Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Quick Crappy Pokemon Reviews: Generation 1 Part 8 - Magnemite Line to Grimer Line

Magnetite is a thing, it’s a magnetic mineral, somehow I have gone my whole life not knowing this.
AN-EEE-Way: there are many ways to execute a ‘magnet creature’ and many of them are not very original, Magnemite is very original. It still has the obvious stereotypical magnets so you can be forgiven for thinking I’m talking shit BUT those typical magnets are connected by…a cycloptic sphere. Would YOU have come up with ‘one eyed orb’ in association with ‘magnets’?  Exactly. It’s also a case where you can genuinely get away with an evolution that’s just more of the first thing joined together, because it ties perfectly into the magnet theme. As a magnet creature grows stronger it becomes a stronger magnet and they attach into a nice Triforce. Makes complete sense, and then as they grow stronger they become so strong they meld together and what do they melt into: A FUCKING UFO! Magenton makes sense, Magnezone is just plain awesome. It was something I never knew I wanted but always needed in my life – the ability to use a living flying saucer to electrocute weaponised birds and turtles. It’s the sort of ‘awesome logic’ that creative types need to always use, the ability to create an appropriately awesome pay off is a skill in and of itself and Magnezone is a success in this department, the exact sort of success that Lickilicky lacks.
Also, some fun facts: Magnemite was the first Pokémon to have its typing changed between generations (growing a Steel typing in Gen 2) and Magnemite has been in every generation’s Pokédex. 

It’s Dux!
Farfetch’d was a great gag in Red & Blue - an exceptionally rare Pokémon (because everyone keeps eating it, it’s not Farfetch’d fault it’s so delicious!) that you have to get from an NPC which is usually a sign of something special but what do you actually get? Something that’s completely worthless! Even it’s nickname (Dux) is crap. It’s good joke, especially as it really teaches kids to not expect something for nothing (you trade a Spearow for Dux) and it’s a great choice for this joke (it’s a fairly early ‘mon so I lean towards it been given the use rather than created for it), being based on the phrase “Kamo ga negi wo shotte kuru” which means ‘a duck comes bearing green onions’ (which would be very handy as you need the green onions to make a good duck stew in Japan) but is used roughly the same as ‘along comes a sucker just begging to be parted from his money’ and that’s what you were, you were a sucker who gave up a Spearow, a common but useful Pokemon for a Farfetch’d, a rare but worthless short-arse. And it looks like such a loser, it’s this short, ugly brown thing with a unibrow and a vegetable for a main form of offense! It’s so loveable.
But this was the mid-1990s and Farfetch’d is still crap, it’s Ludisc levels pathetic competitively and I’m torn: on the one hand I never want it to change because if it ever stopped being so naff the whole point of Farfetch’d would be lost but on the other hand if it never stops being so naff then it’ll never be anything more than good joke told one really good that we all now know off by heart and it’ll neve actualy be as cool as I think it is – because it’s a little bird who uses a leak like a sword, it’s a tiny tasty samurai that really wants to fuck you up so giving it the ability to do so would be quite nice. I dunno, maybe Mega Evolution is the key, it could allow it to be become TEMPORARILY badass without spoiling anything for the most part?

Madaamu. This must have been really galling for all those people who want a Farfetch’d evo, all those fan artists who put their own fanmade Farfetch’d evolution into their fan Pokedexes and fan games, too see that they were RIGHT and they were right as early as somewhere before Yellow came out. They must have felt the way I feel when I saw Tabaan. Vindicated by utterly gutted. Dux was gonna grow into a beautiful swan! A masquerade ball inspired sexay critter! The Tuxedo Mask of the Pokémon world! Thank god we didn’t get this. I’ve never wanted Farfetch’d to evolve, if anything would take away what makes Farfetch’d so loveable it would be giving it a badass evolution that permanently takes away it’s whole concept by making it permanently cool. I quite like Madaamu as a design though, I much prefer it to Swanna, the idea of masquerade elements on a swan is a great idea, especially as they are only playing at being elegant beauties – swans are dicks.
Note: some people see a goose, not a swan and the fan art used here colours it brown accordingly, my point is good either way though: Geese look pretty nice but they’re even bigger dicks than swans.

I was really enjoying how much I had to say about these lines, given that I was worried I would have very little to fill Gen 1 segments up with, and now these two lines are here to ruin all that.
Duduo and Dodrio are amongst the Pokémon I always forget exist, I have no strong feelings either way for them, Doduo is a cute two headed kiwi-ostrich thing (with a neck that REALLY looks like liquorice) that evolves logically and satisfyingly into a badass THREE headed ostrich thing, everything is fine here.

