Anonymous asks:

Legends Arceus finally retconned the Indian elephant from Raichu’s dex entries into Copperajah, so I guess real world animals are now completely removed from canon

well, that’s true, but they are also now insisting that Pokémon takes place in an extremely convoluted multiverse, possibly to the extent of every player’s individual save file representing a branched reality… so maybe there are some Pokémon universes where real animals exist and some where they don’t. Maybe Indian elephants are in a quantum state of existing and not existing, and the only way to collapse the wave function is to hit one with a Thunderbolt.

I have thought for a long time that Game Freak, the Pokémon Company and other creators of official Pokémon media have been gradually erasing real-world non-Pokémon animals from their “canon” as they stopped thinking of the Pokémon world as being a version of the real one and began conceiving of it as a more independent fantasy world, this change to Raichu’s ‘dex entry being the latest step in that campaign. But I do also think that they have written themselves into a position where it will never actually be possible to truly erase or retcon anything that has ever appeared in official media out of “Pokémon canon” even if they want to, which is extremely funny to me.

Gym Trainer Jeff asks:

Pokemon Concept:
Mechanically, what would you think of a Dark-type Pokemon that functions like an “anti-Zoroark?” What I mean is: imagine a Pokemon that has high stats on average, but no/few moves it can learn or be taught/bred on its own. Instead, it has a unique ability that works like the move version of Zoroark’s Illusion, where it fills in any empty move slots it has with the moves from those slots on the last Pokemon in your party? This is why I’m calling it an “anti-Zoroark”—while with Zoroark it always has Zoroark moves but hides under the illusion of another Pokemon, with this “anti-Zoroark,” you always know the type of Pokemon it is, but it could come at you with almost any move, based on what’s in the party with it, and generally has the stats to make them work? Weirdly enough, it’s a Pokemon where forgetting moves is actually *encouraged* (more empty move slots to fill with its ability). I get that this is a super gimmicky idea to base a Pokemon around, but is it an *interesting* gimmick, or just dumb?

hmmmmmmmmmm

Without more details, my first instinct is that this is too strong – like, if it has good stats and a bad movepool, but its bad movepool doesn’t matter because it can have practically any moveset you want, then that seems extremely good to a degree that is probably dangerous. The fact that its type coverage is going to be redundant with something else on your team is a limiting factor, but it could also have other tricky bull$#!t that just doesn’t rely on fighting toe-to-toe; maybe it has Spore or something, which on a fast Pokémon has a lot of potential for abuse. Hell, maybe you just put Smeargle in your last slot; then “anti-Zoroark” can have literally anything you want, but on a body with actually good stats. That’s terrifying. Of course, you can’t ever make a Pokémon forget its last move, so this thing is always going to be stuck with one move of its own. If its natural movepool is really $#!t – like if there is nothing good in there whatsoever, not even a good Dark-type STAB move – you could design a Pokémon that effectively has only three moveslots, which might be interesting. Without actually diving into all the zillions of possible combinations of moves out there, or doing the calculus of whether this is good enough to be worth having a Smeargle on your team with a moveset designed for a high-statted Dark-type, I really don’t know where this falls from a balance standpoint. And, of course, in the post-Sword and Shield era, maybe you can just never allow this thing to exist in the same game as Smeargle; that’s probably safest. Still, my instinct is very much to assume this thing will be super overpowered unless someone can really convincingly prove otherwise.

I invoke the power of Janus to answer a bunch of reader questions rapidfire while drunk

Okay, I’ve gotta-

fµ¢£in’

fµ¢£

I’ve got a very narrow window of time here, is the point

It’s 2022 in New Zealand but still 2021 in most of the rest of the world, which won’t be true for long, but I can use that time to invoke the power of Janus, the Roman god of the New Year, (and also some alcohol) for supernatural aid in answering the GREAT BIG DUMB PILE of questions from readers that I haven’t answered in the past… I dunno, fµ¢£in’ COUPLE OF MONTHS probably???

this is probably, like, super dangerous, spiritually speaking; I might end up owing my soul to a doorknob or something

ah, it’s probably fine

LET’S TALK ABOUT A BUNCH OF STUFF

Continue reading “I invoke the power of Janus to answer a bunch of reader questions rapidfire while drunk”

Veteran Shaun asks:

By the way, what’s your opinion of Eusine?

Eusine and Morty have this… “the magic has gone out of the world, and I can bring it back” vibe.  Generation II was still kinda working through exactly what legendary Pokémon were and meant, and how they were going to fit into the world, because the original games didn’t really lock that down very clearly.  A lot of that work happens with Suicune, Entei, Raikou and the way their story is tied into the history and atmosphere of Johto.  Something was lost, the towers burned, a miracle was witnessed, but the Pokémon vanished and were never seen again, and the world is a little less magical for their absence.  But they still have these… well, for lack of a better word, these prophecies, and Morty’s visions, that tell them someone will bring the legendary Pokémon back.  Eusine’s attitude varies a bit between portrayals – original games, remakes, anime, his Generations short – sometimes he’s arguably just chasing personal glory, other times it seems like he has more of a “mission” in mind, something he wants to do for the world.  I think the common thread is that he’s thrilled by the idea of finding and experiencing something that exists on the outermost edge of human knowledge… which, ultimately, is what legendary Pokémon are, I think.

I dunno if that constitutes an “opinion of Eusine” but that’s what you’re getting.

