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!


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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 just 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!


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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 honestly 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 Zubats 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 coming 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.

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.

My Poke-Pinions: (172,) 025 and 026 – The ‘Chu Line

Preface: I struggled a bit with how to do this. Since I’m giving my opinions on entire lines, but I’m also going in numerical order, it presents a bit of a problem when I confront Pokemon in early gens that got evos or pre-evos in later gens. Ultimately, I decided I would still go down a numerical line, but when circumstances like these pop up, I will be including any future gen pre-evos and evos just to get the entire line out of the way. If future gens add more evos or pre-evos to any line, I’ll try to update them.

Pichu

Name: Wiki: “Pichu is a combination of ピカピカ pikapika (onomatopoeia for sparkle) and チューチュー chūchū (the sound of squeaking).” …..Mmhmm….

“It may also be a play on プチ puchi (petit).” Sure….

“Pichu is ultimately a diminutive of Pikachu.” There it is.

I like Pichu fine as a name, it’s pretty snappy and cutesy, but I can’t get away from the vibe that this is just them further banking off of ‘Hey look, guys, a chibi Pikachu!’

Design: Pichu’s pretty cute. I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite of the mini-Pikachu clone Pokemon, but it’s cute. It always kinda bothered me that it looks like its head is too big for its body, though. I’m always afraid it will tip over and break its neck. I like how they added more black to the design to help break up the yellow more.

Sprite-Wise, Gen II’s is pretty…..chubby. I think Pichu was designed when we were still in Pikachu’s chubby phase, so this makes sense, but it still looks a little off.

Gold looks worse than Silver, which also looks happier, and the animation on Crystal is adorable.

Gen III looks better, though the animation on Emerald is a bit too erratic for me.

Gen IV is very cute, and the animation for HG/SS is adorable.

All of the other Gens get really cute constant animations.

Spike-Eared Pichu:

It’s a Pichu with a spiky ear……Wheee.

I don’t dislike the spikes. I guess I kinda wish the base Pichu design had spiky ears to make it a little cooler, but it’s just fine.

Also, in the Portuguese version, it’s called SLICED-EAR Pichu! OW.

Ukulele Pichu:

It’s a Pichu with a ukulele…..Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. Actually, considering how tiny Pichu is, how do we tell the difference between it having a ukulele and a regular guitar?

Shiny:

It’s just a darker color yellow. In fact, they’ve taken to calling Shiny Pichu “Pikachu-Colored Pichu,” which is a little irritating, all things considered. I guess it tracks with Shiny Pikachu, which is also just a darker colored yellow, but still. The ones that are just darker colored versions of their original palettes are usually really lame to me. Oddly, the first shiny is the best to me because it looks more orange, channeling Raichu more than Pikachu.

Cry/Voice: Pichu’s anime voice is almost too cute. It’s not too high-pitched and it’s really sweet….when you hear it once or twice. But it’s one of those voices that gets annoying REAL fast.

Its game cry is similarly cute. It’s basically a midi-version of the Pillsbury Doughboy’s giggle.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Unsurprisingly, its Dex entries focus heavily on how much it sucks from a practicality standpoint. Pichu can only hold a small amount of electricity and they are unable to control it. As a result, they constantly let off bursts of electricity when they laugh, get upset or become startled. It will also commonly shock humans without meaning to. They might short out when playing with other Pichu, causing them both to cry.

What’s even worse is that they can’t help but shock themselves when they accidentally or purposefully let off their electricity either.

In short, their shocks are very weak, but they shock their trainers all the time without warning because they can’t control their electricity, they can’t play with other Pichu without creating sparks and hurting each other, and they are useless in battle because purposefully using Electric attacks will just backfire on the Pichu while also barely causing any damage to the enemy. Yay.

The only other real note is that they’ll touch tails to purposely create sparks as a sign of courage. Is that like me punching myself in the face as a sign of courage?

In terms of design, Pichu’s supposed based on squirrels, but I don’t see that. I just see a chibi more circular Pikachu. I get that the cheek thing comes from squirrels, but that’s about it.

Pikachu

Name: First off, dear god the Wiki page for Pikachu is ridonkulously long. I should have opted to do Pikachu on its own page. Yikes.

