Tag: Unova

Gotta read ’em all!

Gotta read ’em all!

The Unova Region has enveloped a lot of my life over the last few days.

First there was the start of my fanfiction.

Then the locale of Pokémon Black & White came up again when I was wandering Barnes & Noble with my sister and discovered a book of Santa Harukaze comics, put out by Viz Media.

I put off buying it because money, but figured if I saw the book again I might give it another thought.

Then we went to a different bookstore and the fateful book was there too.

I’m not one to tempt fate.

So here I am, reading through 300+ pages of comedic manga-style comic strips about Unova Pokémon, ready to teach you the gospel.

Just consider this my equivalent of Brian David Gilbert’s Skyrim Book Report.

The first thing you need to know is these are “comedic” comics. Like Family Circus or any other traditional funny page staple, some of these one-off jokes are funnier than others.

It’s telling that the Stunfisk comic was my favorite of the bunch.

IMG_3204

That’s peak comedy.

This comic is emblematic of what 70 percent of the collection is: Jokes about a design element or Pokédex entry.

The appearance bits are usually blasé, like Galvantula having too many eyes to cover in case of a surprise.

But I quite like seeing aspects of these Pokémon that I’d always disregarded as innocuous details:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Another repeat detail throughout these comics are Pokémon being treated meanly, often for no reason.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Apparently everyone in Unova is a mischievous trickster like Scraggy or in the wrong place at the wrong time like Oshawott.

Though these are Pokémon, so it’s not very surprising that they battle and act aggressively. What is surprising is the way we playing with continuity.

The creatures spend a lot of time playing with or referencing human technology:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Their confusion suggests these guys are still animals.

But… They sure do spend a lot of time talking and having personalities like in the Mystery Dungeon games.

So maybe these comics take place in that universe?

Except then this page comes along and ruins everything.

IMG_3194
Of course Nimbasa City exists here. Thanks, comic.

But then there’s the weird stuff.

Oh boy is there a whole lot of weird stuff in these comics. And it’s the best part.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Some of these are far better out of context. Trust me.

One thing I don’t fully understand about the collection is how nonsensically ordered it is. Though the individual comics are segmented by focusing on different Pokémon, they don’t proceed through the book in number or alphabetical order.

It seems entirely random, and that’s compounded by the fact that two-part comics can appear pages apart.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

There’s a particular comic about Woobat and Yamask that’s referenced more than 50 pages later and has a disclaimer telling readers to go back.

Twice.

Why not just order the pages to avoid that kind of problem if there’s no sensible ordering scheme in the book?

Though there’s a much more important question buried in these pages.

Why is Throh the only Pokémon with a two-part comic in which he is the named focus on both parts?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The. Only. One.

Why Throh of all Pokémon?

Like I’m glad the collection has cool tidbits and quizzes on the sides of each page where I can learn things…

But I’m not sure I can forgive Santa Harukaze for making me feel this tumultuous about Throh.

So, in summary:

Is it worth reading through every Pokémon Black & White Pocket Comic in an afternoon?

Honestly… Not really.

The world of Unova comics has highs are pretty high, but the lows are very, very low. So much so that I don’t think I’d recommend reading through all of them except that you can only find the true gems that way.

I suppose I’d still recommend the book as something of a coffee table read to put out if you have Pokémon-loving guests. But as a Pokémon fan, I’m not sure I would buy the Kalos edition after this one.

That’s a real downer note to end a Pokémon-related post, so here’s a picture of Alyson ruining my attempt to get a Featured Image.

IMG_3210

You’re welcome.

More fanfiction: Pokémon edition

More fanfiction: Pokémon edition

Creating myself a fanfiction.net account truly opened a Pandora’s Box I’ll never be able to close.

Last time on “The Adventures of Jason Ruining his Credibility on the Internet,” I had a bizarre reaction to Stardew Valley that drove me to write a fanfiction about the budding relationship with my farmer character.

I spent a whole lot of hours writing and editing that instead of writing the book that I’m in the middle of.

Because, as I said, you sometimes just need to strike when the iron is hot.

In just over a week that story has been viewed 23 times and received one ‘favorite’ by a user named madcat3200.

Shout out to them.

Those analytics for a brand new platform are almost immediately better than the traffic per-post on my blog, so maybe it will be worth dumping the occasional story over there.

