Comfey

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Comfey

One of the most recognisable symbols of Hawaiian culture is the lei – a garland of flowers, worn around the neck on special occasions. If you’ve ever been to Hawai‘i, you might have been presented with one of these at some point; tourists love receiving lei, and Hawai‘i loves tourists. You can also see them in the stereotypical image of a traditional Hawaiian hula dancer. Lei are so well known as a distinctive element of Hawaiian ceremony and celebration that, really, it would be almost impossible for our Hawai‘i-inspired Pokémon region not to have a Pokémon that referenced them somehow. Enter: Comfey, the Posy Picker Pokémon. Continue reading “Comfey”

Bounsweet, Steenee and Tsareena

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Bounsweet

There are a lot of Grass Pokémon out there – it’s currently the fourth most common type in Pokémon, with almost one hundred representatives. It’s slightly curious, then, that there are so few Pokémon based on fruit. Tropius sort of counts, with fruit dangling off his neck, and Cherubi shifts into cherry blossom upon evolving, which has its own cultural significance in Japan, so arguably the only Pokémon wholeheartedly based on fruit are Ferroseed and Ferrothorn – assuming you do in fact classify the durian as a fruit and not as a sort of spiteful biological land mine. It’s possible that fruit Pokémon make Game Freak nervous since they draw attention to the old “do we eat Pokémon?” dilemma, but that doesn’t seem to stop them from cranking out mushrooms, or harvesting cast-off Crabrawler claws – or, for that matter, creating Swirlix and Vanillite. In any case, it’s time to break out your recipe books, because our next potentially edible Pokémon is here: Bounsweet, and her evolved forms Steenee and Tsareena. Continue reading “Bounsweet, Steenee and Tsareena”

Pyukumuku

Today’s Pokémon is the weird spiky loofah that lives behind Kahuna Hala’s toilet-

wait

Today’s bathing accoutrement is the weird spiky Pokémon that-

okay, let me start again

Today’s Pokémon is the weird spiky sex toy that lives behind-

no, that’s even worse

Look, we’re talking about Pyukumuku, okay

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Pyukumuku

On account of its willingness to sit placidly between its trainer and certain death, Pyukumuku… is just barely a Pokémon, despite clearly being more closely related to the exfoliating bath sponge. It is, everyone is pretty much agreed, based on a sea cucumber. Sea cucumbers are soft-bodied echinoderms, distantly related to starfish and sea urchins. They’re essentially long, squishy tubes, with a mouth at one end and a multi-purpose respiratory/reproductive/excretory hole at the other. This is a body setup that makes for a pretty passive lifestyle. Continue reading “Pyukumuku”

Cutiefly and Ribombee

Today’s Pokémon are… not bees.  We think.

Cutiefly.
Cutiefly

As their species designation – the Bee Fly Pokémon – attests, Cutiefly and Ribombee are based (in Ribombee’s case, somewhat loosely and with the addition of fairy-like traits) on bee flies.  Bee flies, as their remarkably inventive name suggests, are a family of insects within the fly order, Diptera, that pollinate flowers and look like bees, though they are usually smaller.  They are related to predatory robber flies, and despite their fuzzy appearance, most bee flies are parasites that will lay their eggs on the larvae of other insects, typically beetles or solitary bees, resulting in the slow and gruesome death of the larvae.  There are over 5000 species of bee fly around the world (because clearly the world needed that many), but the particular one referenced by Cutiefly is the adorable internet celebrity Anastoechus nitidulus, a rare species that lives only in southwest Japan, in the area around the city of Okayama. Continue reading “Cutiefly and Ribombee”

Oricorio

Pom-pom Oricorio.
Pom-pom Oricorio

I do not have a good record with anything capable of earning the title of “gimmick” Pokémon – Pokémon whose schtick is some unique move, ability or game mechanic that was so clever Game Freak felt they could stop there, and didn’t need to have the Pokémon be any good or the design make any sense.  Today we decide whether Oricorio, the dancing honeycreeper Pokémon, fits that description.  Four interchangeable and mostly cosmetic forms, a weird signature move, a weirder ability… the phrase “walks like a duck, quacks like a duck” comes to mind, but let’s take a closer look. Continue reading “Oricorio”

Rockruff and Lycanroc

Rockruff.
Rockruff

Today’s Pokémon is Professor Kukui’s loyal partner, Rockruff, and his evolved form – or rather forms, as we’ll see – Lycanroc, the latest additions to Pokémon’s growing stable (or, uh… kennel) of dog Pokémon.  Physically, Rockruff’s design is very straightforwardly based on a domestic dog, perhaps an Akita Inu (a large Japanese dog breed with a wolf-like countenance and a fluffy tail).  Physically we’re looking at something quite close to Growlithe, with a different colour scheme and obviously very distinct powers, but very similar in terms of personality and behaviour.  Rockruff’s most distinctive feature is a “collar” (or “ruff”?) of stones, which apparently has a social function – Rockruff greet each other by rubbing their stony collars on each other’s bodies.  This little ritual apparently extends to their human friends as well, which can cause significant discomfort.  Nonetheless, Rockruff is one of the Pokémon most favoured for beginners in the Alola region because they have a friendly and loyal disposition that makes them easy to train and command, and are also extremely tenacious in battle.  In other words, they’re almost exactly like real dogs – energetic, devoted and affectionate to the point of being overbearing.  A bit generic, slotting in alongside Growlithe and Lillipup almost unnoticed, but that’s sort of to be expected for the basic stage of an early-game Pokémon, and the Rock element is incorporated in a neat way with the “collar.”  The meat of what this design is supposed to be doing comes with the evolved form: Lycanroc. Continue reading “Rockruff and Lycanroc”