That being said, I think I need to take a minute to remove myself from this topic since, with all the reviews and stuff I’ve done with Pokemon over the years, Pikachu kinda brings on a lot of knee-jerk reactions. I’m going to try to keep my opinion from being skewed based on the oversaturation of Pikachu’s usage and his utmost favoritism and Messiahchu-isms in the anime.

Pikachu’s name is very cute, snappy and sticks with you for a long time. Every syllable is cute, really. When he says ‘Pika’ it’s cute. When he says ‘Chu!’ it’s even cuter. And if you get him to say ‘CHAAA!’ some of your brain cells explode with cute. It’s a very cute name.

Like I mentioned in Pichu’s section, Pikachu is a combination of the Japanese sound for sparkle and the sound a mouse makes, which is very fitting. However, the Wiki also felt like adding that it could be an offshoot of ‘Peekaboo.’ I can only guess they got that from the short Pikachu’s Peekaboo, because other than sounding similar they have no connection whatsoever.

Design: Pikachu’s frickin’ adorable. It has a very simple design, but it’s also extremely memorable. Most people, even those who aren’t Pokemon fans, can easily discern Pikachu from its silhouette, and I don’t mean to reference Who’s That Pokemon? there. It has an adorable face, cute little chubby cheeks that add some more color to it to break up all the yellow, it has perfect ears and adorable paws – it’s just adorable.

Female Version

It’s just Pikachu with a heart shape on its tail. Quite frankly, I roll my eyes a lot at the fact that so many Pokemon have their gender discerned through little heart designs….

Base Cosplay Pikachu

It’s just Pikachu with a heart shape on its tail….shaded in black. I actually kinda wish this was the female version because it stands out more.

Pikachu Rock Star

It’s too much, in my opinion. I get that that’s the point, but it’s just too much.

Pikachu Belle

It’s alright….Nothing much else to say….It’s very alright.

Pikachu Pop Star

Well, if you’re going to have a rock star version, you might as well have a pop star costume too. This one is at least better than the rock star one, but I still think it’s a bit much.

Pikachu, Ph. D.

I adore this one. It’s hilarious.

Pikachu Libre

I think that costume is extremely well-designed. It’s very cool. Kinda makes me wish there was a Pikachu superhero.

Cap Pikachu

Pikachu wearing one of any version of Ash’s hat….It’s Pikachu wearing hats….It’s adorable. Also, to get this out of the way, I won’t really be addressing Pikachu’s Pokemon Go costumes, same as I didn’t with Pichu. Most of them are just hats anyway. I do love the straw hat one because it makes me think he’s cosplaying as Luffy.

Gigantamax Pikachu

I’m only barely warming up to Mega forms, so don’t expect me to be singing many praises here, especially since I find the Gigantamax idea to be really lazy. Take Pokemon and make them bigger….and change their designs a little, I guess. At least with the Mega forms they changed their designs quite a lot, to the point where they tend to look very busy, but they do the bare minimum with most of the Gigantamaxs I’ve seen. Gigantamax Pikachu, for example, seems to have gone back to his chubbier form, which I like, and they made his tail an actual lightning bolt, which is a little cool, but other than that….it’s just Pikachu.

In terms of sprites, R/B is simply classic.

Yellow is like it was ripped straight from the anime, which is pretty much the point. They, oddly, didn’t change its back design for this game, though. Weird.

Green doesn’t look like a real animal. It looks like an inanimate toy.

Gen II is really cute with one of the most adorable animations for Crystal.

Gen III is also cute, but they’re starting the annoying flashing animations for it in this Gen and, not lying, it makes me physically ill. I think I’m more prone to flicker vertigo than I first thought….

Gen IV has even more flashing, and a weird stretchy animation on HG/SS.

Gen V is really cute, especially with that little finger wag and tail twitch.

All of the rest are just okay.

Shiny:

Like I mentioned, Pikachu’s shiny is just a darker yellow color – like a yellow-orange. It’s a bit lame, and I wish they had just gone all out and made it Raichu orange or something, but it’s fine.

Cry/Voice: Pikachu’s anime voice is basically perfect. It’s really cute and fitting with some great emotion put into it without being overly high pitched and irritating. Thank god he maintains his Japanese voice actress (And has for over 20 years!)

