Mr. F asks:

So there are octopus, squid, and ammonite Pokemon. Wouldn’t it be cool to have a cuttlefish to complete the bunch? Maybe a vampyroteuthis as well? Perhaps even a nautilus if Omanyte is too divergent. Come to think of it, the blanket octopus is so strange it could deserve its own Pokemon (maybe one with some of that extreme sexual dimorphism). There could even be an alternate version of Omanyte based on nipponites for some real bizarreness.

Well, as luck would have it, you have – purely by coincidence and the alignment of the planets – come to the right place, because when I got my readers to collectively design a Pokémon one time aaaaaaaaages ago, they came up with a lava lamp squid that attacks with boiling oil, which we named Krakentoa.  To put it another way – yeah, I’m kind of a fan of this.  Cephalopods are just inherently fun to play with, thanks to their alien intelligence and highly unusual abilities.  Although Omastar, Octillery and Malamar are all pretty cool and interesting Pokémon, there’s still a lot of unexplored creative space there, so even if we arguably don’t need more of them, I think there would be room for an eccentric designer to find some way of making additional cephalopod Pokémon conceptually distinct from their predecessors.  Camouflage, shape-changing, deep-sea adaptations, “vampire” traits for the Vampyroteuthis… I think it might be fun to have a nautilus Pokémon that somehow referenced the Nautilus, Captain Nemo’s submarine from Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.  Not sure of the best way to go about that, though.

Claydol asks:

Steven stone’s mega Metagross hits like a truck doesn’t he?

He sure do.  No Earthquake, though, unlike in the original Ruby and Sapphire, which makes him substantially easier to outmanoeuvre in terms of type coverage.  Giga Impact also creates a lot of openings for your Pokémon to come in and hit him hard before he can recover.  I have memories of much greater difficulty with the old non-mega Metagross, but that’s partly because on my first playthrough of Sapphire I had no idea what type the damn thing was, and pre-generation VI Steel-types resist pretty much everything (also I had a Sableye in my party because I didn’t understand the game very well yet).

Flareon asks:

Am I useful now that I finally can learn Flare Blitz?

Well, I’d say you’re arguably no longer the worst of your siblings, which is… something, right?  Your offensive movepool is still really bad, and that’s a problem that pretty much your entire family struggles with.  The best moves you all share are support techniques, so it’s your toughest siblings – Vaporeon, Umbreon and Sylveon – who are the most consistently useful.  Espeon gets a leg up from her ludicrous hidden ability, and Jolteon kinda gets by on his good offensive stat distribution and strong attack type.  Leafeon is pretty bad, but arguably still better than you because Swords Dance and Chlorophyll give him sweeping potential.  Now that you have Flare Blitz though, you can claim to be at least as good as Glaceon, who has a similar offensive power level but a very weak defensive type and generally poor abilities.  The problem with being you, Flareon, is you’ve got one hell of a Flare Blitz, but you’re lacklustre in both speed and defence, which makes you really easy to kill, and all of Fire’s weaknesses are to really common attack types (Water, Ground and Rock – including Stealth Rock).  In comparison with other physically-oriented single-type Fire Pokémon, well… Darmanitan is somehow faster, tougher and stronger, and has a better selection of physical attacks plus the ridiculousness that is Sheer Force; while Arcanine is faster, surprisingly tough, has Intimidate, is flexible enough for a physical/special mix, and can heal with Morning Sun.  Hell, even Rapidash is faster and has arguably a better physical movepool than you, but at least she has the decency to have bad abilities, average defences and a weaker attack stat.  You could go hang out with Rapidash, I guess?

Bradley asks:

Hi Chris! I’ve been a big fan for years and you’ve been super informative on the history of Pokemon. I too am a big fan of drastically overthinking how the Pokemon universe actually *works* and recently went on a big tirade trying to explain it all. You were a big influence on certain parts of the theory so hopefully you’ll enjoy what I came up with! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-0_3ButdKzw

[Warning: the following is far too long and contains copious italics for emphasis, in order to create the illusion that I am in the room with you, gesticulating wildly at my own string diagram]

Okay, let me say first of all I am genuinely flattered and I am sorry this has had to sit in my inbox for almost two months on account of my being a lazy piece of $#!t

In the grand tradition of overthinking pop culture on the internet, I’m going to apply my standard method of engaging with anything I find even slightly fun or interesting: passionately disagreeing in excruciating detail (for other examples, see: this entire blog; my life as an academic).

