Larry from Pokemon Scarlet & Violet is my spirit animal

Being a Gym Leader must be awesome. It was always my childhood dream, and in some ways it still is now. Electric, if you’re interested. Jolteon my ace. Eelektross to stop challengers running through me with a Ground-type, or Zapdos if they let me. Rotom-Wash for similar versatility, and provided I’m a regular Gym Leader with no legendaries allowed, Vikavolt and Electivire earn a spot. My biggest surprise is that Pincurchin set that ground as my lead. Yes, it’s a team of six, like all Gym Leaders should have, and yes, this is still my dream.

I think I’d make a great Gym Leader, putting all my electricity into every battle and making sure no challenger has it easy. Scaling my party to the opponent will ensure they’re properly challenged – Pokemon, take notes – and I’d probably have a nice electrified battlefield or something. Also I would never get bored.


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Enter Larry. Larry is the Gym Leader of Medali and uses Normal-type Pokemon. He hates his job. And it’s a complete state of mind. Larry first poses as a regular diner, munching on some rice balls and offering you a hint to complete your gym challenge. After defeating some trainers and ordering the special meal, Larry reveals himself as the Leader you fought against. Only he doesn’t put on a show, nor does he particularly appreciate your challenge. He makes it clear that this is his job and he hates it.

“I’ve been assigned to work as the Gym Leader of Medali’s Gym,” he tells you as he takes his briefcase and heads to the battle arena at his restaurant. Some leaders will have a good chat with you before you fight, some will try to intimidate you and some will flatter you. Larry is always the realist: “My boss will deduct my pay if I spend too much time chatting.” He’s here to get paid and go home. “I just ate,” he continues, “so… let’s not go too hard.”

Larry embodies the Japanese salaryman, people who are busy with their work, but often exasperated by it. It’s very relatable in an era of fast-paced culture where we’re encouraged by social media influencers who inherited daddy’s fortune to monetize our passions and do side jobs on our nights out so we can be the best like no one’s ever been . It seems the same is true in Paldea, where Nemona is pushing us to be a better trainer while Arven wants our help taking down the Titans and whoever the other dude is telling us to do something about Team Star, I guess. Hustle culture is a plague and Larry is the cure.

Larry’s Normal-type team is perfect for him, but when he reappears as a member of the Elite Four (he is his second job), he uses Flying-types, because his boss told him to. He still sneaks a Normal-type in there (Staraptor), but isn’t happy with the role of him. “I’m a member of the Elite Four too, yes…Unfortunately for me.”

Pokémon Violet Scarlet Larry

He never mentions getting paid for this role – something he’s keen to point out as a Gym Leader – so I’m guessing it’s one of those things where your boss offers you a promotion in all but name. More responsibility, more work, but above all no salary increase. Geeta is exploiting the passion of the other Elite Four members to make them work harder, for free. It’s one of those prestigious roles where the bosses can get away with paying you little, because they know there are thousands of trainers who would happily do that job for nothing. It’s kind of like the gaming industry, really.

As much as you hate to admit it, we all have bad days. I’m a professional writer, doing the job I dreamed of as a kid, and some days I still wake up and sigh. They scare me on Sunday nights. At the end of the day, a job, no matter how good or ambitious, is a job. I know, and Larry knows it. Looks like he might be the only one doing it.

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