Now reading...
Crossroads Comics #120-A Girl Named Leaf

It’s Tuesday which means it’s time for Crossroads Comics!

This week we’re taking a look at the ask blog Fallen Pokémon Trainer, also known as “A Girl Named Leaf” or “Fallen Leaf”. Now, before we get started on this week’s overview, I’m going to give a fair warning that this blog is based on a creepypasta, and while it isn’t particularly violent in any way, the themes may be unsettling for some people, so if this isn’t your cup of tea, please feel free to just check out the rest of the comic in this week’s lineup. That said, as someone who normally isn’t very big on creepypastas myself, I found this one to be super interesting, so it might be worth giving it a shot even if this isn’t your usual order.

So what is Fallen Pokémon Trainer? Quite simply, this is a blog that follows the aftermath of the creepypasta, Fallen Leaf. In order to fully understand the blog itself, it’s recommended you read the creepypasta first, but I’ll do my best to give a short summary of it. The creepypasta follows the narrator buying some bootleg copies of FireRed and HeartGold for really cheap. Immediately after inserting FireRed into their DS, they release something is amiss, with the titlescreen being that of LeafGreen. They end up booting up the save file that was already on the cartridge and find themselves playing a nameless girl who despite having a nearly complete Pokédex, doesn’t have any Pokémon herself. She also can’t really interact with anyone in the environment, with many characters having altered dialogue. In addition, wild Pokémon ignore her and she can phase through roadblocks in order to progress. Ultimately, the narrator takes the nameless girl to the Elite 4 seeing as there is nothing to prevent the girl from waltzing in. Except there is, none other than Red himself stands as the final roadblock. Upon speaking to him, he takes over the save file and all the changes from before are now gone. Red also has a full party of a Pikachu, Blastoise, Charizard, Venusaur, Snorlax, and Lapras, all quiet natured. Upon restarting the game and creating a new file, the female character was not even an option anymore, the game simply autopicked Red. So the narrator opts to try Heartgold instead. Curiosity now piqued, they boot up the save file for this game as well, but the game is frozen on one spot at Mt. Silver, with no possibility for movement. The narrator opts to restart the game but the game makes it clear through all means of deleting the save file that this would be “committing murder”. Spooked by not deterred, the narrator deletes the save file and starts over. Quickly they realize this is not the Heartgold as they once knew it, but rather a hacked Kanto-centric version. Upon trying to select the girl option in the startup, the game refuses, stating “No. You are a Boy.” Starting up the game as a boy named Red, the narrator discovers that other than a few full restores and six Pokéballs, they have no items. As they begin to leave Pallet Town, they encounter a level 88 Pikachu, matching the one from the FireRed game. Upon engaging in battle with Pikachu, Red catches him, but is unable to nickname him because the game notably points out that it has a different OT. Upon checking though, the OT is just a bunch of question marks. The narrator then begins to travel all over the region, catching the other Pokémon from Red’s team, each notably seeming sad or angry with Red and all having ??????? as their OT. Eventually, Red ends up at Mt. Silver, using the other five members of the party to wake up and catch Snorlax. Notably, throughout the whole playthrough up until this point, certain interactions would prompt red text to appear, text the narrator assumed were Red’s own thoughts. The most notable instance of this was when visiting the Elite Four and going to the door that marks the Hall of Fame, when interacting with it, it prompted the text “My name no longer rests behind this door.” In addition, many of the Pokémon were carrying mail with them, messages from sort of other force trying to communicate with perhaps either the narrator or Red. It was unclear until after Snorlax was caught. Upon reading the mail Snorlax had, Red found himself surrounded by the Pokémon he had caught and being forced into Mt. Silver. Once reaching the peak, he was forced off the side, only to encounter her. This mysterious and glitchy figure challenged Red to a battle, but all of the Pokémon refused to fight her, ultimately resulting in this mysterious figure imprisoning Red on the top of Mt. Silver using the Red Chain. Throughout the battle, the mysterious figure, and true OT of the Pokémon Red was using is revealed. She is a girl named Leaf.

