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.
Do you think the people of the pokemon universe consider Yveltal and other destructive pokemon evil? Affection for legendary pokemon works the same way it does for others, should we have to earn their trust in a different way? And they still do things like play minigames with you and make cute faces when you pet them. Why?
I don’t get the impression they do. They might be scared of certain Pokémon that have dangerous powers or that humans don’t know much about, but I’m trying my hardest to think of anyone who says a Pokémon is “evil” and I’m really not coming up with much (not counting phenomena like the Shadow Pokémon from Gale of Darkness and Pokémon Go, who have been transformed by an external force and can be “purified” to return them to their peaceful natural state). Individual Pokémon can certainly be evil, like the Malamar from the X and Y anime or Meowth from Team Rocket (maybe Meowth is debateable as he has several redeeming qualities, but he certainly self-identifies as “evil”), but species of Pokémon aren’t inherently evil. When Yveltal appears in the games, it’s a pawn of Lysandre, and in the Diancie movie, it’s treated as extremely dangerous but not really malevolent, more like a living natural disaster than a villain. Tyranitar and Hydreigon are much the same, destructive forces of nature more than evil beings. Mewtwo is, I think, intended to be more complex than just outright “evil”; Necrozma is destructive because it’s diminished and broken; most Dark Pokémon that are mischievous or violent are treated as being dangerous in an animalistic way.
The only ones I can come up with, the only Pokémon that I think are ever implied to be by nature actively and deliberately malicious, are a few of the Ghost Pokémon that literally represent “evil spirits” – Banette and Spiritomb and the like. And even then, the inspirations behind Spiritomb’s design imply the possibility of redemption: the 108 demons of Water Margin become heroes; the 108 temptations that lie between mortals and Nirvana can be overcome. For Spiritomb, the same has to be possible. We’re told by the Ultra Moon Pokédex that Banette’s curse can be broken by treating it with kindness. And I suspect that this should be the default assumption – that even when Pokémon are violent or destructive or malevolent in nature, there is a way in. And that way in commonly involves macarons, doughnuts and/or curry.
I think fundamentally, Pokémon are animals, and Pokémon the series takes the view that humans have a responsibility to be the enlightened stewards of the natural world. We’re supposed to show them the difference between right and wrong (or, in some cases, accept that they are beyond our understanding of right and wrong). What we’re not in a position to do – what I don’t believe the series ever endorses us in doing – is judge them.
I think we should talk about regional variants, don’t you? I was going to do the Alolan forms at the end of generation VII, and the timing got so tight at the end, but now that we’ve got a bunch of Galarian forms as well, it seems like something we could do all at once. So here’s the plan: Alolan forms first, Galarian forms after that, and I dunno if I have all that much to say about each one individually but I could certainly take ‘em three at a time, trying as far as possible to put them into groups that are in some way thematic. Sound good? Okay. We’re going to begin with the Alolan Rattata and Raticate, Meowth and Persian, and Grimer and Muk – not because they are all Dark-types, which is a reason, but not a very good one; we’re putting them together because all three forms exist in Alola as the result of human intervention. Let’s discuss.
Ok, ill concede the Arceus point. However, the Dark type is literrally evil type in Japanese! Doesn’t this imply that there are quantifiable measurable charactheristics of evil in the Pokémon world and therefore morality is objective over there? Also if i am not wrong there are a couple of Pokémon that can “sense” the good in people.
I think Dark-types, if anything, are a really good argument for the absence of an objective morality in the Pokémon universe – the type literally called あく/悪,“evil” is made up mostly of Pokémon who, while commonly associated with negative emotions or dirty fighting, are for the most part portrayed as more misunderstood than malevolent, and basically fine when you get to know them (Absol and Darkrai are the poster children for this). Either that, or Pokémon’s position is that evil is a real objective thing but it’s totally rad. Also, I suspect taking “Dark type” = “evil in an objective sense” would mean that humans, who seem to be typeless, can’t be evil in the Pokémon world – or at least, they can’t be as evil as, say, Pangoro, of whom the Pokédex says “although it possesses a violent temperament, it won’t put up with bullying.”
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.
I have a little personal conjecture about how Incineroar was designed.
Game Freak deeply, sincerely, earnestly didn’t mean to make a fourth Fire/Fighting starter Pokémon. They were just going to sit down and come up with some unique, entertaining and vaguely Hawaiian-inspired Fire-type. But then Incineroar just rose up, unbidden, out of the primal mists of Game Freak’s collective id, embedded himself in their tortured psyches, and refused to leave. Aware that they were making another Fire/Fighting starter Pokémon, but horrified by their inability to stop, they desperately called on Yveltal for help, and the vicious and cunning death god answered their prayers by corrupting Incineroar into a brutal Dark-type.
