Alolan Raichu, Marowak and Exeggutor

The regional variant Pokémon we’re looking at today all evolve from Pokémon that do not have regional variant forms of their own – a Pikachu, Cubone or Exeggcute caught or hatched in Alola will look much the same as a Pikachu, Cubone or Exeggcute caught or hatched anywhere else.  In fact, they don’t just look the same, they are the same; an Alolan Pikachu that is sent to Galar will evolve into a standard Raichu (even though Sword and Shield do know what an Alolan Raichu is, and Pokémon games do track each individual Pokémon’s region of origin), while a Pikachu that arrives in Alola from anywhere else will evolve into an Alolan Raichu.  That’s weird, because other regional forms don’t work this way (with the exception of two Galarian forms, Weezing and Mr. Mime); you can take an Alolan Rattata to any region of the world and keep it there for as long as you like, it’ll still evolve into an Alolan Raticate.  Let’s see if we can figure out what’s going on here.

Continue reading “Alolan Raichu, Marowak and Exeggutor”

Anonymous asks:

They’ll have to make obtaining Alolan forms outside of Alola possible. Although here’s a question I have for you, do you think it’s possible that the Pikachu line is native to Alola? And that Raichu is meant to be a psychic type when it evolves, but without it’s Alolan Diet, ends up being a pure electric type instead?

I’m sure they’ll be obtainable in some way, yeah, same as the regular “Kantonian” morphs are obtainable in Sun and Moon.  But that’s not at all the same thing as finding them in the wild with no explanation for how they got there when they’ve previously been specifically described as unique to Alola.

Anyway.  Pikachu and Raichu.  Unclear.  The Pokédex tells us that diet triggers the manifestation of Raichu’s psychic abilities, but doesn’t really give us anything either way on which evolutionary path is the “original” one.  Thinking in terms of Alola being an analogue to Hawai’i I’m inclined to see rodent-like Pokémon like Pikachu as introduced by humans, but potentially quite a long time ago – long enough to have adapted in surprising ways to their new environment.  On the other hand, we know from direct empirical evidence that all Pikachu, regardless of their origin – Kantonian, Kalosian, everything in between – become psychic Raichu if they evolve in Alola (the only other Alolan form that works this way is Marowak, and that might literally be magic [EDIT: Also Exeggutor]).  If we assume something resembling a real-world understanding of genetics and evolution, then that suggests that the psychic abilities are a dormant ancestral trait, present in all Pikachu but requiring some environmental stimulus to activate.  Buuut it could also be that components of Pikachu’s Alolan diet – or even something else about Alola – are somehow mutagenic (or some mystical equivalent), and alter their genetics and powers in predictable ways.  Or it could be that, as I’m inclined to think for Marowak, there’s no genetic component at all and instead there are Alolan traditions that allow them, basically, to learn magic (because, like Marowak, the Alolan Raichu form is associated closely with a particular cultural practice – namely, surfing).  I actually had a massive argument with Jim the Editor over this one.  He thinks that the Pokédex must be wrong about diet being a factor, since Pikachu can evolve into Alolan Raichu after spending literally minutes in Alola and without eating anything; I think that this is an edge case that doesn’t reflect the designers’ intent, and is a result of Pokémon’s mechanics for time and eating being extremely unrealistic.  Also his interpretation doesn’t really suggest any other answer for why it happens other than Alola being surrounded by a magic field that gives Pikachu psychic powers for some reason.  Basically he thinks that if the designers had meant for Pikachu’s diet to be a factor, they should have represented that with a change in the evolution method (he suggests an item called a Thunderstone Cake, or something similar).

So I’m a solid “maybe” on this one.

Anonymous asks:

In future games, if we start finding alolan form pokemon in other regions, would they cease to be considered alolan forms? I mean it could be wiped away with an “oh i brought these pokemon from alola, and then they escaped into the wild” explanation. But still..what are your thoughts?

Well, I think probably the most likely scenario is that we just won’t find Alolan form Pokémon in other regions without a good reason for how they got there.  Several of the Alolan regional variants have some sort of “backstory” for why they exist in Alola specifically, like Rattata, and Raichu’s Pokédex entry explicitly says that Pikachu evolve into Alolan Raichu only in Alola, but not all of them do, so it’s plausible that some of them could have originated in other regions with similar conditions and spread to Alola, or vice versa.  Circumstances could very well be different for each species.  For some of them the idea that they are regional variations, that they exist in some parts of the world and not others, is more important than the idea that they are specifically Alolan.

Anonymous asks:

Do you like regular exeggutor or alolan exeggutor? Also, why do you think alolan exeggutor is part dragon but the other is psychic?

Well, the Pokédex says “as it grew taller and taller, it outgrew its reliance on psychic powers, while within it awakened the power of the sleeping dragon,” which is clearly meant to sound like it’s explained something without actually telling us anything.  Alolan Exeggutor doesn’t learn any traditional Dragon-type moves, and there’s nothing especially dragon-ish about his Dragon Hammer attack.  I always used to think that Dragon Pokémon were defined by their connection to the Pokémon world’s abstract “life force,” but that doesn’t really help much either (except insofar as it suggests that Grass/Dragon should probably be a more common combination than it is).

BUT the good news is, there is a kind of palm tree called the Dragon Tree, Dracaena marginata, which is native to Madagascar and not Hawai’i, but is at least suitably tropical.  So… I guess maybe that counts?

VikingBoyBilly asks:

The alolan muk can’t learn thunderbolt and thunder and is able to learn rock polish and stone edge. This adds such weird characterization to the forms.

That…

…huh.

That is weird.

Alolan Muk has a lot of particles sticking out of its body that could represent stones and thus justify Rock attacks.  Maybe it can’t use electrical moves because it’s adapted for a more terrestrial lifestyle than the primarily aquatic Kantonian Muk?

Anonymous asks:

Now that you’ve seen all the Alolan forms, I’ve a thought to share: the types they gave to the Alolan forms are all types that have either 0 or 1 representative among Gen I Pokémon. Think about it: Persian, Raticate, & Muk got Dark while Ninetales got Fairy (neither repped in Gen I), Sandslash & Dugtrio got Steel (only Magneton), Exeggutor got Dragon (only Dragonite), & Marowak got Ghost (only Gengar). The exceptions are Raichu (but Pikachu’s popular) & Golem, for which I got nothing. Thoughts?

There actually are Fairy-types in generation I: Jigglypuff, Clefairy and Mr. Mime (if Magneton counts, so do they).  I don’t think this says anything interesting, other than maybe that Game Freak likes type diversity.  Could be they want to give the first generation a bit more of the types that were introduced later.

Anonymous asks:

What’s your favorite Alolan form?

Tricky. I think I’ve met all of them now… Probably the Marowak. I’m not a huge fan of losing the original type completely, but Marowak does at least keep its Electric immunity through Lightning Rod, and the whole dark, mystic aesthetic is a really neat take on Marowak’s design. These Marowak are not f&£#ing around; they’ve straight-up jumped in the deep end of death worship.