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 than 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!


If you enjoy my work and would like to help support my blog, please consider donating at my Ko-Fi page. Thank you! ♥

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

My Poke-Pinions: 013-015 – The Weedle Line

Weedle

Name: Weedle’s name is either a mixture of ‘worm’ and ‘needle,’ pointing to the spike on its head, or a different way of saying ‘weevil.’ I like Weedle’s name. It’s pretty cute and fitting. Plus, it’s fun to say.

In the original Japanese, it’s called Beedle, which is a mixture of ‘bee’ and ‘needle,’ which may seem more fitting, given its evolution, but I can’t help but think it’s saying ‘beetle’ which doesn’t fit at all.

Design: Weedle’s design is pretty cute. Not nearly as cute as Caterpie, but I think that’s kinda the point. (Hahah, the point! Get it!?) I was never a fan of this shade of brown/dark orange it’s got going on, and its mouth kinda weirds me out.

As a side-note, though, look at this early design work.

…..It looks like a clown with no arms or legs.

In terms of sprites, Weedle’s stays pretty unchanged and fairly boring throughout each gen. The only exception is B/W/BW2 where Weedle gains a very weird and creepy animation.

Shiny:

Weedle, like Caterpie, also went the gold route for their shiny, but they messed it up a little. Weedle’s shiny has a more subtle golden color most of the time to the point where it looks dull. Other times, it looks very yellow to the point of being an eyesore.

Cry/Voice: I like Weedle’s game cry, but I don’t find it very fitting for a little worm. It sounds more like a cry for a vicious small animal or something.

In the anime, Weedle’s voice is very weird, and I attribute this to the fact that they chose to have Weedle say its name instead of making a noise, like Caterpie. I don’t think this option works well for Pokemon who don’t have visible mouths. It makes it sound too obvious that this is a human saying a word instead of an animal making a noise. The actual voice is fine. It has a nasally ‘bug-ish’ voice, but the fact that it says ‘Weedle’ instead of just making a noise hurts it.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Similarly to Caterpie, it’s to be expected that Weedle’s backstory and Dex entries are a little dull…and they are.

Weedle’s most notable feature is, of course, its poisonous barb. Its bright colors are meant to fend off predators, even though, honestly, Caterpie is brighter colored than Weedle. It eats its weight in leaves every day, and it uses its powerful nose to sniff out the best tasting leaves. Also, yes, apparently that big red ball on its face is mean to be a big ‘ol nose. Thanks for giving my clown joke more validity.

In terms of design, Weedle is based off of a wasp or hornet larva.

Fun Fact: Weedle’s name was used in the naming of a real life insect – The stentorceps weedlei, a species of wasp. It was named as such because it, like Weedle, has a needle-like protrusion coming out of its head.

Kakuna

Name: Kakuna’s name is just a changeup of ‘cocoon.’ I really like Kakuna because, even though it’s only changed through spelling and one letter, it sounds really cool. It’s very snappy and fun to say.

It’s Japanese name is literally just ‘Cocoon’ which is somehow even lazier.

Fun Fact: In France it’s called Conconfort….which sounds like a furniture name they tied into Pokemon.

Design: I really like Kakuna’s design. You’d think that having two cocoon Pokemon in the same gen would lead to redundant designs, but they do a fantastic job differentiating Metapod and Kakuna. First and foremost, though it’s damn near impossible, Kakuna seems to have more of a dynamic pose than Metapod. It’s upright and seemingly curved towards you, like it’s being offensive.

Kakuna also has a very clear expression – and it’s pissed. Fitting of a Pokemon about to become a pissy bee. The overall patterns and shape are also more interesting than Metapod’s design, and the color is striking.

In terms of sprites, Kakuna had a weird feature in the first gen. It seemingly had barb-like arms, which are weird for a cocoon to have, and I’m glad they got rid of it in future installments.

Otherwise, Kakuna’s sprites through the gens have stayed relatively the same. The only real note I have for them are that I love how Emerald’s sprite glows.

Shiny:

I really like Kakuna’s shiny. It has a cool bright green color to it that makes it almost seem like it’s glowing.

Cry/Voice: Kakuna’s cry is actually pretty cute. It’s like its purring. I don’t really think it fits the Pokemon, but I like the sound.

As far as I can tell, Kakuna barely makes any sound in the anime.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Kakuna’s Dex entries are exactly what you’d expect them to be – It’s….a cocoon….

Outside of having a poison barb that it can extend when threatened, that’s pretty much it.

Its backstory is equally uninteresting because, as you’d expect, it’s based on the pupa of a honeybee.

Beedrill

Name: Beedrill’s name is a combination of ‘Bee’ and ‘Drill.’ I’ve always really liked Beedrill’s name. It’s not the most mind-blowingly creative thing in the world, but it’s snappy, intimidating and cool.

In Japanese, its name is Spear, which I think is a bit too on-the-nose, but fitting. I think, given the style of Beedrill’s drills, it’d be more fitting to call it ‘Joust’ or something. It’s also noted that, in reverse, the katakana of Spear スピアー is アピス or Apis, which is the genus for the honey bee, which is kinda cool.

