How Pokemon Go Changed My Opinion on Gen I and II Pokemon

Remember when Pokemon Go was a giant deal? It’s not anymore, though it’s not gone yet. The initial buzz has worn off and we’re back to the point where I get weird looks if I bring up Pokemon Go with non-players (though no one has excitedly told me that they’re proud not to have to spell Pokemon names). I’ve played through 5.5[1] of the 7 main story games, and through each generation, I’ve developed different opinions on certain Pokemon. These opinions change based on how the Pokemon is presented in the game, its moveset, my personal attachment to it, importance to the story line, and many other factors.

In this regard, Pokemon Go is no different. The longer I’ve played Pokemon Go, the more the game has molded my opinions of the Gen I and Gen II Pokemon within the game. Because of Go’s goofy CP mechanic, some Pokemon that were valuable in the first two generations of the game are afterthoughts in Go[2], while Pokemon useless in either the main story of Gen I/Gen II[3] or in competitive play[4] are suddenly relevant because of Go.

That said, just because a Pokemon has become more or less useful because of Go doesn’t necessarily mean I care about it more or less. But there have been some changes in my thoughts on certain ‘mon[5]. With that in mind, here are the five Pokemon I like more — and less — because of Pokemon Go.

Pokemon I like less

5. Togepi

In the anime, the writers do their best to make an otherwise forgettable Pokémon adorable. And it works. You can’t help but find Missy’s Togepi cute. But in the games itself, Togepi wasn’t particularly useful. This trend only got more severe with its lack of viability Pokémon Go. Neither Togepi nor its evolution, Togetic, are very good in Go, making their appearance from a hatched egg groan-inducing after the first time. At least there’s a good third stage evolution coming down the line[6].

4. Spinarak

What if we had a Pokémon that was just as common as Pidgey, but wasn’t as good and took more than four times the candy to evolve? Ladies and gentlemen, Spinarak.

3. Gyarados

A year plus into the game, Gyarados has proven to be one of the most versatile and powerful Pokémon in Go. That’s not my issue with it. Magikarp has always been a pain to evolve into its giant dragon form, but none more so than in Go. It takes four times as much candy to evolve Magikarp as it does to evolve any of the starter Pokémon from their second to final form. Is Gyarados significantly harder to train to than most Pokemon? Yes. Is it four times harder? Nope. Is it that much stronger that it’s worth the effort in a non-water biome? Not a chance[7].

2. Xatu

I remember seeing the Natu line in Gold/Silver and being excited there was finally a Flying/Psychic dual type. And then Xatu was useful, though a bit underwhelming. That said, Xatu might be the single worst end-stage Flying type in Go — and that includes Butterfree and Ledian. Flying type as a whole is underwhelming in Go, and Xatu manages to be the worst available option.

1. Blissey/Chansey

Fuck Blissey[8].

Pokemon I like more

5. Kingler

I don’t think I used Kingler on a single playthrough of Gen I or Gen II. There were a litany of reasons Kingler made for a less-than-desireable ‘mon to use, most notably the fact that Kingler had a low special attack stat at a time where all Water moves were special attacks. That said, Go’s goofy CP system actually turns Kingler into an above average glass cannon Water type. Add in the fact that I picked up a perfect IV Krabby that I named after the giant fire-breathing lobster that lives behind the rings of Saturn, and Kingler is much more likeable in my eyes.

4. Kabutops

I think I found myself liking all three of Gen I’s fossil Pokémon more as a result of Go, however Kabutops in particular stands out.  Kabutops is in the game’s second tier of Rock Pokémon, which is a great type at both attacking and defending. With the recent gym revamp, players are no longer forced to put their top CP units in a gym, drastically boosting the usefulness of Pokémon like Umbreon, Kabutops, and Quagsire[9]. Combine that with Kabutops’ badass design and you have a winning Pokémon.

3. Oddish

What Pokémon has the highest catch rate in Pokémon Go aside from Magikarp? One of the 12 candy evolutions (Pidgey, Caterpie, Weedle)? If not them, what about the next lowest max CP Pokemon[10], Diglett? How about the cave herpes that is Zubat? Nope. It’s Oddish. I already had an Oddish potted plant pot in my apartment before Pokemon Go came out. Its existence as essentially free stardust in Go is wonderful.

