A Beginner's Guide to Pokémon

Pokemon is computer games, cartoons, films, cuddly toys, bed linen, and trading cards. But at its heart there is a world and a story.

The world is almost identical to our own, complete with TV, fast food, automobiles and baseball caps. But in this reality, the natural world has been displaced. Instead of the animals we know, the Earth teems with Pokemon, magical monsters which can be carried about in Pokeballs and trained to compete against each other in highly organised competitions.

The story of Pokemon is the story of Ash, a boy who wants more than anything to be a Pokemon trainer. It is his adventures we follow: the friends he makes, the Pokemon he encounters, his victories and defeats.

Pokemon combat is a highly ritualised affair. The trainers hurl their Pokeballs to the ground with a cry of I choose you! The Pokemon themselves love to fight and each one is endowed with a variety of attacks. During the struggle, each trainer shouts instructions to his Pokemon, hoping to tip the balance of the contest. Pokemon rarely seem to suffer any lasting harm in these battles. If they do, the saintly Nurse Joy is at at hand in the local Pokemon Centre.

The most successful trainers are famous and idolised, but only a trainer who really loves and understands his Pokemon can hope to prevail.

Beyond the mantra of their own names, Pokemon do not speak. But they all seem to understand human speech and exhibit high levels of intelligence. Some Pokemon - Alakazam, Mew, Mewtwo, for example - have minds far superior to human kind. Ultimately, Pokemon are a mystery. No one knows how many ther are. No one knows all their powers. At some point even the Pokedex must fall silent.


Ash Young boy who wants to become a Pokemon trainer.
Brock Ash's friend and companion. Wants to become the world's greatest breeder of Pokemon. Brilliant at any kind of housework - cleaning, scrubbing, vacuuming, cooking. Falls in love with every pretty girl he meets.
Misty Ash's friend and companion. Specialises in Water Pokemon. Has been known to play a mermaid in underwater ballets.
Pikachu Yellow electric mouse. Ash's first and best-loved Pokemon. Does not like to go in his Pokeball so usually sits on Ash's shoulder.
Pokeball A small red and yellow sphere. Pokemon are magically sucked inside them and carried about by their trainers.
Pokedex Hand-held electronic encyclopaedia. When pointed at a Pokemon, it provides all the known information on the creature. Indispensible for serious Pokemon trainers.
Pokemon Pocket monsters. Many varieties : water, grass, fire, ghost, psychic etc. Pokemon undergo strange transformations or "evolutions" . For example a Caterpie evolves into a Metapod which in turn evolves into a Butterfree. It is said that the tears of the Pokemon can save the world.