Magearna

Magearna

I feel like I’ve said this multiple times already, but I really am finally on the home stretch of generation VII now, with just four Mythical Pokémon remaining: Magearna, Marshadow, Zeraora and Meltan.  In stark contrast to the last few Pokémon I’ve had to deal with, who have had critical roles in the plots of the seventh-generation games, as well as the accompanying seasons of the anime, these four mysterious Pokémon are pretty absent from the games and don’t have much impact on our own journeys through Alola (Meltan doesn’t even show up until we return to Kanto for Let’s Go).  With the exception of Meltan, they do each get their own keynote appearances in movies, though, so we’re going to be drawing fairly heavily on the events and histories presented in those, and as usual the testimony of the Pokédex.  Today we’re looking at Magearna – the aptly-named Artificial Pokémon.

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Tapu Koko, Tapu Lele, Tapu Bulu and Tapu Fini

So… I guess it’s time to learn about native Hawaiian mythology, huh?

Tapu Koko

We’re on the home stretch of seventh-generation Pokémon now, and today we’re talking about the four guardian deities of the Alolan islands: Tapu Koko, Tapu Lele, Tapu Bulu and Tapu Fini.  These four are deeply woven into Alolan culture and identity, and they have a special relationship with the Alolan trial system and its administrators, the four Island Kahunas.  They’re also the pièce de résistance of generation VII’s unprecedented level of interest in taking inspiration from the culture, ecology and history of the real-world region its setting is based on.

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Mimikyu

Mimikyu

Today’s Pokémon is something of a dark horse contender for most adorable Pokémon of generation VII.  Sure, it’s so ugly that it turns the old cliché “if looks could kill” into a grim reality, but it just wants to be loved, and the well-meaning adage “be yourself” has led it to one too many tragedies.  Horrifying as it is at first glance, it’s hard not to sympathise with it once you learn the trials and tribulations that plague Mimikyu: the Disguise Pokémon.

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Comfey

250px-764Comfey.png
Comfey

One of the most recognisable symbols of Hawaiian culture is the lei – a garland of flowers, worn around the neck on special occasions. If you’ve ever been to Hawai‘i, you might have been presented with one of these at some point; tourists love receiving lei, and Hawai‘i loves tourists. You can also see them in the stereotypical image of a traditional Hawaiian hula dancer. Lei are so well known as a distinctive element of Hawaiian ceremony and celebration that, really, it would be almost impossible for our Hawai‘i-inspired Pokémon region not to have a Pokémon that referenced them somehow. Enter: Comfey, the Posy Picker Pokémon. Continue reading “Comfey”

Ty asks:

What are your thoughts on Mr. Mime? He was always an odd Pokemon that most kids thought were weird back when Gen I was the only Gen, at least as much as I remember. Do you think that persists? Is there a reason why Mr. Mimes can be both male and female when Jynxes are only female? Would you say the addition of Fairy-type helped or hurt Mr. Mime thematically? Is there anything you would do, if you could, to empower Mr. Mime competitively?

…hmm?

What?

A- a question!?

A question!  A real proper question that isn’t from an obnoxious cartoon squid!  Get our whole research team on it, right this-

What do you mean that’s just me!?  Well, get the front-of-house staff on it, stoke the forge, advance our king’s bishop to C4, set up snipers on the roof, and someone take this guest’s coat! Continue reading “Ty asks:”

Morelull and Shiinotic

Morelull.
Morelull

Today we come to the newest iteration of mushroom Pokémon: the tall, slim-stalked, luminous Morelull and Shiinotic.  Morelull and Shiinotic have an uphill battle to make themselves unique and interesting, as the fourth set mushroom Pokémon after Paras and Parasect (interesting by reason of soulless parasitism), Shroomish and Breloom (interesting by reason of kick-boxing dinosaurs), and Foonguss and Amoonguss (interesting by reason of… um… stealing Voltorb’s schtick in a way that somehow makes even less sense).  These latest versions… well, I mean, they give it a go. Continue reading “Morelull and Shiinotic”

Cutiefly and Ribombee

Today’s Pokémon are… not bees.  We think.

