So here we are again. It’s been a week since this game came out as of midnight tonight, so odds are if you wanted a review you’ve found it already. But I’m doing it anyway, bringing a Lily flair to the discussion. Without further adu, let’s send out our Gardevoir Katie and have her use Review!
Female Protagonist with all the Fire starters she could find. So, basically, self-portrait.
Hello, there! Welcome to the wonderful world of Pokémon! My name is Katie. Our world is full of fantastic creatures called… okay, you get the idea. I really shouldn’t have to explain the premise of these games to you, you’ve been there and done that and even if you’ve never really involved yourself in the franchise, you certainly are familiar with the concept. This is GameFreak’s sixth time at bat, not to mention trading card games, various anime adaptations, even more manga adaptations, and a wonderful world we like to call ‘the most expansive franchise on Earth’. These little creatures are the most magical cash cows ever.
The latest installment finds you and your mom – an expert Rhyhorn Racer (that’s a thing!) – moving to the shining and hopeful Kalos Region, or as I like to call it, France. As a fellow transplant to the region, the local Professor, a bishounen named Sycamore, decides to gift you a new cute little supernatural killing machine, one of these cuties, along with giving you best friends. Because he’s a real stand-up guy like that, and wants you to have a posse. Your posse includes the Rival, (basically just the default trainer of the gender you aren’t), the lovely little lily Shauna who is how I consider myself having the authority to review this, the ‘dex completionist Trevor who seems pretty bad at Pokédex completion and Tierno who just wants to dance. No, I’m serious. Where Black and White were complex morality plays, X and Y are about following your own path in life and the bonds you build over the course of that journey.
Pokémon games have become methods of data collection about players, so despite the idea that fans of the series are always in the young age ranges, the in-game statistics have shown actually a pretty interesting spread across age demographics, with the people who started back in the 90s often still with the series. This demographic information has really made an impact of the development, with more serious and involved storylines starting with Black and White, and messages like ‘find your own way in life’ that appeal to the growing, often college-aged audience. X and Y has a very ‘college’ feel to it, actually, with its focus on the bonds you’ll forge for the rest of your life and the independence and adventurism. In previous generations you are given very specific goals by the Professor, but here Professor Bishounen tells you to make your own way, to do things as you want them done. Though previous titles never had, you know, supervision over you and your little cute wrecking balls, they always had someone telling you the right way to proceed. X and Y tells you that you already inherently know the right thing for your life.
So cute together….
So, quick aside before I get to he heavy ‘read more’ of this review, and that aside is Shauna. The Sinnoh Region’s champion, Cynthia, was very implied-lesbian especially in Black and White where she spent a lot of time at Catlin’s villa, surrounded by women in bathing suits and the equally arguably gay gym leaders Elesa and Skyla. But the entire case was very circumstantial and a lot like the ‘I see myself reflected here’ kind of thing that leaves a lot to be desired. X and Y strengthen this significantly with Shauna, who is interested in the protagonist regardless of gender, having several somewhat romantic scenes and one that is… well, remarkably romantic. This is a lightly spoilery link to the conversation as rendered into art. Again, Shauna’s bisexuality isn’t directly confronted, but I don’t think it ought to be. In a game about finding your own place in the world, what could be better than having a character who has a non-heterosexual orientation treated as just another person, with her own place in the world? Plus, there’s the whole argument that without saying what Shauna is, the writers avoid alienating American audiences who they consider too puritanical for an openly gay or bi character, which is a common point of localization censorship in anime and manga.
Now, on to the features.
New bad guys? Team FABULOUS! I mean Flare. Might’ve been right the first time.
X and Y introduces a lot of new bells and whistles, but only introduces around seventy new creatures...