2. Sneasel

I already like Ice and Dark Pokemon as it is, so Sneasel was already pretty high on my list of Pokemon I like. But with the badge system in Pokemon Go allowing you to have a higher catch rate once you’ve caught enough of a certain type of ‘mon, Sneasel became an easy way to make progress towards badges for two types that are uncommon in my area.

1. Sudowoodo

I’ve talked about how Sudowoodo is already my favorite Rock type in a previous post. That said, it further endeared itself to me because of Pokemon Go. Just watch it dance at roughly the 25 second mark of the video below.

How can you not love that?

5 Ways to Revitalize the Pokemon Go Gym Scene

Edit: Niantic announced massive changes to gyms this morning following the posting of this article. I’m going to keep the article up for sake of discussion of both the ideas here as well as discussion of Niantic’s announced changes.

Though the initial frenzy of popularity that came with the release of Pokemon Go is gone, the game still has a dedicated core base of players. This group ranges from the hyperactive players who spend money on the game to the player who picks the game up once per day for their bonuses, to somewhere in between. As someone who falls solidly into that group of casual, but still somewhat serious players, I couldn’t have been more excited than when I saw that Pokemon Go would be closing its gyms on June 19th (today, as this post is releasing) for “remodeling”.

What will be entailed in the remodeling is up for debate. Data miners on various sites had found code in the game suggesting limits to a specific Pokemon in a gym, however that find has not (yet) amounted to anything. I’ve seen suggestions from various people online with ideas from putting limits on gyms one trainer can be in to changes to the way CP[1] is calculated. That’s to say nothing of the prevalence of spoofers[2] and gym shavers[3] in the game.

I wanted to present a few different ideas that I think could be improvements to the current gym system as it exist. While the problems with the gym system are by no means Pokemon Go’s biggest problem, they do seem to be the most significant problem Niantic is willing to address.

Idea 1 – One Pokemon Per Evolution Line Limit

Let’s lead off by addressing the alleged fix to gyms that was found in code (briefly) a few months back. The current Pokemon Go gym scene features seven Pokemon pretty much everywhere — Blissey, Snorlax, Gyarados, Dragonite, Vaporeon, Rhydon, and Tyranitar. These Pokemon are the seven highest CP Pokemon currently available in the game[4], with two of the Pokemon — Blissey and Snorlax — benefiting from a relative dearth of strong counters to their presence. A solo player, particularly a casual one, has little hope of taking down a high level (6-10) gym is there are more than two Blissey and/or Snorlax present.

One potential solution for this is to set a limit to one Pokemon per evolution line in a single gym. This plus side to this is that players would stop seeing gyms with 4-5 Blisseys in them on a regular basis[5], potentially promoting greater turnover in gyms. On the down side, this likely also means that players would still see 6 of the 7 highest CP Pokemon[6] in a gym on a regular basis. Now those last four spots would be filled with some combination of Donphan, Heracross, Golem, Lapras, and Exeggutor — or pretty much what is seen as occasional filler now.

Idea 2 – Encourage Themed (Mono-Type) Gyms

In every generation of Pokemon until Pokemon Sun/Moon[7], one of the main story lines of the game was to defeat all of the gym leaders in the game’s region before going on to face the Elite Four. If you haven’t played the main games of the series, more about that premise is in my theorycrafting post here.

One of the notable things that was true of all gym leaders/trial captains in the mainline games was that those leaders featured teams that had Pokemon all of a specific element. Whether you were facing Sabrina’s psychic types in Red and Blue, Maylene’s fighting types in Diamond and Pearl, or Valerie’s fairy types in X and Y, you generally knew what you were getting yourself into before you went into a gym[8]. One possible way to improve gym play would be to have gyms rotate what type of defenders are allowed to be in them. For example, let’s say that a specific gym was a water type gym. All three teams could attack that gym with whatever Pokemon they wanted to in order to take over the gym. However, when placing defenders in the gym, they would be restricted to Pokemon with a main or secondary typing of water.

At the end of that seven days, the gym changes to a new typing for defenders. There’s two ways to do this. One would be to kick out all defenders and to set the new typing at random. The second would be to set the new typing based off of the most prevalent secondary type in the gym, then kick out any Pokemon who don’t fit that typing. I’d prefer the former personally, but would be okay with either.