Which of course means now I’m thinking about all the fanfictions I want to write instead of my novel.

Though I think I’ve come up with a decent compromise.

The next major idea that came to mind is based on something I’ve been enamored with since… Around 2012. Resurfaced by hype for incoming titles.

Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 are some of my favorite Pokémon games. They have the most optimized 2D aesthetics and fantastic world building thanks to a two-year time jump from the original games.

And they have fantastic music bolstered by a little post-game event called the Pokémon World Tournament (PWT).

The PWT had Gym Leaders and Champions from all five regions currently available gathered in one place to battle with a remix of their games’ original music.

It’s easily my favorite Pokémon post-game, and personal headcanons make the event even better.

For instance, I always loved the idea that Unova Poison-type Gym Leader Roxie performed the music for the PWT, as she’s the head of a punk-rock band.

I like Roxie enough as a result that I got this at Anime Expo some years ago:

IMG_3153

Beautiful, isn’t it? I wish I took note of who the artist was so I could promote them… Past me was so insensitive.

Another character added in Black/White 2 was Yancy. To this day, she serves as my favorite almost-canonical relationship in Pokémon history due to a side-quest that involves your character building a bond with her. Very underrated ship.

Yancy also happens to moonlight as a superstar named Nancy — creative, I know.

So… Now that I have an outlet for fanfiction stories… I decided to do something incorporating a few of these characters in the setting I love.

I’ve written two chapters of my Pokémon World Tournament story, which in many ways is a similar dramatization to the Stardew piece. However I have some ideas for bigger developments should I keep the story going.

Thus, where Stardew a one-off, I’m now going to try and write a serialized piece with regular uploads.

Right now I’m imagining a chapter per-week every Monday.

That should be manageable for the first few expository chapters I’m well into writing. From there we’ll see how popular it becomes.

There are a decent amount of stories tackling the same subject matter, and in just a half-hour my story has almost 20 views — though many of them seem linked to warning me about an abstract danger I’m getting myself into by writing about Pokés.

The first chapter is mostly setting a scene. Electric-type Gym Leader Elesa and Ground-type Gym Leader Clay are finalizing some set-up for the tournament.

Plus a brief disclaimer. Because why not?

From here on I’m delving into the history of the PWT in my imagining of the story, then having match commentators introduce the preceding.

After that the sky’s the limit! Though there will probably be a lot of simulated Pokémon battles between various leaders from different regions.

Should be fun, right?

If you think so maybe you can follow along. If a few people I know from real life know about this goal, perhaps I’ll be more accountable for publishing once a week.

Let me know how you feel about the idea! It’s probably silly to start another writing project but…

What can I say? I have a lot to get out to the world.


Featured Image courtesy of Gnsin via Wikimedia Commons

Detective Pikachu made my heart swell

Detective Pikachu made my heart swell

Move over, Endgame.

You might have ended a decade of MCU movies, but Detective Pikachu played to my 20-years of investment in the subjectively best video game series of all time.

My development as a person and writer was kick-started by Mom teaching me to read with the text in Pokémon Crystal. I’ve been waiting for this movie ever since.

So, the objective side of my cinephilia can critique a few key issues. But that doesn’t take away from Rob Letterman giving me the breathing Pokémon society — focusing on more than just prodigal, battling children — that I’ve always wanted.

MV5BNDU4Mzc3NzE5NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMzE1NzI1NzM@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,674,1000_AL_
Image courtesy of IMDb

Detective Pikachu follows accountant Tim Goodman (Justice Smith) as he confronts the death of his mother and resulting alienation of his father after the man goes missing in a utopian city designed for Pokémon to coincide with humans.

He does so with the help of a talking Pikachu (Ryan Reynolds — clearly channeling Deadpool while still grounded in this source material) and aspiring investigative reporter Lucy Stevens (Kathryn Newton).

To be blunt, Detective Pikachu is bloated with clichés.

It mimics film noir and buddy cop tropes, such as a boy who needs to learn to love again and his amnesiac animal partner. There are also multiple plot points throughout the movie’s two-hour run you’ve seen before:

  • The shady, experimenting corporation.
  • The blossoming love between main (human) characters.
  • The incidents with a substance that causes loss of control (ala Zootopia).

Besides a surprise twist in the third act, the overall situations are well-worn. Yet the actors keep them from feeling stale.

