Twenty years ago, Pokemon released in Japan. Some guy who liked drawing small creatures inspired generations of gamers to play a game, watch an anime, get into a card game. He had a dream he pursued.
Watching the anime, it’s not about victory. It’s about following your dreams and getting back up when you’re knocked down. There are a lot of people who knock Ash for his failures, but he never stays down. That’s Ash’s success, and to me, especially in our world of giving trophies to last place, I think Ash’s success is important in this society.
In the game, it was all about catching Pokemon, working with them, learning about them, and training them for the next challenge. I felt X/Y got rid of some of that, as I was usually about 20% higher of a level than whoever I was fighting.
Diamond/Pearl was when I got into Pokemon. I was in college, and my roommate was massively into it. I remember my team when it was all said and done and we did tournaments on Pokemon Battle Revolution. Lucario, roserade, golem, palkia, ninetails, and froslass. I still have them, but found in the greater world of competitive play, they are not up to snuff. That and I can’t use palkia. Lucario holds his own fairly well.
Lucario is my favorite. I had him as an egg in a cave and he’s been with me on nearly all my journeys and fights. I’m not ashamed to admit this. I know most of you are thinking, “How can you even become attached to your Pokemon?” Ever read a book and get attached to an imaginary character? I go on journeys with those characters. I have stories of how we were victorious, barely, against an opponent. How we got lost in a cave and he had to fight 100 zubats. The way he helped cripple palkia so I could capture him, and how lucario and palkia would be battle buddies from then on.
Happy birthday to Pokemon. Thank you for giving me a story that starts with me striving to be the very best and never ends. A journey where to become the very best I have to be cunning, but also endure. A journey where I will lose, alongside Ash, and every loss is a reminder that I need to train harder and smarter, and that one day, if I work hard enough, I can be victorious. A lesson that doesn’t end with Pokemon, but that I try my hardest to take to my life overall, to work, to writing.
I will be the very best. The best there ever was.