Chronos asks:

So, do you have any thoughts on some of the more “loose” interpretations of moves in the new Pokemon Unite? For example Defense Curl, Hex and the three different Surfs?

I haven’t actually looked at Unite.  I don’t really enjoy MOBAs as a genre; I kinda find the design of character abilities interesting from an abstract perspective and I can see why people like them, but the fast-paced team combat just doesn’t play to the things I enjoy about games or have any aptitude with.  So, yeah, I haven’t looked at it.  I was thinking maybe I should, specifically so I can talk about this kind of thing with reference to the portrayals of specific Pokémon across different media, but I doubt I’m going to get really into it.

The other thing on my mind at the moment is that I’m hearing Pokémon Unite is extremely microtransaction-heavy, even more so than Pokémon Go or anything else in the franchise.  Which… well, given that Pokémon (even though it now has a lot of adult fans) has always consciously marketed itself as being for preteen children and still makes a lot of major decisions from that perspective… seems a little bit on the evil side, and maybe represents something that I shouldn’t be giving oxygen to?  I dunno; I am willing to be guided by my readers on this.

Seronimo asks:

Since Gen 7, the Pokedex has been getting more liberal in talking about predator/prey relationships between Pokemon. However, they’ve stopped making sure these relationships are reflected in type effectiveness. Before, you had Heatmor being 4x effective against Durant, and Zangoose with its two poison-related abilities. But now, we’ve got Talonflame preying on Wingull, both Gabite and Sableye chasing wild Carbink, and the Poison-type Mareanie devouring the Rock-type Corsola. Idk, how do you explain that?

I’d imagine that – much like predators in the real world – predatory Pokémon go out of their way to make sure that any fights they get into with prey are deeply unfair.  Just like Pokémon with a type disadvantage against their prey, a lot of real predators are genuinely kinda fµ¢£ed if their target manages to fight back.  Think of, for example, big cats, who go for the throat at the first opportunity, preferably from ambush, and usually back down pretty quickly if that fails because they can’t afford to expend the energy, or sharks, who famously tend to retreat if you give them a good punch in the snout or gills, because they’re just so stunned at the concept of food that tries to hurt them.  You want to stack the deck.

Continue reading “Seronimo asks:”

Leo M.R. asks:

Let’s make the most cursed concept design for a Fire starter ever! A bipedal bovine that:
– fights by getting enraged and charging at its opponents (shamelessly ripping off Tauros and Bouffalant, because we’re being as unoriginal as possible),
– is a fast physical attacker with Anger Point as its Hidden Ability, just to drive home the Tauros comparisons,
– has Fire/Fighting as its type in reference to the practice of bullfighting (a morally-questionable blood sport, and also calling back to Blaziken & cockfighting, because we’re being as unoriginal as possible),
– draws visual cues from oxen just to further reinforce the idea of Fire starters being based on the Chinese zodiac.

So, how cursed is this whole idea? Can we make it even more cursed?

oh no

so, this is a good effort, but I don’t think it’s cursed enough yet

We need to spit on the game balance somehow – make it either heinously overpowered, like Speed Boost-Blaziken overpowered, or find a way to make it really bad.  Fire/Fighting is so strong offensively that, I think, in order for a Fire/Fighting starter to be bad, it almost has to be really slow with one garbage defence stat and a signature move that does something pointless (maybe it scores more critical hits against burned targets).  Even then, though, starters have such high stats that it’s hard to make them truly awful without doing something totally obtuse, like mismatching their attack and special attack stats with their movepools.  If you want to go in the other direction, just make its hidden ability Huge Power and give it access to Agility.

On the zodiac angle… well, for me personally, to make it as cursed as possible, you have to make it like Cyndaquil or Fennekin, where it’s not actually based on an animal from the Chinese zodiac, but it’s close enough to make people keep repeating the theory anyway.  Not sure what the best direction for that is – maybe a bison?

The trouble with the cockfighting/bullfighting analogy is that it feels almost clever.  I think if you want to make it as cursed as possible you should just make it an angry wrestler.  With tights, except that the Pokédex makes it clear that they’re only skin/fur markings that look like tights for no obvious reason.

Oh, and… obviously it has to learn Curse.

Digidestined asks:

We all know that if you were in pokemon, you would be a grass and psychic trainer with an ace Vileplume, but what would be your digimon partner if you were a digidestined? Keep in mind even neglectful or neutral tamers have bonds on par with ash and Pikachu, so add in the digimon’s personality to compliment your own if you can.

so… I know this is a bit of a cop-out, but there is a Digimon that is a literal kiwi, and it’s in a line of plant-type Digimon, and I always thought as a kid “yes, that one.”  I dunno if any of those Digimon have ever had enough screentime to have an established personality.  In the games Kiwimon is usually the champion-level form of Floramon (Digimon evolution is a lot less fixed than Pokémon evolution and most Digimon have multiple documented paths across various games – I think Kiwimon’s ultimate form can be either Blossommon or Deramon, both of which I like), but from what I can remember, when both of those Digimon appear in the anime they’re two different individuals and have radically different personalities. Floramon is kinda ditzy and fun-loving, whereas Kiwimon is very taciturn and stoic. So honestly I think there is room to just say that individual Digimon of the same species can have totally different personalities, and mine would be something that drives me up the wall in exactly the right way to make me improve myself somehow.