Theories and Mysteries

So it's been like, forever-and-a-half since Nurse Joy came into existence... Jokes and theories tend to get thrown around like a circle each passing generation ie. a loop, a boomerang... How many times have I been hit in the head with "haha they're clones"? I think I have a concussion from it by now. Hopefully this will clear up some things (or not) as we explore the common and obscure theories known to the fandom. So this could also be an FAQs about our favorite nurse.

1. How did the Joy and Jenny families start?
2. How did we get Pokemon Center Ladies in the games?
3. Why does Nurse Joy say "We hope to see you again!" ?
4. What if Joy doesn't want to be a nurse?
5. Are they actually clones?
6. Does Nurse Joy get paid?
7. What about work hours?
8. Why make this shrine when Bulbapedia exists?

1. How did the Joy and Jenny families start?

Pocket Monsters - The Animation novels by original series head writer Takeshi Shudo can be read here, thankfully translated by 2bamaster! If you're interested in lore that was intended for the anime but had to be cut out or eventually retconned and contradicting to the overall lore in the anime nowadays... I highly recommend it!

"... The harsh truth is that not everyone can be a Pokémon trainer... Some men realise this early enough and are able to make a change of career, but others chase their dreams until the bitter end... ...Having become an adult with no skills other than the ability to throw a Poké Ball makes them effectively useless."

"... Most important, serious jobs in this country were handled by women."

This is the reason why Officer Jenny is the one that calls the shots even when there's a few male officers too, and why we don't see male nurses helping out Nurse Joy.

"Ever since the times of their ancestor Heiji Jenny and his daughter Zenigata Jenny as thief takers (the old equivalent of police officers), the Jenny family have worked as police within this country... One out of every three police officers in the country had the name Jenny."

"...In this country... the name Jenny and the police... are practically synonymous."

That's how we know the police is a neoptism: a fancy word meaning family favortism when it comes to who gets the job. Mama Jenny or Auntie Jenny would hire a newbie like you over Random Randy who could have 25 years of experience. It's safe to say that the same applies to the Joy family with ancestors being known for knowledge of healing, medicine, herbs, etc.

"Most of the doctors in this country are from the Joy family," Joy smiled. "Although I'd have to say I'm the prettiest."

"I never knew that. ... So it's the same with doctors," Jenny smiled brightly. "Most of the cops in this country are from the Jenny family. But I'm the cutest."

"So we're the same," Joy said.

"We're the same," Jenny replied.

Translator's notes state that: "The names Heiji Jenny and Zenigata Jenny are references to Heiji Zenigata, a fictional detective from the Edo period created by novelist Kodou Nomura in 1937."

Both the term "thief takers" and the Edo period started in the 1600s. Thief takers turned into the police force in the mid 1800s while the Edo period ended in 1868. We don't know what part of the Edo period the detective Heiji Zenigata stories are set in, but others have suggested during the Enpo and Tenna eras (anywhere between 1673-1684)...

So the Jenny family have been around for a few hundred years, give or take, and the same could be said for the Joy family. Otherwise Shudo would've probably had more story to explain the Joy family... but... they're the same! So there's no need to regurgitate what he already explained about the Jenny family.

2. How did we get Pokemon Center Ladies in the games?

With the appearance of Pesselle as the Admin of the Medical Corps in "Legends of Arceus"... We can only guess that she's supposed to be an ancestor to the Pokemon Center Lady. But she also resembles a DPP character named Mira (which I either don't remember or gave a crap because gen 4 wasn't my favorite)... Both Pesselle and her Japanese name Kine may come from the world "pestle". A pestle is the small blunt club you use to grind and mix herbs in the bowl called a mortar. Okay, makes sense!

As far as whether the Pokemon Center Ladies all actually look alike or merely dress up to be more recognizable, we don't know. I'd like to think the pink hair does run in the family because of Pesselle! Perhaps Game Freak took inspiration from the anime by making the Pokemon Center Ladies all have pink hair, starting with gen 3.

But also, spoiler alert, Pesselle requests that you give her a Croagunk for its medicinal properties. She learns the Diamond Clan dilutes Croagunk's poison for lower back pain.

Who else in the poke-universe is a medical expert with a Croagunk? The Nurse Joy in Pastoria City in the DP anime! Could be a coincidence, could've been someone working on the game that took inspiration from the anime?

3. Why does Nurse Joy say "We hope to see you again!" ?

xkan has a great explanation by looking at what she says in the games in Japanese:

またの ごりようを おまちしてます!
We are waiting to serve you again!

またの ご利用を お待ちしてます!
We look forward to serving you again!


We hope to see you again!

So it's polite customer service speak basically, and localization probably had to use shorter words like "hope" and "see" in order to fit the line in the game.

Yes, yes, we all know it sounds weird that Joy hopes to see you again, when the only time you'd come back is to heal your pkmn. Does she want your pkmn to get hurt? I don't think so... People have guessed that Joy hopes to see you again instead of dying brutally in the wilderness via wild level 100 Gyarados' Hyper Beam! Also, if not enough people stop by a center it might be deemed unnecessary tax money going down the drain and it closes down, rendering Joy without a job.

As far as I know in the anime, she never says this.

In the Scarlet/Violet games the Gas Station Nurse Joy is a bit more polite in English localization.

4. What if Joy doesn't want to be a nurse?

Early on in the OG anime and Shudo's novel it seems like people are more likely to get stable jobs because they inherit their parents' business. Ash's mom Delia actually runs a restaurant inside her home and inherited it from her mother. Any young Joy we've seen in the anime wants to be a great nurse because she's inspired to be like her mother! How sweet!

