I think Teddiursa and Ursaring are what I think of first when I think ‘Gen 2 Pokémon’ and that might be what’s clouded my judgement of the whole generation as ‘simple, plain, not exceptionally creative but still likeable’ which as we’ve seen and as we’ll see is quite unfair. Teddiursa is adorable in Pokémon form, it’s a living teddy bear that always looks a little nervous, Ursaring is a big-ass bear that always looks cross or, I suppose, like a bear with a sore head – but I think that might be giving Ursaring too much credit.
But ultimately a teddy bear that evolves into a big cartoon bear isn’t that creative is it? It’s about the most basic execution of ‘Pokémon Bears’ you could get, there’s nothing wrong with them, Teddiursa fits perfectly with Meowth and Diglett as another ‘made flesh’ design (something that Gen 3 will continue with and you certainly won’t get any complaints from me about that) and Ursaring is a satisfyingly awesome bear to get as an evolution of Teddiursa and I’m not saying every Pokémon has to do something wildly creative or unexpected, you need your basic ‘control’ mons to make things like Natu and Slugma stand out against, you need your Normal Types, what AM I saying? ‘three balls’ I think.
You’ve got lava that oozes along, you’ve got slug that ooze along, you’ve got a game filled with animals that have elemental types. IT. MAKES. SO. MUCH. SENSE. And then, lava cools to make rock, so our lava slug cools part of itself into a snail shell, a snail shell made out of volcanic rock on a larva snail. IT. MAKES. SO MUCH. SENSE.
I fucking love Slugma and Magcargo, I love their quirky little faces, I love the fire looking eyebrows on Slugma and the glow from Magcargo’s shell and I can’t believe I thought this era was bland.
ICE PIG MAMMOTH! *HUGS*
Yeah this is another of all-time favourite evolutionary lines, right after the last one no less, which I think shows you how varied my taste in Pokémon is (allow me to brag a little) as those were quirky larva snails and these are, well, brown mammals, perhaps the least special of Pokémon designs. But I just adore everything about them, and I’d like to say that their evolutionary progression makes complete sense to me – of course they make sense because I’m mental but shhh – guinea pig > warthog > mammoth, it makes so much sense, it’s pig in name only > actual pig with tusks > hairy elephant with tusks. See? Complete sense.
Swinub is just hair and nose, it barely has eyes, it is proof that simplifying something makes it cuter and cuter until you have nothing but hair and cute, and it scurries around in such an adorable little way and eeeee! Piloswine is the Cousin It of Pokémon and just as great, cute enough to still be cute but menacing enough to feel like Swinub really grew up, somehow simultaneous ridiculous, sweet and fearsome – which is warthogs all over really innit? If they’d’ve left it there I would still be raving about this line because it would still be great but then Gen 4 brought the Ice Pig Mammoth, which is fair enough as even though Piloswine felt like a satisfying evolution it did - like a lot of Gen 2ers - feel like the line was unfinished. So they finished it with - let me say it one more time – an Ice Pig Mammoth; I fucking LOVE mammoths, they’re one of my favourite things in this world, huge hairy elephants with massive spikes on their face? Yes please. And Pokémon’s mammoth – while a bit of surprise, I wasn’t expecting it to come from Piloswine - is gorgeous: big, imposing, fluffy, impressively tusked and in fact a lot more badass than actual mammoths. It keeps Swinub and Piloswine’s lovely simplified look and still has no need for a whole face – though it’s eyes are now uncovered, which is suppose IS an evolution, seeing clearly is better than not right? – and are they REALLY supposed to be ski goggles? Surely not? What am I saying, this is Pokémon, of course they’re supposed to be ski goggles.
