‘Evolution Disappointment’ (my term, just made it up) seems to be something that most Pokémon fans suffer from every Generation and if you go by the internet they seem to suffer from it HARD, every generation half the Pokémon that’re revealed evolve into criminal offenses enacted upon their person by Game Freak –but I rarely ever have it. I’ve been following new Pokémon reveals since Generation 2 and I’m rarely unhappy with what the ‘mons morph into, in fact I find that evolutions often save a line from a stage 1 Pokémans that didn’t do much for me (examples in this generation alone include Pangoro, Chesnaught, Barbaracle and Florges). Even when I’m not as keen about the evolution as the prevolution (like, say, Meowstic) I’m rarely disappointed or angry, but it does happen every so often. Generation Six induced a LOT of Evolution Disappointment it seemed, with the Chespin, Fennekin and Spritzee lines being the worst causes. With Spritzee people seemed to agree with me that it was fantastic that this Fairy Type incorporated something as dark and objectively awesome as Plague Doctors in its design and most people seemed to feel, like me that it was a major disappointment that it turned into a pudgy, dumpy, fluffy little bird lady that drew influence from can-can dancers of all things that was only creepy in the sense that it was trying to be a bit sexy.
I was on-board with this as I say, I was hoping for something far spookier and far less fabulous but I’ve warmed to it in ways that many seem to have not. It’s not what I was hoping for yes but it’s a fairly sensible evolution for Spritzee, carrying over the mix of pink, fluffy and CREEEPY and drawing from cosmetics (not that you can really tell) keeps up the scent theme that was the source of the plague doctor elements as it was and I love the shape and swish of those ears, very pleasing. Really the worst thing about Aromatise is that Spritzee was revealed before it. I still don’t get the can-can/flamenco thing though…still it does evolve while holding a ‘Sachet’.
Continuing the theme of ‘my previous opinion can suck it’ I really didn’t like this twosome when it was revealed but now I completely forget why. They’re a little closer to Gen 3 than Gen 1 or 5 I suppose but if it had been in Gen 3 I would have been nice to it and rated it fairly high so I guess that doesn’t matter. If you check the 3D models below you’ll notice that Swirlix actually had adorable little kitty feet, I prefer it with its feet out, it makes the whole thing look like a demented reject form a 1980s cartoon, like Filmation wanted to put it in as a kid-appeal sidekick ala Orko or Snarf but thought better of it because it’s a strange thing that eats and shits sugar and is constantly on a sugar high. If you haven’t guessed, it’s basically a candy floss with a face and adorable kitty feet that’s a bit like a sheep. Slurpuff meanwhile is a dog that mated with a cheesecake, haS a tongue like a chameleon and apparently it’s fur is full of air so it’s like a big fluffy cake oh AND it’s a monster in battle. Why would I dislike these two?
Land squids. Land squids that can read your mind. Land squids that can read your mind and switch from adorable little flying creatures with an adorable light-up head to a carnivorous land squid that can control your mind, in fact controlling your mind is it’s go-to solution for anything, and at least one of them wants to take over the world.
Fuck me Inkay and Malamar are awesome. Dark – very dark, according to that always reliable Pokedex “there's an endless number of people who utilize Malamar for their nefarious deeds” yeesh – but awesome. Everything about them is just so unique feeling, a floating cute squid might not be too original but Inkay is the first Dark/Psychic type and will only evolve if you hold the Nintendo 3DS upside-down, and that is why Malamar looks like it does (Einstein as possessed by Cthulhu would be a good summation), it’s a squid up the other way! See:
It’s just such an unusual looking squid, an easy way to anthropomorphise a squid and a terrifying looking creature, all from just putting the squid up the other way to how they’re normally posed by humans (neither is ‘correct’, squids swim whichever way up they need to). Pair it with evil, evil eyes and bam! A fucking squid that seems like a bigger villain than most of the Legendaries and dragons. So simple, so effective, so fucking good.
Personal anecdote/bit of advice? Pancham only evolves when you have a Dark Type in your party so I trained Inkay and Pancham side-by-side, by the time I was half way through the game I had an evil squid and a street tough panda working side-by-side like Skeletor and Beast Man and covering Dark, Psychic and Fighting Types, it was fantastic.
