Somehow, after writing on this blog for nearly 10 years(!!!) and having reviews of individual Pokémon be a pretty big part of my schtick, I’ve never actually talked in depth about Pikachu – the beloved mascot, the one Pokémon everyone knows, even people who have never played a Pokémon game or seen an episode of the TV show; heck, I’d wager there are people who don’t even know what a Pokémon is who’d recognise Pikachu. But no more, for I have been commanded by the mysterious cloaked figures of my Dark Council to write next about the most famous Pokémon of all. So… what exactly is Pikachu’s deal, anyway? Where did it come from, and what makes the design so effective? Whence Pikachu? Read on, as we delve into the history of Pokémon’s favourite child.Continue reading “Pikachu”
The regional variant Pokémon we’re looking at today all evolve from Pokémon that do not have regional variant forms of their own – a Pikachu, Cubone or Exeggcute caught or hatched in Alola will look much the same as a Pikachu, Cubone or Exeggcute caught or hatched anywhere else. In fact, they don’t just look the same, they are the same; an Alolan Pikachu that is sent to Galar will evolve into a standard Raichu (even though Sword and Shield do know what an Alolan Raichu is, and Pokémon games do track each individual Pokémon’s region of origin), while a Pikachu that arrives in Alola from anywhere else will evolve into an Alolan Raichu. That’s weird, because other regional forms don’t work this way (with the exception of two Galarian forms, Weezing and Mr. Mime); you can take an Alolan Rattata to any region of the world and keep it there for as long as you like, it’ll still evolve into an Alolan Raticate. Let’s see if we can figure out what’s going on here.Continue reading “Alolan Raichu, Marowak and Exeggutor”
In the second instalment of my exploration of regional variant Pokémon, we’re going to deal with two Pokémon whose regional forms are related to Alola’s geology: Alolan Geodude/Graveler/Golem and Alolan Diglett/Dugtrio. Geology, like archaeology and ecology, has always been in the background of Pokémon, but these games have never been the kind of stories that need a whole lot of scientific verisimilitude in those areas – or, to put it another way, who really gives a $#!t whether or not there are actually Cretaceous fossil deposits in the part of western France that corresponds to Ambrette Town? I could tell you that I care, and you’d probably believe me because, frankly, I give off a certain vibe, but the truth is I haven’t looked it up, and I’m not going to. Alola, in my opinion, cares more about the fact that it is Hawai‘i than any of the previous Pokémon regions cared about being each of those places, and at a guess maybe half of Alola’s new Pokémon are in some way influenced by that, but there are still limits – no one cares that there aren’t actually toucans or koalas in Hawai‘i, for instance, because Alola is also just a pastiche tropical paradise that should have whatever Pokémon, locations, characters and rocks seem fun. Today we have one Pokémon that cares a lot about having a specifically Hawaiian inspiration, and another that takes a somewhat more casual approach – let’s talk about that.Continue reading “Regional Variant Pokémon: Alolan Golem and Dugtrio”
Eighty-four Pokémon down… three to go. Today we’re looking at the Thunderclap Pokémon, Zeraora, the third of generation VII’s mythical Pokémon. As with Magearna and Marshadow, Zeraora doesn’t do anything of note in the games, but unlike them, its TV and movie appearances don’t hint at legendary origins or cosmic powers or forbidden ancient secrets or anything like that. It’s really just a powerful and extremely rare Pokémon that kinda gets caught up in some $#!t, like Heatran, or (to some extent) Latias and Latios, or even Lucario in its movie debut. Today we’ll look at how that happens – but first, a few words on Zeraora’s design and inspiration.Continue reading “Zeraora”
So… I guess it’s time to learn about native Hawaiian mythology, huh?
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”
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.Continue reading “Xurkitree”
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”
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”
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”
And another one from Skarmorysilver, who challenged me to come up with the damn thing in the first place!
RAIDENNE (Raiden [Thunder and lightning in Japanese]+Antenne [Antenna in French])
THIS IS A WIP. THE FULL POKEDEX WILL BE AVAILABLE LATER.
Thought I’d make a quick little something for pokemaniacal! The story here is that I challenged him to try and redeem one of his least favorite Pokemon from X and Y, Dedenne, into something genuinely creative. He came up with a Robin Hood-style folk hero with a tail like a bowstring, so I decided to go and put it on paper. There’s a bit of jerboa in the evolved form as well, just because it sounds like “gerbil”. The shiny colors are the same as Dedenne’s except with a darker shade of brown, cream instead of orange, and Robin Hood-style green instead of red.
I was actually going to look for some Japanese folk heroes to use as a source for the name, but the pun on characters named Raiden was too good to ignore. XD