Tuesday, March 18, 2014

General RPG Lists: Pokemon

It’s not exactly a particularly meaningful subject, nor does it strike me as something that any of you were particularly curious about, but what the hell, I’m doing it anyway. These are my 10 favorite Pokemon. In fact, out of over 800 different candidates, these are indeed almost all of the Pokemon I even particularly like. I dunno, the pocket monsters themselves have never really impressed me all that much, I guess.

UPDATE 10/21/17: Mimikyu, Ninetales (Alola Form), and Primarina added; Barbaracle has been bumped off.

10. Dialga

I’m sure it’s cliched to have Legendaries in a list of favorites, but what can I say? The Pokemon of Time is pretty nifty. It’s got a neat backstory, controlling time is an awesome schtick, and its design is damn cool. Being a major component of the story of Pokemon’s Generation 4 games, the first games in the entire series with anything approaching a worthwhile story, conflict, and villain, does not hurt my estimation of Dialga, either.

9. Primarina

Someone at Game Freak deserves a pat on the fucking back, because that someone was, at some point during the development of Pokemon Generation 7, told by their boss "We need a Water/Fairy pokemon that's a sea lion, but also a a mermaid, and it has to be evolved from and still significantly be part clown, but also an opera singer. And it has to look elegant and ethereal as heck. Have it on my desk by 5." And that someone actually, inconceivably, managed to deliver. How you can start with that goofy-ass Popplio thing and end up with this mystical siren, I do not know, but Primarina is cool and otherworldly and I think she's pretty rad.

8. Dragonair

I’ve always loved Dragonair. It just looks so elegant and slick. It’s definitely an oddity, though--Dragonair seems like it should be a Water and/or Ice Type rather than a Dragon--even by the Lame As Hell Giant Snake standard of dragons, it’s not very draconic. I’ve also always thought it odd that they could come up with such a sleek, classy snake-thing as Dragonair, yet in the same generation have the actual snake Pokemon wind up being as goofy and dumb-looking as Ekans and Arbok. Odd as well is the radical change in appearance between Dragonair and the Pokemon it evolves into, Dragonite. But odd or not, the majestic, graceful appeal of Dragonair has always guaranteed it a spot in my favorite Pokemon.

7. Rapidash

Not to sound too much the hipster, but unicorns? I liked them first, guys. Before My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic took the world by storm, I thought unicorns were awesome. Before things like Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim and Charlie the Unicorn gave the collective internet community an interest in them, I knew the righteous excellence of unicorns. As such, you can likely understand why Rapidash, a totally bitchin’ fire unicorn with a blazing mane, eyes of a deep red inferno, and fetlocks-aflame, would strongly appeal to me. Hell, even if I weren’t such a lifelong unicorn fan, this thing is still too damn cool not to be included on any favorites list.

Now if only we could get a third, final evolution of this line at some point: a flaming alicorn. Tell me that wouldn’t kick ass like nothing ever before.

6. Jigglypuff

Quite simply, Jigglypuff was the cutest fictional creature ever devised until the year 2013, when the world was introduced to Baby Applejack. Just look at that sappy, silly, dumb little big-eyed ball of cheer. It transcends the traditional understanding of the word “cute” and reaches a new level of adorableness.

Not only that, but Jigglypuff’s also quite often very amusing. I mean, she’s hilarious in the anime, the eternally self-unaware diva who gets infuriated at her audience for always falling asleep from her singing--never quite making the connection in that dim, fluffy little mind that singing a psychically-powered lullaby that causes the Sleep status effect might be the cause. And how does she punish them? By doodling silly faces and drawings on them as they’re asleep. Yes, this cute little ball of innocence IS the frat douchebag who draws a dick on your cheek after you pass out at the party.

Whatever wound up happening with the anime Jigglypuff, incidentally? I didn’t watch the show much further than the boring Orange Islands saga, so I never did see how things ended with the roly-poly little stalker. If there ever was a conclusion at all, that is--for all I know, the little nutcase might STILL be following Ash to this day.

