Saturday, 16 March 2019

Quick Crappy Pokemon Reviews: Generation 2 Part 10 - Larvitar line to Celebi

There is a fan theory that Tyranitar is the final version of one of the original 31 Pokémon, ‘No. 1’ sometimes nicknamed Gyarth and a later cut Pokémon called Gyaoon:

I’ve been quite sceptical of this in the past but looking at them now I can see why you’d think this and even why this could be true, the stomach, head and legs all bare an uncanny resemblance, and both are based at least partly on Godzilla. However I do have the niggling thing at the back of my (tiny) brain and that niggling thing is this sentence “yeah but that’s just how Sugimori draws armoured Kaiju”.  So until someone from the design team confirms it, consider me fully agnostic on the whole Tyranitar is Gyaoon issue.
Onto an actual review…meh, Tyranitar is flat-out awesome, I get that, I see that, I’ve used one on my teams, it’s a Dark Type Godzilla, other than the fact that it’s tail looks suspiciously like a cartoon ear of corn (don’t tell me you can’t see that shit) there’s nothing that comes remotely close to ruining it’s utter kickassery but…I dunno… I like it’s evolutionary concept, in fact I think it does the Nidos gag better than they do, with this cute (but feisty) little critter who enters a pupal stage and comes out of it a monster, it’s basically the Godzilla equivalent of a Mogwai…and the idea of a Pseudo-Legendary cocoon stage is just too cool, a subversion of the usually useless cocoon ‘mons so early in the franchise (I think I like Pupitar the best of the three actually, it’s mean cocoon, not quite as cool as Kakuna but it certainly looks far more psychopathic, as it should I think and it being a midvolution that randomly changes colour makes a bit more sense, it’s a casing, not a random pink sheep, a casing can be any colour it likes)…in case you haven’t guessed I’m trying to psyche myself up about these three, because I KNOW they’re cool and I KNOW they’re popular and I can absolute get why but that’s just the issue, I’ve always lacked enthusiasm for them, the same enthusiasm I have for the likes of Charizard, Aggron or even Volcarona SHOULD be here, but it isn’t. I have no idea why.
Oh and Mega Tyranitar is a thing, it’s over the top in all the best ways, really taking in the design of the most over the top powered-up or mutated (or merged, or all three) of Kaiju, especially the more modern suits with higher detail (see the last few decades of Godzilla movies, for instance). With it’s skull face and knee spikes and a tail that….it looks even more like an ear of corn! How has no-one notice this?!?

