Staryu and Starmie

Staryu.

The Dark Forces from Parts Unknown whose occult powers sustain my life and strength have anointed new emissaries to convey their terrible will!  By which I mean, I have two new Patreon supporters pledging $12/month, the amount required to bribe your way onto my Dark Council.  The Dark Council can vote once a month on any topic (I mean, I assume Pokémon-related, but strictly speaking I suppose it doesn’t have to be) for me to write about at length, and this month I’m writing on the suggestion of Miame Irohara (thank you so much for your support!) whom I have named my new Chancellor of Fate.  By the authority vested in the Council, she has requested that I write about her favourite generation I Pokémon (and some of mine as well): Staryu and Starmie.

This is actually pleasantly topical, since Staryu and Starmie are among the Pokémon who weren’t previously in Sword and Shield but have become available in the Isle of Armour expansion (reminder: even if you haven’t bought the expansion, you can still trade for Staryu, or transfer it from an earlier game via Pokémon Home), and as any veteran trainer knows, they are some seriously kickass Pokémon.  If you’ve never had the pleasure of training one, maybe give this article a read, pick one up and take it for a spin (…literally).  But first, let’s talk about starfish.

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Regional Variant Pokémon: Alolan Sandslash and Ninetales; Galarian Mr. Mime and Darmanitan

Today, for… some reason… I have decided to try to bridge the gap between Alola and Galar by reviewing all four of the Ice-type regional variant Pokémon: Alolan Sandslash, Alolan Ninetales, Galarian Mr. Mime and Galarian Darmanitan.  This obviously took far too much time and the article is far too long, but I’ve written it now, and if I had to write it, then you all have to sit down and read it; that was the deal, that’s how this works.  The Ice type is an interesting choice for regional variations, because real animals also kind of have Ice-type regional forms: as animals move into more extreme latitudes, they have to deal with longer and colder winters, and tend to adapt accordingly.  Cold-adapted animals tend to be bulkier than their relatives living in temperate climates, with more compact limbs, thicker fur or feathers and often a white colour scheme to blend in with snow.  Adaptation to different climates in Pokémon can be a mixed bag as far as realism goes, and we’ll see multiple different takes on that with today’s four Pokémon.  Let’s get started.

Continue reading “Regional Variant Pokémon: Alolan Sandslash and Ninetales; Galarian Mr. Mime and Darmanitan”

Alolan Raichu, Marowak and Exeggutor

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”

Necrozma

Necrozma

Today we’re going to look at… probably the closest thing that Ultra Sun and Moon have to an antagonist: the mysterious, sinister light-devouring Pokémon, Necrozma.  With an all-black colour scheme, a name that incorporates the ancient Greek word for corpse, a mysterious extraterrestrial origin, and the ability to blast everything in sight with frikkin’ laser beams, this is clearly a Pokémon to run away from very fast.  But what actually is it?  Let’s discuss.

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Cosmog, Cosmoem, Solgaleo and Lunala

Cosmog

Time to tackle the sun and moon Pokémon of Pokémon: Sun and Moon!  Today we look at the Nebula Pokémon, Cosmog, the Protostar Pokémon, Cosmoem, and their two final forms, the legendary Solgaleo and Lunala.  This is, I warn you now, going to be a long and treacherous journey through complicated blind alleys of astronomy and mythology.  My position on the big version-mascot legendary Pokémon is usually that they aren’t supposed to reference any one specific mythological character or tradition (obligatory link to me ranting about the “Norse mythology” interpretation of the XYZ legendaries).  Instead, they’re attempting to tap into general mythological archetypes that the designers think will be meaningful across many cultures (hence, the version mascots are some of the very few Pokémon whose names are more or less constant across all translations of the game).  This means that interpreting them is… kind of as simple or as complicated as you want to make it, and… well, when have I ever made anything simple?  As with the four Tapu, I’m going to forgo any discussion of the competitive merits of these Pokémon, partly because they’re both crazy powerful and it’s just hard to go wrong with them, but mostly because just scroll down and I think you’ll agree that I have more than served my time here already.  So let’s get into it – starting with why these Pokémon are the types that they are. 

Continue reading “Cosmog, Cosmoem, Solgaleo and Lunala”

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.

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Bruxish

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Bruxish

Alola is a tropical paradise, and what would a tropical paradise be without a brightly-coloured and unforgivably gaudy tropical fish? Fish Pokémon never felt as inevitable as some of the other Pokémon classes, like the generic bird or the off-brand Pikachu, but there’s a lot of weird fish in the world and only so many Pokémon regions to stuff them into. Unfortunately their ranks include some of the most forgettable Pokémon in history, such as Finneon, Basculin and… y’know, the… that one. The other one. Alola’s designated fish, the teeth-gnashing Water/Psychic Pokémon Bruxish, is luckily a good deal less pointless than Finneon, Basculin, or what’s-its-butt. Let’s take a look. Continue reading “Bruxish”

Oranguru

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Oranguru

Making strange arguments and dubious assertions about Pokémon lore is an important branch of my schtick. Normally this comes up in questions addressed to this blog, or in whatever mad articles I decide to write in between generational Pokémon reviews, or occasionally in my musings on playthroughs of new games. It’s relatively unusual for a routine Pokémon review to provoke me to a really energetic bit of wild speculation. Luckily(?), however, today we have just the Pokémon to set me off: Oranguru. Continue reading “Oranguru”

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”

Meloetta

I’m back from Italy and on the home stretch, with only three more Pokémon to go, so let’s check out today’s, the second of three Pokémon that still don’t officially exist according to Nintendo (and therefore have no official art; the pictures I’m using here are by Xous54 and are closely based on the in-game sprites): the enigmatic Meloetta.

08488-ariameloettaMeloetta is a dainty humanoid Pokémon with powers related to music.  Her arms and hands, as well as part of her headdress, are shaped like musical notes, and her wavy hair is reminiscent of a musical score.  She can influence the emotions of people with her song, helping them to achieve the right state of mind for composing music, and could well be based on the Muses, the ancient Greek goddesses of inspiration, or possibly on less ancient interpretations of the same concept.  There were traditionally supposed to be nine Muses, but Meloetta has only two forms (I’m not particularly bothered by this, incidentally; nine forms would be interesting but it would have been difficult to achieve enough differentiation between them to make it worthwhile), which are related to the two main ways humans can participate in music: song and dance.  In her “Aria” form, Meloetta’s hair is green and flows out behind her, while in her “Pirouette” form, her orange hair is wrapped up around the top of her head like a turban and her skirt blows up around her like a ballerina’s tutu.  Meloetta can switch from her Aria form, in which she is a Normal/Psychic dual-type, to her Pirouette form, in which she is a Normal/Fighting dual-type, by using an attack called Relic Song, a technique she forgot long ago but which she can remember with the help of a musician in Castelia City who will also tell you Meloetta’s story.  Continue reading “Meloetta”