Anonymous asks:

Are you going to talk about the final two episodes Pokémon Generations at any point? I already have an idea as to how you might like them…

…the final two episodes of what now?

…oh f#%& that’s right I was doing that whole thing

and then I started playing Moon version and forgot about it

uh

Let’s give ‘em a paragraph each now! Continue reading “Anonymous asks:”

Flabébé, Floette and Florges

Official art of Flabébé by Ken Sugimori.

Okay, I’m just going to come out and say it: I have no idea how to pronounce this Pokémon’s name.  Under standard French orthography, Florges would be pronounced… Florj?  That doesn’t sound right.  Florjé?  Florjéz?  Florjis?  Florghés?  I don’t know; just imagine me mispronouncing it in the most ludicrous way you can think of whenever I type the name.  Flogress…  Florgos…  Florg…

Anyway.  Flabébé.  When I first met this Pokémon I assumed she was a Grass/Fairy dual-type, which I don’t think is unreasonable given the dominance of flowers in her design and their importance to her lifestyle.  Actually, I still have trouble believing she’s not a Grass-type, seeing as most of her level-up moves are Grass attacks, and her offensive movepool certainly seems to have fallen prey to the curse of Grass-Types Don’t Get Nice Things.  Flabébé, Floette and Florges probably come closest to emulating Xerneas’ conception of the Fairy type, which sees them as guardians of nature and nurturers of life, but in this case specifically of flowering plants.  Flabébé and Floette possess symbiotic relationships with single flowers, which they keep for their entire lives, presumably using their Fairy powers to keep them from wilting and dying.  There’s a minor little gimmick here which is not particularly interesting but deserves to be mentioned; their flowers come in different colours – red, white, orange, yellow, and blue – with certain colours being more or less common in different flower beds, Flabébé’s natural habitat.  The colour carries through when she evolves into Floette, and then Florges.  All three stages are said to draw energy from blooming flowers specifically, which may be the key to why they’re not Grass-types, thematically speaking; their powers are drawn not from plants as such, but from the beauty of plants, flowers in particular, and may be related to the symbolic meanings of different types of flowers.  I’m not sure whether beauty and the appreciation of beauty are attributes of the Fairy type, but they certainly wouldn’t be inconsistent with it, so perhaps that’s what Flabébé gets out of the deal.  Or at least, that’s the spin I’d put on it if I were Game Freak.

 Floette.

Florges becomes something quite rare and interesting – a Pokémon who actually manipulates terrain type, creating beautiful flower gardens for her territory, and even being invited by humans to do the same for grand estates and castles.  Notice the verb, “invite,” which is exactly what the Pokédex says; what’s happening here is being glossed in very different terms to a trainer/Pokémon relationship.  It seems like we’re being told about wild Florges being asked (contracted, even?) to perform specific services for human nobles, possibly before the invention of Pokéballs (“in times long past”).  One might ask what the Florges gets out of it, and the simplest answer seems to be that she would be permitted to live in the garden indefinitely, providing her and any family members with a long-term home that would be isolated from most predators – this makes sense with the idea that Florges are “invited;” they normally want to create gardens anyway, independent of any human incentive, and there is a mutual benefit to having them do it in a specific place.  My over-active imagination, however, can’t help but wander to the idea of particularly skilled and powerful Florges gaining a reputation for truly fantastical flower gardens and travelling from one great estate to another in order to practice her art and receive pampering, adulation and luxuries in return (I am rather fond of the idea of Pokémon just doing their own thing in the world of humans).  Either of these views of Florges is particularly appropriate to Kalos, with its major background theme of the excessive wealth and luxury of the old aristocracy that alludes to the proverbial decadence of the French ancien régime.  This Pokémon, to me, represents what Kalos itself is all about: precise, studied expressions of elegance that nurture and exalt natural beauty through the imposition of order.

 AZ's Floette, the Eternal Flower.  In addition to her unusual flower, this Floette is also shiny (note the purple body).

