James Crooks [Patreon cultist] asks:

Now that you’re at the end of the Alolan Pokédex, can you tell us your favourite Pokémon, least favourite and one that you liked more after reviewing?

Tricky.

Spending more time on each Pokémon and each review tends to make me appreciate almost all of them more, because I come to see the references and the meaning in each design, and my feelings about the Pokémon itself come to be bound up with anything interesting I’ve learned during the process I generously call my “research.”  The exception, of course, is when there seems to be simply nothing to find, but I think those are rare in Alola.  And in another direction, over the course of doing the Alola reviews I’ve started trying to incorporate the anime’s portrayals of each Pokémon a bit more, so even if a design is ‘meh,’ I can develop some positive feeling towards it if that Pokémon’s episode is a good one.  I just put out my Zeraora article, and Zeraora’s frankly not a very interesting Pokémon, but it’s one of the stars of the 21st movie, The Power of Us, which I am not going to stop talking about because I think it’s easily the best one (aside from Detective Pikachu), and there is a certain degree of affection that just… well, rubs off on Zeraora.  Having said all that, of course there are winners and losers.  With some designs, I feel “rewarded” for the extra work I do in trying to break them down, because I feel like I’ve solved a puzzle that the designers have left for me; other times it just seems like there’s not much to find.  So there are Pokémon for whom my opinion of them, or at least my affection towards them, increased a lot as I reviewed them, and I don’t know if I can pick just one, but some good examples are Celesteela, Oranguru, Tsareena and Minior.

My favourite Pokémon of generation VII is a tough one, because there are a lot that I’m generally well-disposed to, but few that really stick out to me as brilliant.  It may actually be just one of the Pokémon I’m attached to because I used them on my first playthrough of Moon, probably Golisopod, Salazzle, or my starter, Decidueye.  Other than that… well, actually Dhelmise sticks out to me as a really weird and creative design that speaks to me on a kind of “what even is this?” level, and Wishiwashi has an interesting concept that creates a great moment in the game’s story.  As for least favourite… I’m sure I’m being very predictable here, but I’m still very down on Togedemaru, and to a lesser extent Gumshoos, for not doing enough to break free of Game Freak’s persistent habit of template-based Pokémon design (as Talonflame and arguably Diggersby did in generation VI, and as I think Toucannon more or less does in generation VII).

Rowlet, Dartrix and Decidueye

Rowlet
Rowlet

Bloody hell, if I don’t hurry this up they’re going to announce another damn generation before I’m done with this one; we’re already expecting whatever this bull$#!t is supposed to be and I’ve got eighty whole Pokémon to evaluate in the next couple of months, as well as talking about Team Skull and the Aether Foundation, and Hau, and maybe Lillie too, and whoever I decide counts as the Champion, not to mention answering the neverending tide of ridiculous banal questions that keep pouring out of my goddamn inbox (obviously, gentle reader, I’m not talking about any questions you might have submitted, which are of course consistently insightful and thought provoking; it’s all those other bastards that are the problem).

I’M FINE

Let’s talk about Rowlet. Continue reading “Rowlet, Dartrix and Decidueye”

Anonymous asks:

Why are Alolan Marowack, Sensu Oricorio,and Decidueye ghost types? They’re not dead!

Well, I don’t think being a Ghost-type necessarily means you are a literal ghost.  Maybe half of them, tops, are said to be the spirits of the dead in legend and folklore (my rule here is “read the Pokédex because it’s really important, but for the love of Arceus, don’t trust it”), but most of the others have their type and abilities on the grounds of an affinity for death and the dead, or in some cases power over them.  Pokémon like Dusknoir and Pumpkaboo, for instance, are known for leading spirits and people between the worlds of the living and the dead, while Chandelure and Jellicent are spiritual predators; I don’t think anyone ever claimed that any of them are the ghosts of dead people or Pokémon, but they can all interact with ghosts.  Similarly, Decidueye is a sort of shaman with the ability to interact with souls as though they were physical things, and Alolan Marowak can summon the aid of spiritual powers through their ritual dances.

Pokémon Moon, Episode 11: In Which I Perform an Exorcism

With no other clear direction obvious to me, I leave Malie City and wander south.  The southeast coast of Ula’ula Island is dominated by extremely rough, rocky, arid scrubland.  Although the Z-Crystal that I earned in Sophocles’ trial gets me through the Island Challenge barricades on the southeast road, it doesn’t take long before the rocks become totally impassable.  Fortunately, Hapu (who is almost certainly very important, though I’m still not sure why) is on hand to offer me the solution: she allows me to freely summon her Mudsdale as a riding Pokémon.  Mudsdale is slow compared to the other Tauros and Stoutland, but can move effortlessly over rough terrain that would reduce them to uncoordinated stumbling.  Hapu points me in the direction of Tapu Village, at the base of Mount Lanakila, for my next trial, then bids me good luck and farewell.

Continue reading “Pokémon Moon, Episode 11: In Which I Perform an Exorcism”