You know what I like about Corsola? It’s not it’s use of the very pleasing pink and white colour scheme, it’s pleasant resemblance to piggy banks, it’s cute face or it’s incredibly pleasing contours (again with the contours, look I learnt a word I’m gonna use it!) or the simple ‘DUH’ fact of having coral (which is a living thing) be the basis for a Water/Rock type Pokémon that rivals the ‘so obvious’ rightness of Onyx or Magcargo, it’s not even the fact that it looks like someone drew a dick on it’s head. It’s that it’s solid. Corsola looks like it has the same little nubby little limbs that a lot of ‘mons (like say, Skitty) have that work like a puppet’s limbs, but Corsola doesn’t move like that, it moves like the toaster from Ghostbuster II, it’s all solid and bounces and clonks about. That just seems so coral, don’t you think?
I dunno why I ask questions like that, I know the answer is ‘no, you’re a nutball dwitefry’.
Corsola used to be my number 2 gen 2 favourite, right after Lugia. No idea why, probably the same reason as Yanma. I still love the little bugger, but I guess my tastes have changed since I was 14 a little more than I thought they had (Not that much, but clearly some) because this little chap just ain’t gonna get the six ball treatment. Also it needs an evolution, the fact that it doesn’t is kind of weird as like Magnmeite a Corsola evolution that was just a few Corsola stuck together would make so much sense (as y’know, coral forms reefs and in fact the Pokédex says that Corsola forms reefs too) that it would be completely acceptable, and that’s a VERY easy thing to design. Also because those little shitbags Mareanie and Toxapex are nomming my poor little coral babies left and right nowadays, Corsola needs to quadruple in size and kick the crap out the bastards, they’re nowhere near as pleasingly designed either! Although as it can’t move it’s limbs like that it would probably jump on ‘em and squash ‘em like a cartoon anvil, but that’s better!
Technically this should include Mantyke and Mantine too shouldn’t it? Stupid Gen 4.
Remoraid really doesn’t like you looking at it does it? It wants you back off and STOP STARING. Not that I have any problem with an antisocial fish or for that matter an octazooka but this is one of the ‘I wish they’d kept the Beta designs’ evolutionary lines:
From the (of course) Space World ’97 demo, these just gets the concept Game Freak were going for across so much clearer, it’s quite plain in those two that it’s a gun that evolves into a tank, in the end they reduced the gun and tank elements so much that it just felt bloody strange that a remora fish (or a fish in general if you were one of those kids how didn’t know what a remora fish was) evolved into an octopus. I know I usually go on about how much I like abstracting and being less obvious but sometimes you can go too far and in this case that was the case.
Octillery is still a pretty nice cartoon octopus though, and it’s gimmick – yeah this is another Pokémon with a gimmick move set – is just lovely, it can learn EVERY beam in the game and just about every ‘firing’ style move (like Bullet Seed and Flamethrower) too - because it’s a tanktapus. That’s the kind of gimmick I can get behind because ultimately it’s less of a gimmick and more just complete and total theming, and I like theming, that’s why I like Disney World. It also (unlike most of this gen’s gimmick mons) means Octillery is pretty damn useful in-game, covering a lot of types - sure it won’t get STAB from the likes of Sludge Bomb, Hyper Beam and Flash Cannon but those moves will still be super effective and for taking out regular NPC trainer that’s often enough. And it’s fun to have a Water Type that knows fire moves.
Santa bird knows if you’ve been nice
If you have he’ll give you a pass
Santa bird knows if you’ve been naughty
And if you have he’ll bomb your ass
Another of Gen 2’s single stage gimmicks, in this case Delibird can only learn one move; ‘Present’ a present that either hurts or heals. I however am completely ok with this because in case you hadn’t guessed from my beautiful new Christmas Carol – Delbird’s gimmick is that it’s Pokémon Father Christmas and originally it was even going to have a santa hat:
That might have been a bit too on the nose, but as someone who likes Christmas and adores Penguins, a vaguely penguin-esque Santa bird is more than alright with me. Of course Delibird is useless in battle because it just knows one move it doesn’t even get a STAB boost from that has a chance of helping the opponent but not every Pokémon is created for the competitive metagame, some are created just to be Santa.
That said I’d love an evolution, turning Delibird into a badass Santa Bird would be amazing, sort of like a cross between Pingu and the Father Christmas from Rise of the Guardians.