Oooh, I don’t know if we can presume from Pokémon Centres that there’re human equivalents. Surely what makes Pokémon Centres viable is that the technology exists to cure all of a Pokémon’s ailments with a quick “Bing-bing Bing-bing-bong.” If that technology existed for humans then why is Wally’s illness long term? Shouldn’t he be well in a Few Moments?
Since the last time I discussed this, I’ve talked the subject over with my wife, who has a Very Different Perspective. But hey, she can tumblrchip in herself with her own theories on Wally’s illness. Here are my initial ideas.
Yeah. Wally’s not ill. Or at least, he has what I call Dickens Syndrome, an illness prevalent in the work of Mr Charles Dickens where people fall ill/die of conditions caused by plot-related situations that are A Bit Too Much For Them more than any actual medical reason (Little Dorrit’s father, as I recall, gets a particularly bad case of this.) But the same appears to be true of Wally. We’re told by others that he’s ill and mustn’t exert himself, and then he’s carted off to Verdanturf Town to get well. When we see Wally himself, though, he first catches a Pokemon, then trains it, then is forced to not challenge a gym by his uncle, then runs away from home, then catches others, ten trains them all up, then trots off to challenge the Elite Four. You see that? He travels a continent. I personally am in the halest of good health, and I wouldn’t go travelling no continent, fool. And, indeed, his team includes an Altaria. You catch them in the bloody Sky Pillar.
He’s not ill. I reckon, he was a sickly child with over-protective relatives who told him he was ill, thus making him believe he was. I heard about some poor seven-year-old a few years back whose Mam had Munchausen-by-proxy (spelling?) and had successfully managed to make doctors think he was so ill that he’d never eaten food; he’d been tube fed and wheelchair-bound his whole life, but had in fact been completely healthy. He thought of himself as ill, though, and so needed major therapy to overcome the various mental hang-ups he had. That’s Wally right there. Not that extreme, like, but you know. That’s Wally. He gets his Pokemon, he learns he can do stuff. He finds out he’s not ill after all. Screw you, parents, and off he goes.
Mind you, this could be some chi-related thing. I don’t know enough about it to actually do more than Extremely Mild Speculation, but it comes up a lot in Nintendo games that people suddenly become physically strong through self-belief, and characters talk about their ‘power’.
Otherwise, the best theory I can come up with is that Wally has mild asthma that Verdanturf’s magic air fixes in some way; as an asthmatic myself, though, I must stress that if it’s sufficiently crippling that you can’t ever exert yourself, a quick blast of clean air would not be enough to sustain you through global travel. Especially if part of that travel involves climbing the bloody Sky Pillar, for gods’ sakes.
So in conclusion, his parents made him think he was ill, but the power of Pokemon showed him he wasn’t. Myth busted.
Some conditions can’t be healed. Well, okay, we only know one example - the Pokérus. The obvious answer is that there’s no demand for curing it, because the effect is positive - but this would ignore what we’re told in game, which is that very little is known about the Pokérus, and that the reason it’s not of concern is because it clears up in a few days.
(If you’re reading this, Henffych, the Bidoof you gave me - MrMooPoo2 - is my Pokérus carrier, kept in PCs for most of its life to infect the rest of my Pokémon.)
So there are some conditions Pokémon Centres can’t cure, but they’re incredibly rare (thinking about it, (Heart)Gold and (Soul)Silver feature a Miltank and an Ampharos which require attention a Poké Centre can’t provide).
Jury’s out on that Miltank, mind. The adorable small children tending it appear to be eight years old, and all it needs are a few Oran Berries. I suspect they just didn’t have the wherewithal to ask for a hyper potion, and the whole incident is a potent parable for why children should have adult supervision on working farms. The Ampharos definitely counts, though - you have to go to the special medicine shop, and the chappie there gives you his special super-duper-wooper strong medicine, for use in emergencies only.
So it’s possible there’s no free healthcare for humans, but the whole world appears an awful lot like there is. Even extremely dodgy areas like The Under in Orre don’t seem to have any human illness at all.
Doctors and Nurses are both Trainer Classes in Black and White. Presumably for humans, since you only need a machine for Pokemon.
Of course, if the technology exists for Pokémon and doesn’t for humans, does that give us a clue as to where the investment’s gone?
It’s extremely clear that Pokémon are a massive priority. Work on the almost-complete Rusturf tunnel is halted in Hoenn because the noise of the machinery upsets the Whismurs inside. Absolutely no-one who expresses an opinion seems happy about this - the workers want to work, people in Rustboro and Verdanturf want to be able to move freely between the two. And no matter that there are only a few rocks standing in the way of completing the tunnel. The matter is extremely simple. The Pokémon are upset, so the work is cancelled.
Well, more to the point, Pokemon seem to be the main resourse in this universe - entire infrastructures rely on them. From the guy in Kanto getting his Machop to stamp down the ground so he can build a house, to the removal people using Machokes and the like to move boxes into your new Hoenn house, to the various Pokedex entries describing human use of Pokemon; they’re a vital commodity. Not to mention their cultural importance. The legendaries speak for themselves, since many have entire creation myths that get increasingly epic (remember when they just created land and sea? Remember that, Dialga and Palkia? Attention seekers.) But even beyond mythical pokemon, I would say we need look no further than the various criminal organisations of this world. These people think nothing of extortion, violence, kidnapping and identity theft, but when confronted with a ten-year-old cheerfully throwing out a Torchic and an Aron they battle Pokemon according to the internationally accepted rules of the sport. And when said Torchic is inevitably victorious, they don’t say “Well, yes, but I’m still going to physically knock you out or kill you, oh person who is half my height and wielding a sparking chicken.” They say “Ah, fuck. Well, here’s the password.”
