My Poke-Pinions #58 and 59 – The Guard Dog Line

Growlithe

Name: Growlithe and Arcanine are two of my absolute favorite Pokemon ever. I love dogs, Fire Pokemon are my favorite Type – they’re the perfect combination.

Growlithe’s name is a combination of “growl” and…..”lithe” Wow, thanks a bunch, Bulbapedia. That was really helpful. I didn’t know what “lithe” meant, so I googled it, and it means “thin, supple and graceful.” Uhm….I mean….I….guess? Those aren’t really traits that immediately jump out at me when I think of Growlithe, but okay? The “growl” part of the name obviously works very well, but I have no idea what the thought process was with the “lithe” part. It’s still a good name in regards to being memorable and snappy, but I just don’t quite get it.

In Japan, it’s originally known as Gardie, which seems to be indicative of “guard” or “guardian” I think like guard dogs. I prefer Growlithe, but Gardie is a bit more of a fitting name. It kinda just sounds like a name someone would give a Growlithe, if that makes any sense.

Fun Fact: In the beta version of RB, it was going to be named Flamie, which is……very not creative, but cute.

Design: Growlithe is one of the most perfect Pokemon designs. Fight me. It does indeed just look like a dog, but the absolute perfect shade of orange for the short fur with stark black stripes all over the body really help it stand out, and it definitely portrays the Fire Type quite well.

On its longer fur, it has shaping and spiky features that resemble flames, making the fire connection even stronger. I think Growlithe is absolutely adorable. I love its face, it ears, the little hair tuft on top of its head, its paws, its tail – just everything about Growlithe. I especially think the eyes are the perfect shape. They’re adorable and friendly while still having enough angle to them to convey a truly threatening expression if need be.

Sprite-wise, Gen I…pbbbtthhhahahaha…Sorry. R/B is really cute, but it comes off a bit too much like a real puppy/animal than it should. Also, I don’t much care for the tail being so tiny.

Yellow looks pretty normal, and R/G looks—PBBBTTAHAHAHAHAHA! It’s looks so doofy. It’s cute, don’t get me wrong, but it’s so doofy. It almost doesn’t even look like a real Pokemon. It’s kinda more like a plushie.

Gen II is quite the tonal shift, making all of the sprites for the Gen look really friggin’ angry.

Gen III is a bit better, but I have no clue what the animation for Emerald is doing.

Gen IV is pretty cute, but the animations for DPP are a bit too hyper for my tastes.

HG/SS is very adorable, though.

Absolutely adore the animations for Gen V. It’s such a playful pup in those sprites.

Everything else looks pretty good.

Shiny:

I hate you, Pokemon. First you spit in my face with Vulpix’s shiny, and now poor Growlithe? How dare you?

Granted, Growlithe’s situation isn’t quite as bad as Vulpix’s. Growlithe’s shiny is more stark yellow than anything, but still this is just insulting. It looks like it did a fusion dance with a mustard bottle.

In Gen II, its shiny looks…lame, but better. The orange parts were simply turned to a brown color, which kinda just makes it look like a regular dog.

Hisuian Growlithe

Oooooohhhhhhhhhhwwoooooooooooooooowwwwwwwww……Okay, uhm…I’ve never seen this version of Growlithe until this very moment, and it’s…..a lot to take in.

First of all, I’m not against the idea of having like a half-shaggy dog and half-short haired dog – I actually find that very cute – my issue is with the way they styled the hair. The fur on its head looks ridiculous. It looks kinda like a helmet, which is a neat idea, but it’s giving off seriously strong “I was desperately trying to look cool in 1967” vibes.

The fur on its chest is just confusing. Are those balls? Why are they balls? I don’t understand. The tail is fine. It kinda reminds me too much of Wartortle’s tail, though.

The other noticeable detail is that they changed the orange color to being a much deeper orange-red, heavy on the red. I don’t think it looks that bad, but it kinda looks unnatural.

The shiny version is shit, because they just did the exact same color scheme as shiny normal Growlithe.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Growlithe is noted as being extremely loyal, brave, friendly and territorial. It will bite enemies, and it will remain motionless unless commanded by its owner/Trainer. BW also mentions that it’s so protective of its Trainer that it will bark at enemies and run them out of town. It has such a good sense of smell that it never forgets the scents of those it smells, and it can use scents to determine the emotions of others.

Gen VII explains that Growlithe’s natural enemy is Rockruff, and Growlithe are said to have been living and working alongside humans since the stone age.

The only Dex entry for Hisuian Growlithe explains that they patrol their territory in pairs, and it’s believed their typing changed to be dual Fire/Rock Type because of nearby volcanic activity, which is kinda cool. This design doesn’t give off Rock Type or volcano vibes, though.

Growlithe’s design is based off of shisa, which are Japanese statues meant to resemble a mix between a dog and a lion. I can definitely see it. Shisa are guardians meant to protect people from evil spirits, which is very much like Growlithe.

It’s theorized that its striped pattern is either based on tigers, which I don’t buy because it doesn’t have anything to do with tigers, a thylacine, otherwise known as a Tasmanian wolf, which I believe a bit more, or a Kai Ken, also known as a Tora Inu/Tiger Dog, which is one of the most adorable things I’ve ever seen.

Hisuian Growlithe’s Rock typing is seemingly based off of komainu statues, which, as far as I’ve researched, are pretty damn similar to shisa legends. The only difference I can see is that shisa are from Okinawan mythology while komainu are more generally used all over Japan and are primarily guardians for Shinto shrines? Correct me if I’m wrong there.

I don’t really understand this Type change if this is accurate. If Growlithe are already based off of statues, then it doesn’t make much sense for Hisuian Growlithe to be part Rock just because it’s based off of a statue and legend that is almost identical to the one its original form was based from. Why didn’t they just say it was because of volcanoes like the Dex entry stated?

Additionally, while the Wiki doesn’t note this, the fact that Hisuian Growlithe work in pairs is also taken from both shisa and komainu legends since they’re always put out in pairs – one with its mouth open and the other with its mouth closed. The shisa legends states that one pair is always male while the other is female. The male will have its mouth closed to keep evil out of the home while the female keeps hers open to share goodness.

In the komainu legend, the one with its mouth open is pronouncing “A” the first letter of the Sanskrit alphabet while the one with the closed mouth is saying “Um,” which is the last letter. This is meant to symbolize the beginning and end of all things. Both combined create “aum” which is a sacred syllable in Sanskrit that has many meanings – far too many for me to go over here – but check out that link. It’s fascinating.

Arcanine

Name: As much love as I have for Growlithe, and it’s an awful lot, I have a tiny bit more for Arcanine. It’s a beautiful, adorable, powerful giant fire dog, and I love it to bits.

Arcanine’s name is a mixture of “Arcane” and “Canine” which kinda surprised me because I always thought the first part was meant to be based off of “Arf” like the dog noise, but “Arcane” is a much better origin for that part. So fitting, and such a cool word. I love Arcanine’s name. It has such a majestic and cool flair to it that it could easily be a Legendary name.

Speaking of legendary, while I usually don’t discuss category names, Arcanine is called the Legendary Pokemon, and this has lead to a lot of confusion. Arcanine is obviously not a Legendary Pokemon, but it is classified as THE Legendary Pokemon because it is a Pokemon of many legends and tales….Do you get it? Yeah, I don’t either. Maybe because it’s so relatively common given that Growlithe is so common it can be called a Pokemon of legend, but it’s not rare enough to be considered a Pokemon so few people have seen it’s considered simply a legend, making it Legendary?

Also doesn’t help that in episode two of the anime, Arcanine was included on a depiction of an ancient tablet with Legendary Pokemon including the Legendary Birds.

Back on topic, its Japanese name is Windie, which I was never really a fan of. It sounds overly simple and like something you’d expect them to use as a name for a Flying Type. It’s meant to be in reference to the fact that Arcanine supposedly runs faster than the wind, which I also think is flimsy. You have this awesome majestic Pokemon and your only thought is it runs faster than the wind?

Fun Fact: In the beta version of RB, it was called Blaze, which is cool, but also a bit too overly simplistic. I much prefer Arcanine.

Design: Arcanine’s design is amazing. It still has the cute characteristics of a dog, but it’s big and intimidating without looking scary. The lion attributes, though still subtle, come through much more with Arcanine than Growlithe, and it’s just the right balance here. I love that it’s big enough to ride on. When I was a kid, I always wanted to ride on an Arcanine, and I still do, to be honest. I want to give one a hug too. It’s such a cuddly-looking Pokemon.

Sprite-wise, RB looks pretty cool, actually. They made the longer parts of the fur more flowy instead of spiky and I actually think it looks awesome.

Yellow also has this really cool attitude to it. I love it.

RG looks doofy, though.

Gen II looks really cool except for Crystal where he looks like he’s about to sneeze and stops himself by gently putting his paw down.

Gen III looks really good. The animation for Emerald makes it look like it’s barking before growling really intensely, which is cool.

I don’t really have much else to say about the rest of the sprites. They’re all varying amounts of cool and cute.

Shiny:

They committed the same shiny sin to Arcanine as they did to Growlithe. He now comes in lemon flavor. The least I can say is that some versions, specifically Gen IV and V, make him look golden instead of yellow, but it’s not much consolation.

Gen II’s shiny is also brown, but it’s a bad shade of brown. Like Arcanine hasn’t taken a bath in three years and spends his days running in dirt.

Hisuian Arcanine

Aaaaggggggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…..pbfft.

Where do I start with this thing? I don’t hate it, I just don’t like it that much. I think the tail is the best part. I like how it looks like a smoke plume, especially with the shade of dark gray they chose for the longer fur areas. I don’t dislike how the mane looks.

My opinion on it seems to vary by the minute. I never really like it that much, but I can’t bring myself to really hate it. However, if I do hate one aspect, it’s the way they changed the head design. It looks awful. I also don’t care for the shade of red they chose for the rest of the body. Unlike Hisuian Growlithe, this shade is a bit too red to the point where it’s basically fire truck red. I think having more orange in it is necessary, especially if they’re trying to pull off a lava/magma vibe. Lava/magma is not pure red.

Its shiny is, again, bright yellow. However, it works a tiny bit better with this version, because it comes off more like Arcanine changed to an Electric Type. Then I realized that this shiny looks a bit too much like a Raikou. I was going to make an Entei comparison with the main version, but I didn’t think it looked quite similar enough. But then I saw the shiny and couldn’t get Raikou out of my head.

Why yellow for ALL of the shiny versions of this line? It’s so bad. Please, if another version of this line ever comes out, choose a color besides yellow for their shiny.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Arcanine, like Growlithe, are known for their intense loyalty and bravery. They are incredibly fast and graceful runners. When running, they are considered captivating by many. They can run around 6,200 miles in 24 hours, which is insane. The fire within their bodies is said to help power it to run so far and fast. They are world-renowned for their beauty, and they are said to look like they have wings and are running on air.

In a bit of surprise, the early Dexes note that it is a legendary Pokemon in China specifically (this is later changed to “the east.”) There are legends of Arcanine working alongside military generals and conquering an entire country.

It has a bark so powerful and majestic that people actually grovel when they hear it.

Hisuian Arcanine has a fierce look, especially with fangs that they can cloak in fire, but it mostly feints and avoids fighting fairly often, choosing to playfully chase after and dance around its opponents instead…..Wait, that’s it? That’s all they have to say about Hisuian Arcanine? That’s kinda lame, actually. No notes about volcanoes or lava or rocks or what have you? Why even bother then?

Not many additional design notes for Arcanine except that it might have also been based off of Xiezhi, which…..maybe, but I doubt it? Bulbapedia says it’s a fire-breathing dog with similarities to lions and tigers, but the Wiki page for that legend specifically says it’s an ox, sheep or a goat, and there’s no mention of fire anywhere.

According to legend, the Xiezhi was called upon as a figure of justice. It could accurately detect who was guilty and who was innocent with a glance. They would signify who was guilty and innocent by ramming whomever was guilty and sparing whomever was innocent. That doesn’t sound like anything Arcanine does so….*shrug*

Hisuian Arcanine also doesn’t have any additional notes besides the very obvious fact that the tail and ankle fur look like smoke, which is very disappointing.

