Who is the man who loves Pokemon?
Luke loves Pokemon! And he has been doing it for two years! From the days of Kanto and now into Galar! Luke has spend the last two years talking about what he loves about each and every Pokemon. He started with the Pokemon from Kanto and currently he is going through Johto with a mix of Galar.
What can we say about Luke and his podcast, Luke Loves Pokemon? The show is perfect when you need to listen to something that is short when you have little time. If you want to listen to a whole lot of things then you can easily marathon this podcast with little ease. Though, the true beauty of this show is how Luke hits you with genuine and heartfelt comments about each and every Pokemon. Some times Luke will drop a piece of knowledge about a Pokemon you didn’t know. Other times he will make you really feel touched about a Pokemon that you can feel tears welling up inside you. Maybe it is the the song he plays at the end of each episode. Perhaps it is what Luke says at the end. It could even be a combination of the two.
We here at PXR are happy to celebrate Luke and his podcast’s second anniversary. In honor of such a milestone, we decided to reach out to Luke from Japan to have an interview with him. We hope that you love this interview as much as you love Luke and Luke Loves Pokemon.
Pokemon Crossroads: Luke Loves Pokemon started two years ago, what made you decide to start a Pokemon podcast?
Luke: I’ve loved Pokemon since it first came to the UK, when I was 8 years old or so. It was what lead me to my interest in Nintendo and in Japan itself, and a big part of why I moved here! When I got to Japan, I was seeing Pokemon stuff everywhere I went; merchandise and adverts, but also historical and cultural things like kappa and kitsune which I knew had inspired Pokemon. I had already podcasted a little, but that was difficult to keep up with my friends back home in the UK, and I just had this idea for a monster-by-monster podcast that I couldn’t believe didn’t exist already.
PXR: Maybe the answer to this is obvious but it is always interesting to know the reasoning behind a name. How did you decided on calling the podcast “Luke Loves Pokemon”?
Luke: My first idea was calling the podcast “The National Dex” but then I discovered the youtube duo with that name already existed!
Luke Loves Pokemon was kind of a placeholder while I thought of a better name, but the idea for the logo came to me and no other names sounded right so I went with it.
PXR: The National Dex was an interesting name and pretty spot on for what you had in mind. Though, Luke Loves Pokemon is pretty unique. Though, lets talk about your logo because that is even more unique. How did the idea of the logo came about?
Luke: The logo pretty much appeared in my head fully formed. I have a shiny bald head, Pokémon’s symbol is a ball, it just made sense. I drew a rubbish MS Paint version, sent it to my best friend Katie and she drew the artwork we have now.
PXR: The podcast mostly features you talking about loving a certain Pokemon. Though, sometime you a lovely chap name Andrew on the show. What is his relation to you and the show? What makes him come on the show to voice his unique opinions of the feature Pokemon? How about Jonathan, composure for the show?
Luke: I met Andy and Jonathan through the old forums for NGamer magazine in the UK, and later the replacement forum we set up ourselves, GNamer. They’re some of my oldest friends!
With Andy in particular, we were both part of an older podcast called Monster Mash, wherein four of us talked about Monster Hunter monsters. That podcast is still online, you can find it on all the usual applications, though I stopped being able to edit when I started this job and the show has been on indefinite hiatus since then.
PXR: The show is named “Luke Loves Pokemon” and you have spent two years talking about how you love each and every Pokemon. Even Pokemon that you hate like Doduo. How do you love all Pokemon and find something nice to say about them?
Luke: I don’t hate Doduo! I just forgot it existed :D
I love the world and the idea of Pokemon, and every different Pokemon is part of creating that world. As long as I keep myself in that mindset, I can find a way to appreciate even those that seem really dull at first. I also really love animals and mythical creatures and monsters generally, it isn’t a big leap for me to find something to appreciate in each monster.
PXR: It sounds like you put a lot of work into your intro bit. How long does it takes to write and/or create them? Do you do any research?
Luke: I do lots of research for every Pokemon! I read as much as I can online about the Pokemon and whatever real-world creatures or myths I or other people think inspired it. I also watch a lot of youtube stuff – shout-outs to False Swipe Gaming and Pokeaim in particular, who make up for my total lack of competitive knowledge!
I’d say on average one episode of the podcast is somewhere around two hours work on my part.
PXR: I am a fan of your closing remarks on the feature Pokemon. Some of them has made me tear up. How do you come up with them?
Luke: Usually, there’s no plan for the closing remarks. I just get to the end of the script and sum up my own feelings. Luckily, I have a lot of feels about Pokemon.
PXR: I can feel those feels because they hit me in the feels too. Damn. Any of your closing remarks that really impress you? Which ones if you can think of any.
Luke: Hmm . . . I can’t think of one off the top of my head, and maybe it would be a bit arrogant if I could.
PXR: You are currently a teacher in Japan. Do your students know about your podcast hobby?
Luke: Of course my students know I love Pokemon and Nintendo; it’s helped out a lot when it comes to bonding with them. Most of them don’t even know what a podcast is, let alone that I make one!
A few of my colleagues are aware, however. I even started a podcast with one of them!
PXR: How does your job come into play when it comes to your podcast?