For a long time Lugia was my favourite Pokémon, it wasn’t until I started doing these reviews that I realised this was no longer the case. It actually depressed me, I felt like I’d betrayed Lugia’s trust. Oh it’s still getting a good score, don’t you worry, it’s a fantastic ‘nothing in particular’ design that looks like nothing except something very powerful, which really more Legendary Pokémon should be (this is perhaps why I rate Girantina so high), it conveys the idea of a very powerful flying beast rather than being obviously based on a powerful flying beast, and it’s colours are lovely! It feels very seaside - which is great considering it lives in a sea cave - but it doesn’t have a quant feel, it doesn’t feel like a beach hut or sandcastle or other nice trips to Clacton with the kids, it’s more like a really pissed off cruise liner from beyond the clouds. And Shadow Lugia (as we’re reviewing all forms too) is just fucking awesome, its colours are inverted and become even more visually pleasing and it becomes the very shadowiest of Shadow Pokémon (Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness is a fantastic spin-off game by the way, up there with Pokémon Snap and Hyrule Warriors easy - maybe not quite on part with Super Mario Kart though), it’s just so intimidating! (without being an overly complex design).
But I realised that the thing that made me like Lugia so much isn’t based on it’s design or use in-game or even what it did in the anime, but simply because it in Pokémon the Movie 2000: The Power of One which is the best Pokémon movie and one of my favourite anime movies in general, it’s not even because anything that Lugia did in that, it’s just because it was in and it was a major plot point. And  I did indeed say that there was nothing wrong with liking a character because of what they did in spin-off material this tenuous reason just isn’t strong enough to keep it high in my personal top-whatever of Pokémon in the face of all the competition it has today, in 2000 or 2005 being in an awesome movie and looking cool was enough.
Ho-Oh meanwhile is far less inventive creature, it’s just a Phoenix – a cool Phoenix and one that is nowhere near as serene and beautiful as some people like their Phoenixes (y’know, like Fawkes form Harry Potter) but I don’t, personally I want my big fire birds of resurrection to look like they came direct from the mind and hands of Ray Harryhausen and oh look Ho-Oh has that going for it. It’s also very clear that Game Freak hadn’t quite got their writing skills sorted by Generation 2, because they had two Legendaries and only one story - if you think back to my summarization of the back story of the Legendary Beast you’ll notice that Lugia played no role in it, that’s because it played no role in it, basically Ho-Oh got all the lore and Lugia got all the style. 
Oh yeah, speaking of lore these are the first ‘trio masters’, a fan name for this idea that in Pokémon game lore there is often a Legendary who looked after other groups of Legendaries, it’s not always used in each generation’s Pokédex. Lugia is the ‘trio master’ of the Legendary Birds and Ho-Oh is the ‘trio master’ of the Legendary Beasts and YES you would think it’d be the other way ‘round, but Lugia didn’t bring the Legendary Beast back from the dead and remake them into beings of purse arse kicking did it? God you’re so stupid!

And now we have a Pokémon that is important to exactly two things – Professor Oak and this review series. See here at Quick Crappy Pokémon Reviews we don’t just use any gold Pokéball, we use the G/S Ball, which was a plot point in the Pokémon anime, one that was NEVER FUCKING RESOLVED! The reason for this is that the resolution would have been this cute little grassy fairfy fellow, but it was decided that it would star in its own Movie instead so instead of closure we got an average film where Ash and a young Professor Oak SO want to make out. That is not a good outcome to things, even if you wanted to see Oak and Ash make out (and I’m sure we all have once or twice) that’s not a good outcome!
My first thoughts on seeing Celebi were ‘oh it’s like Mew!’ and then ‘it’s not really as good as Mew is it?” and that’ where I’ve been ever since really, Celebi is an inferior Mew made in an attempt to recreate the huge success of Mew and one that honestly had a good go at doing it but just couldn’t because you it’s exceptionally hard to manufacture something like that at all and it’s even harder to recreate it on purpose, something that Game Freak WILL NOT LEARN and we have a pile of unloved Pikaclones and Zorua & Zoroark to show for this. 
Looking at Celebi as purely a design? It’s completely fine: it’s cute but with a nice hint of weirdness, it’s a nice original design for a fairy and one that doesn’t’ become overly saccharine while still being adorable and it’s a very pleasing shade of green isn’t it? And while it is clearly supposed to ape the appeal of Mew (which it would never do because it’s not a cat, it’s scientifically proven that nothing is more appealing than cats) it’s still unique enough to not feel completely derivative. Game Freak will be adding at least one ‘New Mew’ each generation that’ll make up the bulk of Mythical Pokémon, see? They never learn, that’s why the Pokémon Sword and Shield’s starters are a monkey, a rabbit and a lizard despite always getting criticism that they’re ‘running out of ideas’ every time they release a new generation. 
(Note: Mythical and Legendary Pokémon were always separate things in Japan, it wasn’t until Generation V however that the English-speaking world would have to deal with the difference, Mew is the first Mythical in all regions now, it’s something that I know a lot of older fans have difficult with remembering as a thing, myself included)
In fact, now I think on it, Celebi is the perfect ‘capper’ for Generation 2, it’s cute, pastel shades and fairly simple in design, not quite as good as Generation 1 but still undeniably likeable.  


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