The Great Pyramid-Palace of Myanak asks:

Now that it’s a few generations later, are there any new(ish) Pokemon who would potentially displace those in your Top Ten Worst Ever series?

Y’know, I honestly don’t think so?  For one thing, I don’t think that I would write that list today in any case. Even aside from that, though, part of the criteria for that list was I had to have major issues with both the design and the Pokémon’s in-game traits, and there’s just very few designs in generations VI-VIII that I think are genuine duds.  Dedenne might be the only one since I wrote that list, and I sort of gave the Pikachu clones a single spot together, so adding Dedenne wouldn’t actually make any difference.  Greedent and Thievul are pretty dull, I suppose, and I haven’t really seen any evidence that either of them can do much; they’d be worth consideration. Of course, they’ll be getting reviews in their own time, so I suppose if they turn out to be redeemable we’ll find out then.

Tapu Wooloo asks:

Now that regional variants are a thing, can you revisit your article on Beautifly and Dustox and say what more you would do with them?

ugggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhh

so the thing about Beautifly and Dustox

is that there’s no reason for them to exist

and I know I try not to say things like this anymore, and I try to be nice about Pokémon that are a bit dull or pointless, and I’m just a more chill and friendly persona now and try to keep my violent rage against the entire universe buried under a few thousand layers of self-loathing and cream cheese icing, and I don’t even think that article is good anymore, we’ve simply moved on, Tapu Wooloo, but my god, WHY ARE Beautifly and Dustox?  What, actually, is the point?

I mean, really, there’s an argument that Beautifly and Dustox are already just Hoennese forms of Butterfree and Venomoth.

I don’t even know what you’d do with them that justifies using them and not any other butterfly or moth Pokémon.  Vivillon is kinda the obviously more interesting butterfly Pokémon to work with as a regional variant because it has them already; they just weren’t called that at the time; you could retcon all its existing forms by giving them more significant cosmetic and mechanical differences and suddenly you have a whole bunch of regional variants, most of them for regions we haven’t even visited yet!  I guess there must be something that makes use of Wurmple’s split evolution, right?  Something sun/moon-themed might have been good, because Beautifly and Dustox have a day/night duality to them and Dustox is based on a luna moth, but we kinda missed the perfect opportunity for that with Alola (and you’d have to be careful not to step on Volcarona’s toes, because Beautifly 100% does not survive that comparison).  The most interesting thing about Beautifly is it can stab you with its face and drink your blood, so I guess I would like to work more with that, but how you would actually go about it depends on the region you were building, I guess.  You could flip the day/night thing on its head and have, like, a vampire Beautifly with a black and red colour scheme, then make Dustox into something vaguely day- or sun-themed, maybe imitating the colours of a monarch butterfly… that works better mechanically too, because Dustox is already support-oriented and wouldn’t be so obviously trying to compete with Volcarona.  Needs more than that, of course, but it’s a start.

I know this is not a particularly satisfying answer, but this question has seriously been in my inbox for weeks, and the sincere answer is honestly “nothing, why would there be anything?” so… y’know, I’m trying, is the point.

Ace Trainer Fox asks:

What pokemon do you want to get future regional forms? If you need a basis, for a region based on say, greece?

This is a tricky question to answer, because yeah, it really does kinda depend on the region.  To my mind, the best thing about regional forms is that they illustrate the region’s identity and culture, or the way Pokémon have adapted to the particular challenges of living there.  There are no Pokémon that I think should get regional forms, because that’s the opposite of how I think about the question.  But then again, despite being an archaeologist who works in Greece, I’ve also never been enthusiastic about the idea of a Pokémon region based on Greece, either; I just think there are other choices that would be more interesting.  When people ask, I usually say that I’d like a region based on India.  There are a few obvious choices for regional variants there that could incorporate references to Indian history and culture into their designs, although I don’t have any specific ideas for how to do that off the top of my head: Arbok, because cobras are Indian.  Copperajah, because elephants are Indian.  Medicham, because Buddhism started in India.  Raikou, because tigers are Indian (and we may as well drag Suicune and Entei into it).  Machamp, because divine beings in Indian art are so often human-shaped with extra pairs of arms.  Miltank, because cows are symbolically important in Hinduism.  Do something with Claydol that uses motifs from the Bronze Age Indus Valley civilisation.  You get the idea.

What is a Dag? asks:

What things/animals would like to see as inspiration for Pokemon in future installments?

Well, here’s a bunch of ideas on this theme that I’ve spat out over the years:

https://pokemaniacal.com/2019/07/12/james-crooks-patreon-cultist-asks/#more-5917
https://pokemaniacal.com/2019/06/09/jeffthelinguist-asks-8/#more-5744
https://pokemaniacal.com/2019/05/13/not-me-asks-2/
https://pokemaniacal.com/2019/02/15/mr-f-asks/
https://pokemaniacal.com/2018/05/15/anonymous-asks-5/
https://pokemaniacal.com/2017/12/31/if-you-had-to-make-a-generic-normal-type-rodent/
https://pokemaniacal.com/2015/06/20/what-would-be-your-ideal-worm-cocoon-some-kind/
https://pokemaniacal.com/2014/03/09/i-see-you-liked-my-pitohui-pokemon-thanks-which/
https://pokemaniacal.com/2012/11/12/if-the-creature-design-department-at-pokemon/