Reynolds made me love the overplayed series mascot I usually scoff at. He’s snarky, heartfelt and delivers some solid (seemingly improvised) jokes.

Minor spoiler: At one point, he sings a depressed rendition of the original anime theme song, and it’s worth the price of admission alone.

Reynolds and Smith sell the buddy cop bit, and I liked Smith and Newton’s chemistry as well — especially since their burgeoning romance ended without a dramatic kiss.

Smith carried the movie handily, surprisingly so given my lukewarm reception to Fallen Kingdom. I really enjoyed his character arc and relationship with Pikachu that shined during a heart-to-heart mid-way through the film.

That scene in particular also has a gorgeous shot where Smith’s stoic face during a sad story is betrayed by a tear that makes the neon city lights outline his cheek.

Detective Pikachu had surprisingly pretty cinematography in my opinion, outside of some shots that relied too heavily on shaky dissolves and off-center angles for my taste.

On top of that, I never once felt like the CGI Pokémon were out of place. They always seemed believably real in the living people’s arms.

Granted I might be predisposed to believing in real-life Pokémon because of my history and encyclopedic knowledge with the series. But my sister (who saw the movie with me) is less of a hardcore fan and didn’t report any concerns.

IMG_2744
We had a blast going together!

Ironically, I felt like the Pokémon CGI was masterful in-part because a lot of the practical effects were… Real bad? Most of the actors looked like they were slipping around on wires during action scenes.

But for me, that was barely a concern in light of the respect Detective Pikachu shows fans of the series in its overt and subtle references.

Alongside the anime’s theme song, most of the music throughout the film sounded like it could have come from the Sinnoh or Unova region games.

There are dozens of the 800+ Pokémon appearing as live models (both the recognizable Pikachu and less conventional Treeckos or Purrloins) and set-pieces (some favorites being the Latios and Latias stickers in Tom’s room, and a store named after Whismur).

Their appearances are true to established lore as well, with Charizard weakened as someone stomps on its tail flame and Slaking almost exclusively loafing around.

Mewtwo‘s powers are a less traditional example that sticks out, but even that strange treatment plays into an unexpected plot point that I enjoyed. Plus, they nailed the legendary Pokémon’s origin with an interesting new angle.

People who are not a fan of the games or anime may be somewhat lost. It immediately drops audiences in and lets most references quickly fly by. Yet enough is explained for the public to follow its plot, and the movie is funny regardless of pre-existing knowledge.

You might get more out of some jokes if you know Mr. Mime, for instance, but even if you don’t his scenes have some great slapstick with effective sound effects.

Frankly, I’m not sure what else I can say.

I’m obviously biased, but the movie is just as obviously tailored toward fans like me. From that perspective, I wholeheartedly recommend Detective Pikachu from my three-year-old heart and from the highly knowledgeable dork I am today.

But the movie also has enough family-friendly elements and appeal for non-super-fans. Some of the effects aren’t perfect, and the overall package leans on clichés, but the cast and world-building do more than enough to make up for it.

I had a blast seeing this movie with my sister. It’s a master class in video game adaptations — One that’s very much needed in the face of Sonic the Hedgehog and Angry Birds 2.

Go see it, so we can get more live action Pokémon movies. And cards to go with them:

animated-2.GIF

You won’t see a TCG fan like me complaining.

A Pokémon update: Here comes the Bank and the Alola Friendly competition

A Pokémon update: Here comes the Bank and the Alola Friendly competition

The first week of school, adjusting to new courses, setting up things for our first few issues of the Daily Titan and some personal things happening at home have kept me incredibly busy for the past week or so.  In fact, they’ve kept me so busy that I haven’t been able to address some fairly big things happening with Pokémon Sun and Moon that have honestly been hugely of interest for me.

Namely the release of an update for the Pokémon Bank (or Pokébank for short) allowing it to be used with the Generation 7 games.

For the uninitiated in the room, Pokébank is an application out of the Nintendo 3DS eShop released during Generation 6 that allowed you to transfer Pokémon (with the help of the additional Poké Transfer application) from the Generation 5 games Black, White, Black 2 and White 2 into Pokémon X, Y, Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire.  It also acts as a cloud-like storage space for Pokémon, holding 100 boxes that you can freely transfer Pokémon in and out of while playing the Generation 6 and now Generation 7 games.