Idea 3 – Randomize Kickout Order

My third idea for improving the gym scene in Pokemon Go is also the one that is now probably the least likely to occur, as it would have been the easiest to implement under the old system. Under the previous gym system, when a team was attacking a gym, defending Pokemon were kicked out in order from weakest to strongest. While this was a great idea in theory, all it ultimately did was to lead to the gym shaving issue I brought up earlier.

If whatever revamp is being done to the gyms is not a major change, I would encourage Niantic to have some level of randomization to the order that Pokemon get kicked out of gyms.While there don’t seem to be a ton of spoofers and gyms shavers where I play, the few I do see are very noticeable, as you’ll find the same group of people in the same gyms after they’re done (typically in the same order with the same Pokemon). Battling a gym down with your alternate account to get your main account in a gym? Have fun with the roulette wheel that could knock one of your friends out in the process.

Idea 4 – Set Tier Limits in Gyms

The main series Pokemon games have a robust competitive gaming scene, thanks in part to competitive battle forums like Smogon and larger world tournaments that occur. These tournaments generally have some sort of tiered system that sets limitations as to what Pokemon, moves, and items can be used within a battle. Aside from the fact that items cannot be used in battle and that legendaries are not in the game currently, Pokemon Go does not feature such limitations.

Why not implement them? Sites like GamePress already do tier lists for top defenders and attackers. Why not have Niantic implement these limitations into gyms? Similar to the mono-type gym idea from earlier in the post, gyms could have rotating tiers on a weekly basis. One week, meta Pokemon like Blissey and Snorlax could be put in the gym with no limitations. The next week, the gym would switch to underused Pokemon, limiting your choices to Pokemon like Raichu and Butterfree. The next week, the gym could be a Little Cup format, filling the gym with Vulpix and Staryu. Different gyms in the same area could have different tiers running at the same time to further enhance play.

Idea 5 – Add in the Special Attack and Special Defense Stats

I get the purpose to the CP number. It’s meant to be a simplified calculation to help people who have never picked up Pokemon before to get acclimated to how the game works while still playing Pokemon Go. But CP makes strong Pokemon weak while making otherwise average Pokemon amazing. Remember Blissey? In the main games, it has the same base stat total as Kingdra. In Pokemon Go, Kingdra’s CP is approximately 3/4 of Blissey’s.

Is that to say Kingdra is a better Pokemon than Blissey? Not really. Objectively it’s not. But by combining Special Attack and Attack into a single attack stat, as well as doing the same with defense, Niantic has put Pokemon with widely skewed stats such as Blissey in a position to be light years better than those with more balanced stats like Kingdra.

The solution? Add in Special Attack and Defense. Blissey remains a wall against psychic/water/fire/other heavy special attackers, but becomes extra frail against strong physical attackers like Machamp (who it already has a weakness to) and Kingler. Meanwhile, Kingdra goes from being an afterthought to being a semi-viable attacker, particularly with STAB[9].

 

I’d like to hear from those of you out there who still play Pokemon Go. How would you improve the gym scene? Is there a particular idea on the list above you love or hate? Sound off in the comments.

My Favorite Pokemon of Each Type

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted on here. I’ve got a few longer posts I’ve been working on that aren’t quite ready to go up (including a continuation of a previous short story), but I wanted to have something up on the blog, as I won’t have a ton of other content going up other places for a little while.

A couple of months ago, I did a post about what the Pokemon League would be like if I were Pokemon champion. The post itself was a fun exercise, though it didn’t quite flow as well as I wanted to. As such, I wanted to take another crack at writing a Pokemon post, this time sharing my favorite Pokemon of each type.

Like my previous Pokemon post, this one too was inspired by a Poketube video, this one by TamashiiHiroka where she covers the same topic as I’ll be doing in this post.

As Tamashii mentioned she would do, I will not reuse any Pokemon on my list even if they’re dual type. For example, if Pidgey was my favorite both Normal and Flying type1It’s not. Pidgey is garbage., I’d only use it once on the list, so as to make this list as diverse as possible. Additionally, you may find that my list is biased to early gens (I-III) and Sun/Moon, as I’ve only played Gen IV (Diamond/Pearl) once and haven’t played Gens V or VI at all. With that said, since some of those Pokemon do resurface in Sun/Moon, they may show up here. All images are courtesy Bulbapedia.

