One lunatic's love-hate relationship with the Pokémon franchise, and his addled musings on its rights, wrongs, ins and outs. Come one, come all, and indulge my delusions of grandeur as I inflict my opinions on anyone within shouting distance.
Stunfisk was… a Pokémon I had very mixed feelings about in 2011, then promptly forgot about for most of the next 8 years. But now it’s back with a shiny new Galarian regional form, and I suppose I just have to deal with that. Original recipe Stunfisk’s angle was that it’s a flatfish that hangs out on beaches and mud flats and zaps you if you step on it. It’s like a flounder or plaice mixed with an electric eel – or like a stonefish, that kills you with horrifically painful venom if you step on it – or like a stargazer, which is a fat ugly fish with eyes on the top of its head that isn’t flat like Stunfisk but does bury itself in sand and can produce electric shocks – or like a torpedo ray, which is flat and lives on the sea floor and can zap you but doesn’t really look like a fish-fish – or like a mudskipper that can survive on land because it can breathe air through its skin. It’s a rich tapestry of derpy fish that all come together to produce one supremely derpy derpfish, is the point.
New Stunfisk… is also still a fish, but in addition to being a fish, is a bear trap. So, I guess, let’s talk about bear traps.
Let’s do some more Galarian forms! Today I want to look at the two “warrior” regional variant Pokémon of Galar: Galarian Meowth and Farfetch’d, and their evolved forms Perrserker and Sirfetch’d. Like many of the Alolan forms we’ve already talked about, these forms are to some extent less about “adaptation” and more about regional culture, history and folklore. Let’s get into how they use those things…
Meowth and Perrserker
This is Meowth’s second regional alternate form, and where Alolan Meowth is refined, elegant, royal, accustomed to luxuries, Galarian Meowth is… not that. It and its evolved form, Perrserker, are shaggy and wild with prominent teeth, claws and horns. Kantonian and Alolan Meowth and Persian are associated with gold, coins, gems, wealth and good fortune in finance, because of their links to Japan’s lucky “beckoning cat” figurines, or maneki-neko. Galarian Meowth and Perserker are Steel-types, and their coins aren’t gold, but black iron – transformed by “living with a savage, seafaring people.” A savage, seafaring people, in a region based on England, can only be a reference to the Vikings – the Scandinavian raiders who plagued the coast of Great Britain throughout the 9th, 10th and 11th centuries, and even ruled most of northern and eastern England for a while under a regime known as the Danelaw. They’re particularly famed for their elite warriors known as berserkers (hence Perr-serker) – literally “bear-shirts,” perhaps because they wore bearskins into battle. It’s a little unclear exactly what these guys’ deal was; they may have had something to do with some ancient Germanic animal cult and channelled animal spirits in battle to fight more effectively, and also they may have used some kind of psychoactive mushroom or herb to “enhance” their abilities. Animalistic and more than a little crazy, is the general vibe.
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.
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.
I feel like
I’ve said this multiple times already, but I really am finally on the
home stretch of generation VII now, with just four Mythical Pokémon remaining:
Magearna, Marshadow, Zeraora and Meltan.
In stark contrast to the last few Pokémon I’ve had to deal with, who
have had critical roles in the plots of the seventh-generation games, as well
as the accompanying seasons of the anime, these four mysterious Pokémon are
pretty absent from the games and don’t have much impact on our own journeys
through Alola (Meltan doesn’t even show up until we return to Kanto for Let’s
Go). With the exception of Meltan,
they do each get their own keynote appearances in movies, though, so
we’re going to be drawing fairly heavily on the events and histories presented
in those, and as usual the testimony of the Pokédex. Today we’re looking at Magearna – the
aptly-named Artificial Pokémon.
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.
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.
to our last two Ultra Beasts: Stakataka and Blacephalon, who were added to the
roster only in Ultra Moon and Ultra Sun (respectively). We don’t know as much about them as we do
about all the others, because we never see their homeworlds. All the original Ultra Beasts, whom we first
met in Alola in Sun and Moon, are encountered in Ultra Smoon by travelling
through Ultra Space to their own worlds (while Poipole is involved in the story
of the Ultra Recon Squad, and gets a major supporting role in the anime). These two, we only ever meet in Alola, and we
also get no information about them from Wicke, who is otherwise a fount of
interesting (if occasionally dubious) intelligence. As a result, there’s more I’d like to know
about Stakataka that I just don’t, like what kind of ecosystem produces a
creature like this, and how it behaves in its natural habitat – things that,
for normal Pokémon, we tend to learn as a matter of course. But we have the Pokédex, we have the design,
we have Stakataka’s in-game types, stats and mechanics, and we have the anime
episode it stars in, so let’s take a look and see what we can do.
[First of all: apologies for this one being late. I lost quite a bit of writing time last week flying back from Athens and recovering from jet lag (which, for me, tends to involve sleeping for 15 hours straight), but I think everything is just about back on track now!]
Ever had a paper cut?
Hurts, doesn’t it?
Well, today’s Pokémon, the Ultra Beast
Kartana, would like you to know that it lives to cause you that pain. Every time you turn a page in a book too
quickly and feel a sudden, sharp sting, or every time you lick an envelope and
your tongue or lip screams at you to abort the mission because something has
gone horribly wrong, Kartana is there, watching. And laughing.