Design:

*Design Meeting*

Designer 1: “Hey guys, how do we make bees even more frightening?”

Designer 2: “Make them…three feet tall?”

D1: “Good, good. What else?”

Designer 3: “Make it so that they can sting you without losing their stingers and dying? Also their stingers are the size of traffic cones.”

D1: “Great! Maybe a little more. What else?”

Designer 4: “Give it drill arms?”

D1: “That’s straight out of a nightmare. Good job everyone!”

I love Beedrill’s design. Even though I don’t like bees, they somehow made a bee Pokemon look awesome. It has a sleek look, is very intimidating and has friggin’ drill arms. What more could you ask for?

Sprite-wise, nothing of real note until Crystal where it gets a pretty cute animation where it twitches its head back and forth and flaps its wings.

Ruby and Sapphire are fine, but then Emerald becomes terrifying with that vibrating and separating animation.

Still just good, but nothing notable, beyond that. The back sprites for Gen IV are pretty dynamic and cool, though.

Gen V gets a constant animation, and that’s awesome.

Mega:

What more could I ask for? How about this sleek, stylish son of a bitch?

Damn, Mega Beedrill is incredible. Look at that thing. It’s like someone mixed a Beedrill with another Beedrill and then fused that with a fighter jet. It’s awesome. Even small details like the indents on the stinger and the visor-esque shaping to the eyes are fantastic.

Shiny:

I adore Shiny Beedrill. The shades of green and blue work with each other very well. It looks somewhat alien, to be honest, which is cool.

Cry/Voice: Its game cry is low-pitched and intimidating without seeming unfitting for a bee. It’s a bit buzzy so it fits rather well.

Its anime voice is disappointing. While it’s to be expected that an insect gets a high-pitched voice, Beedrill kinda loses its intimidation factor when you hear ‘Beeeedrill.’ It should just be a low pitched-hum or something.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Nothing really surprising in the Dex entries. It flies super fast, is very territorial, tend to fly in swarms and has three extremely large and venomous barbs.

As for its design origins, it’s, of course, based on a bee. However, the Wiki states that the design was most likely inspired by the Asian giant hornet. I was going to comment that the one negative about the shiny is that it’s not very fitting to a bee, but, surprisingly, the shiny version does seem to be based on a real bee – The agapostemon. It has a very unique bright, metallic green look to it. Go figure.

Next up, the Pidgey line!

Previous – The Caterpie Line

My Poke-Pinions: 010 – 012 – The Caterpie Line

Caterpie

Name: Caterpie is obviously an off-shoot of ‘caterpillar,’ and damn the Wiki writers for calling it a ‘corruption’ of the word. It’s a ‘cute….uption.’ I really like Caterpie’s name. It’s snappy and adorable.

It’s also its original Japanese name as well, so my work’s done here.

Design: Let me preface all Bug Type analyses in the future by saying I hate bugs in real life. I shouldn’t say I hate them so much as….am afraid of most of them. I like ladybugs, butterflies, dragonflies, daddy long legs and, yes, even caterpillars, but I get freaked out over even things like moths or ants. I don’t like them touching me. I am very interested in studying them from afar, because insects can be quite amazing. but don’t friggin’ touch me.

It’s also difficult to say any bugs are really ‘cute.’ They can be kinda pretty, but I’m not sure ‘cute’ is the word for any of them. Pokemon has a great talent of changing this opinion, however, because Bug Types tend to either be cute or badass in design.

That being said, I love Caterpie’s design. It’s adorable. It has large expressive eyes, cute little feet and cuddly little body. I also like the choice of colors. It’s nothing very creative, but it’s pleasing to the eye and fitting for the Pokemon. The design of its antennae was also cute and added a nice splash of contrasting color.

In terms of sprites, Caterpie hasn’t changed much at all over the years. It only tends to change angle slightly.

Emerald’s sprite is kinda cute with its animation because it’s curled up like a baby.

I don’t have any other notes for any other generation, except maybe that B/W looks weird with how it bobs up and down. It kinda looks drunk.

Shiny: I really like Caterpie’s shiny version. I love the golden hue, though some versions are a little too yellow for my tastes. Since caterpillars commonly have yellow on them, this shiny suits it very well.

Cry/Voice: The initial note of Caterpie’s game cry is a bit too high pitched. It’s slightly irritating. Other than that, it’s cute and fitting.

The anime’s voice is awkward. It can be cute, but it very obviously sounds like a person trying to do garbly animal noises.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Being such a ‘beginner Pokemon,’ Caterpie’s Dex entries are kinda boring. It has suction cups on its feet to climb up surfaces, emits a terrible odor from its antennae to repel predators and eats a lot.

Its design origins are equally uninteresting. It’s based on the Asian Swallowtail caterpillar, and the end of its tail might be based on the horns of hawk moth larvae.

