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The one episode from the anime that always stuck with me was the one where the trainers got separated from their Pokemon.  When I first saw it, I didn't know that it was the last episode in the S.S. Anne arc, so it wasn't the story-telling that stood out to me; and it certainly wasn't the reveal that the whole island was an amusement park with giant robots.  What captured my imagination was that the humans weren't the only ones talking; for the first time, the Pokemon themselves had something to say.  It was so interesting seeing that these previously-flat creatures actually had personalities of their own.  Pikachu was kind of a generic cute creature hero, Charmander was a wuss (to no surprise), Bulbasaur was the tough guy (again, no surprise) and Squirtle was a laid-back jokester.  Heck, even Ekans and Koffing had personalities (addressing that Pokemon obey even stupid trainers because "Master is Master.").  More than all the battles, the catches and releases, more than anything else, this episode stuck with me.

I'm a bigger fan of characters than I am of format though, so I not only didn't want a Trainer character, the idea never even occurred to me.  After seeing the games talk so much about how much people love their Pokemon and how Pokemon make their trainers stronger people, I immediately wanted to know how the shoe fits on the other foot.  Not wanting a Trainer and wanting to see how Pokemon think, I killed the Trainer without ever naming them and let the Pokemon soak it in.  The rest of the series will be about how they all react to their Trainer's passing.

Asuka is based on my Diamond Raichu, Asuka.  In the game, she has higher Attack than Special Attack and her personality likes to fight.  I taught her Focus Blast specifically so that she could fight Gravelers (if you've gone through Sinnoh, you know Gravelers are everywhere).  Asuka is probably the Pokemon I worked the hardest on training and I'm proud of her.  She was the first character I figured out for this story.

Pennywise is a self-imposed challenge.  I HATE Mr. Mimes.  They look so dopey and the idea that animals are born as borderline humans and mimes of all things always annoyed me.  In this story, I wanted to see if I could take my least favorite Pokemon and actually make it interesting.  Hopefully his personality and cool cloak accomplished that.
Personally, I like female Roserades, but Kafka was an intentional exception.  I figured a female Roserade would be too predictable and the story I intend to do would be cliche to the point of being painful.  A male Roserade felt like it would be better for the story; I think I made the right choice.  I have big plans for Kafka.  Plans that involve bugs.

Tonka was a tough choice and she changed like 10 times during pre-production.  I always knew I needed a "Powerhouse" character (you gotta have Strength, right?), but I had a very narrow criteria to work with (you'll find out why later).  I narrowed the search down to a Rhyperior, Gigalith and an Escavalier.  I had a hard time imagining as Gigalith and an Escavalier as female, so that left only Rhyperior.  It wasn't until I decided that I wanted Kafka to be male that I finally made Tonka into the Rhyperior she is today.
Cryogonal was a similar story.  I wanted the gender ratio to be equal, so once the other 4 characters were figured out, I knew I needed a genderless member.  I wanted to use a Magnezone, but having a Raichu, an evolved Rhydon and an evolved Magneton all on the same team felt like too much Generation I influence.  Eventually, Cryogonal caught my eye.  Story's better for it since ice is naturally-occurring like Pokemon, but still decidedly not alive.  As close to a robot as a natural lifeform can get.

The Trainer and the Starter were left open-ended.  As I said, I had no interest in doing a story about a trainer.  You will, however, find out everything you need to know about the deceased Trainer as the story progresses.  The Starter is whatever starter you want it to be.

The subsequent chapters are likely to be longer than this one and I'm still working on my comic Superburbs with Chynna Miller, so it will probably be a while before I can regularly work on this series.  I hope everyone who liked this chapter is willing to wait for a good thing.

Pokemon, Pokeball, Raichu, Mr. Mime, Rhyperior, Roserade, Cryogonal, Jynx and all related characters and objects are trademarks of Nintendo and Gamefreak.
Tonka is a trademark of Tonka.
Pokemon: Traurig Version and the Pokemon: Traurig Version poster are copyrights of Sean Taylor.