Pokémon Spain Version: About 700 nm

Let’s move; we’ve got gyms to steal and titans to eat, or something.

Apparently we can chat with the various Academy teachers outside of class to learn more about them and get closer to them.

Ms. Raifort, the history teacher, responds in a weirdly sinister way to learning that I’m interested in the past, and I just want to say pre-emptively that if she’s going to try to recruit me to a cult, I am absolutely all in.

Clavell apparently likes learning the slang words used by his students, even though they often confuse him.  I think this can be a pretty good approach, at least if you do it sparingly – obviously there’s a hazard of becoming the “how do you do, fellow kids?” caricature, but I’ve found that a lot of kids are actually impressed if you take the time to learn how to use their words correctly (this, of course, requires understanding that slang is not just random noises that kids make specifically to irritate you).

Hello, Cortondo! I don’t know whether this is any particular real Spanish town; it’s olive grove territory, which may mean it’s just rural Andalusia writ large.

I am nothing if not a glutton for fictional foods; nothing fleshes out a world like describing what its people eat.  Paldea’s offerings are pretty tame in comparison to even some of the stuff mentioned in previous Pokémon games (the fancy restaurants in Lumiose City, for instance, make good use of fictional ingredients from the Pokémon world), but there are a lot of real Spanish dishes that add a little to the region’s identity, as well as some interesting ice cream flavours.

Unlike the 3DS, the Switch doesn’t care where in the world the player lives.  This is convenient for me, because I used to have terrible trouble making online payments on my 3DS when I moved between New Zealand and the US (the eShop would have a fit when it realised I was trying to spend money from a bank account outside my home region, and I could pretty easily send money from NZ to the US, but not the other way around, because online banking in America is almost bizarrely primitive).  It is less convenient for Vivillon, who is now orphaned in a similar way to Deerling: Vivillon’s whole gimmick – the most interesting thing about Vivillon, the main reason for it to exist – doesn’t function anymore, and probably won’t ever function as originally intended again.  I think all Vivillon originating in Paldea have the “Fancy” pattern, which was formerly event-exclusive.  Some of the other 19 patterns appear in the possession of NPCs, like these Continental and Tundra Vivillon, but most of them have to be brought in from older games.

Anyway, where’s that gym?

…sure, Nemona.  Sure.

Anyway, we’ve got some kind of challenge to…?

taking on the what now

Listen, Cortondo, I have been to Greece and Italy, and I am about 80% sure this is not how olive harvests work.

Maybe it’s a Spanish thing.

Something I think is interesting about Pokémon in the broadly generation V-onward era is that the gym leaders almost all have day jobs.  With relatively few exceptions, no one is devoting literally their whole lives to Pokémon.  A lot of them, especially in Galar, have high-profile jobs that probably benefit from the visibility of being in pro Pokémon battles, like actress Diantha, model Nessa and social media influencers Raihan and Iona (whom we met before the release of Scarlet and Violet), but there are also some very down-to-earth ones like Milo – and, apparently, Katy.

oh yeah, that’s right, I’m supposed to kick the $#!t out of her

Continuing the trend, Katy is a Bug specialist who sparklifies a non-Bug-type partner into a Bug-type.  I like Teddiursa as a choice for her – she’s a baker, she likes sweet things, Teddiursa loves honey.


ooh, I get cupcakes

This dude is art teacher Mr. Hassel, whose classes are now available to me at school.  He’s apparently a member of Paldea’s Elite Four, which probably explains why he seems to be keeping tabs on kids doing the gym challenge.  I wonder if all the Elite Four are teachers at Naranja?  It would make sense; according to my map of Paldea, the regional league headquarters is right behind the Academy.  Ms. Tyne, the maths teacher, has mentioned that she used to be a gym leader; she could easily be another member of the squad.

Well, time to explore a bit.  WE’RE GOING TO PORTUGAL, TEAM!

Oh, this is something I’ve been meaning to comment on – I like that Pokémon seem to congregate in groups that make sense, like these Deerling following a Sawsbuck around.  I think there might be a component to this that’s based on egg group, since I’ve seen flocks made up of multiple unrelated kinds of bird Pokémon.

These weird towers are convenient for getting a good view of the landscape.  There’s Cortondo back there, and that mountain on the left should be where the Open Sky Titan hangs out.

This, I’m pretty sure, is Gibraltar (a.k.a. Alfornada).  According to the map, the gym leader there is one of the strongest in Paldea, so I’m probably not supposed to go there yet.  I’m not even sure I can.  Maybe when Koraidon remembers how to fly…

Now what the fµ¢£ is this

I answered “yes” (because, I mean, obviously) and pulled it out, and it just disappeared.  Unclear what function this serves.  Possible that I have just unwittingly released an Elder Evil sealed beneath this cave. Well, you win some, you lose some (regions, that is).

Oh, maybe I can get up to Gibraltar after all, around the back way…


I’m not really a fan of the “you can go anywhere, but there’s no level scaling so there’s definitely an order you’re supposed to do things in” school of open-world game design.  You’re incurring all the expense of actually building an open-world environment, and sacrificing the better pacing and curated player experience that you get from a more linear structure, but you don’t actually get the feeling of freedom that open worlds are supposed to offer.  Kind of a worst-of-both-worlds solution.

