My Poke-Pinions #027-28 The Sand Line

Sandshrew

Name: Sandshrew is a combination of—I’m gonna just assume you know what it’s a combination of. It’s not really difficult. As for whether I like it or not – I do. It’s a bit overly simple, but that’s not a bad thing. It’s still memorable and cute.

And hey, at least they didn’t simplify it to a hilarious level like just calling it ‘Sand’ or something, hahah! Isn’t that right Japa–(image of name plate in Wiki)

………*lip smack*…….Moving on.

Design: I’ve always thought Sandshrew had such a simple yet incredibly cute design. It’s a shade of yellow that’s not too loud, it has an adorable face, cute little paws and I love that brick-like design on the yellow parts.

In regards to the sprites, I can say with certainty that practically every Gen is varying levels of adorable. Even right out the gate in Red/Blue, Sandshrew is sitting there look so adorable. I just wanna cuddle it.

The back sprite for Gen I is kinda weird, but that’s all I really have to say in that department.

Crystal is where it gets really cute. Look at that little itching animation and tail wag. N’aw!

Gen III is adorable, but Emerald is a little silly because I don’t know why it’s just flailing its arms like that. It’s still adorable even with the animation, but it’s a little goofy.

It’s in Gen IV where things get strange. The animations are just erratic. DPP makes it look like it’s trying to be a rabbit,

and HGSS makes it looks it had too much coffee.

Gen V is really adorable with its subtle little head shake.

As usual, Gen VI is just okay.

Alolan Sandshrew

I love that there’s an Ice (and Steel) version of Sandshrew, and I adore the igloo theme they got going on here, but there’s no getting around the fact that it’s, ultimately, pretty much just a recolor of original Sandshrew. It has a band on its face and its ears are designed to look more like igloo entrances, but it’s still just a recolored Sandshrew. Nothing wrong with the recolor, I really love it, but I can’t ignore that.

Shiny:

I’ve mentioned before that a lot of people tend to hate green shinies, but I actually really love Shiny Sandshrew. I think it’s a very vibrant and cute shade of green – and for some reason it makes me think it’s a gummi bear, which just makes it even cuter.

Shiny Alolan Sandshrew is pretty cool (no pun intended) too.

The yellow underbelly is replaced with a dark glacier blue, and it fits extremely well with the ice motif.

Cry/Voice: Sandshrew’s anime voice is actually quite….horrible. It’s a very unfitting and screechy voice. The good thing is Sandshrew doesn’t tend to make noise very often.

Sandshrew’s game cry is equally screechy though not as horrifying. It’s not that memorable, but it’s a tiny bit fitting I guess.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Most of Sandshrew’s Dex entries say the same thing – they dislike water and mostly enjoy burrowing in dry sandy areas such as deserts. If they are threatened, they protect themselves by curling into a ball. The plates on their backs are extremely strong and act as armor.

Some other entries note that dew will form on it overnight if it gets particularly cold, and one entry mentions that, should it get too wrinkled from moisture, it will seek out the heat of a volcano and dry off there.

The Dex entry for Alolan Sandshrew is actually a little ironic because, completely contrary to regular Sandshrew, Alolan Sandshrew supposedly cannot curl up into a ball because of their armor-like back plates that are hard as steel. Alolan Sandshrew were said to come about after Sandshrew fled a volcanic eruption and decided to live in the nearby snowy mountains. Given the physiology of regular Sandshrew, I’m not sure how it lived for so long that it adapted into this polar opposite form, but I guess it’s not completely unbelievable.

It’s also a tradition to play a curling-like game with them by sliding them across the ice and seeing how far they can go. They use this super-sliding nature to assist themselves in the wild by sliding full-force into their enemies.

In terms of design, Sandshrew was based heavily on armadillos. The inspiration for its supposedly poisonous claws may be derived from shrews, of which they also share their name (at least in English) and it may also be inspired by pangolins.

Alolan Sandshrew was obviously based heavily on igloos, and the Wiki also mentions it was inspired by a curling stone because of the aforementioned game people play with them. Why they decided to do that with a Pokemon who, in no way, reminds anyone of a curling stone, I have no clue.

Sandslash

Name: I like Sandslash’s name, and, again, I’m going to assume I don’t have to explain this one. It’s different enough from Sandshrew, it has a more intimidating vibe to it, to reflect its increase in power, and it’s really cool.

