Tapu Koko, Tapu Lele, Tapu Bulu and Tapu Fini

So… I guess it’s time to learn about native Hawaiian mythology, huh?

Tapu Koko

We’re on the home stretch of seventh-generation Pokémon now, and today we’re talking about the four guardian deities of the Alolan islands: Tapu Koko, Tapu Lele, Tapu Bulu and Tapu Fini.  These four are deeply woven into Alolan culture and identity, and they have a special relationship with the Alolan trial system and its administrators, the four Island Kahunas.  They’re also the pièce de résistance of generation VII’s unprecedented level of interest in taking inspiration from the culture, ecology and history of the real-world region its setting is based on.

Continue reading “Tapu Koko, Tapu Lele, Tapu Bulu and Tapu Fini”

Xurkitree

Xurkitree

One of the perennial hazards of modern life is having to keep all of our different wires straight.  Everything you own has a different charging cable, and all of them, if they are ever moved or placed in a bag or, gods forbid, allowed to come into contact with each other, will instantaneously morph into eldritch spaghetti as soon as your back is turned.  Xurkitree is, as far as I can tell, the result of letting too many of your different charging cables get tangled up until they achieve a collective malevolent sentience, then steal your Christmas decorations and elope with a bunch of zip ties.  But now, just when you thought the lunatic nightmare was over… Xurkitree has returned from outer space.  For revenge.

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Togedemaru

*sigh*

250px-777Togedemaru.png
Togedemaru

So it has come to this.

Once more I am faced with my immortal enemy, the creeping darkness at the heart of Pokémon that threatens to bring down all that we hold dear…

…the Pikachu clones.

I don’t even think I’m allowed to just reflexively dislike these fµ¢&ing things anymore because of that damn Pachirisu that won a world championship; no, I’m actually supposed to have reasons now, whatever that means. Well… here goes nothing. Continue reading “Togedemaru”

Oricorio

Pom-pom Oricorio.
Pom-pom Oricorio

I do not have a good record with anything capable of earning the title of “gimmick” Pokémon – Pokémon whose schtick is some unique move, ability or game mechanic that was so clever Game Freak felt they could stop there, and didn’t need to have the Pokémon be any good or the design make any sense.  Today we decide whether Oricorio, the dancing honeycreeper Pokémon, fits that description.  Four interchangeable and mostly cosmetic forms, a weird signature move, a weirder ability… the phrase “walks like a duck, quacks like a duck” comes to mind, but let’s take a closer look. Continue reading “Oricorio”

Grubbin, Charjabug and Vikavolt

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.
Grubbin

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”

Tornadus, Thundurus and Landorus

Today I’m looking at the second of Black and White’s legendary trios, the ogre-like genies Tornadus, Thundurus and Landorus.  Why do these games have so many legendary Pokémon, anyway?  Every set of games always introduces more of the things than the last (compare five in Red and Blue to thirteen in Black and White), and at some point you have to wonder how many we actually need… but I should judge them all on their merits, shouldn’t I?  So, without further ado: the legendary genies, Tornadus, Thundurus and Landorus.

As their astonishingly inventive names attest, Tornadus, Thundurus and Landorus are spirits of wind, lightning and earth; Landorus is a Ground/Flying dual-type, Thundurus an Electric/Flying dual-type, and Tornadus the only single-typed Flying Pokémon in the entire game.  Tornadus and Thundurus are chaotic and sometimes destructive storm spirits who zip around frying people, blowing them away, playing tricks, ransacking things at random, and occasionally beating the hell out of each other and laying waste to a few neighbourhoods in the process.  Landorus, in stark contrast, is a benevolent figure associated with protection and fertility, whose role is to keep the other two in line and to encourage crops to grow healthily.  When Tornadus or Thundurus (or both) makes trouble for the villages of Unova, Landorus shows up to settle things.  Continue reading “Tornadus, Thundurus and Landorus”

Stunfisk

7bd41-stunfiskThis one is tricky; I’m not sure whether to love it or hate it… Today I’m looking at Stunfisk, the trap Pokémon, a flat-bodied bottom-dweller with a penchant for frying anything unlucky enough to step on him.  My first thought was that Stunfisk is pretty clearly based on a perfectly ordinary flatfish like a flounder or plaice, but with added lightning because everything is better with lightning (kind of arbitrary, but also fun).  I have since learned, however, that there are actually fish, called stargazers (so named because their eyes, like a flounder’s, are on the tops of their heads), which behave in more or less the same way as flounders – they spend most of their time half-buried on the seafloor, waiting for prey to stumble across them – but can also produce electrical current in much the same way as an electric eel.  Continue reading “Stunfisk”