This is why I decided to rank the ‘mons individually, this exact Evolutionary Line was behind that decision.
Imagine this: you’re on a desert route, there’s sand everywhere, you’re a little pissed off because the sandstorm keeps buffeting your Pokémon and you haven’t got a Blissey or Bronzong or whatever, but you look across the sand there is a huge sand and stone coloured hippo swimming through the it, mouth open, huge valves on its back gushing more sand making you question it’s anatomy but almost making it look the ultimate Ground Type, it’s such a Ground Type it produces sand like waterfalls from it’s very body. and it looks great, it looks like it could have been Generation 1, all the superfluous markings and bullshit of Gens 3 and 4 are not there, it looks organic, it looks mean. Now hopefully you’d shit yourself but once you were done filling your trollies you’d appreciate how fucking awesome that thing is (and then catch it). That was Hippowdon, it is great - even though I still mispronounce its name as ‘hippodown’, I’m not dyslexic I’m just really stupid.
Hippopotas is one of my least favourite Pokémon designs, a little of it is the ‘un-designed body markings’ on its body though the colours help mask them, most of it is the fucking proportions of its fucking face: I get it, it’s an exaggeration of a hippo’s head, I get it – Japan responds well to this sort of ‘gonk’ design so the design team would have no reason to think bad of this this – but I hate it, it looks ridiculous, that gap, that gap between the nose and the eyes with the, the things, the things that I think are supposed to be ears but look little spikes of skin, the cartoon frog eyes, the size of the nose and eyes relative to the face and the body, it all just make me cross, I want to smash it with a rock.
Like Buizel & Floatzel I remember when these were revealed/leaked utterly HATING the two of them and doing so all through my first playthrough of Diamond & Pearl, like Buizel I now can’t imagine why though, maybe it was the eyes? They’re VERY Gen 3-4 those eyes.
Ok, let’s look at this a bit more in depth:
Type wise/in battle: they’re Poison so no problems there, lots of good status moves, and Drapion is Dark/Poison, very tasty.
Distribution wise: other than the fact that they were another new Pokémon found only one location there’s no problems there, they’re pretty standard Safari Zone Pokémon and no-one’s getting on Rhyhorn’s case for its distribution in its original games. They’re even right by the entrance to the Great Marsh (the Safari Zone of Gen 4)
Design then? Well, There’s a common complaint from Pokémon fans that newer Pokémon don’t look naturalistic, they look more like plastic toys and these two sure have that going for them but they’re scorpions and scorpions have fucking armour that looks plastic.
Of the two Drapion is my preference, it’s so… freaky, it looks like what Tim Burton would design if he was tasked with coming up with a Pokémon, like a monster made of killer jack-in the-boxes coming to slowly kill all your Psychic Types, it’s anatomy is a little heard to figure out and ‘see’ the right way ‘round – what you’re seeing is a four legged animal with a long neck and a head with pincers hanging off the sides (as scorpions pincers really are attacked to their face) but it’s just as easy to see it as a six-legged creature with no neck and a long accordion waist, I’m not knocking this though, it makes the whole thing weirder, I’m good with it. given the choice I would probably have removed whatever the fuck those things are in Drapion’s mouth, just because they confuse me, how does Drapion close its mouth unless they fold like paper? And if they do fold like paper then theyr’e a bit crap aren’t they? On that, both of these really remind me of folded paper or card, like on paper plate doll or streams and that’s one of those things I have a weird affection for.
It can’t have just been the eyes, surely?
I’m never going to beat Bogleech’s description of Toxicroak as ‘a frog of pure murder’, not in this review, not in in any review. These were the first Gen 4 Pokémon I saw revealed/leaked where I thought ‘yeah, as designs these are as good as Gen 1 & 2’ which is odd because they are in fact very heavy in the markings and you could, at a push, call Toxicroak ‘busy’ with all that black piping going on. I think why this wasn’t and still isn’t a problem for me is because frogs actually look like that (Poison Arrow Frogs apparently, I’ve never done a lot of research into frogs because I’m insanely phobic of them) so it doesn’t look ‘wrong’ or ‘off’ and the busyness of Toxicroak doesn’t really notice, sort of like how the outfits in Tron 2.0 are in fact very busy but it’s fine because we expect that of Tron costumes, but when you put it on say, everyone in the Justice League or the Weather Trio it looks really weird and far too busy an detailed.