The Gen I Fighting-types are all martial artists or athletes, but.. what the heck makes Primeape a Fighting-type? Can’t be its temper because hey, Gyarados ain’t a Fighting-type. If anything its temper should make it a Dark-type, along the lines of Tyranitar, Sharpedo, or Hydreigon.
Well, there was no Dark-type in generation I, and to be honest I think that’s probably the main reason Primeape isn’t Dark/Fighting or something (that’s probably what I would do with him). Given that Primeape is humanoid in shape and has no particularly spectacular magical abilities, it makes sense that his fighting style would wind up having some resemblance to martial arts techniques, even though Primeape doesn’t appear to be influenced by an specific martial art like many other Fighting Pokémon are.
Can you offer a reasoned guess behind the Dark secondary typing to Crawdaunt & the star-shaped crest included in its design? Bulbapedia suggests “Crawdaunt’s shell may be based on batesian mimicry in association with Sharpedo, as it resembles an open shark mouth with a star on the nose.”
Well, the Dark type has to do with Crawdaunt’s violent, aggressive nature and its habit of driving other Pokémon away from its territory. Dark Pokémon are linked with malice, so fighting purely for the sake of violence (contrast Fighting-types, who fight to improve their skills) seems like a reasonable Dark-type trait. You can compare here Tyranitar, Hydreigon, and Incineroar. As for the star thing, I don’t think I’d read too much into it. It looks like a starfish, and Crawdaunt is an aquatic Pokémon, so the motif is on-theme. It looks a little like a crown, which expresses Crawdaunt’s higher status compared to Corphish. It adds a little more variety to the colours of the design, and some interest to the contours of Crawdaunt’s head. I don’t think it needs to be more than that.
Why do you think there hasn’t been a Dark-type gym yet?
Difficult to be sure, but I suspect that it’s because Dark is the “evil” type (literally, in Japanese) – their strongest and most distinctive powers are all pretty much the antithesis of good sportsmanship, relying on trickery, subversion and malice. Although I don’t think any characters in the games have ever actually said it, that’s a pretty good reason not to have a Dark-type specialist be front-and-centre in your sporting organisation’s public relations, education and outreach programs (and just look at the Dark-type Kahuna in Sun and Moon… the results sorta speak for themselves). Of course, anyone who actually trains Dark Pokémon knows that they aren’t really evil, just pragmatic, and trainers who are already skilled can do wonderful things with them, but, well, their optics just aren’t good, put it that way. You also probably don’t want to encourage new trainers to pick them as a speciality.
Why do you think there haven’t been any Gym Leaders who specialize in the Dark-type, despite there being multiple Elite Four Dark-type specialists?
Difficult to say. In Gold and Silver it was likely because there were so few Dark Pokémon and all of them except for Umbreon were very late-game, but that excuse is really gone by the third generation. I suppose you could suggest that, because Dark is the ‘evil’ type and Dark techniques focus on, basically, fighting dirty, while Gym Leaders are supposed to be educators and pillars of the community, they just don’t want Gym Leaders who focus on Dark-types; they want trainers to have more experience before they start playing around with that stuff. But that’s just me making stuff up; I don’t have any particular support for that interpretation.
I should probably begin this entry with a disclaimer: for various reasons, I don’t actually have a Zorua or a Zoroark. In theory I know everything about them I need to know to write the entry, but their powers are rather complicated, as I’ll explain later, and I’m not sure I can really do justice to their impacts on the flow of battle. Then again, I’ll probably just do exactly the same thing as I always do: stare at their numbers for a while, research what everyone else says about them on the internet and then make dozens of wildly unsubstantiated assertions laced with bizarre and confusing metaphors before declaring victory and passing out on the sofa.
What, you mean you didn’t know?
Anyway. Zorua and Zoroark are clever and elusive fox Pokémon, not actually malicious but fond of deception and mischief. Their main power is their ability to create flawless illusions; they normally use their powers to disguise themselves as other Pokémon, but they can also take human form or even create false images of landscapes. So far, this is giving me flashbacks to Ninetales – another highly intelligent fox Pokémon with magical abilities related to trickery – probably because she shares a common inspiration with Zorua and Zoroark: the kitsune fox spirits of Japanese legend. Continue reading “Zorua and Zoroark”→