kyurem asks:

did you notice that in gen 7 mega evolution was quietly retconned from an emotional bond-based transformation to being more of an energy-fueled mutation and generally a cruel thing to do to a pokemon? the SM and USUM pokedex entries for mega evos are pretty much all about how much pain the pokemon is in, how it’s been mutated into a grotesque form that distresses it, how it hates being in that form, etc. and none of them are positive or mention the pokemon’s bond with the trainer

Well… I’m looking through the Pokédex entries and I think it’s a bit more ambiguous than that.  There are several Pokémon for whom this seems like a fair description of the Pokédex text on their Mega Evolved forms, but they’re certainly not a majority, and there are also two Mega Evolved Pokémon who explicitly like their new forms: Mega Slowbro is said to be “pretty comfortable” ensconced inside Shellder, while Mega Pinsir supposedly never touches the ground because it’s overcome with happiness at being able to fly.  There are two more that explicitly cite the importance of the Pokémon’s bond with its trainer (Mega Charizard Y and Mega Gyarados).  I think that pretty well rules out any general statement about what Mega Evolution is like for all Pokémon; it affects each of them differently (which, well, makes sense).  But there are also those more disturbing entries referencing things like “sharp pain and suffering” or body parts becoming “misshapen.”  I think in most of these cases it’s relevant that the Pokémon involved are… well, let’s just say they’re not necessarily Pokémon you’d want at a child’s birthday party.  Mega Evolution is – in my opinion – an exaggeration of everything distinctive about a Pokémon.  Whatever a Pokémon already does, Mega Evolution turns it up to eleven.  I don’t think they were designed with the intention that they should be proper viable organisms in their own right; they’re ridiculous overpowered battle modes that are supposed to be assumed for minutes at a time, at the very most.  It sort of makes sense that they should often be quite stressful.  Furthermore, if you have a Pokémon already known for viciousness or destructiveness… well, let’s see what happens, starting from the ones that aren’t particularly objectionable.

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Anonymous:

If you were to make a themed team for Cynthia, what would you give her? Feel free to interpret any particular theme you feel is appropriate for her, and you can use Pokémon from any region you want, but you MUST keep her Garchomp.

Ehhhhhhmmmmm.  Cynthia likes mythical things and ancient mysteries and such.  Garchomp probably isn’t a Pokémon I would have chosen for that theme, given the option, but it is a big dragon, and dragons are magic, so close enough.  A lot of her other Pokémon already do have an appropriately mystic feel – Spiritomb, Lucario, Milotic… Roserade doesn’t fit; the Gastrodon she uses on Diamond and Pearl certainly doesn’t fit, though the Togekiss she replaces it with on Platinum is a bit better.  I would in principle want to replace them both with Pokémon that exist in Sinnoh.  I rather like Bronzong, which has the disadvantage of being Lucian’s signature Pokémon in Diamond and Pearl, but is workable if we just switch it out for Gallade on Lucian’s team (which is actually what happens in Platinum).  I’m tempted to go with a second Ghost- or Dark-type for the final slot… maybe Froslass, or Absol.

Incidentally,

I saw this on Pokémemes today, under the title “Technology Lent to More Design.”

The artist may have been trying to make a point, but I’m not entirely sure what it was.  Purely because it was on Pokémemes, I initially assumed it was an attempt to prove the superiority of either the first or the fourth generation as compared to the other, but if so it’s not clear which one the artist favours, so I’ve decided that this is unlikely.

As the picture illustrates, the newer designs are generally more detailed; the older ones are more likely to have large plain areas of block colour without ornamentation or patterning (broadly speaking – you might get the opposite impression by comparing, say, Jynx and Abomasnow).  Personally, this is something I like about the newer designs – I think, on balance, that I prefer the original Garchomp to this redesign, but I feel there’s a lot to be said for this Charizard (though I don’t like the way the flame’s been done; it looks more like a bristly tail than fire, which fits when you see that style of flame on, say, Emboar or Typhlosion, but not on Charizard).  I think the thing to take away from this, though, is that they both work.  There’s more than one way to interpret a design concept, and some people are going to like one way of doing it, and some people another.

What do you think?

– Do you like your Pokémon clean and simple, or detailed and elaborate?
– What are the advantages and disadvantages of these two extremes?
– Has the artist still managed to capture ‘Garchomp’ with this different aesthetic?
– How about Charizard?
– And what the hell is the title “Technology Lent to More Design” supposed to mean, anyway?