Money in Pokemon

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Money in Pokemon

Post by Ivogoji » Sun Mar 22, 2015 1:25 am

The question of how kids wandering around the Pokemon world finance their Pokemon journeys has always puzzled researchers. In the games, trainers battle in part to win money from each other, with the winner subtracting a sum from the loser. However, in the anime this system doesn't exist at all, and even in the games it would be impossible for trainers to make a living like this. The money the player earns in Pokemon can be spent on Pokeballs, healing items, and a few paltry food stuffs- but those are luxuries, not necessities. What about the meals trainer and Pokemon no doubt consume everyday to survive, meals that can't be bought with Pokemon battle winnings? (because, if trainers did depend on prize money to survive, then anyone with a losing streak would risk starving to death in the wilderness) Potions are nice to have, but aren't strictly necessary since Pokemon Centers will heal any Pokemon for free- and in the anime, offer complementry meals and a place to sleep for the trainers themselves. How can so many facilities across the Pokemon world accommodate so many trainers and Pokemon without demanding anything in return? All of that food and equipment must be expensive, and surely the nurses get paid for all their work.

It's not just the Pokemon Centers though, in general Pokemon trainers get a free ride where ever they go. Trainers get cable car rides, train rides, zepplin rides, ferryboat trips and cruises, all without the issue of cost ever coming up. Pokemon trainers don't have jobs, and no more than a handful of parents could possibly have enough money to send their children globe trotting like this. How are the expenses covered?

There's another issue here, one that stands out a whole lot in the anime- trainers who compete in the Pokemon League do so before enormous audiences on live television. A trainer doesn't face the Elite Four after getting Gym Badges in the anime, they face other trainers in regional tournaments with thousands of spectators, and those who DO get to challenge the Elite Four or Champion likewise do so in televised tournaments, rather than in the privacy of the Pokemon League HQ shown in the games. In the anime, regional conferences are multi-day affairs where both the competitors and the spectators have to rent living space while the tournament is going on. Spectators presumably have to pay for admission, plus there are always booths selling snacks, Pokemon related merchandise, and other things of that nature (we typically see Team Rocket working at these places). Which means the Pokemon League must be making a huge amount of money at the conferences alone.

But it's not just conferences that are like this; the Contests Pokemon Coordinators compete in also draw huge crowds and sell lots of merchandise (sometimes, individual Coordinators even have their own merchandise!), and the same is true of the Showcases Pokemon Performers enter, not to mention smaller tournaments like the Whirl Cup in Johto, the Don George Battle Club tournaments in Unova, the Hearthome City Tag-Battle Tournament and the Hearthome Collection fashion show in Sinnoh, the PokeRinger competitions in Sinnoh and Hoenn, etc. Even some Gym Battles are carried out before an audience.

If trainers regularly put on a huge show in glitzy stadiums before crowds of delighted fans, shouldn't they get paid for it?

Yet in the games you only get prize money for winning a battle, and in the anime not a word is breathed about the trainers getting paid for their performances.

In the real world, a professional football player doesn't get paid to win a football game, he gets paid to show up! So what's going on in the Pokemon world? I think I've come up with an answer, one that works for both the games and anime to differing degrees:

The Pokemon League extends lines of credit to any trainers who register with them, credit that fully covers the daily expenses of the trainer's journey, on the condition that the trainer regularly participates in official League exhibitions.

The costs of running Pokemon Centers, meeting Pokemon trainers' travel demands, and operating League facilities are met by dipping into the revenue from tournament admissions and merchandise sales, offering free services in the place of paying the trainers for their endorsement of the League.

In other words, whenever Ash goes to a Pokemon Center, eats the food they provide there and stays for the night, he's charging the cost to the Pokemon Leauge, who pay for the services using the money Ash would hypothetically receive for participating in Gym battles and regional conferences. The same thing happens whenever the Satoshi-tachi stop by a town to stock up on Pokemon food and cooking supplies, or boards a ferry to get to the next Gym.

The registration process is helpfully shown in the anime whenever Ash arrives in a new region- he hands over his Pokedex to a Nurse Joy or similar official, who then plugs it into a computer to upload Ash's identity information to the registry. This most likely renews Ash's line of credit with the Pokemon League and allows him to continue charging the costs of his journey even as he travels a different region. We don't get to see this kind of process in the games, but the characters' Trainer Card most likely serves the same function; whenever the player character got that card, they registered with their region's Pokemon League, allowing them to charge the expenses of Pokemon training in addition to getting prize money.