She’s also funny in the other media I’ve seen her in. Her role in the Magical Pokemon Journey comics is amusing (then again, everything in that series is), and you gotta love her in Super Smash Brothers--yeah, it’s a pretty whacky set of fighting games, but even considering how many odd match-ups it can create, it’s still fun to see this tiny little ball of pink engaging in fisticuffs with space dragons, elite stealth commandos, and Gannondorf, King of Evil. And her Final Smash is just standing there and getting really, really big. Which doesn’t SOUND all that interesting, I know, but trust me, that dopey, blank happy expression? It only gets funnier the bigger it gets.

Anyway, yeah. Gotta love the Jigglypuff.

5. Mimikyu

Yup, I jumped on the Mimikyu bandwagon as much as everyone else. I'm not ashamed to admit it. The plight of this little ghost, so desperate for love that it dresses up as the undeservedly popular Pikachu yet doomed to never show its true face since it will fatally curse any who sees it, is too adorably tragic not to absolutely love. Frankly, if you can hear Mimikyu's Song through to the end and not want to grab this ghostly little cosplayer and give it a great big hug, then you're a goddamn liar every time you fill out a Captcha box.

4. Blaziken

Well come on! It’s a flaming kung-fu chicken! If there was ever a concept that hit the So Stupid It’s Actually Amazing target, it’s this one! Not just that, but they legitimately make this thing a badass powerhouse, which somehow just makes the whole concept even more absurd, which in turn somehow makes it even more amazing. Live on Blaziken, you preposterous broiling Bruce Lee bird!

3. Mewtwo

Mewtwo is just pure, awesome power. You can keep your Arceus and your Deoxys and your dragons of time and space and dimensions and all the rest! For me, Mewtwo will always be the most unstoppable, badass Pokemon out there, the height of pure godlike power. That’s what he was created to be, and that’s what he damn well is!

Beyond that, he’s not just a sappy, personality-lacking chum like nearly every other Pokemon in existence is supposed to be. Nor is he just some vaguely-defined raw plot deity to be sought after and abused by some Team of morons, like nearly every other plot-significant Legendary Pokemon in existence. Mewtwo is an actual character (well, when further defined by the Pokemon media beyond just the game; there’s not a lot to go by in the game alone). He has a backstory (a good one, at that, of genetic experiments and the horrors wrought from man playing God), he has goals, he has a personality shaped by his experiences, and he has the capacity to intellectually defy humans and yet also to reason with them, as an equal and even superior, which is a far cry better than the at-best-second-class-citizen treatment that all the other, clearly equally sapient Pokemon get.

So yeah. Mewtwo is both the most awesome of all Pokemon, and an actually decently-crafted antagonist character. That’s a hard combo to beat, right there.

2. Ninetales (Alola Form)

The Ice-type version of Ninetales is so elegant and aesthetically striking that the damn thing takes my breath away. Small wonder this Pokemon was once considered a deity--I can't think of an actual god or goddess of cold and ice in fiction or real life mythology that comes even close to possessing the commanding grace that Ninetales does. There is no question in my mind that this, to quote my friend Ecclesiastes, fashy-as-fuck fox is the coolest Pokemon ever created.

1. Gardevoir

You know why I like Gardevoir the most, even beyond the incalculably kickass Mewtwo and the soft magnificence of Ninetales? It’s not because it looks elegant and neat, nor is it because it’s actually now, as both a Psychic and a Fairy Type, a very reliable Pokemon since 2 out of 3 of its Type weaknesses (Ghost, Poison, and Steel) are the least dedicated to outright offense. Though that stuff helps.

And no, it’s not because I think it’s hot. Normally I wouldn’t think that need be said, but apparently Gardevoir gets a hell of a lot of Rule 34 attention. Although from what I’m told, that’s pretty much the case of ALL Pokemon these days.

The internet’s a weird place, man.

