Genesect

Okay, guys, today we’re looking at the last Pokémon that has yet to be officially revealed by Nintendo: a killing machine of unfathomable power, created from the genetic material of an ancient Pokémon by an evil mastermind in order to create the most powerful of all-

…oh, they wouldn’t dare.

…I can’t believe this; they did it.  They actually did it.  They actually recycled Mewtwo’s backstory!  The fiends!

e2c8f-genesectOkay, sure, there are differences.  Genesect was the brainchild of Team Plasma (and presumably of their de facto leader, Ghetsis), the villains of Black and White, who enhanced the deadly prehistoric insect with metal armour and a devastating portable photon cannon, while Mewtwo, who was commissioned by Team Rocket’s shadowy master Giovanni, gained his incredible psychic abilities courtesy of a truly frightening amount of gene splicing (although, in the TV show, Giovanni does also equip him with a suit of armour designed to focus and augment his powers).  Also, it seems pretty clear that Genesect was always a vicious hunter even before Team Plasma got to it, whereas Mewtwo’s predecessor, Mew, is one of the most peaceful and carefree Pokémon you’ll ever find.  As I alluded earlier, though, the similarities are striking, to say the least.  The Genesect project was actually shut down, since Team Plasma’s spiritual leader, N, held a very different attitude towards Pokémon to Giovanni’s; specifically, N believes that Pokémon are perfect beings, and came to the conclusion that the technological enhancements made to Genesect by his scientists were a corruption of its natural purity.  The lab where Genesect was developed was not abandoned, though; a couple of scientists continued to haunt the place and eventually brought their creation to a state resembling completion.  Continue reading “Genesect”

Meloetta

I’m back from Italy and on the home stretch, with only three more Pokémon to go, so let’s check out today’s, the second of three Pokémon that still don’t officially exist according to Nintendo (and therefore have no official art; the pictures I’m using here are by Xous54 and are closely based on the in-game sprites): the enigmatic Meloetta.

08488-ariameloettaMeloetta is a dainty humanoid Pokémon with powers related to music.  Her arms and hands, as well as part of her headdress, are shaped like musical notes, and her wavy hair is reminiscent of a musical score.  She can influence the emotions of people with her song, helping them to achieve the right state of mind for composing music, and could well be based on the Muses, the ancient Greek goddesses of inspiration, or possibly on less ancient interpretations of the same concept.  There were traditionally supposed to be nine Muses, but Meloetta has only two forms (I’m not particularly bothered by this, incidentally; nine forms would be interesting but it would have been difficult to achieve enough differentiation between them to make it worthwhile), which are related to the two main ways humans can participate in music: song and dance.  In her “Aria” form, Meloetta’s hair is green and flows out behind her, while in her “Pirouette” form, her orange hair is wrapped up around the top of her head like a turban and her skirt blows up around her like a ballerina’s tutu.  Meloetta can switch from her Aria form, in which she is a Normal/Psychic dual-type, to her Pirouette form, in which she is a Normal/Fighting dual-type, by using an attack called Relic Song, a technique she forgot long ago but which she can remember with the help of a musician in Castelia City who will also tell you Meloetta’s story.  Continue reading “Meloetta”

Tornadus, Thundurus and Landorus

Today I’m looking at the second of Black and White’s legendary trios, the ogre-like genies Tornadus, Thundurus and Landorus.  Why do these games have so many legendary Pokémon, anyway?  Every set of games always introduces more of the things than the last (compare five in Red and Blue to thirteen in Black and White), and at some point you have to wonder how many we actually need… but I should judge them all on their merits, shouldn’t I?  So, without further ado: the legendary genies, Tornadus, Thundurus and Landorus.

