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”

Ducklett and Swanna

1176a-ducklettTwo more bird Pokémon enter the fray, these ones based on the humble duck and regal swan.  Are they interesting?  Probably not?  Are they powerful?  I doubt it.  Do I like them?  Heck no, but let’s look at them anyway.

Part of me assumes that Ducklett and Swanna are supposed to reference the fairy tale of the ugly duckling, the repulsive-looking baby bird who was shunned by his peers and the rest of the animal kingdom, suffered untold hardships in a cruel world he was not made to live in, grew strong from adversity by learning the true meaning of friendship, and died alone in the middle of a swamp, upside down with his head jammed into a hollow log filled with soft peat.  Or something like that.  I’m a little hazy on the finer details.  Anyway, I originally assumed that’s what Ducklett and Swanna are about, but I’m no longer sure that can be it because Ducklett really isn’t ugly.  She’s not flat-out adorable but she’s reasonably cute.  If that is what Game Freak were aiming for with this design then they picked a strange way to go about it. Continue reading “Ducklett and Swanna”


All right, guys; today’s Pokémon is Alomomola, the evolved form of Luvdisc, the heart-fish Pokémon from Ruby and Sapphire, and-

Sorry, what?

…what do you mean she’s not the evolved form of Luvdisc?

No, look; she obviously is.  They’re similar colours and shapes, they both have a heart motif, they’re the same type, they’re both fish, they-

All right.  Whatever.  I’ll go fire up the old Pokémadex; back in five.

773c5-luvdisc…okay, fine.  Today’s Pokémon is Alomomola, who, to practically everyone’s disappointment and against all logic, is not the evolved form of Luvdisc.  Continue reading “Alomomola”

Tirtouga and Carracosta

7f208-tirtougaI need to be up-front with you about this one.  I really like Tirtouga and Carracosta.  These turtle Pokémon are two of the fossil species of Black and White (the other two are Archen and Archeops, whom I talked about ages ago and allowed to live – perhaps a little generously) and the latest in a long line of prehistoric Pokémon resurrected by the miracle of SCIENCE.  I think the artistic designs for Tirtouga and Carracosta are superb; Tirtouga is cute but also clearly strong enough to take care of himself, and Carracosta practically dares you to try attacking him.  Both channel the “ancient” quality fossil Pokémon are supposed to possess exceptionally well.  As well as having typical sea turtle qualities, like being able to safely dive to tremendous depths, they seem to be part-way through evolution into terrestrial turtles and can hunt prey on land as well.  Continue reading “Tirtouga and Carracosta”

Oshawott, Dewott and Samurott

4d0d1-oshawottThe time has come at last, my friends, to fill that nagging gap I’ve left behind me: time to talk about the third Unova starter, Oshawott.  Now, I saw Oshawott for the first time back when Nintendo revealed the Unova starters last year (at the time, he had the fan nickname Wotter), and my first thought was that he’d pretty clearly been dropped on his head as a child.  Tepig and Snivy are so much more expressive in the official art; Tepig is happy-go-lucky and cute, while Snivy is a smug bastard, but Oshawott just looks vacant.  Personally I think someone dropped the ball on Oshawott’s official art and in-game sprite (which looks the same); in the show you can see Oshawott with actual facial expressions, making him look cute, proud, even devious – here, by contrast, he looks like a lobotomy outpatient.  This is a shame because it made a lot of people, including me, dismiss Oshawott without serious consideration – and, moreover, before meeting his awesome evolved forms, Dewott and Samurott.  The concept behind this line is that they’re samurai Pokémon.  Continue reading “Oshawott, Dewott and Samurott”


All right, so there’s these two fish, and they hate each other.  Okay, Game Freak, I like where you’re going with this.  What else?

Oh, you mean that’s it?  All right, well, what do the two fish evolve into?

…nothing?  That’s… err… nice.  So, uh, what differences are there between the two fish?

…there’s a red one and a blue one.


