Re: Bogleech's Poke-Critiques: G1
I was just enjoying Bogleech's pages on the mons of pokey, and thought I'd post the notable pages... Which I guess is all of them, why not, with additional thoughts as they come up! I really enjoy Bogleech's different points of view on things, but I'm extremely not into "planet", "evolution", and hoaximals stuff. Anyway.
Gen 01 Red Green Blue Yellow
Bulbasaur - Ivysaur - Venosaur
- "As Ivysaur, the pokemon gets just a tiny bit bigger, taller and more menacing, with bigger fangs and a look of raw determination as its plant begins to sprout. You ever wonder what these things might look like on the inside? Where does the plant aspect end and the animal aspect really begin? Are there roots throughout Ivysaur's skeleton and entrails? Does Ivysaur have both animal and plant cells?"
- "At this point, the "horns" turn into more overt mammalian "ears." What IS this creature's taxonomy supposed to be? _ reptomammal sounds about right. This is clearly something from the age of Dimetrodon."
- "Overall, it's interesting that this evolutionary line, the very first in the pokedex, is part poison. Nobody really thinks about their toxic aspect, and I suppose that's because it really isn't part of their theme. The first generation really liked to toss poison around willy-nilly, though it also sort of treated poison as the "bad guy" typing for mean, scary pokemon. Was Venusaur supposed to be the most "villainous" of the three starters?"
Charmander - Charmeleon - Charizard (western fire dragon)
-- This mon demonstrates how even the most basic, mostly phoned-in thing can become the ultimate lasting favorite.
-- Hey, what if the Chars had gas coming out of their tails? Like a propane grill! That way, they won't die if their tail takes a dunk.
- "Charmeleon also boasts the best play on words. It's a shame such an excellent portmanteau couldn't have gone to a monster actually based on a chameleon that breathes fire, though."
--- Something about, don't blow your best material early on, save the really good ideas for later?? But then sometimes, later doesn't happen. But anyway.
Squirtle - Wartortle - Blastoise (minogame)
-- article forgets about the leaked cut stages of "bigger Wartortle". Final Blastoise is very different from the cut final evo of Squirtle.
Caterpie - Medapod - Butterfree (Swallowtail)
- "these aren't actually insects, but insectoid pokemon. Ash even says just that at one point. "They're not real bugs, they're bug pokemon." How he even knows about "real bugs" is anyone's guess, since non-pokemon wildlife flat-out doesn't exist in his world."
Weedle - Kakuna - Beedrill (Sawfly / Paper Wasp)
-- shoutouts to beetle grubs!
Pidgey - Pidgeotto - Pidgeot
-- Pokemon has this "thing" where, many mons have unfitting names. "Pidgey" is not a pigeon, and Pikachu is a lagomorph, not a mouse, sandshrew is more like an armadillo... There are more.
-- There was a cut "bird type". The only remaining "bird type" mon wields two water guns and sky attack. He's very generous!
Ratatta - Raticate (coypu / nutria)
-- I learned something new about pokey rats today! Also the devs seemed to like this otherwise mundane little guy. This overlooked little mon has some depth in how it was made.
-- Once I encountered a raticate while surfing in G1, and it was not during the Missingno trick.
Spearow - Fearow
-- I never got "raptor" vibes from these guys, they remind me of scavenger birds. Like corvids but kinda different. Some players wondered if Fearow had a connection to Ho-Oh.
Ekans - Arbok
-- The first concept of regional variant mons?
-- Also Arbok has that thing going on where, cartoon characters will be positioned with their eyes pointing in a nonsense direction, or that weird framing in that Simon's Cat short, where the guy photographs the kitten from behind. One of those really odd things where, nonsense reads better on paper or screen, like a person facing "you", but they're side-eyeing someone behind them. That thing, but with Arbok's hood pattern. Yeah.
Pikachu - Raichu
-- Also, man the sheer amount of self-plagiarism in the Pokemon franchise, with obligatory pika clones all the time...
Sandshrew - Sandslash (armadillo / pangolin / echidna)
-- ... Sandslash, Beedrill, Raticate, mons like that, they're giving me the feels for something that has been forgotten...
Nidoran - Nidoteens - Nidomonarchs (Baragon)
-- I always felt these guys in Gen1, were the very beginnings of an "idea" of some sort. I liked how hodge-podge, spikey rabbit poison thingies with two separate "species" according to sex. Gen2's programmers just had an oops with them, which became canon, instead of being fixed.
Clefairy - Clefable
-- Clefairy is really a pretty solid cool/cute mon. He's cute, with just a touch of edge and bite. The games and secondary media really made a big deal out of the "Clefairy came from the moon on a UFO" thing. I like how it's a fairy, who's also a bit of a rugged little physical, normal, down to earth critter that does that "metronome" trick, where he can access ANY move in the game! Little bit chaotic there!
-- Since Pokemon really hammered in the "evolution" (uh, it's metamorphosis, but the official evolution thing is brought up for magikarp and the like...), well there seems to be a "logical" connection to Jigglypuff. (I'll put my "why evolution is no" rant somewhere else)
Jigglypuff - Wigglytuff (Moon Rabbits)
-- boring, phoned-in design, except I figured it was one of those "IRL canon evolution" type things, where some Clefairies had descendants who took on this boring little form. They're both associated with the moon, look very similar, and take the Moon Stone. I thought this was an early redundant mon, and an inferior one.
-- The only good Jigglies, are the anime one and the Smash Bros one, their personalities make up for everything else!
Zubat - Golbat
-- love the thoughts here! I liked the idea of Zubat all around, but man the execution makes you HATE those things. And who would want to hate cool blue bats! Such a shame. You know what they say, "too much of a good thing is an awesome thing. But too much of an awesome thing, sucks."
Oddish - Gloom - Vileplume (mandrake)
- "Perhaps the first thing that struck me about Gloom was its similarity to a design aesthetic I obsessed over at an even younger age. Years before pokemon's debut, I went through what I can only describe as a "spongy fungus phase," drawing hordes of slime-dripping, puffball-looking monsters who lived in dreary, foggy, twilight worlds of colossal mushrooms and lichens. I'd all but forgotten about these critters when my eyes landed on Gloom for the first time."
- "Gloom _ it's a "flower" monster, something we traditionally expect to be cute, wholesome, colorful and fragrant, but _ looks more like something in the advanced stages of decay and has a fetid, nauseating stench to match! Gloom is a carrion flower! In our own world, it's _ to attract things like flesh flies and dung beetles as pollinators, though with no solid pokemon equivalents to these critters, Gloom's stink is more of a defensive mechanism. I was delighted when an episode of the anime revolved around the use of Gloom's distilled essence to enhance perfume, just like animal musk or whale barf!"
- "Gloom's early sprites even had a lovely "festering" look about them, surrounded by a toxic-looking particulate miasma that nicely communicated a stinky, filthy quality to the noxious weed, _ that simple addition of drool. I feel like any monster looks several times cooler if it's oozing something, but a rancid, night-walking flower that constantly slobbers feels particularly original. It's just not a combination of traits I've seen together anywhere else, and the pokedex assures us repeatedly that the "drool" is actually a sweet, honey-like nectar Gloom uses to attract its "prey.""
- "This spooky, dreary little mandrake-man with a hairdo like a rotten pumpkin apparently drains the life out of creatures who want a taste of its spit. How positively otherworldly is that. It's like something out of fairy folklore so old and distorted that nobody even knows what inspired it anymore."
- "We're all conditioned to interpret Gloom as the "bud" of Vileplume, but a budding Rafflesia is nothing but one plain, simple sphere. With its brown, splotchy, curling petals, Gloom looks a heck of a lot more like an elderly Rafflesia than a younger specimen, withering up at the ripe old age of five days. How cool and appropriate would it have been to have a grass/poison flower that blossoms in its middle stage and wilts for its final form? It makes so much sense, _"
-- (I always just viewed Gloom as "awkwardly going through puberty and being sad and gross", before becoming the confident adult Vileplume)
-- Love those doodles. Also, didn't know about the mandrake connection before!
-- Corpse flowers often look strange in "photos"...
Paras - Parasect (Cicada & Cordyceps fungus)
-- A cordyceps mon in G1, how cool is that! Cool notes on this page.
-- Forgot to close a /s tag there.
Venonat - Venomoth
-- final stage swapped with Butterfree, for some very dumb reason. blah.
-- love that shoutout to Mothman!
- Diglett page: "how much I'd love if Venonat could evolve into just a bunch more Venonat. Maybe three Venonat wearing the same trenchcoat like they're sneaking into an R-rated movie. WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN."
Diglett - Dugtrio (Whack-a-Mole)
- "It boils the idea of a mole down to basic, abstract elements in an immediately eye-catching and memorable way _ which serves more as a symbol of an idea of a creature than a creature itself"
- "the nonsensical nature of a creature perpetually emerging from a hole - no matter where - is a big part of the charm."
-- I was expecting that Imgur link to lead to that crazy long insane "eldritch underground diglett" image, or the buff bara dugtrio, ha.
Meowth - Persian (maneki neko)
-- I liked how a biped turned into a quadruped. I guess it makes sense that a 20lb critter could stand on two feet just fine, and a 100lb critter, not so much. Also someone drew a "special" meowth back in an old drawthread for "special" pokemon, and they gave the meowth a bitcoin!
-- I read that the sprite artists would make a sprite first, then Ken Sugimori would do the "offical watercolors", and Ken did design some mons before spritework was done. Ken clearly loves kaiju, and rhinos, unicorns, and sparkly gems in place of unicorn horns. Huh.
Psyduck - Golduck (platypus, kappa)
-- The lore goes on about it having migraines and "psychic powers", but it's a pure water type. The names of Psy- and Gold- ducks may have been swapped, like how the butterfly and moth got swapped, and I wonder if maybe the typing got swapped with slowpoke? Because I wonder if Psyduck and Slowpoke had some connection in development.
-- Platypus influence?
- So, we've got this dopey little critter whose sluggish brain nonetheless hides incredible psychokinetic power, suffers constant headaches, and doesn't even know what's going on when its brain-voodoo finally goes off. I love this kind of stuff. Psychic pokemon have always played around with these utterly weird, even unsettling mental forces, but nowhere is that more evident than throughout the first generation...even if Psyduck isn't actually a psychic type. It's pure water! I guess it's kinda cool that pokemon don't absolutely always have to have a predictable typing to match their abilities."
- "I realize the entire point is that the slow, awkward, brain-dead Psyduck becomes a sleek, powerful fighter, and I can appreciate it, but Psyduck's failings are just so much more charming than Golduck's perfections."
-- Monotremes are hoaxes. Examine Platypus videos and images closely. They don't make sense.
Mankey - Primeape ("martial arts" monkey)
-- Monkeys are associated with martial arts in Asia. Similar to how Farfetch'd is a pun on a Chinese Proverb, and Magikarp is based on a story of a karp that jumped up a waterfall and turned into a dragon.
-- Martial arts and the "fighting type", are viewed in a reverant way in Asia. It's considered inherently heroic and "lawful", as opposed to looser Western concepts of fighting just being a chaotic thing done by heroes, villains, and whoever, alike.
Growlithe - Arcanine (Fu Dogs)
-- List of Gen1 Fire Canids: Flareon, Vulpix, Ninetails, Growlithe, Arcanine
-- List of Fire Canids from then on: uuugghghgh
Poliwag - Poliwhirl - Poliwrath (Fightin' Frogs)
-- Creepypasta: you were being hypnotized by its intestines the whole time!! -- Pokemon had to pay respects to Battletoads. A lot.
