Leo M.R. asks:

In many ways I think Glacia from RSE and Flint from DP are polar opposites, pun semi-intended. Not only are their personalities the reverse of each other (Glacia is cool, elegant, and reserved; Flint is passionate, boisterous, and a little unhinged), their situations are also reversed (Glacia is an Ice-type specialist in a hot region; Flint is a Fire-type specialist in a cold region). Despite all that, they’re both penultimate Elite Four members with only two fully-evolved Pokémon of their chosen type specialties available in their respective regions (Glalie and Walrein for Glacia; Rapidash and Infernape for Flint), and yet they have the complete opposite approaches to team-building. My question is: whose approach do you think worked better? Glacia’s “Imma stock my team full of repeats if it means sticking to my type specialty!” approach or Flint’s, um, imaginative “these things are hot!” approach?

Obviously this doesn’t apply to Glacia from ORAS – where she gets to add a Froslass at least – and Flint from Platinum (and hopefully BDSP as well).

Bonus question: if Glacia from RSE were to do a Flint and fill her team with a Glalie, a Walrein, and three other non-Ice Pokémon, what do you reckon those three other Pokémon would be?

I suppose I prefer Flint in theory and Glacia in practice.  I like Pokémon teams that give a character a little bit of flexibility in responding to threats against their specialty type while still feeling thematic.  Flint’s Diamond and Pearl team is just so… all over the place.  Drifblim for hot air, Steelix for hot rock in the Earth’s mantle, Lopunny… is vaguely feminine in design and therefore “hot”?  Glacia’s team composition is boring, but her duplicate Pokémon still manage to have slightly different movesets and do slightly different jobs (as do Phoebe’s duplicate Banette and Dusclops, in the same Elite Four lineup) while contributing to a fairly coherent overall strategy (at least by the standards of generation III AI trainers).

For alternative Pokémon on Glacia’s team… well, let’s assume we have to pick Pokémon that are both among the 200 in the Ruby and Sapphire Hoenn ‘dex and able to learn at least one Ice attack.  Let’s also try not to load her up with just Water Pokémon; that’s just the easy way out of this kind of problem for Ice-type trainers.  Glacia has this vaguely Nordic look to her, she’s from another region that’s far away from Hoenn and much colder (she claims that Hoenn’s heat is good for training Ice Pokémon), her slogan is “flaming passion in icy cold” and she’s very serious, but also very elegant and poised.  Her existing team uses Hail in combination with defensive and disruptive effects like Attract, Encore, Light Screen and Body Slam paralysis to wear opponents down.  I think the Pokémon that most immediately jumps to mind as a possibility for her is Gorebyss, who signifies Hoenn’s tropical climate, is beautiful but deadly, and has access to moves like Confuse Ray and Amnesia that fit Glacia’s battle style, as well as Ice Beam.  Nothing else sticks out to me as such an obviously good fit, but I’d like to offer for consideration an Ice Beam Altaria (elegant, aloof, can paralyse with Dragonbreath) and Ice Punch Alakazam (poised and focused, can capitalise on the chip damage inflicted by Glacia’s other Pokémon; bonus points for giving it Ice Punch and Fire Punch).  Neither of those Pokémon can learn Hail, so we pretty much have to give it to Gorebyss, but I think I’m okay with that.  It’s just a shame Castform is so terrible or we could use that as an extra pseudo-Ice-type – then again, Phoebe does have a Sableye (in the pre-Mega Evolution days, mind you) so this Elite Four wasn’t above scraping the barrel a little.

[This question was promoted to the front of the queue because the submitter is supporting me on Patreon!  If you enjoy my writing and like getting my answers to cosmic dilemmas like this one – or just think I deserve something nice for my work – consider visiting https://www.patreon.com/pokemaniacal and signing up!]

Bi guy asks:

If there was one Pokemon character (aside from Milo) that you could go out on a date with, who would it be?

I suppose it probably doesn’t count if I say Team Skull Grunt B from my dramatised playthrough of Moon Version, does it?  Besides, I already dated him.

So… hmm.  I like N a lot but he’s been through some $#!t and probably needs friends more than anything else.  I like people who are into fun science or esoteric history, like Roark or Morty, and those common interests might be a nice foundation for a relationship.  Cilan is a baker, which is a nice shared hobby, but I think the constant food puns would make me want to kill myself.  Honestly, Norman… like, he would never leave his family so there’s almost no point even bringing him up, but you ever hear the expression “DILF”?  Look, being a good dad is attractive; I’m only human, what do you want from me?

Weird question time asks:

Really REALLY out of left field thought on my part… but I’m curious to see how you’ll respond or interpret my potentially mad rambling. Since USUM, I’ve never really gotten over the alien-humans from the Ultra recon squad. And as I have now been replaying Pokémon Platinum and stumbled across the ye olde Sinnoh myth of Pokémon and people being one in the same at one point. Which got me to think like “do humans in the various Pokémon multiverse have types?”. Which isn’t too far-fetched in some cases given normal and ghost for alive and dead people, or psychic for those few individuals like Sabrina. But now that there are technically canonical people that took a different offshoot of human evolution AND how some Pokémon types are based on humanesque myth critters. The idea of people in universe being like the fae or fair folk akin to Fairy types or other types could potentially be a viable canon thing given how darn big and infinite multiverse shenanigans actually are. Here’s hoping what I’m sending somewhat makes sense or isn’t too off the deep end!