We could speculate that the prize money system exists in the games because the Pokemon League there doesn't make as much money; there's no equivalent to the regional League tournaments seen in the anime. As such trainers in the games would only be able to borrow League credit for the most basic essentials- food, Pokemon food, Pokemon Center services, etc. Non-essential purchases would be made with Pokemon battle prize money.

A trainer who attempts to abuse the system by living off League credit without challenging any Gyms or entering other official exhibitions like the Contest circuit or Battle Club would be forced to pay off their debts with their own money after a certain period of time. In the anime, the deadline would be when that region's League conference begins; it's harder to say how this would work in the games, since the Pokemon League seems to be open year round.

Trainers who do compete in the League, but still manage to accumolate more debt than the profits they earn can cover would have to pay the difference out of their own pocket. The League probably contacts over-spenders to warn them away from doing this too extensively, and cuts off anyone from their credit if the spending gets too out of hand.

Highly profitable trainers who make more revenue than they spend (such as Nando, who participates in both Contests and Gym Battles) or avoid taxing League services too much (choosing to camp out over staying in a Pokemon Center for instance) may be rewarded by the League. For example, after Ash had the expenses of his journey through Unova subtracted from the profits he made competing in the Vertress Conference, perhaps he had enough left over to continue taking advantage of Pokemon Centers and free supplies without needing to worry about entering another League for a while (there was a pretty big gap during Episode N and the Decolore Island arc where Ash wasn't involved in any official matches or tournaments). If these kinds of trainers were to cancel their registration and line of credit with the League, it would be logical for them to receive a sum of money from what was left over.

I think this sounds pretty plausible for the anime universe and can work for the game universe, though the idea doesn't explain everything. What do you guys think? I haven't played the 3DS games so I'm not aware of any additional light they might have shed on this topic. Do you guys have any insight on the subject?
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Re: Money in Pokemon

Post by Jeffery Mewtamer » Sun Mar 22, 2015 1:54 pm

I also think it worth noting that the Pokemon Leagues are the closest thing to anything resembling a organized government in either the games or the anime(and it isn't uncommon in fanfiction to see this made explicit, sometimes going as far as the gym leaders being de facto Mayors or captain of the local militia depending on system and regional champions elevated to the status of General, Prime minister, or even Monarch), so it's quite possible that some of the league's funding comes from taxation on the working class(Pokemon are often seen doing mundane labor, but it's largely for things that would be done by machines in real-life and most Pokemon labor teams still have human supervisors just as many real world machines need a human operator. Also, while professional trainers(wether for battle, contests, or what have you) seem like a pretty popular occupation, they probably make up a small percentage of the overall population. Still the idea that professional trainers have a credit line with the league makes a lot of sense.

Then again, looking at in-game prices, either Pokeballs and medicine are highly subsidized or manufacturing technology is so far beyond real world tech that complex chemicals and electronics can be manufactured for dirt cheap. If we assume the in-game currency is of value similar to the Japanese Yen, even a top quality Pokeball can be had for less than 20USD and a dose of medicine that heals all injuries cost less than 50USD.

Also, I suspect prize money changes hands in the anime-verse, but doesn't get mentioned for the same reasons we aren't shown Ash and company stopping by the Pokemart to restock on supplies or the details of what Nurse Joy does with teh group's Pokemon unless its a plot-relevant injury being treated: it's one of those little details that most viewers wouldn't care about.

Though, having economies that don't make sense is a common problem with games that have money, and I hear it's order of magnitudes worse in MMO games where hyperinflation has a tendency to run amok.
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Re: Money in Pokemon