For Mega Salamence see here
I was totally in the ‘fuck Biancle’ camp when it was revealed. I like barnacles just fine, as a kid with grandparents who owned a beach hut I’d be forced to spend far too many Saturdays in one my least favourite habitats – the beach – and barnacles would fascinate me as I killed time at Clacton-on-Sea (not Clacton, with its pier and shops and amusements and soft-serve ice-cream, no, Clacton-on-Sea, which is next door is windswept grassland with fuck all there). They’re basically crabs that stick to things with their own bodies and that’s neat but Barnacle’s irritating ‘puffed up cheeks and angry’ cartoon face and it’s slightly off proportions just irritated me, it fell into both the ‘expression-based design’ and ‘goofy design’ categories and if you haven’t noticed I hate both of those types of Pokémon designs. Seeing it in 3D and in the anime is what turned things around for me (as it often does) where you could see the angry little chaps were far more expressive and far less goofy than they looked in their official artwork. Also they turn into Voltron
When they evolve Biancle becomes a four-armed Megazord made up entirely of Biancle and their rocks, just that, no cheating, Biancle for arms, for legs, for a head, for a waist. Pokémon that combine are far from uncommon, they’ve been doing it since Magneton and Dugtrio but they’re rarely Combiners and when they are it always looks cool, blame it on being designed by artists raised in Japan where robots (and living things) that combine are just a common thing in pop culture, these guys know how to design a Combiner and Barbaracle is the meanest, coolest one yet - Barbaracle has a furious hand for head and evil eyes on its hands! it’s like it takes the coolest aspects of Voltron and M.U.S.C.L.E. and makes it out of Pokémon barnacles that fucking hate everything in the world and give it a move-pool themed solely around ruining your opponent’s ability to ever walk again – things like Sludge Wave, Hyper Beam, Shadow Claw, Ice Beam, Grass Knot, Liquidation, Surf – I don’t normally comment on move pools too much but Barbaracle’s is so filled with fuck-you-up moves and it’s such a nice fit for a thing that looks like it does that I felt compelled to.
I wasn’t looking forward to writing this because I cannot think of anything to say about these two other than ‘what a utterly solid pair of…are you getting that sense of déjà vu too?
But that’s what I think of them, they’re a great pair of Pokémon based on a great real-world animal that I have been fascinated by since my first trip to the SeaLife Centre at my beloved Southend-on-Sea with a great twist: turning them into the dead seaweed that you find dried out on the beach instead of the living kind that seadragons pose as and making them Poison types (Dragalge is Poison/Dragon in fact, the first of its kind) and they really got the flowing, waving look that seadragons have with Dragalge. So once again they’re utterly 5 ball ‘mons I just have very little elaboration or tangents or humour for them, they’re just good.
I had a bit more to say about these two, but then I realised that most of it was repetitions of ‘awesome’ over and over. See I like the ‘smaller thing with big appendage’ design as much as I dislike the ‘little thing clinging to a big thing’ design and ‘smaller thing with a big appendage’ is the very essence of this line. It starts small with Clauncher, who is really little more than a Pokémonized shrimp with slightly larger right claw, albeit one that has a distinctly trigger-like look to its pincer. It’s a very nice Pokémonized shrimp with very pleasing colours but not too much to get excited about. But then it’s slightly bigger claw gets turned up to 11. As in ‘three times the size of it’s body 11’ because Clawitzer has a bazooka claw that’s over three times the size of its body, in fact the gun arm is so fearsome it looks like a face. Here’s a design tip: want your claw or gun to look scary – make it look like a fucking armoured underwater dragon’s mouth. Clawitzer is just great, it’s so over the top and so badass, it’s even wearing a black mask! Nice segmented look of it too, this mix of shrimp and armour.
But do you want to know what’s even cooler than a Shrimp ‘mon with a giant bazooka arm?
This is a real thing.
Pistol Shrimps exist, in our world, and they really can fire Bubblebeam and Flamethrower
Sometimes being alive is good.