Anyway, where was I? Ah, yes. No, the reason Gardevoir is my very favorite Pokemon is for its selfless, loving nobility. No matter what generation’s Pokedex you’re looking at, one of the key features to a Gardevoir’s essence is that when its trainer is in real, actual danger, Gardevoir will pull out every stop to protect its trainer. It will unleash its full mental power in an effort to save the trainer’s life, even create a miniature black hole* to keep them safe. In fact, it’s stated that the true peak power of a Gardevoir can only be reached under such circumstances. And if even the full output of all Gardevoir’s psychic energies at once isn’t enough to dispel the danger, Gardevoir will actually put its own life on the line for the trainer, ready to sacrifice itself to save the life of its keeper.

It’s that, that level of simple, pure, loving devotion to the point of self-sacrifice, that deeply impresses me and puts Gardevoir at the top of my list of favorites. Gardevoir is so deeply devoted and noble that it is willing to die in its trainer’s place. That’s a pretty incredible thing, if you ask me. Yeah, you could say that any sufficiently caring and devoted Pokemon could be willing to do that--there’s no question that Pikachu would do that for Ash in the anime, for example--but that’s on a case by case basis. For Gardevoir, this is an ingrained part of its essence, its soul. That selfless devotion is as much a part of Gardevoir as its little white skirt thing or the weird red knee reflex hammer head jutting out of its chest; you can’t BE a Gardevoir without that loving desire to protect. And that’s what makes me put it on the top of this list.

Honorable Mention: Mega Absol

Fucking Dark Types! They can kiss my ass! They RUINED the damn balance in the series. I realize that Psychic was overpowered in Generation 1, but that was because its predators (Bug and Ghost) didn’t have any offensive attacks to speak of, and all the Ghost and Bug Pokemon in the original generation were also Poison Type, which made them weak to Psychic. All that was needed for proper balance of the games was to introduce non-Poison Ghosts and Bugs, and some attacks for those types that were functional. Which happened! What was NOT needed was a new Type altogether that was inexplicably completely immune to Psychic and also only had 2 weaknesses! Game Freak, you idiots, you “balanced” (read: actually nerfed) Psychic by creating a Type that was even more broken! And after 4 generations of this bullshit, they’ve only finally taken an inadequate half-step to fixing the problem with Fairy Type’s strength against Dark. Ugh. It doesn’t even make sense, plot-wise! A third of all the damn Legendary Pokemon, including the supposedly insanely powerful Mew, Mewtwo,** Lugia, and Deoxys, are Psychic Types. Why the hell would you go and change something you associate in-plot with the most powerful Pokemon into one of the most fragile Types out there? And what the fuck is a Dark Type, anyway? Just how much of a distinction can there really even be, thematically, between the powers of death and the afterlife (Ghost Type) and the powers of darkness in general (Dark Type)? URGH. Anyway, this all is the reason that I’ll never have a Dark Pokemon on my team, let alone on this list.

Buuuuuuuuuut, if there were an insanely cool Pokemon that looked like the most awesome possible combination of angel, demon, sphinx, death, and the yin-yan, and it did happen to be a Dark Type, I SUPPOSE I could at least give it the Honorable Mention spot. What can I say? Prejudice against Dark Type Pokemon be damned, Mega Absol is pretty much the second most spectacular Pokemon design ever.

Well, that was fun. But we’re not done yet! Let’s take it in the opposite direction and see which 5 Pokemon I think are the dumbest!

5. Cubchoo

Cubchoo is a small bear who has a huge, drooping droplet of snot perpetually hanging from his nostril. This is the defining characteristic of this Pokemon. It is gross, and it is stupid. But what makes it more gross and more stupid is the fact that this ursine snot ball is what it uses for a weapon. Seriously! Apparently, any time this disgusting little vermin uses an Ice attack, what it’s doing is using its frozen snout booger to perform the attack! What the HELL, Game Freak? I cannot decide whether that is more dumb or gross, but what I do know is that it is definitely very much both.

4. Vanillish, Vanillite, and Vanilluxe

An ice cream cone Pokemon. ICE CREAM. You’re actually expecting me to do battle with living, smiling ice cream. What the real, actual hell is this crap? No. Just no. Get out of here and come back when you’re serious, Nintendo. I’m not having this.