Post by Ivogoji » Sun Mar 22, 2015 8:26 pm

Jeffery Mewtamer wrote: Also, I suspect prize money changes hands in the anime-verse, but doesn't get mentioned for the same reasons we aren't shown Ash and company stopping by the Pokemart to restock on supplies or the details of what Nurse Joy does with teh group's Pokemon unless its a plot-relevant injury being treated: it's one of those little details that most viewers wouldn't care about.
It's pretty clear that there's no prize money being exchanged in the anime's universe. The rules and conditions of Pokemon battles- including whatever is at stake for the victor- are always spelled out before for each match, especially in the case of Gym battles and similar occasions. One episode even revolved around the judges who decide the outcome of Pokemon matches and how much pressure they are under to make the right call (AG092, 'Judgement Day'). If money was on the line, it would certainly have been mentioned. Plus, poverty is a recurrent issue in the series, for Team Rocket and many of the one off characters the Satoshi-tachi run into. If getting money were as simple as winning a Pokemon battle, someone would have brought it up. Also, whenever Meowth's signature move Pay Day is mentioned, the characters go googly-eyed at the notion that a Pokemon can make money and act as if this were extremely novel (note that TRio Meowth can't use Pay Day because he wasted his moveslot learning how to talk). There are just way too many instances were the concept of prize money would have been an unavoidable topic if it existed in the anime. And those two examples of characters restocking supplies or Nurse Joy using the basic healing machine are explicity shown from time to time; the show can only dodge these sort of things so often.

On the question of governments-

I find it difficult to imagine a revolving door position like Champion having any political influence, or people like Gary Oak, Alder, Iris, or Diantha holding important offices. These are celebrities, athletes, zoologists, not politicians. When League President Mr. Goodshow doesn't attend the Vertress Conference, the place of honor is taken by.... the Pokemon equivelent of a pro wrestling announcer. This isn't the sort of body that should be making executive decisions for their country.

Still, I can definitely see the government playing a role in funding Pokemon League resources. While there is the public, entertainment-focused half of the League, the other half is the domain of fellows like Prof. Oak and the Junipers. The professors are obviously affilated with the League, and the trainers they equip to explore the Pokemon world play a vital world in their research, research the government would have an interest in supporting. There might a slightly different credit system in place for those trainers who favor being involved in scientific work over battling in the League, with their expenses instead being covered by government subsidy. I'm actually pretty curious about how the interplay between 'trainers as popular celebrities' and 'trainers as Pokemon researchers' works.

Another relevant detail here is what relationship League members have to national security. Again, having the Champion or a member of the Elite Four be a political or military official would just be a bad idea. Lance explicitly works for the government, but even then Lance is just a field agent and his position as Pokemon League Champion is incidental. But one of the NPCs in Gen I takes it for granted that the Elite Four will show up to free Saffron City from Team Rocket, and in general Pokemon trainers seems to fight crime an awful lot. How much of this is just happenstance and how much is it an expected function? Non-trainers also seem to depend heavily on people like Lance, Cynthia, Alder, and the protagonist characters to solve problems caused by wild Pokemon running amok. Since the whole point of Pokemon training is developing the skills to deal with these kinds of situations, and there doesn't seem to be any other group beside the League to respond to Pokemon related crisis (not counting the Pokemon Rangers, who actually focus on protecting the environment), it would be reasonable to suggest this is one of a trainer's official duties. If so, then it follows that trainers receive some sort of compensation for their services; further government subsidy perhaps?
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Re: Money in Pokemon

Post by Jeffery Mewtamer » Sun Mar 22, 2015 11:19 pm

I haven't followed the anime regularly in many years, but you make some good points against prize money being a regular part of trainer battles in the anime.

Also, I'll agree that, the way the games/anime portray the position of League Champion, it wouldn't make much sense for the Champion to serve as more than a Figurehead or rallying point for organizing trainers during a crisis.

Of the fanfiction I've read that give some level of political power to high-ranking trainers, Pokemon: The Origin of species probably comes closest to being compatible with the games/anime, though it completely disregards the games economy in favor to something more in line with real world economics(i.e. pokeballs and Lemonade aren't within an order of magnitude in price).
In Pokemon: The Origin of Species, the stated/implied information about civic duty of civilian trainers and responsibility of trainers holding official rank with the league is along the lines of:
-Pokemon Rangers basically serve as the catch all Emergency Services in the wilds. If a trainer gets injured and needs rescuing, it's the rangers who respond to the call. If there's a forest fire, the Rangers organize firefighting efforts. If dangerous pokemon make a nest too close to main roads used by trainers traveling, the rangers handle relocating the dangerous mons.
-There exists a system for civilian trainers to report incidents to the rangers and recieve alerts on verified reports.
-If there's a crisis beyond the rangers' capabilities, civilian trainers are expected to either provide assistence suitable to the capabilities of the trainer and their team or stay out of the way.
-While the League challenge of battling Gym Leaders and earning badges is still present, Gym Leaders also seem to serve as community leaders and are well-respected not only for prowess in battle, but as mentors and advisors. A city's Gym also serves as the front line defense in case of crisis and help to organize civilian trainers if their assistence is needed.
-Not much has been said on the role of the E4 and the Champion, though it's been implied that well-liked Champions are respected as much for their civil service as for their competitive ability.

