Chronos asks:

So, do you have any thoughts on some of the more “loose” interpretations of moves in the new Pokemon Unite? For example Defense Curl, Hex and the three different Surfs?

I haven’t actually looked at Unite.  I don’t really enjoy MOBAs as a genre; I kinda find the design of character abilities interesting from an abstract perspective and I can see why people like them, but the fast-paced team combat just doesn’t play to the things I enjoy about games or have any aptitude with.  So, yeah, I haven’t looked at it.  I was thinking maybe I should, specifically so I can talk about this kind of thing with reference to the portrayals of specific Pokémon across different media, but I doubt I’m going to get really into it.

The other thing on my mind at the moment is that I’m hearing Pokémon Unite is extremely microtransaction-heavy, even more so than Pokémon Go or anything else in the franchise.  Which… well, given that Pokémon (even though it now has a lot of adult fans) has always consciously marketed itself as being for preteen children and still makes a lot of major decisions from that perspective… seems a little bit on the evil side, and maybe represents something that I shouldn’t be giving oxygen to?  I dunno; I am willing to be guided by my readers on this.

Name asks:

Lore-wise, how is aura sphere a fighting type move if other pokemon besides Lucario (Togekiss, Clawitzer, Zeraora to name a few) can also learn it? And why is aura wheel electric?

Well, Aura Wheel is a different thing from Aura Sphere, because if you go back to the original Japanese, the “Aura” of Aura Wheel is オーラ, ōra – just the English word “aura” written in katakana. This is, I have to assume, a reference to the new-age/pseudoscience concept of auras, visible, colourful energy fields that represent your personality or mood (which is why Aura Wheel changes type according to Morpeko’s mood).  The “Aura” of Aura Sphere, also mentioned in Lucario’s flavour text, is はどう/波動, hadou, which means something like “wave energy” (see also the classic Street Fighter move Hadouken, or “Wave Motion Fist”).  Despite the English translations, the two are completely unrelated.

As for the other Pokémon that learn Aura Sphere – the move is supposed to represent, basically, weaponised spiritual energy (it’s… well, it’s a Dragonball Z ki blast; there’s no other way to put it).  Lucario gets it because of the mastery of spirit produced by intense martial arts training.  Other than Fighting-types, it’s primarily learned by Pokémon with what you might think of as “strong souls”; Togekiss, Mewtwo, the Sinnoh space-time trio, Magearna.  Clawitzer and Blastoise, on the other hand, get it because of their Mega Launcher ability, which powers up things with hadou in their Japanese names (the “Pulse” moves).

Anonymous asks:

Any idea why Bug Bite doesn’t get a boost from Strong Jaw? Considering the multitude of real life bugs with devastating bites, it seems only natural that there should be Bug-types with Strong Jaw that uses Bug Bite as its primary attack… How cool would a Bug/Fire ant Pokémon with Strong Jaw-boosted Bug Bite and Fire Fang be?!

Well, I expect it’s for much the same reason as Sucker Punch isn’t boosted by Iron Fist – in Japanese the move’s name doesn’t literally refer to a bite.  Bulbapedia translates the move’s name – むしくい – as “Bug Bite,” but when I plug those characters into Google Translate it offers me either “Furious” or “Moth” so who knows.  What we call a bug “bite” in English is very often not a literal bite but more of a stinging or piercing action so I could very easily see this being one that doesn’t apply across languages (in French the move is called Piqûre – “Sting”).

EDIT: Of course it is true that the move’s effect (consuming an opponent’s berry) points to a literal “bite” of some description, but it would also be fair to note that a lot of insects don’t really have “jaws” in the vertebrate sense.

batabid asks:

What’s your explanation for how the move Trick-or-Treat works?

Hmm.  Well, when you go Trick-or-Treat-ing, you “become” a ghost, or monster, or whatever, for a little while.  You take a little journey into the spirit world, and gain new perspectives on the natural and the supernatural.  Pumpkaboo is a Jack-o’-lantern, a light that guides souls through the spirit world, so it makes sense it would be able to get other Pokémon to follow it on that sort of escapade.  Once you go along with that, you have some of the properties of a spirit yourself, including immunities and vulnerabilities.

vikingboybilly asks:

Timburr should learn wood hammer.

Should he, though?  By the time Timburr reaches a level where a move as powerful as Wood Hammer becomes remotely reasonable, he’s not Timburr anymore.  It makes sense for Timburr, sure, but in practice what we’re actually saying is “let’s give Conkeldurr Wood Hammer,” and… I don’t think there’s any good reason for that?

EDIT: Pansexualkiba adds: There are some Pokemon who have access to moves in their base form that their evolutions can’t get, though! Like, for example, Riolu and Force Palm or Nidorina and Poison Fang.
To which I would answer: absolutely true, but so what?  Those are moves that still make perfect sense for Lucario and Nidoqueen.
Conkeldurr getting Wood Hammer would hardly be the stupidest thing we’ve ever seen in terms of move compatibility, but I think that not giving it to him is perfectly understandable.

Anonymous asks:

A lot of pokemon seem not to get moves that would seem to fit them perfectly, because “they would be too good with them.” For example, snorlax doesn’t get slack off. Giratina, the god of the distortion world, doesn’t get trick room. Zekrom, who literally shakes the ground when sent out, can’t learn earthquake. And several explicitly evil pokemon, like chandelure, can’t learn nasty plot. There are several more, but these annoy me the most. But I understand the game needs to be balanced. Thoughts?

I don’t think that is the reason, to be honest.  I mean, if preventing Pokémon from being “too good” was ever a matter of even the slightest concern for Game Freak, then making Giratina and Zekrom available to players in the first place was their mistake, not any specific item in their respective movepools.  Even if they’d given Zekrom Earthquake, Reshiram would still have been even stronger because Dragon/Fire is just such a potent combination under 5th-generation rules (i.e. with no Fairy-types).  I’m much more inclined to suspect some obscure flavour-related reason for these absences – like, Snorlax is literally always slacking off anyway, so he really shouldn’t expect to get any special bonus for doing so more than usual.  Or perhaps they were simply oversights; it simply didn’t occur to the designers to stick Nasty Plot on Chandelure for some reason (I mean, when we think about this stuff we tend only to give any thought to the 5 or 10% of all moves that are useful at the competitive level; they presumably give consideration to the whole lot, so you can see how they might forget things that seem like obvious choices to us).  Either way, eh.  I have a saying: Pokémon should be good at the things they’re good at.  If it makes sense, let them have it.

Anonymous asks:

I’ve recently noticed that the way GameFreak hands out moves is often… skewed. They will deprive a Pokemon of a move that fits its flavour perfectly, while giving another move to another Pokemon because HEY, WHY NOT? For example contrast Blissey learning Stealth Rock(WTF?) to Ninjask not learning ExtremeSpeed(His speed is all they talk about in the dex; I would have thought giving him a mlve that requires, y’know, SPEED would be a no- brainer). Thoughts?

Ninjask lacking Extremespeed is actually something I can get behind, since all Extremespeed really does is allow a Pokémon to move first – something Ninjask can almost always do on his own anyway.  In general, though… Here’s an old rant which might amuse you. Continue reading “Anonymous asks:”