So… to my mind that depends on what you think type actually is.  If they’re somehow baked into Pokémon biology specifically, then the answer is obviously “no, that doesn’t even make sense.”  Humans aren’t Pokémon, at least, not in any meaningful way; there are several things that all Pokémon have in common which humans don’t appear to share (I’m not convinced that we’re supposed to literally believe that Sinnoh myth; there are real-world cultures that have similar myths, and we don’t believe those; there are also compelling ideological reasons for a culture that relies on Pokémon training to create a myth like that).

Continue reading “Weird question time asks:”

[my miltanks bring several existential thoughts to the yard and they’re like, “moooooooo”] asks:

it’s pride month and we’re all stuck inside so i was wondering which place in the pokémon world would throw the baller-est pride parade?

yeah this is how long my question queue typically is these days; don’t ask me anything that’s specific to the time you’re asking it unless you’re okay with a margin of error of, like, a month

But yeah, um… I dunno, what’s the campiest city in the Pokémon world?  Saffron City and Goldenrod City are way too straight and business-y, likewise Wyndon in Galar; Ecruteak City’s probably too conservative; you’d want to get out to, like… Celadon or Olivine.  Mauville City’s glitzy and glamorous; Slateport and Lilycove have robust Pokémon Contest traditions, and you just know all the top competitors in those are queens; same goes for Hearthome City in Sinnoh (also… Fantina).  Sootopolis City and Castelia City have the campiest gym leaders – I mean… you could almost decide this with a lip-sync battle between Burgh and Wallace.  Spikemuth is probably a strong dark horse contender, ‘cause they know what it’s like to be oppressed and even the straights would be allies (less so Po Town in Alola, ‘cause Team Skull are still kinda working through their toxic masculinity baggage; Marnie wouldn’t put up with that $#!t).  Lumiose City has the highest concentration of coffee shops in the known universe, which is a very important resource, as well as the best clothes, makeup, etc.  Hau‘oli City is probably a good bet for similar reasons; it’s modern, it’s trendy, also their Captain is Ilima and just look at him; if that boy’s completely straight then I’m a shiny Wobbuffet.  The biggest regular pride parade in the real world is the São Paulo one, but there’s no Brazilian Pokémon region (yet?) and New York is also really big because of Stonewall, which is a point in favour of Castelia City.

Listen, I think there’s a lot of strong contenders here and honestly I don’t feel confident making a call.  We can turn this over to discussion in the comments; I just think the most important thing is for us not to lose sight of the fact that all the major characters in Pokémon are some flavour of queer, except for a few of the villains and, like, maybe Brock.  I don’t make the rules; I just enforce them.

Ace Trainer Fox asks:

If you had to make a pokemon team for each of the original digidestined: Tai, Matt, T.K., Izzy, Mimi, Joe, Sora, and Koiri(using the dub names here, also can’t spell Koiri’s, Kairi’s? name) what pokemon would you pick for each that shows off their individual personalities and abilities?

[This question actually landed in my inbox before I started that series doing this same thing for Fire Emblem: Three Houses. I just have a huge queue of questions and this particular one took a while to answer; it’s a total coincidence that it’s kind of on-theme.]

Hmmmm… let me see… we’ve got to get Pokémon that at least vaguely resemble their Digimon partners and their powers, and we’ve also got to get Pokémon that can stand for the virtues of their Crests, as well as for notable traits of their personalities.

Tai:

I think Tai mainly uses Fire-types like Agumon and Greymon; obviously he needs a Charizard, and I think Arcanine is a good match for his Crest of Courage.  He has a somewhat reckless and impulsive nature, so I think we should add something like Primeape.  I feel like we should include something for SkullGreymon – Houndoom, maybe?  Tai and Sora play soccer together and I think they both have Cinderace that they got at the same time.  Nidoking kinda straddles his transition from risk-taking idiot to actual leader, and is another dinosaur-like Pokémon.

Continue reading “Ace Trainer Fox asks:”

X asks:

Recently, the new episode of Twilight Wings focused on Hop and his bond between Wooloo. This made me think, how do kids under 10 have pokemon? Bonnie has Dedenne, Hop has Wooloo, and I’m pretty sure there are others. Would there be any law about this? Also, how do you think it will work if the kid won’t become a trainer?

Well, the anime has said you become a trainer when you turn 10, but the games have also had trainers who are pretty clearly younger than the player (who in Red and Blue we usually assume to be about 10) from the beginning.  There also seem to be people who have Pokémon companions but aren’t trainers (like, think even of Professor Oak’s opening monologue in the very first games; trainers are just one of several groups of people who live alongside Pokémon); you could probably weasel your way around a lot of rules if, say, your family has a Pokémon pet that technically “belongs” to your parents, but likes you enough to fight for you and take commands.  I think the situation is much more flexible than, like, getting a formal license on your 10th birthday, without which you are at risk of having a Pokémon confiscated, or regulations to that effect.  I also doubt all regions have the same rules.  There might only be age limits for the gym challenge, or for leaving on a journey with your Pokémon; some kids might have known their partners for years before “officially” becoming trainers.

