Heart Gold Kingslocke: Episode 7

Introduction/rules here.

We stand at a crossroads.

With Morty defeated and the Fog Badge in hand, I can continue west from Ecruteak City, towards Olivine City, or turn and head east, towards Mahogany Town.

Johto’s mid-game is pretty open; you can do the next three gyms in almost any order.  Whichever way I go, I’ll need Surf, either to investigate Lake of Rage or to cross the sea to Cianwood Island – but not immediately.  I don’t have any Pokémon accessible at the moment who can use Surf, but the Kingslocke rules do make exceptions when you need an HM to move forward in the story; if it becomes necessary, I’ll be able to defy the Eight of Wands and withdraw Abazigal the Dratini to handle that.  Still, it would be better if I didn’t have to… and I think my odds are best if I head to Olivine City first.

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Staryu and Starmie

Staryu.

The Dark Forces from Parts Unknown whose occult powers sustain my life and strength have anointed new emissaries to convey their terrible will!  By which I mean, I have two new Patreon supporters pledging $12/month, the amount required to bribe your way onto my Dark Council.  The Dark Council can vote once a month on any topic (I mean, I assume Pokémon-related, but strictly speaking I suppose it doesn’t have to be) for me to write about at length, and this month I’m writing on the suggestion of Miame Irohara (thank you so much for your support!) whom I have named my new Chancellor of Fate.  By the authority vested in the Council, she has requested that I write about her favourite generation I Pokémon (and some of mine as well): Staryu and Starmie.

This is actually pleasantly topical, since Staryu and Starmie are among the Pokémon who weren’t previously in Sword and Shield but have become available in the Isle of Armour expansion (reminder: even if you haven’t bought the expansion, you can still trade for Staryu, or transfer it from an earlier game via Pokémon Home), and as any veteran trainer knows, they are some seriously kickass Pokémon.  If you’ve never had the pleasure of training one, maybe give this article a read, pick one up and take it for a spin (…literally).  But first, let’s talk about starfish.

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AndrewQ asks:

Are Staryu and Starmie the only Pokemon that don’t have eyes, or any discernible kind of face? If so… why? (In-universe explanation and/or designers’ perspective explanation welcome)

They’re not quite the only ones.  Regirock, Regice, Registeel and Regigigas don’t have faces, just arrangements of dots (possibly eyes or some other all-purpose sensory organ?).  Those do look as though they should stand for faces, but you can sort of say the same thing about Staryu and Starmie’s cores.  Roggenrola has a thing that sort of looks like it should be an eye, but if you actually read the Pokédex is more a sort of… huge forward-facing ear?  And it’s not clear to me whether that counts as a face or not.  A couple of the Ultra Beasts don’t really have faces as such, but perhaps we shouldn’t count them.  A few others arguably have only parts of faces – like, Zubat kinda just has a big gaping mouth, and Magnemite and Sigilyph are just single eyes.  It’s not clear to me how many faces Claydol should be counted as having – 0, 1, 2, 4 and 8 all seem like acceptable answers to me.  I find it difficult to think of Unown or Beldum as having faces.  Certainly Staryu and Starmie are unique amongst non-legendary Pokémon, and unique among Pokémon of the first two generations, in having no facial features at all.  From the designers’ perspective, not giving something a face is a good way to make it seem alien and inscrutable, because humans express emotion through our faces and it’s hard for us to relate to something that doesn’t appear to have one.  That’s clearly in line with the design goals for Staryu and Starmie (given their mysterious nature and connections to outer space), the legendary golems, and especially the Ultra Beasts.

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