In Japanese, it was originally…..Sandpan?…..That’s a little better than just Sand, but not by much because…what the hell does the ‘pan’ part mean?

According to the Wiki, they’re just guessing that the ‘pan’ part is for ‘pangolin’ which….I suppose maybe, but that’s kinda weird the way it’s arranged. Wouldn’t Sandgolin or something make more sense in regards to composition? No lie, when I first saw ‘Sandpan’ I thought they were referencing bread, because the Japanese word for bread is ‘pan.’

Honestly, I think Sandpan is a pretty goofy name, Sandslash is much better.

Fun fact: In the beta for R/B, Sandslash was originally named Sandstorm, which I think was an equally cool alternative name. Also, in China, its name is Chyūnsāanwòhng, which literally translates to ‘King of going through mountains.’ Okay. China wins here.

Design: Sandslash is just the right combination of intimidating and adorable. It’s just so cute with its big eyes and little nose, but also you know it could cause you some major pain with its quills and claws. I love the hedgehog/porcupine motif it has going for it, and it makes total sense as an upgrade from Sandshrew. The yellow and brown combo is nice, and the contrast makes the quills stand out a lot more. I also like that the quills/spikes themselves are thick and bulky to make it seem bigger and tougher.

As for sprites, R/B looks a little weird, but maybe it’s the perspective.

The back sprite is equally odd because it looks like Sandslash’s face is in the wrong spot.

Yellow looks quite normal, barring the same back sprite, and Green’s looks like someone tries to stuff it into a backpack and smushed it.

Gen II is pretty cute. I love the animation for Crystal. It can either be that it’s slashing its claws to intimidate you or it’s making a gangster-like gesture. Yes, the former makes more sense, but the latter is a lot funnier.

In Gen III, I feel like it’s about to present its butt to me. The weird animation for Emerald doesn’t help at all.

FR/LG is almost boringly normal, though.

Gen IV is pretty cute. Its animation makes it look like it’s cheering.

Meanwhile, HG/SS just looks like it’s spasming out of control.

Gen V is pretty darn cool. Not only is it slashing its claws, but it also has a neat animation for all of its back spikes and its tail.

Gen VI is very okay and boring.

Alolan Sandslash

I absolutely love the glacier/icicle motif they have going on with Alolan Sandslash. That was an awesome direction to go with this alt version. There’s not a lot in terms of color contrast in Alolan Sandslash, but that’s alright because the shades of blue that they chose for it are perfect.

It’s subtle, but I also like the way they changed the style of the claws. There’s a very sharp downward angle that makes the claws almost seem icicle-like too.

Shiny:

Sandslash has one of the best shinies, in my opinion. It has an awesome blood-red color on the spikes and the shade of yellow used on the body made for a more tan look that was great in contrast to the red and really gave off more of a sand vibe.

Shiny Alolan Sandslash, however, is just lazy.

It’s a darker Alolan Sandslash. That’s all. They took Alolan Sandslash’s sprite, turned down the brightness and called it a day. It’s not bad as in ugly or anything, but it’s boring.

Cry/Voice: This is probably going to sound weird, but, in the anime, it always sounds like Sandslash says ‘Slash’ while sneezing whenever it’s attacking. It’s cute, but it’s also a little funny hearing it that way.

Normally, Sandslash sounds…okay. It’s cute, but it kinda loses intimidation points on how high pitched it sounds. It’s even higher than Sandshrew, which is odd. I don’t know why the voice is so nasally, either. Like whoever voices it pinches their nose while recording.

Sandslash’s game cry is alright. It’s low and more intimidating, but not too low for it to sound off-putting or unfitting. It’s a bit too static-y, though – like it was meant for an Electric type or something.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Not too much that is all that interesting to note for several Gens worth of Dex Entries. It can blind enemies with sand, it protects itself by curling into a ball and using its incredibly hard quills as armor, it can climb trees and use its powerful claws for slashing. If or when its quills break off, they grow back in a day. They can use their quills to make enemies flinch then strike with their claws.

We do learn in Gen VII that people will use shed Sandslash claws and quills to make tools to till their farms and fields, so that’s pretty neat. However, the Dex entries for this Gen are also worded oddly. Ultra Sun claims Sandslash’s claws and horns break off….I have never heard anyone refer to Sandslash’s quills as horns. Spikes, yeah, but not horns. That’s just not accurate.

