Saturday, 7 April 2012

REBOOT: My Opinions on Every Pokémon Ever. VOLUME ONE: 001, Bulbasaur to 009, Blastoise.

...

It's been a long time.

I'm making the executive decision to start again. Without a lengthy explanation paragraph as to why, I'm just going to dive right into this. The plan is to post every Sunday, but we all know I don't stick to plans. Let's rock and roll!

001: BULBASAUR.
What a way to kick this new round of opining off! There's nothing wrong with Bulbasaur. The more I think about it, the more firmly I believe that it's my favourite of the Generation One starters. Considering that the Generation One starters are objectively Fucking Amazing (c) and The Best Like No One Ever Was (tm), that's a pretty big call to make.

I'd like to point out the following quote from the Pokémon Yellow Pokédex:

It can go for days without eating a single morsel. In the bulb on its back, it stores energy.

What this means is that Bulbasaur will never be that asshole that eats the last Pringle from the tube. Sure, his spindley spiney viney tendrils may be better equipped to reach that very last Pringle, residing in its fortress of challenging tubular deliciousness, but brobasaur would be reaching in to get that last Pringle for you.

Unless he's an asshole.

(but bulbasaur is no asshole)

002: IVYSAUR.
There's something quite obvious that you have to consider about Ivysaur. It's every bit as cool as its prevolution and even quantifiably more badass. What I want you to consider is this: Ivysaur manages to be more badass than Bulbasaur, despite its back seed sprouting into a beautiful pink bulb and its body turning into a pastelly shade of baby blue.

Do you even want to fight it about that?

No, you don't. You just fucking don't.

Adding to the sheer audacity and 'haters gonna hate' spirit that I like about Ivysaur is the fact that it traded its ability to stand on its hind legs for that bulb. Once it gets too big, Ivysaur can only walk about like the quadruped it truly is. It needs no fancy tricks. It knows it's every bit as good as those bipedal poseurs. Fuck those guys.

One more thing: Ivysaur gets stronger with the sunlight. Forget the dangers of the night, you're not safe during the daytime either. Sweet daydreams, dear.

003: VENUSAUR.
Make no mistake, Venusaur will crush you with pleasantly scented floral life. You will meet your end at the discretion of a leaf. Alternatively, it'll tramble and chomp you like the respectable dinosaur that he very well is.

I see Venusaur as a very nice final evolution for a line like Bulbasaur. The changes between it and Ivysaur are so much more pronounced than Ivysaur and Venusaur (as is the trend with most starters, really), but it's not as is Venusaur is ridiculously different or unfitting. The three stages really look like a cohesive child to adolescent to adult progression.

That and it's a dinosaur.

004: CHARMANDER.
For the longest time, Charmander was my favourite of the Kanto starters, due in part to the anime episode where Ash's Charmander joined the party (or, as I like to call it, the partay). You have to admire a two foot tall anything that's willing to flame a guy to his face.

One thing that has always bugged me about Charmander is how delicate it's repeatedly said to be. That whole 'it dies if its tail flame goes out' is some high level bullshit! I apologise for applying real-people logic to Pokémon - and I promise that won't happen often - but there is no way a species can be plentiful enough to be given away to ten year olds if it's likely to die in a rainstorm. I'd see it as okay if the flame was not extinguishable by outside factors and just a general indicator of Charmander's physical health, but if we take anime physics into account (admittedly, that's a pretty big 'if'), we know that not to be the case. Ash's Charmander is seen on multiple occasions desperately shielding his tail from water. In his introduction episode, he only stays alive because he found a leaf to hide it under during the rain. In another, he holds it out of the way of a watergun attack and runs for his life.

But that's all silly anyway. I do like Charmander, you know. I promise. It's pretty cool. And adorable. Don't forget adorable.

005: CHARMELEON.
Is that a horn on the back of its head? I think so? I guess so.

Moving right along then.

Where Charmander is all curves and cuteness, Charmeleon is comprised of angularity and edges, all sharpness, no softness. That works. Taking away the factors of the darker red and the extra pointiness, there isn't much change from Charmander. It's executed rather elegantly. The claws added to its hands serve as a nice touch, too. On top of that, there's no dissing that insufferable smirk.

I do have a little bone to pick with its colouring, but I'll elaborate on that a little more in the Charizard section.

As stated in the Ruby and Sapphire Pokédex entries, in the heat (lololololololol im clever) of a battle, the tip of a Charmeleon's tail will turn blue from the extra excitement. To my scientific mind, this clearly states one this: Charmeleon is the secret reptilian identity of Azula, Princess of the Fire Nation. Therefore, out of concern for personal safety, I will end my review of Charmeleon at this point and move onto the next.

