Larry asks:

Hey, just something that’s been, pun very intended, bugging me- Paras and Parasect. We all know their deal, their horrible, horrible deal. But it’s weird, innit?

Why would a Paras let itself evolve, let its trainer do that to it? How come the Parasect *seems* to maintain all emotional bonds? (Saying that based on friendship/affection remaining.) If the Paras’ soul really gets sucked, and it’s a known fact, why isn’t it even frowned upon to evolve Paras?

This seems like one of the more trustworthy dex entries, the damp habitat thing seems realistic, Parasect’s eyes are too barren for comfort, but I can’t quite make up my mind.

This is on my mind specifically because now I’m playing soulsilver with a Paras, and I’m not sure if I can forgive myself if I evolve him. Thoughts?

(PS: I know there’s an anime episode about a girl who wants to evolve her Paras, but I couldn’t find your review, if there is one. All I know is that in the ep there doesn’t seem to be any drama OR soulsucking?)

So, Parasect is… a tricky one.  Just to get us all on the same page, here are (by my reckoning) all the relevant examples of how the Pokédex talks about Parasect and its mushrooms:

  • The mushrooms have “taken over” the host bug.
  • Staying in dark and damp places is “the preference not of the bug, but of the big mushrooms.”
  • The mushroom “extracts” nutrients from the bug until “nothing’s left.”
  • The mushroom “controls” the bug.  Notably, Ultra Moon also says this about Paras.
  • “The bug is mostly dead, with the mushroom on its back having become the main body. If the mushroom comes off, the bug stops moving.”
  • The mushroom “appears to do all the thinking.”
Continue reading “Larry asks:”

Don't Call Me Bradley [Patreon Cultist] asks:

Which of the Gen VIII Pokemon have taken your fancy early-on? Before all the research and all the fun stuff that comes with the reviews have any peaked your interest as fascinating right out-the-gate? Have you accepted our lords and saviors Falinks into your heart yet?

Y’know, I have weird issues with Falinks that are probably specific to me in particular, because I look at Falinks and think that it was probably designed for the British region, and plonked down in an “ancient ruins” area next to the town which is clearly based on Bath, as a reference to soldiers of the Roman Empire. And that’s great and all, but I’m a classicist and Falinks’ design and English name scream to me “classical Greek hoplite phalanx,” which is not the same thing, god damn it, so now I have to read this bit from Falinks’ Bulbapedia article:

and “Spartan helmets during the period of Ancient Rome” is… kind of a phrase that hurts my soul in a way that maybe will not be immediately apparent to a non-specialist

so yeah Falinks is a “no” from me, sorry

Continue reading “Don't Call Me Bradley [Patreon Cultist] asks:”

Jeffthelinguist asks:

So Mimikyu theory you may not like: it’s always been weird to me that ALL Mimikyu dress like Pikachu, especially since Pikachu never struck me as universally popular in-universe as it is in real life, at least not to the point where EVERY Mimikyu would base itself on it. But what if that’s the point? What if Mimikyu is breaking the fourth wall and is, for lack of better phrasing, meant to be self-aware? After all, it’s a ghost type, and in some psychological horror games there are characters that become “aware” of the player and even obsessed with them (yandere style). Maybe Mimikyu is meant to reflect that as a ghost Pokémon that’s aware of the real world and wants to appeal to players and not necessarily in-universe characters. The anime characterizes it differently, with Jessie’s having its own motivations, but that IS a different canon and GF might have had different intentions (and it’s not like the games ever avoided breaking the fourth wall). I have a feeling you’re not into fourth wall breaking as it completely ignores in-universe lore, but what are your thoughts on this reasoning?

Well, I’m not sure all Mimikyu do dress like Pikachu, actually – just the ones we’ve seen.  The Sun and Moon website actually claims that it’s a recent phenomenon, so Mimikyu in the past must have looked like something else, or simply never revealed themselves to humans at all.  Mimikyu seems to me like a Pokémon that’s ripe for regional variation, with other forms imitating other locally popular Pokémon, or even inanimate objects.  But then again, the website’s reason for Mimikyu dressing like Pikachu is itself very fourth-wall-break-y; it claims that they picked Pikachu because of “the rising popularity of Pikachu-styled merchandise around 20 years ago.”  Sun and Moon were released twenty years after Red and Blue, the first Pokémon games, so it seems like this is referring to the real worldwide Pokémon boom of 1996-1999 (especially given that the internal chronology of the core games – to the extent that there even is one – is not real-time; we know that generations III and IV are contemporary with I and II, while Blue and Red the characters are in their early 20s at most when they appear in Sun and Moon).  I’ve also never really had the sense that Pokémon is particularly averse to breaking the fourth wall.  So I guess my answer is… mayyyyyybe?

hoennian asks:

uh oh so [SWSH spoilers fwiw)

galarian ponyta just got Officially Announced and it’s described as having been “exposed to the overflowing life energy of the forest over many generations, and this is why their appearance became unique in this region”
buuuuuut

it’s a psychic type

does this do anything to or for your Fairy-is-life-energy theories? or does it still also just kinda feed into “typing is nonsense”?

While we’re here, this will also serve as my answer to the question from another reader who gives their name simply as “Getting Shield!!!”:

Galarian Ponyta, thoughts?

