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May 31, 2018 8:42 AM   Subscribe

No One Knows If People Eat Pokémon [Kotaku] “One question has always haunted me during my years playing Pokémon. If people eat meat in the Pokémon universe, and there are no other animals that players see or interact with but Pokémon, what are they eating? Series director Junichi Masuda says not even he knows.”

• In the Pokémon universe, what do humans eat? [Polygon]
“"Simply put, it is a fact that people eat Pokémon," says Modern Farmer. Evidence includes the hunting of Farfetch'd to near-extinction. There's also the fact that the tail of the dim-witted Slowpoke is a rare, highly valued commodity because it is "tasty" and "nutritious." In Pokémon Gold/Pokémon Silver, Team Rocket's practice of cutting off the tails and selling them is frowned upon, but by Pokémon X/Pokémon Y, a restaurant openly serves Azure Bay Slowpoke Tail.”
• The Food Politics of Pokémon [Modern Farmer]
“Most likely, a creature’s relative intelligence determines whether or not it’s fit to eat. By Pokémon standards, Slowpoke are simple-minded and can take up to five seconds to process pain. According to one female Rocket, “Slowpoke Tails grow back fast! What’s wrong with selling them?” — a parallel the real world poaching of rhino horns. The friend-or-food determination is affected by physical appearance, as well. Pokémon, like the adorable Pikachu, are de facto companions, while others, such as the bull-like Tauros and Krabby the crab, seem more closely linked to their real-world counterparts (i.e., edible).”
• 20 Pokemon We Honestly Just Want to Eat [Screen Rant]
“Instead, imagine a world where you could eat them all. That's right, Screen Ranters, today we're exploring the Pokémon we'd honestly like to eat. No tricks, no gimmicks - just 20 entries of delicious, Pokémon-packed dishes. You may find yourself wondering how or why these Pokémon were selected. Our recommendation? Don't think too much about it. Don't worry about the excluded Veggiémons like Oddish, Shroomish, Bellsprout, or Cherubi. Worry not for Surf-n-turf selections like Krabby, Kingler, Miltank or Tauros, because they're just too easy. Ready your bibs and fetch your sporks. Release your inner demons, and let's feast like it's 1996.”
• What Each Pokemon Would Taste Like and How to Eat It [Kitchn]
1. Bulbasaur
Frog. Poach in butter flavored with garlic from its own bulb.

2. Charmander
Salamander. Poisonous. Don't eat.

3. Squirtle
Turtle, obviously. Cook in a stew

4. Caterpie
Caterpillar. Probably poisonous.

[...]

30. Geodude
Himalayan rock salt. Seasoning for the other Pokédishes.

31. Ponyta
Horse, obviously. Cut into steak and seared medium-rare.

32. Slowpoke
Hippo. Very fatty steaks.
[Previously.]
posted by Fizz (65 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
 
Is this why all the pudgiest pidgeys live safely on an island?
posted by poffin boffin at 8:44 AM on May 31, 2018 [8 favorites]


No, you have to cook caterpie with tomato and onion sauce or put him in a salad - kill him first though, so he doesn't eat your salad.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 8:55 AM on May 31, 2018 [2 favorites]


This concept filled me with horror but upon further reflection I have to agree that the fact that Farfetch'd literally comes with its own spring onion is a strong argument for the idea that at least some pokes are eaten.

But Slowpoke is my VERY FAVORITE POKEMON and I'm so glad eating them is not really a real option because I don't think I could be friends with a Slowpoke-eater.
posted by potrzebie at 8:56 AM on May 31, 2018 [8 favorites]


brings a whole new meaning to the concept of the poke bowl
posted by halation at 8:57 AM on May 31, 2018 [45 favorites]


brings a whole new meaning to the concept of the poke bowl

No, that's for later in the evening when the kids are put to bed. Everyone puts their pokeballs in the bowl and you reach in and take a random ball out and that's your pokefriend for the rest of the night. No wait, I'm thinking of a different kind of party...
posted by Fizz at 8:59 AM on May 31, 2018 [25 favorites]


But Slowpoke is my VERY FAVORITE POKEMON and I'm so glad eating them is not really a real option because I don't think I could be friends with a Slowpoke-eater.

i used to get these things in my halloween trick-or-treat haul as a kid, on occasion, so i've honestly never not thought about eating slowpoke, and assumed that they'd stick to one's molars
posted by halation at 8:59 AM on May 31, 2018


No wait, I'm thinking of a different kind of party...