How much of such a system jibes well with the game/anime is debatable, though it mostly makes sense in-story without feeling like it completely disregards the source material(I have read fanfiction that ditches the concept of Pokemon Battles as a competitive sport, treats most of the Cities as independent city states with at leat a few Gym Leaders acting like feudal lords and Lance as de facto King of Indigo and it's allies).

various fan interpretations aside, it does seem a bit odd how much the Villainous teams manage to accomplish without interference from law enforcement, especially in the games. Giovanni draws many parallels with real-life crime bosses, but few could be nearly as public as he was in his takeover of Saffron in real-life without having the FBI(or it's local equivalent) breathing down one's neck, yet it's made pretty clear that Red and Blue where the only ones to put up any resistence despite Saffron having two gyms that could've provided Trainers to help repel TR. While Neo Team Rocket wasn't quite as blatant in their actions, it's amazing that Gold, Silver, and Lance are the only ones who seemed to do anything to stop them, and things weren't much better with Aqua, Magma, or Galactic. At least with Plasma, they put up a front that they were a humanitarian organization whose criminal activities were outside the public eye for the most part.

Yeah, the games make it seem like the authorities are incompetent just so the player can save the day.
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Re: Money in Pokemon

Post by Ivogoji » Tue Mar 01, 2016 6:16 pm

I still want to know if the 3DS games have shed any additional light on the issues raised in this topic.
Ivogoji wrote: I'm actually pretty curious about how the interplay between 'trainers as popular celebrities' and 'trainers as Pokemon researchers' works.
This too, I want to expand on this.
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Re: Money in Pokemon

Post by Goat » Tue Mar 01, 2016 6:25 pm

The biking industry pays for all expenses

Also, I have to wonder how many items are made from pokemon themselves. Nothing could exist and be as easily explained as post scarcity quite yet.

Could pokeballs simply be made from electronic/synthetic pokemon such as magnemite or voltorbs? Given that Ditto could easily breed them forever.

Could potions and other related items be made from Chansey eggs too now that I think about it?

Anothern note, given that people are rather worry free without a large police presence, it's safe to assume pokemon and trainers are the equivalent of having friendly gun enthusiasts protecting your neighborhood.

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Re: Money in Pokemon

Post by retrolinkx » Wed Mar 02, 2016 11:01 pm

I've always just gone with this when it comes to money in Pokemon games.

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Re: Money in Pokemon

Post by chaoadventures » Sat Mar 05, 2016 12:25 pm

Ivogoji wrote:I still want to know if the 3DS games have shed any additional light on the issues raised in this topic.
I'd like to bring up that in X and Y, you have to pay to use the cabs in Lumiose City. You can also pay 200 Poke Dollars to ride a Gogoat.

Also in Lumiose, are several restaurants. (There's like a food court or something in Omega Ruby too.) You also have to pay for these.
Of course, you don't actually need to eat (Because who cares about logic?) and the real reason to come is for the battles they challenge you to there.
But the player eats the food there too anyways, so there's definitely food that can be bought by the trainers themselves.

In Pokemon Colosseum and XD, even though they had Pokemon Centers (And their machines, in the uncanniest places), they also had a hotels you had to pay to stay in.
(The "Pyrite Super Grand Hotel" and the "Under Grand Hotel" to be exact.) The price of the one in The Under was 1,000 Poke Dollars.

I think some things are prepaid (like Pokemon Centers), some just happen to be free (Taxes on the stuff you buy in Poke Marts maybe?), and everything else you have to pay for because
it's not related as deeply to whatever government body there is in the region.

Whether or not food is both sold and free, or all of it has to be bought and it was just a limit of the games and/or Game Freak just not wanting to worry about that, I don't know.
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Re: Money in Pokemon

Post by Goat » Sat Mar 05, 2016 1:25 pm

Am I wrong to expect something Orwellian out of people being funded to expend time into battling one another for sport on such a grand scale?

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Re: Money in Pokemon

Post by Ivogoji » Sat Mar 05, 2016 9:13 pm

chaoadventures wrote:
Ivogoji wrote:I still want to know if the 3DS games have shed any additional light on the issues raised in this topic.
I'd like to bring up that in X and Y, you have to pay to use the cabs in Lumiose City. You can also pay 200 Poke Dollars to ride a Gogoat.