Pikachu’s game cry is pretty good. The starting note is cute and it ends with a burst that sounds just slightly intimidating.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Pikachu stores its electricity in its cheeks, which is the send-up to squirrels, but I don’t really see the design based off of them here either. It uses its tail to check its surroundings, which sometimes causes it to act as a lightning rod. As a result, Pikachu nests tend to be dangerous spots because lightning hits the area a lot.

They tend to shock new things that they see, which I honestly didn’t know. What a weird and destructive trait for little Pikachu to have. It also notes that they’ll commonly roast hard berries with their electricity.

When weakened, a Pikachu can and commonly is brought back to health by a jolt of electricity by a fellow Pikachu. They will also touch tails a form of greeting, which I don’t get. How do you go from touching tails as a show of courage as Pichu to a greeting as Pikachu? When many Pikachu gather together, they can cause lightning storms, and Pokemon Sun notes that there are plans to make a power plant with Pikachu as the generators, which you’d think would be a thing by now.

The Wiki also mentions that Pikachu will get stressed if they don’t discharge their electricity regularly, which I think they got from the anime, but Pikachu got sick in that instance. They also need plenty of sleep or else their electricity doesn’t build up as well…..Oh haha. When you don’t sleep, you don’t have as much….energy….haha.

In terms of design, Pikachu was obviously based on a mouse, but its cheeks were inspired from squirrels storing food in their cheeks, as previously mentioned. Pikachu’s designer directly said that Pikachu was based on a design she made from a daifuku with ears, which…I guess I can see. Supposedly, only the black parts of the ear were kept from that original design.

Raichu

Name: Raichu’s name is perfect, because it is perfect. (Should I mention that Raichu’s my second favorite Pokemon? Nearly tied for first.) Anyway, Raichu breaks down into ‘Rai’ for ‘Thunder’ and ‘Chu/chuchu’ was already explained. In all honesty, I DO find this name to be perfect. It’s a great alteration from Pikachu, it sounds tougher and more intimidating without losing its adorable vibe or snappiness, and it is technically tougher with Rai’s meaning being more threatening (Thunder>sparkling)

Alolan Raichu is also known as Hodad, which I find really weird and not at all fitting of Raichu or any of the ‘Chu line for that matter. However, it does have a purpose to it. Alolan Raichu looks like a surfer, uses its tail like a surfboard, but cannot learn Surf (unless evolved from an event Pikachu). Hodad is actual surfer lingo for someone who dresses like a surfer, comes to the beach with a surfboard but never actually surfs. So, basically, a surf poser.

I don’t much care for that name as it’s basically an insult to an otherwise rather cute Raichu form, and there’s nothing really stopping Alolan Raichu from surfing. Surf basically just summons a tidal wave, it’s not the actual skill of surfing. But hey, any opportunity to jab at Raichu, right? *eye roll*

Design: Raichu is such an adorable cuddly-wuddly pumpkin pie–….Err…Uh…*cough* I really love Raichu’s design. It didn’t sacrifice any cuteness upon evolution – in fact, I think it really gained cuteness. Those ears are more mouse-like while also being unique. I love the little swirl at the bottom. I also like how its tail is now a more mouse-like long tail with a lightning bolt at the end.

It’s body shape is really cool. It’s sweet and pudgy while also having adorable stubby arms and strong legs that look like it could kick you pretty hard. It has the perfect shade of orange, and it’s got just the right amount of yellow, white and brown on it to break it up.

Alolan Raichu

I prefer regular Raichu, but I think they did a really good job with Alolan Raichu. They made its eyes blue, which is nice, and made its orange fur a more burnt-orange color to signify tanned skin, which is pretty cool. Not a big fan of the ears. The shape and design make me think of fairies, and they stand out too much. I love its feet, though. They made the feet shorter and thicker and it reminds me of a bunny.

I like its tail. It’s basically the same as before, but with more of a rounded shape to look like a surfboard. I also find it really adorable that it stands on it. I think a Flying type could easily be made of that with the tail being a cloud with lightning coming out of it.

Female Raichu

I almost thought this was a mistake because I honestly could not see the difference between male and female Raichu. I had to bring my face right up to the screen to realize female Raichu’s tail doesn’t have a pointing end. It’s blunt. Like someone cut it off. That is probably the laziest way to make a female version. Why not just make the lightning bolt a heart or make the cheek marks hearts or make the stripes on the back hearts? Heartheartsheartsgurrlllssluvhartz

In terms of sprites, Gen I needs some work. R/B looks too oval-shaped and has a derpy expression.

