One lunatic's love-hate relationship with the Pokémon franchise, and his addled musings on its rights, wrongs, ins and outs. Come one, come all, and indulge my delusions of grandeur as I inflict my opinions on anyone within shouting distance.
…okay, I guess we have to talk about the Gene Simmons badger.
Along with Weezing, the Galarian forms of Zigzagoon and Linoone, with their regional evolution Obstagooon, were some of the first Pokémon of Sword and Shield we ever met. This was when Nintendo confirmed that Galar would have regional forms, just like Alola did – something that we’d all been anticipating for a while, but couldn’t be sure about. Obstagoon was a big deal for another reason: it was the first regional evolution we’d seen. Linoone come in two forms, Hoennese and Galarian, but only the Galarian one can evolve. According to those initial teasers, Zigzagoon are native to Galar, and this “regional variant” is actually the Pokémon’s original form – a loud, belligerent and undeniably fabulous origin for one of Hoenn’s, frankly, duller Pokémon.
I think we should talk about regional variants, don’t you? I was going to do the Alolan forms at the end of generation VII, and the timing got so tight at the end, but now that we’ve got a bunch of Galarian forms as well, it seems like something we could do all at once. So here’s the plan: Alolan forms first, Galarian forms after that, and I dunno if I have all that much to say about each one individually but I could certainly take ‘em three at a time, trying as far as possible to put them into groups that are in some way thematic. Sound good? Okay. We’re going to begin with the Alolan Rattata and Raticate, Meowth and Persian, and Grimer and Muk – not because they are all Dark-types, which is a reason, but not a very good one; we’re putting them together because all three forms exist in Alola as the result of human intervention. Let’s discuss.
We now come
to the final Ultra Beast of Sun and Moon (though not the final one of
generation VII as a whole), Guzzlord, a.k.a.
UB05 Glutton, a.k.a. the Junkivore
Pokémon. Guzzlord consumes all, drawing
everything into itself and growing ever larger, and in just the same way it has
engorged this entry to a truly unreasonable size – so without any further
preamble, I’m just going to jump into it.
I have a little personal conjecture about how Incineroar was designed.
Game Freak deeply, sincerely, earnestly didn’t mean to make a fourth Fire/Fighting starter Pokémon. They were just going to sit down and come up with some unique, entertaining and vaguely Hawaiian-inspired Fire-type. But then Incineroar just rose up, unbidden, out of the primal mists of Game Freak’s collective id, embedded himself in their tortured psyches, and refused to leave. Aware that they were making another Fire/Fighting starter Pokémon, but horrified by their inability to stop, they desperately called on Yveltal for help, and the vicious and cunning death god answered their prayers by corrupting Incineroar into a brutal Dark-type.
I should probably begin this entry with a disclaimer: for various reasons, I don’t actually have a Zorua or a Zoroark. In theory I know everything about them I need to know to write the entry, but their powers are rather complicated, as I’ll explain later, and I’m not sure I can really do justice to their impacts on the flow of battle. Then again, I’ll probably just do exactly the same thing as I always do: stare at their numbers for a while, research what everyone else says about them on the internet and then make dozens of wildly unsubstantiated assertions laced with bizarre and confusing metaphors before declaring victory and passing out on the sofa.
What, you mean you didn’t know?
Anyway. Zorua and Zoroark are clever and elusive fox Pokémon, not actually malicious but fond of deception and mischief. Their main power is their ability to create flawless illusions; they normally use their powers to disguise themselves as other Pokémon, but they can also take human form or even create false images of landscapes. So far, this is giving me flashbacks to Ninetales – another highly intelligent fox Pokémon with magical abilities related to trickery – probably because she shares a common inspiration with Zorua and Zoroark: the kitsune fox spirits of Japanese legend. Continue reading “Zorua and Zoroark”→
Remember Dragonite? I liked Dragonite; Dragonite was nice and enjoyed helping people. Not all Dragon Pokémon are nice, of course; Flygon, Haxorus and Altaria are, but Kingdra and Druddigon are basically crazy old men shouting at the kids to get off their lawns, Garchomp is ill-tempered though not malicious, and Salamence is just slightly insane and prone to extremes of anger and joy.
