…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?)