Tapu Koko, Tapu Lele, Tapu Bulu and Tapu Fini

So… I guess it’s time to learn about native Hawaiian mythology, huh?

Tapu Koko

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.

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Blacephalon

Blacephalon

Today’s Pokémon is Blacephalon, whose special skill is to blow up its own head.

And… well, 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.

Like 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…

…profit???

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Re: the XYZ Trio asks:

[Okay this question is really, really long, so I’m going to cut it down to a few salient points. No judgement on the person who submitted this, but I am starting to receive longer and longer questions, and there is a theoretical point at which I’m basically hosting other people’s articles with no filter or editorial process; I would rather say “no” to that before it happens.]

This is mostly just idle curiosity, but since I stumbled back into your piece on the Norse mythology theory for the Kalos mascots, I was curious to know if your opinion on them has changed at all since we saw Zygarde’s alternate forms.

[Basically this question brings up the “children of Loki” interpretation of Zygarde’s forms; 10% = Fenrir, 50% = Jormungandr, 100% = Hel. It’s all on Bulbapedia if you’re not familiar with it. The short answer is that I have indeed revisited the topic since those forms were revealed (though not actually in response to them) and still thought it was abject nonsense.]

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Stakataka

Stakataka

We’re down 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.

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Poipole and Naganadel

Poipole

Finally, we’ve 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!).

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jeffthelinguist asks:

I think you might have mentioned in another answer that you will cover this in a later article, but in case you aren’t going to… can we get your thoughts on the Rainbow Rocket thing that happened in Smoon? Like… I’ve no idea if it’s considered canon (though what even would canon be in Pokémon anymore?) but your speciality is overly dissecting implied lore in these games and, as much as Rainbow Rocket feels like a fan fiction (I mean it pretty much is one)… well I’m curious what you have to say about RR both in terms of your reactions and how you think it affects the world building here. Please be as pokemaniacal as possible!

This actually is on the list of things I plan to write full articles on after finishing the last few gen VI Pokémon, along with, uh… Team Skull/Guzma, the Aether Foundation/Lusamine, Lillie/Hau/Gladion, the player as Champion, maybe something Z-move-related… oh, and one of my Patreon supporters suggested doing something on the Alolan trial culture (which frankly is peak Pokémaniacal nonsense and something I will absolutely do).  But yeah, the whole Team Rainbow Rocket thing is… well, it… I mean, I like nostalgia fuel as much as the next millennial, but I don’t understand it at all.  Giovanni is a mob boss who ran an illegal casino – he’s actually in some ways the smallest-scale villain Pokémon’s ever had – but out of nowhere they’ve turned him into this comic book supervillain whose sheer overwhelming malice has bound every other villain in Pokémon history to his will, in order to… well, honestly I’m not even sure, but to conquer the multiverse, I guess???

I say all this now; often when I actually sit down to write a full-length article about something I start to discover things that I actually like about it and make it worthwhile, and can no longer bring myself to outright condemn it, so I guess we’ll find out, but right now I think the most valuable thing about the whole incident is that We, The Gays now own Team Rocket because rainbows (I don’t make the tea; I just serve it).

Guzzlord

Guzzlord

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.

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