Given that, perhaps it’s fitting that one particular Floette gets to play a critical role in the backstory of X and Y: AZ’s Floette, instantly recognisable by her unique black tulip-like flower whose shape seems to have provided the model for AZ’s Ultimate Weapon.  This Floette, who answers to “The Eternal Flower,” fought and died for AZ in the war against his brother and was subsequently resurrected, at the cost of several hundred other Pokémon’s lives, using the Ultimate Weapon.  This puts her right at the centre of the game’s primary conflict of change and stasis (AZ’s refusal to let go of what he had lost eventually brought ruin to Kalos), which also has relevance to Floette’s nature as a Pokémon who preserves and enhances beauty through order.  What AZ did, and what Lysandre wanted to do, are ultimately an extension of what Flabébé, Floette and Florges do throughout their lives: preventing what is beautiful about the world from fading and dying.  As always in Pokémon, the villains are villains because they take it too far, and because they believe that the ends justify the means – something Floette cannot accept, which is why she abandons AZ.  We know from those talented people who specialise in hacking Pokémon games that AZ’s Floette likely to be available to players at some point through an event, because she has her own stats, completely different to a regular Floette or Florges’ – she’s a fast special attacker – and even her own signature move: Light of Ruin.  This move seems to be, effectively, a special Fairy-type equivalent to Head Smash (complete with that painful 50% recoil), and narrowly edges out Xerneas’ Fairy Aura-boosted Moonblast as the most powerful Fairy attack in the game.  It seems likely that this move draws on whatever power was imparted to Floette by the Ultimate Weapon to make her immortal, a power encompassing both life and death – the heavy cost of using it serves as an ever-present reminder that the weapon has always been a double-edged sword.

 Florges.

A normal, fully-evolved Florges is a very different Pokémon to AZ’s Floette.  Her greatest strength, instead, is her monumental special defence.  Being a pure Fairy-type doesn’t hurt either, since they have a pretty cushy deal with three resistances and an immunity (to, need I remind you, Dragon) against only two weaknesses.  Her HP and physical defence are relatively poor, though, so either invest heavily in both or keep her far away from physical attackers; this fair maiden is without question a special wall and a supporter.  Florges seems designed to function best in double or triple battles, with two unique abilities and a very rare move which all benefit her allies – if she actually were a Grass-type, two of them would benefit her as well and make her much stronger, but she’s not and they don’t.  First, the move: Flower Shield raises the defence of all Grass Pokémon in play, meaning it’s useless in a single battle, and even in a triple battle with two Grass-type allies (which is just asking for a Sludge Wave to the face) it’s questionable.  This technique really makes a lot more sense on Cherrim, who also learns it.  Florges’ first ability, Flower Veil, is likewise nothing special; it prevents allied Grass Pokémon from having their stats lowered, which basically amounts to granting an ally the Clear Body ability (and before you ask, no, it doesn’t negate Leaf Storm recoil).  I really have to question whether it would have been so bad to let Florges benefit from this as well.  The hidden ability – Symbiosis – may actually be interesting.  Again, it can only be useful in a double or triple battle: if one of Florges’ allies consumes an item (including through the use of Fling or Natural Gift), she will pass her own item to that Pokémon instead.  Being able to transfer items to a partner without spending a moveslot and a turn on something like Trick or Bestow is such a unique thing to be able to do that it seems like it would have to be useful somehow, but I’m at a loss as to how exactly that might be.  Perhaps using a Toxic Orb to activate Poison Heal on Gliscor, Flinging it away, and then replacing it with a Life Orb?  Or something similar to get Leftovers on a Guts Pokémon to help compensate for burn damage?  Once elemental Gems are available on X and Y, maybe they could be combined with Choice Specs or a Choice Band for a single, enormously powerful attack (since the Gem is consumed before the attack, and the new item is transferred immediately)?  I leave this as a puzzle for those more ingenious than myself.

 Florges' other colours - orange, yellow, blue and white - on parade.

While Florges’ special attack pales in comparison to her special defence, it’s actually really high as well.  She also gets a strong offensive type and a powerful primary attack, Moonblast, which will leave a hell of a sting on anything that takes her for set-up bait.  There’s even the option of Calm Mind if you want to make a bulky attacker-style Florges.  Unfortunately, other than Moonblast her offensive movepool is awful.  She only learns Grass attacks, which do almost nothing to supplement Fairy attacks (all the types that resist Fairy resist Grass as well), and Psychic, which is at least good for Poison-types.  It’s pretty clear that Florges isn’t supposed to be an attacker anyway, so consider Psychic, but focus mainly on her support skills – she has plenty to choose from.  Wish and Aromatherapy can be used to heal the team of both regular injuries and status ailments (you’ll need train Florges’ HP heavily to get the most out of Wish, but you should probably do that anyway).  She learns both Grassy Terrain and Misty Terrain, the new Grass- and Fairy-themed field moves, both of which are fairly exclusive (and she happens to be the only non-Grass-type to learn Grassy Terrain).  Light Screen rounds out her options – Florges herself would benefit much more from Reflect, which she doesn’t get, but team support is always good.  I’d hesitate to call her a great support Pokémon, but she can take most any special attack that isn’t super-effective and some that are, hit back with a very strong attack that relatively few Pokémon resist, and heal the team while she’s out.  Although her abilities may be useless in a single battle (and not even all that exciting in doubles, to be honest), she has everything she needs to contribute to her team.

