kyurem asks:

did you notice that in gen 7 mega evolution was quietly retconned from an emotional bond-based transformation to being more of an energy-fueled mutation and generally a cruel thing to do to a pokemon? the SM and USUM pokedex entries for mega evos are pretty much all about how much pain the pokemon is in, how it’s been mutated into a grotesque form that distresses it, how it hates being in that form, etc. and none of them are positive or mention the pokemon’s bond with the trainer

Well… I’m looking through the Pokédex entries and I think it’s a bit more ambiguous than that.  There are several Pokémon for whom this seems like a fair description of the Pokédex text on their Mega Evolved forms, but they’re certainly not a majority, and there are also two Mega Evolved Pokémon who explicitly like their new forms: Mega Slowbro is said to be “pretty comfortable” ensconced inside Shellder, while Mega Pinsir supposedly never touches the ground because it’s overcome with happiness at being able to fly.  There are two more that explicitly cite the importance of the Pokémon’s bond with its trainer (Mega Charizard Y and Mega Gyarados).  I think that pretty well rules out any general statement about what Mega Evolution is like for all Pokémon; it affects each of them differently (which, well, makes sense).  But there are also those more disturbing entries referencing things like “sharp pain and suffering” or body parts becoming “misshapen.”  I think in most of these cases it’s relevant that the Pokémon involved are… well, let’s just say they’re not necessarily Pokémon you’d want at a child’s birthday party.  Mega Evolution is – in my opinion – an exaggeration of everything distinctive about a Pokémon.  Whatever a Pokémon already does, Mega Evolution turns it up to eleven.  I don’t think they were designed with the intention that they should be proper viable organisms in their own right; they’re ridiculous overpowered battle modes that are supposed to be assumed for minutes at a time, at the very most.  It sort of makes sense that they should often be quite stressful.  Furthermore, if you have a Pokémon already known for viciousness or destructiveness… well, let’s see what happens, starting from the ones that aren’t particularly objectionable.

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X Nuzlocke, episode 7: Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall

Reflection Cave

Ruby: So… this is what that Lucario meant by “through the looking-glass,” I suppose.  Load of cryptic nonsense… And there’s no other way to Shalour City, Nidorino?
Martial: None that I know of.  But there may be a benefit to travelling through these caves.  Somewhere within lies a Moon Stone that will allow me to evolve into a Nidoking.  I was questing in search of it when I was attacked outside. [to Spruce] I would better be able to serve you in a greater form.  However, you must not delay your own tasks on my account.  It is your decision whether to search for the stone, my saviour.
Spruce: Sure, we can look for it!  Right, Ruby?
Ruby: [raised eyebrow] He’s your minion, Spruce.  What do you think?  Is making him more powerful worth the investment of your time?
Spruce: Um… y-yes?
Ruby: Is that an answer, or another question?
Spruce: Uh… I… yes.  Yes!  We’d be a lot stronger with a Nidoking on the team, even if it’s only temporary!  Let’s do it!
Ruby: As good a reason as any.  Lead the way.
Boreas: If the asking be not injurious, what was thy former quest, good sir?  To what end didst thou seek after thy lunar gem?
Martial: That is irrelevant now.  If and when I am able to repay my life-debt, I will return to my former duty.  Until then, it must be as though my life were forfeit.
Spruce: But maybe if you tell us, we can help-
Martial: I will not speak of it!  If I had been killed, my cause would surely have been abandoned and lost.  As things are, it is merely delayed.  For that alone, my debt is almost beyond reckoning.  I cannot and will not allow you to do more for me until it is repaid.
Ruby: [muttering] Hmph.  Doesn’t know how lucky he is.  What I wouldn’t give for minions like that…
Spruce: What was that, Ruby?
Ruby: Nothing, nothing.  Let’s get moving, shall we?
Fisher: Truly, this place is a wonder… these marvellous crystal panes… like the great mirrors of ice in which Burrito the Lightbringer is said to have seen, reflected, the true soul of the Lazorgator, and the path for love to conquer hate…
Ruby: Don’t stare at those too long.
Fisher: My lady?
Ruby: There’s powerful magic here.  Old magic.  You shouldn’t play with what you don’t understand.
Spruce: But you do that all the time.
Ruby: …well, yeah, but…
Boreas: Thy care for thy fellows is admirable, milady, yet they are but mirrors.
Ruby: Hey, who said I care!?  Fine, gaze into whatever you like for as long as you like, just don’t come crying to me when your soul gets sucked into a gemstone or something…

Continue reading “X Nuzlocke, episode 7: Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall”

Reconciliation

Professor Sycamore has organised a parade.

