PokéJungle Series – Anime Gym Leaders Rated, and three speculative Galarian forms

Exciting bit of news here – I’ve joined the Pokémon fansite PokéJungle as a regular contributor! (Don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere; Pokémaniacal is still a thing.) PokéJungle covers Pokémon-related news, with a particular emphasis on rumours, speculation and purported leaks, which… you may have noticed has never been my particular cup of tea, but I respect the restraint and sobriety with which they cover material that wouldn’t make it onto the front page of serebii.net or Bulbapedia. If you’re interested in that kind of news, this is the sensible just-the-facts place to go for it. I’m one of, I think, 12ish new writers who will be helping to expand PokéJungle’s reach to every province of the Pokémon fandom – competitive battling, the trading card game, toys and merchandise, lore analysis, the anime (this is going to be my major focus), and more. If you follow this blog and enjoy my writing, then you’ll probably find something of interest from several of my new colleagues – from the first two weeks of the new regime, I’d particularly like to recommend “Radio Free Johto” by Riley, “On the Origin of Species: Galarian Weezing” by Nick, and “Bill’s Secret Garden” by Odyssean, all of which are the opening entries in series. Oh, and you’ll probably want to check out my debut, “Gym Leaders Rated: Brock,” a study of… well, of how good a gym leader Brock is in the Pokémon anime (with numerical grades, so we can directly compare him to others in Kanto as I get to them).

I’m excited for this! Not just for myself, but for the whole “project” of bringing together so many writers with such a wide variety of interests, for the variety of features we’re going to have and the collaborative possibilities. I’m not sure something like this currently exists in the Pokémon fandom. “This is,” as Professor Oak once said, “a great undertaking in Pokémon history!” So, y’know, check out some of our pieces, follow PokéJungle on Twitter or Facebook, etc; of course I’ll post something here with a link whenever one of my pieces is published, and probably include my own recommendations for anything published by another PokéJungle writer that I enjoyed.

Also, as part of the application process, all the potential writers were asked to submit a short piece on three Pokémon we’d like to see get Galarian regional forms. There’s no plans to use these for anything on the site, so I might as well share mine with you here!

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Hello from Athens!

Don’t worry, I’m not vanishing into an archaeological dig for a month; I’m just here for a week to attend a top-secret cool-kids-only seminar on ancient glass, my speciality (and, uh, take some photos of the Arch of Hadrian to catch some angles I missed the last time I was here). It’ll be a bit of a slow week on account of the program being fairly intense, but I’m still aiming to get my next Pokémon review (Celesteela) written and posted in accordance with the 10-day schedule I seem to have adopted. So, speaking of that… it seems to be working well? I’m posting things consistently (3 Ultra Beast reviews in March), I’m answering questions (14 over the course of the month), I made a ridiculous cake that people seemed to like, and… well, to be honest I don’t really know what all the numbers on my stats page mean, but the ones for March are the biggest yet, by a fairly impressive margin (more than double those for January), and we seem to be getting more people coming in through links on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, etc – so, to anyone who’s shared any of my writing over the past month, thanks, and keep doing what you’re doing! And, y’know, keep the questions coming; I know I whine about the difficult ones sometimes but interesting questions are kinda this blog’s lifeblood in a lot of ways, and I literally couldn’t do this without you.

Special thanks are due as always to my Patreon supporters, James Crooks, hugh_donnetono and Esserise, whose contributions pay for the upkeep of this WordPress site. If you enjoy my writing, want to see more of it and have exactly $US 1 too much money per month, consider clicking that link at the top of the page to browse the perks I currently have on offer for my patrons. At the moment, all proceeds will go towards upgrading my WordPress plan so the site can do more interesting and flexible things. Anyway, I should get back to doing glass stuff – until next time!

I hate Twitter

so you should all follow me on Twitter @pokemaniacal, to make it feel slightly less awful and pointless

that way you can all enjoy important and topical discussions like this:

as well as dumb random brainfarts like this:

and receive ongoing status updates on how bad my Japanese is:

Also I guess I usually tweet when I make a blog post, so if you want to be notified when that happens, this is one way to go about it.

seriously though Twitter is an awful place and you should all stay the fµ¢£ away from it if you can, but if you’re on that nightmare of a website anyway you should follow me so I can at least pretend that having an account is a net positive in my life

N asks:

I don’t get why the Pokémaniac Npc’s are called that way in the game. They seem to be as obsessed with Pokémon as anyone else in the games. What do you think is the reason they get this moniker? Pokemaniacs rise up!

