Goofs and Inconsistencies

This section applies to the ILCOE.

Much as I would like to be, I am not perfect - far from it - and one of the ways that fact manifests itself in this fic is that every now and then I simply mess up. Maybe I'm describing some Pokémon from memory and get it a little bit wrong. Maybe I throw in some non-canon tidbit of extra worldbuilding, forget about it and then many chapters later write something that completely contradicts it. Maybe something is really vague and never explained properly but seems to be all over the place the way it's used. Or maybe I just plain get the facts wrong. Sometimes when people catch these mistakes, I go in and fix them, but sometimes it would be a headache or it's just a very minor mistake so I can't be bothered. So then I record it here instead so that you know I acknowledge it and I can clarify what if anything is actually to be considered canonical.

The list is in order of where the goof first happens (so for inconsistencies, it's ordered by the chapter where the inconsistency first appears, not where whatever it's inconsistent with was originally established). Scyther's Story and The Fall of a Leader fall when they were written, between chapters 33 and 34 of the ILCOE for the former and between chapters 36 and 37 for the latter. (Yes, I know there's a full year in between the two. I wrote slowly in 2006/7.) Inconsistencies between versions are not listed here, as the various revisions purposefully change aspects of both the plot, characters and worldbuilding and aren't meant to necessarily be consistent with one another.


Although inconsistent capitalization is something I like to point out in reviews, I have unfortunately fallen prey to it myself. Specifically, when I first started the ILCOE, I randomly decided to capitalize a whole bunch of words - not just the names of Pokémon, moves, abilities and the like, which are capitalized in the games and official materials, but also words like "legendary" and "shiny" for no good reason.

I gradually realized that this was silly ("Legendary" got uncapitalized pretty soon, but "Shiny" was still capitalized by chapter 22), and today I only capitalize the word "Pokémon", the names of Pokémon species/moves/abilities/items as per the games, the word "Gym" in reference to the official Pokémon kind of gym, and the names of specific things, individuals and phenomena. Arguably some of that stuff shouldn't be capitalized either, but at least I'm pretty sure I'm consistent about it now and it's less ridiculous than going around capitalizing adjectives for the hell of it.

Sendout Light

A little-known fact: as seen in the Pokémon anime, the light when Pokémon are sent out of the ball is white. The red light we're all familiar with is when they go back into the ball.

...well, I don't know if it's really that little-known, but I at least didn't know it for the longest time and was instead under the impression it was always red, despite having watched plenty of the anime and obviously seen Pokémon being sent out many, many times. Thus, when Charmander is first sent out of his ball (once he's gotten one) in chapter five of the ILCOE:

Mark threw Charmander’s Pokéball to the ground and it popped open, releasing Charmander in a shower of red light before bouncing right back into his hand.

And so the story went on, consistently depicting Pokémon being released in a blob of red, all the way until chapter 36, which finally showed a Pokémon materializing in the proper white color:

It took Mark a second to realize they were starting and he quickly reached for one of his Pokéballs to hurl it forward. The white shape from the ball materialized into Scyther while Alan’s ball released Mist the Vaporeon.

It's of course been the correct way ever since, but it hasn't been corrected in the earlier chapters since it would require going through horribly many chapters to change it and nobody notices it anyway.

I'm... not quite sure how this was corrected, actually. I do distinctly remember casually glancing at an animated GIF of Torchic coming out of its ball in the anime in somebody's signature on a forum and suddenly realizing that, whoa, the light was white, and what was up with that? Then I think I actually went and looked up some clips and realized that actually, the sendout light has always been white and I'd just never noticed it. That or I wrote that GIF off as an anomaly and somebody a bit later pointed out the mistake, which I believed this time because I remembered the GIF. I honestly don't remember which.

Oh, well. My excuse is that since then, I've seen this same goof in several other fanfics, so clearly I'm not the only one who somehow missed the distinction between the white and red light.