The ask blog follows Leaf and Red after the creepypasta. Leaf’s constant torment of Red by keeping him trapped on the mountain, as well as her way of coming to terms with the fact that her life has been stolen from her by a construct programmed to replace her. And the ask blog makes it clear that this is not the same as Green or Lyra, the former who never had the chance to exist because she was never implemented fully into the games in the first place, and the latter of which doesn’t erase Kris from existence due to their separate roles in different games. And that’s what part of what makes this story and blog so interesting. Prior to discovering them both, I had never really given it thought that it was always Red you encountered at the top of Mt. Silver. In the original Gold and Silver games it made sense, because Red was the only playable option back then. But in Heartgold and Soulsilver, it’s different. Leaf canonically could exist in these games due to her presence in FireRed and LeafGreen, but the fact that, no matter what, you will always face Red at the top of Mt. Silver effectively erases Leaf from existence. She is gone. Her life taken by Red. And while the character known as “Leaf” has appeared since then in games like Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee or Pokémon Masters, this is not the same Leaf. In fact, Leaf has made it clear that she views these versions of herself as shells of her former self who have no identity due to the removal of her relationships and accomplishments. It’s not the same and that’s actually a really interesting lens to look at everything through.

All in all, this askblog and creepypasta, both authored by Sparklingdemon, are meant to also express the author’s rage and disappointment at Game Freak for how they have treated their female leads over the years. The fact that Lyra replaced Kris, that there wasn’t a female option at all in the first game, and that Leaf was effectively erased from existence for a time only to be brought back as someone completely different could be interpreted as Game Freak viewing them as disposable and replaceable, with the male characters like Red and Blue being indispensable. And for many, this was absolutely rage inducing. It made them feel unimportant and hurt by a franchise they loved so much. And while I, as a woman, never experienced the same feelings about the situation prior to reading these, I can definitely see where the author and followers are coming from. There are not many other games where you get to battle the former player character of a past game, with the only example I can think off off the top of my head being Agent 3 in Splatoon 2. And notably in that example, you actually get to customize Agent 3 through designing a “Lost” poster for them so that when you face Agent 3 later on, in theory they would match the Agent 3 you designed when you played Splatoon 1. But Heartgold and Soulsilver never gave you that option. It is only a boy named Red. Never a girl named Green. And for those that relate to this creepypasta and askblog, to have their childhoods replaced by that of a boy they never played as, I can understand how that could hurt. It is unfair, especially considering that Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky, which came out a few months before Heartgold and Soulsilver, actually included a question in the beginning of the game asking if the player had played the previous versions of the game in order to skew what sort of results they might get more towards the new options added in PMD Sky. All of this is to say is, in theory, it wouldn’t have been unreasonable to add in an option where Leaf could be on Mt. Silver instead of Red. But that didn’t happen. Instead, it is always a boy named Red.

So if nothing else, I highly recommend you check out both the ask blog and the creepypasta. They’re really interesting reading experiences and very thought provoking. Sparklingdemon has a knack for writing creepypastas, as I’ve already read a few more of their Poképastas and really enjoyed them.

And be sure to check out the rest of the comics in this week’s lineup!

Crossroads Comics
Lucky’s Travels Seems they’ve located the dungeon!
“Lucky You” Looks like they made a quick escape.
PMD: Explorers of Life Gotta go fast!
Pokémon Rising Shadows It’s Pebble!
Pokémon: Shadow of the Sun Say it ain’t so…
Renegade’s Redemption Now this is a quality cover.
Shinka: The Last Eevee Big eyes emoji at that Galarian Rapidash right there.

ComicFury Comics
Gales and Flores Bit of tough love here.
Gloomverse No use lying to her eh?
Kilroy Wonder what that book is about.
PMD: Adventures In Viraska Has she got the upper hand here?
PMD: Clockwork Journeys Time to meet this Wendell character!
PMD: Seeds of Dissonance More teeth means more happy.
PMD: The Last Gate The Vanished sounds like one nasty dude.
The Essence of Being Poor Ronas.

Deviantart Comics
Basti’s Black 2 Nuzlocke Dangit! They got away!
Explorers of Shadows Can’t fight back if you’re frozen solid.
Fallen Flowers It’s time to meet the spider woman!
First Summer A quality chunky boi
For What It’s Worth These character designs are just so cute.
PMD: Turncoats Into the dungeon we go!
Reecelocke It begins!
Timetale Come on Papyrus!
Yet Another PMD Comic Wonder what the crystals are for.

Off-site Comics
Ask Gracidea That’s a fair enough point, I suppose.
Fallen Leaf Uh oh. Look what the cat dragged in!
Fault Lines To the rescue!
Floating On Ooh more backstory on the scientists.
Not Always Right Comics Now who’s the dumb one?
Skye Shaymin This looks so creepy and I love it.
Steven Universe: Switcheroo AU Seems she’s earned Bismuth’s respect.

Ongoing Conversation