Long time reader; first time questioner asks:

You like baking right? How do you feel about the various ‘food’ pokemon? What food do you think deserves a Pokemon adaptation?

Well, how many even are there?  Vanillite, Vanillish and Vanilluxe, Swirlix and Slurpuff… I think that’s kind of it, unless you count Grass Pokémon based on fruit and mushrooms and the like, which personally I’d class as a separate thing.  I have kind of mixed feelings about them, because I’m not fundamentally opposed to the idea of food-based Pokémon like some people are, but actually developing that idea in any moderately interesting way is something Game Freak would probably be uncomfortable with.  That’s why Vanillite isn’t really an ice cream Pokémon at all, just a fairly generic ice-and-snow Pokémon that happens to be shaped like an ice cream for obscure reasons of its own.  Swirlix does better, but still runs up hard against the awkward question – “do we eat Pokémon?” – that the Pokémon games have no intention of ever firmly answering.  So Slurpuff end up working for human pastry chefs, constructing grotesque effigies of themselves, whose flavours are inspired by the taste of their own sugary flesh, for human consumption.  And then you also run up against another problem that I tend to have with Pokémon based on modern culture generally, which is “are we supposed to believe that the Pokémon inspired the cultural phenomenon, and what on earth is the timeline with that?”  It’s easy to make that work with Pokémon based on myths and folklore because you can just push everything back into the misty past of “thousands of years ago” but if you have, say, a hamburger Pokémon or something, we eventually have to ask: what kind of colossally fµ¢&ed up soylent-green-ass cultural moment caused people to suddenly decide, in the last couple of generations, to start modelling meat sandwiches after these intelligent creatures that they’ve been living and working alongside since time immemorial?  Who does that?

Continue reading “Long time reader; first time questioner asks:”

Jangmo-o, Hakamo-o and Kommo-o

Jangmo-o

I guess we’re almost at the end now, technically – today’s Pokémon are the last “ordinary” Pokémon of Alola.  On the other hand, we’re sort of not near the end at all, because we’ve got not only legendary Pokémon to do after this, but also Ultra Beasts, and I think I promised to write something about the Alolan forms as well, and… oh, let’s just get on with it.  Here’s Jangmo-o, Hakamo-o and Kommo-o: the Scaly Pokémon.

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Flareon asks:

Am I useful now that I finally can learn Flare Blitz?

Well, I’d say you’re arguably no longer the worst of your siblings, which is… something, right?  Your offensive movepool is still really bad, and that’s a problem that pretty much your entire family struggles with.  The best moves you all share are support techniques, so it’s your toughest siblings – Vaporeon, Umbreon and Sylveon – who are the most consistently useful.  Espeon gets a leg up from her ludicrous hidden ability, and Jolteon kinda gets by on his good offensive stat distribution and strong attack type.  Leafeon is pretty bad, but arguably still better than you because Swords Dance and Chlorophyll give him sweeping potential.  Now that you have Flare Blitz though, you can claim to be at least as good as Glaceon, who has a similar offensive power level but a very weak defensive type and generally poor abilities.  The problem with being you, Flareon, is you’ve got one hell of a Flare Blitz, but you’re lacklustre in both speed and defence, which makes you really easy to kill, and all of Fire’s weaknesses are to really common attack types (Water, Ground and Rock – including Stealth Rock).  In comparison with other physically-oriented single-type Fire Pokémon, well… Darmanitan is somehow faster, tougher and stronger, and has a better selection of physical attacks plus the ridiculousness that is Sheer Force; while Arcanine is faster, surprisingly tough, has Intimidate, is flexible enough for a physical/special mix, and can heal with Morning Sun.  Hell, even Rapidash is faster and has arguably a better physical movepool than you, but at least she has the decency to have bad abilities, average defences and a weaker attack stat.  You could go hang out with Rapidash, I guess?

Bradley asks:

Hi Chris! I’ve been a big fan for years and you’ve been super informative on the history of Pokemon. I too am a big fan of drastically overthinking how the Pokemon universe actually *works* and recently went on a big tirade trying to explain it all. You were a big influence on certain parts of the theory so hopefully you’ll enjoy what I came up with! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-0_3ButdKzw

[Warning: the following is far too long and contains copious italics for emphasis, in order to create the illusion that I am in the room with you, gesticulating wildly at my own string diagram]

Okay, let me say first of all I am genuinely flattered and I am sorry this has had to sit in my inbox for almost two months on account of my being a lazy piece of $#!t

In the grand tradition of overthinking pop culture on the internet, I’m going to apply my standard method of engaging with anything I find even slightly fun or interesting: passionately disagreeing in excruciating detail (for other examples, see: this entire blog; my life as an academic).

