I am not great at explaining things, so I'll just do my best. Try to follow along. This is for those not sure what Pokemon is or who want to know a little more about it.|
There was a popular RPG (Role Playing Game) in Japan for Game Boy called Pocket Monsters. In that game, the Pocket Monsters are called Pokémon for short. It's been converted into English and the title of the game in English called Pokémon. I'll start by explaining the game and then the anime will be easier to understand.
Pokémon Game There are two main versions of the English game. (In Japan, there are more.) Red and blue versions. In each game, the gameplay is identical - everything is exactly the same - except for one thing. Some Pokémon can only be caught in the red version and some only in the blue. What are Pokémon? Oh, I'm getting ahead of myself! Let's start from the beginning.
In the game, you are an 11-year-old boy living in the quiet town of Pallet. Next door to you lives a boy who you used to be good friends with since you were little, but recently, he's changed and isn't nice like he used to be. He is your rival.
You can choose your own name and the name of your rival. Most commonly, people choose their name as Ash and their rival's name as Gary.
When you try to leave the town of Pallet, a man comes up to you and stops you. His name is Professor Oak. He warns you that there are dangerous wild Pokémon living in the grass and says that you must get a Pokémon of your own with which to fight them, for your own protection.
"Hey wait! Don't go out! It's unsafe! Wild Pokémon live in tall grass! You need your own Pokémon for your protection. I know! Here, come with me!"
You follow Professor Oak to his lab. Your rival Gary (or whatever you call him) is waiting there too. Gary is Professor Oak's grandson. Oak shows you three balls on a table and says that these are Pokéballs, and each one holds a Pokémon inside. He lets you choose your own starter Pokémon. Then you can go out into the tall grass if you want.
"This world is inhabited by creatures called Pokémon! For some people, Pokémon are pets. Others use them for fights."
A little later on in the game, Professor Oak gives you and Gary a Pokédex which will record the data of any Pokémon you catch. It's your goal - and Gary's - to catch all the Pokémon and fill up your Pokédex!
There are 150 Pokémon in all. Different Pokémon can be found at different places throughout the game. When you see a Pokémon, you can send out your own Pokémon to fight it. After your Pokémon has weakened the other one, you can catch it by throwing an empty Pokéball at it.
While on your quest to get all 150 Pokémon, there are also a couple of subplots. You have to beat Team Rocket, a group of Pokémon gangsters, as well as win 8 badges which will enable you to enter Pokémon League, plus beat Gary who constantly shows up in the attempt to prove himself better than you.
To win the 8 badges, you have to go from town to town, and in most towns there is a Pokémon Gym. If you go into the Gym, you can challenge the Gym Leader to a Pokémon battle, and if you win you get a badge from them. There are 8 gyms in all and once you've got all the badges, you can go to Pokémon League.
Pokémon League is where you can challenge the Elite Four, four dedicated trainers with strong Pokémon. If you successfully beat them, you will become a Pokémon master and prove yourself to be the strongest Pokémon trainer in the world.
As well as battling Gary, Team Rocket gangsters and Pokémon Gym Leaders, you'll also encounter a lot of people like yourself - trainers who are trying to become better - who will challenge you to Pokémon fights, in which you use your Pokémon against theirs.
Why do your Pokémon need to fight? They need to fight to evolve so that you can fill your Pokédex with entries for all Pokémon. Confused?
As your Pokémon fight, they get experience points. When they get a certain number of experience points, they grow a level, and when they grow a certain number of levels, they evolve. Yup, evolve. A lot of Pokémon have the ability to grow into a larger, stronger version of themselves.
There are also different types of Pokémon with different powers. There are 15 different types: normal, fire, water, electric, grass, ice, fighting, poison, ground, flying, psychic, bug, rock, ghost and dragon.
There are also different types of attack, and they can be quite diverse.... From a water-type attack like bubble or hydro pump to a grass-type attack like razor leaf or solar beam... From a psychic-type attack like psywave or confusion to a ground-type attack like dig or bone club.
And normal-type attacks are often anything but! They could range from singing (which lulls the enemy to sleep) to a scratch, tackle or pound, to transforming into your opponent, to snatching money from your opponent!
Some types of Pokémon are easier to find than others. For example, flying, normal and water Pokémon are really easy to come across. Finding a dragon or ghost Pokémon is not such a common occurance.
