For many movie-goers, Detective Pikachu will be a reintroduction of sorts to the wondrous world of Pokémon. Of course, the setting of the popular game series turned multimedia sensation is a secondary concern for players, who are more invested in which pocket monsters they can capture. But where does Pokémon takes place -- and does it really matter?
The answer to the latter is yes, in many respects. The Pokémon world is overflowing with unique geographical and cultural features, and society is shaped by its interaction with the pocket monsters. It's a richly defined world that most players never take the time to understand, let alone explore. This article serves as a primer for the Pokémon world, and how it may tie into Detective Pikachu.
As most players know, the Pokémon world is divided by regions, each loosely based on a real-world counterpart. Johto, Kanto, Hoenn and Sinnoh are inspired by Japan; Unova is New York; Kalos is France; Alola is Hawaii; and the upcoming Galar region is Britain.
In many cases, Pokémon are affected by their environments. That's most notable in the Alola Region, where numerous Pokémon take on drastically different forms due to environmental influences.
The world's geography, and the ratio of water to land, was established after a clash between the legendary Pokémon Kyogre and Groudon, each of whom tried to reshape the landscape. It's only thanks to the mediation of Rayquaza that balance was struck. However, should these two fight again, the landscape may very well be altered once more.
The continents were then reshaped by the arrival of Regigigas. With its sheer strength, Regigigas broke up the monolithic landmass created by Groudon, creating the regions of the Pokémon world. Before Regigigas could cause more pandemonium, three Pokémon were created, possibly by man, known as the Regis. They formed a three-part key to seal Regigigas under Snowpoint Temple, in the Sinnoh Region. The Regis were hidden in temples in the Hoenn Region, far from the great, slumbering Titan they locked away.
There are also numerous natural caves carved out by ground-type Pokémon, most notably the Diglett Cave in the Kanto Region.
Many fans have theorized the Pokémon world is just our modern civilization several years into the future. However, they ignore hat Pokémon have shaped its world's history from the beginning. Of course, there are legendary and prehistoric Pokémon, such as Mew, whose fossils have been found throughout the world.
It's known, however, that the creator of the Pokémon world, Arceus, is a Pokémon. Arceus created Dialga, Palkia and Giratina to serve as guardians of time, space and chaos. After that, Arceus brought Azelf, Uxie and Mesprit to life in order to create willpower, knowledge and emotion, respectfully. Those Pokémon exist as almost a pantheon of gods.
There are numerous caves and ancient cities that indicate Pokémon have helped to shape human civilization. Most notable are the Ruins of Alph, which indicate that human language was based on the forms taken by the Unown.
As is to be expected by a society that coexists with such powerful creatures as Pokémon, human culture has evolved around the pocket monsters. While catching and training Pokémon is an obvious priority in this world, that's not the only extent to which the creatures influenced human society. Electric Pokémon helped to fuel power plants. Transportation is aided by the use of water and flying Pokémon, although boats, planes and cars still exist. Some Pokémon assist with construction, while others help to maintain the ecosystem.
A noteworthy element to human culture is how Pokémon are, in some cultures, revered as divine. Most notably, in Johto, in Ecruteak City, there are the Tin and Brass Towers. They used to be home to the legendary Pokémon Lugia and Ho-oh, but, after Brass Tower burned, both birds departed. Three Pokémon died in the fire, but Ho-oh revived them (transforming them into the Legendary beasts, Raikou, Entei and Suicune). That happened, as all the Pokémon in question appear in game; however, the events became a legend that define the entire Johto Region.
Additionally, it's evident there's an afterlife in the Pokémon world, as ghosts regularly appear. Aside from Ghost Pokémon, there are numerous spirits that appear throughout the games. Most notable is the Marowak mother, whose sorrow keeps it anchored to Kanto's Lavender Town. There are several human ghosts that appear from time to time, although it's unknown if they are real ghosts or merely Ghost Pokémon hoping to frighten people.
However, it's also clear some Pokémon are created as a result of human activity. Grimer and Muk are the products of human pollution, which means that in less-polluted regions, such as Alola, these Pokémon are different.
There are numerous locations outside the core Pokémon regions. Orre, which appears in the Pokémon Colosseum games, is a desert world where crime reigns. There's Fiore, Almia, Oblivia ...
But the region most important to those watching Detective Pikachu is Ryme City, which, yes, is from the games. It's unknown where Ryme City exists in relation to the other regions, although we do hear about trainers, rangers and contests, as well as direct references to the Alola Region.
Ryme City is most famous for its annual Pokémon Carnival, which attracts world-class ships to the area to observe its festivities. A ferry can take people from Ryme City to Cappucci Island. There is also the Pokémon Comprehensive Laboratory, located on a mountain northwest of Ryme City. Here, scientists research the various powers of Pokémon.
Directed by Rob Letterman from a script written by Dan Hernandez and Benji Samit, Detective Pikachu stars Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton, Ken Watanabe and the voice of Ryan Reynolds. The film opens Friday in theaters nationwide.