Also in Lumiose, are several restaurants. (There's like a food court or something in Omega Ruby too.) You also have to pay for these.
Of course, you don't actually need to eat (Because who cares about logic?) and the real reason to come is for the battles they challenge you to there.
But the player eats the food there too anyways, so there's definitely food that can be bought by the trainers themselves.

In Pokemon Colosseum and XD, even though they had Pokemon Centers (And their machines, in the uncanniest places), they also had a hotels you had to pay to stay in.
(The "Pyrite Super Grand Hotel" and the "Under Grand Hotel" to be exact.) The price of the one in The Under was 1,000 Poke Dollars.

I think some things are prepaid (like Pokemon Centers), some just happen to be free (Taxes on the stuff you buy in Poke Marts maybe?), and everything else you have to pay for because
it's not related as deeply to whatever government body there is in the region.

Whether or not food is both sold and free, or all of it has to be bought and it was just a limit of the games and/or Game Freak just not wanting to worry about that, I don't know.
Thank you for actually answering my query. That is informative.

I'm leaning towards the explanation the Pokemarts and Pokemon Centers supply trainers with food and other essential items- which are charged to trainers' Pokemon League credit- and offer to sell nonessential items (Pokeballs, potions, etc.) which are purchased with prize money. Restaurants, hotels, and other places of that nature are luxuries; Pokemon Centers take care of any trainers that are strapped for cash.
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Re: Money in Pokemon

Post by Jeffery Mewtamer » Sun Mar 06, 2016 12:56 am

@Goat: In all fairness, Assuming the pokedollar is comparable to the Japanese Yen, the amounts that change hands in trainer battles in-game, even for Championship matches, is downright tiny compared to what real-world athletes get for playing at the professional level. 10,000 Yen is only about 88 USD whereas most NBA, NFL, MLB, etc. contracts are measured in millions of USD per year.

Personally, part of me says the lack of eating in the games can be filed under "acceptable breaks from reality" as to be quite honest, aside from virtual pets, I can't think of a single video game that actually implements hunger and the need to regularly eat, and when food is seen in games, it's almost always of the magical healing variety.
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Re: Money in Pokemon

Post by Ivogoji » Sun Mar 06, 2016 1:22 am

Both people and Pokemon have to eat in the anime though, and we see them buying food.

Nobody poops however.
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Re: Money in Pokemon

Post by Goat » Sun Mar 06, 2016 3:10 am

Ivogoji wrote:Nobody poops however.
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Jeffery Mewtamer wrote:@Goat: In all fairness, Assuming the pokedollar is comparable to the Japanese Yen, the amounts that change hands in trainer battles in-game, even for Championship matches, is downright tiny compared to what real-world athletes get for playing at the professional level. 10,000 Yen is only about 88 USD whereas most NBA, NFL, MLB, etc. contracts are measured in millions of USD per year.
Following the logistics of how many pokemon trainers there are and how easily it is to become one, it makes perfect sense! Given the assassinated emperor progression of champions in the game as well.

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Re: Money in Pokemon

Post by Jeffery Mewtamer » Sun Mar 06, 2016 12:43 pm

Well, it's not like challengers can just walk up to the Champion at any time without having gone through some kind of qualifier. Be it games or anime, you need 8 badges to even be in the running for a chance at a Title Match with the regional champion, though the Regional Tournaments seen in the Anime are arguably more realistic than the King of the Hill style of qualifier represented by Victory Road. Still, I'd argue being allowed into the tournament or on to Victory Road is a prerequisite for being classified as a professional trainer with Gym Leaders effectively being the proctors of the exams required for pro status(Granted, the metaphor breaks down a bit with having to be recertified in every region).

And in all fairness, outside of literal toilet humor, how often does media targeted at a young audience mention pee or poop?

Though, given the level of technology displayed in the Pokemon world including such marvels as:
-Pokeballs
-The Pokemon Storage System
-The Pokecenter healing Machines
-Technical Machines
-Warp Panels
-Arrow Panels

And probably other things I've forgotten, it wouldn't surprise me ifthey've achieved post scarcity for things like food. Do we ever see characters on the verge of starvation who are neither isolated from civilization or might be denied service for being a criminal? Do we ever see characters paying for Raw ingredients rather than buying prepared food?
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Re: Money in Pokemon

Post by Goat » Sun Mar 06, 2016 2:15 pm

Warp panels and Arrow panels can be potentially chalked into whatever it is psychic pokemon are able to do I'd wager, or at least the bare minimum of it applied to a device given that magic is a real thing in the games at least.

