Pokémon and I have a tenuous relationship. I never owned an original Game Boy, so when the series exploded around the world the first time I didn’t have a means of playing it. On the Game Boy Advance, I pre-ordered Sapphire and put all of ten hours into it before I got bored. I did the same with Emerald, going through to the second-to-last gym before I tapped out. Pearl, Platinum, and White all suffered the same fate. More than $100 spent on games I would never finish or find that much fun.
The first time I made it to the credits of a Pokémon game was with HeartGold. I did it by buying one of those not-unlocked-but-totally-unlocked cartridges off of eBay for $50. It should have given me everything I could want from Pokémon: shiny versions of every Pokémon including legendaries, an endless amount of money and supplies, and an army of cute and cuddly creatures powerful enough to crush everyone in the game. When it was over I was left unsatisfied. I didn’t earn anything, victory was given to me. It was a hollow experience. I don’t know how trust fund kids do it.
Pokémon X was the first time the series actually clicked with me. Maybe it was the changes to how I progressed through the storyline or maybe it was the fact I caught Farfetch’d right away and rode him to victory through the end, but something in the X and Y games spoke to me in ways the franchise hadn’t before. It no longer felt like an endless series of dogfights I make my way through but rather a fully formed world where Pokémon and people exist side-by-side. Pokémon Ultra Sun speaks to me in the same way, but in a voice that is louder and clearer than ever before.