And that was the – eh, what should I call this one?….The Guard Dog line. I would’ve said “Legendary Dogs” but then people would probably get confused with the three Legendary cats/dogs/beasts…ya know. I still love Growlithe and Arcanine to bits and pieces, even if their only alternate versions are underwhelming. They’re just such awesome Pokemon, and they’re always high on my favorites list. I wish they existed in real life. Or at least I wish they were a bigger part of the anime. I still have trouble accepting that they wouldn’t let James keep Growly with him. Gary had an Arcanine, but we barely see him.

Next up, the Poli line!


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My Poke-Pinions | #56 and 57: The Monkey Line

Mankey

Name: Mankey’s name is either a mix of “Man” and “Monkey” or “Mad” and “Cranky.” I think they’re kinda reaching for the latter theory, and, honestly, the former doesn’t sit right with me either. I always just thought they were lazy and changed one letter of “Monkey” to make it seem new.

Mankey’s name is fine. The word “Monkey” is already pretty funny, and changing it up a bit allows it to retain the snappiness and most of the humor in the word. I just think it’s kinda lazy, is all. Mankey’s name is kept from the Japanese version. No real fun facts today either.

Design: Mankey’s design is a bit unique in that I both find it very bland and overly weird. At face value, it’s just a brown and beige monkey, which is the boring part, but then you look closer at it and it’s weird.

First of all, I wasn’t rooting for Mankey to have realistic hands, but there’s something so weird about a monkey having paws for hands. Monkeys are supposed to be all about climbing and hanging from things, and paws just don’t work very well for that. The way it looks in the main artwork, it’s like the paws don’t come off as normal paws immediately. It looks like his ‘paws’ got broken and they’re bending in the wrong direction. They’re not, but that’s how it always came off to me.

Second, its face. I’m fine with the angry eyes, He’s supposed to be an angry little shit, and he is able to easily have cute expressions. It’s his nose that weirds me out. Apparently, his pig snout is supposed to be similar to baboons, of which Mankey’s design is partially based from, and uh…..I don’t see it. I’ve never seen any monkey-like animal with a pig nose. They have pronounced and long snouts, but they don’t come off like pig noses. Then there’s Mankey’s mouth….of which it has none. It does have a mouth since it can eat, but it has no visible mouth, and that just compounds the weirdness.

Finally, we have Mankey’s feet, which are also not hands, but they’re a tiny bit better in being Y shaped grabby feet. While being more practical, they also just seem very weird. It’s like someone fused bird feet with monkey feet.

In hindsight, it’s very strange that the main theory around Mankey’s name is that it’s a combination of “Man” and “Monkey” when they took pretty much anything human-like away from any monkey’s features in order to make this design. No hands, no opposable thumbs, no human-like body shape, no human-esque facial features (they even gave it tiny pointy cat-like ears) absolutely nothing. They went out of their way to remove those typical features, and I’m not saying it’s all bad, it just creates a bit of a mish-mash of confusing feelings.

Sprite-wise, RB is…..*sigh* My feelings are confused again. Mankey obviously looked a bit different back in the day. It gives off way more ‘pig’ vibes given the weird shadow around its face, but it’s still clearly monkey-like. And that back sprite is so weird. I keep thinking Mankey’s standing on its hands.

Yellow is a bit more normal, but RG is back to being more pig-like.

Everything’s about average until Gen III, where Emerald has a pretty cool animation. Makes it look like it just won a fight or something.

Other than that, I don’t have any other notes, good or bad.

Shiny:

I’m confident in saying Mankey’s shiny is one of the worst in all of Pokemon. It’s either a muted baby poop green or it’s a muted pea soup green. Either way, it looks more like Mankey is horrifically sick than shiny. At its best, it can come off looking lime green, which is a little better, but still not by much.

Dex Entries and Backstory: The Biology section of its Wiki explains that it’s similar to New World Monkeys, and look at these horrifying motherfuckers.

They are the stuff of nightmares.

Mankey are incredibly angry all the time, and they’re very quick to attack and become uncontrollably violent. They breathe heavily when getting enraged enough to attack. It will attack until it’s exhausted and then go to sleep only to become enraged in its dreams and wake up angry again. It can’t distinguish from friend or foe when it’s on a rampage, and they travel in such tight packs that, when they lose sight of their pack members, they become enraged by loneliness.

An interesting and, I would think, incorrect statement they make in the Dex entries is that, because it is constantly releasing stress by being violent, it lives a long life……I don’t think that’s right……or a healthy message to send kids. No, you shouldn’t bottle up your emotions, even anger, but I can think of few Pokemon who are worse poster children for that message than Mankey. Yes, kids, go and lash out at anyone you see whenever you want. Hit people, break things, it’s the health way of dealing with stress.

Ash’s Pokedex also says it packs a powerful punch, which I don’t doubt because it’s a Fighting Pokemon, but can a Pokemon with those paws really “punch” anything?

Mankey’s design is seemingly based on baboons and Japanese macaques.

Primeape

Name: Primeape’s name is okay. It’s basically as one-note as Mankey, again being one letter (or….I guess two) off from the word, but Primeape is a bit more unique. It’s obviously a combination of “Primate” and “Ape.”

Its Japanese name is Okorizaku, which translates to “Angry monkey.” Really went all out on the imagination there, eh? It’s also kinda a clunky word, to be honest.

Design: I like Primeape’s design a little better than Mankey’s, but, when you get down to it, there’s not much of a difference between Primeape and Mankey. It loses the tail, gains some semblance of hands and actual feet, which I appreciate. It also, somehow, gets metal wrist and ankle shackles. But otherwise it looks pretty much the same as Mankey.

Sprite-wise, RB actually looks decent. It just looks a tiny bit less detailed than Yellow’s. RG looks…..weird. Like it’s a bootleg Primeape.

Otherwise, I don’t have a whole lot to say. HG/SS definitely has the best animation. They’re all trying to do the same kind of tantrum animation, but they’re not pulling it off. Emerald looks like it’s dancing, DPP looks like it slipped on butter. HG/SS actually pulls it off well.

Shiny:

Primeape’s shiny is arguably even worse than Mankey’s. However, the awfulness fluctuates depending on the Gen. Like Mankey, it has a very baby poop green look to it overall, but he looks horrible – absolutely horrible – in Gen III where he’s now Graham cracker brown and a deep baby poop green. That is definitely of the worst shiny sprite sets in all of Pokemon.

It looks a tiny bit better in Gen IV because it looks more lime green, and Gen V pretty much keeps the same shade, but after that it’s just back to grossness.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Almost all of the notes and Dex entries are pretty much just Mankey’s only more angry. Like in the anime episode with Ash’s Primeape, if you lock eyes with it, it will never stop chasing you in an effort to beat the crap out of you.

I was about to write off all of Primeape’s Dex entries and notes as being more or the less the same as Mankey’s until I got to its Dex entry in Sun where it says, “It has been known to become so angry that it dies as a result. Its face looks peaceful in death, however.”

…..First of all, holy shit, Pokemon. That was dark.

Second of all, that’s in direct contradiction to what they said in Mankey’s Dex entries where it said it has a long lifespan because it’s constantly letting off stress and anger.

This entry only made me more confused when we got to Ultra Moon where it says, “The blood vessels in its brain are sturdier than those of other Pokémon, so it can stay healthy despite its constant raging.”

Which is it!? Is it a heart attack waiting to happen or is it super healthy? I don’t get this at all.

And that was the monkey line. Had more to say than I thought I would, but I still didn’t wind up saying a lot. They’re fine Pokemon. They definitely wouldn’t be my first choice of Fighting Pokemon, not even in Gen I….Actually……They’d probably be my last choices in Gen I of Fighting Pokemon. Literally every other Fighting Pokemon seems more appealing than these two. My favorite Gen I Fighting Type was always Hitmonchan, but I also really like Machoke and Machamp, and Hitmonlee has definitely grown on me. Machop’s probably closest to the bottom in Gen I, but I still prefer it over Mankey and Primeape.

I will admit that they can be entertaining when they’re goofing around, but that’s about it.

I don’t even have any nostalgic connection with Primeape considering Ash had one because he only used it literally once and then just left it with some guy he barely knew for no real reason forever.

Next up, it’s GROWLITHE AND ARCANINE! WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!


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My Poke-Pinions | #54 and 55: The Duck Line

Psyduck

Name: A combination of the words ‘Psychic’ and ‘Duck’ Psyduck has a very simple but effective, funny, snappy and cute name. Few names in the Pokemon franchise are as iconic as little ol’ Psyduck.

Originally, it was named Koduck, which was ‘Duck’ in combination with ‘Ko’ for ‘small’ or ‘child’ which is fitting. Koduck’s a cute name too, but I love Psyduck much more.

Fun Fact: In French, it’s called Psykokwak, which is one of the best words I’ve ever heard in my life. It sounds like a metal band name. In Korea, it’s called Gorapaduck, which is also really cute and funny. It’s a combination of ‘Duck’ with ‘Gol’ for ‘brain’ or ‘head’ and ‘Apueda’ for ‘Sick’ or ‘Hurt’ in reference to its constant headache.

….Oh and in German, it’s called Enton, which I found hilarious. It comes from ‘Ente’ for ‘Duck’ but it just sounds like some dude’s name.

Design: Like its name, Psyduck’s design is quite simple, being just a pudgy, doofy yellow duck, but I do think Psyduck is pretty darn cute. I absolutely love ducks. They’re one of my favorite animals of all time. You can bet I’ll love pretty much anything if it has a duck on it. I just want to give Psyduck a hug. It’s like a big rubber ducky. Granted, it is kinda weirdly shaped for a duck. It doesn’t really have wings, and it doesn’t look like it’d swim very well at all (Misty’s Psyduck can’t swim…) but I still think it’s really cute.

Sprite-wise, I think Silver is really cute because it looks like its booping its own bill.

Look at Emerald’s little dance!

I don’t get DP at all….is it on a swing or what’s happening there?

HG/SS is hilarious. It looks like it’s being scared shitless.

Gen V is adorable. It’s just tilting its head quizzically, like a puppy.

Everything else is fine.

Shiny:

I love Psyduck’s shiny version. Not sure it’s one of my absolute favorites, but I do love it. It’s a great shade of blue for the body with a suitable shade of blue for the bill, and blue works very well as a shiny form for a non-blue Water Pokemon.

In Gen II, its coloring is a little different. It has a darker shade of blue, almost a purple, and I think it looks really cool.

Dex Entries and Backstory: As you probably guessed, a good chunk of Psyduck’s lore has to do with its intense and constant headache. It’s always seen holding its head because of the headache, and it’s mostly vacant and static demeanor are also attributed to trying to calm the pain, which is actually quite sad. When the headache gets particularly bad, it will unleash powerful psychic abilities. However, people are uncertain whether most Psyduck intend to do this.

Crystal mentions that the psychic abilities only manifest when the sleeping cells in Psyduck’s brain wake up….whatever that means. It never remembers these psychic episodes, which is why it constantly looks confused. Additionally, the more painful the headache, the more powerful the psychic powers that accompany these episodes.

Apparently in Legends: Arceus, the Pokedex notes that someone is trying to find a way to ease Psyduck’s headache pain, which is nice to hear after over a decade of people abusing the poor thing’s condition to use its psychic powers, COUGHCOUGHMISTYCOUGHCOUGH.

In regards to design, Psyduck is obviously based on a duck, but particularly it is inspired by the looks of rubber ducks, and it also seems to have physical traits of platypuses.

Golduck

Name: A mixture of ‘Gold’ and ‘Duck’ Golduck’s name is alright. It’s not as snappy as Psyduck, and I never quite got the ‘Gol’ part. I literally just learned right this moment that it’s for ‘Gold’ but I still didn’t understand why. Apparently, it’s because gold symbolizes psychic powers….and…sure. Okay? It’s a fine name, I just wish it were a little cooler and made more sense. Its original Japanese name is retained here.

Fun Fact: In France, it’s known as Akwakwak, for ‘Aquatique’ (aquatic) and ‘Couac’ (quack) which is amazing, one of my new favorite things ever, and the fact that that’s not the English name is a crime.

Design: I’ve always loved Golduck’s design. It’s one of my favorite Pokemon. It has a cool looking face, I like the jewel on its forehead, it’s a great shade of blue, and it does manage to look intimidating from its humble roots as a Psyduck.