...chaaarma charma charma charma charma charmeeeleonnnn
you come and gooooo
you come and goooooooooooo

006: CHARIZARD.
I have one solitary little complain in the Charmander chain and that is the following: I don't like the way it goes red in the middle stage and then back to orange for the final evolution. Don't get me wrong, Charizard would probably look awful in red (except it'd still be a fucking Charizard so Your Mileage May Vary), but the weirdness in colour shifting here irks me a teeny tiny bit. On its own, Charmeleon's redness doesn't cause irritation. Paired with its prevo and evolution, however, it sticks out like a sore thumb. Perhaps it would match Charmander and Charizard better if it was simply a darker shade of orange.

I really fucking like Charizard. The teal inside membranes of its wings look really damn good with the orange. It's not over the top of blinding. It's obviously a fire Pokémon, but it's not too over the top like with some other fire Pokémon I could mention (note: though Ponyta and Rapidash are two of those Pokémon, they're alright because I actually like them). What you notice first is Charizard saying 'sup, I'm a fucking dragon'. The fire is secondary. That makes me a happy panda.

Also, he's grown a horn. Where Charmeleon is a unicorn, Charizard is a bicorn. Though I guess since they're dragons (or at least draconic, in Charmeleon's case), the word might be different. Unidra and bidra. That works. Charizard is a bidra. You hatin'? I think not.

Stepping away from the design aspect, it's canon (well, Pokédex canon, meaning the value is inherently debatable) that a Charizard's flame gets hotter the more experienced it is in battle, which I think is neat. I choose to reject the one of the other entries that has the audacity to claim that a Charizard has more honor than to turn its flame on a weaker foe.

No.

Just leave.


007: SQUIRTLE. 
BELIEVE IN THE SQUIRTLE WHO BELIEVES IN YOU.

No really, do it. The first time Ash's Squirtle appears in the anime, he's wearing Kamina shades. Mucho props for that, little buddy.

As with the other starters, Squirtle is a cute little circley version of what's to come later in its evolution chain. It worked for Bulbasaur and Charmander and it works just as well for Squirtle. As cute as it is, though, Squirtle is notable for having a good fucking survival mechanism. Like turtles do, it withdraws into its shell when it feels threatened. This, I feel, is a lot more sensible than an extinguishable life force at the end of a tail.

Speaking of tails, let's take a moment to appreciate just how glubbing precious Squirtle's tail is. It's like a squirrel tail, even. Which would make sense when you consider that while Squirtle's name is a portmanteau of squirt and turtle, it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to shoehorn squirrel in there.

008: WARTORTLE.
Just the mere act of typing Wartortle in big, bold capital letters sends a little thrill through the subcockle regions of my heart.

I really appreciate the way Squirtle's squirrelly tail morphs into something reminiscent of heavy waves crashing and breaking on the shore as it evolves into Wartortle. Remember what I said about Charmeleon's extra claws that it grew upon evolution? The same applies to Wartortle and it works just as well. In contrast to Charmeleon though, Wartortle doesn't have an insufferable smirk, but more a look of concentrated confidence, as if to say 'come at me bro'. I would know. I speak Pokémon.

I wonder how much it would cost to get those ear wings made. They're something funky.

009: BLASTOISE.
Even in its tragically unmonocled form, Blastoise is something of a BAMF. I mean shit, son, those are hydrocannons in its back. It's just brazenly displaying them, letting them hang out for the whole world to see. Who's packing heat? That's right, Blastoise. Blastoise is packing heat. Is there a single thing you can do about it? To answer that question, let me ask you another. Are you fine with meeting an early but well-deserved grave as a spray of righteous water pummels your entire being into the world's least attractive pancake?

Blastoise's head looks kind of like a Staffordshire Terrier, or like a Rottweiler with short ears, but smugger than either of those dogs could hope to be (a lot smugger than a Staffy). It's really super bulky. I love its design. It's a bit of a shame to see the poofy pretty tail go but on the other hand, Blastoise is chunky enough without that tail. The short, stubby and somehow still more streamlined tail that it gets in its final evolution works fine.

1 comment:

  1. Yay, you're back! I started reading these sometime in the middle of your hiatus, and Pokemon was suddenly put in a whole new light for me. Thank you *little curtsy*

    P.S. Wartortle is indeed awesome.

    ReplyDelete

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