The Ice-Type Storm
posted by halation at 9:02 AM on May 31, 2018 [3 favorites]


None of it makes sense. Vulpix is described in-universe as a fox category, fire type, Pokemon, but how do they know what a fox is?
posted by w0mbat at 9:02 AM on May 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


how do they know what a fox is?

They just ask the pokedex. "Similar to a Growlithe, with a pointier snout, but doesn't taste as good."
posted by turkeybrain at 9:16 AM on May 31, 2018 [1 favorite]




I've decided that "Eating Pokémon" is just a euphemism.
posted by CynicalKnight at 9:26 AM on May 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


Pokemon is a cute little game about children wandering the wilderness, capturing small animals and training them to fight with drugs. Right now you're worried about whether the rooster gets eaten after the cockfight.
posted by adept256 at 9:32 AM on May 31, 2018 [31 favorites]


Poach in butter flavored with garlic from its own bulb.

pretty sure the book of Deuteronomy has some prohibitions against this
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:40 AM on May 31, 2018 [25 favorites]


Who would've expected Pokémon to have more lore ambiguity than Dark Souls?

[Fun Ruiner]
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 9:42 AM on May 31, 2018 [5 favorites]


Pick clean the bones of Pokémon caught in the sea or stream.
Thank them for the meals they provide, and pick their bones clean.
When the bones are as clean as can be, set them free in the water from which they came.
The Pokémon will return, fully fleshed, and it begins anew.


(A Sinoh folk tale.)
posted by reynaert at 9:42 AM on May 31, 2018 [2 favorites]


One of the things I find interesting about pokemon lore is how much it seems to zigzag around horror. A lot of the early worldbuilding for this game painted a more gritty picture, more in line with a typical 90's battle shounen genre. For example, this old concept art from early development where pokemon are kept in cages and incubated in tanks. For the anime, Takeshi Shudo's original plan was for Meowth and Pikachu to lead a poke-rebellion against humans. There's some other stuff that was semi-established and now exists as remnants, like kids become adults at age 10, which is why you have all these kids and teens in the game/anime with careers, or travelling alone and getting into life-threatening situations instead of being at school.

Then, throughout the entire series, even now, a lot of dex entries and in-game text talk pretty plainly about people hunting pokemon, pokemon killing people, pokemon being used as weapons of war, etc. And I guess because of international pressure to keep Pokemon very sanitary and kid-friendly, they will just kind of hint at it but never portray it directly. (Though I have made some fanarts that explore this because it fascinates me). But it's just rather hilarious because they're couching all this horror behind a "pokemon are our ~friends~" sort of message, and it's reminiscent of those restaurant logos where a friendly cartoon pig is serving bacon.

They even tried addressing the moral ambiguity of catching/battling pokemon in Pokemon Black/White, yet they never really explained what made it okay. They just went "they're our friends and we learn about friendship through battles!" and never explained how that works, or how catching works, or why they will always be "okay" with being caught with a Master Ball.

