I think Bouffalant may be the manliest thing in this ‘dex, the only way it could get manlier is if it had a moustache!
Look I don’t really have anything serious to say about this, it’s a big bad bison with an afro - it does not invite seriousness. I do think it’s legitimately cool but I mean, it’s a bison with an afro! I wanna buy it some flared trousers and a convertible! I hear the Theme from Shaft every time I sent it out to battle! It’s a bison with an afro and it rocks it so well, how can you have an afro that large and still look that fearsome?
Yeah it’s just Gen 5’s Tauros, as glaring an equivalentmon as Roggenrola or Timburr but, well, it’s a bison with an afro! That is way better than a bull with three tails, and a completely fitting thing to put in a region based on part of America, the home of afros and bisons and looking badass while silly!
I thought I’d have more to say about these two because they’re really successful designs, with Unnova being based on New York we were always going to get an americaneaglemon but look at Braviary, that is one damn cool bird whether you’re American or not (this may be difficult for the internet to understand but there are people who aren’t American, Mexican or Russian porn stars) and its design is remarkably subtle: it’s red, white and blue but not in an obvious way (helped, I think, by the shades of red and blue being used, making the whole thing feel naturally those colours rather than making you go ‘oh yeah, cos the flag’) AND they incorporate Native American elements but because it’s a feathered animal these fit perfectly, giving the original Americans some representation without it feeling out of place. It’s a really successful design and Rufflet looks just like what you’d imagine a baby form of Braviary to look to like.
That’s it. that’s all I got. I was sure I had more to say here.
It’s not surprising vultures are so often portrayed as villains, they’re huge, they always look unclean, they have heads that look like worms with beaks and they feed off of the dead, usually other people’s kills. They’re also among my favourite animals because they’re big scuzzy scary birds that feed off the dead and because when I was a kid they were either bastards or Beatles. My favourite fictional vultures? The Boot Hill Boys from America Sings (later Splash Mountain):
Vultures as undertakers are just perfect, nearly as perfect? Vultures as stereotypical cannibals! Knocked down only for the chance of slightly racist undertones, that would be Mandibuzz, what you get for spending some time training the nasty little birdie Vullaby. A wonderfully sly looking Pokécannibal that has everything that’s good about vultures cartoonified just right for me, and by ‘just right’ I mean ‘wearing the jawbone of a dead creature as a skirt’ but also big, nasty and smiling. It took five generations, but we ended up with a nice mean vulture. And a pretty neat little baby vulture too, Vullaby is wearing a skull for a nappy. However they do both have same story/gameplay segregation thing going on that Cubone has, I’ll accept that Vullaby’s skull somehow becomes Mandibuzz’s skirt and bone hair accessory during evolution, that whatever happens to them during evolution can also happen to things they wear or hold, but where does Vullaby get the skull from, if, say, it’s bred in a day care centre? Does it just kill another ‘mon that’s there to protect it’s modesty? How does it clean it so thoroughly? Don’t the other ‘mon’s owner mind that their Hitmonlee no longer has a head? The answer to all of this ‘you’re thinking about it too hard’ but, but, but…but how?
Much like Zangoose and Seviper these two are so closely connected that they have to share a segment, I also like them a lot more than those two. This is a great idea, taking an animal (an ant) with a natural predator that’s so well known as that animal’s natural predator that eating it is its name (anteater) and use Pokémon’s typing’s to reflect this in-universe – Bug/Steel is quadruple weak to Fire and with bullet ants being a thing and Anteaters basically looking like a huge pipe from the shoulders up they managed to find the perfect combination to get two perfectly fitting elemental animals out of it with Heatmor falling straight into the Onyx-level ‘so obvious, how didn’t I think of it’s category. It’s almost like these people are so good at designing things they get paid for it!
And they’re such nice designs too, Heatmor is a fantastic steampunk anteater that does everything Magmar and Magmorta did wrong, right, those fire-like marings make such a nice pattern and I love all the piping growing up ‘em, as if coming from or all leading to it’s exhaust tail. Durant’s pretty much exactly that you’d think of if you thought ‘metal ant’, its antennae are even bent nails. I wish they’d done a little bit more to the legs to make them look more robotic, maybe they thought it would make the design too busy if they made ‘em springs or segmented ala Colossus from the X-Men? If so they may have been right, and the simple, organic looking legs do give the impression that Durnt is a thing with a metal shell, rather than a metal thing (which the Pokedex says is the way it’s supposed to be so maybe I should shut up about that).
So for Gen 5’s equivalents to Dratini, Dragonair and Dragonite they pretty much just reversed things, this time we start with a dopey dragon! I won’t ever believe that was unintentional. Deino and Zweilous are not really something that interests me too much, they’re blind dinosaurs with Beatles cuts. Deino’s cute-ish and I like the idea of it biting things to figure out what they ‘look’ like and the Pokedex and games playing up how that may be sensible but also really quite dangerous to everything else but Zweilous just has the ‘two heads not getting along’ thing that’s been done to death, still it does have wings and I do like the purple on its body better than Deino just having random purple bits in its black fluff (that make it look like it’s been dusted with Hundreds and Thousands).
Hydreigon though is fucking rocking! Pokémon’s King Ghidorah came out amazing, and like it just went to a Kiss concert. I love the extra heads acting as arms and claws - and they don’t have brains, they’re just dead heads the central noggin is using as limbs, which is really kinda chilling – and the ragged look of it all, and the blue-black-purple colour scheme that makes it scary without making it look drab or ‘goth’ for the stupid people who don’t like things like that (why? You saw Chandelure right?) - it looks like a monster. And being the signature ‘mon of Ghetis, one of the biggest bastards in the whole franchise only helped it look even nastier, as if it’s only reaction to things being to savage them and it’s dead head arms wasn’t enough.
Also apparently the line started out some kind of tank themed monster, that’s why Zweilous and Hydreigon have those tank-track like markings down them.
Also also, these are pronounced ‘dino’ ‘tsvai-less’ and ‘hy-dray-gon’, the English team do know these games are meant for children right? How would a kid ever figure out that ‘Zweilous’ would be pronounced like that??
This gen really picks up in this last little segment of regular ‘mons and it ends on the highest of notes; with our first pseudo-legendary Bug line! I really don’t mind a generation having two sets of psuedos (Dieno and pals was the first) if we get something as awesome as Volcarona. Larvesta’s cool an’ all, fluffy and with horns that make it look like some kind of ancient sun deity, Larvesta could easily be the Pokémon mascot of Summerisle, I like it’s adorable little stubby arms too. But Volcarona, Volcaron looks…looks…why it looks almost legendary! How fitting! Apparently it has two legends about it, one is where it’s feared as ‘the rage of the sun’ and one where it was born to be a saviour for people and Pokémon freezing to death and it looks like it could do both and switch between them at a moment’s notice, it looks like a saviour all right, it looks like an embodiment of the sun, but it doesn’t look benevolent, it looks like something that could scorch your crops and burn your town and fry your Patrat to crisps. There’s nothing to flashy about it as a design, it could certainly feel at home in Gen 2, but it just looks like such a legendary thing, it has a design that fulfils its roles perfectly thus it gets the perfect score.