Sandygast and Palossand

250px-769Sandygast.png
Sandygast

Before we begin, I want to point out, for the benefit of people who might not usually pay attention to this kind of thing, that Palossand has one of the best French names I’ve ever seen for a Pokémon: Trépassable. It’s a portmanteau of trépas, demise, and sable, sand, but it also sounds like très passable – “good enough,” which is a phrase that everyone who has ever built a sandcastle has uttered at least once.

 

Anyway. Haunted sandcastles!

Haunted castles make perfect sense to anyone with even a vague familiarity with 19th century gothic horror or its 20th century cinematic inheritors. Beginning with Horace Walpole’s 1764 novel The Castle of Otranto, any gothic horror worth the name has a menacing castle on a windswept crag in the middle of a dark forest in Molvania or some similarly dismal place, and said castle is regularly infested with a range of “local colour” including but not limited to bats, vampires, mad scientists, werewolves and, of course, ghosts. Ghosts and castles go hand in hand right down to contemporary fiction, with the entertaining spiritual population of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter series, and ghosts in the haunting business are commonly depicted as pursuing “unfinished business” or grudges left over from their lives. But a haunted sandcastle might be something of a new one… Continue reading “Sandygast and Palossand”

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”

Rowlet, Dartrix and Decidueye

Rowlet
Rowlet

Bloody hell, if I don’t hurry this up they’re going to announce another damn generation before I’m done with this one; we’re already expecting whatever this bull$#!t is supposed to be and I’ve got eighty whole Pokémon to evaluate in the next couple of months, as well as talking about Team Skull and the Aether Foundation, and Hau, and maybe Lillie too, and whoever I decide counts as the Champion, not to mention answering the neverending tide of ridiculous banal questions that keep pouring out of my goddamn inbox (obviously, gentle reader, I’m not talking about any questions you might have submitted, which are of course consistently insightful and thought provoking; it’s all those other bastards that are the problem).

I’M FINE

Let’s talk about Rowlet. Continue reading “Rowlet, Dartrix and Decidueye”

Golett and Golurk

Today on Pokémaniacal I’m looking at Tony Stark, better known as Iron Man, a Marvel Comics superhero who made his debut appearance in 1963 and has since-

…I’m sorry, I seem to have wandered into the wrong blog.  Normally I do Pokémon stuff.

Oh, really?  Huh.

tumblr_lzpvsxikDQ1r7azfs.png*Ahem*  Today on Pokémaniacal I’m looking at Golett and Golurk, the automaton Pokémon.  These two are based on golems (as distinct from Golem, the evolved form of Graveler), humanoid guardian creatures from Jewish folklore originally associated with the city of Prague, which have since worked their way into a number of high fantasy settings as the magical equivalent to robots.  Nowadays golems can be constructed from just about any material you care to name, the more outlandish the better, but as Ground-types Golett and Golurk seem to follow the original in being made primarily out of clay.  They are likewise believed to have been created by ancient people to act as protectors (goodness knows how the things are still around after all this time).  So far, so good.  Continue reading “Golett and Golurk”

Yamask and Cofagrigus

52a5a-creepypokemonI’ve probably mentioned before that I quite like slightly darker takes on Pokémon, primarily because I think the setting and many of the creatures have a lot of potential for that kind of plot (witness, for instance, some of the spinoff games like Colosseum on the GameCube).  A startling number of Pokémon already have some surprisingly dark designs and flavour text; even in the original games Cubone wore the skulls of their dead parents as helmets, which is pretty strong for a kids’ game when you think about it.  The Pokédex also reports a couple of disturbing urban legends – like a Hypno abducting a child, and a boy with telekinetic abilities waking up one morning mysteriously transformed into a Kadabra.  Gyarados, meanwhile, is famed for levelling cities and Mewtwo is, if anything, more destructive still.  Ghost Pokémon, of course, take the cake; for instance, Ruby and Sapphire’s Shedinja, a mysterious Pokémon that seems to possess the shell shed by Nincada when it evolves into Ninjask, supposedly steals the soul of anyone who looks into the crack in its back.  I could go on about this for days, you understand, but what I mean to do here is give you a little context for when I start talking about today’s Pokémon, the Ghost-types Yamask and Cofagrigus, because Yamask’s design… in some ways is not nearly as troubling as some of what we’ve seen in the past, but in other ways is so much worse. Continue reading “Yamask and Cofagrigus”

Litwick, Lampent and Chandelure

Today we look at three pretty cute-looking and generally appealing Pokémon… who will suck out your soul.

No, I’m serious, that’s actually what the Pokédex says.

706be-litwickMeet Litwick, Lampent and Chandelure, the candle Pokémon.  These guys are Ghost/Fire-types: another new combination, which is practically a guarantee that what we’re going to get will at least be interesting even if it’s not strong.  The fact that they’re Ghost Pokémon is also, oddly, a good omen in itself because Ghost Pokémon are inherently fascinating; I for one am still trying to figure out what exactly they are.  In the Pokémon world, Ghost-types are generally feared and seen as malevolent spirits, but in many cases this is actually unjustified – Gastly, Haunter and Gengar, famously, are not actually evil but have a very disturbing sense of humour that can easily cause playfulness to be misinterpreted as aggression; Sableye’s predicament is similar.  Some, notably Mismagius, Dusknoir and Drifblim, have mysterious powers that could be used for good or evil, and where they fall on that axis is extremely ambiguous. Continue reading “Litwick, Lampent and Chandelure”

Frillish and Jellicent

219dc-frillishToday I’m going to take a flying leap into the second half of the Unovan Pokédex to look at one of the Pokémon I used in my play-through of Black: the undead jellyfish Pokémon Frillish and Jellicent.  Yes, you read that right: undead.  See, they may not look it, but Frillish and Jellicent are actually Ghost-types.  This is not only an immediate defence against any accusation that Frillish is just Tentacool 2.0, it also means that they possess a unique type combination, Ghost/Water, and therefore an inherently interesting set of powers.  From a mechanical perspective, this is clearly a good start, so let’s look at the flavour. Continue reading “Frillish and Jellicent”