A fucking ice cream cone Pokemon. Just...no.

3. Klefki

A...keychain Pokemon? Really? I’m still waiting on a winged upgrade to my flaming unicorn, but a KEYCHAIN made the cut. Jesus. There must have been someone on the planning team for Pokemon’s sixth generation who was either very tired, drunk, or drugged out of his/her mind the day Klefki was imagined.

2. Dragonite

Why? WHY, dammit!? Why does that very picture of grace and elegance, Dragonair, have to evolve into...into THIS stupid thing? Dragonite looks like the brain-dead lovechild of Dino from the Flintstones and Barney the Dinosaur, splashed with some orange-yellow paint. There is nothing majestic, nothing regal, nothing cool, nothing ANYTHING but dumb and dopey about this Pokemon. It looks like a cheap mascot suit that some underpaid wage slave might have to wear at a second-rate theme park. How did this come about as a result of the sleek, cool Dragonair? Why couldn’t Dragonair have had a final evolution that actually improved upon its visual grandeur, instead of eliminating it altogether? I’ll never know.

1. Garbodor and Trubbish

Let’s talk seriously for a moment, Game Freak. You made a Pokemon out of a bag of garbage. You made a Pokemon. Out of a bag. Of garbage. You made a Pokemon out of a bag of garbage. And then you made the evolved form of it a Pokemon that is a bag of garbage that has burst open.

I want you to just stop for a moment, and think about that. Let that ruminate in your mind for a bit, and then answer me this question: Do you think that maybe, just maybe, you are running out of ideas at this point?

Dishonorable Mention: Igglybuff

“A baby Jigglypuff!” I thought to myself in excitement, years ago. “Wow, I gotta check this thing out! It’s gonna be so cute I’ll probably have a heart attack just from looking at it!”

I wasn’t entirely wrong, actually. My heart did give a slight jump, but it sure wasn’t from adoration. See, the problem with Igglybuff is that they tried to improve upon the cuteness of something that was already at the end of the then-known Cute Spectrum. So trying to heighten the cuteness just pushed it right past the Cute Scale altogether, and back around to the Mild Nightmare Fuel scale. Seriously, look at that red-eyed, insincere little hellspawn. I know there’s not a lot that visually separates it from a Jigglypuff, but what differences are there are enough to clearly mark this creature as a minor demon that wants to suck your soul out through your eyeballs. Or, I dunno, maybe it’s just me. I don’t think I hear of anyone else getting freaked out by this little, well, freak, so it could just be my own issue. But I’m sticking by it nonetheless; Igglybuff is evil and it is out for you.

And that’s that, the Pokemon I love and the Pokemon I think are stupid as hell. I’m sure absolutely no one could possibly care enough about this subject to have read down to the end here, so, since it doesn’t matter anyway, instead of a proper conclusion, I’m going to end this rant with some random gibberish that is fun to say. Boozop! Bibble yab yarb gruppa lallee snee-yarng. Rallafith garzorfine. Nyii nyii!

* Which I guess somehow doesn’t further endanger the trainer, even though I’m pretty sure a black hole of any size is a dangerous thing to be in close proximity to.

** Why nooooooo, this particular Legendary that nonsensically got de-powered by Dark Type’s introduction has nothing to do with my annoyance with Dark Type. Don’t, uh, don’t be silly.


  1. Kid, my homemade 6IV Adamant Marvel Scale Extremespeed Barney will fucking wreck you. I do love Dragonair to an irrational extent, though. I still use an Violate Dragonair for Thunder Wave/Rain Dance utility, to hell with the haters.

    I agree with most of the list. Didn't know Gardevoirs are Pokemon's Doberman; pretty neat. I always liked them because they were what I thought Psychics should be - powerful but not WTFBBQ - and because it was a cool lead in Wally's team. Unicorns have always been majestic. Mega Absol took me by surprise as well. How does something so un-memorable and looking like a coffee house hipster in a fursuit turn into that?

