When The Pokémon Company first revealed Scarlet and Violet’s Electric-type Gym Leader in October, the internet went absolutely wild. Not because Iono is a girl or because she wears two Magnemite on her head, but because she’s the Pokémon universe’s equivalent of a Twitch streamer. That’s right – even Game Freak’s classic franchise isn’t immune from the modern age.
Reigning over Levincia City’s Gym, the Paldea region influencer gained her popularity by hosting the “Iono Zone,” a live show that broadcasts her Gym Battles to millions across the globe. And, just like streamers in real life, she has no shortage of dedicated fans who throw cash at her in hopes of catching her attention, with the most devoted “simps” following her around like lost puppies at every waking moment.
Sound familiar? It’s clear that Game Freak and The Pokémon Company wanted to pay homage to the livestreaming generation that dominates the internet in the current year – including those who simp for it. Sites like Twitch and YouTube pay good money to their most popular creators, with stars like Pokimane and Amouranth turning their passion for gaming and entertainment into a full-time career worth millions of dollars. So while it’s funny to see a streamer Gym Leader in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, it’s hardly surprising.
“‘Ello, ’Ello, Hola! Ciao and Bonjour!”
So, what is a simp, you may be asking? According to Urban Dictionary, it’s when someone is “overly submissive to a female and gains nothing from it.” So in a streamer scenario, it’s basically a fan who spends all their time and energy obsessing over their favorite personality, who probably doesn’t even know they exist, because it makes them feel good, even though it benefits them in no way. This can include subscribing at the highest tier (hence Twitch’s tier 3 sub meme, AKA paying $25 a month for a subscription rather than the standard $5) and even donating large sums of money because why not.
I mean, hey, no judgment here. Everyone has their vices. And if it makes someone happy, who cares.
Not that I’d ever do it, but still.
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It was a pleasant surprise to see this culture represented in Gen 9’s Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, even if it was just for amusement. Iono, a female influencer-turned-streamer, is about racking up those views and high engagement and thrives off her audience’s reactions. She even has her own streaming room when she isn’t in battle. If she were a real-life personality, she’d definitely be one of the top entertainers on Twitch. Go on, tell me you wouldn’t watch her. I know you would. I would.
Even Iono Has Simp Fans
While just Iono’s inclusion in the Paldea region is an obvious homage to livestreaming, it’s taken a step further by giving the Gym Leader her own fanbase called the Iono Hype Squad, which you first see during the Levincia Gym Test. Each time you find Mr. Walksabout, you are thrown into a battle with a Poké Maniac who wastes no time telling you how dedicated they are to her.
“Win or lose, Iono Hype Squad forever!” one yells once beaten. “You know what I haven’t lost to you in? My devotion to Miss Iono!” shouts another. Even in defeat, their support for their queen never wavers.
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It’s not until you complete the Gym Test and go to battle her that the true simp energy comes out, though, with an army of fans rallied in the background and tier 3 sub Electro King donating a whopping 5,000 PokéDollars, equalling around $50 USD in real money, give or take. And we have to assume this generosity is a regular occurrence because no one shells out that kind of cash just once. We stan Electro King.
As I mentioned earlier, there is no judgment here – not for fictional or real-life streamers. If people are willing to tip you because they enjoy the content that you work damn hard making, you grab that bag with both hands because you’ve earned it. Streaming is a multi-billion dollar industry for a reason; it’s just supply and demand, baby. And it’s not slowing down any time soon – not even in the Pokémon universe.
This isn’t the first nod to modern trends in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet. The game also references Gen Z’s name for uncool and outdated millennials. How do you do, fellow kids?