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.
With regional variants no longer restricted to gen I Pokémon, it might be a good time to consider which of the Unovan Pokémon you rejected you would like to give a regional vatiant?
There’s probably a fair bit you could do by building on the
industrial revolution theme that some of the generation VIII material we’ve
seen already seems to be going for. I
could see Heatmor getting some kind of region-specific evolution that builds up
to a whole steam engine, maybe changing its type to Fire/Water or Fire/Steel (although
the implied comparisons to Volcanion or Heatran would not be flattering). Or even a Galarian form of… [ahem]…
grbdr… that’s based on a sack of coal, making it a Fire/Poison-type that also
gets Rock attacks. Then, on another angle,
we could have a Steel/Fairy form of Pawniard and Bisharp based on white pieces
from the famous Lewis chess set from Mediaeval Scotland, to contrast the original
black Unovan ones. Possibly some sort of
“royal” form for Swanna, but I’m not sure where exactly to take that.
You denied Bisharp’s right to exist back when just Black and White were out. Now it’s a defining metagame pokemon, with exceptionally powerful options in Knock Off and Sucker Punch, as well as Dark/Steel being excellent offensive typing due to the changes to Dark and Steel in Gen VI. Are you satisfied with the pokemon, now?
Sure, I suppose. I mean, most of the stuff I said at the time about Bisharp’s design (on which I was fairly equivocal) still applies. Rereading the entry, I feel like I could very easily have gone the other way on him if I’d found a little more to like in his flavour text or something – after all, I described him as “at least vaguely competent” in battle, which I still think is a perfectly fair assessment of Bisharp’s capabilities at that time (generation VI has been very kind to him). So there are definitely things about Bisharp that I still feel decidedly ‘meh’ towards; it’s just that he’s now so obviously strong that I’m sort of forced to overlook them.
Good news, I found an explanation for Pawniard and Bisharp! Pawniard is an ashigaru, a japanese foot soldier that serves under a samurai characterized by their rounded helmets, while Bisharp is the samurai itself. It would explain why Bisharp are described as commanding armies of them. The chess puns in the English names are probably just an attempt to localize them, but it does make some sense since pawns can be promoted into bishops. What do you think?
Well, there is a chess pun in the Japanese too, because Pawniard’s Japanese name references the word for a game piece (koma), so it still seems likely to me that they were influenced by the appearance of pawns in European chess. But it does make a lot of sense – maybe someone at Game Freak thought that pawns in Shogi could be imagined as ashigaru, and then made a connection with the shape of European pawns?
It was, of course, a statistical inevitability that we would eventually get a set of chess-themed Pokémon – and here they are, the sword-wielding Dark/Steel Pokémon, Pawniard and Bisharp. In fact, not content with merely using bladed weapons, these Pokémon are literally made of interlocking blades, just to make absolutely sure that they can cut you to ribbons just by running into you. As always, the first question is: what were Game Freak thinking here? I don’t mean that rhetorically or sarcastically, I’m genuinely curious. This design seems to be going in a couple of different directions and I’m not sure which one they started from or where they’re trying to take them or how they’re supposed to fit together. Their vicious and aggressive personalities seem to follow sensibly from the blade theme, which seems to be Pawniard’s main schtick (or alternatively, simply from the fact that he’s a Dark-type; the vast majority of them are born to be jerks). Then, on a completely different tack, we have the chess idea, with their names referencing the pawns and bishops of European chess. Continue reading “Pawniard and Bisharp”→