Normal – Porygon-Z

Leading off, we have a Gen I Pokemon’s end stage evolution that I didn’t care about at all until playing Pokemon Moon. I’ve never found the Porygon line to be particularly useful Pokemon, despite having one of my favorite designs in the game. Then Z-moves happened, meaning Porygon-Z’s conversion changes Porygon-Z’s type to whatever the first move in its move set is. It’s a great shock and surprise strategy, particularly when I can go in with an Ice type Porygon-Z one battle and a Steel type the next.

Apologies to: Persian, Jigglypuff

Fire – Chandelure

I didn’t carry a single Fire type Pokemon on my end game team until Pokemon Moon. I didn’t see the appeal to them. Everything they could do, Ground Pokemon could do better. And then Chandelure came along. Despite its silly design, Chandelure was an indispensable member of my first Pokemon Moon run through, as its combination of Will-o-Wisp, Hex, Shadow Ball, and Flame Charge made it hard to take down and even harder to out speed.

Apologies to: Vulpix, Blaziken, Litten

Fighting – Hitmonchan

This was one of the only two Pokemon types I immediately knew my answer to who my favorite was. Yes, Hitmonchan was inferior to Hitmonlee in the original games. But I loved the unpredictability of the elemental punches. In later gens, you can combine these punches with moves like Vacuum Wave and Close Combat to make Hitmonchan an adept fighter. It’s not the best fighter, but it’s definitely my favorite.

Apologies to: Hariyama, Poliwrath

Water – Cloyster

This was definitely the hardest choice on my list, as I’ve always tended to use teams heavy in Water, Ice, and Psychic Pokemon. The Cloyster line was one of only two Pokemon in Gen I2Sorry, Vaporeon learning it in Pokemon Yellow doesn’t count. Pokemon Yellow barely counts as Gen I. Yellow is more a love letter to the anime than it is a Gen I game. to learn my favorite Ice move, Aurora Beam. Because of its statistical superiority to Dewgong, I found myself using Cloyster far more frequently. Plus Cloyster is one of the most menacing looking Water type Pokemon, not to mention a hard one to kill at that.

Apologies to: Vaporeon, Dewgong, Lapras, Whiscash

Flying – Fearow

I don’t think there’s a single time where I played through Pokemon Red, Blue, or Yellow where I didn’t have Fearow on my team for the majority of the game. Since I knew Gary/Blue/Whatever you want to call him carried a Pidgeot, I felt like repeating his Pokemon at the end would be pointless. Enter the high-speed Drill Peck machine, Fearow. He looks goofy as fuck, but Dodrio couldn’t match up moveset-wise, and the legendary birds join too late in the game for me to consider replacing Fearow. For that, Fearow holds a special place in my heart. Only one other Flying type is on the same level as Fearow in my mind…but it shows up later in this list.

Apologies to: Articuno, Drifloon, Dodrio

Grass – Oddish

You want a cute Grass Pokemon? Oddish is your bulb. I don’t think I’ve used the Oddish line as my main grass type in any game playthrough3If I needed a Cut Pokemon, I generally carried around Sandslash. If I really wanted to play with a Grass type, I either took the Grass starter or caught a Bellsprout., but there’s a lot to love about Oddish (at least until it grows up into Gloom). First off, it’s adorable in the anime. Second, it learns a useful moveset that prevents you from needing to stick with Butterfree until mid-game. Third, it has the highest catch rate of any Pokemon other than Magikarp in Pokemon Go, which means stardust for days. Finally, most Grass Pokemon aren’t that great, meaning I’m inclined to replace them with something else anyway. Might as well have one that amuses you — and for me, that’s Oddish.

Apologies to: Tsareena, Exeggutor, Abomasnow

Poison – Toxapex

Like Grass above, I really don’t use that many Poison types in my teams. In early games, they weren’t strong against much of anything, plus most Poison types didn’t have great movesets. They either relied on gimmicks (Weezing’s Explosion/Self-Destruct, Muk’s Minimize) or had terrible stats (Hi, Beedrill). Toxapex, while hard to acquire in Pokemon Sun/Moon, is a legit tank. It’s not quite a god-tier Pokemon, but it’s a dangerous Pokemon in the right hands thanks to its giant defense/special defense stats. Think Shuckle, only cute.

