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In which John Green, who has never seen any Pokemon movies or TV shows and knows almost nothing about the Pokemon universe, attempts to imagine what Pokemon are and how they came to be.

Anyway, I hope you catch 'em all.

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John: Good morning, Hank, it's Tuesday.  In a stunning turn of events, I find myself in an airport.  So I've got this seven year old son, and every Saturday, he wakes up at five in the morning and watches two hours of Pokemon before I can even, you know, like, get up and take the iPad away from him.  He has all the Pokemon encyclopedias and all these Pokemon cards, I don't even know where he gets them from, I think he trades for them on the schoolyard playground.  And it's great, you know, I want my kid to have passions, I want him to be excited about stuff, but I know nothing about Pokemon.  Well, aside from what Henry has told me in a brief foray into Pokemon Go, so today I thought I would explain the world of Pokemon from the perspective of someone who has never seen Pokemon.

Alright, Hank, so we all know that the last 500 years have seen this huge decrease in biodiversity on Earth.  Well, good news, in the new future, we get a big influx of species, and not just species, like, cute, cuddly, awesome, talented species.  They're called Pokemons.  How did they arrive on Earth?  I have no idea.  Was it like an alien world Noah's Ark situation?  Nahhh, probably not, 'cause a bunch of Pokemons are based on current Earth lifeforms like Horsea is basically, you know, a seahorse.  So maybe it was like a radiation event.  Point being, there is like hundreds, maybe even thousands, of new species, and you can catch them by using these things called Pokeballs.  Like, you throw a Pokeball at a Pokemon and the little Pokemon ends up inside the Pokeball and then you put the whole contraption into your backpack.  Why would you capture all these Pokemon?  I mean, why do people do anything, ultimately, like, why do people fish?  

So you catch all these Pokemon and then you train them so that they will be excellent in battle.  Wait, I forgot something important.  Sometimes, you catch like, too many of one kind of Pokemon, like, you've got 17 Pidgeys and you don't need 17 Pidgeys and it's weighing down your backpack?  In that case, I believe you can transfer your Pokemon to someone called The Professor, but this seems like it's maybe not a good idea.  I don't really know what he does with transferred Pokemons, but I asked Henry about it once, and he said, "Dad, Pokemons do not like going to the Professor."  

Right, so your job as a Pokemon trainer is to train up your Pokemon and make them strong so that then, they can do battle with other peoples' Pokemons.  From what I can gather, it's basically like a Roman gladiator style thing, but you know, for children.  Also, they don't fight to the death, they fight until they faint.  But that's not tricking anyone, like, Henry explained to me, "Dad, fainting is what Pokemon call dying," and I was like, yeah, no, I get it.  So you catch Pokemon with your Pokeballs, you train them up, you take them to battles, and then you fight to the fainting against other peoples' Pokemon, and as far as I can tell, that's it.  Like, it's basically just a sport?  

It doesn't seem like winning Pokemon battles helps save the world or make it a more fair or just place, but then again, you know, neither does soccer and I like soccer.  The game, as Tottenham Hotspur fans like to put it, is about glory, which is to say that, you know, in the scheme of things, the stakes are very low.  

That said, there's a lot of questions I don't have the answer to, like how do Pokemon evolve?  I have no idea.  If this is identical to fishing, why not just fish?  And most importantly, given that most Pokemon are based either on legends, like Charizard is a dragon, or on actual animals, like Rhyhorn is rhinoceros, what is Pikachu?  He seems to be just our collective idea of adorable that we throw balls at and then put inside of a tiny spherical cage in our backpacks.  Which is weird, but I guess it gets less weird when you consider that that's our relationship with many non-human animals.  

So Hank, that's my best attempt to introduce the Pokemon universe from someone who knows nothing about the Pokemon universe.  Alright, Hank, I have to go get on an airplane, I will see you on Friday.