- "It's hard to see Poliwhirl's stylized swirl as the visible intestinal tract it's described as by the pokedex, but I always figured the black part is where the innards are actually pressing up against the membranous belly, like when someone puts their hands on a foggy window, yeah?"
- "A face is pretty much immediately cuter the more simplified it gets, whether you're dropping the mouth, the nose, the eyes, or let's face it, all the above. Why do you think it only took days before everyone thought Slenderman fell somewhere between comical and kind of sexy?"
--- Shoutouts to Bobblehead Nurse waifus
- "Poliwhirl's pokedex focuses on the idea that its pulsing intestine-coil can hypnotize its enemies to sleep, and it indeed learns the move "hypnosis," and hypnotizing anything with the sight of your throbbing guts is a pretty awesome thing _ a perfectly round, adorable froggy."
- "Politoed more or less comes across as what Poliwag is supposed to evolve into, with Poliwhirl as an intermediate stage between swirly-intestined blackish tadpole and traditional anuran, but I'm glad Poliwhirl's more standard evolution is just a slightly ornier hypnogizzard pollywog."
- "Politoed remains the only naturally green frog in the first six generations. We've got at least three more frog lines now, and all of them are blue. The pokedex characterizes the 'toed as the king of frogs. Are these traits connected? In the pokeworld, is green a color only for the frog elite???"
Abra - Kadabra - Alakazam (magician fox beetle things)
-- These guys were just as ambiguous as Venusaur, Nidoroyals, and ... the other confounding mons that defined the series.
- "Rather than be flattered that he inspired a badass monster in a children's franchise, Geller attempted to sue, claiming his likeness had been turned into an "evil, occult character." Some two decades later, this has actually never been resolved, and as a precaution, Kadabra has been consistently left out of the TCG and anime, making it impossible to use Alakazam in the card game without a way to circumvent normal evolutionary mechanics."
- "Again, I still don't think we're looking at a "fox" here, even if it does look a little more like one than Abra. I'll always see this line more as a series of nondescript "monsters" who embody psionic powers, and just happen to look a little bit like dogs with exoskeletons."
- "Like Psyduck, those psychic powers actually get pretty unsettling. Alakazam's brain is supposedly so heavy that it uses its own telekinesis to hold its head up, and its thought processes can outperform the most advanced supercomputer. _ it's repeatedly mentioned in Kadabra's pokedex that a human child is said to have just up and transformed into one from studying ESP too closely."
- "I can't say I like Mega Alakazam nearly as much as regular Alakazam. I appreciate that it's now a floating wizard with five spoons, which is way more spoons than I wake up with on a good day, but the serene, elderly look of this design just isn't as menacing and slick as the 'zam."
-- That video's down.
- "_ the cultural environment of the late 80's to early 90's, but hot off the era of Mom's Against Dungeons and Dragons, pretty much anything popular with children used to get accused of pagan devil magic by the fundamentalist right-wing, whether Smurfs or Star Wars or Furbies or even god damn POGs."
- "These kind of goofballs were so rampant at the time that they were even treated with a degree of seriousness. They weren't limited to niche religious radio shows or obscure cable networks. Guys like this were often given a soapbox on everyday, mainstream media outlets as if it was necessary for real, mature adults to debate whether Pikachu's Vacation was in reality Pikachu's Satanic Indoctrination Camp, which, to be fair, would have definitely been the bigger ratings-grabber."
- "Probably the #1 piece of "evidence" these dudes fixated on was the existence of "psychic" pokemon, as anything "magical" was believed to be an attack on Jesus and a communist illuminati tool for endearing demonology to impressionable youth. Kadabra was pretty much the poster child of these accusations, waved around like it was Gamefreak's official Beelzebub Fandom I.D. Card."
--- I forgot about that part of the 90's zeitgeist! There was definitely a lot of that!
Machop - Machoke - Machamp (Interesting muscular dinosaur-men with belts.)
-- More ambiguous mons! Machoke trades a reptilian head for Graveler's second pair of arms. Also, their muscles are bursting out of their skin, in an E-rated game. Gnarly.
- "Machop comes immediately after the Abra line and has the same evolutionary pattern - requiring a trade to get its third form - so we can safely assume the two lines are meant to parallel one another, even if they weren't "version counterparts." As a pure fighting type, however, Machop crumbles to psychic attacks and does only half damage to psychic types. _ I always thought psychic and fighting should be simultaneously weak to one another. I get the "mind over matter" angle, but some nerd Kadabra should still cave to a punch in the face. That's pretty much already how "muscle vs. telekinesis" plays out everywhere else in popular culture."
- "_ evolve into Machoke, who now also wears spandex and a belt that's supposed to "regulate its power." Where does that come from? It just manifests out of nothing when Machop evolves? This was why a lot of people disliked clothing or accessories on pokemon, but I always found it cool, personally."
- "What weirds me out about Machoke are those red lines on its arms, because I can't help reading them as its skin splitting open under the strain of its sudden muscle growth. I guess that makes them stretch marks, but they look a little redder and deeper than that."
Bellsprout - Weepinbell - Victrybell (Pitcher Plants)
- "I was immediately enamored with whatever the hell I was looking at. Just a big, googly-eyed, gaping plant pod? With leaves like giant fish fins?? WEIRD!"
- "Weepinbell drips with an awkward, comical charm, but it also drips with gastric acid, and I love my awkward, comical monsters that are actually kind of gross and frightening. Its pokedex not only talks about how it spews digestive enzymes, but that it will use its razor sharp leaves to slice apart any prey that it can't fit in its mouth. This is one of the most violent, gruesome things the Pokedex has told us yet, and coupled with its habit of hanging by its little hook up in tree branches, it always reminded me of those monsters in Dungeons and Dragons and various other games who function more like environmental hazards or "traps" than active foes."
- "_ I didn't originally connect what Weepinbell was supposed to represent until I saw its evolution, Victreebel, for a split second in the episode's Pokerap. _ I had never, ever before seen a pitcher plant represented in any fictional context, and it thrilled my little bionerd heart to pieces."
- "Seeing a cartoon nepenthes monster for the first time in my life might have been the exact moment I knew Pokemon was going to be something deeply special to me, and until I saw the likes of Gloom, Parasect and Venonat, I was sure nothing could possibly top the awesomeness that was Victreebel. _ this huge, menacing carnivorous plant with an upside-down face remains undeniably one of the coolest things in the original 151."
- "How many times has this series actually used the word "horrifying" to describe a pokemon? We're left with no question that Victreebel lures, traps and dissolves living beings, their own liquefied remains apparently making an enticing, aromatic stew for the next hapless victim."
- "The use of its little leaf-tipped tentacle as a lure was never mentioned until the third generation games, but it makes rock-solid sense out of what seemed like an otherwise arbitrary design aspect, and the thought of Victreebel as basically a Nepenthes anglerfish is just about the only thing that could have made me like it even more than I do already."
Tentacool - Tentacruel (Siphonophores)
-- Zubats of the sea. With ATTITUDE. Zubat didn't have 'tude! - another exotic, sinister poison type that REEKS of pure cool. Tentacool is a jellyfish pokemon, its "poison" typing reflecting the presence of venomous stinging cells in its two tentacles, though it always looked a whole lot more to me like a cephalopod, its bulbous, fleshy appearance and eye placement reminding me more of some deep-sea squid or octopod than a cnidarian. I'd complain about it having eyes when it would look so much cooler without them, but there are some Jellyfish that actually do have eyes, and they happen to be the cubozoa, or box jellyfish, which you may recognize as the deadliest and most toxic of all known Cnidaria."
- "I adore how alien this critter looks, in the "classic space invasion B-movie" sense. Can't you just see one of those tentacles waving around a chrome plated raygun?"
- "_ you may have thought Tentacool carried an Akira Toriyama vibe, sporting the same weird, embedded orbs he gave to Frieza and a long list of other baddies. _ whether I prefer 50's Bug-Eyed Monster or 90's Shonen Villain interpretations of Tentacool."
- "Tentacruel's even more interesting feature, may be its gigantic, beak-like scissors. This is another feature that would make sense on a mollusk, but on a jellyfish it's totally out of left field in a very nice way."
- "Tentacool and Tentacruel are also the pokemon that made me almost forgive what Misty said about Caterpie. Her fear of bug types was ... the only time a character in-universe ever called a pokemon gross, ugly or creepy, until she started gushing about her adoration for these nightmare spawn of the deep, and the tables were turned. Ash thought they were hideous, the local populace regarded Tentacool as unlovable pests, and Misty alone was willing to defend them to the end. _ at least she knows how I feel whenever the subject of spiders comes up."
--- Shoutouts to spider respecters!
- "I also hope you appreciate what I had to go through to find a wholesome image of Misty and Tentacruel together when I couldn't remember what episode this came from."
--- (leg tattoo of Jessie and Bulbasaur dot jay peg)
Geodude - Graveler - Golem ()
-- These guys were crazy overpowered, at least not against water and grass. ... Kinda rocky "glass cannons", or something.
- "A rock with arms that rolls around saying "geodude" over and over is hilarious."
- "Thematically it makes a lot of sense, but the combination of rock and ground type only results in a pokemon with a crapload of weaknesses including compound weaknesses to wildly common water and grass moves."
--- Pokemon G1 was crazy unbalanced, which was uncool. They crippled the only ghost mons, and compromised the grass mons. But the other broken insanity, was in fact a huge part of the charm!
- "I always liked just how rocky and bumpy Graveler looked, and the fact that it allegedly eats rocks is another classic "rock monster" thing to do. It's even said to prefer the mossy ones, which is cute. I imagine that's kinda like the frosting on a donut to a geophagous organism."
--- Pokemon used to have a wild, fantastical, earthy, rough sense of fantasy and mythology, alongside its themes of genetic tampering and engineering, and creating manmade elemental monsters.
- "Still, Golem has a very, very "kaiju"-like feel, like a lost Ultraman monster, and those chunky rock scales are pleasing to look at. I'd have personally found Golem a little cooler if its head was withdrawn into its shell, just a dark hole with eyes and maybe teeth peering out. _ it would have also felt a little closer to what Geodude and Graveler were moving towards."
-- The reptilian head came from the Macho trade. Very subtle easter egg there, that other trade-evo mons don't seem to have. There's some gen5 mons that swap things when traded.
Ponyta - Rapidash
-- I was a big fan of Char's flame tail tip, and a huge fan of this one's fire mane! Pokemon designs used fire in a really cool way.
-- ... Yeah, imagine a burnt-down old laboratory, with fire horses running around like they're in some open field. It just felt weird that you got galloping fire horses in a wrecked laborotory... Pokemon was so weird, no wonder we went nuts over it!
- "it's kind of surprising that it remains the only pony or horse pokemon in the game. We've got around a dozen cats, dogs, monkeys, a few bears and a few different pigs to choose from. What does Gamefreak have against horses?"
--- You forgot the crazy amount of frogs and amorphous blobs with facial features. And lots of fish. And bugs. But yeah, not so many equines...
- "I guess that's just how horses are. The world is trained to think of them as beautiful and majestic, but they really kinda look like a human skin stretched over a giant weird dog."
