Exciting bit of news here – I’ve joined the Pokémon fansite PokéJungle as a regular contributor! (Don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere; Pokémaniacal is still a thing.) PokéJungle covers Pokémon-related news, with a particular emphasis on rumours, speculation and purported leaks, which… you may have noticed has never been my particular cup of tea, but I respect the restraint and sobriety with which they cover material that wouldn’t make it onto the front page of serebii.net or Bulbapedia. If you’re interested in that kind of news, this is the sensible just-the-facts place to go for it. I’m one of, I think, 12ish new writers who will be helping to expand PokéJungle’s reach to every province of the Pokémon fandom – competitive battling, the trading card game, toys and merchandise, lore analysis, the anime (this is going to be my major focus), and more. If you follow this blog and enjoy my writing, then you’ll probably find something of interest from several of my new colleagues – from the first two weeks of the new regime, I’d particularly like to recommend “Radio Free Johto” by Riley, “On the Origin of Species: Galarian Weezing” by Nick, and “Bill’s Secret Garden” by Odyssean, all of which are the opening entries in series. Oh, and you’ll probably want to check out my debut, “Gym Leaders Rated: Brock,” a study of… well, of how good a gym leader Brock is in the Pokémon anime (with numerical grades, so we can directly compare him to others in Kanto as I get to them).
I’m excited for this! Not just for myself, but for the whole “project” of bringing together so many writers with such a wide variety of interests, for the variety of features we’re going to have and the collaborative possibilities. I’m not sure something like this currently exists in the Pokémon fandom. “This is,” as Professor Oak once said, “a great undertaking in Pokémon history!” So, y’know, check out some of our pieces, follow PokéJungle on Twitter or Facebook, etc; of course I’ll post something here with a link whenever one of my pieces is published, and probably include my own recommendations for anything published by another PokéJungle writer that I enjoyed.
Also, as part of the application process, all the potential writers were asked to submit a short piece on three Pokémon we’d like to see get Galarian regional forms. There’s no plans to use these for anything on the site, so I might as well share mine with you here!
Regional variant Pokémon were a big fan favourite of Pokémon: Sun and Moon, and a welcome returning feature of the upcoming Pokémon: Sword and Shield. They give us the old Pokémon we love with a fresh twist (and often a little extra spice for the competitive crowd), but more than that, they also say something about the region they belong to, and its connections with the real world. Alolan Marowak evokes traditional Hawaiian fire dances, for instance, while Alolan Dugtrio’s golden locks reference the beautiful volcanic glass fibres known as “Pele’s hair,” after the Hawaiian goddess of fire. The Alolan forms bring their region to life and give it its own identity. Galarian Weezing follows a similar design philosophy, combining smokestacks with top hats to remind us of both Victorian fashion and Britain’s role as the cradle of the industrial revolution. But which other Pokémon could bring a touch of the real Great Britain to Galar? Here’s three that I’d like to see.
This one is cheating slightly, since Roselia is already confirmed to appear in Sword and Shield in its familiar Hoennese form. Nonetheless, I can’t help but feel that this is a wasted opportunity to reference the Wars of the Roses, the defining conflict that marked England’s transition from the Mediaeval period to the Renaissance (and inspired the plot of Game of Thrones for an encore). Imagine, if you will, Roselia as a Grass/Steel-type, clad in the breastplate and helm of a 15th century knight. Two rival clans brandish the red roses of the House of Lancaster and the white roses of the House of York. Whenever they meet, they hold impromptu tournaments of strength, skill and style to uphold the honour of their respective “houses.” Bonus history points if the shiny form has red-and-white Tudor roses.
I think we can all agree that Girafarig needs some love, right? Well, what if I told you that Sword and Shield have a perfectly valid excuse to give Girafarig a Dragon/Psychic-type Galarian form? Let me introduce you to the Questing Beast, a mythical creature from Arthurian legend. The Questing Beast, frankly, is already a giraffe Pokémon, but designed by someone who had never seen a giraffe in their life. Mediaeval sources describe it as a combination of deer, lion, leopard and snake, but to modern eyes, it’s a giraffe with a frikkin’ dragon head. Some of England’s greatest legendary knights devoted their lives to chasing this famously elusive creature across the world. Galarian Girafarig might not be quite so hard to pin down, but with Dragon Dance, a wider physical movepool, more resistances, and maybe a souped-up ability, anything’s possible.
The original-recipe Unovan Crustle is a desert Pokémon whose “shell” is a great slab of sandstone, a sedimentary rock formed from compressed layers of sand built up over millions of years. Britain is not known for its deserts, but it does have an iconic geological formation that would give us a pretty visually striking Galarian Crustle: the White Cliffs of Dover. A seaside Crustle from the White Cliffs would be a Rock/Water (or possibly Bug/Water) Pokémon with a gleaming white chalk boulder. That boulder would also be studded with fossils, just like the real White Cliffs, giving Crustle a special relationship with fossil Pokémon, and allowing us to give a nod to the role of 18th and 19th century British scientists and collectors in the birth of palaeontology as a true science.