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.
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?
Why do Vanillite and Swirlix get bashed and raged at for being based off of food, but Exeggcute is given a free pass? Is it just because Exeggcute is from first gen?
Well, I think if you spend more than about two seconds considering it, you can come up with more convincing reasons. Like, I suspect people who dislike Swirlix and Vanillite are likely to be more turned off by them on the grounds that eggs are things that exist in nature, while ice cream and candyfloss are not. A sunny-side up Pokémon would probably suffer similar bad press (we’ll also gloss over the fact that in-universe sources actually describe Exeggcute clusters as being more like seeds than eggs anyway). Then there’s the fact that Exeggcute is actually interesting and quirky – they have the thing where they’re multiple bodies in a psychic link, and they evolve in a really weird direction, becoming a goddamn walking coconut tree. Vanillite… is an ice cream, has ice powers, and becomes a bigger ice cream. Personally I have no problem with Vanillite being a food Pokémon; I have a problem with the fact that Vanillite is just bloody dull. Swirlix less so; I’m okay with Swirlix, although I kinda think more could have been done with that idea. Exeggcute and Exeggutor are just a lot more interesting than both, I think (also, you have to admit, their English names are badass).
Swirlix and Slurpuff are weird Pokémon, that’s for sure. They are the inheritors of the tradition of Vanillite, Vanillish and Vanilluxe, the ice cream Pokémon of Black and White, who earned my ire so long ago. I wasn’t upset with them for being ice cream Pokémon, you understand. I was upset with them because the fact that they looked like ice cream cones was easily the most interesting thing about them. Their powers were, for Ice-types, utterly standard and generic. Nothing in their abilities, their behaviour, or the way they interact with humans relates in any way to the fact that they’re ice cream Pokémon, and I’m pretty sure their bodies are actually made of snow and only bear a visual resemblance to vanilla ice cream anyway. This is why Swirlix and Slurpuff, fortunately, win that comparison easily; they’re just much less boring. Unfortunately, this means I have no excuse to dismiss them and actually need to think about whether I’m okay with ‘food Pokémon’ as a thing.
A small walled city dominated by the nearby historic Shabboneau Castle, Camphrier Town (which seems to be Orléans, complete with the Loire River, visible just to the south of the town) prides itself on its aura of history.