Some types of Pokémon have advantages over other types, and their attacks will be more effective. For example, an electric-type attack will be super effective against a water-type or flying-type Pokémon while a ground-type will be super-effective against an electric-type. Most of these are pretty easy to understand... for example, a flying-type being good against a grass-type is understandable, since birds eat grass and plants, and a water-type is good against a fire-type because, after all, water extinguishes fire.
I mentioned earlier that there are some Pokémon to be found in the red version that aren't in the blue, and vice versa. The thing is, you cannot catch all 150 Pokémon with just one version of the game! You have to use a cable to link up two Game Boys with Pokémon carts, and then you can trade between games. Trading is the only way you can get all 150 Pokémon.
It all sounds very complicated but it all ties in wonderfully and makes sense after a while.
Apart from red and blue, there is now Pokemon Yellow, which is very similar to red/blue, only with a little more basis on the TV show.
There is a lot more I could explain about Pokémon the game but I'm not going to bother. For all it sounds complicated, it's actually very easy to play, addictive and I recommend buying it if you have a Game Boy! ^_^.
So, how does the anime fit into all this? Well, the Game Boy game was such a hit that it was decided to make a show about it.
The story focuses on Ash, a 10 year old boy from the town of Pallet who sets off with his starter Pokémon, Pikachu. Ash was not meant to get Pikachu as his Pokémon, but since he slept in and was late to get his starter Pokémon, by the time he got to Oak's lab, only Pikachu was left.
Pikachu and Ash don't get along too well at first, but after Pikachu learns to trust Ash, we see their friendship build up over the period of the show.
With his friends Misty and Brock, Ash goes from town to town, using his Pokémon against those of Gym Leaders to collect badges. Ash's dream is to be a Pokémon Master and since he has a good bond of friendship with his Pokémon, I think he'll do just fine.
However, Ash's journey is not all smooth sailing. In many of the places he visits, there are people with problems that need solving, and of course he, Brock and Misty always stay to help out. Most of these problems are caused by Team Rocket.
Team Rocket is a large criminal organisation dedicated to stealing rare or powerful Pokémon. Three members of this organisation (who are, like, this close to getting fired since they have yet to steal a single Pokémon!) are called Jessie, James and Meowth. Meowth is actually a Pokémon but can speak English.
Since these three members of Team Rocket saw Pikachu, they realised it was stronger than normal Pikachu, so they've been trying to steal it. They never succeed although they often come close.
In addition, Ash often comes into contact with his biggest rival, Gary. Gary always seems two steps ahead of Ash; he catches more Pokémon, he has more badges, etc. It seems like Gary is a lot better trainer, but I think that in the end, Ash will come out on top because a) he's the main character and b) he is good with Pokémon, even if he doesn't catch many.
The page was titled Loose Change because when I begun, it was going to be a Team Rocket webpage and was inspired by seeing Team Rocket crawling around on the ground looking for loose change that other people had dropped. But then I decided there were already plenty of Rocket pages on the 'net.
This webpage is mostly focusing on the anime of Pokémon, in which case, why did I give the game such a longer intro than the anime? Well, many elements of the game are tied up in the anime. For example, certain types of Pokémon being strong against others, the idea of Pokémon evolving, the theme of collecting 8 badges from Gym Leaders and entering Pokémon League, etc etc.
Two things I should explain about my page:
If you use Windows, you can type the é in Pokémon by holding down the 'alt' key and typing 1 3 0 (on the keypad) in that order and then releasing the alt key. Throughout Loose Change I will tend to type Pokemon without the é because it detracts time from my typing. ^_^.
You may notice my use of the word 'Ash-tachi'. You may be wondering what on Earth that is meant to mean. Fair enough.
I occasionally call the team of Ash, Brock, Misty and all their Pokemon 'Ash-tachi'. -tachi is a Japanese suffix that pluralises something. Since Ash is the main character in the group, Ash-tachi sorta means Ash and company. Given I am not a Japanese speaker, I probably shouldn't do that, but I'm lazy, can't be bothered writing out "Ash and his friends" or "Ash, Misty, Brock, Pikachu and Togepi" all the time!
Having said all that, enjoy the page! ^_-.