I remember a few years back when I challenged you to come up with a viable Dedenne evolution, but I don’t think I’ve ever asked you about one for Togedemaru yet. Seeing as you got burned out fixing up the worst of the Normal/Flying birds recently, though, I’ll spare you the pain and provide an idea for one I thought of a while ago – In some some parts of Asia and the Middle East, the hedgehog is credited in myth with bringing fire to man, so I combined that with the principle of electric heating and came up with a glyptodont/hedgehog hybrid critter with a spiny shell like a cartoon sun which could learn Fire-type attacks on top of the stuff Togedemaru gets already; it attracts lightning to heat up its spines, so it can gently warm its surroundings and allow life to flourish in cold nights (as well as learn Flame Charge or maybe even Flare Blitz if you’re daring enough). I still don’t know how to fix Zing Zap though, since I only thought about the pitch for Togedemaru’s evolved form, rather than improving the move itself (a damage boost is obvious, but IDK what additional effects if any could be included on top of it, just in case).
I like the idea, because Fire in Pokémon is almost always a destructive element, and I think it would be great to have more designs that evoke creative, nurturing or transformative fire. It’s weird to give Togedemaru fire-related powers as a core element of the design when it’s not actually a Fire-type; our hypothetical evolution probably should stay Electric/Steel, but then I’m not wild about a Pokémon with fire abilities that’s weak against Fire. Ordinarily I would say “let’s swap out one of Togedemaru’s garbage abilities for Flash Fire” but all three of Togedemaru’s abilities are actually pretty useful (I guess Lightning Rod is a bit “meh” on a Pokémon that can’t really use special attacks, but I think it’s supposed to be thematically important). The concept might work better as a whole new Pokémon than as an evolution of Togedemaru. As for Zing Zap, I don’t even know that it needs a buff; like, you could up the damage a little, I guess, but it’s already a better physical Electric attack than most Pokémon get. Not every signature move has to be a reason to use a Pokémon all by itself.
Also, just while we’re here, I googled “solar hedgehog myth” just because, and I found this on Wikipedia:
“In a Bulgarian legend, the Sun decided to marry the Moon, and invited all the animals to the wedding. The hedgehog was the only one who failed to appear. The Sun went to look for the hedgehog, and found him gnawing on a stone. When the Sun inquired what he was doing, the hedgehog explained: “I am learning to eat stones. Once you marry, you’ll have many Sun children born to you, and when they all shine in the sky, everything will burn, and there will be nothing to eat”. The Sun then decided to call off the wedding, and the world’s inhabitants were saved from starvation.”
and I don’t know if that helps us at all, but I think in the aftermath of the truly, truly disturbing Sonic movie trailer released last week, everyone needed to know about the myth where a passive-aggressive hedgehog saved the world by telling the Sun “no, no, I can eat rocks; it’s fine,” because frankly this is the hero we deserve.