As their astonishingly inventive names attest, Tornadus, Thundurus and Landorus are spirits of wind, lightning and earth; Landorus is a Ground/Flying dual-type, Thundurus an Electric/Flying dual-type, and Tornadus the only single-typed Flying Pokémon in the entire game.  Tornadus and Thundurus are chaotic and sometimes destructive storm spirits who zip around frying people, blowing them away, playing tricks, ransacking things at random, and occasionally beating the hell out of each other and laying waste to a few neighbourhoods in the process.  Landorus, in stark contrast, is a benevolent figure associated with protection and fertility, whose role is to keep the other two in line and to encourage crops to grow healthily.  When Tornadus or Thundurus (or both) makes trouble for the villages of Unova, Landorus shows up to settle things.  Continue reading “Tornadus, Thundurus and Landorus”

Zorua and Zoroark

I should probably begin this entry with a disclaimer: for various reasons, I don’t actually have a Zorua or a Zoroark.  In theory I know everything about them I need to know to write the entry, but their powers are rather complicated, as I’ll explain later, and I’m not sure I can really do justice to their impacts on the flow of battle.  Then again, I’ll probably just do exactly the same thing as I always do: stare at their numbers for a while, research what everyone else says about them on the internet and then make dozens of wildly unsubstantiated assertions laced with bizarre and confusing metaphors before declaring victory and passing out on the sofa.

What, you mean you didn’t know

Anyway.  Zorua and Zoroark are clever and elusive fox Pokémon, not actually malicious but fond of deception and mischief.  Their main power is their ability to create flawless illusions; they normally use their powers to disguise themselves as other Pokémon, but they can also take human form or even create false images of landscapes.  So far, this is giving me flashbacks to Ninetales – another highly intelligent fox Pokémon with magical abilities related to trickery – probably because she shares a common inspiration with Zorua and Zoroark: the kitsune fox spirits of Japanese legend.  Continue reading “Zorua and Zoroark”

Victini

…oh, Victini, what did you do to deserve this?  I know there are people who like Victini; I know they exist.  Those people would be best served by turning around, sticking their fingers in their ears and chanting “la la la, I can’t hear you” for the duration of this entry.

Let’s have some background.  Victini is the latest in a long line of “cute” legendary Pokémon.  The Psychic cat Pokémon Mew is the fabled ancestor of all Pokémon.  Celebi is a forest spirit who exists beyond time.  Jirachi is a celestial fairy Pokémon who is only awake for one week in every thousand years, but can supposedly grant any wish in that time.  Manaphy, the so-called prince of the sea, possesses unmatched empathic abilities and can touch the heart of any living thing.  Last but not least, Shaymin, the guardian of meadows, is the personification of gratitude and has the power to harmlessly absorb any poison.  Victini, the newest addition to the group, is the embodiment of victory.  Victini is said to be a source of boundless energy, which he can share with anyone who touches his body.  As such, possessing Victini is supposedly an absolute guarantee of victory.  I don’t just mean victory in battle either; Victini is victory itself and can bring success in any kind of situation with any possible outcome that might be considered ‘winning’.  Continue reading “Victini”

Cobalion, Terrakion, Virizion and Keldeo

The time has come (largely because I’m running out of anything else) to think about some more legendary Pokémon, namely the so-called “legendary musketeers,” Cobalion, Terrakion, Virizion and Keldeo.  These Fighting-type Pokémon have that name because, according to the designers, they are based on the eponymous French warriors of Alexandre Dumas’ classic novel, the Three Musketeers, though personally I think it would be more appropriate to say that they are, if anything, parallel to the musketeers.  You might be forgiven for not thinking that the connection is immediately obvious (in fact, I’m not convinced anyone could work it out without being told or simply getting very lucky with a wild guess) – both groups have (in brief) an old one, a fat one, and a gay one (Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, respectively), plus an annoying kid who hangs around with them because he wants to join their club (d’Artagnan).  They are also both renowned for swordsmanship – the Pokémon versions only in a figurative sense, in that they all learn Swords Dance and share a signature move called Sacred Sword; despite the name, they fight mainly by goring enemies with their horns.   Cobalion, Terrakion, Virizion and Keldeo are, furthermore, motivated by their ideals of duty and justice, which likewise sounds like a reference.  Continue reading “Cobalion, Terrakion, Virizion and Keldeo”

Deino, Zweilous and Hydreigon

af143-deinoRemember Dragonite?  I liked Dragonite; Dragonite was nice and enjoyed helping people.  Not all Dragon Pokémon are nice, of course; Flygon, Haxorus and Altaria are, but Kingdra and Druddigon are basically crazy old men shouting at the kids to get off their lawns, Garchomp is ill-tempered though not malicious, and Salamence is just slightly insane and prone to extremes of anger and joy.

Hydreigon, on the other hand, is utterly, completely, irredeemably, certifiably, three-eggs-short-of-an-Exeggcute WHACKO.

