Our Pokemon perspective is skewed. We’re constantly seeing the world through the eyes of trainers. Out on the road, always battling hostile creatures and never getting a chance to really see what life is like in small towns and cities. Game Freak has gotten better about widening our worldview, with Pokemon X and Y featuring more ordinary scenes, but it’s Great Detective Pikachu that really helps an outsider understand what a life in this world would truly be like.
From our first moments with Great Detective Pikachu, we get to see what people in an ordinary city where Pokemon also happen to live deal with on a daily basis. Don’t worry, it isn’t a threat of constant battles. Instead, it looks a lot like what we experience now. Ratatas would scurry around in sewers, instead of mice and rats. Trubbish would lurk in subways, instead of rubbish. People would be accompanied by a Luxio or a Furfrou, in place of a dog. Head into a park, and you’ll see a man feeding Pidgeys instead of pigeons. It’s presented so matter of factly. Here are all of the things you would see people doing on your very block, in your very town, only slightly different.
There’s been a certain hostility around Pokemon. Don’t go into tall grass; Pokemon will attack! Be cautious when walking around trainers, as they’ll challenge you to a fight! Team Rocket, Aqua, Magma, Galactic, Plasma, and Flare are out to steal and misuse Pokemon! It isn’t an exaggeration to suggest we’ve seen them mainly as tools of war. Great Detective Pikachu amends that perception with plenty of peaceful characters going about their day.
Take the aforementioned Ratatas. The only reason we know they’re in Great Detective Pikachu is because of the introductory video offering a cutaway look at the city. They live in the sewers, not bothering anyone. It’s quite different from the games, where hostile Ratatas are among the first foes you face.
In the park, a Mightyena is there with her two Poochyena puppies. She bears no ill will toward Tim or Pikachu. Her puppies are mischievous, with one going after an Aipom, but it isn’t trying to hurt it. The critter is playing. Considering how intimidating these dark-types normally appear, it’s quite reassuring to see them presented peaceably.
In Great Detective Pikachu, wild Pokemon aren’t intimidating. We don’t need to fear them. Instead, we get to see these characters in a natural and relaxed state. Are some mischievous? Yup. You don’t want to turn your back on an Aipom or ghost-type. But we see so many others that are living their lives, content to do their thing while humans do theirs.
It helps make the Pokemon world make more sense. Why would Pokemon be allowed to roam unleashed on major roads, outside of towns, and in thoroughfares if they were as dangerous as the mainstream installments made them seem? They wouldn’t. But, if these are animals that are more likely to be peaceful than hostile, it’s easier to understand why kids are allowed to go on journeys to become trainers and people do maintain semblances of a normal life.
Great Detective Pikachu shows that life with Pokemon wouldn’t be as weird as it seems. Sure, there’d be the occasional, random battle, but daily life wouldn’t be too different from what we experience every day. It’s a delightful revelation and fitting that the most unorthodox Pokemon title would somehow also be the most ordinary.