Hydreigon, on the other hand, is utterly, completely, irredeemably, certifiably, three-eggs-short-of-an-Exeggcute WHACKO.
Deino, Zweilous, and Hydreigon, whose names come from the German ein, zwei, drei, in reference to the number of heads they each have, are the only Dark/Dragon dual-type Pokémon. Dragon-types are (Druddigon and Altaria notwithstanding) among the strongest of all Pokémon, while Dark-types tend to be pathological liars, brooding loners, manipulative jerks, creepy stalkers or outright psychopaths. This is a recipe for disaster. I love recipes for disaster. Continue reading “Deino, Zweilous and Hydreigon”→
I think I’m just about through the Pokémon that are genuinely bad now. A lot of what’s left is, for want of a better term, so-so – like the female counterparts to Rufflet and Braviary, the vulture Pokémon Vullaby and Mandibuzz. I see some initial sensible choices here. Vultures are a nice choice for a starting point; their associations are specific and evocative, and Dark/Flying makes sense and isn’t overdone; there’s only one other Pokémon of that type, Honchkrow, who’s sufficiently different from Mandibuzz that it doesn’t bother me. Honchkrow is into plots and schemes, while Mandibuzz is a far more straightforward opportunistic predator. She also has a macabre fashion sense: Vullaby and Mandibuzz ornament themselves with bones and even build their nests out of bones. This was Cubone and Marowak’s thing, of course, but that’s not such a problem; they wore skulls as (I think) some kind of creepy honour thing, whereas for Vullaby and Mandibuzz it’s mostly about protection and decoration. No, the thing that bothers me about Vullaby and Mandibuzz is how silly their bones make them look. Vullaby is known as the “diapered” Pokémon, so yes, that eggshell-shape around her lower body (which is actually made of plates of bone) is indeed meant to look like a nappy. I don’t know whether Mandibuzz is supposed to look like she’s wearing an apron but that’s certainly what I think of, and the domestic imagery of Vullaby’s nappy makes me think this is exactly what’s meant to be conveyed here. Continue reading “Vullaby and Mandibuzz”→
It was, of course, a statistical inevitability that we would eventually get a set of chess-themed Pokémon – and here they are, the sword-wielding Dark/Steel Pokémon, Pawniard and Bisharp. In fact, not content with merely using bladed weapons, these Pokémon are literally made of interlocking blades, just to make absolutely sure that they can cut you to ribbons just by running into you. As always, the first question is: what were Game Freak thinking here? I don’t mean that rhetorically or sarcastically, I’m genuinely curious. This design seems to be going in a couple of different directions and I’m not sure which one they started from or where they’re trying to take them or how they’re supposed to fit together. Their vicious and aggressive personalities seem to follow sensibly from the blade theme, which seems to be Pawniard’s main schtick (or alternatively, simply from the fact that he’s a Dark-type; the vast majority of them are born to be jerks). Then, on a completely different tack, we have the chess idea, with their names referencing the pawns and bishops of European chess. Continue reading “Pawniard and Bisharp”→
By which I mean, some things are disgusting and others are just nasty.
On the one hand, you have Pokémon like Muk, who is literally made of toxic waste, Weezing, who can cause lung cancer at fifty paces, Gloom, who is constantly surrounded by the stench of rotting meat, and Lickitung, who… well, I think we can all agree; the less said about Lickitung, the better.
On the other hand, you have Pokémon that wear their own cast-off skin as trousers and hoodies.
I could go either way on this one, really. Let’s see.
Today I’ll be talking about the desert crocodile Pokémon, Sandile, Krokorok and Krookodile. They are… well… crocodiles that live in the desert. That’s a good start, but it does seem to me like the designers have been reusing a formula again – and I’m not talking about the older crocodile Pokémon, Totodile, Croconaw and Feraligatr. What Game Freak have done is take a North African river animal, shift it a few hundred kilometres west, turn it into a Ground-type with a wave of their magic wand and said “eh; good enough.” Sound familiar?