Luke: My job helps me get an idea of what Pokemon, games and so on are popular with kids of different ages. It’s also a job which really allows me to embrace my inner child, and which has trained me to be family friendly, which are both big factors in this podcast. In day-to-day life, I used to swear a lot!
PXR: This past year, you had a guest on the podcast, SBJ from It’s Super Effective. How did that happen and how did that felt making it happen?
Luke: Whenever I know that a certain Pokemon is someone’s favourite, be that someone I know personally or someone big on the internet, I reach out and offer an opportunity to comment. There are ten times as many people who didn’t reply!
With Steve in particular, I first became aware of him when I was doing Monster Mash and I got word that another Monster Hunter podcast was launching. I thought I’d better check out the competition and ended up enjoying The Carve a lot. We interacted back and forth on twitter a bit in the early days of that show.
When I moved to Japan, for the first few months I was just traveling, and so I was walking, hiking and exploring for hours a day, consuming a LOT of podcasts! I knew The Carve had spun off from a Pokemon show and decided to check that out as well. It ended up being great and I’ve been a listener ever since.
It was great to talk to him on the show, and I think it really elevated an episode about Pokemon I might not have had a lot to say about otherwise.
PXR: Your podcast does a great job in going over each Pokemon in order. Though, you have decided with the advent of Sword & Shield to start covering Pokemon from Galar. What was the reasoning behind this instead of waiting another few years?
Luke: I wanted the clicks! While I do love talking about every Pokemon, I think its much more fun if I’m closer to the zeitgeist with talking about the recent games.
PXR: What are your opinion of the podcast’s first ten episodes? Do you like them? Anything you wish could have come out differently?
Luke: Of course, my audio and editing and stuff has improved slowly over time; early on I was recording on my travel laptop, which is a bit crap, and moving over to my nicer one when my parents brought it over from the UK made a big difference. I’m also picking up some better audio equipment and stuff.
Otherwise, my biggest complaint is that I said Venusaur wasn’t a frog, right before Let’s Go proved that it is!
PXR: What is your favorite thing about the Pokemon fandom?
Luke: I think we’re all living in a constant shared roleplay; everyone in the Pokemon fandom would be living in the Pokemon world if we could, and I think we all have an idea in our head of what our Pokemon team looks like and so on. And I hope we’ve all taken on board a lot of the messages about friendship, training to better ourselves, and protecting a harmony with nature.
PXR: What do you enjoy about the podcast’s fans?
Luke: I try to make this podcast super positive, and most people who interact with it bring that same energy. It feels good.
PXR: How do you think the podcast has grown since the beginning?
Luke: The biggest difference is listener interaction. Early on, I had to specifically reach out to friends, like Andy and Jon and other members of that forum, to give an illusion of fans. Now, I get genuine unsolicited comments and it feels great.
PXR: Where do you think the podcast will be in another three years?
Luke: I don’t plan to change the format much. I’ll probably stick to two episodes a week with ocassional specials. I want to do more stuff around the edges, though.
I’m working on my other show, Matt and Luke’s Sci-fi Sanctuary, and now that it’s established and we’re regularly having guests on, I’ll fold that into the patreon for this show and make more of an effort to plug both shows.
Also, and this may sound a little crazy, I still don’t have internet in this apartment! I do everything through mobile data, tethering or public wifi hotspots! I should have that sorted soon, then I might do a little streaming and stuff like that. I’ll also get the episodes up on youtube for people who like listening that way.
PXR: Which Pokemon you are looking forward to talk about in the future?
Luke: Sableye is a big one for me. I love UFO and Alien Abduction and Close Encounters stories and I want to go pretty all-out with that one.
All the various bears, of course.
Actually, though, my favourite episodes to create are when I don’t know much about a Pokemon’s origins going in, and learning about it makes me love it in a new way.
PXR: You have no internet in your apartment! How long have you been living in Japan as of right now? Has it always been like this or is this because you have recently moved? Not even a personal hotspot?
And yes. That does sound crazy.
Luke: I came to Japan in February 2018, and moved to Nagano in July that year, so I’ve been in this apartment nearly two years! I have a cell phone with a good data plan and I use that to make a hotspot when I need to.
PXR: What is your favorite podcast memory?
Luke: My first Christmas Special was a lot of fun; I had loads of cool people contribute and I think it was really fun.
PXR: What kind of advice would you give to any of the podcast’s fans who may be interested in podcasting? Either Pokemon or another subject.
Luke: Do it because you enjoy doing it. I’m not rich or famous or anything like that – it actually costs me money to put these out still – but I love doing it. If someone else was making this show, I’d be a listener, and have a lot more free time! But they weren’t and I wanted it to exist.
Also, don’t confuse popularity or otherwise on twitter with actual meaningful data!
PXR: Which podcast episode from the last year would you like to recommend to new listeners and why?
Luke: Definitely my Jynx episode.
This was the one I was worried about from day one, but I managed to get some great guests involved, to do a lot of research, and hopefully to contribute positively to an important conversation.
PXR: Lastly, what would you like to tell to fans of the podcasts?
Luke: Abolish the police.
Black lives matter.
I love you.
Thank you Luke for this interview! We are glad to for this chance to talk to you. We hope that everybody who read this also love this chance with Luke. Make sure to follow Luke and Luke Loves Pokemon on Twitter! Happy Anniversary Luke Loves Pokemon!