Apologies to: Alolan Muk

Electric – Jolteon

Electric Pokemon are, in my mind, useful, but not likable. Want a badass looking Electric type? Sorry. Since Pikachu exists, everything has to be an attempt at adorable (Minun, Plusle, Emolga, Dedenne, Togedemaru) or so stupid looking you won’t want to use it (Eelektross, Electivire, Luxray, Electrode). If you want a non-legendary Electric type from what’s left, you’re limited to Jolteon, Zebstrika, Mega Ampharos, and Magnezone. I’ll take Jolteon out of that group any day.

Apologies to: Magnezone, Zapdos, Ampharos, Rotom…but only as the Sun/Moon Pokedex

Ground – Quagsire

Look at that face. Look at it.

Apologies to: Dugtrio, Whiscash (again), Zygarde

Psychic – Jynx

Remember that whole thing about liking to carry Ice and Psychic types on my teams? I was a big fan of Jynx in the early games despite its terrible move pool. I mean, she’s serviceable in later games, but outside of Blizzard, if you wanted Jynx to have a good moveset in Gen I, you had to feed her TMs. I carried either Jynx or Hypno as my Psychic in Gen I about 95% of the time. It’s close, but considering my preference to typing over move pool, Jynx wins narrowly.

Apologies to: Hypno, Gardevoir, Slowpoke

Rock – Sudowoodo

Sudowoodo is not a good Pokemon. At all. There are many better Rock types in all of the Pokemon games than Sudowoodo. That said, there isn’t a single Pokemon that you meet in the wild in a more unique fashion than the fake tree Pokemon. After all, you’ve been primed through Gen I and Gen II that you can cut down any small tree in your path. But then…surprise!…it’s a Pokemon encounter a la Snorlax. Sudowoodo wins this category based on impact made on me from the game alone.

Apologies to: Kabutops, Shuckle, Rhydon

Ice – Alolan Vulpix

Though Chandelure was my favorite Fire type, I always found Vulpix to be the best looking Fire type. Brock’s Vulpix was my favorite non-Team Rocket Pokemon in the anime, but I never found good reason to use Vulpix/Ninetales in the early games. Then Sun/Moon came out and we get a Vulpix as an Ice type. I’m sold.

Apologies to: Lapras (again), Dewgong (again), Froslass

Bug – Parasect

Almost all Bug Pokemon are useless. And then there’s Parasect in Gen I. Don’t have a Pokemon that can out-speed Sabrina’s Alakazam? Get a Parasect, teach it Spore and Leech Life, then proceed to curbstomp the hardest gym leader in the game like she’s the fisherman with six Magikarp. Parasect is a super situational Pokemon and largely useless in the rest of the game. But it’s super broken in one specific battle.

Apologies to: Vikavolt, Scizor

Dragon – Alolan Exeggutor

Before Sun/Moon, I don’t think I used a Dragon Pokemon in an end game team. In my first playthrough of Moon, however, I had two (Kingdra and Alolan Exeggutor). Blame the fact that Dragon moves were terrible in Gen I. I really don’t have strong feelings about this category as a result, so I took the Pokemon I thought had a better design over the one that I used slightly more.

Apologies to: Kingdra, Drampa

Ghost – Mismagius

Outside of Jigglypuff, King troll of Super Smash Brothers, I don’t thing there is a Pokemon more fun to mess with people with than Mismagius. Did your opponent use Protect? You’ve got Phantom Force. Did your opponent Minimize to death? Magical Leaf. Playing doubles and your other Pokemon is obscenely slow like Snorlax? Trick Room. Dark Pokemon giving you trouble? Dazzling Gleam them to death. Mismagius is super fun…and that’s without getting into the Pain Split/Perish Song variants.

