Regional Variant Pokémon: Galarian Yamask and Corsola

Today’s Galarian variant Pokémon, Yamask and Corsola, are both Ghost-types, and they have some pretty different ideas about what that means.  One is an ancient curse, supposedly the twisted remnants of a long-dead human corrupted by mysterious dark magic; the other is older still, the revenant of a prehistoric extinction event whose lasting effects on the Galar region we can only begin to trace.  This piece might feel a little different from the others in this series, because it’s difficult to talk about Pokémon “adapting to the environment” of a new region when those Pokémon are dead and the environment is literally magic.  But Ghost Pokémon consistently have really interesting lore, and there’s some cool stuff to dig into as we investigate the inspirations of these Pokémon.  Let’s take a look.

Yamask and Runerigus

Galarian Yamask.

Unovan Yamask are tragic Pokémon, with some of the saddest backstories in the Pokédex.  Yamask are supposedly the spirits of dead humans, and each one carries a clay mask which is said to represent its human face.  They retain memories from their human lives and weep for their loss, their masks a constant reminder of their eternal sorrow.  Which is, as the expression goes, a bummer.  Once it evolves, Cofagrigus has a pretty different attitude, becoming a spiteful tomb guardian who devours grave robbers with a crazed grin on its face.  Although its mask is still there, set into Cofagrigus’ forehead, according to its new Pokédex entry in Sword Version, “people say it no longer remembers that it was once human” – as if its curse has overtaken it completely.   Now, Galarian Yamask… don’t have masks.  Instead, a Galarian Yamask’s tail is embedded in a chunk of what looks like carved stone but might in fact be clay, since its Pokédex entry makes reference to “a clay slab with cursed engravings [that] took possession of a Yamask” (this mention of clay is the only reason I can find for Galarian Yamask to be Ground/Ghost rather than Rock/Ghost, since from every other angle these Pokémon appear to be rocky).  In the case of the evolved form, Runerigus, we get a troubling line about “absorbing the spirit of a Yamask” to animate the painting on the surface of its body.  Just like Unovan Yamask eventually succumb to the curse that strips away the last of their remembered humanity and transforms them into Cofagrigus, something has taken over this Yamask spirit and is gradually turning it into a malevolent force… but what?

Continue reading “Regional Variant Pokémon: Galarian Yamask and Corsola”

Poke the Bear asks:

Since you wrote at such length on Flying types…

god damn it; I knew it was a mistake to indulge that one

Do you think you could rank your favourite ghost-types by design?

I’d love to hear what you think of them…

So… there’s about twenty-seven Ghost-type Pokémon or evolutionary lines of Pokémon, give or take (depending on exactly who you count).  I think it’s reasonable to pick… let’s say a top five?  Does that seem fair?  I’m not sure there are any Ghost Pokémon that I dislike, because Ghost is a type that tends to attract the sort of antiquity/mythology/folklore-based Pokémon that I find really interesting – the ones that I’m the most “meh” on are probably… I guess Rotom and Gourgeist, which are perfectly fine.  That’s… like, honestly that’s a much better hit rate than Grass, which is ostensibly my favourite type.  But anyway, let’s pick some favourites.

Continue reading “Poke the Bear asks:”

Yamask and Cofagrigus

52a5a-creepypokemonI’ve probably mentioned before that I quite like slightly darker takes on Pokémon, primarily because I think the setting and many of the creatures have a lot of potential for that kind of plot (witness, for instance, some of the spinoff games like Colosseum on the GameCube).  A startling number of Pokémon already have some surprisingly dark designs and flavour text; even in the original games Cubone wore the skulls of their dead parents as helmets, which is pretty strong for a kids’ game when you think about it.  The Pokédex also reports a couple of disturbing urban legends – like a Hypno abducting a child, and a boy with telekinetic abilities waking up one morning mysteriously transformed into a Kadabra.  Gyarados, meanwhile, is famed for levelling cities and Mewtwo is, if anything, more destructive still.  Ghost Pokémon, of course, take the cake; for instance, Ruby and Sapphire’s Shedinja, a mysterious Pokémon that seems to possess the shell shed by Nincada when it evolves into Ninjask, supposedly steals the soul of anyone who looks into the crack in its back.  I could go on about this for days, you understand, but what I mean to do here is give you a little context for when I start talking about today’s Pokémon, the Ghost-types Yamask and Cofagrigus, because Yamask’s design… in some ways is not nearly as troubling as some of what we’ve seen in the past, but in other ways is so much worse. Continue reading “Yamask and Cofagrigus”