You can also transfer Pokémon up from the 3DS ports of Red, Blue and Yellow… But I haven’t had the chance to play those yet.  So I can’t use that feature.

An added bonus in the update that allows the application to be used with Sun and Moon is access to the previously unavailable Z-Crystal Mewnium Z:

I haven’t had the chance to transfer a Mew into my copy of Moon yet, so I can’t use Genesis Supernova, but I’m excited to being able to as soon as I get the chance.

With Pokébank officially released, I’m looking forward to finally being able to do two things.  First, I’ll be able to fill out my PC boxes with my complete collection of every single Pokémon, a collection I spent quite some time fleshing out a few years back.  Second, I’ll be able to transfer all my competitively bred Pokémon over, either to use again or to re-breed with new strategies in mind for competitive battles.

On the subject of competitive battling…

alolafriendly
Image courtesy of Serebii.net

The Alola Friendly battle competition begins today!  I’ve actually spent some time picking through the four competitive teams I’ve bred thus far to pull together a complete squad that’s balanced and viable for battle together.  Though it probably isn’t objectively smart to give away the strategies of my team ahead of actually battling with them… I enjoy talking about what I’ve done with my cute and powerful Pokémon.

So, here we go.


Cuddles

img_4713

Cuddles, my Komala.  She’s sleeping, but she’s still ready to kick ass and take names all the same!  Entry hazards like Stealth Rocks and Toxic Spikes aren’t a problem when she can Rapid Spin them away, but her utility also extends to healing other team members thanks to the combination Wish and U-Turn attack pattern.

Oh, and STAB full friendship Return with 136 attack really, really hits hard.

Add on some extra healing from the leftovers and Cuddles isn’t a threat to… Sleep on.

And with that lousy pun, I officially move on.


Peek

img_4714

Peek-a-boo (Peek for short) is up next: My cute and not-so-cuddly Toxapex.  Toxapex is generally considered to be overused in the current pre-Pokébank competitive metagame, but I never really understood why.

Until I actually used a Toxapex.  Since then I totally understand the reasoning.

If her Toxic stall combined with the Recover attack and Regenerator ability wasn’t bad enough, Peek can Haze away any stat buffs her opponent tries to set up (I know I’ve certainly torn down a few Swords Dance-setting Pokémon) and Scald to potentially burn any opponents that can’t be poisoned.

My Toxapex is also a defensive monster, which gets even better in combination with extra Rocky Helmet damage each time the opponent makes physical contact.  Mix that all up with the attack stat-slashing burn status coming from Scald and Peek makes for an exceptional late-game stalling team sweeper.


Charlotte

img_4715

I may have talked about Charlotte before, but this isn’t exactly the same Charlotte as before.  Instead, she’s what I like to consider the competitive embodiment of the same Mimikyu I used during my main game play through.  All the same tricks with a far exceeding degree of power.

Seriously, Mimikyu remains one of my favorite Generation 7 Pokémon, and I love using the powerhouse that is Charlotte whenever possible… Even if I haven’t been able to successfully use a Z-Destiny Bond quite yet.  Leech Life makes for a good substitute though, as it makes use of her sky-high attack and allows her to regain some health at the same time.


Syrup

img_4716

I continue to hate the explanation for Raichu’s evolution that was given on the official Pokémon website leading up to the release of Sun and Moon.  Seriously, eating too many pancakes would not cause a ‘divergent evolution’ in a new land, it’s just the most ridiculous thing.

Yet, when I fell wholeheartedly head-over-heels in love with Alolan Raichu after seeing the Pokémon sit on her tail in mid-air like it was a bench in Pokémon Refresh, I knew I needed a cute name to give my little Electric/Psychic-type.  I couldn’t get that explanation out of my head… So Syrup just felt right.

At the same time, Syrup is incredible in battle.  Deciding not to make use of its ability, Surge Surfer (which requires an Electric Terrain effect to be set up as a means of doubling her speed stat), I set up my Raichu to hit hard with a Modest nature and move faster than just about all others with a Choice Scarf-boosted 162 base speed.  Most of the time she Volt Switches out to let another Pokémon come in and tank a hit from whoever the opponent may be, but even if she isn’t doing that her other special attacks hit hard on a variety of different Pokémon types.