Green has a similar problem, just a different derpy expression.

Yellow is adorable, but way too yellow on the coloring, almost like they thought Raichu had Pikachu’s colors.

Gen II is good, but what the hell is up with Crystal’s animation? It either looks like it’s cat-calling or heckling the player.

Is that more effort to make Raichu look like a jerk?

I absolutely love the pose in Gen III, but I can’t help but think the animation in Emerald is Raichu doing the Spongebob laugh.

In Gen IV, D/P is cute, but Platinum’s expression is back to derpy and HG/SS is adopting the annoying flashing animation Pikachu had.

Gen V is adorable because it has a constant bouncing animation, and everything else is alright.

Shiny:

Following the trend of Pichu and Pikachu, Raichu’s shiny is also just a darker version of its base color, but I actually really like it. That deep shade of orange looks great with the darker hues of yellow.

Gen II’s version looks strange because it looks more like a sickly gold color, but it’s corrected in every Gen onward.

As for shiny Alolan Raichu….it’s…..uhm….it’s…Well, I guess it still fits the beach theme because it looks like a very, very dark tan. And it’s a rarity in being a brown shiny. But otherwise it kinda looks terrible. At best, it looks like someone made an Alolan Raichu out of chocolate.

Cry/Voice: Raichu’s anime voice is adorable. It’s lower pitched to give off a more serious and mature tone while also being high enough to be cute. I also love the specific way it pronounces ‘Rai’ usually. Like it’s halfway between ‘Rai’ and ‘Wai.’

It’s game cry is perfect with a ‘shocking’ kind of noise to it while also adding in a cute little high pitched sound.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Raichu’s tail serves as a ground to protect itself from its own electricity, which might be a window into another reason why Pichu always hurts itself when it uses its electricity – its tail is too short to act as ground. When Raichu does discharge electricity this way, it leaves scorch marks on the ground. It can also stick its tail into the ground to search for sources of electricity.

Unlike Pikachu who gets weakened and sick when it stores too much electric energy, Raichu actually gets very aggressive. Raichu is also proactive in avoiding this issue by using its tail to discharge its own electricity into the ground when this starts happening.

In the opposite extreme, if it is running low on electricity, it can recharge by gathering electricity from the atmosphere, which is awesome.

When it is fully charged, its ears will stand up, which is a cute detail.

Raichu has electric power of over 100,000 volts (Gen I and Stadium mistakenly lists this as 10,000. The Wiki states this is a translation error based on how the Japanese language writes numbers (In this case, 100,000 or juu-man would read literally like ‘ten ten-thousands’ since ‘man’ is 10,000 and ‘juu’ is 10. They must have just dropped the first 10 on accident.) which is powerful enough to down an elephant.

Raichu can glow in the dark by constantly emitting a weak electrical charge throughout its body…..I want a glow in the dark Raichu doll now.

Also, Ultra Moon can kiss my ass because it is the only game that omits all of this and instead notes: “Because so many Trainers like the way Pikachu looks, you don’t see this Pokémon very often.” Couldn’t resist kissing Pikachu’s ass, eh?

And, really, Pikachu’s just so adorable and wonderful that Raichu are actually considered rare because no one wants to sacrifice their Perfectchu for, ew, Raichu? That’s like saying “Eevee can evolve into a wide spectrum of other Pokemon, but you never see them usually because Eevee is just so gosh darn adorable that no one wants to evolve it.” I was having such a nice time writing this entry until I read that. Thanks, Ultra Moon.

As for Alolan Raichu, it uses psychic abilities to control electricity (it’s also noted that Alolan Raichu is the only Pokemon with a Psychic/Electric combo) as well as for levitating on its tail. It attacks with star-shaped thunderbolts, which is honestly a little random.

It emits a sweet aroma if you rub its cheek sacs, and it loves PANCAKES! That has got to be one of the most adorable notes I’ve ever seen in a Dex entry. Granted, it’s explaining this because it loves pancakes prepared with a special secret Alolan recipe that some believe might be the key to this Pokemon’s evolution…..Actually, upon second thought, that’s even cooler. Alolan Raichu might have evolved this way because of PANCAKES! How can you not love everything Raichu related?