Also, in Ultra Moon, they say they ‘Park themselves in trees and go right to sleep.’ That is correct, but it’s weird that they said ‘park themselves’ like they’re a car. (I am aware that people sometimes say ‘park it’ when telling someone to sit, but in this situation it just sounds weird. I’m being very nitpicky here, admittedly, though.)

In Gen VIII, the Dex mentions that Sandslash’s spikes will feel smoother and harder if it’s in drier climates, which makes sense, and when they’re in trees they will drop berries for Sandshrew waiting down below, which I thought was sweet.

In regards to design, it has obviously drawn inspiration from hedgehogs, echidnas, and porcupines, and pangolins have been mentioned already, which I can definitely see in the face. Like Sandshrew, it is also based on shrews and supposedly have poisonous claws as a result. I keep saying ‘supposedly’ because I can’t find anything that says Sandshrew or Sandslash has poisonous claws. Only their Wiki and Bulbapedia pages say that, but I can’t find anything in canon.

The only poison ability it has naturally is Poison Sting, and I always thought that was utilizing their spikes, not their claws. In Gen IV and onward, it can use Poison Jab, but only through a TM so that can’t possibly count.

Alolan Sandslash’s Dex entries explain the same origin as Alolan Sandshrew, but also include that its icy spikes are actually steel spikes covered in ice. These spikes don’t only cause deep wounds, but they can also quickly cause frostbite, which is pretty scary. As opposed to trees, it has adapted its claws to climb icebergs. Utilizing its claws to plow through the snow, it has become the fastest Pokemon to travel within snowy mountain regions.

There’s nothing mentioning the design inspiration for Alolan Sandslash, but it’s safe to assume icicles and glaciers were a big part of it. Not sure where the steel came into play, though, because steel has nothing to do with ice, igloos, glaciers etc. Even taking its origins into play, Sandslash didn’t originally have steel spikes, so I’m kinda confused on that front.

Next up, the entire Nido-line: Both male and female!


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My Poke-Pinions 019-020: The Rattata Line

Rattata

Name: Rattata’s first English name was Rattatak, a mixture of ‘rat’ and ‘attack’ Somewhere down the line, the k was dropped, leaving Rattata. Even though I, like many kids, was confused on both how to properly pronounce and spell Rattata, I will admit that the name has grown on me through the years. It’s a bit clumsy to say, but once you get the hang of it, it’s fun. Plus, it’s possible the shortened name was based on the sound ‘rat-a-tat’ kinda like a Tommy gun, and that’s just cool.

I think Rattatak also sounds kinda cool, but it’s a bit more clumsy to say than Rattata.

Its Japanese name is Koratta, which either means ‘child Ratta,’ since Raticate’s original name is Ratta, or ‘child rat.’ I like Koratta because it’s easier to say and spell, but I can’t deny that I’m slightly more partial to Rattata.

Fun Fact: In German, it’s called Rattfratz, which is one of the most amazing things ever. Not just because the name itself is awesome, but also because it literally translates to “Rat rascal” and that is too adorable.

Design: I really like Rattata’s design. Purple’s my favorite color, so it’s already winning points there (Plus, it’s always nice to have a Normal type that’s not brown, beige or white…) but it’s also an extremely good balance of cute and fierce. I’d love to have one as a pet.

In terms of sprites, it’s pretty normal until we get to Crystal, which has an adorable little butt shake.

Emerald’s animation is also really cute.

HG/SS is just a bit erratic for me.

Alolan Version:

Hey, we finally get to talk about one of these, eh? And it’s……ugly as hell. I like the dark gray/nearly black coloring with the darker tan, but goddamn that stupid whisker design to make it look like it has a mustache. Eugh.

Shiny:

This shiny makes me want to vomit.

Because it’s the same color as vomit.

Who the hell approved this? Yellow shinies tend to be bad enough, but this shade is just gross. At least the color fluctuates to a gray-ish yellow in other gens, but even though that’s not as nauseating at this yellow, it’s still really ugly.

On the flip side, shiny Alolan Rattata is really nice.

I love the maroon on tan. We don’t get enough maroon shinies.

Cry/Voice: Rattata’s voice is just okay. It’s rather bland, to be honest. Sometimes, they’ll be pretty fierce with the voice, which is kinda cool, but overall it’s just another ‘human obviously saying a word’ voices.