My only real issue with it is that it doesn’t look like Psyduck in the slightest besides the fact that they’re both ducks. This isn’t inherently a deal breaker as many evolutions don’t look like their predecessors, but it does bug me when evolved Pokemon don’t look like their pre-evos at all because part of the fun of evos is taking something that looks small or childish and altering it in various manners to make it look like a tougher and more powerful Pokemon. Anyone can take two completely dissimilar Pokemon and claim they’re evolutions. Part of the challenge of Pokemon design is building upon base evos and making them look stronger.

Sprite-Wise, Gen I is hilarious. RB looks like it was hastily drawn by a second grader, and RG looks like its doing its damnedest to give a kawaii expression.

Yellow looks much better, but I must point out its back spite in that it’s not a back sprite at all. It’s a side profile. And it is awful. Its tail is pointing straight up, its shoulder is crammed into its head, its eye is pure white and makes it look dead. It’s one of the weirder back sprites I’ve seen.

Gen II’s alright with the highlight being the cool slashing animation on Crystal.

Gen III is alright. The animation on Emerald looks like it’s dodging something for whatever reason.

In Gen IV, DP looks insanely goofy because it looks like it accidentally set foot on very hot sand at the beach.

Platinum isn’t any better as it looks like it just barely avoided accidentally walking off a cliff.

HG/SS is a simply yell animation, and that’s fine.

The loop animation for Gen V is alright, and every other Gen is fine.

Shiny:

Golduck’s shiny is really nice. It’s what I like to refer to as a blue raspberry shade of blue with some pink in the bill.

Gen II’s version is quite weird, though, as the shiny pretty much looks like normal Golduck while the normal version looks purple in GS and navy blue in Crystal.

Dex Entries and Backstory: One of the weirdest things about Golduck is that it differentiates itself even further from Psyduck by most of the Dex entries not mentioning anything about psychic powers. Most of them just mention that it’s an incredibly fast swimmer and even claims it’s the fastest swimming Pokemon. It’s also such a powerful swimmer that even swimming in harsh seas doesn’t affect it at all, and its powerful swimming abilities have been used to help rescue sailors from shipwrecks.

It’s commonly mistaken for a kappa, which is a design aspect added to the evolution (IE the webbed hands).

Its psychic powers do get mentioned here and there, but nowhere near to the extent of focus that its given with Psyduck. It also seems like Golduck’s psychic power is at its peak when its swimming particularly fast for some reason.

Speaking of the jewel, Sun states that people believe the jewel grants the owner supernatural powers. As a result, Golduck were over-hunted for their jewels in the past, which is awful.

It will also fish along the banks of rivers, which is a quaint little note to cover before we get to Shield where apparently the newest legend around Golduck is that those who defiled its river were dragged underwater and “taken away” which I think is implying ancient Golduck drowned them, which…Uh…holy shit.

And uh…on that dark note we close out the Duck line.

Next time, we tackle the Monkey line!


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My Poke-Pinions | #052-053 (863) The Meow Line

Meowth

Name: Meowth is a combination of ‘meow’ and either ‘mouth’ which doesn’t make sense to me, or ‘wealth’ which makes a lot more sense to me. It’s also possible that they based Meowth’s name partially on its Japanese name, which is Nyasu or Nyarth, just replacing the Japanese sound for a cat’s cry, ‘nya’ with a more westernly common onomatopoeia, ‘meow.’

I like Meowth’s name just fine, it’s fitting and cute. While I also like Nyasu just fine, I find its Japanese name to be frustrating because almost no one can agree on whether it’s supposed to be Nyasu or Nyarth. The last hiragana in the name is for ‘su’ but so many sources choose to call it Nyarth, including Bulbapedia. I tend to call it Nyasu, but I feel like people who claim that’s wrong are not really incorrect in claiming so.

The explanation for the tail end of Nyasu’s name, that I can’t really understand, is that it “may” be meant to reference ‘shamu’ just with the syllables switched (Which would be musha, I think? But it doesn’t say that) and that, together, it literally makes Myasu, which I can’t understand at all, and that shamu/musha is really referencing Siam in regards to Siamese cats.

Look, I have no idea. All I know is that Meowth’s Japanese name is really frustratingly confusing.

Design: I find Meowth to be really cute, even with years of overexposure. It’s just a cat with a coin on its head, but it’s a cute cat with a coin on its head. Really, the coin does so much more for Meowth’s design than anyone would probably think. It’s just one feature, but it stands out so much that it’s a trademark.

I do have to say that, oddly, Meowth looks a little awkward when on four legs. Maybe it’s just because I’m used to seeing Team Rocket’s Meowth (though, to be fair, most Meowth are depicted as being on their hind legs now) but it’s still weird.

Most of the sprites for Meowth are varying degrees of really cute. R/G is a bit weird, though, because they were leaning more heavily towards the Maneki-neko inspiration, and he winds up looking like a toy or a statue.

Absolutely love the wink in Crystal’s animation.

Emerald is still cute, but the twitch is a little off-putting.

They actually managed to make Meowth look threatening in D/P/P.

Although he’s back to adorable in HG/SS.

Gen V’s animation is really funny to me. It’s like when a little kid is pretending they know karate.

Admittedly, Gen VI and beyond look really, really creepy when not animated, because it just has dead eyes.

Alolan Meowth

Alolan Meowth looks….okay. I really don’t have much to say about it at all, either good nor bad. It’s a nice steel gray color, the eye shape is nice….It’s fine. I think its posing and whiskers are a bit weird, but otherwise it’s okay.

Gigantamax Meowth

Okay, when I first saw this image way back when it was first released, I thought this was super dumb. They just super-stretched out a Meowth, added some stuff near its face and called it a day. But now that I’m really looking at it, I think it’s actually pretty cool. It definitely gives off the air like it’s this crazy supernatural giant malformed version of a Meowth, and I love the shadows on the top with the smoke clouds and the glowing eyes.

Galarian Meowth

What the hell is this thing? It looks like Taz from Looney Tunes fused with a Meowth. Also, I don’t care for the black coin. The coin is what makes Meowth Meowth. Turning it black just makes it look like some weird thing on its head. I get why its black, but I don’t care for it being black. I had to double take because this just doesn’t look like a Meowth. It has some Meowth-esque features, but this isn’t a Meowth to me.

Shiny:

Eeehhhhhhh this shiny needs work. It’s half lazy in that it’s mostly just a darkened Meowth, but the brown parts are replaced with this bubblegum pink color, and I don’t think it works at all. If you’re going to change something so drastically, I feel like you have to change the rest drastically in order to fit. Beige and brown to a slightly darker beige and bubblegum pink is just awkward.

Admittedly, the Gen II shiny sprites look the best because the pink is more of a magenta or purple-ish color, but it definitely wouldn’t be my first choice of shiny for Meowth. It needs a shiny rework.

Shiny Alolan Meowth looks fairly good. It’s a darker steel blue-like color with purple where the white was. The only part I don’t care for is the ears. I don’t know why they opted for an olive-green color where the black was. It doesn’t match very well, if you ask me.

Shiny Gigantamax Meowth didn’t look any different to me upon first glance because it has a hot pink aura around it, but it’s the same shiny scheme as regular shiny Meowth – darker beige with pink, which is disappointing.

Shiny Galarian Meowth is strange. It has the base fur color of Meowth with white eyes, so it looks a lot more like it’s a Meowth form than the normal Galarian Meowth does. I don’t know how I feel about that, but, for the record, I like the shiny version better than the original.

Dex Entries and Backstory: The Dex entries can’t seem to decide if it’s round or shiny things that Meowth loves most as it goes back and forth claiming it’s obsessed with one or the other. Meowth will spend most of its day sleeping while it roams the streets of cities at night looking for coins, which it pursues either because they’re round or because they’re shiny (or both?) Like a normal cat, it has retractable claws, and it typically retracts them to be more sneaky when wandering the streets. In later Gens, Meowth are noted to get into fights with Murkrow over shiny objects. You can make friends easily with Meowth by giving them coins, but Meowth, being cats, are so fickle that friendships made this way typically don’t last.

In regards to design, I’ve already touched upon the fact that Meowth are based on the Japanese legend of Maneki-Neko, which you’re probably familiar with even if you don’t know many Japanese legends. They’re those little cat statues that you see even in some western shops with the big koban coins on their collars, which is where Meowth gets the big coin on its head. They’re very common in Japanese businesses because they’re meant to beckon people into their establishments to buy things, and they’re said to bring good fortune.

Meowth are seemingly based on Siamese cats in regards to style and coloring, but the Wiki also states that the original Japanese classification, Bakeneko, implies that it’s based on the, well, bakeneko legend. There is way too much involving the various legends of bakeneko for me to cover here, so let’s just leave it at them being supernatural, ghost or yokai cats.

Like some other Pokemon, Alolan Meowth didn’t originate in Alola but instead came to be when normal Meowth were brought to the region.

They’re assholes.

That is the majority of what I gleamed from its Dex entries. They’re selfish, fickle, quick to fly into a rage if their pride is wounded or their coin is dirtied, they’re very spoiled because they used to live with royalty, they’re ruthless in battle, cunning, incredibly proud and “famously difficult to handle.”

There’s no information on what Alolan Meowth may be based on in terms of either origins or design.

There’s not a lot of information on Gigantamax Meowth outside of its two Dex entries in Gen VIII where the entry for Shield is SUPER informative and helpful by basically saying ‘A Meowth that has grown larger thanks to Gigantamax power.’

And Sword, which states that the symbol on its coin is said to hold the secrets to the Dynamax phenomenon, but why they think that isn’t mentioned.

Apparently, and this makes no sense to me, Galarian Meowth are Meowth who spent so much time with savage seafaring people that parts of their body started turning to iron (???) The coin on its head has also hardened and became black. It’s said that the harder and darker the coin is, the more respect it gets from other Galarian Meowth. They’re meant to be based on Norwegian Forest Cats, which, honestly, don’t look any different from a typical cat to me, and DEFINITELY don’t look anything like this mess. They do have beard-like poofs in their fur, which I guess may be reflected in Galarian Meowth, but that was also said to be more referencing the fact that they were most commonly owned by vikings. The Wiki doesn’t say this, but I assume that’s also why Galarian Meowth has its fur shaped into tiny horns on the top of its head, like the stereotypical (and historically incorrect) viking helmets? I dunno.

Persian

Name: Persian’s name is strange. It’s very fitting and slick, but you’d think it’d be spelled Purrsian or something, to fit in with the cat sounds theme of Meowth, but it’s not – it’s just the word ‘Persian.’ It makes the name come off like it’s uncreative, and additionally makes no sense because Persian is referencing Persia, which shouldn’t exist in the Pokemon world.

Also, believe it or not, the Japanese name is exactly the same.

Fun Fact: In Germany, it’s called Snobilikat, which is a combination of ‘snob’, ‘nobilis’ which is Latin for ‘noble’ and ‘katze’ which German for ‘cat.’ I think that’s an absolutely amazing name on all fronts.

Design: Persian looks fine. It’s both cute and threatening-looking, but as a Pokemon it is very plain, even moreso than Meowth. It’s just a big beige feline. If Persian existed in real life, it wouldn’t seem out of place among normal animals, outside of the little jewel. It does bother me that Meowth lost its coin upon evolution (Where did it go?) and got this little red jewel that has no explanation.

Sprite-wise, I don’t really have any notes for any Gen. All of the sprites, even early Gens, look fine. They’re either cute or threatening or both.

Alolan Persian

Oh god, here we go. What is this ugly-ass thing? It looks exactly like a gray Persian had an allergic reaction and desperately needs an epi-pen. Admittedly, its head shape does make it look more connected to Meowth, but that doesn’t mean it makes the design any better. It is awful. If I saw this thing, I’d take to the vet because it obviously has some sort of glandular issue in its face.

Also, its jewel is now blue for some reason.

Galarian Persian

Doesn’t exist. I’ll get to that in a little while…..

Shiny:

It’s the same as shiny Meowth only much lazier. It’s slightly lighter instead of darker, and the only pink area is in the ears……ya know….where pink commonly is on any animal. It’s really hard to tell the difference between normal and shiny Persian. You really need to sit for a second and basically ‘spot the difference’ it.

Shiny Alolan Persian is exactly the same as shiny Alolan Meowth.