- "_ horse fans deserve a few more pokemon. Maybe a steel-type armored horse, or a ghostly "nightmare" horse. I'd even nominate a horse for the first skeleton pokemon. Not a lot of animals have a spookier skeleton than a horse."
--- Monkey's Paw: Those wishes came true, BUT! Sw&Sh are in beta, and the game is crap.
Slowpoke & Bro (Sazaeoni / otterpotapus)
+ Other Slowpoke page
-- More super ambiguous mons. Are they like hippos, crocodiles, salamanders, what? Why are they water-psychic things? Why is that "shellder" so weird? (it was its own cut mon, actually). A mysterious mon, with lore like Psyduck's, but with being brain-overloaded and stalled, instead of having migraines.
-- Slowpoke became a meme even people who completely ignored Pokemon series, would use to represent a slow person or latecomer. He was kinda "breakout" in that small way.
- "A fascinating water/psychic type that supposedly "fishes" for aquatic prey with its sweet-tasting tail, and lives an existence even more sluggish than a sloth. Slowpoke's cognitive processes are so slow, there's allegedly little difference between its conscious or unconscious state, and it can take hours for it to actually register sensations. Like Psyduck, it's pretty inventive for a monster's powerful, telekinetic mind to be rather lacking in the actual thought department, but unlike Psyduck, the theme remains through its various other incarnations."
- "the true basis for Slowbro seems to be the youkai Sazaeoni, a sea monster born from a sazae or "turban shell" sea snail, the same specific type of seashell our Shellder has evolved into. There's a lot of debate over what sort of animal Slowpoke is supposed to be, the leading theory apparently wavering between hippo and sea otter, but I think this is another case in which a first-generation pokemon is just a "monster," like Nidoran, Abra or Machop, only loosely similar to any real wildlife."
-- The thing about the lore saying "you evolve slowpoke by having shellder bite its tail", is that gameplay segregation. It just level-evos. I really wanted the games to reflect the lore that the other Pokemedia kept going on about. I was so disappointed that we got babymons, several of them (Togepi can stay, the rest have to go), instead of some hybridization thing I daydreamed about at the time.
-- The idea of symbiotic mons was cool. We had Paras, these guys... what else. Manta ray with pistol fish... Gengis Khan and that baby pouch thing...
-- I thought Slowking and Kingdra were really cool. I liked the idea of the "king rock" evo stone.
- "The entire Slowpoke family is one of the strangest, silliest things in the pokémon world, though once again, it has a special basis you may have missed. Turbo cornutus ("horned turban") is a large and extremely common gastropod in Japanese waters, where they are known as sazae and popularly eaten raw or cooked."
- "In the 1700's, artist Toriyama Sekien illustrated the "Night Parade of a Hundred demons" and three followup volumes "documenting" youkai monsters both from traditional folklore and his own imagination. Among these fantastic beasts was something he identified only as Sazae-oni, a monstrous being with a huge sazae shell for a head and a second for a lower body."
- "This "turban shell ogre" has since been reinterpreted countless times in Japanese culture, making numerous appearances in manga, anime, sentai and video games. Shellmon here, a Digimon, is just one strikingly Slowbro-like example. These mythical roots are all the more reason I don't think of Slowpoke as even having any specific animal basis; It is, if anything, just an aquatic Oni, albeit a humorously nonthreatening one."
--- Duuuude - so what's up with the Japanese love for the Flatwoods Monster, and Plesiosaurs hiding in underground lakes inside caves?
- "modern Slowpoke remains fairly hilarious; you can tell it's the dumbest of the bunch at just a glance. Slowbro loses a little something by looking very marginally more cognizant, but of course I love that horrible, angry Shellder perpetually chewing on its ass. I always focused on the Shellder first, rather than seeing it as just an "accessory" to the Slowbro, which may be why I wasn't that impressed with Slowking until I saw it from behind, with Shellder's face scowling back at their trainer. I also like the use of the turban shell as an actual turban for this mystical psychic being. I like how both evolutions seem to reference different aspects of the original Sazaeoni."
- "Slowking was introduced _ It's actually an alternate evolution for Slowpoke, representing what happens if a Shellder bites down on the thing's head and starts injecting that psychotropic toxin directly into its brain. It's basically got a snail monster for a "thinking cap," which also sort of invokes a mystical turban. It's a great concept, though once again I kind of wish the Shellder took center stage."
- On Mega Evos: "It's a pity megas have no pokedex entries, because I'd love to read some trivia about what's going on here. Is the Shellder still actually chewing on its symbiotic partner? As funny as it is when pokemon go off the dark and tragic deep end, I prefer to think these two are still good chums and Slowpoke adjusts fairly well to life inside a giant snail's mouth."
Magemite - Magneton
-- Duuude I loved mons like these! There were clearly artificial mons, mixed in with the bizarre, arcane, wild natural alien ones. Plus, I have a really soft spot for object mons. They are way better than shapeless blobs with faces! But not dissing Voltorb, he's cool. Voltorb is cool. The others suck.
-- The UFO evo added in later games, has a badass look.
- "This electric type's artificial appearance really stood out in the original 151, demonstrating that Pokemon could truly take any conceivable form and didn't need to follow biological sense. What's with the screws, which don't seem to be holding any pieces together? How is Magnemite alive? Does it have organs inside? Where did it come from?"
- "I'm glad we've never really gotten straight answers. There are those with an obsessive need to rationalize pokemon as believable, evolved living things to the point that they outright reject these object-like pokemon, but I really prefer pocket monsters as impossible, illogical and extranormal entities who nonetheless find their way into structured, ecological niches."
-- There's also a theme with mons becoming "three". Dugtrio, Magneton, Dodrio... Later there was a tank hydra...
-- But like with Slowpoke and the "shellder", the lore don't match the play.
- "I love the idea that "UFO's" could have all along been these surreal, living magnet-beings who somehow formed on our own world.
--- But then you get the problem where none of the "super genius hyperdimensional legendary megamons", can't speak intelligibly, even though Slowking and Meowth can, and they don't know how to use potions. And they keep spamming "growl" or moves they're restricted from repeating in certain cases. Yeah. Lore vs AI reality. Man, I'm rainbow-puzzle-piecy today.
-- There were two "indoor" ruined buildings where you could catch mons. It made sense you'd find Magnetons in a wrecked lab. Horses, not so much.
Farfetch'd ("When a wild duck comes bearing leeks")
-- This was a jokemon, based on a Chinese proverb about some oblivious sucker with a bag of goods, coming to be fleeced. Also, there was only one legit one in the G1 games. And his name was "DUX". And you could not change that name. Same with Mr. Mime. Only one, no name changing.
-- His design always struck me as being really "different" and "unique" somehow, but I could never put my finger on it...
- "Farfetch'd is basically a novelty pokemon, seemingly conceived only to add a little more collectability to the original roster. It's based on a Japanese proverb that basically means "a duck has come bearing green onions," indicating a very fortunate but extremely unlikely turn of events."
- "Farfetch'd uses its leek like a sword, so it's kind of like an ironic parody of the phrase. The duck has shown up with its own onions, but it's also going to use them to kick your ass. That's cute. Farfetch'd really does deserve that evolution _ look like a badass samurai duck with topknot-shaped feathers and a huge long leek katana."
--- Monkey's Paw: There's an English Knight evo, but it's in the atrocious Sw&Sh still-beta game.
Doduo - Dodrio (Multi-headed Ostritches)
- "Doduo is a flying type pokemon, which is just another holdover from when "flying" type was almost just called "bird" type. _ the move "fly" in Japan is only referred to as though it's an impressive leaping attack, though that still doesn't explain why you can use it to ride your Doduo over mountains and seas to the other end of the country. That's not only a bit of a stretch for just a leap, but landing should splatter you both into an unrecognizable wet patch."
--- What if Pokemon was rated M.
- Doduo doesn't actually look anything at all like a dodo, which I'm hoping will get representation some day a as a ghost type, in reference to the Dodo's status as the most iconic modern-world extinction.
--- Now I heard of the Carolina Parakeet extinction, but Dodos are kinda... Hmmmm....
- "It's a shame that simple kiwi charm is dropped by Dodrio, yet another pokemon that loses cute, life-like animal eyes in favor of those tacky triangular ones when it evolves. It's still really cool that any pokemon is a giant, shaggy ratite with multiple heads, but what was wrong with the kiwi faces?"
-- There appear to be no arms/wings on the Doduo line whatsoever. This makes it more like a weird, bizarre fantasy monster who just so happens to bear passing resemblance to a weird bird.
Seel - Dewgong
-- More obligatory unicorn horns!!
- "its tail looks a lot like a cartoon water spout. I never noticed that before."
- "It is not, however, a dugong, nor any other kind of Sirenian, an animal group still missing from pokemon's roster. You can't just name a pokemon a flimsy misspelling of entirely the wrong animal, Gamefreak! 700+ pokemon and we don't have a manatee or sea cow yet? If we did, I couldn't really see it as an ordinary, predictable water type, but there are limitless other possibiities."
--- Ah, another one of those "resembles familiar creatures, but turns out to be a weird alien natural monster type creatures."
-- Oh I have to include these!
- "-A steel/flying zeppelin creature with organic propellers.
- "An electric/ice type resembling a storm cloud.
- "A grass type resembling a gourd, melon or cucumber. Hilarious if they also give it jagged teeth and make it a carnivore.
- "Steller's Sea Cow is extinct, yeah? How come we don't have any ghost type pokemon representing extinct species? A ghostly dugong would be way too cute for a water/ghost.
- "A water/dark cthulhu-like Dugong. This is the only way I would accept something as hipster as a Cthulhu reference in pokemon, _ fully convinced Cthulhu was some sort of big sea cow all along. He's fat, he's always sleepy, and his greatest nemesis is a boat propeller."
Grimer - Muk (insert joke about sloppy mukbangers here)
-- I always thought these guys were just phoned in and lazy, like pink ball things. Koffing was cool, though.
- "Grimer here isn't just any slime creature, but formed entirely from toxic, corrosive industrial waste! The pokedex has a grand old time telling us how filthy and repulsive this pure poison type is; it leaves soil barren in its path, it guzzles raw sewage for sustenance, it reeks to high heaven and it's even said to be "germ infested." It's chemically poisonous and swimming with biological disease!"
--- Well when you put it that way! Also it's a manmade mon in the lore.
- "There's virtually no chance that exposure to Grimer doesn't cause some sort of terminal medical condition or twenty, but apparently nobody minds letting ten year old children collect, befriend and weaponize them for fun, fame and glory. I guess that's not a whole lot different than letting them ride a horse that's constantly on fire."
- "My favorite thing about Grimey used to be its vacant, ghostly stare - the face of something that knows it shouldn't exist. Something that constantly feels itself melting and withers everything it touches. A real "moaning zombie" vibe captured by almost no other pokemon."
- "It's only in relatively recent years that Grimer has taken on a more energetic, menacing countenance in its official artwork and sprites, which just doesn't have quite the same spooky charm."
- "_ my very first impression of Grimer was actually that it was so muppet-like. It looked, to me, like a horrifying slimy parody of a googly-eyed Sesame Street puppet. A melting Cookie Monster. I knew that wasn't intentional, but I got a real kick out of it regardless."
--- Death of the Author is a vital concept! "Every copy is personalized" and all that.