I'm not surprised at all that Masuda doesn't know about their own worldbuilding. It 100% feels like a franchise where they've just been winging it the whole way. Though I do wonder if it would have been much easier to still have pokemon exist alongside regular animals (they're referenced several times in the pokedex). It would have eased up on the food-related stuff, but also there's a whole section of the fanbase that gets up in arms over the incongruities with regards to pokemon biology and ecology. If regular animals existed, people would more readily accept pokemon as being mysterious monsters/spirits/etc that don't follow normal biological processes. I think it's part of why people (mostly westerners) hate the object-based, tsukumogami-inspired pokemon like klefki, chandelure, vanilluxe, etc, as they don't fit in that "pokemon are like animals" perception.
posted by alexlaw at 10:00 AM on May 31, 2018 [24 favorites]


Can we just agree that Mr. Mime is too much like Pennywise to be a coincidence and this is why they freak me out.
posted by arcticseal at 10:06 AM on May 31, 2018 [3 favorites]


There are these "Poke" cafe's that seemed to appear not long after the latest pokeman craze ramped up, I just assumed that the little beasts were being cultivated...
posted by sammyo at 10:10 AM on May 31, 2018 [3 favorites]


Pokemon is just begging for a gritty "realistic" reboot, complete with a scene showing Togepi getting spit-roasted with a fire provided by Charmander.
posted by runcibleshaw at 10:15 AM on May 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


Previously on Metafilter: It is a known fact that people eat Pokemon. (tl;dr: In a couple of the games, Slowpoke tails are cut off and sold on the black market.)
posted by ardgedee at 10:26 AM on May 31, 2018


Pikachewy.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:47 AM on May 31, 2018 [5 favorites]


Can it be that the global machines of commodity fethism have not yet hatched a scheme to exploit the intersection of foodies and Pokemon fans?
posted by eustatic at 10:48 AM on May 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


Capitalists, I m a bit disappointed in you.
posted by eustatic at 10:49 AM on May 31, 2018 [3 favorites]


Does this make pikachu some analog to fugu? A rare and dangerous delicacy?
posted by loquacious at 10:50 AM on May 31, 2018


Also: PIKACHU! I CHEWS YOU!
posted by loquacious at 10:50 AM on May 31, 2018 [14 favorites]


Wife: "Help load up the car."

Me: "Hold on. I'm trying to figure out if people eat Pokémon."

Mother-in-law: "Well they eat Tide Pods."
posted by compartment at 10:55 AM on May 31, 2018 [35 favorites]


How do you know Pokemon are even made out of meat?

Maybe the people in the Pokemon universe are eating... other people.
posted by JamesBay at 10:58 AM on May 31, 2018 [2 favorites]


Maybe the people in the Pokemon universe are eating... other people.

I wouldn't' be surprised or shocked by cannibalism in this universe. This is a place where it's basically monster dog-fighting on a global scale. Ethical behaviour/consumption seems to have been thrown out the window.
posted by Fizz at 11:05 AM on May 31, 2018 [14 favorites]


Listen, I know it seems ludicrous to imagine a world where everyone's a vegetarian, but let's admit that's actually a possibility for a made-up fantasy world. (It would also be possible that all meat being eaten is lab-grown. If we ate lab grown meat derived from human DNA, would that be still be cannibalism?)

If not eating meat is a viable choice in our world, then even if Pokemon eating is canon, I'm sure there's a corner of the Pokeworld that protests factory farmed Slowpokes, and finds Snorlax meat disgusting, much as beef is disgusting to some in ours, not to mention alligator, horse, dog, cat, or guinea pig, rabbit, or reindeer meat being eaten in other parts of the world.
posted by fragmede at 11:06 AM on May 31, 2018 [4 favorites]


Don't tell me that slow-cooked Piloswine shoulder isn't a genuine goddamned treat.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:17 AM on May 31, 2018 [4 favorites]


even that gets weird, though, fragmede, because there are fruit-based and veggie-based pokemon. do they count as vegetables, or as animals? does the vegetarian option consist of, like, oddishes and bellsprouts? does eggsecute count as ovo-lacto? about the only things that seem not-potentially-animate are the grass in which the pokemon lurk, and the berries you can feed them -- maybe eating that way the only way to eat vegan?
posted by halation at 11:21 AM on May 31, 2018 [8 favorites]


One of the games has a book you can read in it. The book details that pokemon can be eaten and if you want them to come back after, you pick them clean to the bone and then hook the bones by underwater overnight and the pokemon will come back fully restored and whole again. So people do eat Pokemon and it's kind of a horrifying experience but still not as bad as how we eat animals, who can never come back.