4c62d-basculinToday on Pokémaniacal I have the dubious pleasure of discussing Basculin.  There are red Basculin and blue Basculin, and they hate each other.  That’s really all there is to it, and to be honest even that seems to be open to interpretation; the Pokédex entry for Basculin on Black version says that red and blue ones will start fighting the instant they meet, but the entry on White version contends that Basculin sometimes do mingle with schools of the opposite colour, despite normally hating each other.  So, to make this clear… the only vaguely amusing thing about these Pokémon is that they hate each other… and they don’t even hate each other all that much!  We don’t know why they hate each other – well, actually, they seem to hate just about everything, but we don’t know why they hate each other particularly – nor do we have any reason to care since there’s nothing else interesting about them.  Continue reading “Basculin”

Tympole, Palpitoad and Seismitoad

I don’t want to review these Pokémon.  I really don’t.  Sadly, they’re sitting there in the Pokédex, right after Timburr, Gurdurr and Conkeldurr, and I don’t exactly have much of an excuse not to.  So… with as little ado as possible, let’s get started on the vibration Pokémon, Tympole, Palpitoad and Seismitoad.

9db5a-tympoleUnderstand that I do not think these are terrible Pokémon.  They are not… badly designed, as such.  I think Tympole and, yes, even Palpitoad are kind of cute.  Seismitoad may be ungainly, but as he’s a toad Pokémon I think that’s intentional.  No, the crux of my problem is that they are just rather dull.  They’re not even interesting enough for me to hate properly, which makes this business of writing a blog post about them rather a trial.  Nonetheless, I shall persevere.  Tympole, Palpitoad and Seismitoad are tadpole and frog Pokémon, obviously.  “Tadpole and frog Pokémon,” unfortunately, is an idea that was already done way back in Red and Blue by Poliwag, Poliwhirl and Poliwrath (Poliwhirl, incidentally, is the favourite Pokémon of Satoshi Tajiri, the creator of the franchise, which is something of a difficult legacy to live up to when you think about it).  The Pokédex continues to classify Poliwhirl and Poliwrath as “tadpole Pokémon,” but let’s face it, they’re clearly fully-grown and looking more like frogs than tadpoles, and there’s really no question about Politoed, the alternate final evolution for Poliwhirl added in Gold and Silver.  I suppose you could make the argument that Palpitoad and Seismitoad are toad Pokémon, not frog Pokémon, what with the bumps that are meant to represent a toad’s “warts,” but since the only thing that really makes a toad a toad and not a frog is that they can live happily out of water, and Seismitoad is still a Water-type, I think that’s splitting hairs a bit (yes, all right, he’s a Water/Ground dual-type; big deal).  Continue reading “Tympole, Palpitoad and Seismitoad”

Frillish and Jellicent

219dc-frillishToday I’m going to take a flying leap into the second half of the Unovan Pokédex to look at one of the Pokémon I used in my play-through of Black: the undead jellyfish Pokémon Frillish and Jellicent.  Yes, you read that right: undead.  See, they may not look it, but Frillish and Jellicent are actually Ghost-types.  This is not only an immediate defence against any accusation that Frillish is just Tentacool 2.0, it also means that they possess a unique type combination, Ghost/Water, and therefore an inherently interesting set of powers.  From a mechanical perspective, this is clearly a good start, so let’s look at the flavour. Continue reading “Frillish and Jellicent”

Pansage, Pansear, Panpour, Simisage, Simisear and Simipour

Six Pokémon all at once!?  What could be happening?  Well, just sit still for a minute and allow me to introduce you to the three elemental monkeys of Black and White.  I’ve decided to do these Pokémon as a group, for three reasons: first, they’re strongly associated as a group, second, my major grievances against them are shared by the whole trio, and third, they’re just so unforgivably bland I don’t think I could possibly come up with enough material if I took on each one separately.  So, without further ado: the elemental monkey Pokémon!

24fdc-pansageandsimisageI appreciate the thought behind these Pokémon; I really do.  For a bit of context, let’s all think back to Red and Blue.  A big chunk of a Pokémon game’s storyline is, and always has been, travelling the countryside to obtain shiny bits of metal from trainers who have far more self esteem than you do in order to make yourself feel better about the fact that you are, in essence, an extremely violent prepubescent hobo.  Continue reading “Pansage, Pansear, Panpour, Simisage, Simisear and Simipour”