- "Grimer evolves into Muk, _ at least they're pained triangle eyes. Muk is _ appearing even less solid and more gelatinous than ever. That dripping strand of slime over its mouth really adds a lot to a simple design, and its overall shape gives an impression that the whole thing would collapse into a formless pool if it wasn't putting significant effort into holding itself up."
- "I've always rooted for Muk to get an evolution, _ Perhaps it could carry a garbage can around like a snail's shell, or acquire legs and tail to become more of a sloppy, melting kaiju-like monster. If we wanted to get weirder, it might be cool to have a bunch of tiny Grimer's sprouting out of Muk's back, like a pipa frog, and I always thought Muk would look pretty cool if its eyes were inside of its mouth. _ a heap of rancid scum with a huge, gaping throat is pretty much begging for it."
-- Admittedly, the rainbow ones in recent games, do look pretty rad.
Shellder - Cloyster
-- The Pokemon Snap Shellders were oddly amusing, the way they'd jump out of the water and go "nyeeaaah, nyeeaahhh".
- "Cloyster is an interesting creature. You can interpret its "head" as its own black pearl, and that rugged, multi-layered shell is one of the most elaborate yet organic designs in the original 151. Whether its notorious resemblance to a certain part of the human anatomy detracts or enhances the appeal is up to you, but it does make the pearl-head look like a demonic shadow-baby emerging into the world, and that's pretty funny."
- "_ the pokedex claims nobody knows what Cloyster really looks like, and coupled with its original sprites, I get the feeling it actually wasn't supposed to have a black sphere for a head. Its original concept was clearly more of an oyster with a dark, shadowy hole in the middle, eyes and teeth leering out of the darkness."
- "To go on a side-rant here, people have been quick to say in many of these reviews that the pokedex is only semi-canon hyperbole, but 1), I don't care, and 2), it's still the most insight we're ever given into these creatures. Reflected by their play mechanics and used as a springboard for their anime and manga appearances, Pokedex entries are consistently treated like the setting's highest authority. I've always considered them canon, and for reviewing purposes I always will, excepting only where numerical data is impossibly absurd, like when a pokemon burns hotter than a million suns and can bench-press the moon."
Gastly - Haunter - Gengar
-- Oh yeah, Gastly could talk in the anime, and he was some dead human guy.
-- Game Freak really did these guys dirty.
- (in the Pokedex) "Gastly comes immediately after Cloyster, and basically has the exact same face. This lead a lot of people _ to speculate that Gastly was specifically the ghost of a dead Cloyster _ though it seems more like the majority of "ghost" pokemon aren't really the spirits of the dead at all, but creatures who naturally exist in an intangible, extradimensional state."
- "Like Cloyster, I also feel Gastly's solid orb design wasn't meant to be its "official" anatomical plan, but something adopted for its pure functionality. Gastly is supposed to have a completely gaseous form _ "
- "This "gaseousness" is also the only rational reason for Gastly to be part poison, besides my personal theory that poison typing was just slapped onto every "scary" pokemon in the first generation. That our only ghost/poison pokemon has basically nothing to do with poison bugs the heck out of me, because a thematically toxic ghost is an awesome concept with enormous design potential. Why not a poisonous ghost made of dripping acid? A poisonous ghost made of reeking garbage fumes? A poisonous ghost that looks like a tattered haz-mat suit? Come on, Pokemon. It's been twenty years and your only biohazardous phantasm is something that only communicates its "ghost" aspect."
--- Apparently, only a few mons were designed by Ken S, and for many mons, the sprite artists just scratched something together based on a list of things their boss gave them. "make a familiar generic pet that turns into different things". "make a ghost". "make a fire horse".
- "Haunter follows logically from Gastly, of course; it's still only semi-corporeal, _ forming a more solid body out of Gastly's misty form, or rather, manifesting itself further into our own dimension!"
- " _ Haunter's first appearance in the Pokemon Manga; namely, a giant, ancient Haunter named The Black Fog who murdered people and ate their souls. To think, it was the anime that horrified bible thumpers."
--- Funny thing about restrictions on AudioVideo, that aren't present in print media. You can print all kinds of sexy and gruesome or outrageous and provocative things for the "children's lit", but there is NO WAY it could be in a movie in the same time period. That discrepancy fascinates me. AV is treated like it's a gun, when it's a big clunky cannon of media, and print media is like, a bunch of really sharp daggers. Or something.
- "Back in the day, I thought its solid, semihumanoid body made it the least interesting of its line, but I've come to appreciate both its "Cheshire Cat" smile, _ its nicely minimalistic details and the fact that it only looks so solid because it finally finished forming out of paradimensional gas."
- " _ Gengar was designed to look like an "evil" inversion of Clefable, which was almost the mascot of the entire series. Even the name, Gengar, comes from Doppelganger, and its pokedex consistently talks about Gengar imitating the shadows of other beings."
- "I feel very strongly that Gengar was originally conceived as a pokemon capable of taking almost any conceivable shape, and had they the technical capacity, manpower and budget, the original games might have provided it with multiple, alternate forms all along. The Clefairy-like shape was simply chosen as a convenient, default example of a creature with many possible configurations, and by the time the games had a capacity to reflect Gengar's true concept, this design had already been cemented as its most official."
--- ... Man, now I depreciate Ditto. Ditto depreciation.
- "X&Y's addition of Mega Gengar could have easily taken Gengar back to its true Doppelganger roots. I appreciate that it's less humanoid, and I like to think its "third" eye is actually a glimpse into the more alien entity that is the "true" Gengar, but now that we're using 3-d graphics, a Doppel-Gengar could have even been a simple matter of creating Gengar "skins" to map onto other pokemon models. _ it could have been given a small set of generic alternate forms, like a "bug" Gengar, a "plant" Gengar, a bird, a sea creature, and so forth."
-- The memory-drawn mons really add a great personal blog part to this page! Love the pages that have drawings and ideas on them! Also, I never once FATHOMED that Gengar was meant to be an awesome ditto...
Onix - Steelix
-- Oh no watch out, it's a 20ft long, level 6 onix!!!!
- "_ Onix is remembered by many as the one gigantic pokemon of the original dex, which is particularly interesting for one that never evolved from any smaller, baby-sized form."
- "The concept of a burrowing serpent with a segmented body of boulders has a very basic coolness to it, while Onix's literally and figuratively stony expression gives it a distinct personality, neither too cutesy nor too ferocious. It really gives the impression of an incredibly ancient creature, a wise and solemn beast that lives deep down in the Earth for centuries at a time. _ its face always reminded me of a tortoise more than anything else. I guess it's that toothless, rounded beak."
- "According to the pokedex, Onix has a "magnet in its brain" which acts as a compass. This is one of those pokemon facts that sounds weird and fantastical, except that there are real, actual animals whose magnetic teeth serve the same purpose _ "
- "I feel like Steelix just loses that certain spark of personality we see in Onix. _ "more evolved" pokemon trend heavily towards looking "meaner," and the result is that an awful lot of them also come out feeling kind of the same."
-- Like the simple "fix" drawing, wonder what the final would look like.
Drowzee - Hypno (Dream-eating Tapir / Baku)
-- A legendary weirdo. Hypno got a "fan song" about being a pedo creep.
- Drowzee is a fat, sickly yellow, lovably sleazy looking tapir known for its powers of hypnosis and its diet of dreams, which it somehow sucks through the nostrils of sleepers. _ based on the mythological baku, a dream-eating monster traditionally depicted as a hybrid animal with the trunk of an elephant. Once the Japanese discovered tapirs for the first time, it seemed only natural to name them after the baku, and today, the monster is more commonly portrayed throughout anime, manga and video games as just a big, weird, magical tapir"
- "Drowzee is another of those smooth, natural looking first generation designs, which I do heavily prefer for flesh-and-blood animal pokemon. I love inanimate object creatures to death, but I can fully understand the criticism that from the third generation onward, a lot of ostensibly organic pokemon started looking a little too much like angular, plastic toys."
- "Drowzee also has a uniquely unsettling personality, its eyes simultaneously weary and euphoric. _ getting high off brain-waves."
- The skeeviness of Drowzee only grows as it evolves into Hypno, an incredibly disquieting blend of that doughy, yellow tapir with some kind of weasely goblin-man, and while I always got a sense that Hypno was just meant to look kind of comical and sagely, I feel like it's easily in the top four or five creepiest looking things in the series."
- " _ inherent wrongness of anything that gets into your head and lulls you to sleep against your will, or the fact that the pokedex says Hypno is capable of stealing children, whose dreams it also finds "tastier." This is like some sort of old-world, deep dark fairy tale horror."
- " _ it somehow only just clicked for me that Hypno's behavior and bearded gnome motif were probably intended to invoke the idea of the sandman all along."
-- Oh snap! Had no idea of that, I only got the impression of the "you are getting sleeepeeee" pendulum thing.
Krabby - Kingler
-- Shoutouts to entomologists!!
- " later generations would introduce an entirely different crab, a lobopod, and even a damn snail into the "bug" type, though we would also see a couple more lines of non-bug crustaceans as well. What are they, then? Incredibly crustacean-shaped mammals?"
- "Actually, I like that idea. Or maybe birds! If both a blue whale and a vampire bat can be mammals, I think Krabby can be some kind of extremely divergent duck."
--- But what about the fungus mons being "grass type"?
-- What if Krabby knew "Pay Day" (generates pokeyen). Also, Kingler has a crown there.
Voltorb - Electrode
-- The only balls with faces I'll tolerate. The other ones can leave. These guys are fast, and screechy. If you teach them good electric moves, they'll probably one-hit a disadvantaged opponent. Also, the artificial mons were cool. Makes sense for these guys to be found in a destroyed power plant.
-- Official "mimic" monster, but a pickup item and not a chest. At least in visual design.
- "In-universe, Voltorb's reason for existence is a little more ambiguous, but so are pokeballs to begin with. How do they work? Who figured them out? The answers could never be as interesting as the mystery, but if these little orbs can somehow store an entire living being like files on a USB drive, who's to say one couldn't somehow develop sentience of its own?"
- " _ theory that the first Voltorb came into being when a pokemon's essence corrupted and merged with a malfunctioning ball, but _ perhaps some electrical entity from another reality simply found a pokeball a convenient gateway into our world, got stuck along the way, and reconfigured into a new pokemon species."
--- Apricorns. Brought up in Gen2, and apparently forgotten.
-- Voltorb has "anime mon" eyes, but Electrode really gives me vibes of 2004 MS Paint meme faces... Weird. Huh.
- "Electrode, for the longest time, was also the absolute fastest of all pokemon, and it's pretty interesting that a giant, electrical sphere apparently gets around at lightning speed."
Exeggcute - Exeggutor (Jinmenju)
-- I just recently found out this bizarre thing, was a straight up mythological creature the whole time! It's pretty interesting, a dragon-tree that drops seeds that resemble human faces... What kinds of amazing, wondrous psychedelics do they have over in Asia land...
- "It's just too cool that a bunch of little cracked egg-critters form telepathic clusters together. I almost wish they were pure psychic types, because the idea of an organism developing mind-powers at only the egg stage is ingeniously strange in itself."
- "at least one member of the group is always shown broken open. It's just a really neat little touch."
- "Can you even imagine these things in the real world? There's no conceivable way they wouldn't be nightmarish, especially when their heads apparently drop right off and roll away, but in the pokemon world, a tree with heads growing on it is just another big, lovable goofball to buddy up with."
