Monday, 18 February 2019

Quick Crappy Pokemon Reviews: Generation 1 Part 5 - Diglett Line to Growlithe Line

I can’t decide.
I can’t decide if I want to know what they look like below ground, of if knowing would ruin my life.
We do have a semi-cannon ‘Word of God’ answer but sadly that answer is ‘dunno really’:

Anyway, Diglett is a Whac-a-Mole. I can’t believe it took until I read Bogleech’s reviews for me to get that, do you know how much time, money and skin I’ve wasted playing Whack-a-Mole and it’s many variants (I think I like the Cosmo & The Gang, Crocodile and Pac-Man variants the best btw), it’s so obvious and there was even a precedent! Meowth is just a Lucky Cat made flesh, Diglett is just a Whac-A-Mole mole made flesh! I’m a fool and yes it did make me like Diglett even more. Before I mostly just liked it cos it sang its own Digletty version of Hi Ho and knew Dig, and Dig and Fly’s ‘opponent misses a turn’ feature are often a godsend in vs. CPU battles.
Not a big Dugtrio fan though, I do like it more after knowing this “Dugtrio are actually triplets that emerged from one body. As a result, each triplet thinks exactly like the other two triplets. They work cooperatively to burrow endlessly.” Which means that it isn’t in fact just three Dugtrios together but a three headed creature ala Dodrio or Hydregion but I still don’t get it, I get why Magneton and Klinklank are just more of the something jointed together, that makes sense, but are Moles known to travel in trios? Is there some obscure Japanese legend or saying or fictional character or brand logo that’s three moles? Did Ken Sugimori’s local arcade only have a broken Whac-A-Mole which only allowed three of the little buggers to pop up? I don’t get it. It is pretty amusing I’ll grant you, the funny mole thing just becomes three funny mole things, tittersome, but I can’t help but feel that Diglett deserved more.
And then there’s the Alolan forms, and just thinking about them makes me smile. Diglett and Dugtrio were already completely funny to look at, so what do they get for their regional variant? Hair! It’s so funny to look at, them popping out of their holes with their luscious locks, just outstanding. And it has a whole argument to back up the comedy – it’s based on Pele’s Hair (nothing to do with the footballer), which is made from volcanos, these are ground types, makes perfect sense that they’d get some Pele’s Hair on ‘em, so not only is a Dugtrio in a wig a laugh riot, it has a basis in real world geology that is a massive middle finger to the haters

I am so sick of getting cats in each new generation of Pokémon and Meowth and Persian are exactly why.
“What?” You’d say if you existed and cared “Why would that be?”
Well, the answer is simple – Game Freak got it right first time, they gave us a flesh and blood maneki neko which is a great concept for a cat character and this perfect mix of house cat and jungle cat and then made the first one an integral part of their long-running and very popular anime, meaning that Meowth became an integral part in childhoods. EVERYone likes Meowth from Team Rock, everyone, hell everyone who meets him apparently likes Meowth’s VOICE ACTOR, Meowth is fire-proof as he should well be, he was an adorable trier, a lovable scallywag and made of sheer determination, and a complete little shit.
That’s as good as you’re gonna get GameFreak, if you’re not gonna do it as good or better, or use the concept to do other things (like with the PIkaclones) and instead are just gonan turn out ‘different kinds of cats with different kinds of typing’, none of which can match Meowth and Persian’s designs then don’t fucking bother lads.
And the thing is, you knew this, you canned a Meowth prevolution and Gen 2’s proposed ‘regional cats’ between the Space World Demo and final release, you must have been aware of this once!
Oh yeah, Alolan Forms. Well given that I’ve repeatedly dismissed all post-Gen 1 cats and inferior you should be able to guess my views on these. Alolan Meowth is… ok, probably because it hasn’t really been changed too much, it’s just been fancied up to reflect its new pampered theme and given a darker colour scheme to reflect its new Dark typing (apparently housecats are bad for local fauna and flora when taken to islands like Hawaii), I heard someone call it ‘Classy Gay Meowth’ at a convention and I like that. Alolan Persian looks silly, yes I know it’s based on a real cat but just because it has a basis in reality doesn’t mean it doesn’t look silly. Now it may have been MEANT to look silly but either way - just like Alolan Ratticate - it’s taking something badass and making it comical and as we’ve established, I fucking hate that shit and don’t see it as an improvement. 

Meowth was gonna get a Baby Pokémon, Koonya. NOW IN THAT NAME’S DEFENSE it’s supposed to be a portmanteau of ‘koo’ and ‘nya’ (baby and meow) and I’m sure no-one noticed that it had a racial slur in it. Anyway that isn’t what it’d been called in the West anyway, it’d probably have been Kidty or Purrby or something. Like most Baby Pokémon it’s cute but meh and like all Post-Gen 1 cats it’s nowhere near as good as Meowth or Persian.

