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Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Win by Induction
This would be bad enough, but every 30th or 40th pokéball has TWO of them inside.
Title text: This would be bad enough, but every 30th or 40th pokéball has TWO of them inside.

Explanation

In the Pokémon franchise, human characters called Trainers capture fantastical creatures from the wild, the titular Pokémon (a shortened form of "Pocket Monsters"), and train them to battle one another. Pokémon are captured and stored in devices called Poké Balls, which shrink the creatures down to pocket size (hence "Pocket Monsters"). The anime's dub has enshrined the phrase "<Pokémon's name>, I choose you!" into popular culture memory. When Trainers do battle, they often shout this phrase while throwing the ball to the ground, releasing the Pokémon at full size.

In this comic, a Pokémon chosen at some point was a Pikachu, which does not intend to engage in the battle himself. Instead, the Pikachu chooses another Pikachu to fight for him. This process then repeats itself. Behind the Pikachu with the Pokéball is a long line of other Pikachu, suggesting that this process has been going on for a while.

Nearby stands Cueball, holding a closed Pokéball, and Megan, looking at her watch. This suggests that Cueball intends to have his own Pokémon fight the Pikachu, but is waiting to see which enemy his Pokémon must face before the battle can actually begin (waiting in vain, if the above described process repeats indefinitely), while Megan is growing impatient with the delay. Given that Cueball is holding a closed Pokéball he has not deployed yet, Megan cannot herself be his Pokémon. She could be his opponent, or a spectator.

The joke in this comic comes from analogy with the mathematical proof by induction, which is a proof with a base case, followed by a never ending sequence of steps. Each step leads to the next, thus proving something for all cases. This title seems to suggest that the process of Pikachu choosing Pikachu will not end, effectively postponing the battle indefinitely.

The name "induction" comes from logic and discrete mathematics, and is thus unrelated to the physical phenomena of electromagnetic induction; but the fact that Pikachu is an "Electric-type" Pokémon could be a word play connecting the two ideas.

If there were always only a single Pikachu in each Pokéball, this would spawn an unlimited number of Pikachu forming a single line. Since, as the title text notes, there are occasionally two of them in a Pokéball, this would lead to exponential rather than linear growth, as if the latter wasn't bad enough!

Pikachu was used in one of the storylines of 1350: Lorenz. See all the attack moves it made here.

Transcript

[There's a long queue of Pikachu extending out of the frame to the left. They are all just out from their ball, at least the last eight Pikachu's open balls lie in two parts on the ground at their feet. They are standing in front of Megan and Cueball. Cueball is holding a closed pokéball while Megan checks the time on her watch. The frontmost Pikachu, holding a closed pokéball, speaks.]
Pikachu at the front: Pikachu, I choose you!

Trivia

  • For some reason Pikachu is drawn without its lightning shaped tail.
  • In the Pokémon canon, Pokémon are only allowed to hold on to an empty Pokéball when stored in a Pokéball.


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