One lunatic's love-hate relationship with the Pokémon franchise, and his addled musings on its rights, wrongs, ins and outs. Come one, come all, and indulge my delusions of grandeur as I inflict my opinions on anyone within shouting distance.
Probably Slowbro. I like the notion of what they were doing with Slowking design-wise, but I think it needed more to make it mechanically distinct, because the differences in their skill-sets are extremely subtle, and to be honest I’m not sure what else could have been done, using generation II mechanics, to differentiate them, other than maybe push more extreme differences in stats. Slowking winds up feeling a bit superfluous, which is a shame because turning Slowpoke’s evolution literally on its head was a cool starting point.
These two episodes cover a brief (?) excursion to tropical Seafoam Island, where Delia and a group of her friends from Pallet Town are enjoying a relaxing holiday (it’s a very different place from the Seafoam Islands in the games). Misty and Brock are both invited to join their group, but Ash – who is theoretically supposed to be training for the Pokémon League – is left behind, until he manages to con Professor Oak into giving him an excuse to go anyway. The Evolution Solution, upon watching it again, is not as interesting an episode as I had hoped it would be, and The Pi-Kahuna has themes that are pretty standard for the Pokémon anime. However, the former gives me an excuse to ramble at length about Shellder and Slowbro, while the latter… let’s just say its themes are open to creative reinterpretation. Anyway – without further ado, let’s jump right in.
Slowpoke: … Spruce: … Ruby: Spruce. Spruce: … Slowpoke: … Ruby: Spruce, I am now almost 100% certain that she was not challenging you to a staring contest. Spruce: … Slowpoke: … Ruby: Well, all right; to be honest, I was almost 100% certain of that before you started. It’s just stopped being amusing now. Spruce: … Ruby: …he’s going to keep doing that until one of them blinks, isn’t he? Fisher: Your magical sense did indicate that the stone we seek is in this Slowpoke’s possession, did they not? As odd as it seems, a staring contest would not be entirely out of step with the other trials presented to us by the various heathens of this island. Ruby: If by ‘trials,’ you mean the group of Binacle who demanded an arm-wrestle, the Chatot who made Spruce sing for them, the Inkay with the overgrown hedge-maze, and the Exeggcute village that inexplicably challenged us to a riddle contest, then they prove only that life on this island apparently provides the indigenous creatures with no entertainment whatsoever. Well… and possibly that Azure Bay is home to a hitherto unknown Chatot subspecies that has tragically and against all probability been struck tone-deaf. Fisher: Yet only after they heard of our goal did they pose these challenges. And the final riddle offered as a parting gift by the Exeggcute may yet prove important. Martial: That lingers on my mind as well. What creature is it that walks on four legs in the morning, two legs at midday, and three legs in the evening? Ruby: Bah; the answer is plainly a male human. The question asks what creature can have three different numbers of ‘legs’ in a single day. In the morning he crawls out of bed on all fours, suffering from a hangover, by midday he has gotten to his feet, and in the evening- Merneith: Don’t be ridiculous; the question is phrased to trick us. They never said it had to be the morning and evening of the same day! A two-legged Roggenrola might evolve into a three-legged Boldore one evening, and then again into a four-legged Gigalith the next morning. Martial: Yet I was certain the riddle would refer to the stone’s guardian, and it seems she is neither a human nor a Boldore – nor do either of those species appear to be indigenous to this island. Slowpoke: Oh… hello… I’m sorry; I didn’t see you there. Ruby: See-!? We’ve been standing around you talking for over ten minutes! Slowpoke: Well, that’s a relief. For a moment I was worried you’d been waiting a long time. Spruce: Does that mean I win? Merneith: …yes. Yes, you do. Ruby: Don’t encourage him. You! Slowpoke! Reveal your identity to us! Slowpoke: Hmm… For a long time I remember many Pokémon called me Hypatia… you may use that name if it pleases you… though it has been a while. I may only have imagined it… What do you believe you are called? Ruby: …Ruby the Braixen, fiery jewel among Pokémon, sorceress supreme; perhaps you’ve heard of… oh, forget it. Hypatia: Forget what? Amaldos: Forgetting is a privilege reserved for those who are forgiven. Hypatia: Oh… hello there, honoured master. How go your duties? Amaldos: Every subject’s duty is his own soul, but no master’s soul is his own. Hypatia: I see… And your exalted mentor? I trust he is well? Amaldos: [sadly] He is banished from himself… a joyful thing for us, we who are wedded to calamity. Merneith: You killed him. You literally killed him in front of us. Remember? Amaldos: Remembering is a privilege reserved for those whose loss will be regretted. Hypatia: Indeed… Ruby: Argh; you’re all as mad as each other. Look, Slowpoke; you have a Mega Stone in your possession. Hand it over. Hypatia: The stone…? But it was only just given to me to guard… only four or five generations have passed among the Exeggcute since I was left here by master Amaldos. Spruce: Four or five… generations? [To Amaldos] …how old are you? Amaldos: Enough to have seen mighty oaks grow from old chestnuts. Spruce: Oaks grow from acorns. Um. Don’t they? Amaldos: There is a time and a place for everything… Ruby: Whatever; whatever; just hand it over. Hypatia: …I remember once these stones were freely bought and sold as curiosities. And in another time, I think perhaps they were feared as terrible weapons. At one point they were considered an ideal base for a number of salads and chutneys. But I think I was left here because there was a time we thought them sacred… worthy of protection. Have our beliefs shifted once again? Amaldos: Seeing is believing, and we who are blinded by the light see precious little… Hypatia: Very well… I will trust your judgement, master. Sorceress… take the stone, and use it well… Ruby: Ah… at last… and now we shall see what arcane secrets this mighty artefact can unlock… Spruce: Okay. Ruby: …right now. Amaldos: If there is no time like the present, then only the absent have time. Ruby: …no one wants to object? Martial: I would rather save my breath for someone wise enough to listen. Merneith: To be honest, I kinda want to see what this one does. Ruby: Okay… here goes nothing…