Pokemon Scarlet and Violet: The coolest, funniest and weirdest things Spanish trainers have spotted so far
So a second major Pokemon output is down in 2022. While some of us are still pushing Pokemon Legends: Arceus‘ the very first open world of the series, The Pokemon Company just revealed Scarlet and Purple, which adopt the same structure in a bold move for the main series. However, that’s not what set the Pokemon community on fire this Sunday that just went away.
The announcement confirmed that developer Game Freak expected the franchise’s first venture into modern open worlds to be a hit with fans and casual gamers alike. These new entries are more significant, however, as they represent the ninth generation of Pokemon (Arceus marked the start of a “side” series). Of course, a new generation means we can explore a never-before-seen region of the Pokémon world – 2019’s Sword and Shield has gone all-British, and the new game duo are staying in Europe… but this time around, they’re all about Spain.
First, let me, as a Spaniard, clarify something: Spain is a real country that, contrary to popular belief, is not located somewhere below the United States. Reading Game Freak “paying homage to the Coco and Encanto aesthetic” made my head spin. These comments are an insult to both Latin American countries and the Iberian Peninsula as a whole (not just Spain) – it turns out that southern European countries are not limited to Italy and to Greece.
Don’t worry too much about offending the Spaniards though; we have fun with the whole situation, because we generally like to laugh at ourselves and how wacky a lot of our aesthetics and customs can seem to everyone. Fortunately, however, Game Freak seems to have taken full advantage of most of these elements in its fantasy version. With that in mind, let me break down the coolest, weirdest and funniest things we Spanish coaches have spotted in Scarlet and Violet so far.
“The main characters look like cayetanos,” half of Twitter Spain proclaimed as soon as the games’ first trailer was released. You must be wondering what a cayetano is and if it is good or bad. Well, it’s a popular word used to (jokingly) refer to posh people, especially those who are still tied to conservative values and outdated elements of Spanish culture – it’s actually a name that includes a variant feminine (Cayetana), but it is hardly used outside of preppy families. Can you see the connection?
Early screenshots released by The Pokémon Company confirm that our characters attend the most expensive private school in the region (you won’t see these outfits anywhere else). Plus, the chic Andalusian-style house on the outskirts is unequivocally a cayetano-owned dwelling. We’re also pretty confident that Game Freak has included “cortijos” (rural houses surrounded by vast tracts of land) in these games, which means new horse and bull-like Pokémon are coming. Coaches (or even a ringmaster) dressed as bullfighters should also be locked down – and maybe a “plaza de toros” (bullring) gym?
As famous as the flamenco music and bright country houses are, Andalusia is not the whole of Spain; there are a lot of elements in the first Scarlet and Violet trailer that belong to other regions. The cathedral-like structure (seen above) that seems to crown a large city resembles the Sagrada Familia, which is in Barcelona, Catalonia. The snowy areas remind foreigners that Spain is not just “sun and beaches”. And those windmills are instantly recognizable if you know Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote – who knows, maybe we’ll see some delusional dude trying to battle them like they’re giant Pokemon. Hey, the show did weirder things (didn’t it, AZ?)
While the Scarlet and Violet trailer gave us a generous first look at the games, the Spanish community was left with tons of – admittedly – pointless questions. Give us some authentic Spanish representation in foreign video games and we’ll applaud. Give us the same inside Pokemon (a ridiculously famous franchise here) and we’ll break the internet. I could fill several posts with shoddy memes and jokes that would only make sense if you’ve spent the last ten years surfing Twitter Spain, but instead I’ll just share the legendary (and more relevant than never) “proud to be Spanish” Dragonite without further context:
By the way, I have to talk about our flag and its colors, because Game Freak is playing with fire here, and we really don’t know if they’re doing it on purpose… The “rojigualda” flag is yellow and red, and it’s the one we have used since 1785, except during the years of the Second Republic, which introduced dark purple in the lower band of the flag and essentially represented the desire to change the traditional model of government in Spain and banish monarchs. Yes, yellow and red are widely used in game logos, but players will have to choose between red and purple, the latter being instantly linked to a short-lived government that was obliterated by a military coup. in July 1936 and the next. The Spanish Civil War. Spice!
This matter of flags and colors also makes me wonder about the organization of the bad guys who will probably terrorize this new region. Spain is still reeling from the damage caused by the conflict against the Basque Terrorists (ETA) for many decades, so having the usual cartoonish Pokemon-exploiting villains wear txapellas (a traditional Basque hat) would be a little tone-deaf.
Unsurprisingly, Pokemon fanatics are also obsessed with the brief glimpse we got of the full region map, as it’s pretty much a modified Iberian Peninsula that apparently incorporates Portugal as part of the region – it would be great to have the western part of the open world have a distinct cultural personality, also giving some love to our neighboring country. It also raises questions related to geography: will the water-centric city be located where our most famous coastal cities are? And what about this desert as dry as Almeria (the province where countless westerns have been filmed)? Oh, so many possibilities…
Finally, I have to dedicate a few words to the trio of newbies, who are getting a lot of attention on Spanish social media as I write this article. Here’s a curated selection of thoughts shared by many fans in the Spanish Pokemon community: Sprigatito is a super cute name (“gatito” is short for gato, or cat), protect them at all costs; yes, Fuecoco looks like an odd mix between Totodile and a red pepper; Quaxly is a “cayetano” duck just because of this hairstyle, trust us.
The buzz and hype will only mount and get louder as more and more details emerge in the months to come. For now, it looks like The Pokémon Company and Game Freak have a clear winner on their hands. Maybe it’s the allure of seeing my culture underrepresented in the Pokemon universe, or maybe it’s the structural evolution the franchise seems to be going through, but I’m about to finally grabbing a Nintendo Switch.
Pokemon Scarlet and Violet – an all-new open-world Pokemon adventure duo – will launch on Nintendo Switch in late 2022.
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