Pokemon is a way of life for adults and youngsters alike, but the franchise itself is primarily marketed against children. The games star a child trainer, off to the journey of his/her life. When we think about it this way, the idea of “fainting”—the state in which your Pokemon fall into when they lose a battle—becomes all the more fascinating.
Over the course of twenty years and more than a dozen iteration of the Pokemon games, Nintendo and the Pokemon Company has been very clear that Pokemon doesn’t “die” or “lose life”, it simply “faints”. This shows when you look at how the games go from your character “blacking” or “whiting” out when you run out of healthy Pokemon to assuring you that when you lose a battle, you simply “scurry back home,” protecting your exhausted and fainted Pokemon from further harm. And, when you need to patch your Pokemon up, there’s always a nearby Pokemon Center that will heal you better than Lady Gaga ever could.
Call it the Disney-fication of Pokemon if you must. It’s a pretty clear and convenient diversion from the discussion of “death”, and for more than two decades, it’s been pretty effective. Check out this video, which effectively chronicles the “evolution” of the franchise’s so-called “fainting”.