In honor of Pokémon's 25th Anniversary this year, Bleeding Cool is talking to comics creators (and perhaps some great creators outside of the industry) about the role that Pokémon has had on their lives. From the original games, to the cards, to Pokémon GO, we're excited to share stories of how this incredible world has changed our own. This time, we're talking to Kate Kasenow, prolific artist of Tokyo Rose: Zero Hour and much more.
Kasenow: I have been playing Pokémon since it first came to the US as Pokémon Red and Blue — I chose Blue, of course, because Blastoise is awesome as we all know. I kept playing the mainline games casually but became very hype over Diamond and Pearl when they came out while I was in college. A bunch of friends and I went totally ham over it — creating our own characters and storylines since the games at that point still didn't allow for that much originality in character creation. I've continued to play all the mainline games, but have absolutely adopted Pokémon GO as my true love since they introduced friendship, trading, and especially battling!
Do you have any stories about Pokémon to share?
Nothing official or anything, but I did make it a point to visit the Pokémon Center on my one and only trip to Tokyo, Japan in 2007. It took a lot of willpower not to spend my entire budget there. It's only gotten worse now that pretty much the whole store is available online. More recently, I've turned my jean jacket into my official "trainer" jacket—complete with the Kanto badges, pins made by friends, as well as badges from the Silph League in Pokémon GO!
What does Pokémon mean to you?
Big question! Currently, it means a whole heck of a lot. I've made incredible friends simply going out and playing Pokémon GO while playing in person was a thing. In fact, a friend I met playing this game is now one of my closest friends where I live. We quickly discovered we also have the birding hobby in common. Almost every weekend now, we'll take trips to nearby parks, not only for Pokémon but to search for new bird species to add to our life lists as well!
Now that most things in Pokémon GO are done remotely, I've stayed active in several communities, but I'm most proud to be a member of the Girls that PVP server. It's a wonderfully positive space for all women who play and quite a competitive arena to hone my battle skills as well! The women there are supportive, knowledgeable, and always willing to discuss strategies. It's a place I love going to learn about the latest battle tactics and share out-of-game experiences as well. I've been very fortunate that the communities I've played in are full of great people, but having a space where women can be themselves and safely compete with one another is invaluable. I've lost many matchups in my tournaments there, but everyone is so gracious and talented that even losing is still fun! I'm looking forward to this month's server-wide tourney where I'll probably lose quite a bit again!
Next time, we'll continue our conversation with Kate Kasenow. Until then, you can check out her work right here.