Pikachu

Pikachu

Somehow, after writing on this blog for nearly 10 years(!!!) and having reviews of individual Pokémon be a pretty big part of my schtick, I’ve never actually talked in depth about Pikachu – the beloved mascot, the one Pokémon everyone knows, even people who have never played a Pokémon game or seen an episode of the TV show; heck, I’d wager there are people who don’t even know what a Pokémon is who’d recognise Pikachu.  But no more, for I have been commanded by the mysterious cloaked figures of my Dark Council to write next about the most famous Pokémon of all.  So… what exactly is Pikachu’s deal, anyway?  Where did it come from, and what makes the design so effective?  Whence Pikachu?  Read on, as we delve into the history of Pokémon’s favourite child.

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Staryu and Starmie

Staryu.

The Dark Forces from Parts Unknown whose occult powers sustain my life and strength have anointed new emissaries to convey their terrible will!  By which I mean, I have two new Patreon supporters pledging $12/month, the amount required to bribe your way onto my Dark Council.  The Dark Council can vote once a month on any topic (I mean, I assume Pokémon-related, but strictly speaking I suppose it doesn’t have to be) for me to write about at length, and this month I’m writing on the suggestion of Miame Irohara (thank you so much for your support!) whom I have named my new Chancellor of Fate.  By the authority vested in the Council, she has requested that I write about her favourite generation I Pokémon (and some of mine as well): Staryu and Starmie.

This is actually pleasantly topical, since Staryu and Starmie are among the Pokémon who weren’t previously in Sword and Shield but have become available in the Isle of Armour expansion (reminder: even if you haven’t bought the expansion, you can still trade for Staryu, or transfer it from an earlier game via Pokémon Home), and as any veteran trainer knows, they are some seriously kickass Pokémon.  If you’ve never had the pleasure of training one, maybe give this article a read, pick one up and take it for a spin (…literally).  But first, let’s talk about starfish.

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A Pokémon Trainer is You! IV: Get Going, Kid!

Last time, on A Pokémon Trainer Is You:

How do you approach your first battle?
– Play it safe and wear them out with Leech Seed

You’re pretty confident you know all the angles here.  You and whatshisname are both using Pokémon you just met, and won’t be able to try any funny business.  Squirtle is tougher than Bulbasaur thanks to its shell that it can hide inside at will, so if they have any sense they’ll try to outlast your Grass attacks and then counterattack with a shell slam or something.  But there’s an easy way to keep that from working…

At your order, the bulb on your Pokémon’s back pulses and fires a single glowing yellow seed that arcs through the air towards Squirtle.  The turtle Pokémon reacts instantly by dropping to the floor and pulling its head and all its limbs into its shell, quick as you can blink, but that won’t stop a Leech Seed.  It hits Squirtle’s shell, sticks, and immediately sprouts a web of green that grows with supernatural speed, climbing around and into the shell.  The other guy is pretty shaken; you don’t think he’s actually seen this attack before.  He manages to call counterattacks, and Squirtle is able to fire Bubbles that knock your Bulbasaur off its feet, but it’s no good.  Water attacks deal only superficial damage to Grass-types, the Leech Seed is gradually sapping Squirtle’s strength, and all Bulbasaur has to do is use its vines to parry attacks and occasionally lash out whenever Squirtle emerges from its shell for too long.  Eventually, Squirtle sinks to its knees, too weak to go on attacking, and Professor Oak calls an end to the battle.

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Anonymous asks:

Is it me, or does it seem like the Kanto-Johto superregion hold a lot of influence over the rest of the Pokémon world? Like, Poké Balls started in Johto, then modernized, industrialized, and commercialized by Silph Co. in Kanto (who also made the Master Ball). The Kanto and Johto Professors created the Pokédex and discovered Pokémon Eggs, respectively. The PC system was first invented by a Johto guy who also works in Kanto. What’s going on here, from an in-universe perspective?

I’m hesitant to assign too much importance to something that has a really obvious real-world explanation – i.e. those regions were first, and in Pokémon’s early days there was no certainty that there ever would be other regions, so we find explanations for a lot of important core concepts there.  Also, like, Bill gets a lot of the credit, but every other region has a tech expert who’s supposed to have worked on the PC storage system with him.  Pokéballs… well, there are regions that still don’t use them, right?  Like Fiore, and Almia.  And Pokémon training predates Pokéballs, probably by quite a bit.  Wherever the first ones were used (which I agree is probably Johto, though I don’t think that’s ever actually been confirmed officially), the convenience of the new technology probably caused it to spread very quickly, with little deliberate drive from the creators, and the lifestyles and ways of Pokémon training associated with the technology would have spread too.  Pokémon trainers of the world might have been a much more diverse bunch before Pokéballs were introduced.

Anonymous asks:

Explain Diglett’s Cave to me.

Well, it’s… a cave.  There are Diglett and Dugtrio in it.  I think it’s at least implied (or possibly stated somewhere; I don’t remember) that they dug the cave, and it’s not entirely clear why they might have done that.  The anime portrays Diglett as being surprisingly organised, and having a long-term plan for managing the landscape in order to maintain and enhance the habitats of other species of Pokémon, so I’m prepared to believe that they could have coordinated on that scale, but I’m lost on why.  It could have been part of an agreement with ancient humans, considering that Pokémon other than Diglett don’t seem to use it.