I learn this from Diantha as she enters me and my Pokémon in the Hall of Fame.  This must be the ‘surprise’ he mentioned preparing when we last met in Couriway Town.  Well, what better way to announce my newfound supremacy to the peasants of Kalos?  When we arrive in Lumiose City, vast crowds are lining the main boulevards, cheering for the ‘defenders of Kalos.’  A red carpet has been laid out for me and my rivals, leading to a shining white stage where Professor Sycamore is waiting.  He delivers some saccharine bit of oratory about the wonder of our achievements in defeating Team Flare, for which the crowd goes wild, of course, and presents me (and only me, I note with approval) with a red, white and blue medal: the Honour of Kalos.  Sycamore’s influence never ceases to amaze.  As far as I can tell, he has closed down several major Lumiose City streets, convinced several thousand people to show up for the parade, and arranged for me to be awarded a prestigious national honour, pretty much on a whim.  I remember why I’m here, and prepare to launch into a speech of my own, but the words freeze in my throat.  There is someone else on the red carpet.  AZ.  “Battle me,” he requests.  “I want to know what a ‘trainer’ is.”  I respectfully submit to him that it’s really not that difficult a concept, but agree anyway.  What’s the harm?  I wasn’t aware AZ even had any Pokémon, having lost his partner so long ago, but apparently he’s actually quite powerful, with a high-level Torkoal, Golurk and Sigilyph (sensible choices, in his position – Torkoal are very long-lived, while Golurk and Sigilyph, I suspect, are biologically immortal).  Of course, I just defeated the Champion, and although AZ has millennia of experience, he’s a little worse for wear.  My Pokémon overcome his with little difficulty.  He seems satisfied though, and smiles for the first time since I met him, saying that the delight of our battle has finally allowed him to overcome the sorrow of his terrible crimes.  Well, fair enough.  Three thousand years is an awfully long time to regret something.  There is sudden a flash of light in the sky, above AZ’s head, and something floats down towards him.  I squint against the sunlight, and the vague shape slowly resolves into a diminutive humanoid, holding an elaborate staff, or… a flower.  AZ’s eyes widen as he recognises his Floette descending on the wind.  She comes to rest in his outstretched hands and smiles at him, and before the eyes of the whole city, the ancient king begins to weep with joy.  Professor Sycamore waxes lyrical about how returning AZ to his old self made his partner come back to him, and the crowd cheers.  Well.  So much for my parade.  Upstaged by a hobo and a halfway-evolved Fairy Pokémon… sometimes I wonder whether this region deserves the glory of my conquest…

As the parade disperses, I wander around Lumiose City for a while.  I am kicked out of a sushi restaurant for being a ‘greenhorn’ and told to come back when I’m a ‘high roller.’  I vow to destroy them and ban sushi in my empire.  I instead exploit my newfound Champion status to have dinner at the acclaimed and highly exclusive Restaurant Le Wow, which reminds me why I have always found Kalosian cuisine utterly terrifying, even if it is considered a national treasure.  I run into Professor Sycamore, who gives me a pass for the train to sunny Kiloude City, which is Lyon.  Lyon houses the regional elite battle facility, the Battle Maison, which is run by four sisters known as the Battle Chateleines, responsible for single, double, triple and rotation battles, respectively.  It works much like the Battle Tower or Subway, but streamlined – you earn battle points after every battle (thank the gods – earning enough points in the Battle Subway to do almost anything worthwhile had come to be such a chore), and can take a break at any time, rather than having to complete a series of seven matches.  I note these little courtesies with approval, and spend an afternoon there, earning the notice of the youngest Chateleine, Nita, and defeating her in an introductory battle.  The city is also home to a curious little area called the Friend Safari – given how late I am to the party, my readers are doubtless all familiar with the wonders of this attraction already, but an explanation cannot hurt.  The Friend Safari is a checkerboard of paddocks where wild Pokémon can be battled and captured – one area for every friend you have registered, each with two or three different species of wild Pokémon, some of whom (if the locals are to be believed) may have their Dream World abilities.  If you’ve bothered to read this much of my inane prattle, then you are surely a loyal minion, and worthy of my ‘friendship,’ if so it can be called, and so my code is as follows: 2036-6563-2537 (I have no idea what my Friend Safari area contains, but doubtless someone will tell us all in the comments).

