Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Quick Crappy Pokemon Reviews: Generation 5 Part 6 - Maractus to Yamask line

Aaaw look at the cute lil’ cactus girl! I’m going assume that was the whole rationale for including this in the ‘dex, poor lil Maractus isn’t really much use in battle, it doesn’t evolve, and it’s not even a new concept for the series - but it sure is adorbs, and it dances. Really it’s just the other way of making a cactus look humanoid, Cacnea is your Living Desert cactus with a face and arms and Maractus is your using the segments of a cactus to make a more human looking shape, that, combined with it being another ‘feminine version’ of a masculine Pokémon at least gives it some other reason to exist other than ‘cute and dances’ I guess, but I still say that ‘cute and dances’ was what got it included, but that’s ok, cos ‘cute and dances’ is why it’s getting a score above 3.
I don’t like it quite as much as Lilligant because it’s not as convincing (nor, I should think, was it meant to be) and thus not as clever, but it is cute and dances.

More equivalents, this time for Paras and Parasect and another set that leave me cold. Dwebble is phenomenally cute and a hermit crab that lives in a rock rather than a shell is Onyx levels sensible for a Bug/Rock type plus it has spit that can melt rock so there’s nout wrong with it. Crustle is pretty damn silly but I think it’s meant to be silly so we should give it a thumbs up for achieving its goal? Again a crab with a  rock for a shell evolving into crab with a whole geological formation on its back is completely sensible but I think it just might not be my kind of silly, wait until you see the praise I’ll heap on Vanilluxe and see what my kind of silly apparently is. I’m sorry this entry was so boring and that I am capable of making a crab carrying a whole geography project uninteresting, I’m just completely uninterested in Dwebble in Crustle beyond, again, ‘awww innit cute’.

Ash’s Scraggy really helped me warm a little to this line, if you missed the Black and White seasons of Pokémon, Scraggy was that little dog who thinks he can fight the huge rottweiler it’s barking at. It’s first response to anything was to try and fuck it up no matter what it was and it was like this from the moment it hatched, effectively a level 1 Pokémon trying to take on things like Ash’s Pikachu and Iris’ Axew, it was most charming.
But I’m not sure how much I like Scraggy and Scrafty as designs… I get them… and it’s a kinda-amusing idea… the skin becoming the baggy trousers, then the baggy trousers and hoody, of some scummy hoodlum…. and it certainly fits the American-themed Unnova, I mean arseholes hanging around in baggy trousers and hoods should be considered local wildlife in most of their inner cities (and most of ours too)… but I find the skin thing kinda gross…. and the whole style of them to be… odd; Bogleech called it ‘graffiti style’ and it does have that notebook doodle look… which isn’t something I DISlike… it’s just…nah, I’m still meh on these… except Ash’s Scraggy, he was great… I don’t hate ‘em though, which is a step up from my opinion of ‘em when they were first revealed...*shrug*, next?

Founded by the Heroes of Truth and Ideals 2,500 years ago there was a thriving city where now the sandstorm-beaten Desert Resort now stands, it was heart of Unnova civilisation, at it’s heart was what is now called the Relic Castle and patrolling its borders were one of Gen 5’s most original feeling creations – Sigilyth, and they’re still patrolling it, even now, thousands of years later, never deviating from their path because their path was once the boundaries of the city they protected, even now it’s only sand, and dust, and ruins – and the place you find the Fossils in Black and White. 
That is lore that’s Legendaries worthy, that is more lore than a lot of Mythical Pokémon have! And it’s just the amount of awesome something so wonderfully strange as Sigilyth deserves. By the way I say original feeling because once you know what Siglyth is based on you realise that it’s only really one step removed from the animate inanimate object Pokémon like Trubbish or Vanniluxe, it’s based on Nazca lines, huge carvings in the ground found in Peru:

Really all Game Freak did was draw themselves a Nazca Line and fill it in - but look at what they filled it in with! I guess it’s supposed to look a little Peruvian, though I was immediately reminded of Native American design (it is, after all, found in a desert in an American-based region), other see Mexican or Aztec so it’s possible that it was just designed to look old, the sort of thing you’d find in an ancient city and it does. It also looks terrifically weird though I suppose that’s the natural outcome of making a random Nazca line into a living thing, but more importantly it has a false face (the eye at the top? That’s the only one that blinks) and you know I like me some false face going on, it also gives it another reason why it was so suitable to be a guardian, its got a nice big target on its ‘chest’ that’s actually one big fake out, the same reason Batman put the logo there, to draw attacks from the real weak points (Batman couldn’t armour his head). Also being Psychic/Flying probably helped get it elected ‘eternal guardian’ too,
Anyway, liked it the moment I saw it, still love it, our first gold six since Blitzel, remember Blitzel? God we were so much younger then.

Are Ghost Pokémon actually ghosts?
It used to be a bigger debate than it is now, and it used to be more broadly applied to the whole Type rather than just some of the ‘mons in it, there wasn’t really any evidence that the original Ghost Type trio were actually ghosts or anything, yeah they hung around a multi-story Pokémon graveyard but the only confirmed ghost, Marowak, looked different. Gastly and Haunter were more gas-based and Gengar more shadow-based and Gen 2 and 3’s small amount of Ghost Types added little evidence either way, then came Gen 4, where Driftloon and Spiritomb were clearly stated to be made from spirits, though Driftloon was a ‘some people say’ sort of thing and Spiritomb was spirits MADE into a Pokémon.
Then Yamask floats in, looking all forlorn and having no thumbs and carrying it’s own death mask and there was no ifs or buts in its Pokedex entries, no ‘it is said’ or ‘legends say’ or ‘it’s believed’, just stated as straight-up fact ‘These Pokémon arose from the spirits of people interred in graves in past ages. Each retains memories of its former life’, they weren’t made Pokémon, they just became them over time somehow. Few fans will encourage you to take the Pokedex at face value but there’s nothing to contradict what it tells us about Yamask, that it’s a Pokémon that was once a human spirit who’s mask it the face it once had, it’s fantastical for our world but we know ghosts exist in the Pokémon world and we know Ghost Types exist, so there’s nothing ‘hotter than the sun’ about it, if you catch my drift.
Anyway, Yamask is a nice little design, falling just on the odd side of cute, it’s not my favourite but it certainly fits neatly into a location a human spirit turned Pokémon should live in: the uncanny valley. Cofagrigus is a bit more of a ‘standard Pokémon Ghost’ design with it’s scary eyes and big teeth and I really wish it had been Ghost/Steel because this is a really cool way of doing a sarcophagus/coffin Pokémon and making it feel ‘organic’ - the ‘sarcophagus’ is actually a shell that the ‘mon grows when it Evolves, it’s kind of a Ghost armadillo! Simple you might say and I’m not disagreeing, but it’s also genius! I do wish the design showed this off a little more as the shell part of the ‘mon isn’t that organic looking, it looks like a sarcophagus drawn by Ken Sugimori with eye holes really, but I do like that it includes Yamask’s mask, I actually didn’t notice that for years because I am STUPID.

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