When I was younger, I loved Pokémon. I loved the show. I loved the video games. I loved the trading cards, both as collectibles and as a game.
I got extremely upset when I realized that I was taking part in a country-sanctioned animal-fighting league.
I’m more worried about the psychological ramifications of having wild pets put into fighting situations.
The Pokémon, especially in the show, are given personalities. They’re given characters. I know that I fell in love with Pikachu’s happy attitude. Hell, I loved all of Ash’s Pokémon. They all were fighting for their loving master.
Only, their loving master is rarely seen feeding them. Outside of Pikachu, the Pokémon spend most of their lives trapped in Pokéballs or with Professor Oak, at least until Ash frees them from his ownership.
Think of it like this; if you let your cat or dog fight other cats and dogs, would that be right?
And remember, your dog and cat can borderline talk to you.
These animals are captured and made to fight until fainting or death. That’s kind of messed up.
And maybe I’m reading too much into it, but it certainly feels like the Pokémon that fight for their trainers are, for the most part, enamored by the god-like influence their trainers have. They develop a level of Stockholm Syndrome to the point that they feel that, come death or damage, they will win for their trainers.
And then, back to the Pokéball.
I will say this though: Ash does show that he cares legitimately about his Pokémon. Pikachu hated his Pokéball, so Ash kept him outside. Charizard was a very temperamental Pokémon, but Ash put himself in physical harm to become friends with him. Compare this to trainers like, off the top of my head, Lt. Surge, who forced his Raichu to evolve to become “more powerful,” and you see that Ash did care.
And to be fair, MadameAce has informed me that both the modern show and games have focused more on what happens if a trainer treats their Pokémon improperly. Specifically, the treatment has been brought up by a Team Rocket scheme. And, quite honestly, just because it’s a scheme doesn’t mean it’s not viable.
I love Pokémon, but at an older age, I have trouble watching and playing the games. I just cannot ignore seeing animals getting forced into battling and everyone being seemingly okay with it.