Bye Bye Butterfree and Pokémon Migration

This is the first of what will, in principle, be a monthly “series” of investigations into topics chosen by the unfathomable whims of my shadowy advisors, the Dark Council.  The Council is made up of everyone donating at least $12/month to me on Patreon – at the moment that’s one person, the newly appointed Lord President of the Council, Verb, who therefore gets THE SUPREME POWER to dictate the direction of these studies.  However, if you value what I do, think I deserve something in return for my work, and would like me to maybe someday be able to do more of it, YOU TOO could be inducted into the Council’s hallowed ranks, nominate topics for future months, and vote on them (listen, bribing your way to power and prestige is totally on theme with the whole “cult” thing I’m going for here).

Here is the prompt I was given this month:

“I’ve often thought about the episode of Indigo League in which Ash’s Butterfree is released in order to join the migration, and it’s caused me to wonder the effects that similar migrations might have on Trainer culture, with their inherent desire to remain with their chosen partner Pokemon potentially conflicting with the Pokemon’s own desires.”

So let’s talk about Pokémon migration and what happens when Pokémon leave their trainers!

Continue reading “Bye Bye Butterfree and Pokémon Migration”

Anonymous asks:

Bulbasaur is slightly curious, no? Why do you think the devs decided to give a starting Pokemon a dual type? It risked confusing new players, and there’s nothing about the design that particularly screams “Poison-type” anyway.

Ehhhh I don’t know about that.  Poison has no interactions with Fire and Water, so it doesn’t mess with the basic starter trio at all, which is how they teach type interactions, and new players will meet dual-type Pokémon on literally the first route anyway (Pidgey is Normal/Flying).  It’s true that Bulbasaur doesn’t really need to be Poison-type, and I’m tempted to put that down to Game Freak not having finished figuring out what Grass-types actually were yet. Continue reading “Anonymous asks:”

Anonymous asks:

If you had to pick your least favorite & favorite starters (Pikachu doesn’t count) which would you pick?

*sigh* Oh, Bulbasaur, I don’t care which regional Pokédex we’re looking at, you’ll always be #001 in my heart…

*ahem*

Totodile, on the other hand, is silly.

My thoughts on these and all the other starters in excruciating detail can be found here (the 5th and 6th generation starters as part of my general reviews of each generation, all the rest as part of a series I did on, well, starter Pokémon).

Anime Time: Episodes 68 and 71

Make Room for Gloom – To Master the Onixpected

Bulbasaur 'chasing the Dragonite' and biting off more than he can chew.  Or, uh... sniffing more than he can smell.  Yeah this metaphor is kinda getting away from me.
Bulbasaur ‘chasing the Dragonite’ and biting off more than he can chew. Or, uh… sniffing more than he can smell. Yeah this metaphor is kinda getting away from me.

As we join our heroes today, Ash is still at home in Pallet Town, staying with his mother Delia and her Mr. Mime, Mimey, and supposedly training for the Pokémon League tournament… not that he spends a lot of time doing that.  In fact, like a schoolkid with an impending exam, it’s largely while avoiding the process of actually training that he gets up to the stuff that happens over the course of these two episodes.  In the process, though, he inadvertently winds up learning some interesting things about what it means to be a trainer – and so can we.  Let’s get to it.

In Make Room for Gloom, Ash, as he tries to escape the horror of doing chores for his mother, inadvertently leads Misty and Brock to the very place she’d wanted them to pick up gardening supplies for her – a huge domed greenhouse called the Xanadu Nursery.  Ash spent a lot of time there with his mother when he was young, but thought it had closed years ago when the owner moved away.  The kids are let into the greenhouse by one of its workers, a man named Potter, and Ash decides to let Bulbasaur out to play among the plants.  Bulbasaur has great fun at first, getting high off a herb known as Pokénip (like catnip, geddit?), but soon runs into trouble when he sniffs another plant, stun stem, which can paralyse humans and Pokémon.  Luckily, the nursery’s new owner Florinda and her Gloom are on hand to help.  Having worked with stun stem for so long, Gloom has developed an immunity to the plant’s toxin, and can even produce an antidote nectar to cure other Pokémon who have been exposed.  While Bulbasaur promptly starts flirting with his saviour, Brock – in more or less the manner we have come to expect from him – takes the opportunity to get to know Florinda.  Florinda is cripplingly insecure, and believes that she’s a failure at both training Pokémon and running her family’s business.  Potter explains to Ash and Misty that when Florinda bought a Leaf Stone for her Gloom, it failed to evolve Gloom into Vileplume, and she believes this is because she’s a poor trainer.

