all over again. When Ruby and Sapphire came out, the number of Pokemon totaled to 386. Now, in generation 6, there are up to 721 different Pokemon species in existence. How is this to be explained? Where in the world are all these new monsters coming from and how is it that they just keep popping up?
Are These Newly Discovered Species?
In the anime series, the characters talked as if Pokemon like Totodile, Hoothoot, Togepi, and so on, were just species that had remained Unown (see what I did there?) until scientists discovered them. That seemed plausible at the dawn of generation 2. After all, this happens in the real world; scientists even today are discovering new species of animals that nobody knew about before. However, given the vast quantity and size of Pokemon that arrive with every new generation, the credibility of this theory stretches far beyond the bounds of plausibility and into absurdity.
My Theory: Most Pokemon Have Always Existed
Here’s my theory: Most Pokemon have always existed. Only a rather small number of species could count as “newly discovered”. There’s an overwhelming amount of evidence to back this up. For example, in generation 4, we find out that the Pokemon Arceus created Dialga and Palkia who in turn created the Pokemon universe. In generation 3, we found out that it was Groudon and Kyogre who formed the seas and land while Regigigas moved the continents around. These events obviously take place a long, long, long time before the events of the first Pokemon games occur. These events are the dawn of the Pokemon universe. And yet, Arceus, Dialga, Palkia, Groudon, Kyogre, and Regigigas were Pokemon that were released in generations 3 and 4.
In the Pokemon anime, a young Samuel Oak (who grew up to be Professor Oak) hangs out with Celebi, a Pokemon from generation 2. This was in the fourth theatrical release movie; Pokemon 4Ever. Also, in the 8th Pokemon movie, a Lucario with telepathic ability fought in a war with a knight named Sir Aaron. This appeared to take place in the 16th or 17th century. Hundreds of years before Ash was born.
Back to the game canon, we have the war that took place in the Kalos region 3,000 years ago which AZ took part in. He built a machine which absorbed the life energy of hundreds of Pokemon (which resulted in their deaths), and the life energy gave “The Ultimate Weapon” enough force to annihilate the other army and end the war. AZ’s Flabebe left him, and AZ, remorseful over his actions and missing his beloved Pokemon, roamed the Earth for 3,000 years searching for it. By the way, a side effect of the weapon was that it made both him and his Flabebe immortal. AZ was fortunately reunited with his Pokemon after the player battled him post-Pokemon League victory, right before Kiseki played. The reunion of AZ and Floette plus the lyrics of Kiseki really hit me hard in the feels. “Lie down. Try not to cry. Cry a lot.”
Anyway, we have good reason to believe that most Pokemon have always existed. Yet, how come in earlier games, you never run into them? How come, for example, you never encounter Pachirisu when traveling through Kanto or Johto? How come one never finds a Pidove in Hoenn or an Espurr in Sinnoh? I submit to you that the reason you don’t see these Pokemon in these regions is the same reason you don’t see polar bears in Africa; it’s just a matter of where the species live! Certain Pokemon live in certain regions of the world, and if you don’t live or move about in that particular region, you’re highly unlikely to encounter that type of Pokemon.
Where I live, I’ve seen deer, frogs, cats, dogs, bunnies, owls, bees, ants, and grasshoppers, but I’ve never, never, never seen a lion or a penguin in my backyard or town. Moreover, if you live in the South Pole, you’ll likely see penguins or seals, but none of the animals common to my neck of the woods. If you’re Santa and live at the North Pole, you’ll see polar bears (probably enjoying Coca Cola) but you won’t see any of those Pepsi drinking penguins. It all depends on where you live. I submit to you that the same is true for Pokemon. It’s not that these Pokemon didn’t exist in these earlier generations; it’s just that you never ran into them on your journey because you weren’t in their habitat.
In the generation 5 games, you could only run into generation 5 Pokemon, but that clearly doesn’t mean that Pokemon like Pikachu and Aipom didn’t exist. It was just that there were no Pikachu or Aipom that lived in the Unova region.
As with all fan theories, this one isn’t without its issues. However, I think the issue isn’t so much with the theory as it is a continuity issue. For example, yes, Ash (and we) never encountered a lot of these Pokemon because he hadn’t visited their native region yet, but wouldn’t Ash have at least known of their existence? I mean, I’ve never seen a polar bear or a lion in person because they don’t live in the United States, but I do know they exist because I’ve seen them on TV, on the internet, and read about them in books. But when Ash enters a new region, he seems genuinely surprised to learn of most of these Pokemons’ existence. He’s basically like “Wow! I’ve never seen that before! Let me get the Pokedex out so it can tell me what it is!” Also, a fat guy in New Bark Town said something to the effect of “3 years ago, there were only 150 Pokemon. We discovered more now.” That’s an extreme paraphrase, but you’ll have to forgive me, it’s been a while since I played the original Johto games, so I can’t remember his dialogue verbatim. Moreover, Professor Oak has a radio show in Goldenrod City every day, and we found in Diamond/Pearl that he occasionally vacations in the Sinnoh region. You’d think he’d know there were more than 150 Pokemon in existence.
Again, these are likely continuity issues (plot holes) created likely by the fact that the creators of Pokemon hadn’t anticipated them making games for 2 whole decades, rather than being strikes against this theory. I did read somewhere that at Pokemon’s conception, they had only planned to release two generations and then end it, but changed their minds when it became such a gigantic success.
Then again, Nintendo confirmed that the Pokemon series has taken place in 3 different universes. The first universe chronicling the story of Red/Blue/Yellow and Gold/Silver/Crystal, the second universe containing the story of Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald and FireRed/LeafGreen followed by the story of Diamond/Pearl/Platinum and HeartGold/SoulSilver 3 years after those games, culminating in Black/White and Black2 and White2. X/Y and ORAS taking place in yet another paralleled universe. This is not a fan theory. Nintendo actually confirmed this. If this is the case, it may be that there were only a couple of hundred Pokemon in existence during the first two generations, but why the “newly discovered” explanation was dropped in gen 3 and beyond. This would also account for apparent plot holes (though this doesn’t help the anime any).
In the other 2 universes (what one YouTuber has labeled “The Dual Slot” timeline and the “Mega Timeline”), pretty much all Pokemon have always existed, and the reason you don’t encounter them in earlier games is simply because you’re not in their neck of the woods.
In conclusion: Despite appearances, hundreds of Pokemon aren’t just popping into existence in The Pokemon World every 3-4 years. They exist, they just haven’t been in the regions you’ve traveled before.