Interestingly, since this discovery, the fact the sendout light is white has actually become an important part of my current theory of how Pokéballs work.

Ariados's Legs

Being biologically inclined, I've always been aware of (and somewhat bothered by) the fact that the spider Pokémon Spinarak and Ariados don't have the eight legs that characterize actual arachnids. However, it seems I got things a little wrong anyway in chapter 15 of the ILCOE:

Her yellow rodent was tangled in a net of silky, white thread. A huge, orange, spider-like Pokémon with black markings and six legs striped in vibrant yellow and violet clicked its pincers a small distance away, watching the helpless Pikachu in the web.

As it turns out, Ariados doesn't even have six legs; it only has four. I guess the winglike things it has on its abdomen were confusing my memory of it when I was writing that. (Its pre-evolution Spinarak, on the other hand, does have six legs.)

Sandslash's Claws

Sandslash has two claws on each limb, but when I was writing chapter 26 of the ILCOE, it seems I was convinced it had three:

The Grass Pokémon hesitated, not sure what to make of those orders, and Sandslash grabbed the opportunity to stab all three of his right claws into Victreebel’s body.

I really should have fixed this ages ago, but apparently I was lazy, because it's still there. Maybe I will go do it one of these days.

Scyther Swarm

This one has been pointed out several times. In chapter 27, Scyther describes the Scyther swarm thus:

“Scyther live in swarms,” Scyther suddenly said, not taking his eyes off the dancing flames. “There is a leader pair and the others follow them. [...] We’re brought up to loathe Scizor and everything about them. The word ‘evolution’ alone makes us twitch.”

However, Scyther's Story then went on to establish that the swarm has only one Leader (who can be of either sex, though the only one Razor ever knew was male), and that Scyther has a pre-evolution, Descith, with the young Descith being quite excited about evolution into adult Scyther.

I... don't actually know why I wrote in that leader pair bit, because just two chapters later, Razor says of Shadowdart:

“It was always our leader’s trademark to cut a bit from those he defeated… This means Shadowdart has challenged him for leadership, but not just once – with that much cut out, it must be three, four, five times. He wants to be leader…”

And this passage decidedly implies there's only one leader. Maybe I'd originally meant it to be only one, but then when I was writing chapter 27 I got some spur-of-the-moment idea to make it a pair that I then just forgot about and continued to write as if there was only one leader like there had always been. In any case, one Leader is of course canon now.

Meanwhile, the evolution bit is a simple retcon: I didn't make Descith until around the time I started Scyther's Story and had some inexplicable need to make an adorable little baby Scyther Pokémon. So I brushed off Scyther's original words and just decided maybe Pokémon actually use two different words for these evolutions or something.

Michael Willows' Hair

Michael Willows, Nightmare's trainer, was never meant to be a recurring character when he first appeared in chapter 23. That, however, does not mean I'd forgotten about his first appearance by the time I wrote him into Scyther's Story, so the sudden change in his appearance is no less bizarre for it. From chapter 23 of the ILCOE:


Scyther looked up; a tall, dark-haired boy in the top row had stood up.

However, in Part V of Scyther's Story:

It was a tall human boy with dark red, bushy hair and large eyes.


Thinking about it, I seem to remember thinking of his hair as red for ages before I actually wrote that part of Scyther's Story; maybe I did check it, but when I realized his hair wasn't originally red, I just decided to change it in the hope that nobody would notice. Of course, nobody did, until now that I'm announcing it to the world.

In any case, his hair is now officially dark red and is depicted as such when Mark battles him in chapter 49. (By then it's become spiky, but he's just changed his haircut.)

Store-Bought HMs

In chapter seven of the ILCOE, Mark is buying himself TMs and there is an off-handed mention of HMs as well:

Just ten years ago, Hidden Machines were really rare items. Now, you could buy them at Pokémon markets for around the same price as a TM – admittedly one-use only versions.

You can see where this is going. In chapter 43, Mark takes out the Waterfall HM he'd bought for Gyarados in the previous chapter, and...

