Mega Bidoof asks:

Do you think Game Freak will continue to add new evolutions to existing Pokemon now that mega evolutions exist?

I think the two are largely unconnected.  Think about it: generation V had no new evolutions of existing Pokémon, before Mega Evolution was introduced, and generation VII featured neither.  In fact, the only new evolution of the past three generations – Sylveon – actually coincided with the introduction of Mega Evolution.  It’s true that both serve a similar thematic purpose; they both give a new generation of games a more concrete link to Pokémon’s past.  I agree that new evolutions seem to be on the way out, but I think the “replacement” concept to fill that role, if any, is much more likely to be the continuation of regional variant Pokémon.  Mega Evolution is generation VI’s mechanic and tied to the history of Kalos and Hoenn, just as Z-moves are generation VII’s mechanic and tied to the history of Alola, just as the Dream World was generation V’s and has not returned (though the hidden abilities it unlocked remain).  The concept of regional variation, by contrast, doesn’t carry mechanical or worldbuilding baggage, and innately lends itself to being reused again and again through new forms that express the personality of each new region.  Even that, though, is not certain; the designers may have liked regional variation as a feature of Alola specifically, expressing the unusual paths that evolution can take on archipelagos in the real world.  To me it’s most plausible that generation VIII will feature no new evolutions of existing Pokémon, no new Mega Evolutions, and no new species-specific Z-moves (I’m 50/50 on new regional variations), instead spotlighting some other entirely new mechanic that will be tied to the history of the new region and the plot of the new games.

All of this is, of course, as likely as not to be proven completely wrong within the next couple of weeks (heck, maybe even days).  I don’t do predictions; it makes me ill-tempered.

Nihilego

Nihilego

The Alolan archipelago has at last surrendered all (or, well, most) of its secrets – so now the time has finally come for us to leave behind the world we know.  The stars have aligned, the ritual is complete, the Dark Forces from Parts Unknown have imparted their mystic secrets, the Ultra Wormhole beckons, and the void opens before us, promising nothing at the price of everything.  Yep – we’re figuring out the Ultra Beasts.  There’s ten of these freaky bastards (not counting Lunala, Solgaleo and Necrozma), and they’re each getting their own entry.  My aim over the course of those ten articles will be not just to review the Ultra Beasts individually, but also to, hopefully, figure out… well, something about them as a group.  What are they?  What exactly is Ultra Space?  Why are they such a threat to Alola?  Are they really a group at all, or just a random sample of the variety of life that exists in an infinite multiverse?  All these questions, and more, will… honestly, let’s face it, probably not be answered here on Pokémaniacal, but we’ll bloody well give it a go – starting with probably the best-known Ultra Beast of all, Nihilego.

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Mr. Slushy Dawg asks:

“Pickup is not useful. That is all.”
Along the same lines, what are other universally useless abilities?

Well, there’s not a lot that are literally useless – even Pickup occasionally does something if you’re fighting an opponent who uses berries – but there are a couple with no in-battle effect whatsoever.  Honey Gather is used only to generate Honey, Illuminate only increases the wild Pokémon encounter rate, and Run Away only allows you to escape wild Pokémon without fail.  An honourable mention should go here to Zygarde’s Aura Break, which improves his matchups against exactly two Pokémon – Xerneas and Yveltal – but otherwise does absolutely nothing.

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Not Me asks:

The recent question about flying types got me thinking. What about fighting type? How does fighting type make any sense really? Isn’t fighting something that all Pokemon do anyway? And fighting types do not seem to be any better at it than other types…?

I have a long-standing claim that I make about Fighting-types, which is that they are not just Pokémon who fight – which, as you point out, is all of them – but Pokémon who take fighting particularly seriously, and more specifically, approach fighting with similar attitudes to humans, including a preoccupation with recognition and glory.  Fighting Pokémon, even in the wild, spend their time training to become better at fighting.  Many of them have codes of honour, which often extend to refusing to fight weaker opponents.  They desire competition with powerful rivals, whether of their own species or of another.  Aesthetically, almost all Fighting Pokémon (and most of their attacks) reference human warriors or martial artists, or more rarely athletes.  They are, essentially, Pokémon who fight like humans, both in style and in ethos.  I won’t go through all of them (or even claim to be able to), but for some illustrative examples, we have Pokémon based on specific martial arts (e.g. capoeira for Hitmontop, sumo for Hariyama, lucha libre for Hawlucha, karate for Sawk), Pokémon based on historical classes of human warriors (e.g. European knights for Gallade, French musketeers for Cobalion and co., Asian monks for Medicham), and Pokémon based on athletes (e.g. swimmers for Poliwrath, American footballers for Passimian).  In the Pokédex, explicit comparisons to the skills of human fighters are common, as are references to the Pokémon’s dedication to training.  Fighting-type attacks are regularly based on martial arts moves – Karate Chop, Submission, Reversal, Sky Uppercut, Force Palm, Circle Throw – while the only common special Fighting attack, Focus Blast, references the mastery of 気, ki (spiritual power or life force) supposedly attained by great martial artists (see also: Dragonball).  Fighting for them is more than a necessity; it’s a way of life.

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?

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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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