-- (but it turns out, they're not original, but they're still awesome! But they're like Ninetails, Jynx, Ho-Oh, Dunsparce, the like.)
Cubone - Marowak
-- The lore about this one raises so many questions
-- The first time I fought the Ghost in the Tower, someone told me to use the Pokedoll to "win"... Hah.
- " _ somehow, all Cubone inherit their mother's dead bones...though maybe there's somehow still a way for the species to perpetuate. Maybe a mother Cubone produces a whole clutch of young, but sort of "evolves" into a dead skull and a bone for each of her offspring? It's no weirder than a bunch of magnets evolving into a UFO, right? There are a few creatures in nature who always die during or after reproduction, in some cases allowing their young to consume their remains for a boost of nutrition."
- "Cubone eventually grows up into the grizzled, hardened Marowak. Aesthetically, I like Cubone's skull helmet a little better, but conceptually, I love how the skull appears to have permanently merged with Cubone's head as it evolved. It clearly isn't as removable for Marowak, which even has a functional bony jaw in some of its artwork."
- "with over 700 pokemon, Cubone and Marowak remain the only pokemon line with any kind of skull, skeleton or bone theme. Even the ghost pokemon Duskull just drops its skull completely when it evolves"
--- GameFreak is anti-skeletons and anti-horses.
Hitmonlee - Hitmonchan (Martial Arts Celebrities)
-- When I first saw Hit-chan, I knew it was a girl. The Gen2 "always male" thing confounded me... Hmmmm...
-- Uri Geller had a big problem with Alakazam (who was named "Gellar" in the Japanese versions), but I wonder how Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee felt about these mons.
- "Hitmonlee is also another of those exceptionally monster-like pokemon, a basically "headless" humanoid with menacing eyes in its "chest" and no other apparent facial features. It's almost owl-like in appearance, or like the mythological blemmyea."
- "Hitmonlee's coolest feature after its creepy nipple-eyes are its legs, which extend like vacuum hoses to kick its opponents to death, and if you ask me, they probably also suck food through its feet and into its stomach."
- "many players assumed Hitmonlee was always "male" and Hitmonchan always "female," I guess because Hitmonchan has what everyone interpreted as a cute skirt and for some silly reason guys aren't supposed to wear those."
- "organic shoulder armor"
-- Tyrogue and Hitmontop really felt like "sequel out of nowhere" and "popular fan-character" type things to me, even back then. But if "Tyrogue" is a "babymon", then he and Togepi are the only ones I'll tolerate. The rest are dead to me.
- "Tyrogue evolves into Hitmonlee if its attack stat is higher and Hitmonchan if its defense stat is higher, which means this fighting type actually evolves to reflect the type of battle training it's been doing."
- "I suppose the "spinning" could be a more abstract thing, like, Tyrogue became a spinning monster because it was just so torn between two other choices?"
If you become enchanted by its smooth, elegant, dance-like kicks, you may get drilled hard.
-- I like to think the "beast that licks filth" is also the inspiration! Wait, is that the akaname? I'm not a weeb cryptozoologist.
- "Lickitung's entire concept is nothing but a thing with a big tongue _ The tongue is said to be densely packed with nerves, extremely sticky and coated in a numbing salivary toxin, it always prefers to manipulate objects with its tongue over its admittedly vestigial-looking "hands," and it memorizes objects more by taste and texture than by sight or smell. _ It's even said that as its tongue extends, its tail retracts. Would that mean the tongue is anchored all the way back in the tail, like how an anteater's tongue goes all the way into its chest?"
- "Even the rest of Lickitung looks appropriately pink, slick and slimy, almost definitely more amphibian than reptile, its face kinda looks like it's perpetually gagging and I always appreciated its total lack of teeth. Every little touch plays back into the theme of a creature that experiences life through its tongue."
- " _ there has to be a little dash of Akaname in there. This classic youkai is usually thought of as a humanoid creature, but leaving sticky saliva all over everything with its long, stretchy tongue is its foremost claim to fame and its most famous incarnations have just a single, clawed toe on each foot."
- "Lickylicky's entries all just talk about how much damn spit it produces, how it stores extra saliva in some sort of throat sac and how its salivary compounds can slowly dissolve "anything." _ the concept of a fat, gluttonous, rubbery, slobbering salamander-man-baby is just too freaking weird for me to dislike. _ its chest markings now resemble a bib."
-- (Gloom and Muk also got high praise for their saliva, Golbat's tongue got appreciated...)
Koffing - Weezing (Sentient gas balls)
-- Anime Koffing was such a ray of sunshine! But when he became Weezing, his smile and optimism were gone.
-- It makes sense that these guys would haunt a burnt down building.
- "You could call it another "ball with a face on it," but with its kickass jolly roger markings, wart-like pores, lovable personality and grotesque biology, Koffing has a lot more going on than just any ordinary orb."
- "Koffing's concept more or less boils down to a pollution balloon. It's a putrid, malodorous sac of noxious fumes and virulent bacteria that bobs through the air, spews toxic vapor from its little nodules and occasionally explodes when its internal chemistry gets volatile enough, which is why its design also invokes a naval mine."
- " _ the sheer joy on its little face. It looks almost blissfully delighted to exist at all...or maybe just perpetually high as a kite on its own fumes."
-- Page shows older sprites, with "gas hands". That's another thing I never noticed. ... White Hand?
- " _ in Koffing's older artwork and a few manga appearances, it looked like it was actually forming a pair of "hands" from its own smog. Whether they simply forgot about this or chose to drop it for simplicity's sake is anyone's guess, but it definitely added an extra dimension to the little guy, and it might have been nice to see the "smog hands" show up at least sometimes, maybe for its physical attack animations?"
- "The earliest, green-exclusive Koffing sprite featured its more familiar design - including the lost hands! - while the "updated" sprite used for the red and blue games placed the jolly roger above the creature's face."
- "The "more accurate" sprite came first, so this wasn't likely a mistake. The intention was probably that Koffing weren't all perfectly identical, being unnatural creatures to begin with _ There's a certain spark of fun you're bound to lose when you standardize a character to be "on-model" in every appearance, and it isn't even how real living things work, let alone genetic abberations spawned from a polluted world."
- "Weezing, which remains to this day one of only a couple pokemon you can really look at and think "wow, this is definitely not healthy." Even ghost-type pokemon have never really looked this ghoulish, and I can't think of any other pokemon that immediately reads to me as biologically malformed or "mutated.""
- "Weezing is only supposed to be two Koffing that gradually melded together, and that could have easily been as simple and straightforward as Dugtrio or Magneton, but instead we get a smaller Koffing hanging like a goiter off its larger, tusk-faced twin. It's the amount of asymmetry in this pokemon that makes it so, so cool; the way the faces differ, the way one of the skull marks is simplified down to a ring and especially that third, vestigial nodule hanging between them, almost as if they're beginning to grow another little Koffing. With those rigid bars of flesh linking the three, I always thought Weezing looked a lot like a giant "molecule.""
--- Put Weezing in the same list as "dugtrio, magneton, dodrio... Pokemon had their "more heads" thing, in addition to forehead gems or their beloved unicorn horns.
- "Other things Koffing and Weezing bring to my mind include meteorites, cartoonified "germs," puffballs, spores, flying warts, and a surprising amount of deep sea anglerfish. _ The bloated shape? The underbite? The very fact that they fuse together? If we ever got an evolution for these guys, I'd love to see a little "lure" dangling off the top, or maybe an eyeball on a stalk that just sort of implies one."
-- There's a lot of anglerfish appreciation among these pages!
Rhyhorn - Rhydon
-- Definitely one of the best-designed and well thought-out mons, that could plausibly exist in this unique and mysterious Gen 1 & 2 only setting.
- Rhyhorn is another of those all-too-common ground/rock combinations, it's also one of the single nicest looking designs in the first generation. _ Its many contours and angles are remarkably complex by Pokemon standards, but they have such an organic flow and piece together so nicely that you could even believe this stony beast evolved naturally."
- "Rhyhorn's broad, swept skull is especially cool, not just like an exaggeration of a rhinoceros, but also very much like a ceratopsian dinosaur, and I love the addition of little ear-holes at the far corners of its scoop-shaped cranium. Its that sort of extra, thoughtful anatomical touch that's often missing from some newer pokemon _"
-- Imagine Rhyhorn with that Super Mario 64 Metal Cave crystal textures. The harshly flashing ones in the Green Button cave. Imagine!
-- Iconically the first pokemon to be programmed in.
Chansey (Luck / Egg)
-- Pokemon notoriously has a gambling feature, and Chansey's lore strongly pushed the "luck" and "fortune" aspect of her. Chansey was a Safari exclusive, along with several others. She also has the "nurse theme", high HP, and has powerful recovery moves for the party. Has a "white mage" theme, apparently.
- "Chansey's claim to fame is the egg it carries around in a specialized pouch, which isn't necessarily its offspring, but an infertile egg it offers as food to other pokemon. At least, I'm assuming it's infertile, otherwise it goes around feeding its own babies to whatever it happens across, and that's a little too hilarious for Pokemon's standards."
- "a "theory" that Chansey was intended to be an axolotl? _ The egg theme even ties in with an Axolotl's neoteny - meaning that it technically remains in an immature stage well into adulthood - and axolotls are particularly famous in the scientific world for their ability to regenerate. They're so good at growing back their tissues, we can even transplant their heads easier than any other animal."
--- Huh, never heard about that. For Chansey or the newt. Never thought that the "hair things" were like external gills.
- "Dropping any resemblance to an amphibian _ Blissey essentially becomes the meaningless, nonsense egg-fairy people used to think Chansey represented _"
-- The fix drawings are real nice.
-- This elusive and rare little thing, gave me vibes of "small, friendly, moderately intelligent mysterious social creature, found deeeeep in a mysterious jungle". It's the only pure grass type, and really out of the way to get. It feels elusive, for such a basic concept. The blue vines even give it a "feel" of the shady inner areas of a rainforest.
-- or it looks like a McDonald's Fry Kid.
- On visual design: "Tangela and Tangrowth (G4) are ambiguous enough that I'd have never even guessed they were botanical at first glance, _ If they were bug or ground type, we could think of them as basically "worm medusas." If they were poison or water types, they could be thought of as walking anemones. Even normal or fighting could have been just as interesting as grass typing, indicating weirdly hairy or tentacle-covered animals."
- "there's some mention of carnivorous behavior in Tangrowth's data. It apparently disguises itself as some big, blue bush until unsuspecting prey comes within grasp of its tentacular arms, _ It's basically a giant, man-eating fry kid. They pretended to be bushes too, actually, they just only ever ate people's french fries."
Kangaskhan (Gengis Khan?)
-- Missingno's other evolutionary branch
-- The baby is a cut mon in some incarnation of the games.
- "another pokemon that didn't originally evolve, _ First, the design. Kangaskhan is obviously based on a kangaroo, but it's sort of also a kangaroo dinosaur, in a similar vein to the repto-mammaloid Rhydon and Nidorans. It really felt like the first generation sort of revolved around chunky, cartoon dinosaurs as a starting point, and I kinda miss that when I look at some of the newer generations."
- Interpretation of Kanga biology: "a Kangaskhan is born already fertilized. By the time it's old enough to fend for itself, a young Kangaskhan would already have a new joey developing in her own pouch, and her mother would have already given birth to her own replacement."