This is kind of an interesting one, because in Japanese they’re not called Pokémaniacs.  They’re actually called かいじゅう(kaijū, or “monster”)マニア(mania, a transliteration of the English “maniac”).  Kaijū is also the name of the Monster egg group – the group that includes most ground-dwelling reptilian Pokémon that are not Dragons, a definition presumably influenced by the Japanese kaijū movie genre and its most famous star, Godzilla.  So they’re actually not obsessed with Pokémon per se; they’re obsessed with a particular group of Pokémon, almost always use Pokémon from that group and, starting in generation III, regularly cosplay as Pokémon from that group (they also tend to hang out in very out-of-the-way places, often in caves).  Of course, when the first Pokémon games were translated into English back in 1998, we didn’t have egg groups yet because the breeding mechanics were only introduced in generation II (released in Japan in 1999).  So some poor translator, who’d been told that “Pokémon” derives from the English “Pocket Monster,” probably read kaijū mania literally as “monster maniac,” thought “oh, this means someone obsessed with Pocket Monsters” and decided that “Pokémaniac” sounded better in English.  It wouldn’t have helped that the first two generations’ Pokémaniac sprites (see my avatar at the top of the page) look more like mad scientists than cosplayers.  Of course, I’ve only been learning Japanese for about six weeks, and I’ve been writing under the name “Pokémaniac Chris” on a blog called “Pokémaniacal” with a generation II Pokémaniac as my avatar for eight years, so there’s an argument I might have missed the window to back out on that one.  And anyway, to me, my Pokémaniac avatar represents the heart and soul of what this blog ought to be: pointing boldly forward into the unknown, with a wild-eyed grin, Pokéball at the ready, and a billowing cape just to add that subtle touch of “escaped cultist.”

pokemaniacal maniac asks:

fwiw i really really love the first half of the pokemon reviews. I would read entire books about what you had to say lore and inspiration-wise on pretty much every pokemon. i dont play competitively, so the second half is always Just Info to me, but even that has helped me understand the meta as it is, which is also interesting! personally, i would rank the reviews as my favorite thing (and like you said, the sheer scope and the worldbuilding analysis you extrapolate from the pokemon themselves should make you proud) and your If I Ran The Zoo type stuff my second favorite. this is long and rambling but i just have been a long time fan and youre a bright spot on a dark internet and thanks!

[This submission is a response to this]

That’s actually really helpful feedback; thanks!  After frankly kind of flubbing generation VII (due in part to unavoidable real-life circumstances, but also due to mismanagement on my part) I want to revise my approach to generation VIII.  The first thing is that I don’t think I should write a full narrative-based playthrough journal the way I did for White 2, X and Moon – because that’s fun, and I know a lot of people did enjoy them, but it takes so long, and I think the Pokémon reviews ought to be the highest priority.  It would be better, I think, to start those within a month or two of release.  And then the reviews themselves I think have become too expansive, and don’t play to my strengths.  If I could cut down the competitive stuff (there are better places to go on the internet for that kind of advice; no one needs me for that), and limit that side to just discussion of signature moves and abilities, or moves that cast a particularly interesting light on a Pokémon’s character design, then that, I think, would be a worthwhile economy to pursue.  I really want to commit to making sure that this blog’s future includes more of the theoretically dense worldbuilding and games-as-storytelling stuff that inspired “If I Were In Charge,” so trying to slim down the Pokémon reviews and “get them out of the way” is probably a good idea, as long as I can keep the parts of them that my readers value.

Patreon milestone reached!

Just wanted to make a quick announcement: thanks to my first three Patreon supporters, we have reached our first (admittedly modest) funding goal: breaking even on the $5/month cost of hosting the blog on WordPress! Having apparently chosen just the right moment to jump ship from the godawful $#!tstorm that Tumblr, deep down, has really always been but has only now allowed itself to fully become, it’s fantastic to have secured the continued maintenance of the site for the future. It’s a great start for the first couple of weeks – so thank you to my patrons!

My next Patreon goal is to hit $10 per month. This is roughly the cost of a WordPress Premium plan, which (among other sundry minor features) will let me customise the site a bit more with CSS editing. Frankly I’m not sure why CSS editing is a premium feature, but it’s necessary for pretty much any meaningful deviation from the basic site themes offered by WordPress. There are loftier goals as well, but one thing at a time.

If this is something you might be interested in being a part of, then please consider becoming a Pokémaniacal Patreon supporter (see the site navigation links below the header). Patrons get special perks based on their level of contribution – from voting on my next projects to behind-the-scenes access to the work that Jim the Editor and I put into all my posts – and tiers start at just US$1 per month.

Anyway, that’s enough of that – we now return you to your regularly scheduled nonsense.

The Twitter’s Back

So, Jim the Editor has reminded me that I have a Twitter account, @pokemaniacal, which I was sort of hoping he would never do because I’m very bad at Twitter and I hate it. I tried to actually tweet things for a few months back in 2012, then gave up and just set it to tweet links whenever I posted something to Tumblr, and even that apparently stopped in early 2016 (presumably because Tumblr broke something, #fucktumblr). But I’m gonna give it another go, since I’m in a sort of rebranding phase with the new website and the Patreon page and everything, and maybe I can #engage my #followers by joining the #conversation (#hashtag #pleasekillme). So if you want to get notifications when I post something, or just hear whatever dumb brainfarts I decide to post there, go check it out.