What do most people think of when they hear the word “dragon”?  Reptilian traits are practically a given, and you can usually expect flight, but there’s a lot of room for interpretation.  You might think of an ancient, majestic and fiercely intelligent creature, possibly with magical powers, or you might think of a terrifying fire-breathing predator that ravages the countryside while snacking on maidens (or possibly the other way around).  You might think of both at once.  You might also think of a grumpy old jerk who sits in a cave all day muttering darkly to himself and snapping at strangers.

Well, you might

This big ugly git is Druddigon, the cave dragon Pokémon.  He doesn’t have Dragonite’s serene wisdom, Salamence’s terrible power, Altaria’s preternatural grace or Flygon’s aura of mystery, and it drives him absolutely nuts.  Druddigon is technically a Dragon-type, largely because there’s nowhere else to put him, but he’s very much the (literally) red-headed stepchild of the group.  He has wings, but I don’t think he can fly (okay, he learns Aerial Ace, but that means nothing; take a look some time at the list of Pokémon that get Aerial Ace and you’ll see what I mean); the wings just provide a nice big surface area for taking in sunlight, which Druddigon needs to stay active since he’s cold-blooded.  Continue reading “Druddigon”

Axew, Fraxure and Haxorus

b6235-axewTime to bring out the big guns.  Dragon Pokémon have always had a reputation for being among the roughest, toughest, most ornery Pokémon around, and my subjects today are no exception.  Axew, Fraxure and Haxorus are territorial Pokémon that fight with pairs of massive tusks shaped like the blades of a double-axe, which grow harder, sharper and more powerful as they evolve, chopping through first wood, then rock, then steel.  Oddly enough, Axew’s tusks quickly regenerate when broken, but Fraxure’s will not (presumably Haxorus’ won’t either, but since the Pokédex is silent on that question it’s entirely possible that there’s never been a recorded instance of a Haxorus’ tusk breaking in the first place).  I doubt that’s a mistake; even I give Game Freak more credit than that, but I’m not sure what, if anything, it’s supposed to imply; maybe Axew have greater vitality because of their youth?  Continue reading “Axew, Fraxure and Haxorus”

Reshiram and Zekrom

8706b-reshiramSeeing as I just finished talking about the story of Black and White, I may as well take the opportunity to look a little more closely at the two Pokémon that are central to that story: the dragons of truth and idealism, Reshiram and Zekrom.  The design for these two has its roots in the Taoist concept of yin-yang, which I believe states (forgive me; I’m a little hazy on exactly how Taoism works) that the world and everything in it come into being through the interaction and harmonisation of opposites.  In much the same way, Unova, the region in which Pokémon Black and White are set, is said to have been created by Reshiram and Zekrom working in harmony, as a single being (and then devastated when the two split apart and fought).  To play into this theme of dualism, Reshiram is graceful, avian and feminine, with a soft-sounding name, while Zekrom is dynamic, saurian and masculine, with a hard-sounding name.  This is all wonderful and I love the way the designs complement each other and develop the theme and all that, and it’s very nicely done… but there’s one thing nagging at me.  They’re the wrong way around.  Continue reading “Reshiram and Zekrom”