- "If they're anything like certain scale insects, the sperm for this fertilization could come from self-replicating "parasitic" male cells, but I suppose that's also what Ditto is for."
-- Maybe Kanga and Chansey have some connection. Or coincidence, whatever.
Horsea - Seadra
- "seahorses are innately cool as heck. They look like nothing else. They're fish and they look like bent chameleon worms."
-- Gen2 introduced "Kingdra", who used the King's Rock. Had a Water/Dragon typing. Apparently, "Japanese used to consider seahorses as being baby dragons". Asian dragons are... Interesting.
"Dragon is an interesting pokemon type, since it's not tied to any particular element nor to any biological classification. _ It's a type normally reserved for rarer, stronger creatures that trend towards reptilian forms, but have also included mammalian, avian, piscoid and even invertebrate forms. Interestingly, the only pokemon actually weak to dragon type moves are dragons themselves, but they're strong against the game's four most common elements: electric, fire, grass and water. For a long time, their only other vulnerability came from ice moves and only steel types were resistant to them."
--- Maybe dragon is just "general chaotic force"? Pokemon had a really "wild, feral, bizarre" kind of theme going for its mons. More recent mons feel less like plausible creatures, and more like... Fad things.
Goldeen - Seaking
-- Unicorn horn!!
-- I heard "transgendered guppies" are a thing. Maybe it applies to goldfish, too. Clownfish can change their sex.
-- Koi are very popular fish.
- "I am a bigger fan of Seaking's round, glassy fish-eyes, and I kind of only just noticed how it has little vampire fangs protruding from its otherwise weirdly human, pink lips. I must have seen that thousands of times in my life and never really stopped to appreciate it until today."
--- I really miss this whole aesthetic. It had so many thoughtful little details.
Staryu - Starmie (Magic Sea Stars)
-- With Clefairy, these mons are also said to be "from Space", in lore.
- "an angular and artificial-looking creature with no obvious facial features other than a red "gem" of ambiguous purpose. Most of us can't help reading that as an "eye," but it's only ever referred to as a "core.""
- "It was always interesting how the anime characterized Staryu as basically a ninja, whirling around like a giant shurikan and frequently just shouting "HAAAAAAH!" instead of its full name. The amount of personality given to this totally inhuman thing was pretty fun to watch."
- _ Staryu becomes two five-pointed stars sort of sandwiched together, seemingly able to spin independently of one another. The gem also gets a lot larger, and according to the dex, it now "sends strange signals into space.""
- "Are these things really even echinoderms, or are they totally alien pokemon that just happen to be star-shaped and live in the sea? _ It always fascinated me how unnatural these guys looked, which stood out a little more in the first generation than it does today."
- "Still, I'd really like to see at least one more starfish pokemon some day; a more biological one for those who truly appreciate the spiny, alien charms of the echinodermata."
--- Brittle Star Hydra. Dragon/Water.
Mr. Mime (Marionette / Mime / Clown)
-- Some mons just make you feel weird. And that's a fascinating addition! Among all the cool objectmons, mundane cute animal mons, mythological donut steels, ambiguous mons, weird creepy uncanny mons really flesh out the cast!
-- The animations in the 3D games, remind me of geckos. So they give lizard vibes when they move. Ghost and Dark mons only wish they were half this creepy.
- "It's an awkward, doll-like little man with goofy hair and a body like a hunk of plastic, _ a sucker-figured pseudo-human able to generate invisible walls."
--- Sooo is it an object mon? Like a doll that got possessed?
- "It's another pokemon interestingly designed more like a dinosaur than its base animal, with a reptilian yet still fairly chitinous-looking cranium. It moves so fast that it can look like there's more than one of them at a given time, and it's another pokemon often characterized as a "ninja"
- "How about a bug/psychic mantis with gigantic hypno-eyes? An elegant yet terrifying bug/dragon orchid mantis? A bug/dark "grim reaper" with a skeleton-like body and wings like a tattered cloak? _ We have about a dozen monkeys and foxes and still only one of an insect for whom there's an entire kung-fu style!?"
- "Scizor's claws have their own "eyespots," like a pair of false heads, _"
--- Tank Hydra connection?
-- Nother one of those mons that make people feel weird and uneasy! Funny and misfortunate story about "controversy" over it. Original depictions of Jynx, suggested it didn't have black skin, but was actually empty shadowy darkness. Which would be interesting. So originally, her eyes and lips were just floating around. But after the controversy, she has purple skin and flesh.
- "Jynx is the pokemon best known for looking like an obsolete, racist caricature of a black person before Nintendo had its face changed from jet black to purple, and while I always thought the blackness was more of a void - like Shellder or Tangela - than the creature's actual skin, _ and I don't believe it was an accident. Little Black Sambo is still considered a classic in Japan, and Ganguro fashion _ didn't catch on until shortly after Pokemon's release."
- "Another common excuse for Jynx's appearance _ is that Jynx is modeled after the mythical Yama-uba, or one of many other female yokai who inhabit cold mountains. It's claimed in these fan circles that Yama-uba herself had a face blackened by frostbite, but the only mention I can find of this detail comes from more discussions of Jynx, and seems to be completely made up by American fans. All classical depictions of Yama-uba in Japanese artwork are completely light-skinned, as are those of the Yuki-onna and similar "snow women.""
- "It's still very, very normalized in Japanese culture to portray other races as ridiculous cartoon characters. Heck, ever see an anime character that looks stereotypically "asian?" With the buckteeth and the slanty eyes straight out of World War II propaganda? That's pretty often supposed to be a Korean or Chinese person."
--- That seems to be true, they have a very special kind of racism over there. I seen some East Asian cartoons, and when a Japanese or Chinese character appears in the Korean cartoon, you'll notice.
- "I always interpreted it as a sort of "sea siren," _ Jynx is said to crudely mimic human speech, "wiggle seductively" and force people to dance along to its singing, so it does a lot of things that sirens are supposed to do, but happens to also be this squat, bug-eyed little monster-woman rather than the slender mermaid people have come to expect."
--- In Pokey World, all the mons can only say their own names, unless their names are "Meowth" or "Slowking", but imagine Jynx trying out some pick up lines on you.
- "I especially like how much Jynx's "dress" looks more like thick flesh than thin cloth in most of its artwork, and while drawn a couple times with feet underneath, I always felt like the "dress" was more of a solid, slug-like foot, or like the base of an anemone. I can just so easily see these things clinging like polyps to a rocky shoreline or ice floe, letting their voices lure humans to certain doom."
- "_ I also only just noticed those two fin-like protrusions on Jynx's hips. Those are cool! She really DOES feel like some sort of sea-monster that evolved to just sort of approximate a person!"
-- Early ideas for Jynx was, she'd be a "legendary", back when the idea was, legendaries had crazy low encounter rates, instead of being one per save file. Magmar and Electabuzz were other "low encounter legendaries", but IDK where Arcanine fits in with all this.
-- Banned Elekid toy in USA, because Burger brats are a special kind of stupid.
-- Tiger / Lightning oni... Soooo, he's like Ninetails, Charizard, and Exeggutor?
- "Electabuzz and Magmar: "It honestly kind of felt like the two were meant to form a sort of trio with Jynx, each a nondescript "oni" of sorts with a different elemental theme."
- "Electabuzz is almost a little cat-like, but it's also sort of ape-like, and it has those weird electrode-like antennae on its head. It really is just a hairy, electrical beast-man."
- "Elekid, _ a rotten little goblin with headgear adorably modeled after an electrical plug. I always wondered how many kids had an Elekid figure they attempted to actually plug into a wall...or did they make sure to always sculpt the horns too thick for that? It actually looks like the oldest figure has realistically thin ones and all subsequent figures made them a lot blockier, so, my guess is probably correct and somebody probably learned the hard way."
-- Just realized Electivire (g4) has a sasquatch theme.
- _ pokemon's equivalent to the Ultraman monster, Eleking, _ While Eleking is a much weirder, more alien beast, the principle is basically the same: a monster themed entirely around its electricity-based powers, rather than a case of electricity powers applied to a particular animal."
-- Japanese name is "BOOBER". And his forehead kinda looks like boobs, too... Hmm...
-- looked really cool in Pokemon Snap.
-- Like Primeape and maybe some other mons with metal bands on their limbs, Magmar has a weird aesthetic. The fire tail calls to mind the Charmander line, and it looks like a chimera... with metal body parts...
- "Magmar actually bears some strong resemblance to the evil Solarites from 1961's godawful The Phantom Planet, which were also fire-loving beings."
-- Heard there was a "booby bird" influence. Might explain the Jp name and weird bill face.
- "The interestingly round legs vs. the long, gangly arms, the thorn-covered "horns" that are actually huge mandibles, and most of all that terrifying mouth, a gaping hole in its front with teeth that look more like an exposed rib cage."
- "I thought for sure that Pinsir was supposed to be an antlion, _ Pinsir has the pale, sandy color scheme, the sort of egg-shaped segmented body, the longer forelimbs, the spinier jaws and an overall more predatory, sinister appearance far more suited to an antlion than a beetle, and these pit-building larvae are certainly popular in Japanese media already. Pinsir doesn't even have elytra, or any wings at all, which all stag beetles possess in their adult stage!"
-- Trapinch in some other gen, is the Antlion. Mega Pinsir is rad.
-- A zodiac bull with iron studs on the forehead?
- "As a bull, Tauros is 100% male in the pokemon games, which means you can only get a baby Tauros if it breeds with a Ditto, even though a 100% female cow pokemon would be introduced a generation later. Pokemon reproduction is pretty messed up."
Magikarp - Gyarados (Karp going up Waterfall to become Dragon)
-- In Jp version, "splash" instead is a word meaning "flail around uselessly".
- "Gyarados, referred to by the pokedex as the "atrocious" pokemon and said to devastate entire cities when it gets pissed off enough, and it's always pretty pissed. This is understandable, since your average Gyarados just got out of an awkward childhood as the most neglected, mocked, abused and unwanted pokemon in the sea."
- "To someone not already spoiled to death on pokemon, Gyarados must have been an amazing surprise. The formula of a weak, pitiful little creature spontaneously evolving into a destructive nightmare has been repeated several times since, but still never to the extreme as these two."
- "Gyarados is also another of those pokemon that look like dragons, learn dragon moves and are trained by dragon-themed characters, but aren't actually of the dragon type, _ Instead, Gyarados is a water/flying type, which makes a lot of sense for a creature modeled after a Chinese dragon, which are also said, in some tales, to take the form of harmless carp or goldfish."
Lapras (Turtle / Plesiosaur)
-- In Gen2, it could be found in an underground lake, deep in a cave. Just like the Plesiosaur in Super Mario 64. There's something about the Plesiosaur, and Flatwoods Monster, in Japanese media. Or perhaps the "Loch Ness Monster". That was a runaway hit like Bigfeet. Knockoff Nessies and Hairy Forest Men, all over the place in some decades.
Ditto (Brand of copiers, Silly Putty)
-- an amorphic blob with a face, who also becomes a dungeon sex slave in Gen2.
-- Something about a cut metal-type evo for it.
-- Silly Putty can pick up toner from newspapers.
-- Ditto is apparenlty a manmade mon. Gnarly!
- "It's a plain little glob with an adorably simple, dopey face and only one battle move, transform, allowing it to morph into a duplicate of its opponent. _ Ditto's usefulness in battle is still somewhat limited, however; it can't copy an opponent's HP total, its own is critically low and any move it copies can be used only five times."
