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Pokemon Scarlet and Violet: The coolest, funniest and weirdest stuff Spanish Trainers have spotted so far

A deep dive into Game Freak’s next Pokemon instalment as the studio (sort of) heads to Spain.

So, a second major Pokemon release is dropping in 2022. While some of us are still pushing through Pokemon Legends: Arceus’ first-ever open world in the series, The Pokemon Company has just unveiled Scarlet and Violet, which are adopting the same structure in a bold move for the mainline series. However, that’s not what set the Pokemon community on fire this Sunday just gone.

The announcement confirmed that developer Game Freak fully expected the franchise’s first venture into modern open worlds to be a hit among fans and casual players alike. These new entries are a bigger deal though, as they represent the ninth generation of Pokemon (Arceus marked the start of a “side” series). Of course, a new gen means we get to explore a previously unseen region of the Pokemon world – 2019’s Sword and Shield went full British, and the new duo of games are sticking to Europe... but this time, they're all about Spain.

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First off, let me, a Spaniard, make something clear: Spain is an actual country which – contrary to popular belief – isn’t located somewhere below the United States. Reading about Game Freak “paying homage to Coco and Encanto’s aesthetics” made my head spin. Those comments are an insult to both Latin American countries and the Iberian Peninsula as a whole (not just Spain) – turns out Southern European countries are more than just Italy and Greece.

Don’t worry too much about offending Spaniards though; we’re having a blast with the entire situation, as we typically love laughing about ourselves and how wacky many of our aesthetics and customs can look to everyone else. Thankfully, though, Game Freak appears to have taken full advantage of most of those elements in its fantastical take. With that in mind, allow me to break down the coolest, weirdest, and funniest stuff we Spanish trainers have spotted so far in Scarlet and Violet.

“The main characters look like cayetanos,” proclaimed half of Twitter Spain as soon as the games’ first trailer dropped. You must be wondering what the hell a cayetano is and whether that’s good or bad. Well, it’s a popular word used to (jokingly) refer to posh people, especially those still connected to conservative values and outdated bits of Spanish culture – it’s actually a name that includes a feminine variant (Cayetana), but it’s barely used outside preppy families. Can you see the connection?

The first screenshots released by The Pokemon Company confirm that our characters attend the most expensive private school of the region (you won’t see those outfits anywhere else). Moreover, the fancy Andalusian-styled house in the outskirts is unequivocally a dwelling owned by cayetanos. We’re also pretty confident Game Freak has included “cortijos” (rural houses surrounded by sizable chunks of land) in these games, so that means new horse and bull-like Pokemon are coming. Trainers (or even a gym leader) dressed like bullfighters should be locked, too – and maybe a “plaza de toros” (bullring) gym?

As famous as flamenco music and bright country houses are, Andalusia doesn’t represent the entirety of Spain; there are plenty of elements in Scarlet and Violet’s first trailer that belong to other regions. The cathedral-like structure (seen above) that appears to crown a big town resembles the Sagrada Familia, which is found in Barcelona, Catalonia. Snowy areas remind foreigners that Spain isn’t just “sun and beaches.” And those windmills are instantly recognizable if you’re familiar with Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote – who knows, maybe we’ll see a delusional dude trying to battle them as if they were giant Pokemon. Hey, the series has done stranger things (right, AZ?)

While Scarlet and Violet’s reveal trailer offered us a generous first look at the games, the Spanish community was left with tons of – admittedly – pointless questions. Give us somewhat genuine Spanish representation in foreign video games and we’ll applaud. Give us the same thing inside freakin’ Pokemon (a ludicrously famous franchise here) and we’ll break the internet. I could fill several articles with memes and low-quality jokes that would only make sense if you spent the last ten years surfing on Twitter Spain, but instead I’ll just share the legendary (and more relevant than ever) “proud to be Spanish” Dragonite without any further context:

By the way, I must touch upon our flag and its colors, because Game Freak is playing with fire here, and we genuinely don’t know if they’re doing it on purpose… The “rojigualda” flag is yellow and red, and that’s the one we’ve been using since 1785, except during the years of the Second Republic, which introduced dark purple to the lower stripe of the flag and essentially represented the desire to change the traditional model of government in Spain and to banish monarchs. Yes, yellow and red are prominently used in the games’ logos, but players will have to choose between red and purple, with the latter instantly being linked to a short-lived government which was erased by a military coup in July 1936 and the subsequent Spanish Civil War. Spicy!

This flag and colors business also makes me wonder about the organization of bad guys that will probably terrorize this new region. Spain is still reeling from the damage caused by the conflict against Basque terrorists (ETA) over many decades, so making the usual cartoonish, Pokemon-exploiting villains wear txapellas (a traditional Basque hat) would be kind of tone-deaf.

Unsurprisingly, Pokemon fanatics are also obsessing over the brief look we got at the region’s full map, since it’s pretty much an altered Iberian Peninsula which seemingly integrates Portugal as part of the region – it’d be great to have the Western part of the open world have a distinct cultural personality, giving our country neighbor some love too. It also raises some geography-related questions: will the water-centric town be located where our most famous coastal cities are? And what about that desert as dry as Almeria (the province where countless Westerns were shot)? Ah, so many possibilities…

Finally, I must dedicate some words to the trio of starters, who are hogging much of the attention on Spanish social media as I write this piece. Here are a curated selection of thoughts many fans in the Spanish Pokemon community are sharing: Sprigatito is a super cute name ('gatito' is the diminutive 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 that hairstyle, trust us.

Buzz and hype will only rise and get noisier as more details emerge in the coming months. For now, it appears that The Pokemon Company and Game Freak have a clear winner in their hands. Maybe it’s the appeal of seeing my underrepresented culture inside the Pokemon universe, or maybe it’s the structural evolution the franchise seems to be committing to, but I’m about to finally grab a Nintendo Switch.

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet – a brand new duo of open world Pokemon adventures – will launch on Nintendo Switch in late 2022.

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