Found it!

"Sinnoh Folk Story 1"
Pick clean the bones of Pokémon caught in the sea or stream.
Thank them for the meals they provide, and pick their bones clean.
When the bones are as clean as can be, set them free in the water from which they came.
The Pokémon will return, fully fleshed, and it begins anew.
posted by GoblinHoney at 11:25 AM on May 31, 2018 [8 favorites]


Sounds like a plot hole worthy of Tolkien.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 11:33 AM on May 31, 2018 [2 favorites]


I interpreted the designation of "folk story" as indicating that it's not literally true that individual Pokemon regenerate from their bones.
posted by Pyry at 11:38 AM on May 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I can catch a fish, put its bones back in the river and catch another fish the next day. But it sure didn't regenerate.

Presumably Pokemon eat each other like nobody's business which is why they all evolved to fight like hell.
posted by GuyZero at 11:48 AM on May 31, 2018 [7 favorites]


I just put them ALL into a blender and make L'il Lisa's Pokemon Slurry.
posted by sexyrobot at 11:53 AM on May 31, 2018 [3 favorites]


Presumably Pokemon eat each other like nobody's business which is why they all evolved to fight like hell.

I mean, that's kind of how our animal kingdom works. “I choose you meat ants!”
posted by Fizz at 12:00 PM on May 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


Narrator Voice: “They eat the Pokémon”
posted by nikaspark at 12:07 PM on May 31, 2018 [5 favorites]


I never really watched the shows before (although I do remember watching the classic metapod vs. metapod battle) but I ended up watching all of X,Y,Z with my kids and yeah, what exactly is food made of in this world is the big question I have too.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 12:19 PM on May 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


Overpikathinking a plate of pokébeans, really.
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:43 PM on May 31, 2018 [6 favorites]


I always wonder if the hunter ate Bambi's mom. I just assume fish ate Ana and Elsa's parents.
posted by The_Vegetables at 1:32 PM on May 31, 2018 [2 favorites]


How do you know Pokemon are even made out of meat?

Obviously they are made of CAKE.
posted by happyroach at 1:57 PM on May 31, 2018 [2 favorites]


Sandshrew is clearly a pangolin, not an armadillo. Surely that makes a difference when considering cooking methods.
posted by darchildre at 2:13 PM on May 31, 2018 [3 favorites]


Maybe the people in the Pokemon universe are eating... other people.

Well, we know Pokémon eat other Pokémon, and we all know people are a special type of Pokémon... so it's possible.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 3:08 PM on May 31, 2018


One of my old projects was doing some setting design for a consent-oriented reconstruction of the basic pokemon premise - there's a lot of fun things about a lot of the stuff that goes on in the games, after all, it's just that so much of it is pretty uncomfortable if you think about it too much (and I'm the sort of person that tends to prefer games/media that stand up to closer scrutiny). A loose outline of what I came up with:

- Pokemon aren't biological creatures the way humans are, they're powerful nature spirits. On their own, they're confined to the part of the world where they originated, but humans can make pacts with them to be able to summon them elsewhere, providing the mutual benefit of allowing the pokemon to see and experience more of what the world has to offer, and giving the human magical aid with the challenges they face in their explorations. (Anything with enough spiritual energy around it can give rise to a pokemon; the first pokemon encountered resembled plants and animals and rocks, but as civilization spread, pokemon like Voltorb and Vanillite and Trubbish started appearing too.)

- Pokeballs don't literally contain pokemon inside them. Rather, they're objects that can be attuned to one particular pokemon spirit and used to summon them, like a true name sort of thing. When a pokemon isn't actively summoned, it's still wandering the wilderness of its home territory. When a pokemon is "captured", it's agreeing to attune itself to a summoning key, basically giving the trainer its phone number. If a pokemon is dissatisfied with the summoning pact, it can always refuse to come when called, or cut off the connection completely. A pokemon can be attuned to multiple pokeballs at the same time - a very powerful "legendary" pokemon might have dozens of trainers that it's willing to be summoned by.