Arrrright. *cracks knuckles* Let’s break this $#!t down

Now, to begin with, this whole “figure out the Pokémon world’s cosmology and all the relationships therein” thing is a project I kind of have mixed feelings about, because on the one hand, it’s exactly my type of nerdy bull$#!t as a lifelong mythology geek and strange person, but on the other hand, I think there’s basic reasons any such project is doomed from the start.  But it’s still bloody impressive that anyone ever does it, because frankly I’m too scared to, although I might give it a go if I have any time left between finishing up generation VII and the release of generation VIII.  The general problems, then.  These days, I have this sticking point with a lot of other Pokémon fans, where people tend to point at some piece of Pokémon’s mythology and say “there, it’s in the games; it’s canon” and my response (other than to explain that I don’t even like the word “canon”) is “well, no, it’s canon that this is their mythology”; we should take these as stories told by people who understand no more about the Pokémon universe than we do, and possibly much less.  Arceus says he created the universe, but, well, he would say that, wouldn’t he?  The ancient Sinnohans wouldn’t know the difference.  There’s probably other historical cults in the Pokémon world that once worshipped Rayquaza, or Xerneas, or even Celebi as creator gods.  Further to that, all these different legendary Pokémon are from different regions of the world with different mythological traditions, so even expecting to be able to fit everything into one consistent mythology might be a stretch.  We’re not talking “Zeus, Poseidon and Hades,” who have a “canonical” relationship based on the traditional stories about their family history, respective powers or domains, and forms of worship.  We’re talking “Zeus, Freyja and Nü Wa,” who not only have nothing to do with each other, but aren’t even really the same class of entity, because their cultures of origin have incompatible ideas about what a god even is.  But let’s put all of that firmly aside, and talk about Bradley’s analysis on its own terms: on the assumption that there is a single consistent cosmology, elements of which are recorded more or less faithfully by the myths referenced in the games.

Continue reading “Bradley asks:”

Colress asks:

Your reaction when Ghetsis tried to hurt Lillie

I don’t know that I remember having any particular reaction at all, really.  Partly I was just never all that attached to Lillie – I mean, I wrote my playthrough journal of Moon version in-character as a protagonist who suspected her of being the villain for most of the game.  But also, to be perfectly honest I was never terribly immersed in the whole Team Rainbow Rocket thing, and I’ll probably talk about that at more length once I’ve finally finished reviewing all the Pokémon.

hugh_donnetono asks:

There are only two male Grass-type gym leaders, did you know that? Is that weird or is it just me? Anyway, FMK: Cilan, Ramos, and Gardenia’s mirror universe double who is exactly the same except a guy.

Well… there’s… also only two female ones, Gardenia and Erika, unless you count Mallow who isn’t really a Gym Leader, and frankly Flying and Poison have even less representation than Grass, so-

oh for fµ¢&’s sake it’s one of these things

um

well like

clearly Cilan is the one I’d have the best foundation for a relationship with, because we’d bake stuff together, so I’ve gotta marry him

but then it’s between fuck and kill for Ramos, and… like…

…I mean, I know this is gonna sound shallow but he’s SO OLD, guys

like, if there were ever an option where “fuck” and “kill” could wind up accidentally being synonymous, he’s it

…on the other hand Gardenia is super athletic, and I guess I can imagine her being pretty hot as a trans guy, so… maybe this works out after all…

Sid-cada asks:

Occasionally, once in a few generations, Game Freak will take the time to go back to the older Pokémon’s Pokédex entries and take the time to update and add new information to them, rather than recycle the same facts. My question is, do you think that it is worthwhile? How much effort do you think it takes to add new facts to an older Pokémon? Would that time have been better spent on refining the newer things? Or are the new Pokédex entries really not that important and noticeable?

I like it a lot, mostly because one or two Pokédex entries aren’t really enough to cover all the angles on what might make a Pokémon interesting or fully develop the concept.  The fact that Pokédex completion, as of generation VII, is now decoupled from any one save file (Pokébank can now display all possible Pokédex information of all the Pokémon you’ve captured on any of the games you own) I think helps to put all of this stuff front-and-centre a bit more, and emphasise the accumulation of information across multiple generations.  A lot of this stuff really helps to fill out the world and give us a sense of its ecology and culture – especially in Sun and Moon, where many old Pokémon (even those without Alolan forms) have Pokédex entries that describe how they live in Alola or relate to Alolan Pokémon, in keeping with generation VII’s greater focus on world-building and developing the character of the region itself.  I’ve been thinking about doing a sort of “Pokédex appreciation” series – trawling the Pokédex for interesting bits of trivia we’ve learned about Pokémon over the years, because frankly I do regularly learn new things about old Pokémon that surprise and delight me.  Would that appeal to anyone?