Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Favorite Pokemon by Generation : Black & White

Finally, my top ten favorite monsters from the brand new Pokemon generation! Nintendo has been asking various websites to remove images from these games, but there's no real reason it could cause any harm. We'll see how much they care about my seldom-noticed blog.


THE GARBAGE BAG (poison) - generation V has many deliberate parallels with memorable Pokémon from generation I, so I hoped they might include some sort of "pollution" monster in homage to Muk and Weezing. They not only did exactly that, but blew them both out of the (polluted) water. I absolutely, positively love every detail of this thing. The screaming garbage-disposal mouth, the fact that it rips out of its own bag-body as it evolves, the amorphous trash's a work of art, up there with my other favorite sludge beasts, Hedorah and Raremon. I daresay this may even be the first Pokémon to rival my adoration of Gloom.

THE ELECTRIC LAMPREY (electric) - I've wanted to see a leech or lamprey-like Pokémon since the first generation. Anything long and slimy with a sucker for a mouth, really. These guys are not only quite cool-looking lampreys, but are unexpectedly pure electric type, and have the "levitate" ability. They are electrical bloodsucking lampreys that fly instead of swim. How terrifying is that? I like the middle stage and its glassy fish-eyes better than the final stage, but all three are lovable.

THE NINJA SLUG (bug) - this guy takes a little explaining. It starts out as some kind of metallic helmet snail, but if it gets traded to another player in exchange for a new beetle-like Pokémon, the beetle evolves into a knight-like bug, essentially stealing the snail shell, while the snail evolves into a soft, shell-less mollusk wrapped up in cloth like a vengeful ninja. It's likely based on how certain ground beetles are specially adapted to reach into snail shells and prey upon the residents.

THE CENTIPEDE (bug/poison) - there are sadly only three poison-type lines in generation V, but at least all three kick ass. One is the garbage bag, another is a pokeball fungus, and the third is this lovely giant centipede. The wheel-like middle stage might actually be one of my all-time favorite Pokémon designs and I rather wish it were the final form, but the fully evolved centipede is still a great addition to both bug and poison. Plus, it looks a little like a velvet worm as well.

THE FLATFISH/FLOUNDER/SOLE (ground/electric) - one of my favorite, freaky fish is now a suitably freaky pocket monster. This goofy thing has no evolutionary stages, is the first-ever ground/electric type, and lives on desert sand instead of water. Natural prey for flying, electrical lampreys, perhaps?

THE CASKET (ghost) - what can I say, really? It's an egyptian sarcophagus with shadowy hands and a menacing face. It's a great concept for a ghost type and wonderfully designed, plus its official "pokedex" entries are some of the darkest yet; its unevolved form is the first ghost-type ever explicitly stated to be a human ghost, and supposedly weeps as it gazes into the mask of its original face. Holy crap. The evolved form is said to house an actual human body, or een engulf and mummify human beings. HOLY CRAP. The name "Spiritomb" would have been so much more appropriate for this guy than the actual Spiritomb, though, and it's too bad "Sarcophaghoul" has too many letters for a Pokémon name.

THE SKIN SHEDDER (dark/fighting) - you would never guess by looking that this thing is dark/fighting. It also looks positively silly, especially its simplistically drawn face, but that's what makes it so darling. Another appealing part is the fact that it wears the outer skin of its unevolved form like pants and a hoodie. It seems to be themed around some sort of punk-ass street thug.

RANKURUSU (psychic) - many believe this thing's Japanese name is a combination of "rancor" and "homunculus." It's also gone around that it may be based on a water bear or tardigrade, since its theme seems to be enduring elements. All I know is that it's a weird little baby-like monster floating in green ectoplasm, and that's just darling.

THE ELECTRIC SPIDER (electric/bug) - the bug/poison Spinarak and Ariados from the second generation are cool and all, but not particularly arachnoid for "spider" Pokemon, and while these creative new bug/electric "tarantulas" still have the wrong number of legs, they have distinctly spiderlike anatomy, especially in the eyes. These are totally the spiders that fans have been waiting for, and they have as much "cute" factor as coolness.

