Oranguru

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Oranguru

Making strange arguments and dubious assertions about Pokémon lore is an important branch of my schtick. Normally this comes up in questions addressed to this blog, or in whatever mad articles I decide to write in between generational Pokémon reviews, or occasionally in my musings on playthroughs of new games. It’s relatively unusual for a routine Pokémon review to provoke me to a really energetic bit of wild speculation. Luckily(?), however, today we have just the Pokémon to set me off: Oranguru. Continue reading “Oranguru”

Wimpod and Golisopod

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Wimpod

One of Pokémon’s grand traditions is Pokémon who are very difficult to train on account of their weakness, but evolve into very high-statted and powerful beasts. Magikarp is the classic example, practically unable to fight at all, with Feebas following very closely in the same mould. Larvesta and Noibat are better able to fend for themselves but take a very long time to evolve and are pretty pathetic until they do. It’s one of the most powerful expressions of Pokémon’s theme of nurturing leading to growth. Alola’s most traditional contribution to the list is really Cosmog, who is even worse than Magikarp until he suddenly isn’t, but we can also count the Turn Tail Pokémon, Wimpod, and its fearsome evolution Golisopod.

Continue reading “Wimpod and Golisopod”

Pyukumuku

Today’s Pokémon is the weird spiky loofah that lives behind Kahuna Hala’s toilet-

wait

Today’s bathing accoutrement is the weird spiky Pokémon that-

okay, let me start again

Today’s Pokémon is the weird spiky sex toy that lives behind-

no, that’s even worse

Look, we’re talking about Pyukumuku, okay

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Pyukumuku

On account of its willingness to sit placidly between its trainer and certain death, Pyukumuku… is just barely a Pokémon, despite clearly being more closely related to the exfoliating bath sponge. It is, everyone is pretty much agreed, based on a sea cucumber. Sea cucumbers are soft-bodied echinoderms, distantly related to starfish and sea urchins. They’re essentially long, squishy tubes, with a mouth at one end and a multi-purpose respiratory/reproductive/excretory hole at the other. This is a body setup that makes for a pretty passive lifestyle. Continue reading “Pyukumuku”

Mareanie and Toxapex

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Mareanie

Today we’ll be looking at some of Alola’s more passive-aggressive denizens, the Brutal Star Pokémon, Mareanie and Toxapex. Their physical designs are a little bit cryptic – Mareanie looks like a sort of spikey anemone, while Toxapex… Toxapex resembles nothing so much as a cancerous uvula glued to the inside of a dilapidated sea mine, with her twelve arms locking together to form an impenetrable dome that protects against not only predators but the force of waves, tides and ocean storms. In appearance, probably the closest animal to Toxapex would be something like a sea urchin, so bristling with spikes that its real body is essentially invisible, and probably not what you’re most worried about anyway. But it’s from their place in Alola’s ecology – specifically their relationship with one particular Pokémon, Corsola – that makes it clear that they’re probably supposed to be based on the dreaded crown-of-thorns starfish, Acanthaster planci, an unusual many-armed, spiny starfish found throughout much of the Pacific ocean.  Continue reading “Mareanie and Toxapex”

Fomantis and Lurantis

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Fomantis

Today we’re talking about Fomantis and Lurantis, the “Sickle Grass Pokémon” and “Bloom Sickle Pokémon,” a pair of deceptive Grass-types that take on the appearance of insects, their names evoking the words “faux” and “lure.” According to the Pokédex, Lurantis is often called “the most glamorous Grass Pokémon,” which… well, I think Roserade, Lilligant, Virizion and fellow Alolan Grass-type Tsareena are all going to want a word with you about that one, Lurantis, but for now we’ll agree that you’re top 5 material. Let’s take a closer look. Continue reading “Fomantis and Lurantis”

Mudbray and Mudsdale

Mubray.
Mudbray

Jim the Editor and I had an American friend once who, while on an archaeological dig in Italy, famously infuriated an old Italian man to the point of explosive outrage by repeatedly addressing a dog “ciao, burro” – burro being (as our friend well knew) the Spanish word for donkey, and therefore already a rather silly thing to say to an Italian dog.  Even worse, though, burro is also the Italian word for butter, so an onlooker could forgiven for thinking that someone saying “ciao, burro” to a dog is completely insane.  Years later, this event has only two substantial legacies: first, that Jim now feels compelled to address all dogs “ciao, burro,” and second, that my Mudsdale now has the dreadful misfortune of being named “Butter.”

Let’s talk about Mudbray and Mudsdale.

