Runaway Imagination
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Runaway Imagination

A tale of sisterhood, fandom, and shared creation.

Runaway Imagination

When I was in middle school, my sister and I were close pals. We ended up spending a lot of time together, between the car rides to and from the K-8 school we both attended and the hours at our grandparents' house waiting for our parents to pick us up. We may not have had many common interests, her being 9 at the youngest and me being at least 12, but there was one thing we were both gaga over: Pokémon.

We both watched the TV show before we went to school, we got loads of merchandise, and we both played the games, although I was the more proficient trainer. One of my sister's favorite make believe games was PokéNurse, where we would take care of invisible Pokémon. At the time, I was just beginning to explore my creative talents, and my sister was always looking over my shoulder as I drew or manipulated pixels on my grandparents' old Gateway laptop. We would often start Pokémon sprite comics or other silly Pokémon stories, but they never got very far. Eventually, we created our magnum opus: PokéRunaway.

It was supposed to be a comic, initially sprited (with far too much work done on the backgrounds) but with a late shift to hand-drawn art. Despite intentions, we never got to actually creating the visuals, the plot unfolding in scripts like an unfilmed television show. They were written in tandem, being passed back-and-forth on my iPod Touch (an iPhone in every way but without a phone) during car rides. The story followed a young Squirtle named Squirt (I'm pretty sure my sister named him), who is convinced to run away from his trainer by a mysterious seafoam-colored Ninetales.

Pictures, in case you're not sure what I'm talking about.

Together they went on a mad romp throughout the Johto region, eventually being re-caught by Squirt's trainer Madeline. However, things soon took a turn for the complex and mystical with the dashing and dapper trainer Eusine Minaki being cursed by a humanoid Flareon named Blaze (a stand-in for my sister) and becoming a dark, insane shadow version of himself, requiring their sisters Izelda and Aquia( a humanoid Vaporeon stand-in for myself) to work to break the curse and purify Eusine.

This is Eusine. Yes, he's canon.

Meanwhile, Madeline took her party throughout the Gym circuit, every Pokémon they met along the way being silly and quirky. Highlights include a Seel who spoke entirely in "I Am The Walrus" lyrics and the lighthouse Ampharos who emphatically *emits light*[sic]. As onomatopoeia. Madeline was emphatic about breeding her Pokémon, which resulted in a growing family of party members(neither of us really understood sex), most with some form of special power that let them win every single fight.

Eventually, our partnership began to tear apart as our favored genres and storytelling methods shifted. The parts I wrote were ridiculously complex and took on a darker, more epic tone, involving a hacker named Phoenix stealing the "author powers" from our inserts and messing with the universe, Izelda being possessed by the spirit of Reshiram, the newly revealed 5th-gen cover legendary, and Blaze being infected with a virus turning her into a Renamon (from Digimon? You know, Digital Monsters? Eh. Never mind). Meanwhile, my sister's section were increasingly mundane; she even wrote a section where they were all in middle school. I tried desperately to insert some drama and tension, but all she wrote was boring talking. (I didn't really start caring for social interaction IRL until high school.)

In hindsight, I question how much of my sister's contributions I respected. I remember deleting dialogue my sister wrote because it was an important "plot moment" and her answer was random and "incorrect". Eventually, she stopped wanting to write with me, no matter how much I begged (pestered) her. My parents wouldn't even force her to do it. I was disappointed. We hadn't even gotten to the good part yet!

We worked on the occasional collaboration after that, but that was the last real project we both shared. My sister eventually grew out of Pokémon or being interested in my interests, being bitten by the musical theatre bug in which her calling now lies. I continued having ideas for PokéRunaway, reshaping the idea until it was almost unrecognizable: Now, Squirt was pulled into another dimension where everyone was a half-human half-Pokémon hybrid except for the Legendary Pokémon, which looked just like humans. This one legend Regigigas wanted to destroy all life, but his one son Registeel was actually secretly not evil and had a secret super-advanced science lab. He also had scruffy black hair and sparkly blue eyes and was...uh, really cool.

This is what Registeel really looks like. I...was a strange child.

I never really got around to writing that version; I ended up making Registeel the main character, but that's a story for another time. To this day, I have never collaborated with anyone else on a significant creative work. To this day, I have never gotten the ideas I am most fond of completely onto paper. That may not be related to PokéRunaway, but I will always remember the days me and my sister shared, creating something for the other's enjoyment, as the fondest moments of my childhood.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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