(Besides, I don’t think we know Hop’s age? He might not be 10 at the beginning of the story of Sword and Shield; he clearly hasn’t finished growing but I could believe he’s, like, 13 or 14?)

KalosianPorygon asks:

Is there a character you think was wasted? A character you think has potential to be fascinating, but ended up to be underused and forgettable?

Hmm.

I think I have to go with Archer, the leader of Team Rocket in Heart Gold and Soul Silver.  The remakes make an effort to create these four characters – Proton, Petrel, Ariana, Archer – out of the faceless Team Rocket Executives from Gold and Silver, but they don’t… do a whole lot with them.  Honestly I wouldn’t even have expected them to, and I’m basically satisfied with the handling of Proton, Ariana and Petrel, just putting names and unique designs on characters who were formerly indistinguishable.  Once you’ve done that, though… it just sticks out that the leader of the organisation, the mastermind of the entire plan to take over Johto, has literally one scene in which he speaks nine lines of dialogue and says pretty much nothing that we haven’t already heard from his subordinates.  Why were we scared of this guy?  What was his motivation in trying to recall Giovanni, rather than just running Team Rocket himself?  What does he actually want – money, power, a golden Magikarp?  He’s just not as interesting as either Giovanni in the previous games, or Cyrus in the contemporary Diamond and Pearl.  Even after his appearances in Let’s Go I have trouble giving two $#!ts about him.  It’s a shame, because Team Rocket in Gold and Silver seem to have a kind of cult of personality around Giovanni, which is really interesting, and Archer is the “cult leader,” as it were, but he never gives us any inkling of why.

Anon the Mon asks:

Am I the only one that noticed that, while in Pokemon, they have the ability to digitize creatures and heal them from burns, poison, and even being trapped in ice with one machine, how come they don’t have cars, or any regular means of transport that does not rely on pokemon power, except for boats (which might be pulled but we never see), hell, even the technological marvel that is the Aether Foundation is held up by a metric shit ton of pokemon, any thoughts to why this is?

Don’t have cars?

Uh?

I mean, they definitely have cars in the anime, right?  Gary has one in the very first episode (despite being, to all appearances, not significantly older than Ash, who is explicitly ten years old).  We don’t see cars often in the games because it’d be kind of intrusive to our experience of the games’ city areas as pedestrians, but I don’t know if there’s good reason to suggest that they don’t exist.  And Gold and Silver had the bullet train between Goldenrod City and Saffron City.  And in Ruby and Sapphire we arrive in Littleroot Town in a moving van.  And Black and White had the subway system in Nimbasa City, and Skyla’s cargo plane.  So I think the premise of this question is just wrong.  If the focus of what we see in the games and anime is on things that are in some way Pokémon-powered, that’s probably because those things are more interesting and worth giving more attention to than things that exist in the real world, work the same way as they do in the real world, and are pretty mundane parts of our own everyday lives.  Like, they definitely have cars, but ultimately who gives a $#!t?  Riding Pokémon is just cooler.

KalosianPorygon asks:

What’s your favorite generic Trainer class, e.g. Youngster, Fisher, Hiker, Hex Maniac? And what’s your least?

So, if you shift your gaze upward, you will notice the name of this site, and my avatar above it, and I think these things are arguably clues.

Aside from an affinity with the wild-eyed manic-grinned generation II Pokémaniac, I have a strong love-hate relationship with the Ruin Maniac class, because on the one hand they’re archaeologists, which is what I am, and I love anything to do with the ancient past of the Pokémon world, but on the other hand they’re pop culture archaeologists, which basically means they’re glorified grave robbers who should probably be shot.  Just in general, I’m fond of the “mystical” classes like Channeler, Psychic and Hex Maniac.  I also quite like the Free Diver class introduced in Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby, just because I love the way the underwater areas and battles look in those games (even if they do take some, uh… stretching of one’s suspension of disbelief).  As for a least favourite… well, nothing really sticks out to me; I’m not sure it’s ever occurred to me to have a least favourite trainer class.  Is that a thing?  Maybe the “athlete” classes from the Nimbasa Stadiums in Black and White; you know, Linebacker, Infielder, etc.  You’ve all got your own sports, dumbasses; stay out of mine.

And just while we’re here, KalosianPorygon also asks:

Can you rank all eight first Generations based on the generic Trainer designs?

To which the answer is no, I genuinely cannot

Everyone asks:

Hi Chris, so after reading your commentary/essay/novel on Chairman Rose, did you know his battle theme says “Go Rose, go save everyone!” over and over?

Just an interesting tidbit.

I’m not… quite sure I hear it?  But it makes sense; like, that is definitely what he thinks he’s doing.  “Save everyone” is very much core to his motivation, and not even in a bull$#!t “create a beautiful world through Malthusian genocide” way like Lysandre was doing; he really does mean everyone.  It’s just unfortunate that he’s chosen an insane self-aggrandising way of doing that.