Continue reading “Anime Time: Episodes 68 and 71”

Professing Comprehension

Before leaving for Lumiose City, I check out the route east of Santalune (Détourner Way – another interesting change, all of the routes now have French names as well as numbers; I think I like this).  This route apparently leads to the headquarters of the French Pokémon League, so I don’t get very far, although I do pick up a Psyduck, a Riolu, and a new Pokémon called a Litleo as I explore.  Litleo is, as the name implies, a little lion who has been lit (on fire) – the game’s first Fire/Normal dual-type.  This might be interesting enough to be worth a spot on my team, at least for the time being.  I attempt to name her Ishtar, after a Babylonian war goddess whose sacred animal is a lioness, but the game rather impudently tells me “you can’t enter that word,” not deigning to give a reason why, so I opt instead for Astarte, the Phoenician name of the same goddess, and spend some time training her up a bit.  Litleo appears to be a balanced all-rounder with a bias towards speed and special attack but decent defences as well.  I wonder whether the males and females look different when they evolve (no manes for the females)?  While mucking around here, I get my Spewpa to level 12 – and she evolves into a deep green Vivillon.  Hmm.  I admit I was focussing more closely on the Infestation attack, but I’m pretty sure Viola’s Vivillon was pink.  The Pokédex helpfully explains that Vivillon come in different colours and patterns depending on their environment – Viola’s was a meadow Vivillon, while mine is a garden Vivillon.  Initially I thought this was basically the same kind of thing as Shellos has and was all set to be totally underwhelmed by it, but, in between writing this bit and actually posting the entry, readers have explained to me that Vivillon have different patterns depending on where in the world their owners are from – so my garden Vivillon must be what New Zealanders get (the internet suggests that we have this in common with Tasmania, Britain and parts of Eastern Europe).  Hrm.  Well… it’s gimmicky… like, that is not by any means such a cool idea that I’m willing to forgive them for another generic caterpillar-cocoon-moth sequence… but it is an interesting way of playing up the ‘international spirit’ Pokémon has been trying to cultivate in the past few years by encouraging long-distance trade, so I suppose as an expression of Game Freak’s ideology it’s pretty neat (minor side note: Struggle Bug seems to have received a power boost to make it actually useful – I approve).  I also meet, in the hands of another trainer, the first Pokémon I’ve ever seen with accent marks in its name: Flabébé, a little Thumbelina figure clinging to the pistil of a floating red flower, presumably a Grass/Fairy dual-type, which the Pokédex helpfully informs me will be available soon.

As I set out for Paris, I am given one final parting gift at the gates by Viola’s older sister, a journalist named Alexa: an Exp. Share.  Neat; I wonder how that fits in with the new experience mechan-

What?

ALL of them?

…okay, so the Exp. Share is now the Exp. All from Red and Blue on caffeine and steroids.  Well, that’s going to speed up the levelling process.  I hope they anticipated that, or this is going to be a dreadfully easy game…

The road from Dijon to Paris is heavily beautified, almost more like a public garden than a road in the usual sense of the word.  Elaborate hedge mazes and neat, colourful flowerbeds tended by hard-working gardeners line the pathways, and at the midway point between the two cities stands a monumental brass fountain depicting two Horsea spraying streams of water into the air over a huge Clamperl.  I’m getting the impression that order and harmony are an important part of Kalosian ideology (even more so than in other regions we’ve seen in Pokémon).  Naturally, I take the time to hang out in the gardens and catch Pokémon, adding to my repertoire a Ledyba, a Budew, a female Combee, a Ralts (who has been promoted to Psychic/Fairy), a Skitty, and a Flabébé, who turns out not to be a Grass-type at all but a pure Fairy-type who can learn Grass attacks and has an ability that protects Grass Pokémon from stat reductions in double battles (that’s kind of a niche use there, but I guess if it protects you from the recoil of Leaf Storm…).  I also learn, incidentally, that Flabébé come with multiple flower colours – I’ve seen red, yellow, orange and white – though whether they have any further significance is at this point obscure to me.  Mindful of the possibility that I may incorporate several more Grass-types into my team in the future, I welcome to my team Kore the Flabébé (named for the Greek goddess of springtime).  Shortly afterward, my Chespin, Pan, reaches level 16 and evolves into a strange, rotund creature called a Quilladin, who makes me think of nothing so much as Crash Bandicoot in an armoured fat suit.  He seems to be generally a continuation of Chespin’s main design features, although I’m a little surprised he hasn’t picked up a secondary type like Fighting, Ground, or even Rock.  I wonder whether his final form will?