Honestly?  Alolan Raichu has become one of my favorite Pokémon as of late, simply due to how useful my little Syrup is.  Guess I have her to thank for breaking my annoyance over the lousy background lore of her species.  I just can’t stay mad at a Pokémon so sweet.


Iris

img_4717

Iris, who I’ve named for what I feel is a pretty obvious reason, is one of the more… Unexpected Pokémon I’ve built thus far.  I’ve liked Masquerain since Ruby and Sapphire, but haven’t ever found a chance to use one until now.  The original team she’s a part of is a little more gimmick-y all together, but Iris definitely stands apart as something special.

Not only can she swap in on a physical attacker to cut their attack with her ability, Intimidate, she has a decently high speed stat and a pretty damn-high special attack stat, making her exceptional as a good Pokémon to force the opponent to swap out their Pokémon.  With a Flying-typing helping her dodge Ground-type attacks, that idea becomes even more useful in application.

Iris also works well with Peeks, since it’s always useful to cut a Pokémon’s attack before swapping into the defensive wall, or swapping out of the defensive wall into a Pokémon that can resist Ground-type attacks like Masquerain.  Such a good combination.

Sticky Webs make for a good entry hazard when I feel like playing speed games, but the real bread and butter for Iris comes from being able to hit a large variety of types with Expert Belt-boosted Super Effective attacks: STAB Air Slash and Bug Buzz, plus the addition of a Hydro Pump or Solar Beam (if I’m using a Sunny Day team at least).

All-in-all Iris has a great thing going for her, and she fits into the team I have quite well.


Cheval

img_4718

Wrapping up the team and ruining what could otherwise have been an all fatal female show of force is Cheval, my big bad Mudsdale.  Don’t let his gender fool you however, he fits in with the others from a power perspective more than well enough.

While I’ll admit his name isn’t the most creative, as it’s just ‘horse’ in French, Cheval puts in just the finest of work for me.

Usually I have him holding a leftovers, but considering I can’t have replicated items across my team members in official Pokémon battle rules, I decided to give my Mudsdale an Assault Vest instead.  Honestly, it makes him extremely viable to take hits on both the physical and special side since the item boosts his special defense by 50 percent.

The hard-hitting move pool this horse gets access to also makes him quite the asset.  In my experience, Cheval has been able to kill Alolan Ninetails and Mimikyu in one hit with Heavy Slam, which can really put holes in some teams.  Plus, STAB Earthquake and Close Combat makes it very easy to hit Steel and Rock-types, as well as many more. Finishing with Rock Slide allowing him to hit Flying-types as well and Cheval is an absolute monster.

It helps when Cuddles is able to heal the big horse with a Wish U-Turn as well.  Especially when I get to imagine the little Koala snuggling up to her big equestrian friend.


There’s only one problem that arises, even after all the work I put together to set this team up.  One problem that, no matter what I do to try and correct things, is unfortunately unavoidable…

img_4712

I’ve been so busy for the past week that I missed the registration window for the Alola Friendly competition.  Thus, unfortunately, my squad won’t be able to prove themselves in that official fashion.

Oh well, at least I can use them all together to duke it out in the Battle Spot and against my friends.  There will be plenty of battles for me to take part in later, I’m sure.

If you like the team I’ve built, or if you have any ideas for teams you think I could build (especially since all 800+ Pokémon are available in the latest generation) let me know below!  I’m always looking for new things to try, especially since I’ll need something to keep me from going nuts after hours of homework and newspaper shifts.

Until the Fire Emblem content comes around at least.

 

New Sun and Moon Information: Starter Evolutions and an American trailer

I never seem to be on time with these things anymore.  Guess that’s just the nature of my life right now.  It’s not really that much of a problem since technically we’ve only had new things for a few days, and since I’m really just giving my opinions so it doesn’t much matter how timely I am… But still.  I’m hoping it doesn’t annoy anybody out there reading.

Anyway though, we’re not here to talk about my schedule yet again.  No, we’re here to talk about some new Pokémon news.  Some great news at that, if I do say so myself!  Check out my likely over-embellished thoughts below the cut if you want to see whether or not my feelings on the Alolan starter Pokémon have changed in light of recent developments.

Continue reading “New Sun and Moon Information: Starter Evolutions and an American trailer”