- Many pokemon enjoy the challenge and excitement of battling with others, and so will generally be inclined to make pacts with humans who prove themselves capable tacticians; these are the wild pokemon who challenge trainers to battles, in the hopes of finding a skilled trainer who can help hone their battling capabilities, teach them new techniques, and so on. Others simply appreciate travel and companionship, and will be happy to help a human as a traveling partner without getting involved in battling at all.

(I've got a lot more thoughts on the topic, and am happy to share more if people are interested, but this covers most of the basics I think, and a lot can be extrapolated from it.)
posted by NMcCoy at 3:22 PM on May 31, 2018 [28 favorites]


Yeah I always assumed that the Pokemon were spirits like yokai so not actually made of meat and humans of the pokeworld were lacto-ovo vegetarians. But i haven't played it since the game boy so my knowledge of the poke more is not deep.
posted by Ashwagandha at 3:55 PM on May 31, 2018 [2 favorites]


OK but ghost-spirit milk from Miltank? This is getting into some Spirited Away shit.
posted by GuyZero at 4:48 PM on May 31, 2018 [2 favorites]


It would explain why it has healing powers, though.
posted by NMcCoy at 4:51 PM on May 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


NMcCoy, I love your reconstruction! Please share more.
posted by overglow at 5:25 PM on May 31, 2018


Yeah, but the important question is whether people have sex with Pokemon.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:28 PM on May 31, 2018 [4 favorites]


Why am I reading some kind of Weird Pokemon-apologetics? And why don't half the reboots or movies of pre-existing material I see have half this much effort put into them?
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 6:29 PM on May 31, 2018


I've been vaguely traumatized ever since I started playing Pokemon GO (the only one I've ever played) and saw that cartoon that indicated that the ones you transferred were put into a meat grinder. Thank you, NMcCoy, you have made things better.
posted by PussKillian at 6:32 PM on May 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


I just talked about this with my nine year old boy.

Slarty: “Hey here’s an interesting article about Pokémon.”

*Baby Bartfast turns away from NBA Finals for the first time in an hour*

Slarty: “You know how the people in Pokemon never see any other animals besides Pokemon?”

Baby Bartfast: “Of course”

Slarty: “Well there are episodes where the people are clearly eating meat, like burgers, roasted legs of whatever...”

Baby Bartfast: “Yes, why?”

Slarty: “Well, this Guy is saying that must mean that the people in Pokemon are eating Pokemon.”

BB: “Of course. People eat Pokemon, everyone knows that. There was that time when Team Skull was harvesting Slowpoke tails. Everyone knows all the meat comes from Pokemon.”

This might be the first time I realize my kids now live in a world I cannot possibly comprehend.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 7:33 PM on May 31, 2018 [8 favorites]


"Fish and sea greens, plankton and Pokemon from the sea!"
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:32 PM on May 31, 2018 [5 favorites]


So, do Pokémon eat other Pokémon?

And are humans just another type of Pokémon?
posted by FJT at 9:11 PM on May 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


Oh wait, my questions have been answered above.

If humans are Pokémon, then it isn't weird if people eat them, right?

Oh and one more question: are there people/Pokémon in the Pokémon universe fighting to liberate Pokémon from servitude?
posted by FJT at 9:15 PM on May 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


I hope the folks at Screenrant eating caterpies take off the antenna first, or wherever the predator-repelling stench glands are located. Come to think of it, caterpies are probably big enough (that an eleven year old boy can hold one like a cat) that they might want to um, clean it as they would a prawn first. Also, given ponyta's element type and the general imperviousness of pokemon against being fried by fire attacks, I presume it would take a much hotter flame to render the flesh than most people have access to in a typical kitchen, and thus ponyta steaks would only be served in specialty eateries.