THE VULTURES (dark/flying) - a dark-type vulture was a common fan concept for years, and they did not disappoint. Since Pokemon usually have more than one theme going for them, these carrion birds are also dressed up caveman-style in what are probably Pokémon and/or human bones!


THE ICE CREAM (ice) - Everyone who thinks this is a stupid idea for a Pokémon is a blackened, soulless shell of a person and should feel bad.

Favorite Pokemon by Generation : Diamond & Pearl

And now, my top ten Pokemon from the fourth generation, beginning with my most loved!

GLISCOR (ground/flying) - take everything that was cool about Gligar - the bat face, gliding membranes, pincers and stinging tail - and amp up the scariness. Gliscor has to be one of the most devilish-looking predatory beasts in the pokeverse, and it's quite powerful in battle to boot. The deranged eyes are probably my favorite feature, and while it's not based on one as far as I know, Gliscor reminds me heavily of the legendary Chupacabras.

CARNIVINE (grass) - it's interesting that we got a pitcher-plant Pokémon (victreebel) long before we got one based on a Venus fly-trap, which is the far more famous carnivorous plant. Carnivine is even a *floating* Venus fly-trap, for no reason other than to be cool. What I really love, though, are those round, staring eyes atop that saucer-like head.

CROAGUNK & TOXICROAK (poison/fighting) - Only in the Pokémon world would a poison dart frog know kung-fu. These guys are the only poison/fighting combo Pokémon, and Toxicroak can inject foes with poison through its awesome wrist talons. Even more awesome are just the faces on these things. Croagunk is often compared to Peter lorre, and Toxicroak reminds me of the Blue Meanies from "Yellow Submarine."

KRICKETUNE (bug) - pretty deadly looking for a "cricket," though the scythelike claws are just used to play music on its own violin-like body. Though supposedly a cricket Pokémon, its design is borrowed from a type of beetle.

DRAPION (poison/dark) - a scorpion Pokémon was a long time coming, and they couldn't have made it more insane. The accordian arms give it an almost Burtonesque vibe, and you can't ask for a meaner type combination than dark/poison.

SPIRITOMB (ghost/dark) - another dark/ghost type, like Sableye, but somewhat more powerful. I can't say I like as much as I like Sableye, but its unnatural vortex-like form is pretty appealing. It's supposedly a bunch of souls trapped in a stone, which was damaged just enough that they can reach out and attack. I think the black swirl in just one eye adds a surprising amount of personality.

HIPPOPOTAS & HIPPOWDON (ground) - a hippo that lives entirely in sand rather than water is another fun concept with a classic Pokémon feel to it, and I like both the incredibly cartoony appearance of Hippopotas and the more lifelike, fearsome look of Hippowdon, especially with all that sand pouring from giant holes in its body. Downright gross!

PROBOPASS (rock/steel) - this poor guy gets a lot of hate from fans as one of the "stupidest" looking Pokémon, but how do you base a monster on a Moai statue and not look at least a little ridiculous? Actual Moai statues had removable red hats and removable blue eyes (actually carved coral), so it makes sense for Nosepass to gain both when it evolves. The mustache, on the other hand, is supposedly just metal flakes clinging to its magnetized nose. Adorable!

TANGROWTH (grass) - Tangela was just barely pushed out of my top ten from the original games, but Tangrowth easily makes my top ten of Diamond & Pearl. It kept the cute, shadowed eyes and writhing tendrils of its predecessor, but just has much, much more of the latter. I say it's just as endearing as ever, but with a much more threatening presence.

DRIFLOON & DRIFBLIM (ghost/flying) - how freaking cute are these things? Really, look at that giant "X" bandage where their mouth should be! Drifloon and Drifblim just happen to resemble balloons, but they're actually flying ghost-type Pokémon.