-- OP asks the big questions about Ditto and the nature of their relationships with other species, and what this could mean for society as a whole.
Eevee Line (Familiar generic pet mammal)
-- Branched evo gimmick, but is limited by being "cute". No bug or rock eevees.
-- Umbreon was originally going to be Poison type. Espeon might have used the Moon Stone.
- "The water-type Vaporeon is cool, because you don't see a whole lot of four-footed mammals given scaly fish features. _ the combination of the fins for "ears," the reptilian neck frill and the serrated ridge down its back, all of which has a really classical dragon sort of feel to it."
- "Vaporeon _(pokedex)_ supposedly capable of loosening up its structure and "melting" into pure water as it pleases, a process which would have to look fairly distressing to witness. Hypothetically, an entire Vaporeon could enter your body and explode you from the inside."
- "(Jolteon) _ its hair supposedly forms dangerously sharp needles, which in turn are electrified, so just touching this thing is like getting tazed. That's fairly interesting for an electric-type pokemon."
- "Espeon looks slightly more like a spooky cat than a weird fox, _ its split tail is more than likely a reference to the youkai, Nekomata, a cat which has acquired both a split tail and magical abilities in its old age, including shape-shifting, teleportation, and the ability to control corpses!"
- "Unfortunately, Espeon marks the start of a new design trend for the Eeveans; thinner, lighter, and much less divergent."
- (Umbreon) _ is even more simplified than the basic Eevee. _ the pokedex also says it sweats poison, and its gold markings light up in the dark as a warning. That's some pretty fun, believable biology going on _"
- (Leafeon G4) Eevee+Leaves _ Leafeon could have been SO cool. It could have been covered in thorns, it could have had ears and a tail like the jaws of a fly-trap, it could have had vine tentacles, it could have had little weeds and flowers sprouting out of its fur, the sky was the limit."
- "Glaceon is Eevee, only blue, _ Glaceon has anime girl hair glued to its face. This is definitely only supposed to reference the legendary snow woman or Yuki-Onna, but in practice, it accidentally panders to all those people who want to bone Eevees."
--- they were definitely going for the waifu / husbando shut-in crowd at the Gen4 marker. The themes and ideas of the Pokey World really changed a lot. G1 was so naturalistic, rugged, rough, coarse, ambiguous but logical. After a certain point, the world and mons became like products with targeted markets.
- "_ Sylveon is probably the most interesting Eeveelution next to Vaporeon. I like that it has "bows" and "ribbons" of basically its own flesh and fur. Fairy is superficially the most innocent, cutesy pokemon type, and yet, the fairy Eevee is one of the stranger and more inventive of its kin."
--- Fairy-eon got much bashing, along with water-otter and other "derp mons", but it's cool to see appreciation for Sylveon, even though he doesn't have a long, slimy tongue or eats his prey by opening his stomach out of a sphincter and dissolving them or anything! The speculation over early Sylveon was "is it an adult normal eevee?" before Fairy type was announced... Where's noise/sound type, though?
Porygon (Paper Crane / CGI Parrot)
-- The in-game poster mon for "artificial mons", although there were also Ditto, Voltorb, magnemite, Grimer, Koffing, Mewtwo, and other ambiguously or canonically artificial mons.
-- Also the "L -> R" thing, hee hee.
-- Anime Pikachu framed him. #justiceforporgyon
-- Lore has it, Silph Co. (who makes ghost-viewing scopes and Pokeballs) made Porygon. The only way to legit obtain it without trading, is to gamble. And the gambling aspect was a controversial part of the games. Some countries banned Pokemon, or IDK if the gambling sections had to be removed for certain localizations.
- "_ an entirely man-made, computer-generated pokemon developed by Silph co, the brains behind a lot of Pokemon's wilder technological advances. It's a holographic simulation of a pokemon, which somehow achieves real sentience, learns pokemon abilities, and can function even outside of a computer like a real, physical object."
-- G2 has "Porygon Upgrade" hold+trade evo item.
- "the upgrade improves Porygon's graphical qualities from a blocky, low-res poly count to a smoothly rendered balloon-duck, which also brings to mind one of those plastic, desktop drinking birds, and it's even animated like one. The pokedex also indicates that Porygon2 was intended to travel into space and explore other planets, but it "failed to measure up" and can't even actually fly."
--- So, Porygon's flavor lore is akin to "Tang" (orange drink mix) and freeze-dried camp food called "astronaut food". And muh space chimps and Laika the tragic ttly reel story to grip your heart.
- "Still, after achieving the astonishing feat of creating intelligent life from computer code, you have to wonder why nobody ever bothered to do it again. Why does the Porygon line remain the only digital pokemon family? Did they stumble upon some terrible secret and discontinue any further research? Did some key component of the original Porygon's code become lost? Or was it just old fashioned politics and lack of funding?"
--- "Terrible secret"??? Silph Co. had some interesting hints at a story in G1, but no way that dinky little 1mb game (that had enough junk and filler in it), could hold much intricate deep story, but man can you imagine!! Imagine a properly developed Pokey World, with the gritty dirtiness and ambiguity of the Kanto games, and there's this secret "sub world" of Silph doing weird spooky ghost quantum computing type stuff, and that could have been interesting.
-- But after G2, many employees left Game Freak, and new employees joined, and things just change, and there's not always the synergy in new crews and teams. Sometimes there is, but things just... Fall apart after a while. Original GameFreak couldn't be replaced. Even at the time, Iwata was the one doing the really hard work and doing the crazy difficult compression to allow G2 to be as amazing as it was. Iwata can't be replaced. GameFreak is just a broken mess and without the same "energy" that the original crew had.
- On Porygon-Z (G4): "It's quite fitting that a purely technological pokemon just gets lighter and faster in its final evolution, but that's not all that's going on here."
- "Porygon2 can be "upgraded" into this state with an item called the dubious disk, which you do not officially receive from the Silph corporation, indicating that some other party illegally cracked Porygon's code and distributed an unauthorized new version."
- "With the space exploration a bust, this bootleg was supposedly intended to "travel through alien dimensions," but the pokedex rather ominously says this "didn't go as planned."
- "Porygon-Z isn't just a shady third-party mod to Porygon2, but one riddled with glitches and possibly driven bonkers by its attempted contact with alternate realities. The floating, detached head and yellow, hypnotic eyes perfectly communicate that this thing represents highly advanced but highly unstable technology, and perhaps it's a little glimpse into why nobody tried to code another pokemon from scratch. The very existence of Porygon-Z raises some serious ethical questions; this was a thinking, feeling being, right? _ And you went and broke it. You infected it with malware. You drove it mad with visions of another world."
--- Pokemon had the shittiest lore and worst surface-level worldbuilding of any Nintendo IP I was familiar with, but imagine if it was given a more cerebral edge. It's just a collectathon for 6yo's and demented 40yo adult-babies that want to win the "metagame", but imagine if Pokemon was developed differently. Different "thing" they were going for, rather than "sell merch to 8 year olds and attract the attention of furries". Just... what could have been. For all its flaws, G1 was the first new thing of its kind, and available to people of various income levels. The first two gens could be played on 1989 hardware. I can't stress that enough. 1997-2001 GAMES PLAYABLE ON 1989 GAMEBOY. You don't even see that with PC games very much!!
-- Porygon's concept, and the whole line, raises fascinating ideas about the concept of making a sentient elemental creature and continually modifying it. Imagine what if that could be done to other mons. The animes alluded to that idea sometimes, but the animes aren't playable. But they do inspire people to pick up a pen or keyboard, and make their own fan-stuff. But then you got copyright laws and the whole mess that comes from that.
Omanyte - Omastar (Ammonite / Nautilus)
-- Another theme in the games were "genetic tampering", and inspiration was drawn from the smash hit "Jurassic Park". That's not what happens IRL, fossils are mostly fabrications (if they're "too good", you just know). However, there is the weird remains of Megatrees that might have been inherently silicon based, and didn't "become petrified", but that crazy far-out stuff, goes on the Whatever Pages. Real fossils, might be things like natural mummies, but not spooky plaster sculptures of dead people (Pompeii hoax) with a spookydoom volcano (hoax) story to "sell them" with.
-- Back to Pokey Men.
- "the first of the beloved fossil pokemon, creatures you could literally bring to life from ancient, fossilized samples. The most fascinating thing about these prehistoric beasts is that every one of them are half rock-type, and while some of them could have been natural rock pokemon all along, but I'm pretty sure it's really meant to reflect the fact that they were revived from petrified remains."
- "Another really cool thing about the fossils is that the first two fossil lines in the franchise represent ancient, marine invertebrates, rather than more obvious dinosaurs. It makes sense, seeing as how so many living pokemon are dinosaur-like anyway."
--- Omanyte and Kabuto do have a rock/water theme inherently, with their hard shells.
Kabuto - Kabutops (Horseshoe Crabs)
-- In the 90's and 00's, there were people who actually thought Horseshoe Crabs were extinct!! What?? Today, they're talked about a lot, about having their special blue blood harvested in labs. I hope those pictures are fake, but who knows. These critters kept being pressed as being "living fossils from infinity years ago!!!" like sharks (Great Whites & Hammerheads are hoaxes, others are real) and crocodilians (some individuals are fake, but there are real ones... It gets weird when there are fake versions promoted over real things. Black parrots with fake beaks are called "toucans", but then there are real toucans that aren't promoted in media...)
-- So yeah, a real animal has IRL fake lore pushed for it, but these bizarre helmet-shaped arthropods have been around as long as any other natural life form has been around. Which is what, 3000 years tops? Even controlled-opp fake "creationists" yell about "6000 years flat". Even 100 years ago, they'd say "earth is 6,000 flat!!". Probably 2100+ years. IDK.
- "Ostensibly, Kabuto is a trilobite, _ It looks a lot more like a horseshoe crab, but still imprecisely, since it lacks their iconic tail. It's basically just one smooth, hard shell, with beady black eyes on top and bigger, eerier, luminous eyes underneath. _ the completely different "face" depending on which side you're viewing."
- "_ Kabutops actually is trilobite-based, except it's also a reptilian biped with mantis-like sickle claws. With its chitinous plates and boomerang-shaped head, it's one of the most menacing and alien-looking creatures in the whole generation _"
- "It's a trilobite as an apex predator, a trilobite even adapted to walk upright on land."
- "(Kabuto & Omanyte) lines take a "what if?" approach to their real-world inspirations, _ if their evolved forms were supposed to be "new," that is, only started to evolve after Omastar and Kabutops were brought back from extinction."
- "_ Kabutops skeleton in the in-game museums. Why does a trilobite have bones? I guess because it's a trilobite-like pokemon, rather than a real arthropod. _ glitch pokemon wound up using the Kabutops skeleton sprite, and it's just a crying shame we can't have a skeletal creature like this as an actual, viable pocket monster."
-- Lance is a CHEATER and has a gamesharked Aerodactyl.
-- A pseudolegendary pseudodragon, along with Charizard and Gyarados.
-- *blocks ur path*
- "it's a pokemon-world equivalent to a giant panda without actually being a giant panda, which is something I wish Pokemon still did more often."