None of it makes sense. Vulpix is described in-universe as a fox category, fire type, Pokemon, but how do they know what a fox is?

Non-pokemon animals exist in the Pokemon world.

about the only things that seem not-potentially-animate are the grass in which the pokemon lurk

There are whole vegetables/fruits shown in the anime that don't appear to be pokemon or otherwise sentient, for instance in the food spread (SLYT) in The Old Chateau ep in Generations. Game-wise, there are vegetable patches in Mistralton City in B&W.

Weighing in as a vegan- eating any type of pokemon is not considered vegetarian, not even the vegetable or dessert looking ones, as all pokemon seem to be of generally human-level sentience with the capacity to understand adult human language (some even learning to vocalise it, like meowth), starting from birth, without having being taught. That's far more sentience and intelligence than omnis are generally ok with in their meat animals IRL.

I kind of wonder what ghost type pokemon taste like. If I ate meat I'd probably try a totodile. Crocs taste like chicken. Would not eat Kangaskhans, as kangaroos have a strong smell not unlike lamb. Speaking of which,
53. Kangaskahn
Opossum. Stew.

It's a kangaroo, surely???

Alolan exeggutors probably evolved the long neck to get its heads the hell away from curious hungry humans.

are there people/Pokémon in the Pokémon universe fighting to liberate Pokémon from servitude?

From the Modern Farmer link:
In the Pokémon world, the farm-to-table conversation is just beginning to take shape. The fifth generation of villains, Team Plasma, was a clear take on PETA — PETA even produced a parody game in the real world called Pokémon Black & Blue, featuring a Pikachu holding an “I support Team Plasma” sign. In the Pokéverse, Team Plasma was an activist group seeking the liberation of all Pokémon from human control that raised the most complex issues in the series thus far.

The leader of Team Plasma, a boy called N, said that Pokémon suffer at human hands and would be happier living freely. His opponents argued that the trainer-Pokémon relationship is one based on love and trust. Eventually, N is convinced that the two groups can mutually benefit each other, but only if people put more thought and care into how Pokémon are treated — an argument made by supporters of the farm-to-table movement.
posted by womb of things to be and tomb of things that were at 9:22 PM on May 31, 2018 [4 favorites]


So, do Pokémon eat other Pokémon?
Yeppp.

Also see Ultra Sun's dex entry for Sableye:
It digs through the ground with its hard claws and crunches down gems with its thick pointy teeth. Carbink is its favorite food.
posted by womb of things to be and tomb of things that were at 9:43 PM on May 31, 2018


Humans are just another type of Pokémon?

When is it Ash's turn in the pokeball?
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 10:00 PM on May 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


Ash will never be in the Pokéball. We are apex Pokémon.

Also, baby Pikachus in honey?
posted by Samizdata at 4:19 AM on June 1, 2018


A couple of years ago I made a list of Pokémon names blended with food items, then wrote a bot that tweeted one a day. I figured that by about #30 I'd have a sizeable internet following and by #90 I'd be a worldwide phenomenon, but sadly it never came to pass. In hindsight, I wish I'd had the creative talent to either draw each one or make an actual recipe inspired by the name.
posted by dashdotdot dash at 5:22 AM on June 1, 2018 [3 favorites]


And after all this in depth analysis, just wanna bet they... taste like chicken!?!
posted by sammyo at 5:36 AM on June 1, 2018 [1 favorite]


So, do Pokémon eat other Pokémon?

Humans are just another type of Pokémon?


Based on the loading screens, I'd say that the major portion of a lot of Pokemon's diet is Pokemon collectors.
posted by happyroach at 9:59 PM on June 1, 2018 [1 favorite]


I asked my son over lunch today, he's 8, about what Pokemon and people in the Poké world eat. He said, QFT:
"Everybody eats everybody in the Pokémon world."
posted by Ashwagandha at 11:51 AM on June 2, 2018 [2 favorites]


Bellum pokium contra pokes.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:11 PM on June 2, 2018


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