Dex Entries and Backstory: It’s a very sophisticated and beautiful Pokemon much sought-after as a pet, especially for rich people, because of its shiny fur and sparkling/glowing forehead jewel, but it’s also noted as being notoriously difficult to keep as a pet because it will attack for literally no reason and is particularly vicious, even to its owners. It will attack anyone who looks it in the eye. It’s also so prideful and snooty that it’s even more difficult to make friends with a Persian than with a Meowth.

Fans of Persian do apparently discuss the size of a Persian’s jewel a lot, which…..I dunno how much mileage you’d get out of those conversations.

“That Persian’s jewel is quite big.”

“Yes, quite.”

“That Persian’s jewel is not quite as big.”

“No, not quite.”

Sadly, Persian are also hunted for their jewels.

Its whiskers are very sensitive, and they use the air movement around their whiskers to sense things in the environment. Oddly, it’s also noted that yanking on a Persian’s whiskers makes it docile. I’d think that’d make it super pissed, but okay. It will also stick its tail straight up when it’s about to attack.

Finally, Persian’s temperament puts it at direct odds with Perrserker, which, again, we’ll talk about in a bit.

In terms of design, Persian was based off of Persian leopards and other large felines, with its facial features being attributed to Siamese cats. The Wiki says the jewel is meant to resemble a Carbuncle, and I implore you to not Google image search that word without ‘jewel’ or ‘legend’ with the search keywords.

Alolan Persian are assholes.

I’m not kidding. It’s basically the same stuff as Alolan Meowth only worse because Alolan Persian will have fun trying to kill you in addition to being a snotty prick. It will fight dirty and brutally tortures its weak prey instead of finishing it off……Wow.

What’s especially funny is that you can only get an Alolan Meowth to evolve to Alolan Persian by leveling it up with high friendship…..

Its ugly-ass round head is by design. It’s said that the round face is a symbol of wealth and prosperity in Alola – the bigger and rounder the face the better. It also has an amazingly silky and beautiful coat, making it a favorite Pokemon in high-class environments.

Design-wise, the Wiki states that Alolan Persian was likely based on British Shorthairs, which were bred in such a manner than they developed trademark round faces, and its coloring both in fur and jewel may be based specifically on the British Blue type of British Shorthair…….And then it also states that maybe it has a big head because it’s a visual pun on the term ‘big-headed,’ as in egotistical, which made me chuckle. “Ah, yes, the elegant Alolan Persian is likely based off of this beautiful British breed of cat that is highly regarded and popular……or it just has a fat head, I dunno.”

What I find funny about the British Shorthair connection is that their Wiki page specifically says those cats are easygoing, extremely sweet and devoted to their owners, which is the exact opposite of what they’re saying about Alolan Persian. Although, interestingly, when the popularity of British Shorthairs were waning in the early 1900s, they started breeding them with the more popular Persians, creating the British Longhairs.

Perrserker

I had no idea how to list this because, technically, it’s not a new Meowth evolution nor is it a different form of Persian. It’s a new evolution purely for the Galarian version of Meowth only. Why they didn’t just have Galarian Persian, I have no idea. Soooo….Uhm….enjoy this awkwardly placed entry for Perrserker….

Name: Honestly, I like Perrserker’s name. It’s a mixture of ‘purr’ or ‘Persian’ and ‘berserker.’ I always thought the word ‘berserker’ was really awesome, which makes me kinda bummed that it’s reserved for…..this. It also frustrates me that they add the extra ‘r’ but don’t spell it ‘Purrserker.’ It’s right there. Just make it say ‘purr.’

Its Japanese name is Nyaking, which supposed to be a mixture of ‘nya’ and ‘viking’ or ‘king.’ I get the viking thing, but without the ‘vi’ part, people are just going to assume it’s ‘king.’

Fun Fact: In Germany, it’s known as Mauzinger, which not only makes me think of Mazinger Z, but is also really cool because it’s just the German version of the Japanese name as in it’s ‘mauzen’ which is the German onomatopoeia for cat sounds, and ‘wikinger’ which is German for ‘viking.’

Design: Ew.

I don’t even feel like elaborating.

Just ew.

This is…no. There’s nothing right about this Pokemon, except maybe its goofy-ass expression. It looks awful, and why this is related in the slightest to the Meowth line baffles me immensely. It doesn’t even look like a cat anymore. Does it even have ears? What is that weird huge tail? That’s not even a coin on its head anymore. It’s just some weird bulge that comes to a coin-shaped end. Ugh, go away.

Shiny:

Ew.

It’s YELLOW.

It’s not even beige like Meowth and Persian. It’s just straight yellow where the brown was. The brown was ugly enough, but the shiny makes it super ugly. Ew.

Dex Entries and Backstory: It has hair oddly shaped like a viking helmet, it’s even hardened to a metal-like consistency, but it’s still just hair. Ew. Perrserker lives for battle, and can even turn its claws into daggers, which are really the only cool thing about it.

Perrserker has a very scattered design explanation. It is obviously based on vikings, even moreso than Galarian Meowth was, and its name and behavior are based on berserkers of Norse legend. I have no idea why because, while berserkers had several animal variants, none of them were feline in nature. There were bears, wolves and boars – no felines of any kind. Perrserker may also be based on Freya’s cats, Bygul and Trjegul. Bygul means ‘honey’ while Trjegul means ‘amber’ which is supposedly the explanation behind the colors of the normal and shiny versions of Perrserker, but I don’t particularly believe that. Maybe honey for the shiny, maybe, but amber for the normal? No. It’s not orange at all. It’s brown. Being fair, not only are these names not technically accurate because the legends never gave the cats names (Any names listed were made up by writers years later) but also the cats were supposedly blue or gray in color, which means their names didn’t make any sense for them either.

Its Steel typing is meant to be because of the iron vikings commonly used in their helmets and weapons, which…okay? I really don’t understand how new Pokemon species come into existence if shit like this happens. Vulpix becoming an Ice type because it suddenly had to live in snowy mountains, fine. But because a bunch of Meowth spent a few hundred years with vikings, suddenly they not only change their base appearance entirely, but they evolve into a completely different Pokemon than they evolved into before, have beard-like fur and their hair hardens into a metal-like substance that forms a stereotypical viking helmet?

Finally, Bulbapedia states that its weird grin could be based off of the Cheshire Cat……..the hell? What does that have to do with vikings or Norse mythology or anything? This Pokemon is so confusing. Honestly, I don’t get why the Alolan or the Galarian Meowth/Persian and Perrserker exist. They don’t add anything interesting to the lore nor do they have any really interesting features just as standalone Pokemon, and most of them are fugly.

Meowth wound up getting more forms than Pikachu, and that’s really friggin’ weird. It got an entirely new evolution and everything. I wonder if they don’t like changing too much with Pikachu because they’re worried about backlash. I mean, they created Alolan Raichu without an Alolan Pikachu or Pichu, and that’s even more confusing. These new forms are confusing as a whole, but the more I learn about them the more confused I get.

——————————————-

And that was the Meow line. I honestly didn’t realize what a rabbit hole this was until it was too late. I’m still confused on why Meowth has so many forms. The only form it didn’t get was a Mega form, and that’s kinda offset by having a Gigantamax form.

Next time, we’ll have an easier time with the ‘duck line!

Previous – The Dig Line


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My Poke-Pinions | #50 and 51 – The Dig Line

Diglett

Name: Diglett is an adorable name. It’s easy to remember, cute and fitting. It’s fairly self-explanatory. Its Japanese is name Digda, which is as cute if not cuter than Diglett. Digda just seems to be based only on the word ‘dig.’

Fun Fact: In France, it’s known as Taupiqueur, which is derived from ‘taupe’ for ‘mole’ and ‘marteau-piqueer’ for jackhammer, which is pretty cool.

Design: Despite Diglett being an absolute cutie, its design is still almost ridiculously simplistic. It’s literally just four pill shapes. Pill-shaped body, pill-shaped nose…mouth…thing, and two pill-shaped eyes. It definitely works, I won’t lie, but they really didn’t pull out the creativity with the thing outside of never showing its bottom half.

Alolan Diglett

I feel like whoever made Alolan Diglett was a troll. Like, ‘What if we made Diglett a little darker and gave it three little hairs that are somehow made of metal and called it a new version of the Pokemon?’ Despite there not being much difference between the two, I don’t actually care much for Alolan Diglett. Something about those little hairs makes it somehow lose cuteness points with me.

Sprite-wise, Gen I looks normal until Green where it looks more like a baby Diglett, which is pretty cute.

Crystal looks like it’s trying to kiss something.

I like Emerald’s animation of it going underground.

Nothing much worth mentioning after that.

Shiny:

A simplistic Pokemon comes with a simplistic shiny. All that’s changed about shiny Diglett is that the brown color is SLIGHTLY darker and the nose mouth thing is blue. While I usually love blue shinies, and there’s really nothing wrong with this shiny, I can’t stop thinking that this looks like a Diglett that’s suffocating.

Shiny Alolan Diglett does the same thing.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Diglett digs.

Alright, they also gnaw on roots underground, destroying the crops of many farmers. Ironically, many Diglett are domesticated and are trained to work on farms since they quickly and effectively till soil. Farmers will plant trees that Diglett enjoy most around their crops so they’ll till the land when they move back and forth between them. Also, their droppings make good fertilizer….yay.

Wait, they can see their droppings, yet we’ve never seen a Diglett’s lower half?

No one knows exactly how big a Diglett is, and the size listed in the Pokedex is based purely on how much of its body peeks out of the ground.

Here’s something I found very interesting – Diglett’s skin is thin and weak. It can’t be exposed to light otherwise its blood will heat up and weaken it. In Clefairy and the Moon Stone, I criticized the fact that they said the lights being put up throughout the caves in Mt. Moon were having a negative impact on the Ground Pokemon. They stated that the heat from the lights was causing the Ground Pokemon to dry up, weakening them, which didn’t make much sense to me because Ground Pokemon thrive on dry environments and hate water. Well, I guess at least for Diglett, I have a reasonable answer.

Kinda weird that Diglett have thin skin, though, considering that you’d think it’d need tough skin to dig around in the dirt and rocks all day. However, I do have to note that, in the anime, Diglett show up a lot in the sunlight.

Alolan Diglett is stronger than regular Diglett because they dig through volcanic rock. The high iron content of the soil gave them three metallic ‘whiskers’ on their head through which they can communicate and sense their surroundings above ground.

In terms of design, Diglett is based less on real moles and more on the moles seen in Whac-A-Mole games.

Alolan Diglett’s whiskers are based on Pele’s hair, which are strands of volcanic glass found in Hawaii. It’s not metallic, it’s more pure rock closer to granite, but it does appear to be yellow or golden, mimicking the color of blond hair. The black dirt around the Alolan Diglett is likely in reference to black sand found near volcanoes and/or black magnetic sand since it’s also adopted Steel-typing in this form. That’s actually pretty neat, but considering the dirt isn’t REALLY a part of the Pokemon, it’s hard to say that I can give it anymore points for that.

Dugtrio

Name: Dugtrio’s name is extremely fitting. It’s slightly more intimidating than Diglett and reflects its…..three-ness very well. It has the same name in both English and Japanese.

Design: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the first of several Pokemon evolutions where the brilliant idea was “Let’s take three of (x) and smush them together to make a new Pokemon!” I don’t hate Dugtrio, I just think the design is lazy, much like with Magneton and Dodrio. The most they do to differentiate it is give it an angry expression, but only like half the time.

Alolan Dugtrio

If someone was kinda trolling when they made Alolan Diglett, someone was top tier trolling when they made Alolan Dugtrio. When this image was first released, I laughed out loud for several minutes. This is just a Dugtrio in three stupid blond wigs. They look ridiculous. They look like they fused with Hanson. I don’t care if there’s lore here – at the end of the day, they have one of the stupidest most goofy designs I’ve ever seen in Pokemon.

Sprite-Wise, there’s not much to say. Crystal’s animation is pretty cute, but that’s about it.

Shiny:

Same as Diglett. Just a little darker and blue nose mouth thing. I think the shade of blue for Dugtrio might be just slightly deeper, but that’s about it.

Shiny Alolan Dugtrio is the same way, but looks worse than shiny Alolan Diglett purely due to the fucking stupid hair. Because the brown color is darker, the contrast with the blond hair is much more apparent, making it somehow look even worse than it originally did. Please save me from this bleached blond hell.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Why didn’t Ash’s Pokedex have any information on Dugtrio in episode 31? It’s not a mysterious Pokemon by any means besides the no lower half thing. Hm.