In real life terms, imagine a ten-year-old entering a Mafia lair and, on being stopped by a goon, whips out a badminton net, racket and shuttlecock. And the Mafia goon pulls out his own racket, and they play to fifteen points as is standard in badminton, and when the child wins the goon just steps smartly aside to allow the ten-year-old access to the drug runners within. THIS IS WEIRD. We can but imagine that the rules of Pokemon battling are so culturally sacred here that fighting in any other way - or violating those rules - is simply unthinkable, and that is why no Team ___ Admin has ever thrown their Ratticate aside and simply shot the protagonist in the head. What’s interesting to me there is that this would even seem to be true of Team Rocket, who thought Pokemon were tools to use and abuse. Giovanni still never bought himself a gun.
But, therefore, the Pokemon must be sacred too, so healthcare systems to support them must not only be of paramount importance, but must have always been. Oran berries are actually a good example here. In Soul Silver, one of my criminal mother’s informants/dealers (I have my own theories about that game) calls me up sometimes to exchange banal pleasantries (or coded messages). One of the things he says, though, is that after watching his Geodude eating an Oran berry and enjoying it, he tries one himself. His exact line is “I’m not sure if people are supposed to eat those things, but it was delicious!” Human consumption of Oran berries, then, is at the very least not widespread. Pokemon consumption is a known cure. More than that, logic would suggest that potions and the rest must have developed from them, as the earliest forms of medicine often did. To me, this alone suggests that more research has gone into even the most basic and easily obtained forms of Pokemon healthcare than human; and that this has long been the case in this society.
Though Black and White does ask us to think about it. It’s the Watchmen of Pokémon!
Oh, yes. Reason One Million And Three why I’m thrilled we’re getting Black 2 and White 2 rather than a remixed Grey Version.
(I say that as though Emerald wasn’t a proper sequel to RS which developed the environmental themes dramatically.)
The logical equivalent, I reckon, is to have a Rocket vs Plasma showdown. Opposite ideologies on the same scale, see? Magma and Aqua were the two extremes on the (hyper-simplified) scale of environmentalism - Rocket and Plasma are the extremes on the scale of social Pokemon use. It would be epic and brillig.
Obvious things I want to know about while you’re doing this (which I hope is forever):
I wasn’t intending on following it up at all, to be honest, but when I woke up to so many Likes, Reblogs and new followers, it pleased me immensely.
What the merging of Pokémon Centres and Pokémarts suggests about Unova’s private and public sectors!
Those are all excellent suggestions. Maybe Pokémarts next. It’s interesting that Sinnoh shops went all Argos and include almost every product in the catalogue in every shop in the country - and Johto and Kanto followed suit.
New thoughts about evolution stones, though, to come full circle. These are mostly my wife’s ideas:
They originate in Sinnoh. That’s where they’re actually from. The Oreburgh mining operation is partly dedicated to retrieving them. They’re not on sale in the shops, because they’re so easily available to anyone who fancies going underground that businesses can make a far greater profit by exporting them. Clearly, the chief importers are Kanto, followed by Unova (the two continents with the highest number of Pokémon which evolve by stone). Individuals can trade between Kanto and Sinnoh, but not between Sinnoh and Unova, hence the far higher price for the Unova stones. This is extremely interesting when it comes to considering Unova prices in general - clearly, the market is controlled and restricted everywhere we’ve seen so far (Poké Balls cost P200 whether you’re in a tiny town or an enormous city, anywhere in the world we currently know). But Unova allows certain products to be sold for extreme prices in Black City. What is it about that place that means it’s not subject to the same laws as the rest of the known world?
It’s a very good point that they cost the same everywhere, and to me that’s actually the most tantalising glimpse at Pokemon government in the whole thing. I can think of two things that would force identical prices. Number one: printing the price directly onto the products like the £1 Dairy Milk bars, thus forcing shop kepers to adhere to it. Number two: Ancient Rome used to suffer from inflation something terrible, as you might expect; trouble was, part of the promise of citizenship was that you’d get, for example, food. No citizen would starve. Except they would if the bread was too expensive to buy.
So in 301 AD Diocletian introduced the Edict on Maximum Prices, which laid down a maximum price for over a thousand of the main commodities of the Empire. It was an unmitigated disaster because they didn’t understand the concept of economic system feedback issues, meaning it actually increased inflation (gutted). But we do now know, as a consequence, loads of the random household, commonplace or everyday resources used by the Romans that otherwise would never have been written down, so that’s good.
The point is, though, you’re right - pokeballs cost the same everywhere, but Black City gets a free pass to overcharge on most things. So why the discrepancy? It must be that different legislation covers it, or it qualifies for a loophole. Maybe Black City is ring-fenced economically, since apparently no one wants to live there - everytime I go there hoardes of people beg to come back with me and live in my forest. Maybe the price-capping has broken down there, as it did in Ancient Rome; the Edict gets redefined, and inflation sky-rockets, and so it becomes a really expensive place to live. Or maybe each urban centre has a separate government, and theirs is mid-recession, and the reason for the identical pricing elsewhere is Dairy Milk printing-on-the-packet.
I have a report on water quality and biological monitoring systems to write, why am I here?