At the city gates, I am met by a girl and boy, I suspect twins, who introduce themselves as Sina and Dexio (wait… so you’re saying your names are Left and Right?  Damn, your parents were weird…).  These two claim to be the assistants of Professor Sycamore, and after a brief burst of excitement over my acquisition of a Fairy Pokémon, they are eager to escort me to his lab in Lumiose City so he can meet with me.  Eh, why not?  He gave me a neat Pokémon; I can respect that.  A few short minutes later, I finally meet face to face with the Professor in his lavishly provided research institute, a far larger, handsomer and more fully-staffed building than I’ve ever before seen a Professor control, as stuffed with fine art as it is with Pokémon textbooks and technology.  Professor Sycamore greets me enthusiastically, complimenting me on the work I’ve already done on the Pokédex, and explains that although he had initially planned to give a Pokémon to only one child of Vaniville Town (presumably Serena, from his description), he had changed his mind when he heard of me, largely due to Mother’s apparently far-reaching reputation as a Rhyhorn jockey (look, dude, if you want to ask her out, I’m totally cool with it; I have no idea where Dad is or even if he’s still alive, so seriously, go for it).  At this point, Serena and Shauna arrive, and Sycamore announces, out of the blue, that he wants a Pokémon battle with me – confessing, in advance, that he’s a bit of a pushover.  He’s… not kidding.  His choice of Pokémon – Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle – is intriguing, but their levels are disappointing.  To cap things off, Tereus, after Squirtle goes down, hits level 17 and begins to evolve, emerging as a Fletchinder, a larger bird Pokémon who is actually beginning to remind me quite strongly of a hoopoe (fortuitous, given the name I chose for him).  Then he learns…

…Ember?

…wait, you’re a FIRE-TYPE!?

HOLY $#!T YOU’RE A FIRE-TYPE!  This is AWESOME!

Once I’ve recovered from Tereus’ startling transformation, Professor Sycamore hits me over the head with more – he wants to give me a second starter Pokémon.

GIMME THE BULBASAUR
“But don’t you already have a Grass Po-”
GIMME THE BULBASAUR

Sorry, Melissa the Beedrill; you’ve been replaced.  Welcome to the team, Ilex the Bulbasaur (named for one of the Latin words for oak).  For those having trouble keeping track (I certainly am), my team at present consists of Pan the Quilladin, Tereus the Fletchinder, Zolom the Dunsparce, Astarte the Litleo, Kore the Flabébé, and now Ilex.  Professor Sycamore follows up by handing me a large marble he calls a Venusaurite and tells me it has something to do with “Mega Evolution,” which he wants us to investigate.

…the f@$& does that mean?

I have Ilex hold the stone, but it doesn’t seem to produce any effect.  The item’s description seems to imply that only a Venusaur can use it, so whatever sorcery is contained within, I suppose I’m going to have to wait to unlock it.  He assures the crew that whatever they want to do – whether Serena wants to study Mega Evolution to rule the world, or Trevor wants to be an awesome researcher and complete his Pokédex, or Tierno wants to create a f@$&ing Pokémon dance team, or Shauna wants to… I don’t know, be Shauna or whatever – he’ll be proud of their achievements as trainers regardless.  With that, we are dismissed.

Ridiculous quote log:

“Wh-what!?  Don’t speak to me out of the blue!  My heart beats so fast I may fall in love with you!”
Er… thanks, random Lumiose Transport Authority worker.  I’m, uh… flattered… in spite of being clearly half your age… I’m, um… I’m going now.
“Wh-what?  I haven’t fallen in love with you.”
…that’s nice.