The world of Pokemon is ripe with symbolism of globalization. Pokemon is a multi-medium phenomenon. It is more than a game or an anime television show. The world of Pokemon is a commentary on aspects of globalization within the content of those mediums. The internal world of Pokemon is one of complex interactions and integrations of people and companies driven by the goal of obtaining and developing power and fame through the exploitation of Pokemon.
Pokemon are commodities in games that are built up and traded. The time invested into the collection of particular versions of particular Pokemon, in the video game and the card game. The army collected translates into a wealth of power with the goal to be “The very best that no one ever was.” This goal is mentioned in the theme song for the anime series. A principal of Pokemon games is that each area has its own problems and assets. The progression and gaining of badges within the game is a way the game presents to break down barriers and extend the reach of the character to other parts of the world. That area of the game is a reflection on the definition of globalization.
The implicit goal in the game of catching all the Pokemon is echoed by the explicit goal of collecting all the gym badges. The game instills the idea of seeking superiority as a universal goal as every trainer in the game wants to be the best, and they are all headlined by a rude and often justifiably arrogant rival. Kerr mentions this as cultural imperialism. Pokemon as a game is used “as the ‘immediate environment’ within which the self develops.”(Kerr 4) The quest within the game is a platform to prove yourself over and over to beat strangers, friends and finally rivals. The environment also presents puzzles and an almost unrealistic amount of Pokemon to capture.
A second troubling aspect in the games comes of concurring and taming a hostile wilderness. The problem with this is that its exactly the problem addressed with Richard Kippling’s ‘White Man’s Burden’ if the Pokemon are seen as slaves within the Pokeballs. That problem is similar to what Kerr mentions that globalization is viewed with “outright hostility due largely to the perception that these flows were uni-directional moving from the first world to the lesser developed nations.” (4) If they are interpreted as animals, which their shape and names represents, this game can be seen as a giant coq-fight. That idea is somehow only slightly less troubling. Neither case should be presented as a role model protagonist.
In conclusion elements of the world of Pokemon have links to globalization. This factor along with its adaptability to many mediums and countries and languages made it universally synonymous with the phenomenon of globalization.
Kerr, A., and R. Flynn. “Revisiting Globalisation Through the Movie and Digital Games Industries.” Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies (2003): 91-113. Web. 26 Mar. 2015.