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).

Anonymous asks:

Alternative explanation to why Wishi Washi is allowed to cheat (which is more funny than serious): No one wants to argue with the eldritch horror of the deep. Although I wonder what the rules are in double battles when the trainer’s Wishi Washi joins the rival Wishi Washi’s school. Or maybe there’s a sort of exception for Pokemon like Vespiqueen where it’s just a biological mechanism or something like that. I would say maybe we’re just overthinking it, but overthinking’s where all the fun is.

Maybe there are some Pokémon that are just usually trained by lawyers because they’re the only ones who can keep track of the rules. Continue reading “Anonymous asks:”

Anonymous asks:

Actually, looking at Wishiwashi’s schooling form, maybe it’s allowed because the school seems to fuse together? With the “main” Wishiwashi serving as the “brain” of the school itself? I mean, it could just be graphical limitations, but the school does look like it fuses into a single organism.

Well, “seems” is the operative word there – the whole point of Wishiwashi’s design is that it’s based on schools of fish that are able to make it look like they’re a single organism even though they definitely aren’t.  This rationale might save us from having to explain why Wishiwashi is basically allowed to cheat in Pokémon battles, but I think it does so at the expense of what makes Wishiwashi an interesting Pokémon.

Wishiwashi

Wishiwashi.
Wishiwashi

One of my favourite sequences in the whole of the original Sun and Moon was Lana’s Water trial on Akala Island, which introduces Wishiwashi: a small, very weak and actually rather pathetic-looking fish Pokémon with apparently no special powers.  Before you actually enter the trial grounds, Lana leads you through Brooklet Hill to investigate several commotions taking place in the area’s many pools.  Each is apparently caused by a group of Wishiwashi, most of which flee at your approach, leaving one behind to take the rap, but if you catch one, you’ll get some hint of what’s going on by reading the text of its Schooling ability.  The further you go, the larger the splashes in the pools become, slowly building a sense of menace around whatever it is you’re following, and Lana starts dropping hints about a powerful Pokémon that must be causing everything, even telling you at one point that Kyogre is said to live in Brooklet Hill. Continue reading “Wishiwashi”

Pokémon Moon, Episode 6: In Which I Offer Charity To A Character of Dubious Virtue

When I reach the entrance to the quiet valley of Brooklet Hill, a Water Pokémon paradise, I am greeted by none other than the local Captain herself: Lana, a dreamy young woman with blue hair.  Lana needs help with something, and apparently won’t take ‘no’ for an answer.  Well, the sooner I make her happy, the sooner I can attempt her trial, and the sooner I can get out of here… I follow Lana down into the valley, past tranquil pools and rumbling waterfalls, until we reach a large pool being disturbed by a strange thrashing out in the deepest part.

Continue reading “Pokémon Moon, Episode 6: In Which I Offer Charity To A Character of Dubious Virtue”