Last time on Pokémaniacal, we met Buzzwole, a horrendously jacked space mosquito who can drink an entire Snorlax in under a minute, and one of two Bug/Fighting-type Ultra Beasts. The second is our subject for today: Pheromosa, who almost couldn’t be more different, and seems like it might be meant as a high-feminine counterpart to the arch-masculine Buzzwole (which would make sense given their status as version-exclusive Pokémon for Moon and Sun, respectively). Let’s take a look.Continue reading “Pheromosa”
Today’s Pokémon is our second Ultra Beast, the abomination of hulking muscle and red life-juice that is Buzzwole. While clearly just as weird and arguably un-Pokémon-like as Nihilego, Buzzwole is weird and un-Pokémon-like in very different ways, the main commonality being that Buzzwole also lacks well-defined facial features (I mean, it kind of has eyes, but they look more like real insectoid compound eyes than the heavily anthropomorphised eyes that Bug Pokémon often have, and are very small and indistinct). However, unlike the unrelentingly alien Nihilego, Buzzwole is if anything weirdly and unsettlingly human while simultaneously being obviously insectoid – fitting for the Bug/Fighting type combination, but a striking contrast to the one previous Bug/Fighting Pokémon, Heracross. Let’s take a closer look.Continue reading “Buzzwole”
One of Pokémon’s grand traditions is Pokémon who are very difficult to train on account of their weakness, but evolve into very high-statted and powerful beasts. Magikarp is the classic example, practically unable to fight at all, with Feebas following very closely in the same mould. Larvesta and Noibat are better able to fend for themselves but take a very long time to evolve and are pretty pathetic until they do. It’s one of the most powerful expressions of Pokémon’s theme of nurturing leading to growth. Alola’s most traditional contribution to the list is really Cosmog, who is even worse than Magikarp until he suddenly isn’t, but we can also count the Turn Tail Pokémon, Wimpod, and its fearsome evolution Golisopod.Continue reading “Wimpod and Golisopod”
Sometimes, we all need more spiders in our lives. Spiders kill flies and mosquitos, keep the streets of New York safe from techno-goblins and octopus-physicists, rescue intelligent piglets from the slaughterhouse with their whimsical web messages, and keep you from getting hungry at night by crawling into your mouth while you sleep. Game Freak, bless their hearts, recognise the importance of spiders, and periodically give us more. Thus, today, we come to Dewpider and Araquanid, the alien bubble spiders of doom… Continue reading “Dewpider and Araquanid”
Today’s Pokémon are… not bees. We think.
As their species designation – the Bee Fly Pokémon – attests, Cutiefly and Ribombee are based (in Ribombee’s case, somewhat loosely and with the addition of fairy-like traits) on bee flies. Bee flies, as their remarkably inventive name suggests, are a family of insects within the fly order, Diptera, that pollinate flowers and look like bees, though they are usually smaller. They are related to predatory robber flies, and despite their fuzzy appearance, most bee flies are parasites that will lay their eggs on the larvae of other insects, typically beetles or solitary bees, resulting in the slow and gruesome death of the larvae. There are over 5000 species of bee fly around the world (because clearly the world needed that many), but the particular one referenced by Cutiefly is the adorable internet celebrity Anastoechus nitidulus, a rare species that lives only in southwest Japan, in the area around the city of Okayama. As far as I can tell, this species is so rare, and bee flies in general are so poorly studied by entomologists, that it doesn’t even have an English name – I’ve seen them called “tiger bee flies,” which I think is an attempt to translate the Japanese name toratsuri-abu, but in English the name “tiger bee fly” ought to refer to a different species of bee fly, the larger, blacker and more sinister-looking Xenox tigrinus, which can be found throughout North America. Thankfully, Cutiefly already represents a fully adult bee fly, so we don’t have to observe first hand the family’s parasitic tendencies; instead we see only the adults’ more palatable diet of nectar, which they harvest with their mosquito-like proboscises. Cutiefly and Ribombee express this through their flavour text, through the Honey Gather ability they share with Combee, and through their in-game distribution in the areas in and around Alola’s Oricorio meadows.Continue reading “Cutiefly and Ribombee”
Today’s Pokémon are probably the strangest thing Alola has thrown at me so far, and definitely spice up the early game a bit – electrical Bug-types with battery-like abilities, which (thank all the gods) conspicuously do not become butterflies or moths. We’ve had beetle Pokémon before – Heracross – and even stag beetle Pokémon – Pinsir – but Grubbin, Charjabug and Vikavolt have little in common with either, as we’ll see.
