Happy #PokémonDay, peeps

…and what a Pokémon Day it is!

It appears our next godawful drunken misadventure through the innocent and unsuspecting Pokémon world will take place in the Galar Region, which looks to me as though it’s loosely based on Great Britain.

As evidence for this supposition, we can offer not only the rough shape of Galar’s map, with its quaint and picturesque “English countryside” look in the south (although I have to wonder at the apparent absence of London), industrial towns in what would be the north of England, and the frigid northern expanse of Scotland, but the telltale presence of one of these things:

which is pretty clearly one of the chalk hill figures of southern England.  There are a whole bunch of these; some are prehistoric or Iron Age, but others are modern imitations of the form (there’s even a kiwi left by New Zealand soldiers fighting with the British army in the First World War!) At a glance, I’d guess we are to recognise the three major cities visible on the map as versions of Manchester, Newcastle and Edinburgh (geographically, anyway – the northern city looks like it could contain the London Eye, so it might be a bit of a mashup). The trailer even teased some kind of soccer minigame (Americans, you’re not alone on this one; we call it soccer in New Zealand too), paying respect to Britain’s love of football – we can see several stadium-like buildings on the map (see the rocky area west of “Newcastle,” the mushroom forest to the north of that, the inlet southeast of the city, and the fields just north of “Manchester”), and I’d speculate that those are related.

And, of course, it wouldn’t be a Pokémon teaser trailer if we didn’t get these three:

Grookey the Grass-type monkey, Scorbunny the Fire-type rabbit, and Sobble the Water-type chameleon/newt. Other than noting that I am bound by destiny to the Grass-type but am also kinda fond of Sobble, I don’t think I have a lot to say about these three yet. As is usually the case with starter Pokémon trios, they have three quite different aesthetic tastes, because everyone needs to be able to pick one that they like, but are all basically cute and not particularly weird, because starters are not the place to do anything crazy and experimental. Scorbunny looks like it could have some kind of athletics/sporting theme, with the nose patch and general hyperactivity (so get ready for a FIRE/FIGHTING EVOLUTION, guys!), but I’m not sure I have much foundation for any speculation on the other two yet.

The names of the oncoming threats to my productivity and general mental health are Pokémon: Sword and Pokémon: Shield. To me, that’s suggestive of a potential Arthurian myth theme – somewhere in either the region’s history, the aesthetic of the mascot legendary Pokémon, or perhaps the theme of the villains. The name “Galar” for the region… someone else will probably come up with a better derivation after having some time to think about it, but to me the most immediate resonances are with Galahad, one of the Knights of the Round Table famous for his spiritual purity, or with the Gaelic culture of ancient Scotland and Ireland.

To be honest, Britain would not have been my first choice for a new Pokémon region (I’m on the record as holding out for India) but it certainly looks like they’re having fun with it; there’s a very pretty English countryside, and the cities seem like they’ll have fairly distinctive individual character. I’m also interested to see where they’re going with the “Sword and Shield” thing, because again, an Arthurian aesthetic seems probable to me. The starters are… I mean, they’re fine. You can never say all that much about a Pokémon when you’ve only seen the first of three forms. My immediate visceral reaction to them is probably more positive than it was to any of the last three sets, though, which is perhaps a good sign.

(See, this is why I don’t do hype; I’m not good at it. Can’t we all just sit down in the dark and say absolutely nothing for the next seven months as we wait for our lives to be utterly consumed by this madness?)

14 thoughts on “Happy #PokémonDay, peeps

  1. I’ve seen people speculate the stadiums pictured replace gyms/trials, having actual Pokémon league tournaments the player must compete in. But they could just as easily be pokeball (tried to combine Pokémon and football, failed).

    And another name origin I saw is Galar could be a combination of Gallant and Valor but I like yours more.

    As for the starters, none of them stand out to me this time. All starters lately have dual types though so I wonder where they’re going with these (or if they’ll go back to some single type ones). Usually I make up my mind on which I’ll pick before seeing evolutions but I just can’t this time.

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    1. The idea that the stadiums are Gyms occurred to me as well; it’s hard to say. I like “gallant” as an inspiration for Galar as well and it fits the same theme as I’m feeling anyway – knights, chivalry, Arthurian myth, etc. I’m kinda “meh” on Scorbunny but I love Sobble and I’m warming to Grookey. My pattern for generations IV, VI and VII was to waver for a while between Grass and Water before ultimately reaffirming my eternal allegiance to Grass, but I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see.