Cutiefly.
Cutiefly

As their species designation – the Bee Fly Pokémon – attests, Cutiefly and Ribombee are based (in Ribombee’s case, somewhat loosely and with the addition of fairy-like traits) on bee flies.  Bee flies, as their remarkably inventive name suggests, are a family of insects within the fly order, Diptera, that pollinate flowers and look like bees, though they are usually smaller.  They are related to predatory robber flies, and despite their fuzzy appearance, most bee flies are parasites that will lay their eggs on the larvae of other insects, typically beetles or solitary bees, resulting in the slow and gruesome death of the larvae.  There are over 5000 species of bee fly around the world (because clearly the world needed that many), but the particular one referenced by Cutiefly is the adorable internet celebrity Anastoechus nitidulus, a rare species that lives only in southwest Japan, in the area around the city of Okayama.  As far as I can tell, this species is so rare, and bee flies in general are so poorly studied by entomologists, that it doesn’t even have an English name – I’ve seen them called “tiger bee flies,” which I think is an attempt to translate the Japanese name toratsuri-abu, but in English the name “tiger bee fly” ought to refer to a different species of bee fly, the larger, blacker and more sinister-looking Xenox tigrinus, which can be found throughout North America.  Thankfully, Cutiefly already represents a fully adult bee fly, so we don’t have to observe first hand the family’s parasitic tendencies; instead we see only the adults’ more palatable diet of nectar, which they harvest with their mosquito-like proboscises.  Cutiefly and Ribombee express this through their flavour text, through the Honey Gather ability they share with Combee, and through their in-game distribution in the areas in and around Alola’s Oricorio meadows.

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Poplio, Brionne and Primarina

Poplio.
Poplio

Time for Alola starter number 3: the Water-types, Poplio, Brionne and Primarina.  I have something of a history of being distressingly lukewarm on Water-type starters, whom I’ve often put in the “fine” basket with little further comment, and for a while it looked like Poplio was going to go the same way, if not worse.  I know I’m not the only one who was less than enthusiastic about Alola’s Water-type starter initially.  After all, we’re onto our fourth pinniped Pokémon now (that’s seal, sea lion and walrus Pokémon, for the uncultured masses), they’re all Water-types, and this is even the second starter among them.  But even Poplio has design elements that show a different direction to Dewgong, Walrein and Samurott, which only continue to diverge through evolution, and this has turned out to be one of those Pokémon that feels weird to me at first, but makes more sense the longer I keep looking at it. Continue reading “Poplio, Brionne and Primarina”

Anonymous asks:

Now that you’ve seen all the Alolan forms, I’ve a thought to share: the types they gave to the Alolan forms are all types that have either 0 or 1 representative among Gen I Pokémon. Think about it: Persian, Raticate, & Muk got Dark while Ninetales got Fairy (neither repped in Gen I), Sandslash & Dugtrio got Steel (only Magneton), Exeggutor got Dragon (only Dragonite), & Marowak got Ghost (only Gengar). The exceptions are Raichu (but Pikachu’s popular) & Golem, for which I got nothing. Thoughts?

There actually are Fairy-types in generation I: Jigglypuff, Clefairy and Mr. Mime (if Magneton counts, so do they).  I don’t think this says anything interesting, other than maybe that Game Freak likes type diversity.  Could be they want to give the first generation a bit more of the types that were introduced later.

vikingboybilly asks:

So there’s debate over what makes a pokémon a dragon type, or a fairy type, or even a normal type, but I’m wondering what GameFreak thinks constitutes a bug-type. At first it seems obvious, but there are anomalous outliers like anorith being bug while kabuto, krabby and corphish are not. Shuckle is a worm; I don’t think of a worm as being a bug. Skorupi loses it’s bug typing for Dark, and if a bug has a secondary typing and grows wings when it evolves, it won’t be a FLYING type.

Well, Shuckle’s not a worm; it’s labelled the “mould Pokémon” so I think it’s probably meant to be more like a slime mould, but that’s hardly a “bug” either.  I’m not sure that I have a good answer for this one.  I think probably their ideas of what “Bug-type” means are more aesthetic than biological.  Crustaceans aren’t Bug-types because they more clearly “belong” in Water.  Anorith not being Water is really odd, because the way Armaldo is portrayed, as one of the first living things to move onto land, seems like it should give a good reason for Anorith to change from Rock/Water to Rock/Bug when it evolves; I think they may have wanted to avoid Rock/Water for the second set of fossil Pokémon, though, since Kabuto and Omanyte had both been Rock/Water.  So I suppose what it seems to be, to me, is “arthropods that don’t obviously belong somewhere else,” with one or two odd extras like Shuckle, who certainly doesn’t seem to belong elsewhere either… Grass, maybe?