Grubbin is… well, a grub – a soft-bodied beetle larva. As far as I can tell, it’s not based on any one species in particular; beetle larvae mostly look pretty similar to non-specialist eyes (unlike caterpillars, which are often brightly coloured or have bristles, or eye patterns that make them resemble dangerous snakes). Grubbin instead achieves a distinctive look by exaggerating the mandibles of a beetle grub into two brightly coloured, striped horns as long as the whole rest of its body – in fact it kinda winds up looking like a stag beetle or Hercules beetle pupa. Continue reading “Grubbin, Charjabug and Vikavolt”
Okay, guys, today we’re looking at the last Pokémon that has yet to be officially revealed by Nintendo: a killing machine of unfathomable power, created from the genetic material of an ancient Pokémon by an evil mastermind in order to create the most powerful of all-
…oh, they wouldn’t dare.
…I can’t believe this; they did it. They actually did it. They actually recycled Mewtwo’s backstory! The fiends!
Okay, sure, there are differences. Genesect was the brainchild of Team Plasma (and presumably of their de facto leader, Ghetsis), the villains of Black and White, who enhanced the deadly prehistoric insect with metal armour and a devastating portable photon cannon, while Mewtwo, who was commissioned by Team Rocket’s shadowy master Giovanni, gained his incredible psychic abilities courtesy of a truly frightening amount of gene splicing (although, in the TV show, Giovanni does also equip him with a suit of armour designed to focus and augment his powers). Also, it seems pretty clear that Genesect was always a vicious hunter even before Team Plasma got to it, whereas Mewtwo’s predecessor, Mew, is one of the most peaceful and carefree Pokémon you’ll ever find. As I alluded earlier, though, the similarities are striking, to say the least. The Genesect project was actually shut down, since Team Plasma’s spiritual leader, N, held a very different attitude towards Pokémon to Giovanni’s; specifically, N believes that Pokémon are perfect beings, and came to the conclusion that the technological enhancements made to Genesect by his scientists were a corruption of its natural purity. The lab where Genesect was developed was not abandoned, though; a couple of scientists continued to haunt the place and eventually brought their creation to a state resembling completion. Continue reading “Genesect”
Okay, you remember how I said last time that I thought I was just about done with all the genuinely bad Pokémon?
I was lying.
I’m doing Heatmor and Durant together because, although they aren’t part of a single evolutionary family, they do in a sense ‘go together.’ Heatmor is a bloody great anteater that some delightfully mad person has decided to splice together with a blast furnace or something, and Durant is an angry giant ant plated from head to abdomen in steel, and Heatmor’s favourite food. Durant, the Pokédex insists, covers itself in steel plating specifically to protect itself from Heatmor, which makes absolutely no sense in a world of elemental ‘types’ with distinct strengths and weaknesses relative to one another. Why does this make no sense? Because Heatmor is a Fire Pokémon, and relying on metal armour to protect yourself from a Fire-type is tantamount to suicide according to everything we have ever seen about the way this world works. Now, evolution (in the real-world biological sense, not the Poké-world pseudozoological whacko sense) is an insanely complicated phenomenon, this I will grant you, but no-one and nothing is going to convince me that natural selection would actually push a species to become more vulnerable to its own major natural predator. Continue reading “Heatmor and Durant”
I mentioned recently that it’s been a good year for Bug Pokémon, and it continues to be… well, interesting at least… with these curious specimens: Karrablast, Escavalier, Shelmet and Accelgor. Shelmet is a fairly unexciting pink snail-like Pokémon that lives inside a helmet and sprays acid when people bother it, and Karrablast is an utterly unremarkable horned beetle that… sprays acid when people bother it. Things get interesting when we put them together. When Karrablast and Shelmet are “bathed in an electric-like energy together” (obfuscating Pokédex-speak for “when you trade a Karrablast for a Shelmet”) both of them evolve in a rather unusual way: Karrablast swipes Shelmet’s armour. Continue reading “Karrablast, Escavalier, Shelmet and Accelgor”
This has been a good year for Bug Pokémon. Black and White introduced Leavanny and Scolipede, who, despite not being remarkably powerful, finally banished the unfortunate cliché of Bug-types that appear early in the game, evolve quickly, peak early, and ultimately prove useless. So far, I’ve also looked at the bizarre but surprisingly intriguing Crustle and the awe-inspiring solar moth, Volcarona, both fun and powerful additions to the Bug-type hive. Like Volcarona, the Pokémon I’m looking at today – Joltik and Galvantula – draw much of their uniqueness from something very simple, a new type combination: Bug/Electric. Continue reading “Joltik and Galvantula”