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.
As part of my eternal contract of service to the Dark Council of my highest-tier Patreon supporters (to whom special thanks, and a mighty tribute of souls and magic, are as always due), I regularly solicit topics from them to discuss in longer articles – and once again, that time has come. Today I’m supposed to be talking about the (so far) three generational flagship mechanics of the Pokémon games – X and Y’s Mega Evolution, Sun and Moon’s Z-Moves and Sword and Shield’s Dynamax – in all their aspects, both how they practically work in the game and how they influence the story and lore of their worlds. “Flagship mechanics” is my own term for these, I don’t think I’ve seen anyone else say it, but I like it better than “gimmicks” because I think it’s a better reflection of what the developers seem to want them to be, so I’m gonna keep using it, and you all just have to deal with that because… it’s my blog, so shut up.
Let’s start with a summary for people who might not be familiar with one or more of the games that introduced and featured these mechanics:
So now that we have Mega Evolution, Z Moves, and Dyna/Gigantamaxing, if you were in charge, for Gen 9, what would be their totally unprecedented, initially controversial, yet eventually beloved battling Schtick,? Also what type of cake do you think would taste best half burned?
Well, the answer to the cake question, I know from experience, is chocolate; like, ideally you don’t ever want your cake half-burned, but I would say that, of the half-burned cakes, chocolate is the one that suffers the least.
As for the other thing… sooooooooo, I don’t just have a developed idea for one of these lying around, and I’m not sure if there is a “best” answer unless we develop the setting and story in concert (which… no; go away and leave me alone), but here’s three spitball ideas.
Have you seen the dialogue in Sword/Shield revealing that Dynamax Pokémon don’t actually physically change size in real life when they Dynamax? I saw an NPC mention it in the postgame content, and it’s also mentioned by Shigeru Ohmori in an interview “101 Rapid-Fire Questions About Pokémon Sword And Shield” at around 2:10:
Interviewer: So does Dynamax, is that like a projection, or a physical transformation? Ohmori: It’s actually just a visual projection. Interviewer: So is the real Pokémon still just on the ground doing these moves and it’s like just a big version of that? Ohmori: Yeah, so the actual Pokémon is in that projection.
May or may not ultimately change anything, but I thought it was an odd reveal that has some interesting implications for worldbuilding.
Yeah, I am aware of this. I thought it was… odd, because I’d actually considered the possibility beforehand and decided that it wasn’t necessary for Dynamaxing to make sense. I mean, we already know that Pokémon can do a magical thing that can drastically change their size in an apparent violation of conservation of matter – evolution. And evolution is permanent; once I’ve bought into that, I don’t have any problem believing that Dynamaxing can temporarily increase the size of a Pokémon’s physical body. The animations for Dynamaxing also have this feel of mass and physicality to them that I think is weird if it’s meant to be just a projection. I guess there is, like… a square-cube law argument that a size increase like that would definitely kill most Pokémon, but since when does Pokémon care about anatomical plausibility? It makes some thematic sense, I’ll give them that, because of Sword and Shield’s interest in spectacle – Dynamaxing is actually all about appearances, style over substance, which would be a weird take on this generation’s flagship mechanic, but actually fits in the context of the story of Piers and Spikemuth. I feel like it raises more questions than it answers, though. Like, if the gigantic form is just a projection, why does it make them more powerful? How does Gigantamaxing fit into this, why is it any different to Dynamaxing, and why can so few Pokémon do it? Is there a reason Galar needs huge stadiums, if the Pokémon doesn’t physically get larger; like, can the Pokémon not just have the power without the size increase? And, well, this was a question I had anyway, but what does Eternatus have to do with any of this?
Also, apropos of nothing, I believe this is the same interview where they are asked “are Pokémon sentient?” and Shigeru Ohmori replies “they’re just getting by,” which frankly is an answer that resonates with me much more than it should. Like, sentient? B!tch, today I slept until midday and then played six hours of Fire Emblem; I’ll work on “sentience” next week.
okay, we just had a thing, let’s talk about the thing
anyone who hasn’t watched the Pokémon Direct broadcast and wants to watch it for themselves, or just wants to not watch it and wait for Sword and Shield, stay out, ’cause I’m going to be talking about the thing