Thursday, 14 March 2019

Quick Crappy Pokemon Reviews: Generation 2 Part 6 - Gligar line to Sneasel line

The name ‘Gligar’ is apparently derived from ‘glide’ and ‘gargoyle’ so that means Gligar’s a gargoyle right? Or at least a grotesque which everyone calls a gargoyle right? Well, no, it means the English name is based on the word ‘gargoyle’, do I have to bring up Pidgey again? Pidgey is in no way a pigeon and it’s not alone, the English translation team has no idea what animals are what, even if they’re not (with apologies to the Manhattan Clan) real animals.
While I like the idea of it being a literal take on the scorpion fly (it’s a literal flying scorpion) I’m of the opinion that Gligar is just ‘a thing’, but what a wonderful thing it is and most importantly – IT LOOKS LIKE IT HAS LITTLE SHOES! LOOK AT IT’S LITTLE SHOOES! LIKE LITTLE SONIC SHOOOOES!
I hated Gliscor as much as Yanmega when it debuted but looking back at it now, I have no idea what I was thinking. It’s just a bigger, badder, scarier ‘a thing’ that looks and feels like Gligar grew up into its final form – a nightmare. I think it might have been the switch from cute to nightmarish again, Gligar looks mischievous but ultimately not monstrous (despite the fact that it clings to faces and stabs them) like a cartoon sidekick – the sort of thing Filmation, Disney or DiC would have given the main villain to take the edge off, the likes of Beastly, Imp or Bartok – or one of those loveable looser villains like Coconuts or Impmon. They’re a villain but they’re not THAT villainous. Gliscor is villainous, Gliscor is No Heart. Or maybe it’s just how Suigmori draws it, which is an odd thing to say given that I have a Suigmori shrine, he draws Gliscor very flat all the time and it doesn’t help the design, seeing it 3D (as you will in a tick when we get to the scores) does wonders for its face, tail and chest. All in all Gliscor is the type of evolution I’d wish they’d given Scyther instead of turning the lizardmantis into a Sentai show.

See how much better Gliscor looks in 3D?

 for Steelix go here

Snubbull was a big deal, it was one of the earlier Gen 2 reveals, it was a PokéGod (as Bruno) and it was one the most prominently featured ‘preview’ Pokémon for the generation, making it's debut in the Pikachu’s Vacation short that was shown with the first movie, which was a massive event.
I don’t like it.
I never have.
The head is fine I guess, I like the ears that look a bit like bunches, that’s cute, it’s everything below the waist, the skirt and clown collar and random peach feet, it’s all so awkward looking. It’s very obvious looking, it’s…just no…it just don’t work for me as an overall (or a dress). I think it might just be because it’s (I think) supposed to be a joke (ha ha, ugly thing that’s feminine) that works for a certain sense of humour, one that I don’t have.
Granbull on the other hand, I have no strong feelings for either way, it’s a fair enough bug purple angry dog thing, again I quite like the head on it (shhh), an unusual way of doing a stylised bulldog.

As we’ll see in a minute, Qwilfish was supposed to get an evolution and I don’t like it as design so much but why did they cut it? Gane Freak clearly don’t’ have the same tastes as me and there’s nothing particularly WRONG with Shibirefugu compared to what did make it in and what would make it into later generations and (not wanted to repeat Bogleech heer but) Qwilfish really feels like a first stage of a line rather than a stand-alone creature (like, say, Stantler, Smeargle or Girafarig), it feels like it’s missing it’s evolution and has the stats to reflect it.
I like Qwilfish but I don’t have much more to say about, it’s a cool little cartoon blowfish and looks grumpy all the time, which is how I feel and how I’d definitely feel if I was a puffer fish who’d had my evolution unfairly scrapped.

