Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Anime Parliament: The People v. The Pokemon League


If you woke up this morning aching to find something that would challenge your threshold for Geekanerdiness, today may be your lucky day. This session of Anime Parliament took place at the New York Anime Festival over the weekend, and the main argument of the day concerned the rights of Pokemon. And as if the video alone wasn't enough to make your feeble mainstream mind squirm, hit the jump for resident Pokemon expert AHR's analysis of the argument...

The "Is Pokemon Training Animal Abuse" question is one I can remember debating on the playground. While I'm glad the Parliament saw fit to offer some protection against Pokemon abuse, it seems to me they reached their conclusion through a flawed argument. One reason offered for the establishment of Pokemon rights is that Pokemon can, through no extraordinary circumstances, reach human level intelligence. The only real evidence offered is the existence of Psychic Pokemon, as if innate psychic power could be equated with intellectual capability. Sure Psychic Pokemon can bend spoons with their mind, but can they understand math and science? Can they communicate abstract concepts and feelings, or produce art? Can they create functioning societies? As we've seen numerous times on the series and in the games, when left to their own devices Pokemon pretty much behave like regular animals do. The major difference between animal and Pokemon intelligence is that Pokemon can loosely understand English, and can therefore more or less communicate their wants and needs to humans. However, I don't see any evidence that their desires extend beyond food, shelter, kinship and a vague inclination towards either excitement or passivity. Accepting this, the laws that govern a Pokemon's right to self-determination need to be formulated along the lines of animal rights legislature, as opposed to imagining Pokemon are in some way the intellectual equal of human beings. I mean, people EAT Pokemon in that series. Those burgers and sushi the characters are always stuffing their faces with can't all be made of tofu.

7 comments:

Hunter said...

I call bullshit! Meowth is a Pokemon who learned how to speak English to impress a ladymon. I don't think he was exposed to any rays. But also no one makes him fight or train. So it seems like when trainers are faced with a living demonstration of the contradiction, they THEMSELVES are too uncomfortable to apply a any regular sort of training regimen. See also an early episode where Snorlax called Meowth a "house pokemon." That is an example of three different things that I'm talking about.

Hunter said...

Also, did you guys shoot this? Explain to me the outfit of that judge guy. What does the rest of it look like?

AHR said...

Look, obviously, you've got your Mews, your Mewtwos, you've got that green thing in like the sixth or seventh movie that's basically a baby. But these are the exceptions, not the rule, and they're treated like exceptions. I again point to the fact that there are no flourishing Pokemon societies, no Pokemon scholars, no Pokemon inventors, and no Pokemon artists. Jigglypuff not withstanding. Exception.

Albo shot this, and you can hear me saying "aye" in the last few seconds. This case actually went on for over a half hour. I certainly don't know what that guy is wearing, hopefully some anime-type reader who's here looking for NYAF coverage will know and help us out.

Anonymous said...

seriously, you take this stuff WAY to seriously. This is a TV show!!! Not a world proficy thingy! Oh well, i would NEVER have the patience to write all that. Actually, i didnt even have the patience to read your article! I just skimmed through it. still, get a hobby WEIRDO!!! <3 =] lol..if you know what that means! =]

Anonymous said...

OK, i feel better now. i read your stinkin article! My response? ARE YOU THE BIGGEST LOONY ON THE PLANET???!! i mean really, this is a game!! for kids!!! and a TV show!! maybe some toys, too!!! Pokemon, i hate to say, is NOT real!! However you treat them as if they need rights and protection-they only exist in games!! They are only fragments of the imaginatoion!!! Mere amusement to content our overly developed brains!!!! GET A LIFE!! now i know it is safe to say you really are a freak. if you are in school, are you more of a loner? It would make sense..lol. kidding!! seriously, you are REALLY strange though..look into that, will ya?:] LOL!! AGIAN!!! Geez, i feel like i know you i have been thinking about this weirdo essay thingy for so long!! <3

Anonymous said...

by the way, i LUV your font its UBER cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!
;] <3 yeah hearts!!!

Anonymous said...

The uniform being worn by the "judge" is the Federation Aketon from Final Fantasy XI.

Anime Parliament is a long-standing event at various conventions where people are allowed to bring up cases against characters or situations in the anime universe. The people who participate aren't taking it too seriously, they're having fun. It's pseudo-role-playing if you want to try and classify it as something.