Its game cry is annoying. It sounds like you took damage in an old Commodore 64 game.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Rattata’s a rather simple Pokemon. It’s incredibly common, obviously (it’ll probably be the first or second Pokemon you capture in-game) it loves to chew on things and bite, it’s very energetic, it eats a lot and it’s essentially paranoid. One thing of note is that its teeth never stop growing and requires plenty of things to gnaw on it order to keep them from growing too much. Reminds me of that one episode of Angry Beavers where they let their teeth grow out and eventually they took over the whole dam, and they were worried their teeth would grow into their brains.

The Alolan entries state that, since it only loves fresh foods….apparently, which is weird because the regular entries state it pretty much eats anything it finds, some people use them to find fresh fruits when grocery shopping. Yes, that’s what I want to see on my grocery shopping trip – someone traversing the produce section with a rat.

Also, it gathers food for the boss of its nest, a Raticate.

In regards to its design origins, just guess what it’s based on. Specifically, since it has such big ears, they suspect it might be based on a dumbo rat. I didn’t know that was a thing, but spot-on naming, scientists.

The Alolan version’s origins are much more complex. It’s based on the Hawaiian rat, known for being more vicious than the mainland rats, which may explain the Dark typing. Rats were constantly attacking and eating the sugar cane fields in Hawaii, so they imported small Asian mongooses to keep them at bay, which is mirrored in the Alolan Rattata’s relationship with Yungoos.

However, that move blew up in their faces. The mongooses were ineffective at keeping the rats at bay since mongooses are diurnal while the rats were nocturnal. They never crossed paths and thus couldn’t deter them. The mongooses themselves became an invasive species and started annihilating the local bird population. The mongooses were imported in 1883 and they’re still a major problem to this day. Good job.

Raticate

Name: Raticate is either a mixture of ‘rat’ and ‘eradicate’ which I always thought it was, or ‘masticate’ which means ‘to chew.’ I’m going with the ‘eradicate’ version because it sounds and fits better. I really like Raticate’s name. It’s badass, flows nicely and works well with its pre-evo.

Its Japanese name is Ratta, which is derived from, well, ‘rat.’ I find the Japanese name to be horribly boring. It’s only slightly off-shot from ‘rat’ and just gives off a bland feel.

Fun Fact: In German, it’s called Rattikarl, which is a mix of ‘ratte’ and ‘radikal’….as in ‘radical.’ Germany, I kinda love you right now.

Design: Raticate’s design is pretty…..okay. It lost the purple, which saddens me, and gained a very boring tan color. It’s made to look more fierce than Rattata, and it succeeds, but it’s also more ugly as a result. It also bothers me that Raticate doesn’t seem to be able to really close its mouth. Must be hard on the jaw.

In terms of sprites, it’s a pretty bland collection. R/S/E looks fairly ugly mostly because of how it’s posed.

Other than that, there’s nothing really of note.

Alolan Version:

Somehow they managed to top themselves on ugly with…..whatever this is. It looks like Raticate has severe anaphylaxis. Again, who approved of this design?

The color scheme is still pretty nice, but I can’t get over that face.

Shiny:

This shiny’s pretty bland too. It’s just a darker colored Raticate. I do like it, but I feel like they could’ve done so much more….Eh, I guess I won’t complain too much if the alternative is vomit.

The Alolan shiny is a little more purple-ish than shiny Alolan Rattata, and I really dig it.

Cry/Voice: I hate to sound like a broken record, but Raticate’s anime voice is also kinda bland. It’s just Rattata’s voice only slightly more vicious.

Its game cry is alright and sounds less jarring than Rattata’s but it’s just okay.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Most of Raticate’s Dex entries talk about three things – it has massive biting power and needs to chew a lot, its whiskers help maintain its balance and it has webbed feet that allow for strong swimming. Its biting and chewing power are so great that it can topple concrete buildings.

Alolan Raticate’s Dex entries don’t really explore more than Alolan Rattata, but it does include a tidbit about Raticate being so good at indicating freshness that restaurants will have Raticate around to prove their quality to customers, which is really only a slight off-shoot of the grocery store thing mentioned in Alolan Rattata’s entry.

Its design is based off of a mixture of a muskrat, a guinea pig (for the ears) and possibly a coypu (for the webbed feet)

The Alolan version is based on the Polynesian rat. There isn’t really much to say there as it just looks like a normal rat.

Next up, the Spearow line!


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