Regional Variant Pokémon: Alolan Raticate, Persian and Muk

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.

Continue reading “Regional Variant Pokémon: Alolan Raticate, Persian and Muk”

N asks:

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.

[Continuation of this]

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.”

Continue reading “N asks:”



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.

Continue reading “Guzzlord”

Litten, Torracat and Incineroar

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.

I mean, obviously some of that is speculative, but I think the general outline is close. Continue reading “Litten, Torracat and Incineroar”

Anonymous asks:

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.

Anonymous asks:

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.

Anonymous asks:

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.

Anonymous asks:

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.

Zorua and Zoroark

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”

Deino, Zweilous and Hydreigon

af143-deinoRemember Dragonite?  I liked Dragonite; Dragonite was nice and enjoyed helping people.  Not all Dragon Pokémon are nice, of course; Flygon, Haxorus and Altaria are, but Kingdra and Druddigon are basically crazy old men shouting at the kids to get off their lawns, Garchomp is ill-tempered though not malicious, and Salamence is just slightly insane and prone to extremes of anger and joy.

Hydreigon, on the other hand, is utterly, completely, irredeemably, certifiably, three-eggs-short-of-an-Exeggcute WHACKO.

Deino, Zweilous, and Hydreigon, whose names come from the German ein, zwei, drei, in reference to the number of heads they each have, are the only Dark/Dragon dual-type Pokémon.  Dragon-types are (Druddigon and Altaria notwithstanding) among the strongest of all Pokémon, while Dark-types tend to be pathological liars, brooding loners, manipulative jerks, creepy stalkers or outright psychopaths.  This is a recipe for disaster.  I love recipes for disaster.  Continue reading “Deino, Zweilous and Hydreigon”