So… I think it’s fine. Unicorns are an emblem of Scotland, so it certainly fits Galar as a Pokémon inspired by the culture and history of Great Britain. It’s quite pretty. It’s a point in favour of a prediction made by my esteemed PokéJungle colleague Jon that suggests we can guess which Pokémon are getting Galarian forms on the basis of new egg moves given out in Ultra Sun and Moon, so that’s quite nice if you’re interested in the prediction game. Psychic is a weird type to choose, in my opinion, for something as obviously “fairytale” as a unicorn – back in the X and Y era, Jim the Editor and I actually thought it was a bit weird that the base Kantonian Ponyta and Rapidash hadn’t been promoted to Fire/Fairy, because it would have made perfect sense and produced an interesting unique dual-type. But that brings us to…

Continue reading “hoennian asks:”

Grass monkey, that funky monkey, GRASS MONKEY! asks:

What are your thoughts on Chespin, you have said you always go with the grass type, but were you happily surprised, or sadly disappointed of the spiky grass rat?

Pretty much this: https://pokemaniacal.com/2014/03/28/chespin-quilladin-and-chesnaught/.  It’s not my favourite Grass-type starter (that’s probably Turtwig, followed closely by Bulbasaur), but I like it well enough.  I haven’t really thought about it in any depth beyond what I said in that original review.

James Crooks [Patreon cultist] asks:

Sirfetch’d. Reaction?

It is a very stabby duck.

Yeah, I don’t know… I think it was very unlikely that any hypothetical Farfetch’d evolution could possibly stick the landing, given how long it’s been anticipated, but this is not bad. Farfetch’d’s “leek” is actually a spring onion, which is a more common vegetable in East Asian cuisine, whereas Sirfetch’d seems to have an actual leek, which is a nice touch, given that leeks are an emblem of Wales. The “shield” also seems to be made of leek leaves, and that’s quite nice. If Sirfetch’d is supposed to be based on any specific type of wild duck native to Britain, then I can’t find it (though I’m admittedly no birdwatcher). Ducks live on lakes, and I remember some minor legend from Britain about some local folk hero who received a magic sword from a lake, but as connections go this one’s a bit of a stretch for me. Besides, Sirfetch’d’s leek is more like a lance than a sword, and it seems to wield it like a lance in its animations. A lance is a bit of a rubbish weapon if you aren’t mounted, but it’s a Farfetch’d evolution, so I suppose we can’t make life too easy for it. The fact that Sirfetch’d is apparently exclusive to Sword version makes me wonder if there could possibly be a split evolution, with the other form being exclusive to Shield version (à la Lycanroc); otherwise, there’s a good chance its counterpart is some other older-generation Pokémon, probably single-stage until now, with an evolution unique to Galar. Unclear to me why Sirfetch’d isn’t a Flying-type, but then, I have a fairly long history of thinking that the Flying type makes no damn sense anyway.

James Crooks [Patreon cultist] asks:

Now that you’re at the end of the Alolan Pokédex, can you tell us your favourite Pokémon, least favourite and one that you liked more after reviewing?

Tricky.

Spending more time on each Pokémon and each review tends to make me appreciate almost all of them more, because I come to see the references and the meaning in each design, and my feelings about the Pokémon itself come to be bound up with anything interesting I’ve learned during the process I generously call my “research.”  The exception, of course, is when there seems to be simply nothing to find, but I think those are rare in Alola.  And in another direction, over the course of doing the Alola reviews I’ve started trying to incorporate the anime’s portrayals of each Pokémon a bit more, so even if a design is ‘meh,’ I can develop some positive feeling towards it if that Pokémon’s episode is a good one.  I just put out my Zeraora article, and Zeraora’s frankly not a very interesting Pokémon, but it’s one of the stars of the 21st movie, The Power of Us, which I am not going to stop talking about because I think it’s easily the best one (aside from Detective Pikachu), and there is a certain degree of affection that just… well, rubs off on Zeraora.  Having said all that, of course there are winners and losers.  With some designs, I feel “rewarded” for the extra work I do in trying to break them down, because I feel like I’ve solved a puzzle that the designers have left for me; other times it just seems like there’s not much to find.  So there are Pokémon for whom my opinion of them, or at least my affection towards them, increased a lot as I reviewed them, and I don’t know if I can pick just one, but some good examples are Celesteela, Oranguru, Tsareena and Minior.

My favourite Pokémon of generation VII is a tough one, because there are a lot that I’m generally well-disposed to, but few that really stick out to me as brilliant.  It may actually be just one of the Pokémon I’m attached to because I used them on my first playthrough of Moon, probably Golisopod, Salazzle, or my starter, Decidueye.  Other than that… well, actually Dhelmise sticks out to me as a really weird and creative design that speaks to me on a kind of “what even is this?” level, and Wishiwashi has an interesting concept that creates a great moment in the game’s story.  As for least favourite… I’m sure I’m being very predictable here, but I’m still very down on Togedemaru, and to a lesser extent Gumshoos, for not doing enough to break free of Game Freak’s persistent habit of template-based Pokémon design (as Talonflame and arguably Diggersby did in generation VI, and as I think Toucannon more or less does in generation VII).