Dugtrio is either three Diglett fused together for some reason and somehow or a single Diglett split off into three heads. They all think the same thoughts and act together, which is the polar opposite of Dodrio, interestingly. Although, one section said the heads will sometimes fight each other food.

It can move underground at speeds upwards of 60 MPH and can create earthquakes, and that’s about it besides stuff it retained from its Diglett form.

Alolan Dugtrio is regarded as a deity, and no I’m not kidding. Remember how I said that Alolan Diglett’s whiskers were based on Pele’s Hair? The name Pele comes from the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes, Pele. She created the islands of Hawaii, and she’s a very popular and respected Hawaiian deity. Alolan Dugtrio didn’t just use Pele’s hair in its design and conception – it also used Pele herself as inspiration.

In addition to being viewed as a deity, Alolan Dugtrio is also specifically said to be feminine deities of Alola incarnate, and there’s also a curse associated with Alolan Dugtrio – keeping any of its fallen hairs will bring the person bad luck. This is based on Pele’s curse where any visitor will be cursed if they take and keep anything from her island.

Pokemon, Game Freak, Nintendo, what are you doing? I’m not Hawaiian nor can I speak for any Hawaiians, so I won’t attest to how offended they might be, if at all, but I don’t think there’s any denying that this is overall insulting. You set an entire region in a place that is akin to Hawaii, use one of their most beloved (and fairly feared) deities for a Pokemon design, and you squeeze out that janky blond turd.

Can you imagine anyone worshiping an Alolan Dugtrio? How ridiculous that would look? There are some pretty weird religious practices in Pokemon, but I would be embarrassed watching anyone praying to a Dugtrio with a perm.

What’s even more embarrassing is that the design is also based off of the look of many typical surfer dudes, particularly the SoCal surfers that likely frequent Hawaii as tourists.

The only other things of note in the Dex entries are that its metal ‘whiskers’ are heavy and slow it down, but provide it with a lot of force to go through bedrock. They also act as helmets and sensors to help it as it travels.

————————————-

And that was the Dig line. Quite the ride that was. I didn’t have much to say about regular Diglett and Dugtrio, but damn the decisions made with the Alolan versions. Diglett may be a simple little thing, but it is cute and effective at what it does. Dugtrio may be a lazy evo, but……uhh…..at least it sounds cool when chanting with Diglett. Digletty, Digletty! TRIO TRIO TRIO!

The Alolan versions can kiss my ass. Call me grumpy and old all you want about my opinions on some mega and Alolan etc. versions, but these are just insultingly bad on every level. They’re uncreative or laughably goofy at best and headache-ingly goofy and offensive at worst.

Next up, Meowth and Persian! We have a LOT to cover here.

Previous – the Veno Line


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My Poke-Pinions | #48 and 49 – The Veno Line

Venonat

Name: Venonat is a pretty cute name. It’s fitting, snappy and, for lack of a better term, ‘buggy.’ It’s a combination of ‘venom’ and ‘gnat.’

In Japanese, it’s called Kongpang, which I don’t care for at all. It’s not a cute name, it’s kinda clunky, and it just sounds weird to me. This name is supposedly derived from the word ‘konchu’ meaning ‘insect’ which, well, fair enough, I guess. It is an insect.

Fun Fact: In France, it’s called Mimitoss, which is really cute (derived from ‘mimi,’ meaning ‘cute’, ‘mite,’ meaning ‘moth’ and ‘grosse,’ meaning ‘big.’) In German, it’s Bluzuk, which, while awkward, still sounds awesome. Bluzuk is derived from ‘blut,’ meaning ‘blood’ and ‘zutzlen,’ meaning ‘to suck.’ Very fitting and badass. Finally, in Mandarin, it’s Maoqui, which adorably means ‘fur ball,’ which I find to be adorable.

Design: Venonat has always been one of my favorite Bug Pokemon. I love its big red eyes, its furry purple body and its little hands and feet. It’s quite adorable.

Sprite-wise, R/B/G are cute, but Yellow is a bit too overly purple. There’s no part of it that isn’t purple. Technically, all of Gen I has this issue with Venonat, but Yellow’s is particularly bright purple.

Gen II is cute, with an adorable eye flashing animation in Crystal.

Gen III is still keeping up the cute, this time giving it a little dance in Emerald.

All of the Gens after this are still very cute with the only one I feel like mentioning in particular being HG/SS where it gets a tiny little cute kick animation.

Shiny:

Shiny Venonat is very simple yet cool. I really love the shade of blue that they used for its eyes and mouth. I do really like the shiny as a whole, I just wish they had maybe changed Venonat’s fur color to something other than purple, because now the whole color scheme clashes. For some reason, I feel like it’d be cool if they changed Venonat’s fur to be white and changed the eyes and mouth to that blue color. There aren’t many white shinies, and I think it’d look awesome that way.

Gen II’s first shot at this shiny made the fur more of a blue color than a purple, and I think it worked a lot better than just blue eyes. Sad to see that they didn’t keep that color scheme.

Dex Entries and Backstory: The most prominent detail of Venonat’s physiology is, of course, its large red compound eyes that can light up. Venonat’s eyes provide it with intensely powerful vision and radar, which it uses to catch prey at night. Venonat is nocturnal, though this doesn’t seem to be something that’s true in the anime since they’re always out during the day, and they like to sleep in the dark holes of trees.

Venonat’s stiff fur is coated in poison that releases in higher quantities the more it shakes, which I honestly never knew. I thought Venomoth was the only legitimately toxic one of the two. I guess Venonat isn’t any other Pokemon’s prey, then. That’s good.

In terms of design, Venonat seems to be based on the common flea and venomous caterpillars like the puss caterpillar, which becomes the flannel moth. The flea accounts for its mouth, body shape and hopping while the venomous caterpillars inspired the fluffy body, toxic hairs and transformation into a moth.

Venomoth

Name: Venomoth’s name is a combination of ‘venom’ and ‘moth.’ I like the name well enough. It’s very fitting, sounds fine and builds upon Venonat’s name well.

In Japanese, it’s called Morphon, which…..is a…good name. I like it. It’s cool and memorable. It suits the, uh….the metamorphosis of Venonat….into…..Venomo—IT’S MORPHON TIME!

Sorry, I had to get that out of my system.

Morphon is not just in reference to the word ‘metamorphosis,’ poking at the transformation Venonat undergoes upon evolution, but also the genus of butterfly called Morpho.

Fun Fact: In France, it’s known as Aeromite (derived from ‘aero’ for ‘air’ and ‘mite’ for ‘moth’), which I think sounds cooler.

Design: Venomoth looks…….fine. It’s a moth alright. It’s a little cute, but it’s really just a moth. There’s not much about it that stands out besides its almost comical googly eyes. Why did it lose Venonat’s big red compound eyes? I like the lavender color scheme, but there’s no contrast at all. The cutest official Venomoth image I’ve seen is the one from Pokemon Shuffle/Battle Trozei.

Put it this way, if not for Pokedex completion reasons, I’d never evolve a perfectly good Venonat into a Venomoth.

I really don’t have anything to say about any of the sprites. Some of the early Gen sprites were way too color saturated, Yellow in particular being super purple, and Gen II’s sprite was more pinkish with a more purple shiny, but that’s about it.

Shiny:

I love Shiny Venomoth’s color. It is a GORGEOUS shade of blue. Not much else to it, though.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Venomoth’s Dex entries are basically just regurgitations of Venonat’s. Venomoth also chases prey at night, stays in trees, has good vision and radar vision, and it is covered in poison which gets dispersed as it moves. The only real differences are that the poison is in the form of dust-like scales instead of being secreted onto fur and that the color indicates what the poison will do. However, even that is quite a bland note. If the powder is light, it will paralyze you. If it’s dark, it will poison you. The Pokedex in Pokemon Adventures also indicated that Venomoth have a short life span, but I’m not sure if that’s canon.

In terms of design, hold on to your hats folks – it was based on a moth. Specifically, it was based on swallowtail moths or Uraniidae, which also secrete poison onto their wings. It’s also speculated that the fangs may be in reference to vampire moths. The shiny version seems to be based on the blue morpho butterfly, which is very fitting considering its namesake.

——————————-

And that was the Veno line, folks. Really not all that much to discuss, sadly. I do love Venonat, and Venomoth is fine, but there’s just not a whole lot to them as Pokemon.

Next up, the Dig line!

Previous – the Paras Line


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My Poke-Pinions | #46 and 47: The Paras Line

Paras

Name: Paras’ name is the same in English and Japanese, and it’s based on the word ‘parasite.’ I get what they were doing with this name, but I spent my entire childhood and most of my adult life believing its name was meant to be a play on the word ‘Paris’…..Just ‘Why is this little mushroom tick named after a city in France?’

Am I the only one who thinks its name would be a million times better if it was just Para? Heck, even Rasite would mesh better than Paras, if you ask me.

No fun facts this time because nearly every other country just kept Paras’ name the same because I guess no one gave enough of a damn about Paras to come up with a better name. In Cantonese, they made Mohguchuhng, which means ‘mushroom bug’ and that’s the best we got.

Design: Paras’ design is fine….It’s a bug….with mushrooms on it. It’s kinda cute, I guess…a little.

Sprite-wise, R/B looks really off. Its eyes are on top of its head for some reason, and it looks like it has a bit of a snout.

Yellow has a similar coloring issue as Oddish, Gloom and Vileplume. It’s extremely orange with barely any other discernible colors.

Everything else is fine, however, we do encounter something I’ve never seen before once we enter Gen III.

In Gens I and II, Paras is a deep orange color

and its shiny is this incredibly ugly light yellow-ish brown color. Seriously, this one of the least appealing shinies I’ve ever seen. It’s horrible.

In Gen III, however, they switched the color palettes. Now the regular version is a more yellow-ish color

and the shiny is a deep orange?

And in FR/LG the shiny has yellow mushrooms for some reason.

In later Gens, the color gets changed again to a deeper orange while still not being quite as deep of an orange as the shiny.

Shiny:

As I mentioned, it’s a darker orange Paras. They took a Paras, turned up the color saturation and called it a day.

At least we no longer have that gross Gen II shiny, though.

Dex Entries and Backstory: No matter if Paras is boring at face value, there’s no denying that it does have some creepy and interesting backstory to it. Paras is a bug with parasitic mushrooms on its back. The mushrooms are sought after as ingredients in vitality medicines. Paras spends its days constantly eating tree roots, but it is never satisfied because the tochukaso mushrooms on its back steal all of the nutrients from the host body, meaning the actual body of Paras is technically always starving. In Crystal, it’s even explained that the parasitic mushrooms are actually telling Paras to eat the juice from tree trunks.

Paras lives such a sad life. It’s constantly being starved by the mushrooms on its back, and those same mushrooms are plucked off by medicinal researchers. The mushrooms just grow back when they’re cut off, so it’s not even like Paras is freed after this. Jeez.

But as we’ll see, Paras kinda has it easy compared to Parasect.

Also, even though Paras, to the best of my knowledge, doesn’t have an alternative Alola form, the Dex entries note that Paras’ mushrooms don’t grow quite right in the Alolan environment.

Design-wise, the tochukaso mushrooms are based on caterpillar fungus, found in Southern China, Bhutan and Nepal. These mushrooms latch onto the larva of ghost moths, kill them, frickin’ mummify them and eventually sprout a fruiting body that is used in herbal medicines in China. In folk medicine, it is believed that the caterpillar fungi has great properties since it is a rare merging of animal and vegetable. The fruiting bodies of caterpillar fungus contain Cordycepin, which has been found to be very useful as a therapeutic compound, such as treatment in depression, and it has recently found some success in combating leukemia. I couldn’t find where they got this information, but the tochukaso page also says the fungus is used as a aphrodisiac, and that it treats fatigue and cancer.

I won’t go on and on about the caterpillar fungus since this is all you need to know in connection to Paras, but check out that Wiki link – it’s fascinating.

The body of Paras is said to be based on the cicada nymph, which….

I dunno, I guess maybe. In the legs at least.