Florges has her shortcomings, but she’s good at what she does, and I think the important thing about this line is that they can, in a way, be seen as mascots for the entire Kalos region.  What they do and what they value in their regular lives have special significance in the context of the plot of X and Y, making Floette a perfect choice for the starring role she has in AZ’s story.  I might still think they would make more sense as Grass-types, and I might wish they had an ability choice that’s actually useful in a single battle, but I wish for things I can’t have for almost every Pokémon.  This one (as anime Bonnie would say) is a keeper.

Reconciliation

Professor Sycamore has organised a parade.

I learn this from Diantha as she enters me and my Pokémon in the Hall of Fame.  This must be the ‘surprise’ he mentioned preparing when we last met in Couriway Town.  Well, what better way to announce my newfound supremacy to the peasants of Kalos?  When we arrive in Lumiose City, vast crowds are lining the main boulevards, cheering for the ‘defenders of Kalos.’  A red carpet has been laid out for me and my rivals, leading to a shining white stage where Professor Sycamore is waiting.  He delivers some saccharine bit of oratory about the wonder of our achievements in defeating Team Flare, for which the crowd goes wild, of course, and presents me (and only me, I note with approval) with a red, white and blue medal: the Honour of Kalos.  Sycamore’s influence never ceases to amaze.  As far as I can tell, he has closed down several major Lumiose City streets, convinced several thousand people to show up for the parade, and arranged for me to be awarded a prestigious national honour, pretty much on a whim.  I remember why I’m here, and prepare to launch into a speech of my own, but the words freeze in my throat.  There is someone else on the red carpet.  AZ.  “Battle me,” he requests.  “I want to know what a ‘trainer’ is.”  I respectfully submit to him that it’s really not that difficult a concept, but agree anyway.  What’s the harm?  I wasn’t aware AZ even had any Pokémon, having lost his partner so long ago, but apparently he’s actually quite powerful, with a high-level Torkoal, Golurk and Sigilyph (sensible choices, in his position – Torkoal are very long-lived, while Golurk and Sigilyph, I suspect, are biologically immortal).  Of course, I just defeated the Champion, and although AZ has millennia of experience, he’s a little worse for wear.  My Pokémon overcome his with little difficulty.  He seems satisfied though, and smiles for the first time since I met him, saying that the delight of our battle has finally allowed him to overcome the sorrow of his terrible crimes.  Well, fair enough.  Three thousand years is an awfully long time to regret something.  There is sudden a flash of light in the sky, above AZ’s head, and something floats down towards him.  I squint against the sunlight, and the vague shape slowly resolves into a diminutive humanoid, holding an elaborate staff, or… a flower.  AZ’s eyes widen as he recognises his Floette descending on the wind.  She comes to rest in his outstretched hands and smiles at him, and before the eyes of the whole city, the ancient king begins to weep with joy.  Professor Sycamore waxes lyrical about how returning AZ to his old self made his partner come back to him, and the crowd cheers.  Well.  So much for my parade.  Upstaged by a hobo and a halfway-evolved Fairy Pokémon… sometimes I wonder whether this region deserves the glory of my conquest…

As the parade disperses, I wander around Lumiose City for a while.  I am kicked out of a sushi restaurant for being a ‘greenhorn’ and told to come back when I’m a ‘high roller.’  I vow to destroy them and ban sushi in my empire.  I instead exploit my newfound Champion status to have dinner at the acclaimed and highly exclusive Restaurant Le Wow, which reminds me why I have always found Kalosian cuisine utterly terrifying, even if it is considered a national treasure.  I run into Professor Sycamore, who gives me a pass for the train to sunny Kiloude City, which is Lyon.  Lyon houses the regional elite battle facility, the Battle Maison, which is run by four sisters known as the Battle Chateleines, responsible for single, double, triple and rotation battles, respectively.  It works much like the Battle Tower or Subway, but streamlined – you earn battle points after every battle (thank the gods – earning enough points in the Battle Subway to do almost anything worthwhile had come to be such a chore), and can take a break at any time, rather than having to complete a series of seven matches.  I note these little courtesies with approval, and spend an afternoon there, earning the notice of the youngest Chateleine, Nita, and defeating her in an introductory battle.  The city is also home to a curious little area called the Friend Safari – given how late I am to the party, my readers are doubtless all familiar with the wonders of this attraction already, but an explanation cannot hurt.  The Friend Safari is a checkerboard of paddocks where wild Pokémon can be battled and captured – one area for every friend you have registered, each with two or three different species of wild Pokémon, some of whom (if the locals are to be believed) may have their Dream World abilities.  If you’ve bothered to read this much of my inane prattle, then you are surely a loyal minion, and worthy of my ‘friendship,’ if so it can be called, and so my code is as follows: 2036-6563-2537 (I have no idea what my Friend Safari area contains, but doubtless someone will tell us all in the comments).

