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).

Anonymous asks:

Re-reading your old Genesect review, I noticed “this doesn’t look like a Pokémon” was a complaint you had with it. Which got me wondering; are there any other cases of Pokémon that might have been better suited to being part of other IPs, free from the expectations and restrictions The Pokémon Company imposes on the franchise?

Uggggggggggghhhhhhh I knew I would have to deal with that one someday

even as I was writing it, all the way back in the Year of Our Magic Space-Deer two thousand and eleven, I knew I would eventually have to say something about it

So, just to cover my own butt for a minute, I’m going to point out that I prefaced that complaint with the words “I know this is a cheap shot and even thinking something so blatantly subjective makes me feel dirty inside.”  It’s a fairly drastic thing to say, and it’s not a comment I was willing to make about any other Pokémon in my reviews of generations V, VI or VII.  Anything older than that has had over 10 years to burrow into my conception of what a Pokémon is, so it’s difficult for me to separate them off anymore – even the ones I don’t like.  The only exceptions are some of the Ultra Beasts, and… well, in their case, not looking like Pokémon is kind of the point.

Having said that… well, when you mention being “free from expectations and restrictions,” there are a bunch of Pokémon, particularly in the Ghost-Dark-Psychic sort of area, which, while not exactly un-Pokémon-like, do feel a bit stifled by the kid-friendly ratings that Pokémon has to maintain.  You know what I mean, I suppose – Pokémon like Spiritomb, and Hypno, and Yamask, and Cacturne, and Shedinja, and so on, whose Pokédex entries hint at incredibly sinister abilities and behaviours that can’t be fully explored in official Pokémon media, because Pokémon has so much trouble with serious long-term consequences.  And of course there’s fan-fiction for that, but 98% of fan-fiction is either unfinished or terrible (or both, in the case of my dramatized Nuzlocke of X version). Still, that isn’t even really “these would be better if they were part of something other than Pokémon” as “I would like Pokémon to be something different.”

Patch asks:

With regional variants no longer restricted to gen I Pokémon, it might be a good time to consider which of the Unovan Pokémon you rejected you would like to give a regional vatiant?

Hmmm… tricky…

There’s probably a fair bit you could do by building on the industrial revolution theme that some of the generation VIII material we’ve seen already seems to be going for.  I could see Heatmor getting some kind of region-specific evolution that builds up to a whole steam engine, maybe changing its type to Fire/Water or Fire/Steel (although the implied comparisons to Volcanion or Heatran would not be flattering).  Or even a Galarian form of… [ahem]… grbdr… that’s based on a sack of coal, making it a Fire/Poison-type that also gets Rock attacks.  Then, on another angle, we could have a Steel/Fairy form of Pawniard and Bisharp based on white pieces from the famous Lewis chess set from Mediaeval Scotland, to contrast the original black Unovan ones.  Possibly some sort of “royal” form for Swanna, but I’m not sure where exactly to take that.