Yeah so I don’t think much of Shibirefugu as a design - very Klasky Csupo meets Japanese comedy character which isn’t my thing style-wise at all. But mostly it just feels weird coming from Qwilfish; It’s a strangely cute and utterly derpy looing thing to evolve from the such tough looking little critter. Maybe it mellowed with age? Or had a serious head injury during evolution? Still shouldn’t have cut it though.

for Scizor go here

What’s Shuckle?
Awesome and adorable all day long!
In other words I don’t know, no one knows, it’s a thing, but an adorable and wonderful little thing with so much personality. I don’t think I’d want to own one though: I imagine those weird little noodle limbs feel horrible and I wouldn’t want to associate Shuckle with feeling sick, it’s just to likeable, I’d have a guilt complex.
I just…just…it’s Shuckle! Shuckle is great, it’s a weird turtle bug worm thing and the ultimate wall in Pokémon with it’s unholy Defence and Special Defence stats, this thing isn’t bomb proof it’s meteorite-that-killed-the-dinosaurs proof, it’s not the murder machine that Wobbuffet is mind, it’s just incredibly tough and with a move set that can make it tougher or drag out battles even longer, it has a whole bunch of competitive uses too. So yeah it’s another of Gen II’s single-stage gimmick Pokémon but one that’s very useful and very weird and lovable and very visually pleasant and very original and I just heart it to death.

In Japanese culture stag beetles and hercules beetles are mortal enemies, so it makes sense to me that when we got a Pokémon Hercules beetle to be a rival/counterpart for Pinsir it was similar yet kind of the complete opposite. Gen 2 is generally a cuter, softer generation for Pokémon but here’s my thinking: Pinsir looks like will stab you and eat you, so it makes sense for its opposite number looks like it will lend you it’s lawnmower and not pressure you to return it no matter how long it’s lawn gets. Heracross just looks so friendly, and it also makes sense that you have rivals wit opposite modes of attack – Pinsir is stabby, Heracross is blunt force. Hell it even makes sense that they’re such different colours, Pinsir is every shade of cack, a palette befitting a nasty little beetle, while Heracross is a lovely blue, a shade befitting a friendly chap, one says ‘stay away’, the other says ‘hugs are fine’.
I’m sure I’m reading too much into this, I think if you’re tasked to review things that are on the surface quite simple you turn weird at some point and over-analyse everything.
It’s also nice to see that Game Freak gave both sides of the rivalry Mega Evolutions in Gen 6, keeping it fair and playing off the ‘equivalent’s thing. I can’t say I really like Mega Heracross’ face, it makes it look like an old man but everywhere else it’s all good, it’s big, it’s over the top, it reminds me of Kyogre and – again probably accidentally – it looks like it Mega Evolves into a form that can counter-act Mega Pinsir by growing a massive spike to stick the flying fucker with. If you can’t fly, you might as well develop something horrible for your flying enemy to fly into at high speed, right?

I got really confused for a minute, I was sure that Sneasel and Murkrow were version counterparts, they certainly feel like version counterparts, both having started off at single-stage Dark Types, one badass, one scruffy - but they weren’t version counterparts in Gold & Silver. I was just about to write more lines taking the piss out of the Mandela effect when I found that they were version counterparts in FireRed & LeafGreen not Gold & Silver.  I feel better now. Oh, version counterparts - as I’ve manged to completely avoid talking about that subject so far and so some might be confused - are simply two similar sets of ‘mons, one of which is exclusive to each of the two versions of each game (so in this case Murkrow was only catchable in Pokémon FireRed Version and Sneasel only catchable in Pokémon LeafGreen Version).
Anyway, Sneasel and Weaville. They’re alright, Sneasel’s appeal, to me, lies in the fact that it’s very much an original design, if told ‘it’s a weasel’ you can see it (even though it’s technically based on the weasel-like yokai Kamaitachi) but it’s not just a cartoon weasel, so imagine my surprise when the Space World Demo revealed the proto-Sneasel was this thing:

Now that is, admittedly, more like how the Kamaitachi is usually depicted (and indeed, more like a weasel) but look how boring it is compared to the black cat-weasel with the funny haircut we got in the end, it should act as a good illustration of why being more original and less obviously a cartoon animal is considered preferable by some fans (including, often, myself), Sneasel is cool, Proto-Sneasel is boring, Weaville’s alright. I remember it as the least memorable (work that out) of the Gen 4 evolutions; it looks like Sneasel has evolved into an improvement on it’s former self (even though I think I prefer Sneasel) – more claws, symmetrical ears, a headdress looking tging instead of looking like it has a silly haircut and so on and looks suitably cool, and it’s hard to look cool wearing  a headdress so good on it.


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