Arrrright. *cracks knuckles* Let’s break this $#!t down

Now, to begin with, this whole “figure out the Pokémon world’s cosmology and all the relationships therein” thing is a project I kind of have mixed feelings about, because on the one hand, it’s exactly my type of nerdy bull$#!t as a lifelong mythology geek and strange person, but on the other hand, I think there’s basic reasons any such project is doomed from the start.  But it’s still bloody impressive that anyone ever does it, because frankly I’m too scared to, although I might give it a go if I have any time left between finishing up generation VII and the release of generation VIII.  The general problems, then.  These days, I have this sticking point with a lot of other Pokémon fans, where people tend to point at some piece of Pokémon’s mythology and say “there, it’s in the games; it’s canon” and my response (other than to explain that I don’t even like the word “canon”) is “well, no, it’s canon that this is their mythology”; we should take these as stories told by people who understand no more about the Pokémon universe than we do, and possibly much less.  Arceus says he created the universe, but, well, he would say that, wouldn’t he?  The ancient Sinnohans wouldn’t know the difference.  There’s probably other historical cults in the Pokémon world that once worshipped Rayquaza, or Xerneas, or even Celebi as creator gods.  Further to that, all these different legendary Pokémon are from different regions of the world with different mythological traditions, so even expecting to be able to fit everything into one consistent mythology might be a stretch.  We’re not talking “Zeus, Poseidon and Hades,” who have a “canonical” relationship based on the traditional stories about their family history, respective powers or domains, and forms of worship.  We’re talking “Zeus, Freyja and Nü Wa,” who not only have nothing to do with each other, but aren’t even really the same class of entity, because their cultures of origin have incompatible ideas about what a god even is.  But let’s put all of that firmly aside, and talk about Bradley’s analysis on its own terms: on the assumption that there is a single consistent cosmology, elements of which are recorded more or less faithfully by the myths referenced in the games.

Continue reading “Bradley asks:”

Colress asks:

Your reaction when Ghetsis tried to hurt Lillie

I don’t know that I remember having any particular reaction at all, really.  Partly I was just never all that attached to Lillie – I mean, I wrote my playthrough journal of Moon version in-character as a protagonist who suspected her of being the villain for most of the game.  But also, to be perfectly honest I was never terribly immersed in the whole Team Rainbow Rocket thing, and I’ll probably talk about that at more length once I’ve finally finished reviewing all the Pokémon.

hugh_donnetono asks:

There are only two male Grass-type gym leaders, did you know that? Is that weird or is it just me? Anyway, FMK: Cilan, Ramos, and Gardenia’s mirror universe double who is exactly the same except a guy.

Well… there’s… also only two female ones, Gardenia and Erika, unless you count Mallow who isn’t really a Gym Leader, and frankly Flying and Poison have even less representation than Grass, so-

oh for fµ¢&’s sake it’s one of these things

um

well like

clearly Cilan is the one I’d have the best foundation for a relationship with, because we’d bake stuff together, so I’ve gotta marry him

but then it’s between fuck and kill for Ramos, and… like…

…I mean, I know this is gonna sound shallow but he’s SO OLD, guys

like, if there were ever an option where “fuck” and “kill” could wind up accidentally being synonymous, he’s it

…on the other hand Gardenia is super athletic, and I guess I can imagine her being pretty hot as a trans guy, so… maybe this works out after all…

Smugleaf asks:

I love Serperior. Do you have any idea for a Mega evolution or regional form for Serperior? Maybe make him Grass/Poison

Well I’m not exactly sitting on one that I’ve been saving for a special occasion or anything like that, but let’s give it ago…

I suspect we’re not likely ever to see regional forms of starter Pokémon, but on the assumption that we might, well, I think there could be interesting ground for a Kalosian form of Serperior.  Serperior is supposed to have a royalty aesthetic, and we know from interviews that elements of his design are based on French nobility and the symbol of the fleur-de-lis.  A Kalosian Serperior might have the blue and gold colours of the Bourbon dynasty, some kind of crown-like head crest, maybe a more ornate tail… it might be interesting if this version of Serperior had a focus on physical attacks and particularly on blade-like moves like Night Slash and Sacred Sword.  Typing could be Grass/Fighting, Grass/Steel, even Grass/Fairy, perhaps with a signature move to match (there’s nothing clearly wrong with Grass/Poison for a variant of Serperior, but we do have rather a lot of those already).  Contrary might be replaced with something like Defiant or Justified that provides a situational attack bonus.  And of course these Serperior would have been favoured partners of the Kalosian royalty in ancient times.