    I hate Blaziken, ironically. I hate the design, I hate the typing, I hate Speed Boost making it more OP than Anime!Pikachu, I hate it all. My event Torchic is still untouched.

    1. Bring it, bitch, I stock so many Ice Beam-users that Hoarders is considering making my 3DS the subject of their next episode.

      Also, I gotta say, "coffee house hipster in a fursuit" as a description of Absol is your finest work since "Youtube Atheist" as a title for Morrigan.

    2. Only a select few beams can kill Barney outright. Anything else activates Weakness Policy while he Dragon Dances, allowing him to engage in Fire Punch or Earthquake or Dragon Claw or Roost funtimes. Goofy he may be, but he's a beast these days. Baby outwalls Rest Vaporeons.

      Rapidash is also pretty hilarious, if you care about PvP. If you're looking for battles, trades, or free swag, you have my email.

      Youtube Atheist is not strictly a phrase of my invention, though I claim full copyright on the Absol description.

      Also Violate Dragonair = Eviolite.

  2. I should mention that Gardivor is a main character of Pokémon Mystery dungeon Red and Blue and boy does love and devotion comes through.
    Also that red thing on it's chest is supposed to represent it's heart and it gain tremendous powers once it mega evolves and the heart is open.

    Also I don't find dark types that broken mainly because most dark types are really frail with a somewhat limited move pool plus most Psychic and Ghost types have access to focus blast or something close to that in order to counter Dark types.

    And lets not go into the metagame with weather wars, tiers, and stealth rock shenanigans

    1. Interesting; did not know that about Gardevoir's little red chest bump thing. That's kind of neat, and weird.

  3. If you want to know what happen to Jigglypuff her last episode centered around finding a Whismur whose soundproof ability neutralized the effects of sing, unfortunately the Whismur ended up exhausted after battling and Jigglypuff mistaken it for sleeping and was never seen again. However considering she disappeared near Rustboro City which has no shortage of Whismur we can assume it just lives there now.

    Dragonair is based on the Imugi, As the legend goes once the Imugi lives for one thousand years a jewel falls from the sky if the Imugi catches it, it can become a full fledged dragon. Which is supported by the wings on it's head and the jewel around it's neck

    For Klefki, Fairies stealing keys are pretty much par for most Fairies (though I do agree it could have a better design) And while I'm not a big fan of Trubish it does complete the Polution trio with Grimer as Water pollution Koffing as air pollution and Trubish for land pollution.

    Finally the dark type was known as the Evil type in Japanese but obviously Localization could not have children running around saying evil type was there favorite. Plus it didn't make much sense as not all dark types are evil the most obvious would be Absol. All Psychic types weakness are actually common fears. Supporting that fact is the Rattle ability which boost the speed of a pokemon when it's hit by moves that make them scared (ie bug, dark and ghost) it's also why the move Miracle Eye works to see into the dark

    1. Nice to know how Jigglypuff worked out in the end. Thanks for letting me know. I still think Trubbish and Klefki are idiotic, though.

      Actually, the point about Psychic's weaknesses being common fears is quite neat (even if I don't think most people are all that afraid of bugs, and I'm tired of anime's overuse and exaggeration of paranormal phobias). Nonetheless, I stand by the idea that Psychic did not need an extra weakness if the other 2 were balanced properly, and common fear theme or no, making Dark completely immune to Psychic is bullshit and makes no damn sense.

    2. Actually, it makes perfect sense. A thing needs a mind in order to be mindfucked, and seeing as Dark types cannot be mindfucked as a rule, their stupidity is all but hardcoded into the game. Feel free to tuck this under your pillow at night.

      For the sake of the next sentence, I will be assuming ghosts and the like are present forces in the world. I still couldn't care less about them; I'm more worried about things I *can* see, like bats, and knives.

  4. http://i.imgur.com/WRU30Wc.jpg
    Probably somewhat amusing regarding Gardevoir?

    1. I have yet to play the latest Pokemon generation, but it's always seemed to me that there must be a lot going on with that touching feature that we don't want to know about.