Anyway these two are wicked, if Napoleon Dynamite was a pervert and then a Frog he’s look like Croagunk and I like this immensely, and it also means that Game Freak end doing a better job of making ‘Napoleon Dynamite as a frog’ than the Ninja Turtles did when they had Napoleon Dynamite to make nito a frog and were trying to that, another reason to hate that version of Napoleon Bonafrog – nice. They’re sort of the opposite of Skorupi and Drapion aren’t they? I mean they look very naturalistic and a lot closer to the Gen 1-2 style, I liked them from the start and, ah, Tim Burton would never have designed them this way – Sometimes I say things without thinking them through.
You can tell I don’t have much to say about these because I spent more words critiquing Superheroes and TMNT Reboots than I did the actual Pokémon. They could really only be cooler if they were overtly ninjas - oh, wait…
I’m not sure about Carnivine, I want to like it because I like Venus Fly Traps (and Little Shop of Horrors) but I just don’t all that much. it just leaves me cold, it’s not a BAD design at all, though it is very Klasky Csupo and it is a fun and quite unusual way to anthropomorphise a Venus Fly Trap and looks like it’s completely insane, that’s something that usually endears a thing to me but nope, it’s thoroughly in the 3 out of 5 ‘I just don’t’ care’ camp, sorry Carnivine. I’d love you for you to get an evolution or a Mega Evolution though, especially the latter, I think you’d really benefit from the boost in profile and stats it’d bring you and it might make me care a bit more. Or maybe If you were voiced by one of the Four Tops…
God these came out well didn’t they? Of the ‘common fish’ for each region these are probably my favourite, yes even more than FUCK YEAH SEAKING. They’re just exactly what this sort of fish look like as Pokémon with some cool references to butterflies mixed in, the colour are gorgeous, the markings all work for me, this is going to be a very short section. Sure they’re not the best in battle, nor the most noteworthy Pokémon in general and nowhere near my top 25 but they’re just so pleasing to look at and such a satisfying execution of the concept… I keep staring at Lumineon official art…
For Mantyke go here
No longer looking at the Finneon line feels like I’ve just woken up
And look what I’ve woken up to! Yeti Christmas Trees! That’s the best type of Christmas Tree ever and Christmas Trees are the best type of trees ever! Yep we’re back on the Dwitefry Super Enthusiastic Hype Train because this is another one of my favourite evolutionary lines in the whole series. Both stages and the Mega are pretty much perfect. Snover is just a super adorable little tree but one that doesn’t immediately shout ‘tree’ at you, in fact I do wonder how many people would know it was supposed to be tree with snow on top and bark at the bottom and that is to be commended, I don’t mind obvious inspirations in fat sometimes (like with Vanilluxe) I think it makes them funner but if it’s an alien creature you really should get praise for obscuring the influences.
Abomasnow is a tree yeti, lets unpack that - it’s a tree mixed with a yeti
that’s a Grass/Ice type, could there be a better way of doing that typing?
FUKCING ICE YETI! MY GOD! Now I was completely happy with Abomasnow as an
execution of the term ICE YETI, but then, then, THEN….
Mega Abomasnow happened, kicked Abomasnow in the pinecones and said ‘no son, this is how you do it’ (or more likely ‘RRRAAAGH’), look at it! it’s detailed without losing that general Pokémon style to one closer to the likes of Digimon or Yu-Gi-Oh and it looks fucking furious, it doesn’t just have resting pissed off face it has resting pissed off body and it looks like an angry tree, how do you do that? How do you design something that looks perfectly like an angry tree? Talent? Luck? Herbology? How?? and then they decided to give it big icicle spikes that…I’m not sure what the point of them is actually but who cares, ICICLE SPIKES
On a more serious (business) note: a lot of people shat on this line early on because it’s Grass/Ice typing means that it has a whopping 7 weaknesses. However competitive players figured out that the line was actually of great use to them, it can summon instant hail (which is useful, just go with it) and many of the Types its weak against aren’t common in competitive play while many of the (few) Types it resists (like Water, Electric and Ground) are. Now I don’t play competitively but this is important because it legitimized the line and made it far easier for me to be enthusiastic about it (which I liked purely on design and concept) after a period of getting looked at like I was mad for liking a Pokémon that was so ‘obviously’ shit because it had 7 weaknesses.
For Weavile go here
For Magnezone go here
For Lickilicky go here
For Rhyperior go here
For Tangrowth go here
For Electivire go here
For Magmortar go here
For Togekiss go here
For Yanmega go here
For Leafeon and Galceon go here
For Gliscor go here
For Mamoswine go here
For Porygon-Z go here
For Gallade go here
For Probopass go here
For Dusknoir go here
For Froslass go here