The concept of Paras is also suggested to be based on ants that sometimes get parasitic mushrooms, also known as zombie-ant fungus, attached to them that takes over their brains and juts out of their heads and back. The fungus legitimately does turn them into mind-controlled zombies since, once the fungus takes over, the ant will be compelled to climb a leaf stalk and stop at exactly 25 centimeters, which is the optimal height for this fungus to grow due to having the best temperature and humidity. The ant just hangs there with its mouth latched onto the leaf while the fungus grows. Eventually, the fungus grows a bulb full of spores that will bust and rain spores all over the ant’s unwitting brethren who will then also be infected by the fungus and turn into zombies themselves.

Again, read the Atlantic article I linked to here. It’s incredibly interesting, gross and creepy as hell.

Finally, the mushrooms could be based on massospora, which is a type of fungi that commonly infects cicadas and produces a psychoactive effect.

Parasect

Name: Parasect’s name is less distractedly familiar than Paras’ name. It’s fine. It’s a combination of ‘parasite’ and ‘insect.’

Like before, its name is the same in Japanese and English, and every region barring China (in Cantonese anyway) keeps the name the same. In Cantonese, Parasect’s name is Geuihguchuhng, which translates to ‘giant mushroom bug.’

Design: Parasect technically looks fine. It has one giant mushroom instead of two small ones. It retains the poky pincer front legs, and the vacant white eyes definitely reflect a darker aspect of this Pokemon that we’ll go over in a second.

It does look a bit too much like a hermit crab, though. If you’re not looking at it from the right angle, the mushroom on its back can just look like a cone-esque shell.

Sprite-wise, the coloring issue Paras had doesn’t seem to have ever been present on Parasect. It was more orange-y in the first Gen, got a bit too red in Gen II, but then stayed consistent at red and orange-red/burnt orange, until Gen VI where it suddenly became gold and a fleshy pink color for some reason? It’s really, really ugly now.

Shiny:

Gen II’s shiny is the same yellow-brown gross mess that shiny Paras was. However, in later Gens, it has more of a gold or light/yellow-orange appearance to it, which is pretty nice.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Unlike Paras who is only partially compelled by the parasitic mushrooms on its back, Parasect is fully taken over by it. The parasite is so firmly in control of the bug portion of Parasect that Ultra Sun even states that the bug is mostly dead, leaving the mushroom as the main living organism. If the mushroom is ever somehow removed from Parasect, it will stop moving and presumably die.

Parasect typically live in cool, dark places, though, again, this is by will of the mushroom since that is where mushrooms thrive. Parasect will sometimes move in swarms that attack trees, drain them of their nutrients and kill them, simply moving on to another tree when they’re done.

Parasect is constantly spreading spores from its mushroom. These spores are used in medicines in China, and yes they outright say China several times, once again muddying what world Pokemon is meant to take place in.

I had wondered how Paras gets infected from birth, because its Dex entries stated that spores are sprinkled on them from birth, which is what causes the mushrooms to grow on their backs. I got my answer when Crystal explained that, when Parasect is so drained of energy that it dies, the mushroom will leave spores on the Pokemon’s eggs, seemingly infecting the newborn Paras.

That. Is. Horrible.

In Gen VII, Parasect starts having territorial disputes with Shiinotic, and the spores from Alolan Parasect are not considered as good as those in any other region, but, again, Parasect never got an alternate Alolan form.

———————————–

And that is Paras and Parasect – the usually overlooked, underappreciated walking tragedy of a Pokemon. These two still aren’t climbing any favorites lists for me, but I can’t deny that they have a really interesting story to them, even if it is terribly sad. Their entire species is geared towards suffering and basically becoming a zombie. And they don’t even have a chance at birth. They’re infected in the egg. It’s awful.

Next time, it’s the Veno line!

Previous – The Oddish Line


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My Poke-Pinions #43, 44, 45 and 182 | The Weed/Flower Line

Oddish

Name: Oddish’s name is pretty cute and memorable. It’s a mixture of ‘odd’ and ‘radish’ however it has been posited that it’s just the “word” ‘oddish’ like ‘kinda odd’ which I don’t believe.

Its Japanese name is Nazonokuza, which is supposedly based on ‘nazo no kusa,’ which means ‘enigmatic grass.’ It’s a bit long and clunky of a name, but it’s pretty fitting.

Design: Oddish is pretty cute……Yup.

There’s no much to say about Oddish. It’s literally a vegetable with a simple face and simple feet. It’s always kinda creeped me out that Oddish doesn’t have any arms, but even that’s nothing significant.

Sprite-wise, Gens I and II are way too dark. It’s less blue and green and more midnight blue/black and green.

Some of the animations are adorable, such as Crystal’s,

Emerald’s

and B/W/B2/W2.

That’s about it.

Shiny:

I’ve never been much of a fan of Shiny Oddish. It’s just a lot of green. Granted, it’s basically the same situation as shiny Bulbasaur, but for some reason it bothers me more with shiny Oddish. I think shiny Bulbasaur’s shades of green are better and have more contrast than Shiny Oddish.

In Gen II, shiny Oddish looked almost entirely different. It had a super dark green body with yellow leaves, and, in my opinion, it looked a million times better than the flat green version we have today.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Oddish is supposed to be heavily based on the mandrake plant. Mandrakes are root vegetables that kinda resemble human figures. Mandrakes are most famously known for the myth of basically being living plants. When in the ground, they look no different from other plants, but when removed from the ground, they’ll shriek. Oddish’s Dex entries just recycle this myth full-out in several games, even though I can’t remember this ever happening in any Pokemon media I’ve consumed.

It also has a scientific name, one of only two Pokemon with such a thing (The other being Kabutops) – Oddium Wanderus. At night, it will wander around the land sowing its seeds while absorbing moonlight as nourishment.

I don’t think this is reflected in either the games or the anime very well either, because I found a lot of Oddish in the games during the day, and, in the anime, I only remember them really being shown during the day. Only the TCG seems to reflect this, but even that seems to have dropped the nocturnal concept.

Oddish is also based on, as you can guess, bulbous root vegetables like onions, turnips and, of course, radishes. The leaves are meant to be in reference to snake plants, but uh….yeah, I think they’re just leaves. Especially considering that a lot of snake plant leaves seem to have yellow in them, which, unless that’s meant to poke at Gen II shiny Oddish, isn’t reflected in Oddish.

Gloom

Name: Gloom’s name is a bit weird. It’s fine, technically, but it’s also strange. Gloom’s not really a depressed Pokemon. It just tends to be drawn in a manner where it’s nearly always frowning or at least just has a neutral expression. I guess I’d understand if Gloom was bummed all the time because literally all anyone talks about in regards to this Pokemon are that it stinks something fierce. However, it’s not noted as being depressed or gloomy or making anyone else sad.

It also took me until I was an adult to realize that Gloom’s name was meant to also be a play on the word ‘bloom.’ I was wondering why Gloom’s name was such a blunt reference to sadness and non-related to plants, but then I remembered ‘Oh yeah, bloom.’ But that doesn’t even really work because the word is completely lost in Gloom. It’s just ‘gloom.’ Am I stupid? How many people got that on the first hearing?

In Japan, it’s known as Kusaihana, which literally translates to ‘stinking flower.’

Design: I never much cared for Gloom. I don’t like its weird face, I definitely don’t like its drool, and I don’t like its weird ball-flower thing on its head. It’s not the weirdest/ugliest/creepiest Pokemon in the world, far from it, I just don’t care for it very much. At least it has arms now.

Sprite-wise, R/B is weird.

Green is like its drunk.

WHAT.

THE.

FUCK.

IS.

WITH.

YELLOW?!

Why is it so red?! It’s ENTIRELY RED! What the hell happened to this sprite?

Other than that, Silver looks drunk again.

Crystal’s animation is ueghhghgh.

Emerald’s animation make it look like it’s high.

HG/SS looks like it’s having a slight seizure.

I don’t much care for any of the sprites, to be honest.

Shiny:

Gloom’s shiny is one of the laziest and ugliest shinies. They literally just put an ugly-ass yellow filter over a regular Gloom and called it a day. At least Gen II’s shiny feels like the flower is glowing, but every other Gen’s shiny of Gloom is just terrible.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Hey, guys, did you know Gloom smells bad? You do? Well, now you know 95% of the content in Gloom’s Dex entries.

It’s smells real bad. It smells so bad, people may faint because of it. The stench is so strong, you can smell it from over a mile away. And, to make matters worse, this fact makes Gloom even creepier, because apparently it loves its own stench and will drool more after sniffing it…..eugh. When calm and secure, Gloom won’t produce its horrible stank, which is something they actually highlighted in the anime.

Outside of the constant ‘it smells bad’ the Dex entries note that the ‘drool’ coming out of Gloom’s mouth is actually honey, which, ew, that tastes good, which ew, who the hell discovered that and why? To make matters worse, while most Gens insist that only the flower on Gloom smells bad, Gen VI claims that the honey also reeks as badly as the flower, which is strange because Gen I explained that the drool/honey was used to attract prey. Don’t think it would do a good job of that if it smells horrid.

Design-wise, Gloom was also based on the mandrake, but more specifically it was based on the budding stage of the Rafflesia, which is known for its giant (and ugly, quite frankly) spotted five-petal flower and for smelling like rotten fish. It is also a parasitic flower, which is supposedly why the leaves on its head are now orange/brown – because the leaves are dying.

Female Gloom are said to be based on Rafflesia hasseltii, which have larger spots, as female Gloom do. If I can rag on Gloom’s design one more time, I also don’t care for Gloom’s female version because, being totally honest, it just looks like it has a bunch of discolored boobs on its head.

Finally, Gloom’s stench amplification abilities used as a defense mechanism are based on skunks. And the fact that Gloom’s pollen is used as an ingredient in perfume, as seen in the anime, is also a reference to real-life musk, which, despite its pungent odor, is commonly used as a base in perfumes.

Vileplume

Name: Unlike Gloom, whose name is a bit too one-note to the point where it loses the plant indication, Vileplume’s name works very nicely. It’s memorable and very fitting since it works in both the unpleasant implications and the plant reference very well. It’s a combination of ‘vile,’ which is in reference to its stench, and ‘plume’ as in a plume/cloud of pollen.

Its Japanese name is Ruffresia, which is obviously a nod to its real-world flower inspiration. I don’t like the way they changed it, though. It’s a clunky word, and unless you know of the genus of flower from which Vileplume is derived, you’d have no idea what it means.

Fun Fact: In Germany, it’s known as Giflor, which is ‘gift’ and ‘flor’ mixed together, which sounds weird from an English standpoint, but ‘gift’ here actually means ‘poison’ which is very fitting.

Design: Vileplume looks….fine. I was never a fan of the thick flower petals, they always gave me ew vibes, but overall it’s fine. It’s a flower….with a body, a face, arms and legs….

Sprite-wise, R/B looks…off. It’s like an Oddish ripped the leaves from it’s head and wore that flower as a hat. The perspective is very weird.

Green is the same issue, but it somehow looks worse, like it’s a bootleg sprite.

Yello—AAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!

How the fuck did that happen twice?! Who’s in charge of the Gloom and Vileplume sprites for Yellow? What were you on when you did this?

Other than that, the rest of the sprites are actually pretty cute. I love Silver’s pose.

Emerald’s little dance is really cute.

What the hell is happening to Vileplume in D/P/P?

Did it drop its keys?

Gen V is also odd because it looks like it’s tipping its flower to me.

Everything else is fine.

Shiny:

I would say it’s basically the same situation as Gloom, but despite also seeming very yellow-filter-y, Vileplume is moreso pure green and orange than just putting a yellow filter over the original sprite. Out of the three so far, it’s probably the best, but I still don’t really care for it that much.

The Gen II sprite isn’t as different from the regular set as Gloom and Oddish’s. In fact, other than having a darker body, it looks about the same as it does later on.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Vileplume has the largest flower petals in the world, which I think is incorrect because surely Venusaur beats it? It spreads a toxic pollen around by flapping the petals, and the more pollen it contains the larger and heavier the petals are. The petals can get so large that Vileplume may have difficulty holding its head up.

Most of the Dex entries note it as being both poisonous and allergenic, but….I think if it’s poisonous it doesn’t much matter if it’s allergenic. It’s like, imagine poisoning someone and then, as they lay dying, you gloat that they’ll have acid reflux because of the poison.

The pollen is used for paralyzing its prey, which is fine and dandy, but….uh….how does Vileplume kill or consume living beings? It’s not like a Venus fly trap. It has little stubby arms and legs and no teeth. I’m trying really hard to imagine Vileplume trapping and eating its prey, and I just can’t do it. Anything I come up with is too silly.