Serena challenges me to a battle once again, promising me I’m in for a surprise – and I am!  Not only does she now have six Pokémon, she’s been working hard, and their levels are even higher than mine!  I have Orion use Calm Mind to boost up against her Meowstic and knock it out with a Shadow Ball, before coming face to face with a Clefable.  Fighting back my instinct to whack it with an Aura Sphere, I use Shadow Ball again, but its almighty fatness is too much; it survives with more than half of its health remaining (albeit with a special defence penalty) and finishes Orion with Focus Blast.  I have Xerneas wrap things up with a Moonblast, and then decide to go for a Geomancy against Serena’s Jolteon.  Her second Thunder attack misses, and I find myself in a very happy position indeed.  Even Serena’s mighty Delphox, with its resistance to most of Xerneas’ attacks, cannot stop his Moonblasts, and Altaria finds itself similarly imperilled.  Finally, out comes Absol, and- what’s this?  Serena has a Digivice!  Her Absol explodes with light and sprouts angelic wings – before being blown away rather anticlimactically by another Moonblast.  Evidently Mega Absol doesn’t gain anything that confers resistance to Fairy attacks.  I sigh.   It’s been a long time since I’ve seriously used a legendary Pokémon – I’d forgotten how dramatically they tip the balance of battles.  For the first time, I feel a little bit unsporting about crushing Serena with every ounce of my power; she has clearly been training a great deal.  She doesn’t let this get her down, though; in fact, she even hands over a spare Absolite she found.  “Maybe it will help show Lysandre there’s something to be hopeful for.”  Okay, so we’re definitely saying he’s alive, then?  That’s definitely what’s going on here?  She declines to expand on her statement, simply informing me that Professor Sycamore is in Anistar City and wants to talk to me about my Digivice.  Well, much as Anistar City unsettles me, with its illusionary Gym and impossible sea, this is probably important… I stop by the Kiloude Pokémon Centre, retrieve Tereus, and fly there at once.

I find Sycamore waiting for me in front of the Anistar Sundial.  He has some exposition for me: after further study, he has come to believe that the Mega Stones were created by the light of the Ultimate Weapon when it was first used, three thousand years ago, and may have been evolutionary stones originally, that have taken on their new powers by being irradiated with Xerneas’ energy.  The mysterious sundial crystal has some relationship to the stones as well, but he doesn’t quite understand what yet.  Due to my experiences in Geosenge Town and subsequent attunement to Xerneas, I should possess some of the same energy – which will do something interesting if I touch the sundial.  Without hesitation, I reach out with the arm I wear my Digivice on.  There is a flash of brilliant light, and Sycamore gives a satisfied smile.  My Digivice has been upgraded, he tells me, and can now sense buried Mega Stones – but only for an hour each day, while the sundial is glowing with the light of the setting sun.  I shrug.  I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth – power is power, restricted or no.  Professor Sycamore leaves me to my thoughts.  A bit listless now, I fly back to Lumiose City for another look around… and immediately get a call on my holo-caster.  Someone wants to meet me.

Ridiculous quote log:

“Meow, meow, I can haz battle, meow? (Ugh, I really sound like a fool, don’t I?)”
…are we really going there?  Really? (And yes, yes you do.)

“We begin with a vintage 3000-year-old Rare Bone, boiled for 100 days in pristine snow melted from Kalos’s fine Frost Cavern.”
…uh… look, not to sound ungrateful, but I really don’t want to eat that… and… hey, where the hell did you even get a 3000-year-old Rare Bone?  There is no way this is legal.

“…a pristinely prepared item in a light velouté sauce harvested from-”
Look, sorry, I’m going to cut you off right there – item?  I am not taking one bite of this until you tell me what the hell you just served me!