Metapod

Name: Metapod sounds like a transformer. And I’m just fine with that. It’s a combination of the words ‘metamorphosis,’ since it’s currently in a transformative state within its cocoon, and ‘pod,’ because…it’s…a pod…

It’s Japanese name is Transel and I hate it. Transel is a combination of ‘transform’ and ‘cell’ or ‘shell.’ It sounds weird, it doesn’t fit the Pokemon, in my opinion, and it is not catchy at all.

Fun Fact: In French, it’s call Crysacier, which is a billion times more awesome.

Design: Uhm….it’s a cocoon with eyes…It’s hard to either like or dislike it. It never seems like it has an expression besides Eeyore and super pissed. I will say that, despite how it looks, I actually found it incredibly difficult to draw when I was doing my series of Pokemon drawings. The shape is just awkward.

It has an okay shade of green to it, and that’s about it.

For sprites, again, there’s not much to say considering it’s a mostly inanimate cocoon. It’s not like it can have interesting animations or dynamic poses.

The only note I have here is, holy crap, the back sprite for RBG is HORRIFYING. It’s like something out of a horror movie.

Shiny: I really love Metapod’s shiny. It’s such a unique and pretty shade of orange. Combined with its original form, it’s like an autumn version of Metapod.

Cry/Voice: Metapod’s cry is alright. It’s nothing special, but I don’t really expect it to be.

I honestly forgot if Metapod even had an anime voice. It’s mostly quiet, but when I looked back, it does indeed have a voice and it sounds kinda awful. It sounds like someone pinching their nose and saying ‘Metapod’ with no inflection whatsoever.

Dex Entries and Backstory: As you can probably guess, Metapod’s Dex entries and backstory are fairly bland. It’s just an intermediary stage for Caterpie to reach Butterfree. It has a shell as hard as steel, and its only move is Harden. And millions of small children and 30-somethings everywhere giggled.

It also has the fastest evolution rate of any Pokemon known in Gen I, which isn’t true because Weedle evolves into Kakuna at the same level.

Metapod as a Pokemon is based on the chrysalis of the caterpillar that Caterpie is based on, the Black Swallowtail, with protrusions that mimic either the Polydamas or Pipevine Swallowtail chrysalis.

Butterfree

Name: I adore Butterfree’s name. It’s a mix of ‘butterfly’ and ‘free,’ Though, in Japanese, the tail end of the name includes the sound ‘furu,’ which can mean ‘to flap’ like Butterfree’s wings.

The name rolls off the tongue, is very cute and suits it beautifully.

Butterfree’s name is the same in Japanese.

Fun Fact: In French, it’s called Papilusion, which is beautiful.

And in German, it’s Smettbo…..Smettbo……That is the funniest word I’ve heard all week.

Design: Butterfree’s so adorable! Look at its cute widdle hands! Its big eyes! Its cute widdle mouth! Its pretty wings! Its cute widdle feet! Its adorable antennae!

Sprite-wise, they’ve done pretty well with Butterfree over the years.

Red’s the tiniest bit doofy, but Yellow’s is adorable.

Green’s is a little odd because it seems like they altered the shape of the wings before releasing overseas.

N’aw the animation for Crystal!

N’aw the animation for Emerald!

N’aw the animations for DPP and HG/SS!

IT’S CONSTANTLY ANIMATED IN BW/BW2!

Stop! My heart can’t take much more of this.

The female versions have a little black splotch on their lower wings. It’s a fine addition, I guess. Better than adding hearts to it.

Shiny: I’ll be honest, I don’t much care for Butterfree’s shiny. I really like the green eyes, and there are some nice versions of its pink wings, but the pink hands and feet just clash to me. It’s too much all together, and it makes it look unappealing.

Cry/Voice: Butterfree’s cry is cute, but, again, I think the first note it just a bit too high pitched, which makes it a little irritating.

Butterfree’s anime voice is really cute…in small doses. It can get majorly annoying very quickly.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Butterfree’s Dex entries surprised me a bit because almost all of them focus on its ability to collect honey from flowers….I don’t know if it’s the same in the Pokemon world, but you don’t collect honey from flowers.

Bees collect nectar from flowers and they store it in a special organ called a honey stomach. Then they regurgitate it and pass it to another bee, who chews on it. It gets passed back and forth like this for a half hour until it turns to honey due to an enzyme in the bee’s mouth. Then they store the honey in cells on a honeycomb, which is also made of gunk excreted from a bee’s pores. Num num num.

Only in Ultra Moon do they finally say ‘nectar.’

Other than that, Butterfree’s wings are also covered in poisonous spores that keep it dry in rain and help it evade predators, which sounds more fitted for Venomoth’s Dex entries.

It’s weird. I could’ve sworn I read something about Butterfree having some sort of mysterious psychic abilities, considering it can use some Psychic moves. Hm.

The origins of Butterfree as a Pokemon are based on the Black-Veined Butterfly, which is a bit of a boring-looking butterfly, but kinda cute.

Next up, the Weedle line.

Previous – The Squirtle Line