Most people today know Nuzlockes as the quintessential Pokemon challenge. A hero with a great destiny sets out on a journey made more epic because Pokemon die
in battle instead of faint...
Would you believe that the very first Nuzlocke comic
was a Deconstruction of this very premise?
Instead of being a heroic Naďve Newcomer
, Ruby is a Jerkass Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist
who's only the hero because everyone else is either more jerkish than him or a complete idiot, or both. "Master is all about proving things, that's why he took The Challenge." THIS is the only reason why he puts his Pokemon's lives on the line. It's NOT depicted as a good thing at all, in fact, he's meant to look pathetic.
Furthermore, Ruby actually loses
the challenge, and goes home broken... but failing to have learned anything at all. He develops an unhealthy obsession with winning the League, which leaves him perfectly open to suggestion... and that's where Fire Red begins, where the original comics really Grew the Beard
Fire Red takes the Deconstruction even further. Ruby is directly called out on how selfish his goals are, and has to be reminded (of becoming Champion) "it's just a title". Giovanni is a lot more sympathetic than his game counterpart, and Ruby ends up causing major problems by repeatedly stopping him.
But the one that really hits you is the Deconstruction of the series catch phrase itself
: the story's Big Bad
uses Ruby's belief that "this is all happening for a reason" to manipulate him into becoming an Unwitting Pawn
Yet this time, Ruby actually does
develop. The final chapters of the Fire Red arc are more drama than comedy, and you can tell Ruby has learned to value his Pokemon far more. By this point, he can't really be played for comedy much anymore, so the White run focuses more on him being the Only Sane Man
to extremely crazy versions of Unova characters, which is still hilarious.
But there's still Deconstruction in White, with N's one simple line: "Remember, they wouldn't have died if you hadn't caught them." In some ways, the tragic deaths in Nuzlockes are the protagonist, and by extention, the player's
The original Nuzlocke comics are funny, clever and heartwrenching, and most derivatives missed the point.