To start with the obvious: Mudbray is a donkey, and Mudsdale is a horse.  The two species are actually about as distant from one another as horses are from zebras (which get to be their own Pokémon), but I suppose donkeys are not exactly among the most fascinatingly exotic animals in the world, so it’s understandable that for Pokémon’s purposes they would get lumped in with horses as a “close enough.”  Donkeys are proverbially known as stubborn animals, because they have very different fear responses to horses – horses bolt when frightened, but donkeys freeze, and usually give very few external cues to express their discomfort, so someone who only knows horses will often think a startled or cautious donkey is being “stubborn” by refusing to move.  You could probably ask, fairly, whether the same might be true of Mudbray, who merits a description by the Pokédex as “stubborn” and “individualistic” (unlike horses, donkeys are not naturally herd animals) – maybe that reputation comes from inexperienced trainers who haven’t been taught how to handle them.  Mudbray’s… honestly quite disturbing… blank-looking round eyes are probably meant to reinforce this aspect of her personality, making her look a bit vacant and detached – although the unnerving oblong pupils seem to be based on the appearance of a real equine eye.  On account of the rough terrain of their natural habitats, where strength matters more than speed, donkeys are actually stronger for their size than horses.  In Mudbray’s case, this translates to a carrying capacity of “50 times its own body weight” – over 5 tonnes.  As usual, it’s probably best to think of numbers in the Pokédex as more illustrative than literal – even if a Mudbray might not actually be able to support the weight of a fully grown African elephant, after seeing one in action you might believe it.

Continue reading “Mudbray and Mudsdale”

Morelull and Shiinotic

Morelull.
Morelull

Today we come to the newest iteration of mushroom Pokémon: the tall, slim-stalked, luminous Morelull and Shiinotic.  Morelull and Shiinotic have an uphill battle to make themselves unique and interesting, as the fourth set mushroom Pokémon after Paras and Parasect (interesting by reason of soulless parasitism), Shroomish and Breloom (interesting by reason of kick-boxing dinosaurs), and Foonguss and Amoonguss (interesting by reason of… um… stealing Voltorb’s schtick in a way that somehow makes even less sense).  These latest versions… well, I mean, they give it a go. Continue reading “Morelull and Shiinotic”

Dewpider and Araquanid

Dewpider.
Dewpider

Sometimes, we all need more spiders in our lives.  Spiders kill flies and mosquitos, keep the streets of New York safe from techno-goblins and octopus-physicists, rescue intelligent piglets from the slaughterhouse with their whimsical web messages, and keep you from getting hungry at night by crawling into your mouth while you sleep.  Game Freak, bless their hearts, recognise the importance of spiders, and periodically give us more.  Thus, today, we come to Dewpider and Araquanid, the alien bubble spiders of doom… Continue reading “Dewpider and Araquanid”

Wishiwashi

Wishiwashi.
Wishiwashi

One of my favourite sequences in the whole of the original Sun and Moon was Lana’s Water trial on Akala Island, which introduces Wishiwashi: a small, very weak and actually rather pathetic-looking fish Pokémon with apparently no special powers.  Before you actually enter the trial grounds, Lana leads you through Brooklet Hill to investigate several commotions taking place in the area’s many pools.  Each is apparently caused by a group of Wishiwashi, most of which flee at your approach, leaving one behind to take the rap, but if you catch one, you’ll get some hint of what’s going on by reading the text of its Schooling ability.  The further you go, the larger the splashes in the pools become, slowly building a sense of menace around whatever it is you’re following, and Lana starts dropping hints about a powerful Pokémon that must be causing everything, even telling you at one point that Kyogre is said to live in Brooklet Hill. Continue reading “Wishiwashi”

Crabrawler and Crabominable

Crabrawler.
Crabrawler

Today I would like to talk to you about crabs: specifically, Crabrawler and the delightfully named Crabominable (seriously, can we just take a minute to appreciate the wonderful tumbling rhythm of that name?).  In the process of writing this piece, I have learned (because learning obscure and not particularly useful zoological trivia is just part of what I do here) that evolution just really likes crabs for some reason, and consequently keeps trying to turn other random animals into crabs with mixed results, a process known as carcinisation.  Crabs have apparently evolved at least five separate times, from a variety of starting points (giving rise, surprisingly, to only two Pokémon before now: Kingler and Crustle, Crawdaunt being a lobster).  On the basis of this vague half-substantiated piece of pseudo-knowledge, I have decided that crabs are the ultimate form of life, to which all other species aspire.  Of course, Crabrawler and Crabominable have the advantage of already being there – so let’s see what the apex of all biological life has to offer the Alola region. Continue reading “Crabrawler and Crabominable”