In terms of design, we have the same info from Oddish and Gloom, but the notes about paralyzing its prey and eating it are based on carnivorous plants, as I already pointed out. Also, like Gloom, the females have larger spots than the males, but female Vileplume looks much better. At least it has a multitude of spots instead of head boobs.

Bellossom

Name: Bellossom’s name probably beats Gloom in being one note. It’s literally just an extremely slightly changed version of ‘blossom.’ At least this name is obviously related to flowers, but it’s also incredibly boring. The ‘bell’ part is meant to come from either ‘bella’ which is Spanish for ‘pretty’ or just ‘bell’ in reference to its shape.

In Japan, it’s known as Kireihana, which is a combination of ‘kirei,’ meaning ‘pretty’, ‘rei,’ which means ‘bell’, and ‘hana,’ which means ‘flower.’ This is a perfectly fitting name for this Pokemon and it flows well. It’s also a slight send-up to Gloom’s Japanese name.

Design: Can I be real with you guys? I don’t get the point of Bellossom. There are many Pokemon from old Gens that eventually received new evolutions, and the results vary with each one, but Bellossom has always stood out to me as being particularly pointless at best and completely nonsensical at worst.

The Oddish-Gloom-Vileplume line already has three stages. It’s such a ridiculously simple Pokemon line that it doesn’t need a fourth optional stage.

But more than that, Bellossom doesn’t fit in this evolutionary line at all. At least when old Pokemon get new evos or pre-evos they typically stay consistent with what the original Pokemon was about. How did we go from a line based on ugly, toxic, rancid smelling flowers to a “cute” and “beautiful” Pokemon based on hula dancers? It doesn’t look anything like its predecessors. The only thing that comes remotely close is its face and even that’s not quite right.

The flowers on its head are supposedly Rafflesia flowers, but I’m not buying it. They don’t look like those thick gross flowers. They just look like normal pretty flowers.

Not to mention that Bellossom is one of the weirdest instances of regressive evolution I’ve ever seen in Pokemon. It’s not only purely Grass type, making it the only Pokemon in existence that evolves from a dual-type into a single-type, even Oddish was dual-type, but it’s also, somehow, the smallest Pokemon in this evolutionary line. Yes, it’s even smaller than Oddish.

Oddish is 1’8” and Bellossom is 1’4”.

Being completely fair, I have nothing against Bellossom’s design. It’s a very cute little Pokemon. Not one of my favorites, but still a cute Pokemon. I’d have no complaints about it if it was just a standalone Pokemon, but it’s not. For some reason, they decide to staple this Pokemon onto Oddish’s evolutionary line, and I just don’t understand in the slightest.

Sprite-wise, G/S looks a bit off, but not bad. It had pink flower petals and leaves instead of red. Looks kinda pretty, if you ask me. In fact, I’d prefer that be the shiny version.

Crystal also has red on the leaves, which will later be green, but I also don’t mind that. It looks pretty cool.

I don’t have much to say about any other Gen. Some Gens have cuter dance animations than others, but that’s about it.

Shiny:

Gen II’s shiny is a bit strange. It’s like a denim or navy blue mixed with red. It’s alright.

Gen III is also a bit strange. It has a purple face and nothing else is different. I don’t know if it’s just the clashing of the red with the purple or something, but even though purple is my favorite color, I’m not really into this shiny.

Gen IV and beyond has shiny Bellossom in more of a lilac purple with pinker flowers, which I think works perfectly and definitely makes it the best shiny version out of this entire evo line.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Bellossom love to dance, a lot, which is in reference to the hula dancer inspiration I mentioned earlier. They dance to worship or summon the sun, and they close up their petals at night to fall asleep, which, in my opinion, just makes this evolution even weirder because we had established earlier that Oddish was nocturnal.

When their flower petals rub up against each other, they make a pleasant ringing noise. Finally, Bellossom is said to grow more beautiful flowers if it evolves from stinkier Gloom, which….I guess makes sense but also doesn’t. Why does that matter? Also, it’s funny how the brown/orange tinge of Gloom’s leaves are meant to be indicative of the parasitic plant drawing nutrients away from the leaves Oddish had, effectively killing them, but Bellossom will grow prettier flowers if it’s evolved from a really smelly Gloom.

I just don’t understand this evo at all.

Design-wise, we already touched upon how Bellossom is based on hula dancers, but specifically the grass skirt is present and the flowers on its head are meant to look like plumeria, which are commonly worn as hair decorations and used in leis. It’s also meant to be based off of Rafflesia, but I already said I don’t buy that. Specifically, it’s based on the Rafflesia keithii, which, I’ll admit, does look kinda similar to Bellossom’s flowers in regards to the shapes of the petals, but that’s about it.

Finally, it’s bell shaped, which is meant to build on the ringing sound that it makes when their petals rub together. I don’t get what any of that has to do with flowers, hula dancers or quite literally anything related to this line. I don’t understand how flower petals rubbing against each other can sound like ringing. I don’t know why it’s bell shaped as a result. I don’t know what the bell or ringing would even mean. I guess bells are sometimes used in rituals, and the dance is meant to summon or worship the sun, so….maybe that’s the reason? It’s not mentioned anywhere. I’m just guessing. I dunno.

Next time, we tackle the Paras line!

Previous – The ‘bat Line


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My Poke-Pinions #41, 42 and 169 | The ‘bat Line

Zubat

Name: Zubat’s name is obviously derived from the word ‘bat’ but it’s also taken as a pun since it originates from the onomatopoeia for the sound of an edged tool forcefully piercing something, ‘zubatto’ since it’s a vampire bat. As you can guess, it has the same name in English as Japanese.

I like Zubat’s name just fine. It’s fitting, memorable and snappy.

Fun Fact: In France, it’s called Nosferapti, based off of Nosferatu and ‘pi’ for petit. That is one of the coolest names I’ve ever heard. Remind me if I ever have kids, I’m totally naming one Nosferapti.

Design: Zubat is a bat……*lip smack* Yup.

Okay, maybe I’m not giving Zubat enough credit. I do think Zubat is really cute. I actually am a fan of bats, and this one is pretty adorable. It has a nice blue and purple color scheme, cute little ears, and enough creepiness in the fact that it has no eyes and a perpetually open fanged mouth to at least be a little intimidating.

What I never liked about it, though, are its weird ‘tails.’ Never understood what the purpose was for those tails either practically or as a design choice. I honestly didn’t even know they were tails until I read the Wiki for this analysis. I always thought they were really skinny legs with no feet.

Sprite-wise, I literally have nothing to say about any Gen’s sprites. They’re all decent enough. The animations are sometimes a little spastic, but none I really feel like pointing out.

The only one that might be worth noting is Gen II, which, for some reason, made Zubat’s sprites all insanely dark. I know they’re mostly found in caves, but they’re WAY too dark. It’s hard to make out details on them.

Shiny:

Most people hate shiny Zubat because of the ick green, and I agree, but in other Gens the sprite is more of a lime green, which I’m more receptive to.

I’m not receptive of the yellow/beige they chose for the insides of the ears and wings, though. Gen II had those areas be more of a pink-ish color, which I’m not that happy about either, but it looks better than yellow/beige.

Dex Entries and Backstory: It’s a bat.

Sorry, I won’t do it again.

Really, there’s nothing in the Dex entries that don’t apply to your average bat except that sunlight burns them/causes them to become unhealthy, because vampire lore. I was actually pretty surprised to learn this because, in all my years playing the games and watching the anime, I’ve never heard of this being a thing. Apparently, captured and trained Zubat are somehow more resilient to sunlight and don’t get burned or sick. *shrug*

Zubat’s design was based off of—do I honestly need to keep typing that sentence? Its Poison typing is either based off of the anticoagulant found in bat saliva, which I find hard to believe because anticoagulants are not poison, or its based off of the fact that bats commonly carry diseases such as rabies, which is a bit more believable. The whole poison/venom thing has become more common in vampire media. In fact, a manga I’m currently reading, Higanjima, has vampires with venom that instantly completely paralyzes their victims upon a single bite. It also lulls the victim into a state of pure ecstasy.

Well that was a short entry. Only one page….Hmmm….I need something to fill time.

Here, let me grab a Zubat meme real quick.

There we go.

Golbat

Name: Golbat is supposedly derived from the word ‘gollop’ which is another word for ‘gulp’ which is supposed to be in reference to gulping blood because vampire bat. It could also be short for golden-capped fruit bat, which looks nothing like Golbat and is a fruit bat anyway, not a vampire bat.

Honestly, I don’t believe either of these theories. I have never heard the world ‘gollop’ in my life. If the gulping thing was the main inspiration, why not just name it Gulbat? They sound almost identical.

I like Golbat just fine as a name, but I prefer Zubat.

Fun Fact: In France, it’s called Nosferalto, which is also incredibly awesome. The alto part means ‘high’ which I think is in reference to Golbat’s flying abilities or its high-pitched screech.

Design: I think Golbat’s design is the perfect combination of ‘typical bat’ and ‘creepy. I mean, look at this thing. It’s just a bat with a HUGE mouth, but that’s all it really needs to come off as creepy. It’s gaping, never closing, black abyss of a mouth.

I don’t much care for its feet is all I can say in the negatives. They seem like they’re an afterthought, but they don’t bother me nearly as much as Zubat’s tail feet.

Sprite-wise, YES! I finally get to talk about one of my favorite sets of weird-ass Gen I sprites!

Look at it!

Look at it!

And, of course, the cous de gras, the weirdo Gen I king,

Bask in the glory that is funhouse mirror Golbat with a frickin’ TONGUE. Just when you think the black abyss mouth was the creepiest they could pull off with Golbat’s mouth they give you this nightmare. It makes total sense that he has a tongue, and I’m…..a little certain it probably does have one even though we can’t see it, but GOD. It’s like it swallowed a Lickitung. It’s so messed up and cool, I love it.

Other than that, I have the same notes about Golbat’s sprites as I did with Zubat’s. They’re all fine, Gen II is still way too dark, though, and sometimes the animations are a bit too erratic, but they’re all fine.

Shiny:

Golbat’s shiny has the same problem as Zubat’s shiny only a lot worse because they don’t improve the color with time. It has this weird olive-green and bubblegum/peach color scheme that is putrid. I know I said I liked Zubat’s shiny a tiny bit better with the pink over that weird beige, but this shade just looks awful.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Golbat’s Dex entries are only a little bit more interesting than Zubat’s, this time focusing more on the vampire angle. Golbat targets humans and Pokemon, and it never stops draining blood from its victims, even if it gets too heavy to fly. Moon’s Dex entry goes even further with this and points out that Golbat will quickly become food for other Pokemon if it allows itself to get this heavy (Jeez, these entries are dark.) It also sometimes shares the blood that it’s already gathered, which, what the fuck and HOW?! Does it throw it up? Is there some Golbat bucket hidden in its mouth? Its sharp fangs can puncture any type of skin, except those of Steel-type Pokemon. Attempting to bite Steel-types has caused Golbat to lose their fangs occasionally.

Two other interesting notes are 1) I changes its blood type to that of the victim when drinking blood…which, cool, but why? And 2) even though I noted its little weird legs, it’s apparently very good at walking. So good, in fact, that it can stalk prey silently on land as well as in the air.

Design-wise, it has the exact same information listed as Zubat.

Crobat

Name: Out of all of the ‘bat line, I like Crobat’s name the best. It’s either a merging of ‘bat’ with the word ‘cross’, referencing the way its four wings cross over each other, or it’s derived from the word ‘acrobat’ which is alluding to its skills flying through the air. Both explanations of this name are much better than the explanations we get for Zubat and Golbat. Also, it reminds me of crows, which adds to the creepy factor.

Fun Fact: In France, it’s called Nostenfer, which I like the least out of all of the French ‘bat line names. It just doesn’t flow nearly as well. You almost have to stutter through it. The ‘enfer’ part means ‘hell’ which is fitting but also not because Crobat’s not nearly intimidating enough to earn that dark name.

Design: Just gonna get this out of the way, because I know how much people tend to love Crobat, but I’ll be honest…..I like Golbat better. Golbat kinda gives off a creepier vibe while still being cute, but Crobat is just like an angry bat. Don’t get me wrong, I love Crobat too. I really, really love the fact that it has four wings that intersect each other when flapping, and the differences in my preference levels isn’t that much, but I still find myself preferring Golbat.