Deino, Zweilous, and Hydreigon, whose names come from the German ein, zwei, drei, in reference to the number of heads they each have, are the only Dark/Dragon dual-type Pokémon.  Dragon-types are (Druddigon and Altaria notwithstanding) among the strongest of all Pokémon, while Dark-types tend to be pathological liars, brooding loners, manipulative jerks, creepy stalkers or outright psychopaths.  This is a recipe for disaster.  I love recipes for disaster.  Continue reading “Deino, Zweilous and Hydreigon”

Heatmor and Durant

Okay, you remember how I said last time that I thought I was just about done with all the genuinely bad Pokémon?

I was lying.

1e892-heatmorI’m doing Heatmor and Durant together because, although they aren’t part of a single evolutionary family, they do in a sense ‘go together.’  Heatmor is a bloody great anteater that some delightfully mad person has decided to splice together with a blast furnace or something, and Durant is an angry giant ant plated from head to abdomen in steel, and Heatmor’s favourite food.  Durant, the Pokédex insists, covers itself in steel plating specifically to protect itself from Heatmor, which makes absolutely no sense in a world of elemental ‘types’ with distinct strengths and weaknesses relative to one another.  Why does this make no sense?  Because Heatmor is a Fire Pokémon, and relying on metal armour to protect yourself from a Fire-type is tantamount to suicide according to everything we have ever seen about the way this world works.  Now, evolution (in the real-world biological sense, not the Poké-world pseudozoological whacko sense) is an insanely complicated phenomenon, this I will grant you, but no-one and nothing is going to convince me that natural selection would actually push a species to become more vulnerable to its own major natural predatorContinue reading “Heatmor and Durant”

Vullaby and Mandibuzz

7ca81-vullabyI think I’m just about through the Pokémon that are genuinely bad now.  A lot of what’s left is, for want of a better term, so-so – like the female counterparts to Rufflet and Braviary, the vulture Pokémon Vullaby and Mandibuzz.  I see some initial sensible choices here.  Vultures are a nice choice for a starting point; their associations are specific and evocative, and Dark/Flying makes sense and isn’t overdone; there’s only one other Pokémon of that type, Honchkrow, who’s sufficiently different from Mandibuzz that it doesn’t bother me.  Honchkrow is into plots and schemes, while Mandibuzz is a far more straightforward opportunistic predator.  She also has a macabre fashion sense: Vullaby and Mandibuzz ornament themselves with bones and even build their nests out of bones.  This was Cubone and Marowak’s thing, of course, but that’s not such a problem; they wore skulls as (I think) some kind of creepy honour thing, whereas for Vullaby and Mandibuzz it’s mostly about protection and decoration.  No, the thing that bothers me about Vullaby and Mandibuzz is how silly their bones make them look.  Vullaby is known as the “diapered” Pokémon, so yes, that eggshell-shape around her lower body (which is actually made of plates of bone) is indeed meant to look like a nappy.  I don’t know whether Mandibuzz is supposed to look like she’s wearing an apron but that’s certainly what I think of, and the domestic imagery of Vullaby’s nappy makes me think this is exactly what’s meant to be conveyed here.  Continue reading “Vullaby and Mandibuzz”

Pawniard and Bisharp

397a8-pawniardIt was, of course, a statistical inevitability that we would eventually get a set of chess-themed Pokémon – and here they are, the sword-wielding Dark/Steel Pokémon, Pawniard and Bisharp.  In fact, not content with merely using bladed weapons, these Pokémon are literally made of interlocking blades, just to make absolutely sure that they can cut you to ribbons just by running into you.  As always, the first question is: what were Game Freak thinking here?  I don’t mean that rhetorically or sarcastically, I’m genuinely curious.  This design seems to be going in a couple of different directions and I’m not sure which one they started from or where they’re trying to take them or how they’re supposed to fit together.  Their vicious and aggressive personalities seem to follow sensibly from the blade theme, which seems to be Pawniard’s main schtick (or alternatively, simply from the fact that he’s a Dark-type; the vast majority of them are born to be jerks).  Then, on a completely different tack, we have the chess idea, with their names referencing the pawns and bishops of European chess.  Continue reading “Pawniard and Bisharp”