So there’s a ruddy great stork flying around up there, dropping boulders on people, and we have to dash past the boulders and run up the hill so we can beat it up and steal its weed stash.  Sounds suicidally dangerous; I’m in!

I’d better get an A for this goddamn treasure hunt project.

Hajimemashite, motherfµ¢£er

Same deal as the first time – beat the Titan once, it goes for some bomb-ass herb, Arven shows up to do his bit (this time with a Nacli in tow) and we throw the kitchen sink at it.

Who says Heart is a stupid power?

We’ve had sweet (pink) and bitter (green) so far, so I guess the other three are going to be sour, dry and spicy – Pokémon’s traditional five flavour profiles, which correspond to the five contest move categories, and to the five stats that can be increased or decreased by a Pokémon’s nature.

Heck yeah I’ll give Koraidon a sandwich.  Let’s get this bike-o-saurus out on the water!

Um, yes, Arven, you should tell me the whole story and you’ve frankly squandered a lot of trust and goodwill by not doing so already.

Oh, is that all?  Well, why didn’t you just say so?  Healing a sick Pokémon is a bona fide heroic deed; there’s no reason to be so cagey about that!  I wonder what actually happened to Mabosstiff, though.  Arven said it was injured in a battle and never fully recovered, but Pokémon Centres are generally able to fix practically any battle injury.  Apparently Mabosstiff hasn’t been able to move or open its eyes for weeks, and its paws have been cold to the touch.  This sounds like the kind of affliction you get when you fµ¢£ with a Pokémon like Darkrai or Azelf.  Arven says he’s telling us the whole story now, but I already kinda don’t trust him, so maybe it’s not the whole whole story.

Well, I know what I’m doing next – checking out the water areas.

I also have another new subject at school now – Mr. Salvatore’s languages class.  I knew Naranja Academy had a “languages” course but wasn’t sure what that meant – traditionally we study to learn one particular language at a time, not every language at once.  Mr. Salvatore, however, apparently knows better; his method is to teach his students one phrase at a time in as many different languages as he can think of.

Ευχαριστώ, Herr Salvatore-san; ka pai.

Maybe if, for some reason, you wanted to create a high school-level linguistics course and you were teaching kids as young as 12 or 13, you would start with something like this…?  I feel like it’d make more sense to begin by examining grammar and dialect features in your students’ own language, though.

Anyway… here are the Pokémon I’ve met since the last one.

A… small capsicum child.  Yeah, I’ll take that; if anything we’re a bit overdue for a chilli Pokémon.  I know there’s a Pokémon called “Scovillain” because some of the dishes you can get in Paldean restaurants use “Scovillain sauce,” and I think that must be the evolved form of this.  Maybe some fire powers, like a spicy chilli?  Yeah, that’d be fun.

[Dialect sidebar!  “Capsicum” is the scientific name for the whole genus of plants that chillies come from, but in New Zealand and Australia it’s also just the common name for the particular type that Americans call “bell peppers” and Brits just call “peppers.”]

My grasshopper is now a sort of evil robot kickboxer with chainsaws on its back legs.  I am prepared to accept this as a bizarre but undeniably creative and multifaceted direction to take a grasshopper.

…okay, well, technically you’re not Pikachu if you’re a Fighting-type, but… you are kinda still Pikachu.  There’s not a whole lot you can do about that.

I presume this is where Arven’s Pokémon, Mabosstiff, comes from.  With “boss” in the evolved form’s name, I feel like maybe this Pokémon is going for a kind of mafia/gangster aesthetic, but Maschiff’s face is giving me something more in the “depressed and constipated construction worker” zone.


…it’s… a… it’s… well, it’s got frills?  And it levitates, so that’s… terribly efficient?


…this might be the most confused a Pokémon design has ever made me.  Not because I don’t know what’s going on; I mean, it’s clearly another one of those Wiglett-style not-regional-variants of Tentacool, and it’s a mushroom.  It’s just that something about the sight of it completely shuts down all thought in my brain, like a virus crashing a computer.  The sequence “Tentacool… but mushroom… but Tentacool… but mushroom…” loops through my head over and over at an accelerating pace until both concepts begin to lose their meaning and I wonder whether Tentacool has always been a mushroom Pokémon.  I don’t know what I actually feel when I look at Toedscool, because I’m instantaneously reduced to the emotional intelligence of a bratwurst.

I think I either love it or hate it, but it’s going to be a few months before I know which.

8 thoughts on “Pokémon Spain Version: About 700 nm

  1. Also remember that musroom Pokémon get the most evil status move in the game: Spore and its 100% chance of putting you to sleep. It’s a good thing mushrooms aren’t exactly known for moving quickly!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’ll be honest, Toedscool is one of my favorites of this generation. Look at its running animation! It’s like an old timey cartoon character! It is so unbelievably goofy that I can’t help but love it! They took a Gen 1 Pokemon I’ve never cared about and made it beautiful. This is the ideal Tentacool body. You may not like it, but this is what peak performance looks like.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m loving this SV playthrough series! Please please evolve your Tandemaus; I’ve never played SV but the Tandemaus line particularly its evolution is my favorite pokemon out of the entire generation, it has the objectively best design. Anyone who disagrees with me is wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

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