But you asked, so I suppose I should come up with a couple of other things that could be used as starting points…

  • Horned lizards can squirt blood from their eyes, which… well, I dunno if that does you any actual good but it’s pretty metal.
  • Climbing perch are fish that can walk and supposedly even climb trees, and by god, there has to be something you can do with that.
  • Naked mole rats are blind, cold-blooded, hairless rodents that live like ants, in massive hives with queens, and are mysteriously immune to both pain and cancer; and frankly that might, if anything, be too weird to make a Pokémon out of.
  • Therizinosaurus is a massive, terrifying dinosaur with vicious scythe claws, a close-ish cousin of “raptors” like Dromaeosaurus and Deinonychus, that apparently decided at some point in its evolution “fµ¢£ this super-predator shit; I’m going veggie.”

Any of those would be fun, I reckon.

Larry asks:

Hey, are you worried about regional variants making the OG mons get sidelined? Because while I love the new versions, both from a bio nerd standpoint and a creature design standpoint, I look at variants getting evolutions, OGs getting nothing, and get… concerned

What if the answer to “how to deal with pokémon who need buffs” simply becomes “replace them with clones?”

If I’ve merely missed Hoennian Obstagoon from avoiding SwSh spoilers, I’m sorry to bother, but I’m kinda scared. Thoughts?

So… I think there may actually be a reason for this, and it’s a dumb reason.  Game Freak think they’re not allowed to give new evolutions to old Pokémon unless it’s through regional variation, because it would create an inconsistency in how the Eviolite works.  If Hoennese Linoone could evolve, then it would be able to use an Eviolite, which it can’t in generation VII.  Therefore, we can never let it evolve.  Now, personally I think that whether or not to give new evolutions to old Pokémon is a top-level design choice with no inherently right or wrong answer, and I would actually be fine with never seeing it again (incremental moveset/ability buffs or even flat base stat buffs to older Pokémon are another matter, and I think we have every reason to imagine that those will continue; Jim the Editor would like to recommend a YouTube series on the subject that you can find here).  However, “we accidentally painted ourselves into a corner by introducing a weird item during a generation that consciously downplayed older Pokémon” is the dumbest possible reason I can imagine for making that choice.  I hope that’s not actually something that Game Freak’s designers have in mind – or, if it is, that they get over it – but it is kind of consistent with their actions.  New evolutions stop in generations V-VII, with the sole exception of Sylveon (who is allowed, because Eevee can already use an Eviolite), and reappear in VIII, but restricted to Pokémon that got Galarian variations, who can therefore be treated as a blank slate. Mega Evolution and Gigantamaxing, although they have other functions, can also be seen as a replacement of sorts for new evolutions (with the added bonus that you can give them to Pokémon who’ve already evolved twice, such as the obvious best Pokémon that is everyone’s favourite and may not be questioned, Charizard).  It also feels like the same kind of logic that dictates that old Pokémon who get new evolutions must always evolve in new, increasingly obscure ways that weren’t available in previous generations (can’t evolve Seadra in Red and Blue because Pokémon couldn’t hold items until generation II; can’t evolve Piloswine in Gold and Silver because it couldn’t learn Ancient Power until generation IV). On the other hand, they have also now stopped holding to some of those, because it’s just a huge pain when you can’t have Leafeon in the game unless you build an area with a Mossy Rock, and if some godawful pedant wants to ask “so why can’t I use a Leaf Stone on Eevee in Red and Blue?”… well, honestly, fµ¢£ ’em.

So I guess I would say yeah, be scared because the thing you’re describing is definitely happening and can only be stopped by Game Freak choosing to abandon an arbitrary nonsense rule that they’ve held for three generations now.  However, also don’t be scared because Pokémon don’t need to keep getting new evolutions to be valid, there are other ways of buffing them that the developers definitely know about and use, and anyway they’ll probably see the light eventually.

Don’t Call Me Bradley [Patreon cultist] asks:

Did you know there’s a Mimikyu in the anime that’s Shiny? It’s supposedly the ghost of Acerola’s first Mimikyu that is still lingering as a Ghost-Ghost.

What level of Bull$8!# are we assuming this is?

…I…

…uh…

…okay, y’know what, I haven’t seen the relevant episodes; I’ll be right back

Actually, hang on, I have seen one of these before; I watched Tough Guy Trials when I was researching my Necrozma article because it has some stuff about the legend of the Blinding One.  I guess it didn’t register with me that there was anything unusual about Mimikins (Acerola’s Mimikyu) because Acerola just says “Mimikins is a ghost!” and doesn’t explain or clarify any further, and I just assumed she meant it’s a Ghost-type.  Also… I’m honestly not sure it would be totally out of character for Acerola to just be bull$#!tting everyone because she likes spooky and creepy things.

(also I didn’t even notice it was shiny because Mimikyu’s shiny colouration is just, like… its cloth is kinda dull and it couldn’t find red crayons to colour in its Pikachu cheeks)

Continue reading “Don’t Call Me Bradley [Patreon cultist] asks:”

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?