What do you think is up w/ types and “life energy” these days? Like, if you had to sum up what your theory is on Dragon, Psychic, and Fairy types and how those relate to the nebulous concept of “life energy” in Pokemon?
y’know what, I may as well revisit this one, yeah
listen, for the record, I’m about to go way too into depth about this $#!t because I’ve tried to answer this before and I change my mind practically every time there’s a new Pokémon game, and I am chronically incapable of addressing a problem without recapping everything I’ve ever thought about it. Really what I should do is research it properly and actually write up A Big Long Thing, but that sounds hard so I’m not going to. If you read on you have only yourself to blame.
What I always went back to was this line, originally from Gold and Silver, where one of the gym trainers at Clair’s gym in Blackthorn City describes Dragon Pokémon as “Pokémon that are overflowing with life energy” (or something like that; I’m quoting from memory). In that original context, it seems like this is an explanation for how Dragon-with-a-capital-D Pokémon – at the time a very exclusive club, consisting of only Dratini, Dragonair, Dragonite and Kingdra – are different from Pokémon that are dragons, like Charizard and Gyarados. Dratini and Dragonair are kinda the emblematic Dragon Pokémon at that point, and they have this snakelike ability to shed their skin and “rejuvenate” themselves (which is exactly why snakes are often linked with immortality in real-world mythology). My mind also always goes to the Victini and Reshiram/Zekrom movie(s), where the plot revolves around a character’s attempts to manipulate something called the “Dragon Force,” an underground stream of life energy that has some vague connection to the legendary Dragon Pokémon of Unova. Similarly, in Jewel of Life, Arceus creates the titular jewel, which has the power to invigorate living things and restore damaged ecosystems, from its plates that correspond to the elements of Water and Ground (basic necessities of life), Grass (the foundational life represented by plants), Electric (a “spark” to get things started) and Dragon (because… y’know, you can’t have life without dragons?). Legendary Dragon Pokémon are prominent in the lore of generations III-V and often seem to have those big “cosmic keystone” roles. So it sounds like Dragon Pokémon are special precisely because they have this unique connection to some kind of abstract universal “life force” that other Pokémon obviously need (because… y’know, they’re alive) but aren’t directly linked to.
Continue reading “K asks:” →
Wait, you’re using this again? Neat. Well thoughts on Tarastalization? (The Crystal hat thingy in Scarvio)
No-one sent any questions in for, like, six months! There were, like, one or two comments, but nothing that seemed worth posting a response to. This question-and-answer routine is a terrible system for two complementary reasons: one is that if no one asks any questions for a while, people forget it’s an option or think I’m not doing it anymore, and continue not asking any questions (to be honest, until last week I was beginning to suspect that perhaps it had finally died a natural death); the other is that if I get a lot of questions in a short time and manage to answer them, people get excited about it and send in more than I have time to write proper answers to, and then sometimes if I’m busy in real life it starts to feel overwhelming and I actually do give up on it for a while. It’s an extremely bad system that I only have in the first place because it was there by default on Tumblr, but hey, it means sometimes I talk about topics I wouldn’t have thought to talk about, without making it a whole thing that I have to have a researched and sober opinion on.
sorry, what were you saying?
oh yeah, sparklification
Well, I’ve never been one to get super enthusiastic about the big flashy mechanics like Mega Evolution or Z-Moves, but I have to admit, the strategic possibilities of being able to set up a Pokémon to change its type are interesting. The way it’s described, it sounds like sparklified Pokémon get a sort of double-STAB, so they’ll certainly have raw power on tap, but it seems like something that will take a bit more finesse and forethought than Dynamax or Mega Evolution. To be honest, I think the sparkly hats look pretty goofy, but I suppose they’re a reasonable compromise in this dilemma Game Freak seems to keep facing, where they want the flagship mechanic to be something all Pokémon can participate in (rather than a small minority, as with Mega Evolution), but also want it to be something visually striking that isn’t practical to tailor to every Pokémon in the game. I actually quite liked how Dynamax was part of the regional battle culture of Galar; I don’t think we’ve seen yet how/whether Scarlet and Violet plan to work sparklification into Paldean culture, but it seems clear that the phenomenon is tied to the land and perhaps the geology of Paldea itself, and I don’t believe any of the trailers or promos have claimed it’s a recent discovery, so I have to imagine there’ll be some kind of local tradition around it.
Already shared this with you on Twitter, but figured it might make an interesting topic here. – https://twitter.com/RandomA37679047/status/1511494132375597056?s=20&t=miVusNi5oPHW3vPZpapXWw Thoughts?
And the linked image:
Continue reading “RandomAccess 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:” →
If you were transported to the pokemon world but as a pokemon, which one would you be (barring legendaries and mythicals) also, keep in mind, this isn’t about which one is your favorite, it is about which one has the best chance for survival based in different criteria.
Well, that’s easy. Carbink.
I mean, yeah, you’re rubbish at fighting, truly bottom-tier ludicrously bad. On the other hand, you basically don’t age, you’re composed primarily of diamonds and, consequently, you’re thoroughly inedible, impervious to most environmental hazards and, for all intents and purposes, indestructible. There are Carbink out there that are almost a billion years old – not the species, but individual Carbink. In Kalos, mind you, which means they’ve slept through Yveltal’s tantrums before. Time itself can’t kill these little fµ¢£wits, and it has tried.
What are your thoughts on Pokémon evolution as a biological process instead of as a gameplay feature?
Larry has no shortage of his own thoughts so I’m gonna break this up.
Most evolutionary lines are very clearly meant to be not only progressions of power, but also of physical maturity and aging. There are outright “baby pokémon”, but it’s not like those are children and the rest are all adults. Most first stages in three stage lines, and some in two stage lines, are made to look and act like children, small and playful.