May looked at the otter Pokémon by her side. “Do you mind if we teach it to both Floatzel and Gyarados? Floatzel are a lot better with physical moves, and…”

“Well, it’s reusable, isn’t it?” He shrugged and handed her the HM while taking out Gyarados’s ball.

No, this is unfortunately not the setup for an elaborate brick joke where it turns out that it's not reusable and Mark's wasted his HM (which admittedly would have been kind of amusing). I'd simply completely forgotten I'd five years earlier written some throwaway line about store-bought HMs not being reusable. Silly me.

Volt Absorb

In chapter 31, I randomly decided to make Thunder Wave work against a Volt Absorb Lanturn, as a conscious but random deviation from the mechanics of the games:

Mark’s own Electric Pokémon let out a battle cry as he materialized from his Pokéball on the ground. He crouched down and watched the fish Pokémon carefully, charging up electricity in his fur and then, without an order, released a bolt of lightning at Lanturn.

Mark didn’t have anything against this turn of events; he had been planning to do that anyway. However, the fact that the fish did not seem hurt at all by the jolt of electricity – if anything, it looked healthier than before – was very puzzling.

Jolteon looked with annoyance at the Lanturn and did the same again, equally unsuccessful at hurting it.

Dan smirked. “Water Pulse.”

The fish jumped up and spat out waves of water that hit Jolteon powerfully. He moaned and squeezed his eyes shut; then he shook his spiky fur and retaliated with a flurry of needles. The Lanturn responded by diving down deeper, but the stream was not deep enough for it to avoid being hit at all and it came up with some minor cuts.

“Thunder Wave,” Mark said quickly, and Jolteon sent another wave of electricity towards Lanturn. This time it did seem to have an effect; the anglerfish slowed down, moving more stiffly, which gave Jolteon the opportunity to fire a second Pin Missile.

Then I promptly forgot about this random change and in chapter 47, Mark has Jolteon use a Thunder Wave against a Lanturn precisely to check if it has Volt Absorb:

“Lanturn, Confuse Ray,” Aaron called, and Mark could see him smirk on the status screen: that would have been evidence enough, but he still looked down and watched the wave of electricity surround Lanturn and very evidently fail to harm it. It had Volt Absorb, then – of course that had been likeliest, but it was better to make sure.

I was quickly called out on this and had to admit that yeah, I'd just forgotten and really didn't know what the hell I was thinking when I was writing chapter 31. From now on the fic will assume that Volt Absorb does protect against Thunder Wave.

Mist's Backstory

This one isn't actually an inconsistency within the fic, but in the Ask the Characters thread at the forums. When being asked some questions about Alan's Vaporeon Mist, I managed to really fudge up what actually happened to her siblings. In March 2009, Alan said...

Alan: We took all of them, but only kept her. The rest we took to a nearby adoption center.

I was called out on Mist having said in chapter 27 of the ILCOE that she doesn't know what happened to her siblings, but waved the goof off by saying she just didn't know what happened to them after they went to the adoption center. However, in July Alan was asked why he only took Mist, and he responded...

Alan: Huh? No, I'd have taken her siblings in too if they'd still been there, but they'd all wandered off by then and we couldn't find them.

Which was when the asker pointed out that adoption center stuff I'd said, and I mentally hit myself over the head with a consistency fan.

Of course, Mr. Alan Ketchum the paragon of save-all-the-poor-abused-Pokémon is far more likely to try to take all of them in himself than to just grab one and leave all the others somewhere at an adoption center, besides that in my old unfinished fic The Second Clone, which the whole backstory with Mist's siblings was a shout-out to, two of the siblings had already become an Espeon and Umbreon and were living in Itsruban, which didn't make any sense if there really was an adoption center involved. Thus, the answers involving the adoption center were promptly declared uncanonical and I slunk away in embarrassment at not being able to keep my characters' backstories straight. Then I went and made character bios and tags so that this would never happen again. The end.