One lunatic's love-hate relationship with the Pokémon franchise, and his addled musings on its rights, wrongs, ins and outs. Come one, come all, and indulge my delusions of grandeur as I inflict my opinions on anyone within shouting distance.
So… I guess
it’s time to learn about native Hawaiian mythology, huh?
We’re on the home stretch of seventh-generation Pokémon now, and today
we’re talking about the four guardian deities of the Alolan islands: Tapu Koko,
Tapu Lele, Tapu Bulu and Tapu Fini.
These four are deeply woven into Alolan culture and identity, and they
have a special relationship with the Alolan trial system and its
administrators, the four Island Kahunas.
They’re also the pièce de résistance of generation VII’s unprecedented
level of interest in taking inspiration from the culture, ecology and history
of the real-world region its setting is based on.
Pokémon is Blacephalon, whose special skill is to blow up its own head.
you know, call me crazy, but I would have thought that would be the end of
it. Nonetheless, here we are. This is the last Ultra Beast, and I just have
to deal with it.
Stakataka, Blacephalon doesn’t appear in the original Sun and Moon, and its
homeworld doesn’t appear in the sequels.
It doesn’t even have a very big anime role, since it co-stars in an
episode with Xurkitree and doesn’t get the spotlight to itself, although the
dynamic between the two is at least somewhat interesting. Blacephalon is just… a bit of a weird non
sequitur of a Pokémon. It appears,
it blows up its own head…
to our last two Ultra Beasts: Stakataka and Blacephalon, who were added to the
roster only in Ultra Moon and Ultra Sun (respectively). We don’t know as much about them as we do
about all the others, because we never see their homeworlds. All the original Ultra Beasts, whom we first
met in Alola in Sun and Moon, are encountered in Ultra Smoon by travelling
through Ultra Space to their own worlds (while Poipole is involved in the story
of the Ultra Recon Squad, and gets a major supporting role in the anime). These two, we only ever meet in Alola, and we
also get no information about them from Wicke, who is otherwise a fount of
interesting (if occasionally dubious) intelligence. As a result, there’s more I’d like to know
about Stakataka that I just don’t, like what kind of ecosystem produces a
creature like this, and how it behaves in its natural habitat – things that,
for normal Pokémon, we tend to learn as a matter of course. But we have the Pokédex, we have the design,
we have Stakataka’s in-game types, stats and mechanics, and we have the anime
episode it stars in, so let’s take a look and see what we can do.
dealt with ALL the Ultra Beasts.
Nihilego, Buzzwole, Pheromosa, Xurkitree, Celesteela, Kartana, Guzzlord,
all seven of them have been reviewed.
…what do you mean, they added more!?
Okay, so… 802 Pokémon was not enough, it’s never enough, it will
never be enough until I’m dead, so
Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon added another five Pokémon that weren’t in the
original Sun and Moon, and can’t be traded back to those games either. Four of those were additional Ultra Beasts,
and for the sake of thematic unity I’m going to cover them before returning to
the legendary Pokémon of Alola. Our
subjects for today are the first two, the only Ultra Beasts to evolve: Poipole
and Naganadel, the Poison Pin Pokémon (the same species name as Nidoran!).
We now come
to the final Ultra Beast of Sun and Moon (though not the final one of
generation VII as a whole), Guzzlord, a.k.a.
UB05 Glutton, a.k.a. the Junkivore
Pokémon. Guzzlord consumes all, drawing
everything into itself and growing ever larger, and in just the same way it has
engorged this entry to a truly unreasonable size – so without any further
preamble, I’m just going to jump into it.
[First of all: apologies for this one being late. I lost quite a bit of writing time last week flying back from Athens and recovering from jet lag (which, for me, tends to involve sleeping for 15 hours straight), but I think everything is just about back on track now!]
Ever had a paper cut?
Hurts, doesn’t it?
Well, today’s Pokémon, the Ultra Beast
Kartana, would like you to know that it lives to cause you that pain. Every time you turn a page in a book too
quickly and feel a sudden, sharp sting, or every time you lick an envelope and
your tongue or lip screams at you to abort the mission because something has
gone horribly wrong, Kartana is there, watching. And laughing.
One of the
perennial hazards of modern life is having to keep all of our different wires
straight. Everything you own has a
different charging cable, and all of them, if they are ever moved or placed in
a bag or, gods forbid, allowed to come into contact with each other, will
instantaneously morph into eldritch spaghetti as soon as your back is
turned. Xurkitree is, as far as I can
tell, the result of letting too many of your different charging cables get
tangled up until they achieve a collective malevolent sentience, then steal
your Christmas decorations and elope with a bunch of zip ties. But now, just when you thought the lunatic
nightmare was over… Xurkitree has returned from outer space. For revenge.