Apologies to: Froslass (again), Sableye, Jellicent

Dark – Umbreon

Unlike the type following this one (Steel), Dark has a lot of Pokemon I like. I’ve used quite a few Dark types in-game playthroughs, not to mention many of them have really cool designs. But as a fan of the Eevee line, Umbreon stands out. It’s not my favorite Eeveelution (Vaporeon), it’s not the one I’ve used the most in games (Jolteon), and it’s not even the best designed one (Sylveon). But it is my favorite Pokemon within its type — not to mention a useful one to boot.

Apologies to: Houndoom, Weaville, Alolan Muk (again), Krookodile

Steel – Skarmory

The only other Flying type I liked using in Gen I and Gen II was Skarmory. It looks goofy at best. But I’ll be damned if I didn’t find it useful in the game. Steel typing was surprisingly powerful in Gen II, so Skarmory made sense to use in many cases. While it’s not one of my favorite Pokemon, in a type otherwise filled with Pokemon I don’t care strongly about4Yet I oddly don’t hate any Steel type. It’s just…meh?, Skarmory wins.

Apologies to: Magnezone (again)

Fairy – Primarina

By taking Alolan Vulpix under Ice type, it meant Alolan Ninetales couldn’t appear here. Essentially, this became a coinflip between Primarina and Jigglypuff. Primarina is a far more useful and powerful Pokemon, but Jigglypuff is the master of the Poketrolls. This list may change when I do my next playthrough of Sun/Moon and use a different starter, allowing me to use a different Fairy type in the team. But for now, the opera seal gets the win.

Apologies to: Jigglypuff, Sylveon, Mimikyu

The Not-So-Serious Anime Awards (Round 2)

A couple of years ago, I decided to talk about anime in an award list parody post. You can read that original post here if you’re so inclined. With the news of a live action Death Note film coming out, I decided to take a look back at that post, only to realize I wrote the post well before I had watched Death Note…or a lot of other shows for that matter.

While I still like most of the things on the previous post (or at least hold similar opinions that I held on that post), I’ve watched a good bit more anime in the nearly two years since that point. With that in mind, I’ve decided to update my previous list where more recently watched content changes my answers in some way — be that the overall winner of the category or the honorable mentions. I’ve also added a few new categories, as there were a couple of categories I made no changes to.

No Changes: Worst Overdubbing, Worst Series Ending, Best Series Ending, Best Anime Film, Creepiest Moment[1], Worst Villain

As was the case before, spoilers abound from here on.

Changes to Honorable Mentions Only

Best Film/Series – FullMetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

I get that Ranker and a bunch of other sites have Death Note above FMA: Brotherhood, but if I’m looking at an entire series, I care more about just the battle between the main protagonist and antagonist. Hell, that’s over 2/3 of the way into the series in the case of Death Note. FMA: Brotherhood has excellently written minor characters, a compelling storyline, and an ending that isn’t completely anticlimatic[2]. Plus you’ve got two of the saddest moments in anime[3] in this show. I’m not sure what else you could ask for from an anime.

Honorable Mention: Soul Eater, Death Note

Best Series Music – RWBY

Despite a bit of a dip in season 3, RWBY far and away has the best music of any anime (or hell, any animated show) out there. Of the categories from my original list, this is the only one where the category winner actually managed to increase the gap between it and the honorable mentions. Soul Eater stays on the list by virtue of having the single best intro song in an anime, while Black Lagoon makes an appearance on an anime list for something other than Revy’s assets/her ability to kill people.

Honorable Mention: Black Lagoon, Soul Eater

Best Intro Song – “Black Paper Moon” by Tommy Heavenly6 (Soul Eater, Seasons 2-3)

See above. That said, if you picked any of the honorable mention songs here and said they were your favorite, I wouldn’t be too upset. Two of the four songs in this group played at our wedding reception. Anime has good music. Usually.

Honorable Mention: “This Will Be The Day” by Jeff Williams and Casey Lee Williams (RWBY, Season 1), “Unravel” by TK (Tokyo Ghoul), “Red Fraction” by Mell (Black Lagoon, Seasons 1-2)

Best Villain – Medusa Gorgon, Soul Eater

I expected so much more out of Cinder Fall when I wrote my last list. But come to find out she’s a mid-level henchman who manages to go from a sadistic badass to the weakest written character in RWBY in the matter of two episodes. I have hope for Salem, but until then, Jessie and James replace Cinder. As much as Light is the main villain of Death Note, Misa is a much better villain — or at least a more interesting one. Neither holds a candle to Medusa from Soul Eater though.

