Pokécology– the study of interactions among pokémon and their environment, such as they have with each other, with humans, and with their physical surroundings.
Not a lot of academics are interested in the world of Pokémon. I don’t mean Pokémon as a cultural phenomenon, I mean actually “close reading” the world in which Pikachu and Ash and co. live. As a long-time Pokémon fan and an academic– an almost literal pokémon prof.– I’d like to change that. Here I’ll explore representations of place and space, environment and society, inter-species relationships, and how the characters in the world discuss and think of their environment, starting with Pokémon season 1, episode 1.
I want to think through Pokémon to dissolve the idea of highbrow/lowbrow, to show that academics can do pop culture, to give me a reason to read and apply more theoretical readings I should do anyway. In the end, though, honestly and unashamedly, this is really about my abiding love for Pokémon.
A Note on the Text
After talking it over with a friend, I decided to use the English dub (the version I have access to and the one that I grew up with) as my primary text. I’m going to discuss and explore the show as if the English dub was all that mattered. It is, after all, an adaptation, a new product in its own right. (A second stage evolution of the original?) That said, if I ever run across an interesting comparison between the Japanese orig. and the English dub, I may bring it up.