It also depends on a person's interests and personality. Generally a Joy's caring personality and work ethic is well-suited for nursing, but in episode AG #186/#460: Overjoyed! we meet a fanatic Nurse Joy that travelled around as a young'un and is still quite a good battler. She even defeats Ash's Corphish with her Chansey! So some may have tried their hand at travelling and could still apply to nursing school after they have their fill of adventure.

Another theory is that the Pokemon world has Autistic Dominance. Look, before you yell "Ableism!" just hear me out and have a look at the article (because I'm 90% sure I'm on the spectrum and I love this). Satoshi Tajiri is credited as the creator of Pokemon and has long been rumored to be on the spectrum which may impact how things work in the world of the game. The theory is the majority of people in the Pokemon world are autisic. For any member of the Joy family, healing and learning all they can about the biological differences in Pokemon from a veterinary pov is their special interest! Why go out and capture Pokemon when you can meet all different kinds while looking at x-rays and what makes them tick biologically on a daily basis right at home?

5. Are they actually clones?

The only thing we have on that is in episode #__:_______ of the SM anime, Ash's Rotom Pokedex scans the _____ Island Joy and states that she's __.__% similar to her sister on ______ Island. However since there's only 4 Joys in Alola we can guess they're identical quadruplets (I have to watch and see if they mention any specific age differences like "Oh she's a year older than me!")

Other than that, the practical reason they look alike is to make animating easier so they don't have to come up with a different nurse/officer when they need one to show up in an episode. It's also a callback to the Pokemon Center Lady having the same sprite at each center in the games. Maybe they wanted Joy and Jenny to be eye candy for parents watching with their kids?

But an in-universe reason? The fandom has certainly come up with a few:

1. Hella strong genetics!

2. The Joy family values tradition so even their hairstyles are identical... and they love it!

3. The Joy family must uphold tradition... and they hate it!

4. The Joy family is a humanized female only species of Pokemon. Any offspring they have will all be female, therefore look like their mother much like Chansey, Jynx, Kangaskhan, Tsareena, Hatterene much like the game's breeding mechanics. THE ORANGE ISLAND JOY IS A SHINY!/s

5. She's actually a Ditto transformed.

6. She got it on with a Ditto.

7. She unknowingly got it on with a Ditto who transformed into a hot human guy.

8. Each Joy is a clone created by scientists because...

9. ... the Pokemon League wants insiders to keep an eye on trainers.

10. ... the Pokemon League wants more insiders for more control over the region.

11. ... Team Rocket wants insiders to keep an eye on trainers/the league.

12. ... Team Rocket wants insiders for a coup against the Pokemon League for control over the region.

13. ... they needed nurses during the Kanto/Johto war.

14. ... they needed nurses after the Kanto/Johto war because of civilian casualties/falling population.

15. ... just because.

6. Does Nurse Joy get paid?

Yes! Of course! The anime doesn't explain how she gets paid or how much, but Shudo does explain the center process more in his novel:

"If you show your Pokédex in place of your ID, you can stay free of charge."

"Used to staying at Pokémon Centers, Misty spoke as she signed her name on the register of people staying the night."

"Restoring the vitality of Pokémon tired out from battle was one of the Pokémon Center's important functions. ... Further inside the Center, there was in an incubator like a baby's cot. Pikachu was sleeping in it. ... The sooner he rests away his fatigue the better."

So if you don't have a Pokedex you still have to pay to stay overnight. Pokemon Centers have a cafeteria area for breakfast, lunch, and dinner much like a hotel. When Ash and Misty have something to eat at a cafeteria in Pewter City it doesn't quite clarify whether it's outside the center or not. If it is... then yes, you still have to pay for your meals too, as indicated by Misty leaving in a huff then Ash yelling about her leaving the bill to him.

We'd have to take Japan's health system into consideration, but I'm more familiar with Canada's so we'll use it as an example on what might be going on in Kanto (for now):

- You show your Medicare card (Pokedex or ID) when you go to the hospital for appointments, emergencies, etc.

- You don't pay out-of-pocket for most services but you do pay taxes for the government to fund the services. For Canada there's different rates of tax percentage in each province/territory, so federal and provincial taxes add up. Ie. Kanto's provincial taxes might be 15% while Johto's is 10%, but federal tax funds may be shared among them along with Hoenn and Sinnoh.

- Stuff like dental, eyes, and perscription medicine you pay out-of-pocket unless you have insurance. You still pay a little but not as much without insurance. In Shudo's novel Brock mentions that the government has funds for hospital bills if a trainer gets hurt during an official gym match.

- Doctors (Nurse Joy) bill the provincial tax for services they provide.

"But she's a vet and not a human nurse, so what's the wage difference??"

Hold yer Horseas! I've never seen Nurse Joy tell Ash and friends to take their pokemon to a specialist outside the center, so I'll assume she is qualified for any specialized care and is the only human working there...

Later, I'll do this later.

7. What about work hours?

Pokemon Centers have curfew at 11 pm, then either Nurse Joy remotely activates or the metal roller shutters automatically cover the front doors for the night. You're out of luck if you already paid to stay the night but arrive back at 2 am. No partying at the bars! If she's the only human working then that's about... well I can only guess she starts early in the morning anytime between 6 am and 8 am? With breaks either 15 min, 30 min, or 1 hour? If it's paid breaks or not we don't know. If there are more humans (god I hope so for her sake) they probably have day or night shifts instead.

Best case scenario: 8-12 hours
Worst case scenario: 15-17 hours
Joy is in hell: 24/7 NO BREAKS

8. Why make this shrine when Bulbapedia exists?

Because I love Joy so much! I wanted a space to write out headcanons in the first place, and make something I would've liked to visit for a shrine back in mid-2000's.