      Normally I begin a spoiler blackout thing shortly after the announcement of a new set of games because I prefer to go in blind, but that was hard enough in Kalos and may be downright impossible now that I’m trying to be active on Twitter. And of course people *will* want to know what I think of new stuff as it’s revealed. How do you think I should approach it?

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      1. I think that’s up to you, I like seeing your reactions but I also enjoyed your blind playthroughs. Ultimately, do what will make it most enjoyable for you! If you choose to avoid spoilers, I’ll be careful not to say anything!

        Ironically, grass is my default starter too but the past few games I’ve gone fire. As it stands, I don’t really feel the rabbit, it looks the most generic, so I guess water or grass is most likely here. Gonna play it by ear.

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  2. London’s on the map, as it’s Britain upside down – Scotland/the north of England is at the bottom and London is at the top. I’d guess the city on the far right is an amalgamation of Cardiff and Liverpool. No sign of Devon/Cornwall and no Northern Ireland either.

    I’m unsure how much of Scotland they’re including, or whether it’s included at all (Nintendo are secret Scottish nationalists; who knew?) so that would make the protagonist’s starting town roughly where Sheffield is. The big lake nearby makes me think it could be Scotland, though… maybe, just maybe, we’ll get a Loch Ness Monster Pokemon…

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    1. That occurred to me as well but I stared at the map upside down for a while and didn’t really find myself any more convinced than I was the other way, mostly because the Thames is flowing in the wrong direction. But looking again, I do think the overall shape is a bit better, and Cornwall is *there*, it just looks like you can’t actually travel there. It’s plausible to me that the big wall on the southern edge of the red brick city is Hadrian’s Wall, in which case everything to the south of that would be Scotland.

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  3. Charmander – Dragon, Cyndaquil – Rat, Torchic – Rooster, Chimchar – Monkey, Tepig – Pig, Fennekin – Dog, Litten – Tiger and now Scorbunny – Rabbit, just saying. I’m personally really looking forward to the inevitable Fire-Type Snake starter…

    I love how just yesterday you were complaining that the next gen would probably be revealed soon, and lo and behold, here we freaking are. It’s like they’re _actually_ out to get you, I love it!

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    1. I am still zero percent on board with the Chinese Zodiac thing, I’m afraid. Fox = dog is a hell of a stretch for me, considering how much foxes have their own specific associations in Japanese culture, and I admit I’m not *quite* certain what Cyndaquil is, but… not a rat.

      (and, well, in fairness I was complaining *because* they’ve been dropping hints for a little while now, but yes, they absolutely are out to get me. Why does Nintendo never consider MY NEEDS when they release Pokémon games, damn it!?)

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      1. I get what you’re saying, but personally Cyndaquil has never bothered me and the fact that Fennekin doesn’t _quite_ fit is imo outweighed by the fact that the other _five,_ now, fit _perfectly._ I mean, the fire starter this gen could’ve been a frog, or a bird, or an _actual_ dog, or anything other than a cow, goat, snake, or rabbit, and my comment would’ve been “Oh dang, I guess the Chinese Zodiac thing was wrong” and your response would’ve been “yeah, like I’ve been saying,” but that’s not the timeline we’re in. I understand still not being convinced, though. Fox=dog is a _really_ big stretch, even for me. So… see you in 2022 for the next part of this argument?

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        1. I gotta admit, *if* this is something they have in the backs of their heads, I’m kinda looking forward to seeing how they make Fire-type horses and dogs that are good starter material without being rip-offs of Ponyta and Growlithe.

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          1. I’m not one to buy the Chinese zodiac thing either, I think Cyndaquil and Fennekin are too much of a stretch and only fit if you FORCE them into the roles, but I do think a fire horse could work while being different from Ponytail. I would give it a darker look, evolve it into a fire/dark nightmare-ish horse (at least Pokemon’s spin on it, purple flames maybe), though I still don’t see it as a starter. Fire dog is harder because we have Growlithe AND Houndour, I’m sure it there’s room for more fire dog ideas but two takes on an idea is more than enough. We have plenty of cats and dogs.

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      2. Purely from a physical appearance, Cyndaquil is supposed to be an echidna, though its Japanese name also references porcupines. I too, am on board on the “Zodiac theory being bogus train”, though.

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