As for the design origins, Raichu’s cheeks are still based on squirrels, but its long tail and thicker, longer hind legs (and possibly wider bunny-like ears) seem to come from Jerboas which are hopping desert rodents that are somehow adorable and somewhat frightening looking at the same time, and kangaroo rats.

Alolan Raichu was obviously inspired by surfing, and given the area they’re in it makes a lot of sense. However, it’s also very possible that it was based on the novelty Pokemon, Surfing Pikachu from Pokemon Yellow, Gold, Silver and Crystal (I didn’t talk about that one because it’s literally just Pikachu with a surfboard and it doesn’t even have much of a sprite) and even Puka, the surfing Pikachu from the anime who also had blue eyes.

Interestingly, Raichu in Pokemon Stadium can learn Surf, and the animation for performing this move had it using its tail as a surfboard, which might have been additional inspiration.

Absolutely none of those things clicked with me when I first saw this Pokemon, and I think it’s really cool that so many old cogs might have been put into play to make Alolan Raichu’s design.

Next up, the Sandshrew line!


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My Poke-Pinions: 023-024 The Ekans Line

Ekans

Name: Ekans is merely ‘snake’ spelled backwards, which seems kinda lazy, but I actually really like it. Not only is it snappy and memorable, but the ‘s’ at the end makes it sound really snake-like when Ekans says its. Ekanssssssss.

Its Japanese name is Arbo, which is mean to be an anagram of ‘boa’….but I can’t figure out where the r is coming from. And, yes, it is also strange that Arbo is so very close to Arbok but seemingly has no connection. *shrug*

No real fun name facts this time.

Design: Ekan’s design is very simple, it’s pretty much just an average snake design, but they do plenty with it to make it stand out and be pretty cool. First of all, major points for the purple. Considering purple is my favorite color, you’ll probably hear me say that for any Poison type Pokemon, but this shade is particularly nice. I also love how they break it up with bright stripes of yellow. That is very much in keeping with snakes having bright color patterns a lot of the time, and it makes it unique.

I also really like its eyes, and I think it’s kinda adorable that it doesn’t have teeth.

In the realm of sprites, Gen 1 is okay. R/B is awkward because they made Ekans really thin and made its head a bit too big.

Yellow’s is more on-point.

Green’s is—

PBBBBBBBBBBBBTTTTTTTTTTHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!…HAHAHAHAH! Ow, my ribs hurt! What did they do to you, Ekans? You look like a derpy duck! AHAHAHAHAHA! Who looked at that and thought it was okay for the final product? *sigh* Oh man. I needed that.

*clears throat*

Gen II is fine, but I can’t help but think Crystal’s animation is making him vomit.

Gen III is also fine, but the animation for Emerald is way too goofy. Why are they making him stretch so much?

Gen IV is, again, fine, but they still keep making goofy animations for it. These are the best ones so far, but it’s still just weird. I get that they’re probably going for a biting/lunging motion, but it just looks off.

Gen V is really good. This one is constantly animated and, even though it’s just swaying back and forth, it’s the best animation for it yet.

The rest of the Gens are average looking.

Shiny:

Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. Ekans shiny has always been and continues to be one of my absolute least favorite shinies. It’s some disgusting combo of urine yellow, puke green and just a hint of brown. I don’t know who approved this shiny design, but ew.

I think Ekans is one of those Pokemon that could’ve made off with a pallet swap shiny. Bright yellow with purple stripes would’ve worked. I don’t much care for most yellow shinies, but it would’ve been a better idea than whatever this is.

Cry/Voice: I love Ekans’ voice, even though, if you hear it for long enough IE, if it has a main role in an episode, like the Island of Giant Pokemon, it gets grating fast. Like I mentioned, though, the ‘s’ at the end makes for a good snake-ish sound when held.

Ekans’ game cry is great. It’s low-pitched and foreboding yet has a rumble to it like a rattle (Rattlesnake!)

Dex Entries and Backstory: We never get an anime Dex entry for Ekans and that rustles my jimmies.

Other than that, its Dex entries are rather basic. It’s literally nothing that doesn’t describe most snakes. It eats bird eggs, it can unhinge its jaw and it doesn’t have any poison (Venom…) when it is first born, so its bites are painful, but harmless.