Sprite-wise, not much to note. The flying animations are, again, a bit sporadic sometimes, but it’s nothing that bad. Only one that is noteworthy is Crystal, whose flying animation looks awful. It looks so much more like it’s trying to wave ‘hi’ with both wings than it is trying to fly.

Shiny:

So, everyone has a beef with baby poop-colored Zubat and Golbat, eh? May I ask why I haven’t seen more people complain about this flesh-colored abomination?

Granted this specific shade of pink was only around for Gen III, every other Gen is like a bubblegum pink, but WHY? Why did this happen? And why is it paired up with the classic baby-poop green for the wings?

At least the bubblegum pink does work kinda better, but if I were a shiny Crobat I’d be embarrassed as shit.

Crobat….the final evo of the vampiric ‘bat line. Stalking its prey swiftly and silently…..drinking the blood of any poor creature that crosses its path……IS NOW AVAILABLE IN COTTON CANDY, ROSE, AND BALLET SLIPPER PINK!

Dex Entries and Backstory: Crobat’s Dex entries skew away from the vampire motif for the most part and tend to focus more on its impressive speed and stealth. Its hind legs actually evolved into the second set of wings, making it faster and more agile, but greatly hindered its ability to travel on land.

It can fly super fast and extremely quietly, so much so that most people don’t even notice them going by. Supposedly, you won’t even realize you’ve been fed on until it’s too late. If it has been flying for long periods, it will switch which pair of wings it uses to fly around so it can rest the other pair.

Kinda disappointing pool of info, to be honest.

May I ask I one thing, though? Why does a Pokemon based on bats and vampires evolve through, of all things, friendship?

Design-wise, it’s mostly the same as Zubat and Golbat with two additions. The first is suggesting that the second pair of wings is based on the fact that a bat’s wings are connected by their patagium, which connects all of their limbs into their wings. The increased speed is theorized to be based on the Mexican free-tailed bat, which is noted as being able to reach the fastest horizontal flight speed of any animal.

I don’t really have anything to discuss there. It’s pretty straight-forward.

Next time, it’s the….Uh….I don’t really know what to call this line. They don’t really have a naming scheme. Maybe the Weed/Flower line because two are the Weed Pokemon and two are the Flower Pokemon?…..Oddish, Gloom, Vileplume and Bellossom are up next.

Previous – The ‘uff line 


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My Poke-Pinions #(174) 39 and 40 | The ‘Uff Line

Igglybuff

Name: I don’t like Igglybuff’s name. The iggly part isn’t awful, it’s just a shortened version of Jiggly/Wiggly, but they chose poorly when they chose ‘buff’ for the ‘uff part. I think ‘buff’ and I think some overly muscular dude constantly flexing. Well, maybe there’s a good reason for that choice.

Wiki: “Igglybuff may be derived from a shortening of jiggly or wiggly and buff (a pale, soft, flexible leather; referring to its skin).” Uh……yuck. Leather itself isn’t disgusting or anything, but it’s weird that they’d make that reference when talking about a Pokemon that’s supposed to be reminiscent of a plush toy.

Why not use the word ‘fluff’? Is that not the next logical progression in the realm of cutesy ‘uff’ words? What say ye, German name for Igglybuff, Fluffeluff, which is one of the most adorable names I’ve ever heard?

Its original Japanese name is Pupurin, which is just playing off of Jigglypuff’s original name, Purin, but it’s also meant to be derived from the words puchi, meaning petit, or puripuri, which means “angrily or in a huff”….Huff. Another word they could have used that would have fit better. The word ‘fusen’ meaning balloon, is also supposed to be a part of it.

……..I……am very immature……….I don’t care for this name….because it starts with ‘pupu.’ You look me in the eye and tell me that doesn’t sound silly.

Design: Hate to say it, but I also don’t like Igglybuff’s design. It’s not horrible, but it’s definitely the lowest ranked among the three in the evo line. The hair tuft at the top is really awkward, like they’re three cysts on its head, and I don’t know what the logic was with giving it red demon eyes when the rest of the line has cutesy blue eyes. I do like how its mouth is drawn in that little kitty-esque manner. At its best, it reminds me of Kirby, which is good, but at its worst it makes me want to exorcise it, which is bad.

Sprite-wise, Gen II comes off as very creepy.

It’s like they kept the body bigger like Jigglypuff’s but also made the eyes really small. I will say that the sprite for Silver is cute because it makes it look like it’s flying.

And Crystal’s animation is pretty cute.

Nothing much of note until HG/SS where its animation makes it look WAY too creepy.

Although they make up for it in Gen V by giving it a really adorable bouncing animation.

Everything else is alright.

Shiny:

It’s a different shade of pink.

Alright, let me be fair. First, the shiny for Gen II also has green eyes, spiral and shadow for some reason (The shadow thing must’ve been an oversight.)

I like that change because that’s how it should be by default (barring the shadow). Second, I like the shiny’s shade of pink better because it comes off more like bubblegum.

Dex Entries and Backstory: The Biology section of the Wiki mentions that it lives close to freshwater streams and uses the water to gargle when it has a sore throat…..Does someone want to tell the people at Pokemon that you’re supposed to gargle saltwater to treat sore throats? Drinking freshwater would hydrate you, which is important, and gargling with cold water would feel nice for a second, but the only way to actually soothe and treat a sore throat with just straight water is with saltwater.

Anyhoo, Igglybuff is really bouncy. So bouncy, in fact, that if it starts rolling away, it will surely bounce out of control and be ‘impossible to stop’ which sounds like absolute hell. I’m just imagining there’s an Igglybuff out there that once rolled away and has never stopped bouncing.

Its legs are so stubby that it chooses to bounce everywhere instead of walking. It has a soft plushy body that feels like a marshmallow, and it even has a pleasant sweet smell that calms its foes.

Oddly, despite its evolutions, the Dex entries also state that not only is Igglybuff not very good at singing yet but it also can’t sing for long periods of time without developing a sore throat because its vocal chords are not fully developed yet. However, it is constantly practicing and getting better and better over time.

Igglybuff’s design is derived from balloons, rubber balls and powder/cream puffs. Combined with its soft, marshmallow-like texture and singing ability, it’s also said to be based on plush toys that play music to help them fall asleep, which I find to be very cute.

Before I move on, I will say that my opinion on Igglybuff lightened quite a bit as I was researching for this post. The design has grown on me a tiny bit more, and I like the aspect of it being like a plush toy, even if that doesn’t really translate given how shiny it looks. Definitely more balloon/rubber ball vibes than plush toy.

Jigglypuff

Name: Jigglypuff has an adorable and fitting name. It’s origins are….pretty obvious.

Its original Japanese name is Purin, and the origins are the same as listed in Igglybuff’s section. I like Purin more than Pupurin, for obvious reasons, but I still don’t think it fits very well. I mean…..pudding…..is not really “soft.” It’s gooey. They’re referencing the flan-like pudding in this regard, but my statement still stands. You can call it fluffy, being all eggy, but I would never, in a million years, connect pudding to Jigglypuff. Maybe some sort of puffy chewy pastry or something, but not pudding.

Fun Fact: In German, it’s called Pummeluff, which is much better than Purin and very adorable.

Shiny:

It’s a different shade of pink.

BUT

……It also keeps the green eyes throughout.

I really, really, like green-eyed Jigglypuff. Yes, it’s a terribly bland shiny overall, but I just think the contrast between the green and pink works better than blue and pink.

Dex Entries and Backstory: You probably know Jigglypuff’s main claim to fame by now – it sings a lot, and its song lulls people and Pokemon to sleep. The Dex entries are same old, same old until we hit Sapphire where it notes “When this Pokémon sings, it never pauses to breathe. If it is in a battle against an opponent that does not easily fall asleep, Jigglypuff cannot breathe, endangering its life.” Wouldn’t it just, ya know…..stop? Usually, if you try a move and it fails, that’s it. You don’t sit there for minutes on end waiting for it to succeed.

It has really big eyes, massive lung capacity, a wide vocal range. Etc. I think the most interesting entry is Ultra Moon, however, because it notes that “Recordings of Jigglypuff’s strange lullabies can be purchased from department stores. These CDs can be found near the bedding area.” I have never seen a Pokedex entry that looked so much like an ad.

‘Do you like Jigglypuff’s jams? Then check out its Greatest Hits CD available at your local PokeMart! You’ll get such hits such as “Song of Jigglypuff”, “Song of Jigglypuff”, “Song of Jigglypuff”, “Song of Jigglypuff” and its platinum hit “Song of Jigglypuff”! For more of Jigglypuff’s songs, visit Spotify, Pandora or that stupid radio function on your PokeGear that you never use.’

In terms of design, there’s nothing really of note that we haven’t already gone over except that Jigglypuff was possibly based on the legend of the moon rabbit, which is why Wigglytuff has bunny ears, why it eventually became a Fairy type (which are associated with the moon) and the fact that it uses a Moon Stone to evolve. Mmmm….Can’t really agree 100% there. Outside of evolving with the Moon Stone, nothing relates this line to the moon or rabbits. Maybe you can make the argument for Wigglytuff, for obvious reasons, but not Jigglypuff. It looks nothing like a rabbit. If anything it has little kitty ears. Also, why would the moon rabbit be a balloon? Is there something I’m missing there?

Wigglytuff

Name: Wigglytuff is one of those names I go back and forth on. It is cute and a natural fit for a final evo of a cutesy line. However, the ‘wiggly’ part does kinda bother me a little. I think of wiggly things, I tend to think of worms. Also, nothing about balloons or bunnies makes me think of wiggling either.

The ‘tuff’ part I’m perfectly fine with. It’s obviously meant to be ‘tough’ but it could also be in reference to ‘tuft’ like a tuft of hair a la Wigglytuff’s little hair tuft. Also, not for nothing, but I desperately want to draw Toph as a Wigglytuff now. And yes, it would be called Wigglytoph. And yes, there’s a 50/50 chance it would look like something out of a nightmare.

Its original Japanese name is Pukurin, which is, by far, the best Japanese name of the line. It also means it’s a Pokemon I can fitting call ‘Pookie.’ In addition to the name origins already discussed, the ‘ku’ part might come from ‘pukupuku,’ which means cute and chubby, ‘kurikuri,’ which means big and round, or ‘fukureru,’ which means to expand or inflate. All very fitting and cute theories

Fun Fact: In German, it’s called Knuddeluff. Germany wins this entire evo line. Hands down.

Design: I really like Wigglytuff’s design. I love its bunny ears and its little swirly hair tuft and the more marshmallow-y vibe you get from it. Not entirely sure I’d say it’s cuter than Jigglypuff…..maybe it’s a rare tie in that regard.

Sprite-wise, R/B is the tiniest bit derpy.

Yellow is fine, but WOW they went hard on the pink. The back sprite isn’t nearly as dark. What the heck happened there?

Gen II’s shade of pink is very sharp. I think it’s a bit too much. Gold has a nice sprite…

….but what is Silver doing?

Trying desperately to point at something important?

Crystal has a little dance and a butt wiggle and I kinda love it.

Also, it looks like they fixed the coloring on Crystal’s sprite. The coloring for this Gen basically made it nearly identical to the shiny version, so that change was even more appreciated, Crystal.

Not much else to say about the other Gens. They’re all varying amounts of adorable.

Shiny:

Again, it’s just a different shade of pink with green eyes. I do like this shiny best out of the three because it’s a really nice shade of purplish-pink. It’s like an orchid color.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Did you know that Wigglytuff is rubbery and can inflate itself? Then you know 90% of what’s covered in its Dex entries. Other than that, they really like talking about how soft and luxurious Wigglytuff’s fur is, even though it just doesn’t come off as a furry Pokemon to me. Also, it has big eyes, which is obvious, but did you also know that they are covered in tears and can wash away dust?……Like……most eyes? Cuz they can.

I’m really surprised that they mention absolutely nothing about its singing prowess. Isn’t that supposed to be the main hook of this line, outside of being a balloon? It’s like Igglybuff is the rough aspiring singer who needs work, Jigglypuff is the one kinda making a name for itself and Wigglytuff retired early because the music business is BS.

Next up, it’s time to get batty with Zubat, Golbat and Crobat.

Previous – Vulpix and Ninetales


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