Blacephalon

Blacephalon

Today’s Pokémon is Blacephalon, whose special skill is to blow up its own head.

And… well, you know, call me crazy, but I would have thought that would be the end of it.  Nonetheless, here we are.  This is the last Ultra Beast, and I just have to deal with it.

Like Stakataka, Blacephalon doesn’t appear in the original Sun and Moon, and its homeworld doesn’t appear in the sequels.  It doesn’t even have a very big anime role, since it co-stars in an episode with Xurkitree and doesn’t get the spotlight to itself, although the dynamic between the two is at least somewhat interesting.  Blacephalon is just… a bit of a weird non sequitur of a Pokémon.  It appears, it blows up its own head…

…profit???

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Turtonator

Turtonator

Right.  Where were we?  Almost done!  I mean, perhaps not almost, because on top of the standard legendary Pokémon there’s a dozen Ultra Beasts in this generation, and then I think at some point I promised I would talk about all the older Pokémon with Alolan forms, and I need to talk about a bunch of the human characters too, and eventually those BASTARDS who DID THIS TO ME in the first place are going to announce generation VIII, which means people are going to want me to TALK about it, and I’m going to need to save up for a bloody Nintendo Switch, and-
Y’know what, let’s just do Turtonator; I feel like blowing something up.

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Salandit and Salazzle

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Salandit

I think it’s time to explore some of the more hostile reaches of Alola, with the volcano-dwelling salamander Pokémon, Salandit and Salazzle. Salandit and Salazzle could be based on any of several things, or a mix of all of them, or none of them. Physically they resemble fire belly newts (genus Cynops), a group of newt species native to Japan and southern and eastern China (in the strictest scientific sense, newts are a branch of the salamander family and, compared to other salamanders, remain more aquatic even after leaving their tadpole stage; the words are often used interchangeably though). Fire belly newts are so called for their black colouring with bright red or yellow flame-like markings, which warn predators that they are poisonous and unsafe to eat – so we have a ready-made fusion of the Fire and Poison elements right there. Salamanders also have a very long history of being associated with fire, with stories that they bathe in flames going back at least as far as Aristotle. We could almost stop at that – Salandit and Salazzle are fire salamanders that breathe fire, and they’d hardly be the first Pokémon to come out of “real animal + appropriate-sounding elemental powers” (*cough*Beartic*cough*). But no; there’s more to these crafty amphibians, and as so often in Alola, we can look for answers in the real archipelago of Hawai’i. Continue reading “Salandit and Salazzle”

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”

Litten, Torracat and Incineroar

I have a little personal conjecture about how Incineroar was designed.

Litten
Litten

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 mean, obviously some of that is speculative, but I think the general outline is close. Continue reading “Litten, Torracat and Incineroar”

Volcanion

Last one!  Let’s do this!  Booyeah!  Volcanion!

Volcanion.

I’ve wanted to see a Water/Fire Pokémon for a long time (and indeed my readers were kind enough to give me one early last year), mostly because I’m interested in the relationship between the two elements.  They’re often considered opposites, and Water is Fire’s greatest and best-known weakness, but the combination of the two produces something that’s incredibly powerful in its own way – steam, which drove many of the machines of the industrial revolution and is still an important component of multiple ways of generating electricity today.  The fact that we even deal with steam on a regular basis is pretty amazing in itself, because there’s actually no other compound besides water that naturally exists on Earth as a solid (ice), a liquid, and a gas, which is one of the many things that make water a bizarre and incredible compound.  Volcanion commands this stuff, the most dynamic and potentially destructive form of the substance all life on Earth depends on – not a bad gig for a legendary Pokémon, if you ask me.

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Victini

…oh, Victini, what did you do to deserve this?  I know there are people who like Victini; I know they exist.  Those people would be best served by turning around, sticking their fingers in their ears and chanting “la la la, I can’t hear you” for the duration of this entry.

Let’s have some background.  Victini is the latest in a long line of “cute” legendary Pokémon.  The Psychic cat Pokémon Mew is the fabled ancestor of all Pokémon.  Celebi is a forest spirit who exists beyond time.  Jirachi is a celestial fairy Pokémon who is only awake for one week in every thousand years, but can supposedly grant any wish in that time.  Manaphy, the so-called prince of the sea, possesses unmatched empathic abilities and can touch the heart of any living thing.  Last but not least, Shaymin, the guardian of meadows, is the personification of gratitude and has the power to harmlessly absorb any poison.  Victini, the newest addition to the group, is the embodiment of victory.  Victini is said to be a source of boundless energy, which he can share with anyone who touches his body.  As such, possessing Victini is supposedly an absolute guarantee of victory.  I don’t just mean victory in battle either; Victini is victory itself and can bring success in any kind of situation with any possible outcome that might be considered ‘winning’.  Continue reading “Victini”