Supman asks:

Hey pm! Ive been lurking here simce you denied or granted rights to exsist to pokemon, and i was wondering if you ever reviewed the secondary forms of zekrom and reshiram, when they are combined with kyurem?

Never did, and… I think probably won’t, though I’m not quite prepared to rule out a meandering series on legendary Pokémon generally.  There are some assorted thoughts on Reshiram, Zekrom and their relationship with Kyurem that you can find here:

RandomAccess asks:

So, how about that Detective Pikachu trailer?

(Yes, this is how far behind I am; I’M WORKING ON IT)


Well, mostly I’m just really excited that this is apparently a Pokémon movie that is going to try to be a decent movie in its own right, something that can be enjoyed by people who aren’t already die-hard Pokémon fans and isn’t just product placement for the latest event-exclusive legendary Pokémon (which, let’s be honest, is what a lot of Pokémon movies set in the world of the anime tend to devolve into).  Ryan Reynolds’ performance as Pikachu seems promising too; he may not be Danny DeVito, but he’s got a nice balance of heartfelt and snarky that I think should serve the premise of the film well.  I like that, although the most prominently-featured Pokémon are first-generation classics (presumably to draw the nostalgia crowd), there are a few newer Pokémon as well, apparently focusing on the ones who are already big cross-media stars like Greninja.

Jim the Editor is not a fan of the fuzzy, vaguely felt look of the Pokémon in the trailer, and I have to admit some of them are a bit disconcerting.  It’s difficult to put creatures designed for anime into a live action movie, and some level of dissonance is almost unavoidable – I suspect there’s an argument that it’s a bad idea even to try.  On the other hand, there’s still a prejudice against animation in the West that makes it hard for people to take an animated movie seriously or put much effort into it unless it’s pitched mainly at young children, so that may be a necessary sacrifice.  I think we’ll get used to it, though, especially if this isn’t Pokémon’s last foray into live-action.

Also no-one in the trailer can pronounce “Pokémon” (learn to e-acute, people!) but that’s kinda par for the course for English-speakers.

Smugleaf asks:

I love Serperior. Do you have any idea for a Mega evolution or regional form for Serperior? Maybe make him Grass/Poison

Well I’m not exactly sitting on one that I’ve been saving for a special occasion or anything like that, but let’s give it ago…

I suspect we’re not likely ever to see regional forms of starter Pokémon, but on the assumption that we might, well, I think there could be interesting ground for a Kalosian form of Serperior.  Serperior is supposed to have a royalty aesthetic, and we know from interviews that elements of his design are based on French nobility and the symbol of the fleur-de-lis.  A Kalosian Serperior might have the blue and gold colours of the Bourbon dynasty, some kind of crown-like head crest, maybe a more ornate tail… it might be interesting if this version of Serperior had a focus on physical attacks and particularly on blade-like moves like Night Slash and Sacred Sword.  Typing could be Grass/Fighting, Grass/Steel, even Grass/Fairy, perhaps with a signature move to match (there’s nothing clearly wrong with Grass/Poison for a variant of Serperior, but we do have rather a lot of those already).  Contrary might be replaced with something like Defiant or Justified that provides a situational attack bonus.  And of course these Serperior would have been favoured partners of the Kalosian royalty in ancient times.

Albert pokeEinstein asks:

Please build a world of alternative physics to run the Pokemon world on!


…do… do I have to say more…?


If I were supposed to completely rebuild Pokémon from the ground up, creating a coherent magic/“physics” system would be high on my list, because frankly I would like it if there were some underlying logic to the way the special powers of different Pokémon interact with each other and the world, and we didn’t have to have conversations like this.  But to do a halfway decent job at something like that, well, for one thing we’re talking weeks of work, so unless Game Freak has decided to hire me for the purpose, I can’t be bothered; and for another, it would require trampling all over vast swathes of Pokémon’s existing lore that was created without an overarching behind-the-scenes rulebook.

And… well, frankly, if Pokémon made sense, you wouldn’t need me anymore, would you?

[Asks: Asks: Asks: Asks:] asks:

How do you feel about the lack of single type Flying pokemon? I’ve always felt it was odd that there is only one pure Flying type.

I tend to think Game Freak’s notion of what the Flying type actually is has changed quite a bit since generation I, perhaps to the extent that no one has ever quite known what it’s supposed to be.  All the generation I Flying-type attacks are bird-themed – Wing Attack, Drill Peck, Sky Attack (in Japanese, Goddo Bādo, a transliteration of the English “God Bird”) – which makes sense, since we have reason to suspect, on the basis of MissingNo and other bits of stray game data from Red and Blue, that it was originally called the “Bird type.” This, of course, is why Flying is strong against Bug.  Gust was a Normal-type attack originally, and Whirlwind still is.

Continue reading “[Asks: Asks: Asks: Asks:] asks:”

Lizardman Lizardman asks:

Fun fact: one of the most feared Pokemon in Anything Goes is not Mega Rayquaza, or some Arceus forme… It’s Vivillon. Just thought you’d like to know.

Well “one of the most feared” is a bit of an exaggeration; she’s a bit niche and very high-risk/high-reward, but even that much is a hell of an achievement for a cookie-cutter early-game butterfly.  Honestly I think this says less about Vivillon than about how heinously overpowered sleep is in Pokémon, even after being nerfed in four out of six generations, and how completely we all tend to forget about that most of the time.  Smogon has a rule (and I think other communities use this as well) that you can only put one Pokémon to sleep at a time, and their influence on the competitive Pokémon community is so great that even in contexts where their rules don’t apply (like most official tournaments) people kind of act as if they did – partly, I think, because the strategies banned by rules like this are just incredibly dickish and make the game a lot less fun for everyone.  Of course, in Smogon’s “anything goes” tier… well, anything goes.  Vivillon is faster than Butterfree and gets Compoundeyes Hurricane, and Sun and Moon nerfed the cr@p out of Darkrai’s Dark Void, so if you want to spam a very high-accuracy sleep technique, she’s the one to do it with.  I mean, yes, Quiver Dance is part of it, because without it Vivillon would be outrun and one-shot by practically everything, but when you have all the legendary Pokémon in the game to work with, the offensive presence of a Quiver Dance Vivillon, while significant, isn’t that big a deal – which is why we would never have this conversation in the “uber” tier, where the sleep rules still apply.  Sleep really is just that good.  This is one of the reasons you shouldn’t automatically defer to the competitive zeitgeist when choosing Pokémon and movesets for single-player, not even in end-game battle facilities – it’s not actually the same game.

Tony the Tiger asks:

You like old stuff, right? What are your thoughts on fossil pokemon?

In general archaeologists take pains to point out that we do not study fossils (it’s a surprisingly common mistake).  Not all “old stuff” is similarly old (unless you listen to certain ill-advised religious sects); I deal in the hundreds/thousands of years range, not millions/tens of millions.  Fossils are about as much my professional area of expertise as the moons of Jupiter are an airline pilot’s.

…as it happens, though, I am independently a layman dinosaur nerd with a basic knowledge of evolutionary biology, and I was a sufficiently weird kid that, when I started school, I wanted to be not a fireman or an astronaut but a palaeontologist.  So LET’S TALK FOSSILS.

Continue reading “Tony the Tiger asks:”