Pokemon Concept Corner: Region-locked

Geography is an interesting thing.
...okay, that's a lie, but in this case it can actually be pretty cool. Today, we're going to take a bit of a different route(see what I did there?), and look at the regions throughout generations I-IV, from real-world basis to atmosphere and location. Before we look at the individual regions, however, let's take a look at the overall structure of the Pokemon world as we know it.
 As you may already know, and as the image shown illustrates, the main regions of generations I-IV are all based off different parts of Japan. It may take you a minute of looking to understand how the circled areas correspond to the regions of the games, because Kanto and Johto's regions of basis are at an angle to how they appear in the games, while Hoenn is straight-up sideways. Sinnoh is the most obvious one, very easy to pick out due to its size and seperation from the rest of the continent.
Now, as far as how the regions are arranged within the Pokemon world, let's take a look at what we know, as found in the games:
-Kanto and Johto are neighboring regions on the same continent, as Johto is directly to the west of Kanto.
-Hoenn lies south-east of Kanto and Johto. We can assume that it lies fairly far away from the other regions, as it is the region(besides Unova) with the fewest Pokemon also native to other regions. This is further implied in that most of the Pokemon from generations I and II that can be found in Sinnoh can only be found in the Safari zone.
-Sinnoh is the farthest north region, lying north of Johto. The location opf the Sinjoh ruins, which are said to be an ancient meeting point of Sinnoh and Johto's cultures, suggest that the land north of Johto and Kanto probably doesn't extend too far, and that Sinnoh is not too far from Johto and Kanto's continent, as the Sinjoh ruins are in an area no longer classifieed as part as either region.
So, as we can see, the general locations of the regions translate to the real world in basics. Kanto and Johto are south of Sinnoh, and north-east of Hoenn. Of course after that, the structure of the individual regions changes, but we already know that. So, let's take a look at the indiviual regions now.
Kanto is where it all began. Kanto is based of the Kanto region of Japan, being the only Pokemon region sharing its name with the land it's based on. However, this name was not introduced until geeneration II. In gen I, the region's name was never revealed, and so many players assumed the region's name was Indigo, coming from the name of the Indigo Plateau. The region was originally portrayed as being largely grassland, but with the generation III remakes, it was redone into a more foresty region. Containing a warm, nature-freindly climate, Kanto has a more modern and technolohgical feel than it's neighboring region of Johto. This is evident by the look of many landmark locations in the game, such as the power plant and the Cinnibar island lab. Another poiont to be made in relation to this is the fact that Kanto is the only regions without any legends or cultural influences based around its legendary Pokemon. The people of Kanto are often thought to be very sophisticated and formal, in comparison to the other regions.
Johto is based off the southmost area of the Kansai region of Japan. Like Kanto, Johto is portrayed as a woodland-and-mountain region. This regions landmarks set it apart from Kanto, in that many of its most well-known areas, such as the Ruins of Alph and Whirl Islands, are deeply embedded in the history and culture of the region. This is most apparent in Ecruteak city, where the Tin tower and the burnt remnants of the Brass tower stand. The people of Ecruteak practically have legendary pokemon living in their backyards. But the pokemon-based culture doesn't only include legendary Pokemon. We can't forget Blackthorn city, where the dragon's den lies. The entire population of that city was founded around the dragon's den, and the culture is still heavily influenced by it. The people of Johto are more relaxed and expressive than most of the people of Kanto, creating a more relaxed, au naturale atmosphere.
Hoenn is my favorite region, in terms of structure. Everything about it is a huge melting pot of variety. Based on the Kyushu region of Japan, Hoenn features the largest variety of enviroments seen in any one landmass in the series, these ranging from forest, to mountain, to sea, to volcanos and deserts and ash-ridden wasteland. The climate in Hoenn is very tropical compared to other regions, and the Pokemon more exotic. The whole region is shaped by the tellings of Hoenn's lore, in which Groudon and Kyogre had a long, titanic battle, and in the cacaphony of land rising up, and water crashing down around it, the Hoenn region was created. Outside of the characters of the main plot, however, the citizens of Hoenn give little mention of the mythology that brought their homeland into existence. Most mention we do see is in areas important to the legendary pokemon, such at Mt. Pyre and Sootopolis city. The most prominant theme of Hoenn is coexistence between humans and nature. Two prime examples of this are Fortree city, a city literally built in the treetops, and Sootopolis city, built inside a hollowed-out, dormant volcano. The citizens of Hoenn tend to be down-to-earth people, reflecting the fact that nature is so abundant in the region.
And finally, here we are at Sinnoh. Sinnoh's mainland is based off Japan's island region of Hokkaido, while the battle zone island is based off Hokkaido's small neighbor island, the russian island Kunashir. Sinnoh contains fewer diverse enviroments on its main landmass than Hoenn, but introduces two new ones; snow and marsh. Being the farthest northern region in the series thus far, Sinnoh has a colder climate than other regions, with a snow-filled town and routes at the northern end. The most defining feature of this region, of course, it mt. Coronet, which vertically spans the whole region. It's said that Mt. Coronet was around before the rest of the region, and the surrounding area developed outward from there. This is tied directly into the mythos of Sinnoh. After Arceus was born, the first land he created was Sinnoh. During this violent procedure, Stark mountain and the battle zone island were formed as well. This, along with the rest of the massive Sinnoh mythos, is well known to many of the region's citezens. History is very important to the people of Sinnoh, and is one of the region's central themes. The towns and cities in Sinnoh are very diverse, from tiny villages to huge, sprawling cities that feel much larger than those in previous generations. Two such cities are based off real cities in Japan. One final thing to note about Sinnoh is the land to the west of Canalave City, the regions westmost location. If you look at a picture of the Hokkaido region, you'll notice an extra chunk of land there. In the Pokemon world, that area is the Almia region, the setting of the second Pokemon Ranger game.
So there we have it, a nice, big examination of the lands we've been traversing for the last several years. As with all my articles, we may return to this topic at some point, but be assured, next time we'll change it up again! Happy new year to all, and to all a good night!
Concept Corner is (c) Jay Petrequin, 2011