One entry that did tickle my funny bone was X’s and Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee that explains…..Ekans grows longer as it ages…..

Whoa.

Are you telling me that living beings get bigger as they grow up!? You are the most useful Pokedex in Pokemon history.

In terms of design, Ekans is based off of a boa and a rattlesnake with some ring-necked snake and Indian cobra mixed in. It’s also noted that, due to the signature move of Ekans and Arbok being Glare, that it was also partially based on a basilisk, a mythological serpent that could kill people with its glare.

Arbok

Name: Keeping in the same backwards word theme as Ekans, Arbok is Kobra spelled backwards….What?…..K is cooler than C, alright?

I really like Arbok as a name. It’s even snappier than Ekans, and I love how, in the anime, the inflection on the name when said by the Pokemon sounds just as snake-like as Ekans does on the ‘s.’ They even add a ‘cha’ sound to the start sometimes to make it more audibly snake-like (Akin to the sound of it striking, and in the case of some cobras, spitting!)

Interestingly enough, in the Japanese version, it’s still Arbok….Yup….from Arbo….to Arbok….Top tier name work, Japanese staff.

Also, I still have no interesting name facts here because almost every instance of Arbok outside of English just calls it Arbok…..except Mandarin and Cantonese Chinese….which, for some reason, add the character for ‘freak’ at the end of it….Rude.

Design: I absolutely adore the design of Arbok. It’s simple, yes, and just as basic as Ekans at it’s core, but the added cobra hood, the cool designs on the inside of the hood, the much larger size and really well-designed head make this a fantastic design. And, of course, major points for the purple with the colors on the hood breaking it up.

In terms of sprites, the only note I have about Gen I is the weird addition of stripes to the hood when seen from the back. I have no clue why those were deemed necessary, and I’m glad they got rid of them in subsequent games.

In Gen II, Crystal has a really awesome animation.

Nothing really of note in Gen III onward.

Shiny:

I feel really weird saying this after so many instances of me ragging on similarly colored shinies, but I actually really like Arbok’s shiny. I think this shade of yellow brings about more of a gold/bronze vibe than it does….puke or urine. Plus, I really love the tiny bits of blue in there. It breaks it up just as much as the yellow and red do on the original design, and I adore that shade of blue.

If I had a major criticism there, it’d be that Gen II’s shiny is way off the mark. It’s like a moldy green color mixed with purple.

Cry/Voice: I love Arbok’s voice, and unlike Ekans’ it doesn’t get grating after a while. Like I mentioned in the name section, when spoken, the voice actor makes a sound kinda like a spitting cobra going ‘CHAAABOK!’ It sounds close enough to the actual name to sound Pokemon-ish without just sounding like a dude doing a Pokemon voice.

Its game cry is good and threatening, but there’s no snake-like vibe to it and it sounds a bit too much like a spaceship crashing on an Atari 2600.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Like Ekans, Arbok has never had an in-anime Dex entry, which is bunk (I’m still angry Ash never bothered Dexing Arbok and Weezing when they debuted…) but, at the very least, it got one in the manga, Pokemon Adventures.

Many of Arbok’s Dex entries talk about the markings on its belly, which vary from region to region, and supposedly there are only six confirmed patterns in Gen I, however, this has been updated in Gen VI to 20 patterns……BUT then it goes and contradicts itself. In Ultra Sun, they say they updated the amount to 20, but in Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee, it reverts back to six.

Believe it or not, they actually make good on this claim – Arbok does indeed have slightly different markings based on the region in which it’s found. That’s pretty cool.

Arbok uses the patterns on its chest/belly to intimidate foes before trying to poison or crush them. Arbok’s crushing ability is so powerful that it can easily crush steel drums, and it’s said you will never get away if it has you in its grasp.

While this isn’t mentioned in the Dex entries, the Wiki page notes that it’s possible for Arbok to regrow any part of its body if its cut off. Noted from the anime, it can detect vibrations and spend a lot of time underwater.

In terms of design, Arbok is based on an Indian Cobra, and the note about the possible connection to a basilisk that Ekans had is included in Arbok’s.

Next up, the prodigal Pokemon itself, Pikachu gets covered as I go over the entire ‘chu line (Pichu included, despite going in numerical order.)


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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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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