James Crooks [Patreon cultist] asks:

Now that you’re at the end of the Alolan Pokédex, can you tell us your favourite Pokémon, least favourite and one that you liked more after reviewing?

Tricky.

Spending more time on each Pokémon and each review tends to make me appreciate almost all of them more, because I come to see the references and the meaning in each design, and my feelings about the Pokémon itself come to be bound up with anything interesting I’ve learned during the process I generously call my “research.”  The exception, of course, is when there seems to be simply nothing to find, but I think those are rare in Alola.  And in another direction, over the course of doing the Alola reviews I’ve started trying to incorporate the anime’s portrayals of each Pokémon a bit more, so even if a design is ‘meh,’ I can develop some positive feeling towards it if that Pokémon’s episode is a good one.  I just put out my Zeraora article, and Zeraora’s frankly not a very interesting Pokémon, but it’s one of the stars of the 21st movie, The Power of Us, which I am not going to stop talking about because I think it’s easily the best one (aside from Detective Pikachu), and there is a certain degree of affection that just… well, rubs off on Zeraora.  Having said all that, of course there are winners and losers.  With some designs, I feel “rewarded” for the extra work I do in trying to break them down, because I feel like I’ve solved a puzzle that the designers have left for me; other times it just seems like there’s not much to find.  So there are Pokémon for whom my opinion of them, or at least my affection towards them, increased a lot as I reviewed them, and I don’t know if I can pick just one, but some good examples are Celesteela, Oranguru, Tsareena and Minior.

My favourite Pokémon of generation VII is a tough one, because there are a lot that I’m generally well-disposed to, but few that really stick out to me as brilliant.  It may actually be just one of the Pokémon I’m attached to because I used them on my first playthrough of Moon, probably Golisopod, Salazzle, or my starter, Decidueye.  Other than that… well, actually Dhelmise sticks out to me as a really weird and creative design that speaks to me on a kind of “what even is this?” level, and Wishiwashi has an interesting concept that creates a great moment in the game’s story.  As for least favourite… I’m sure I’m being very predictable here, but I’m still very down on Togedemaru, and to a lesser extent Gumshoos, for not doing enough to break free of Game Freak’s persistent habit of template-based Pokémon design (as Talonflame and arguably Diggersby did in generation VI, and as I think Toucannon more or less does in generation VII).

Bounsweet, Steenee and Tsareena

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Bounsweet

There are a lot of Grass Pokémon out there – it’s currently the fourth most common type in Pokémon, with almost one hundred representatives. It’s slightly curious, then, that there are so few Pokémon based on fruit. Tropius sort of counts, with fruit dangling off his neck, and Cherubi shifts into cherry blossom upon evolving, which has its own cultural significance in Japan, so arguably the only Pokémon wholeheartedly based on fruit are Ferroseed and Ferrothorn – assuming you do in fact classify the durian as a fruit and not as a sort of spiteful biological land mine. It’s possible that fruit Pokémon make Game Freak nervous since they draw attention to the old “do we eat Pokémon?” dilemma, but that doesn’t seem to stop them from cranking out mushrooms, or harvesting cast-off Crabrawler claws – or, for that matter, creating Swirlix and Vanillite. In any case, it’s time to break out your recipe books, because our next potentially edible Pokémon is here: Bounsweet, and her evolved forms Steenee and Tsareena. Continue reading “Bounsweet, Steenee and Tsareena”