--- I definitely picked up on the "giant panda" theme. In the 90's and 00s, real red pandas got little to no representation outside of Asian media, and at the time Asian media was niche in the West, and mostly was about Toho monsters or Gundam stuff. We were bombarded with imagery of BS "giant pandas", one of the most obvious and over-the-top FAKE hoaximals ever. Regular people today know all about them just being "drunk guys in fursuits", and not actual animals. They have "teddy bear skin", and eat CGI bamboo and crap out animatronic "babies". In the 90s, they "refused to breed", because the animatronic tech wasn't there yet. Now they're shitting out twitchy robocubs left and right.
-- Munchlax is a G4 babymon, that is ridiculously hard to find, or if you were to breed a Snorlax, you'd need to make it hold a special robocub item... Oh wait, the "Full Incense", which would make it lay an egg that contains a Munchlax. Otherwise, it'll lay an egg that hatches into a big fatass regular snorlax.
Articuno - Moltres - Zapdos (Elemental Birds)
-- Cute naming convention. Their Jp names are "Showers, Thunder, Fiya", and they're actually western myth creatures. The western phoenix, thunderbird, and I guess the ice one is kinda made up to round out the trio.
- "We've hit our first legendary pokemon, extra-powerful creatures who can be caught only once per game, and traditionally can't be bred. In Red and Blue, this status was limited to only five total pokemon, which kept "legendaries" feeling like something special. Later generations would be positively lousy with the things, and they've remained for the most part my least favorite designs and concepts in the franchise."
- "Articuno, the flying/ice type, is surprisingly cute and innocent looking for a huge ice-elemental monster, more like some sort of sweet little bluebird than the falcon or hawk it was probably supposed to invoke."
--- Definitely true, Pokemon absolutely devalued legendaries and for the most part, made them either "cute mew clones" or "cool dragons". Either would be fine if done sparingly, but they're like "limited edition recolors". Cuz, they're either kitty monkey cutesy things, or just some sparkly dinosaur with features. I haven't played most games, but I like to casually glance at what people have to say about new mons, themes, ideas, concepts, etc. The genies are a cool idea in later games, but they're all like recolored Mortal Kombat characters. I really do like the idea for the golems, they could have done more with that concept.
- "Zapdos _ it's both the strangest and most menacing looking, _ A really, really big, terrifying hummingbird, which kind of makes sense for en electric type."
--- Missed opportunity there, Zapdos wasn't animated or shaped quite like a hummingbird, but imagine if it was! A HUUUGE, LOUD, BUZZING hummer with a 2' long torso, that makes a LOUD, droning hum from deeeep within a 3D imagining of the wrecked Power Plant, and you have to wander around a 3D power plant reclaimed by nature, but it still provides power because something something never shut off, and then you see a glowing yellow giant hummingbird drinking electricity...
Dratini - Dragonair - Dragonite
-- I never really "got" these guys, and they seemed mildly disappointing to me. IDK. They just seem... weird in a wonky sense, not a cool alien bizarre sense. They just seem like an idea that was never quite fully developed, and the patchy, incomplete ideas made it into the final games and canon. It's G1's only dragon type line.
-- So, Wartortle had a cut final evo, that was like a bigger version of itself. But now Blastoise is the Final final form. Dratini and Dragonaire have common design elements and theming that matches Wartortle. Wonder if there's a connection.
- "Dratini also represents what fans would come to refer to as a pseudo-legendary, the very last and strongest non-legendary pokemon line in a given generation."
-- Dragonair has shiny pearls and a unicorn horn. Looks nice, was super popular. But thennnn....
- "It's just such a jarringly different creature from its predecessor, dropping all that delicate majesty in favor of something closer to Barney the Dinosaur with bat wings."
- "Dragonite reminds me more of a moomin than Barney. It's one of the most powerful monsters in the game, but it looks sweet and friendly. _ I agree with the popular sentiment that they should have been unrelated evolutionary lines."
--- later games would do weird things with connecting previously unconnected mons and giving them kinda "evos", but... Uh, there's a shark thing that wants to fly, then there's a separate line of mons that look like the shark that wants to fly, and it's a similar-looking dragon-shark thing... Or some purple scorpion things... IDK. I didn't play those gens.
Mewtwo (Giegue from Mother 1)
-- The ultimate coolmon. Raises questions about the actual development of the game, because there's a few different stories about how Mew was implimented. Mewtwo's name and in-game lore suggest that Mew was programmed into the game, but other rumors say Mew was secretly added just before the games (green or blue??) shipped, and after the fact was announced, and saved the franchise from failure.
-- GameFreak had some staff from Ape Inc., who made Mother 1. The villain of Mother was a gray cat-alien thing named "Gyiyg" or "Giegue", renamed "Giygas" in Mother 2 / Earthbound. Giegue dwelled in a cave on a massive gray mountain named after the director, Shigesato Itoi, and had psychic powers. Giegue was also raised by humans, and had inner conflict about that.
-- Series lore says Mewtwo has human and pokemon DNA, and in the games, the closer you get to Mewtwo in Cerulean Cave, the more frequently you'll encounter Ditto, solidifying that Ditto is a failed Mew clone. There were so many hints to stories going on at the same time in G1.
- Even Mewtwo's story is still cool; it's a failed clone of the true "ultimate" pokemon, Mew, genetically altered to be a destructive weapon. _ the anime really played up Mewtwo as an anguished antihero, a loner who sees itself as an abomination destined to destroy the corrupt human race."
--- "Humans are the REAL monsters", is a staple of the 90's zeitgeist. Great stuff to force down children's throats and promote... Uh... "Some countries recommend you have only one child." (Captain Planet).
- "_ (design) has severely degraded since its origins. Look at how utterly alien and menacing it looks in these older Sugimori illustrations. This immediately communicates some sort of blasphemous, telepathic bioweapon that resents its own existence. _ how big its head used to be, how gnarly and fleshy its contours and details. This was cast aside pretty fast with its first anime appearance, which shrunk the head, lengthened the arms arms and softened it all out into the cleaner, healthier, plainer design we have now."
- "_ it still has alien frog fingers, a tail like a giant sperm and that creepy tube on the back of its head."
- "When I first saw it, I didn't even know it was "legendary" or special in any way, and I thought it was just supposed to be a really large, intimidating salamander with a name pronounced like "mute-woah." I'm still inclined to see it as a slimy-skinned, more amphibian or reptilian creature than the "cat" _. Mewtwo is totally more of a mutant dinosaur embryo, come on."
--- Yeah, seconding all this. That first impression of Mewtwo is way more badass than the current "official" one. Every copy is personalized!
-- There was a very subtle plot going through G1. Cinnabar Lab is implied to be very recently destroyed, and Geovanni was trying to steal the Masterball from Silph Co., to recapture Mewtwo. But he didn't really want people to know what was going on. So much subtlety.
Mew (Fetus / Stem Cell)
-- Like Pikachu has Pika-clones, I assumed all "cute lil fluffy legendaries" are Mew clones, but with more decoration and ribbons on them. Mew was disappointing to me, I viewed it as a glorified Clefairy (Metronome) and Ditto (Transform), but as I read more lore and speculation about Mew and its themes, I warmed up to it. In side games, Mew is usually seen with a "bubble" that NEVER!! appeared in the core games, but it was some side-canon thing. The bubble symbolized a womb, and Mew would usually be inside of it, with its tail positioned like an umbilical cord.
-- G1 had themes of rugged, basic, natural monsters, and engineered, manmade ones. Mew symbolizes an old theory that pointed out similarities between all animal embryos. A human embryo could resemble that of a turtle, whale, cow, bird, etc. This is where Mew's "transform" gimmick comes from, and it can learn all moves in the game. Metronome just accesses a move in the data at random. Mew also draws inspiration from the concept of "stem cells", that can become any type of tissue. Teratomas are stem cell cancer blob things, that can form muscle, bone, eye, tooth, and other kinds of tissues.
-- In 2005, there was an actual glitch discovered in Pokemon Yellow, that allowed you to encounter Mew. In R/B, Mew is actually juuuust OUT OF RANGE to be accessed by the Missingno glitch. Of all the crazy things you can encounter through Missingno, including glitch trainers and cut Prof. Oak battles, Mew is out of range and cannot be accessed.
- _ "the infuriatingly elusive Mew. Actually conceived and programmed extremely last-minute, Mew was created simply so the original games would have at least one "secret" pokemon, distributed only through special public events and not technically obtainable in the game without cheating."
- "Supposedly, Mew was in fact the progenitor pokemon, the most ancient of them all, _ This would be sort of contradicted by new legendaries later on, but for a while, it seemed more or less canon that creatures as diverse as Voltorb, Tentacruel, Butterfree and Tangela were all somehow, _ just a bunch of really freaky, mutant subspecies of Mew."
- "The pokedex called Mewtwo "the result of horrific gene-splicing experiments," while diary entries in an abandoned mansion asserted that Mew gave birth to Mewtwo. These aren't contradictory statements if you look at how real-world cloning actually works. Humans would have had to have captured Mew, experimented with its DNA, and used it as an incubator for its own unnatural, super-enhanced monster offspring."
- "We've seen pokemon games in which the whole world was nearly destroyed, sure, but forcing Mew to gestate a biological weapon might be the heaviest, most human kind of evil I think these games have ever alluded to."
--- G2 was being developed starting halfway through G1's development. They probably were figuring out how breeding would work. All legendaries are in the "no eggs" group, and Mew is a fetus... You'd think a human NPC would be tasked to secretly give birth to Mewtwo, but they shied away from that, and went with the "grow clones in a big glowing tank full of goo" staple. You see that "clone tank" thing in media a lot, especially if engineered "made to be famous" instant-celeb characters are in there. IRL, there's supposedly a "womb sack" that's just saline fluid and a fetus with nutrient bags connected to it. IDK if that's actually viable, or if it's another one of those half-truth symbolism things.
-- Also, Mew doesn't get any fancy upgrades in later gens. No alt forms or anything.
-- I never ever viewed the anime as anything but its own canon based on the games. I viewed the core games as difinitive canon. The movie originally had Mew facing against Mewtwo, with its own army of natural mons, saying that Mewtwo's clones were inferior. So much media is really well-made in its home country, but it gets butchered and bashed on the head with a mallet until it's brain-damaged for American audiences, which is a damn shame and makes me grouchy... And then dumbass Americans prove the point of the localizers. Which is a big cycle of dumb. The anime English dub was far different in how the characters were in the Jp version. Meowth was more philosophical, the characters were just smarter about physics. In the Eng version, Mew was turned from a naturalist "original is better, derivatives are inferor" standpoint, to a "nuh uh egalitarinism" thing that was more palatable to US audiences. Ironically, Japan is NOT an egalitarian state, and even to this day, people from regions where gravediggers and those who'd remove corpses from hospitals, are secretly discriminated against. Japanese businessowners will call up their peers and say "don't hire this person, their family used to dig graves". To say nothing of all the racism against other Asian nationals. Imagine if Mew had that bite present in the Jp anime. If Mew stood firm that NATURAL is best. It was a good counter to Mewtwo's position that "engineered derivatives are better than the orginals". Because that would call to mind genetic engineered organisms used in our economy today.
Wow, this thing is like 100kb long, and not broken down... Welp. I'm enjoying this and reflecting on what was so fascinating about OG Pokemon, that made Pokemania be a thing. Pokemania was probably outwardly, at a distant glance, all about merch and TCG and anime, but there was something so special about the rough, coarse, core games. I want to examine that, and pick it apart.