Right, but at the same time, most unevolved Pokémon are viable on their own, which is interesting. Pidgey can survive and reproduce without evolving into Pidgeotto; you can have a whole community of Pidgey without a single Pidgeotto and they’ll probably manage. With the exception of “baby” Pokémon, who can’t lay eggs (presumably because the designers saw them as “too young” to reproduce – it’s weird that Gold and Silver didn’t extend this restriction to a few other pre-existing Pokémon, like Caterpie), an unevolved Pokémon is a “complete” organism. So I think in a lot of cases it’s not just maturity as such but maybe a social and/or hierarchical thing. More evolved Pokémon might need more space and more food or other resources, so maybe it’s advantageous to the whole community if only a small number of them evolve.
Continue reading “Larry 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:” →
The new Dreepy evolutionary line, to me, brings up some pretty interesting questions about the Pokemon world’s evolutionary biology. They’re apparently aquatic Pokemon that lived in the ancient past that became spirits once they became extinct, and now fittingly have the “ghost/dragon” typing in the modern day. What’s interesting about this is you must wonder, why isn’t this more common, that being why isn’t there a ghost type variant of every existing Pokemon, since all Pokemon are living creatures that shed their mortal coil eventually all the same. This seems to imply that becoming a distinct ghost-type pokemon is something only some are capable of, while the rest just become normal wraiths like Pikachu did in the Pokemon Tower episode and presumably eventually pass on. Might there be some “metaphysical” (or possibly just physical, since this is just how things work in this world) laws that determine how adaptive a Pokemon’s spirit is? And judging what we know of Pokemon that are suspected to have once been the departed spirits of humans (such as Yamask and Gengar) and how different they look compared to humans, how many ghost type Pokemon might be the result of the ghost of a known or unknown species of Pokemon? Hell, if we could somehow find the spiritual version of “genes” would it be possible to trace common ancestry with their mortal relatives, and add ghostly branches to the Pokemon tree of life? The implications of this are both overwhelming and exciting.
Yeah, it’s an interesting problem. I really love the idea of a Pokémon that’s not a fossilised prehistoric creature, like so many we’ve seen before, and instead the ghost of an extinct creature, but it does raise that question – why this Pokémon? Why is Dreepy unique (well, not quite unique; Galarian Corsola seems similar, but they’re obviously unusual)? I would not actually default to thinking that Dreepy became lingering spirits because of something inherent to them, though. In folklore, people become ghosts because of something about the way they died – maybe they have “unfinished business,” or weren’t given the burial rites their culture requires, or were killed by a particular monster, or just died in a particularly unpleasant way that somehow damaged their soul and prevented them from moving on to wherever spirits are supposed to go. In Pokémon, we often aren’t explicitly told where Ghost-types come from, but when we are, my impression is that it’s more often a magical or spiritual cause than a biological or scientific one (of course, then the follow-up question is whether we’re supposed to believe what we’re told about Phantump, Sandygast, etc. or just see it as a mystery yet to be solved). Given what little we know, my first guess would be that Dreepy exist in their current ghostly form due to something about the nature of the event (or competing species, or predator) that drove them extinct. Maybe their species was wiped out by something unusually sudden or traumatic, or maybe there was some Ghost-, Dark- or Psychic-type predator (now extinct itself as well) that could manipulate and damage souls, or maybe – just maybe – they were the victims of some kind of spiritual calamity, like an eruption of the spirit world into the “real” world. That’s the sort of place my mind goes when you raise the question, at any rate. I think in the absence of anything more explicit from an official source, the “correct” answer is probably whatever you feel is the more potentially interesting.
I just saw the YouTube video “Trope Talk: Dragons” from the channel “Overly Sarcastic Productions”. Basically a brief summary about how a dragon is defined (or rather how they lack a concrete definition) and how they play an important role throughout almost every human culture in the world. If you have seen the video (or probably more accurately, decided to see it after reading this) I’m curious if you have thoughts on it regarding how these ideas might apply to the variety of the dragon type in Pokemon.
Well, it’s a good video! No corrections! (Here it is, for anyone wanting to watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eXAPwjASEQ)
Continue reading “RandomAccess asks:” →
Why do you think Poison-type Pokemon were so commonplace and widespread in Gen I and since then have been relatively scarce since?
Honestly, maybe the fact that it’s true is the reason for the thing itself? Like, if balance of the number of Pokémon in each type is something that Game Freak cares about at all, then you could fairly look at the 33 first-generation Poison-types and say “okay, we have more than enough of these.” Per Bulbapedia, Poison is still the 8th most common type out of 18, despite gaining only three new members in generation II, four in III and just two (Skrelp and Dragalge) in VI.
I think Poison is just… a weird thing to even be a type, frankly. It’s like Flying, in that it’s more something a Pokémon does than something a Pokémon is (except arguably in the case of industrial waste Pokémon like Muk and Weezing), and it’s not hard to imagine its abilities being given fairly freely to Pokémon who aren’t actually members of the type. And… well, think of other JRPGs. Poison is always a status effect; off the top of my head I can’t think of any games that have a concept of status effects where poison isn’t one of them. However, I think I’m justified in saying that it’s very rarely, if ever, a trait of monsters that affects their general strengths and weaknesses. Having Poison as a type at all is a very weird decision, both conceptually and in terms of mechanical game design, and generation I also slaps it on several Pokémon for whom poison is… arguably not a very strong part of their identity – Bulbasaur, Golbat, Nidoran? I’m really going out on a limb here, but it’s sort of plausible to me that Game Freak’s designers genuinely didn’t know what to do with the Poison type for quite a while after the first games.