Not Nicknaming Your Pokemon is Callous and Boorish

He said "Pikachu" because he has no proper name. Will you give him one?

Every now and then, I remember there are some real sickos in the Pokemon world. And a few hours into Pokemon Legends: Arceus, I’ve been reminded of a subset of them who I had erased from my brain eons ago. But I suppose going back to a historic setting in the Pokemon universe means I gotta deal with some cultural differences that we have since moved beyond as a society — an outdated practice that no one should be practicing in the year of our lord, Arceus, 2022.

Stop not nicknaming your Pokemon, you absolute degenerates. You unequivocal criminals. You unambiguous villians.

In the first hour of Pokemon Legends: Arceus, there’s a man named Beauregard who wants you to catch him a Wurmple. He can’t leave his post as a guard, so he can’t venture out into the wild to catch the little bug on his own. I, being an upstanding citizen already headed in that direction, told him I’d catch a Wurmple in his stead. So I did. I went out into the Obsidian Fieldlands, found the little caterpillar, and captured it in a Poke Ball to bring back to Beauregard like a good samaritan.

All my desire to do good in this world crystallized when he told me he was going to name this Wurmple something other than its Arceus-given name in anticipation of its evolution into a Beautifly.

The man then had the kindness to ask me — a 15-year-old kid who just fought through the untamed wilderness of the Hisui region to deliver this poor bug bastard — what I thought he should name it between three names: Beauticia, Beautifred, or Beaugene. There was no fourth option to tell him that I would be happy he was granting the creature a name regardless of what he chose, so I said Beauticia. Then, I gave him a wide berth. I couldn’t risk him trying to suggest names for my Pichu, Beautifly, or Cyndiquil, because I could tell he was a giving spirit and I didn’t want to take any names which he might have been saving for other Pokemon in the future.

When a Pokemon walks up to you, it says its name — the name of its species, not its name as an individual. Wild animals do not have names, because naming is a human act which confers meaning upon that which is important to us. Anti-nicknaming apologists will say, “But who are you to impose your will upon this creature?”

To which I say, “Adam gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.”

In Pokemon, nicknaming your little friends is a deviation from how most people do things — because most people in the Pokemon world are uncritical consumers who treat their animal companions like tools. Most trainers you fight don’t release their Charizard and say, “Go, Thick Lizzy!” This is because they are insensitive clods. Are you?

So keep at it, nicknamers. And I hope other characters in Pokemon Legends: Arceus get me involved in their nicknaming like this. I just got here. I’m having a great time.