Fan has a theory as to why everything goes dark for losing Trainers even though they never get hurt, and it’s pretty convincing.

As fun and charming as the Pokémon video games are, there are some serious head-scratchers about the world they’re set in. Does every kid become a wandering Pokémon Trainer at the age of 10, or is it something only the children of wealthy families do, like the Grand Tours of Europe that young men of the aristocracy used to take? Pokémon Sword and Shield lets you make sausage and hamburger steak curry, so are there livestock animal breeds that are acceptable to eat because they don’t have Pokémon-level abilities and personalities?

And finally, why do Pokémon trainers “black out” when they lose a battle?

In almost every Pokémon game, if your entire team of Pocket Monsters gets wiped out, an on-screen message informs you that you “blacked out.” In the original Japanese versions, though, the message says “Everything in front of your eyes goes dark” (“Me no mae ga makkuro ni naru”). But what exactly is going on in that situation? Sure, your defeated Pokémon are ostensibly unconscious, which explains why they can’t see anything, but Trainers themselves don’t get physically hurt while their monster pals are fighting it out.

The popular interpretation has long been that the shock and despair of losing causes the Trainer’s vision to go dark in a metaphorical sense, and in the English releases of Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee!, the post-loss message was translated as “You were overwhelmed by your defeat.” But Japanese Twitter user @Lactaphilia0 has put forth a convincing theory that the darkness of defeat is literal.

▼ Minor spoiler for Pokémon Sword and Shield ahead)

@Lactaphilia0’s theory:

“Until now, I always thought that everything went dark for the main character trainer because of the shock of losing, but when [Pokémon Sword and Shield’s] Leon loses, he pulls the brim of his hat down way low to hide his tears, and now I finally understand that everything goes dark because you’re covering your crying eyes with your hat.”

Sure enough, a look back at artwork through the Pokémon video game series’ 23-year history shows that each and every player avatar starts the game with a hat or visor of some sort. Tear-hiding equipment being a critical piece of equipment on the path to becoming a Pokémon Master would also explain why clothing shops in Sword and Shield stock so many different kinds of caps…

…and also why losing a battle seems to “warp” you back to the nearest Pokémon Center, because of course you can’t see the journey if you’re covering your face while crying our eyes out.

Source: Twitter/@Lactaphilia0 via Jin
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Follow Casey on Twitter, where he learned the phrase namidamoroi pretty quickly after moving to Japan.