Pokémon Beyond Pikachu


V. Miller

Lin holds up a recent drawing of the Pokémon, Lapras, from a bird’s eye view.

Vila Miller, Staff Writer

“There’s the Swellow, which is the regional bird. And then, I also like this Pokémon called Gulpin, which is a pure poison type. And then there’s the regional rodent, which is a Zigzagoon, which is just a very spiky raccoon. And then… There’s so many Pokémon; I can’t name them all… How am I supposed to name all the generation three Pokémon?”

Sophomore Alston Lin talks about Pokémon with passion, describing characters enthusiastically and realistically. He began by watching the anime as a kid, but soon began collecting the trading cards. Since then, Lin moved from Perry Township to Center Grove in middle school, worked in a series of honors classes and involved himself in demanding, extracurricular activities like marching band and robotics.

“It’s tough, but I do make a lot of friends there,” Lin said about marching band. “I’d say these friends range from somewhat close to pretty close, from freshmen to seniors.”

This robot-builder and mellophone (French horn) player didn’t rediscover his enthusiasm for Pokémon until the eighth grade.

“There was this fan-made Pokémon game which was pretty much the first Pokémon game that brought me back into Pokémon from when I was little,” Lin said. “That Pokémon game is called ‘Pokémon Legends.’ Since the actual Pokémon company released ‘Pokémon Legends: Areus,’ the company decided to shut the fan-made game down. I can’t play that game anymore to revive my old memories.”

Lin found more ways—besides gaming—to celebrate his enthusiasm for Pokémon.

“There’s more to Pokémon than Pikachu,” Lin said. 

Every morning—even after long school days with four-hour marching band practices outside in the heat and evenings full of robotics at the end—Lin makes a bee line to his desk of the first period he has of the day. He flips open the case of his iPad and gets straight to work. He’s not doing last minute homework, but he is drawing a Pokémon with a long, blue neck.

“It’s Lapras,” Lin said. “Generation one. One of the original 151.” 

Lin also has a Pokémon server on Discord, several comics on Instagram about Pokémon and even a video on his YouTube animation channel, HungryIronApple, analyzing his top five favorite Pokémon.

“Well, my animation channel started a year and a half ago. When I started in middle school, it was originally a gaming channel,” Lin said. “For my level of experience it takes about two hours to make one video. I start on the script first. I write it on the bus, and at home when I have a little bit of free time, I just start drawing.”

Since Lin’s initial video, he has come up with many more ideas for his channel—and not just Pokémon.

“Since I already made a Pokémon video, I still have a lot of other stuff I want to make,” Lin said. “I’m currently making a production of my own Pokémon series, which is based off the anime, but it’s made for teens instead of kids…I don’t want to be too repetitive on a single topic.”

Lin finds YouTube as an important way to express himself.

“Well, I don’t typically speak out my opinion in public so YouTube is just something where I can speak my opinion publicly,” Lin said.

Pokémon challenges Lin in a fun and engaging way, just as his everyday life does. He is ready to face the problems that get in his way.

“Just by going with the flow,” Lin said. “That’s what I usually do when I encounter a difficult situation… The game is more unpredictable than me.”