Poplio, Brionne and Primarina


Time for Alola starter number 3: the Water-types, Poplio, Brionne and Primarina.  I have something of a history of being distressingly lukewarm on Water-type starters, whom I’ve often put in the “fine” basket with little further comment, and for a while it looked like Poplio was going to go the same way, if not worse.  I know I’m not the only one who was less than enthusiastic about Alola’s Water-type starter initially.  After all, we’re onto our fourth pinniped Pokémon now (that’s seal, sea lion and walrus Pokémon, for the uncultured masses), they’re all Water-types, and this is even the second starter among them.  But even Poplio has design elements that show a different direction to Dewgong, Walrein and Samurott, which only continue to diverge through evolution, and this has turned out to be one of those Pokémon that feels weird to me at first, but makes more sense the longer I keep looking at it. Continue reading “Poplio, Brionne and Primarina”

Litten, Torracat and Incineroar

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


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”

Rowlet, Dartrix and Decidueye


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).


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

Oshawott, Dewott and Samurott

4d0d1-oshawottThe time has come at last, my friends, to fill that nagging gap I’ve left behind me: time to talk about the third Unova starter, Oshawott.  Now, I saw Oshawott for the first time back when Nintendo revealed the Unova starters last year (at the time, he had the fan nickname Wotter), and my first thought was that he’d pretty clearly been dropped on his head as a child.  Tepig and Snivy are so much more expressive in the official art; Tepig is happy-go-lucky and cute, while Snivy is a smug bastard, but Oshawott just looks vacant.  Personally I think someone dropped the ball on Oshawott’s official art and in-game sprite (which looks the same); in the show you can see Oshawott with actual facial expressions, making him look cute, proud, even devious – here, by contrast, he looks like a lobotomy outpatient.  This is a shame because it made a lot of people, including me, dismiss Oshawott without serious consideration – and, moreover, before meeting his awesome evolved forms, Dewott and Samurott.  The concept behind this line is that they’re samurai Pokémon.  Continue reading “Oshawott, Dewott and Samurott”

Tepig, Pignite and Emboar

e61f9-tepigYes, I’ve finally gotten around to the second of Unova’s three starters, the Fire-type Tepig… and so far it doesn’t look so bad.  Tepig is pretty cute, I have to admit, and while it’s not the first time we’ve had a pig Pokémon, it is very different from the previous one – Grumpig is a manipulative Psychic-type that specialises in soaking up elemental attacks, while Tepig is intended as a physically-inclined heavy hitter with a bit of survivability.  The only major gripe I have with Tepig is that his name is a little bit daft.  I don’t know whether Tepig had a fan nickname before the English release of Black and White came out like Snivy and Oshawott (a.k.a. Smugleaf and Wotter) did, but if he had one it has to have been better than Tepig.  I understand Game Freak must be running out of fire puns by now – they’ve already used char, magma, flare, molten, cinder, lava, explosion, torch, combust, blaze, erupt, coal and heat – but was tepid really the best word they had left?  It makes me think of warm water – not even hot or boiling water, because tepid is basically a synonym for lukewarm.  I’ll let Tepig pass on that, though, because he’s cute, generally nicely put together, and actually almost convinced me, for the first time ever, not to pick the Grass-type starter for my first play-through.  So, let’s see what he evolves int-

…wait, what? Continue reading “Tepig, Pignite and Emboar”