Hinaazu. I do have slightly stronger feelings about the never-used Baby Pokémon Doduo was set to get in Gold & Silver. Because it’s number of heads make no sense, why would a species go from three heads, down to two, back to three again? Why would it downgrade midway through its evolution? Its bollocks is what it is, evolutionary bolllocks and they were right to scrap it. It’s a shame because if this had two heads instead of three, I’d really like it, I love the stylized squared off fluff and the adorable baby bird head(s) that would have continued the line’s weird defining feature of having radically different head designs at every evolutionary stage.

Well at least I never forget Seel and Dewgong exist, but that might be more to do with the fact that I just love the word ‘Dugong’ (note: Dewgong is as much a manatee as I am, in fact I’m closer in shape to a manatee than Dewgong, it was clearly just too good a water pun for the English translation team to pass up on, or said team just didn’t know anything about animals, Pidgey isn’t remotely pigeon-like now is it? Not that this really matters mind you as these aren’t supposed to be dugongs, seals or anything else, they’re unique animals from another reality that sometimes share characteristics with animals from ours).
These two seem to be among the ‘all the girls go ‘awww’ over it’ selection of Pokémon and they are cute, but I’m glad that Game Freak decided to not lose the seal and sea lion’s dopeyness when making them so adorable. Seel and Dewgong are deceptively ugly-cute when you look at them and I’m just fine with that. Regardless of how meh I am on these two though, Seel is definitely an improvement over the scruffy Real Monster it started out as:


As far as I’m concerned If any Pokémon can get away with just evolving into a bigger version of itself - because the difference between Grimer and Muk is the size and the amount of pain it appears to be in – it’s Grimer. It’s just so logical to me, how else would a living pile of shit, sludge, toxic waste and oil evolve that by absorbing more shit, sludge, toxic aste and oil and what else would it evolve into but a bigger pollution problem, a bigger pile of shit, sludge etc etc. pollution spreads, oil slicks spread, puddles become lakes, Grimer becomes Muk. Totally sensible and totally excuses what could be considered somewhat uncreative.  
I was convinced I remembered an episode of the Pokemon anime with a giant Muk and it was that that got me to like it, either I’m completely misremembering the episode ‘Sparks Fly For Magnemite’ and mixing it up with either the giant Tentacruel that WAS in the anime or the giant Haunter from the Electric Tale of Pikachu manga (or both) or the Mandela Effect is real. Ha ha I’m just kidding, not nowhere near arrogant enough to believe the Mandela effect is real.  Anyway it was Muk in the naime tah sealed the deal for it being a favourite of mine, I’m already drawn to giant piles of sentient sludge as a rule and my poor overworked Mega Drive could tell you (it had to play The Ooze so often, still I’m sure it was glad to get a break from Sonic 2 and Ristar) and Muk being basically The Blob but a Pokémon with all the unstoppable and horrific qualities but yet be able to be my friend and pet, but it’s use as the ace in the hole during the first Pokémon League where it completely humiliated that fucking Bellsprout from hell, that was what sealed the deal.
Grimer’s ok too, keeping up with our history lessons Grimer was another one of the original 31 and was just the standard slime creature that populate most RPGs before he became an adorable blank eyed comment on pollution in Japan, but other than ‘adorable pile of slime’ I don’t have much else to say about it, damn.
So let’s talk about the Alolan Forms!
While I don’t prefer them to the orignals, because I think the purple gets across their concept - poisoning sludge – perfectly, and because the Alolan Grime and Muk eat my beloved Trubbish (bastards), how could I not love a rainbow Muk made of melting plastics and other such human waste products? I do wonder though – did they choose to make these regional variants stripy because everyone assumes that Grimer & Muk are stripy? Because their regular versions aren’t stripy, that’s just shading for their gloop, I do think they might have gone ‘well everyone thinks they’re stripy so let’s just make ‘em stripy’ and thus rainbow Muk, fine by me. Alolan Grimer could have done with more rainbow in it I think, as is its little more than a repaint with some gross teeth. 

Betobebii. I like Grimer’s scrapped Baby Pokémon because it makes just as much as sense as Muck, of course Grimer would start off as small (adorable) puddle of crap before becoming a larger pile of shit, this is completely sensible. Of all the cut Baby ‘mons this is the one I’d’ve liked to have seen make it to the final – I’d’ve readily taken Betobebii over Smoochum and Igglybuff (Jigglypuff looks young enough if you ask me) and much prefer it to every post-Gen 3 Baby ‘mon (except maybe Bonsly) and it makes more sense than all of ‘em (except maybe Bonsly).


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