Serena challenges me to a battle once again, promising me I’m in for a surprise – and I am!  Not only does she now have six Pokémon, she’s been working hard, and their levels are even higher than mine!  I have Orion use Calm Mind to boost up against her Meowstic and knock it out with a Shadow Ball, before coming face to face with a Clefable.  Fighting back my instinct to whack it with an Aura Sphere, I use Shadow Ball again, but its almighty fatness is too much; it survives with more than half of its health remaining (albeit with a special defence penalty) and finishes Orion with Focus Blast.  I have Xerneas wrap things up with a Moonblast, and then decide to go for a Geomancy against Serena’s Jolteon.  Her second Thunder attack misses, and I find myself in a very happy position indeed.  Even Serena’s mighty Delphox, with its resistance to most of Xerneas’ attacks, cannot stop his Moonblasts, and Altaria finds itself similarly imperilled.  Finally, out comes Absol, and- what’s this?  Serena has a Digivice!  Her Absol explodes with light and sprouts angelic wings – before being blown away rather anticlimactically by another Moonblast.  Evidently Mega Absol doesn’t gain anything that confers resistance to Fairy attacks.  I sigh.   It’s been a long time since I’ve seriously used a legendary Pokémon – I’d forgotten how dramatically they tip the balance of battles.  For the first time, I feel a little bit unsporting about crushing Serena with every ounce of my power; she has clearly been training a great deal.  She doesn’t let this get her down, though; in fact, she even hands over a spare Absolite she found.  “Maybe it will help show Lysandre there’s something to be hopeful for.”  Okay, so we’re definitely saying he’s alive, then?  That’s definitely what’s going on here?  She declines to expand on her statement, simply informing me that Professor Sycamore is in Anistar City and wants to talk to me about my Digivice.  Well, much as Anistar City unsettles me, with its illusionary Gym and impossible sea, this is probably important… I stop by the Kiloude Pokémon Centre, retrieve Tereus, and fly there at once.

I find Sycamore waiting for me in front of the Anistar Sundial.  He has some exposition for me: after further study, he has come to believe that the Mega Stones were created by the light of the Ultimate Weapon when it was first used, three thousand years ago, and may have been evolutionary stones originally, that have taken on their new powers by being irradiated with Xerneas’ energy.  The mysterious sundial crystal has some relationship to the stones as well, but he doesn’t quite understand what yet.  Due to my experiences in Geosenge Town and subsequent attunement to Xerneas, I should possess some of the same energy – which will do something interesting if I touch the sundial.  Without hesitation, I reach out with the arm I wear my Digivice on.  There is a flash of brilliant light, and Sycamore gives a satisfied smile.  My Digivice has been upgraded, he tells me, and can now sense buried Mega Stones – but only for an hour each day, while the sundial is glowing with the light of the setting sun.  I shrug.  I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth – power is power, restricted or no.  Professor Sycamore leaves me to my thoughts.  A bit listless now, I fly back to Lumiose City for another look around… and immediately get a call on my holo-caster.  Someone wants to meet me.

Ridiculous quote log:

“Meow, meow, I can haz battle, meow? (Ugh, I really sound like a fool, don’t I?)”
…are we really going there?  Really? (And yes, yes you do.)

“We begin with a vintage 3000-year-old Rare Bone, boiled for 100 days in pristine snow melted from Kalos’s fine Frost Cavern.”
…uh… look, not to sound ungrateful, but I really don’t want to eat that… and… hey, where the hell did you even get a 3000-year-old Rare Bone?  There is no way this is legal.

“…a pristinely prepared item in a light velouté sauce harvested from-”
Look, sorry, I’m going to cut you off right there – item?  I am not taking one bite of this until you tell me what the hell you just served me!

Into the West

Well, Kore the Floette has been replaced by Daphne the shiny Floette (named for a nymph who turned into a tree as an excuse to get out of a date with the god Apollo) – clearly a superior choice in every way imaginable by virtue of her shininess.  Nothing else of great interest happened during my training program, though.  Once I am satisfied that my off-duty Pokémon have learned enough, I move on to check out the Battle Château, a magnificent old castle straddling what I’m still pretty sure is the Loire River. 

The Battle Château
Continue reading “Into the West”