TM have long been thought to have been training guides and gen 5 made such things reusable.

Now the nature of pokeballs, you have three corporations making them, Silph, Devon, and Kalos Pokeball Factory. This could have an implication on trade, given that the regions don't exactly all have the same pokeballs.

As for centers and pc's, defibrillators and porygon related shenanigans might be at work here.

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Re: Money in Pokemon

Post by Ivogoji » Sun Mar 06, 2016 2:41 pm

Speaking of Pokemon technology- Pokeballs, the PC storage system, and warp panels all seem to function with the same matter-to-energy conversion mechanism. Comparison to Star Trek transporters would make sense.
Jeffery Mewtamer wrote:Do we ever see characters on the verge of starvation who are neither isolated from civilization or might be denied service for being a criminal? Do we ever see characters paying for Raw ingredients rather than buying prepared food?
Team Rocket goes through this almost every episode. In the second episode of XYZ they even talk about reverse engineering Squishy/Puni-Chan/Zygarde Core's ability to survive only on sunlight so they wouldn't have to go hungry anymore.
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Re: Money in Pokemon

Post by Goat » Sun Mar 06, 2016 2:47 pm

How much of the pokemon universe can we truly infer from the anime?

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Re: Money in Pokemon

Post by Ivogoji » Sun Mar 06, 2016 2:55 pm

How much can we reasonably infer from the games? Worldbuilding breaks down completely beyond what the player is allowed to explore. The anime at least has storytelling as it's first priority.
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Re: Money in Pokemon

Post by Goat » Sun Mar 06, 2016 3:12 pm

Animes can branch out far from what is usually intended and wind up filling gaps where needed, take FMA for instance.

Given, we do have plenty of manga's to work with here as well.

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Jeffery Mewtamer
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Re: Money in Pokemon

Post by Jeffery Mewtamer » Mon Mar 07, 2016 1:01 am

I think it's safe to say the Games, Anime, and Mangas represent distinct continuities and outside of elements seen in multiple media, something shown in one doesn't necessarily apply in another. Even with the games, except for maybe Colosseum/Gale of Darkness and the Ranger games, most of the spin-offs are probable to definitely different continuity from the main series(and even the main series has fairly weak continuity accross different entreis except for GSCHGSS referencing RGBYFRLG a lot and BW2 being a direct sequel to BW).

Thinking about it some more, I think Pokeballs might be straight-up magi-tech. It's heavily implied Apricorn balls predate the standard poke-great-ultra-master series of progressively stronger balls with no specialization and Apricorns quite literally grow on trees. The process Kurt uses to make Apricorn balls is never explained, but it's implied he uses fairly primitive tools and does all the work by hand. From this, it seems likely that Apricorns have magical properties that allow them to store a living creature as data/in a pocket dimension/other personal head-canon on what goes on inside a Pokeball. Modern Pokeballs might have been the result of recreating the power inherent to Apricorns artificially. As for their being multiple manufacturers, apparently, either the patents have expired, the patents that exist don't apply in the jurisdictions where the other manufacturers operate, the patent holder has licensed the tech to the other companies, or patents as we know them don't exist in the Pokemon World.

I can also get behind Warp Panels either being powered by Psychics or being the result of trying to duplicate psychic abilities through technology.

And the parallels between pokeworld tech and Star Trek transporters seems rather apt, especially when you consider Transporters and Replicators in Star Trek work on the same principles. Makes me wonder if Pokearth's tech level compares favorably to Trek-verse tech halfway between now and Enterprise.
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Ivogoji
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Re: Money in Pokemon

Post by Ivogoji » Mon Mar 07, 2016 1:15 am

Even given the distinctions between the continuity of different media, we would still expect things like economics and technology to be similar across all versions of the setting. The changes each iteration of the Pokemon universe makes don't generally impact such details after all.

Out of hand, I'd assume that the Pokemon Special manga is more explicit about background information and world building than either of the other two big incarnations. However, I don't know much specifics about that continuity that would shed light on this topic.

At any rate I think it be useful to assume that any in-universe convention that applies to one version of Pokemon applies to all, unless there is clear evidence to indicate otherwise.
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