You know this whole argument that Psyduck and Golduck are Platypus vs them being ducks? They’re Kappa.
I mean they’re VERY abstracted Kappa but they’re Kappa. Created alongside Drowzee, Golem, Magmar and Electabuzz (Baku, Golem, Karura and Oni respectively) they’re from a whole set of element + myth creations, they’re kappa.
Well of course they’re not Kappa, they’re Pokémon, but they’re more Kappa than either Duck or Platypus but y'know.
Anyway no-on dislikes Psyduck, the poor sod of Gen 1, even if you didn’t feel sorry for it reading it’s Pokedexs (it’s too powerful, it gives itself headaches and too damn stupid to know what it’s powers are when they do go off) the anime made it something everyone wanted to mother and everyone wanted to pal around with. I’m not rocking he boat, Psyduck’s great.
I’m not averse to a Golduck either, he does loose everything that Psyduck used to charm us but Psyduck’s horrible existence and butt monkey status always makes me, well, relieved when it turns into Ninja Kappa and very pleased for it, it’s happy now, it’s a badass, it’s powers are under control, it includes the best elements of Darkwing Duck and The Vision. You deserve this Psyduck, you deserve to be Golduck.

‘Primeape Goes Bananas’ was the first episode of the Pokémon anime I saw (which is a bit late to the party really, that’s episode 25) and it was love at first sight. As a kid I’d take any character with anger management issues into my heart because, well, I had anger management issues – I don’t now, but I did then – so any character that had ‘a temper’ I’d over-identify with. Raphael is my favourite Turlte, Jab is my favourite Street Shark and I fucking adored Primape on sight. However divorced from my childhood issues Primeape – a ball of uncontained rage and fluff with a constantly throbbing head vein and a psychological need to beat the living shit out everything in sight - is a great idea for a Fighting Type, it’s the ‘hot blooded’ anime character archetype in monster form, a form that is nothing but angry fur, angry eyes and hands like boxing gloves.
I love things are primarily balls of fluff by the way – Tribbles, Pigmy Puffs, Gnarlies, Popples, whatever – I just think things become more appealing the rounder and fluffier they become. If they also want to, say, beat me into a bloody stump in a fit of violent rage then all the better. So I also like Mankey, not as much as Primape but quite a bit, he’s a great type of abstraction of a design that isn’t used enough in Pokémon anymore, you can clearly tell what he’s supposed to be (a monkey) without him looking like a Care Bear Cousin. Now I like Care Bear Cousins and I have no issues with recognisable Pokémon (say, for this subject Infernape or Oranguru) per say but it is nicer when you have a more abstracted and thus more original feeling creature when you’re supposed to be looking at unique species that share traits with real world animals and not real world animals drawn in a particular style. More fitting and more creative I find.
I thought for ages it was a bit of a downgrade that Primeape lost it’s tail, but thinking about it again for this segment it actually makes a lot of sense – Primeape no longer needs to be in the trees (and thus move through them, which tails help with) because it no longer neds to hide from threats, it just punches the threats until they die. It has evolved beyond it’s need for a tail – into a lunatic.
I will also just point out that 'manky' in the UK means 'rotten' or 'digusting' - holy shit a Poison/Fighting regional form for Mankey & Primeape! make it so Game Freak! (I genuinely just thought of that)

Growlithe’s front and back paws don’t match, I am genuinely seeing this for the first time.
Anyway, staying on the top of feet – ARCANINE HAD HOOVES ONCE!:

It started out as a Kirin (or Qilin) – a East Asian Chimera. You know Discord from My Little Pony? That. Which would explain why, while definitely canine, Arcanine doesn’t really look like anything exactly, including the things that it’s generally said to be based on (Komainu, Shisa or what ignorant Westerners call ‘Lion Dogs’ and ‘Foo Dogs’), because it’s one mythical beast redesigned and redesigned with others thrown in as they went. I feel more satisfied knowing that.
Anyway I want to hug an Arcanine, these things are taller than a human on all fours and SO FLUFFY! It would be so fun to hug. Obviously there is some danger in hugging a six foot tall fire breathing dog thing but Trainers’ Arcanine always seem to be pretty tame, so if I raised one and - by god would I raise a Growlithe if I could because they’re just so adorable and turn into six foot tall things that are both cute AND masculine, the Pokémon equivalent of Yorkie Bars I guess – it would let me hug it I think.
So yeah, not Gold Six uber-enthusiastic favourites of mine but one of the Pokemon I’d most like to own in real life although… how big is a pooper scooper would you need for an Arcanine? Would it need to be inflammable? Should I just get a snow shovel?

Pudi. Pretty much every unique Pokemon getting cut between the Space World Demo and final Gen 2 games was a terrible shame, pretty much every Baby Pokemon getting cut was a boon to whatever evolutionary line it was going to be tacked onto. Pudi is crap, it’s just a very standard cartoon dog meant to join a set of two very nonstandard cartoon canine-like animals which would have done nothing but bring the ‘Overall’ score for the Growlithe line down a couple of ‘balls. It wasn’t needed, it wasn’t anywhere near as well designed as Growlithe or Arcanine, it belongs on the cutting room floor. I do like the name ‘Pudi’ though, it sounds really cute and round, Game Freak should recycle this for a little Darumaka type thing.


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