Sunday, September 19, 2010

Favorite Pokemon by Generation : Gold & Silver

This will sound like blasphemy to Pokémon fans, but I had to think pretty hard to fill a list of ten creatures I liked much from the second generation. I always found it a bit plain for my tastes.

FORRETRESS (bug/steel) - I've always liked "concealed" monsters who leave their true form to our imagination, and when all we can see of this bug/steel Pokémon are glassy eyes and fleshy red tubes, you know there's something weird in there. Forretress evolves from Pineco, a bagworm Pokémon, which means this thing is actually a caterpillar, but doesn't evolve into a moth or butterfly. In real-world bagworms, it's often only males who become moths at all, and some species have populations of entirely parthenogenic females, so perhaps Forretress represents a bagworm that completely lost the adult stage in the course of its evolution, or perhaps I'm thinking too hard about imaginary bugs. Anyway, Forretress's big claim to fame is its ability to explode, which is a pretty rad thing for an armored caterpillar to do.

SLUGMA & MAGCARGO (rock/fire) - the only fire Pokémon I really adore, and then only because they're gastropoda. A slug made of lava is the perfect poster-child for Pokémon's creativity, especially the fact that it evolves into a snail as some of the lava cools into a rocky shell. Unfortunately, these guys suffer the opposite problem of my beloved Parasect; one little sprinkle of water and they're gone.

SHUCKLE (bug/rock) - I theorized on my own Pokémon biology article that this bug/rock type may be a scale insect, but I'm beginning to think it's probably a land-dwelling barnacle. Either way, it's pretty fascinating; a squishy little critter in a shell that gives it ungodly defensive power, and it lives off fruit it stuffs into said shell to decompose and ferment, making it the "mold" Pokémon. I wish we had just given it a name as cool as its Dutch one, "Pottrott."

GLIGAR (ground/flying) - this Pokémon has the characteristics of a bat and a scorpion, complete with bloodsucking fangs and a venomous stinger. You might expect it to be bug/poison, but it's actually ground/flying. Whatever type they gave it, it would still be badass.

DUNSPARCE (normal) - based on the mythical Tsuchinoko, which is basically just a short, pudgy snake. Dunsparce supposedly spends its life underground, which explains its pale appearance and perpetually closed eyes.

WOBBUFFET (psychic) - a fan favorite, especially as a member of the incompetently villainous Team Rocket in the cartoon series. Wobbuffet is a psychic type incapable of attacking, but able to bounce enemy attacks right back at them. It's a truly unusual punching-bag themed Pokémon, though what's really interesting is its tail. Its tail has eyespots which in some cases have been shown blinking or looking around, and it's said to use its body to protect the tail at all costs. While it's never explicitly stated, the tail may very well be Wobbuffet's "true" body, or at least its brain.

WOOPER & QUAGSIRE (water/ground) - few Pokémon are as cute as little Wooper, the larval salamander. Quagsire, though lacking the cool external gills, is still adorable in its own right as well. It's a very pleasingly simple design, and the dopiness of the face is a perfect likeness of the Japanese giant salamander.

OCTILLERY (water) - Octillery evolves from a fish, which makes no biological sense, but makes sense considering the fish is gun-shaped and Octillery is cannon-shaped. It learns a ton of beams and projectile-themed attacks, including the awesomely named "OCTAZOOKA," which no other Pokémon can use!

SLOWKING (water/psychic) - while I don't find Slowking as interesting looking as Slowbro, the symbiotic relationship is just as neat. Slowking's Shellder is attached to its head, rather than its tail, and is said to increase its partner's intelligence by pumping venom into its brain.

UNOWN (psychic) - still one of the weirdest ideas in the pokeverse, the Unown are completely useless in battle but can be collected to solve puzzles in some of the games. Each is shaped like a different letter of the English alphabet, allowing your team to spell out any word under six letters and then get creamed by a bulbasaur. I do love these little guys, and wish they could do a bit more.


Blogger Lee said...

I love these lists. You should make an article about the best "concealed monsters who leave their true form to our imagination."

5:58 PM  
Anonymous OuthouseInferno said...

Shuckle is the "mold" pokemon, right?

Well, there are some molds that live in rocks, called endoliths, so it may also be one of those.

They're also extremophiles and that corresponds to Shuckle's insane defenses.

5:59 AM  
Anonymous Tarazuma said...

Pfft, screw the fans. I'm in the same boat as you, Gen 2 was NOT all that great. I still have about 18 faves from it though, and everyone on your list is fantastic!

Forretress is truly the crowning gem of Gen 2. Jeez, am I like you long lost twin sister or something? Cause I love Forretress for the EXACT same reason! THERE'S AN UNKNOWN THING IN THERE! And no being will ever find out what it is. Perhaps Foretress itself dosen't even know what it looks like! To see it would ruin the mystery though. His quote from Pokemon Mystery Dungeon is fabulous: "What goes on inside my shell is a secret!"

THis sort of reminds of the American folklore creature called the Hidebehind. If you're not familiar with it, it's a forest-dwelling monster that attacks humans by latching onto their backs, and no one has ever seen what it looks like. Well, except in one story, I THINK was by Alfred Hitchcock (the book was associated with him in some way)

In the story, someone actually witnessed a Hidebehind attacking another human. And his only comment on it was "Now I know why no one is ever supposed to see a Hidebehind" or something along those lines. Basically implying it was something hideous, and driving me mad with curiosity!

1:45 PM  

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