Honorable Mention: Jessie and James (Pokemon), Misa Amane (Death Note)

Most Unexpectedly Good Anime – Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne

Reminder: Naked throne of creepy sex ladies. Still a damn good anime though. Most of the other animes I’ve watched in the last two years have either been already well-received series, series that were incredible disappointments, or both. Even so, both Black Lagoon and Death Parade are worth the watch. Be warned though…Death Parade’s theme song will get stuck in your head.

Honorable Mention: Black Lagoon, Death Parade, also…can we count Adventure Time here? No? Please? It’s good despite being fucking weird.

New Award Winners

Best Main Character – L, Death Note

Sorry Weiss. When you’re not even the best main character in your own show now[4], you can’t top this list. When I wrote the previous list, I hadn’t seen Death Note, hence L’s absence. That said, after a handful of suggestions to watch the show, I finally got why so many people are drawn to L. He’s just so…strange? I think that’s the best way to describe him. Plus, he’s a good guy who doesn’t win in the end. I always find characters like that interesting.

Honorable Mention: Roy Mustang (FullMetal Alchemist: Brotherhood), Tsubaki Nakatsukasa (Soul Eater), Yang Xiao Long (RWBY)

Best Secondary Character – Riza Hawkeye, FullMetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

I had a bit of a change of heart on this one within weeks of posting my previous list. While Excalibur is funny and entertains me in his occasional appearances, Riza is one of the best written female characters in film or television, regardless of format. As a side note, I’d watch animes that focus on the lives of Roberta and James. Roberta’s back story prior to her encounter with the Lagoon Company deserved to be fleshed out a bit more, while James is clearly the most loved Pokemon trainer in the series, at least by his Pokemon.

Honorable Mention: Excalibur (Soul Eater), Roberta (Black Lagoon), James (Pokemon)

Worst Character – Rock, Black Lagoon

In my last list, I failed to make a distinction between worst villain (read: horrible human being) and worst character (read: OMFG SHUT UP AND GET OFF MY SCREEN). This is how I feel pretty much every time Rock talks after the first three episodes of Black Lagoon. On top of that, at least Third Kira moves his story line forward and at least Brock is useful sometimes. Rock is just painful, yet he’s supposed to be the main character[5].

Honorable Mention: Brock (Pokemon), Kyosuke “Third Kira” Higuchi (Death Note)

Most Entertaining Character – Bewear, Pokemon

After picking up Pokemon Moon, I decided to check back in on the Pokemon anime just to see what had happened since I’ve been gone. Much to my surprise, the first episode I watched featured Team Rocket actually defeating Ash for the first time in the entire series. All this happened just in time for the Bewear they were living with to show up. Hilarity ensues[6].

Honorable Mention: Greed (FullMetal Alchemist), Near (Death Note)

What if I Were a Pokemon Champion?

You might have noticed that I’ve been doing a decent number of video game posts lately. I don’t really have a reason for this, though I realize there’s a handful of my readers that really don’t care about said posts. That said, I’m on a video game writing kick, so I thought I’d try another one.

This time, I’m inspired by the video below by Bird Keeper Toby on YouTube. In the video below, he shares the Elite Four teams, as well as his own team, if he were Pokemon League champion.

The basic premise of Toby’s video is that he is the end game champion of the Elite Four. Toby explains each of the four trainers that precede him in you — the trainer’s — path to becoming a Pokemon League champion. I figured I’d take my own crack at making an Elite Four as well as my own champion team.

In Toby’s video, his Pokemon League theme is a treehouse. In keeping with the idea of having a themed Elite Four, I’m going to have my Pokemon League be a meteorology theme. Weather was introduced into Pokemon in Generation II and my personal obsession with weather1I was nearly meteorology minor in college, but changed my mind as a double minor would have caused me to attend for an extra semester. makes meteorology a natural fit for the theme. Additionally, I’ve decided to keep with Toby’s theme of making Elite Four members people from previous games. Since my biggest exposure to Pokemon has been in Generations I – IV as well as VII, my Elite Four hails from those groupings.2Also, you’ll face the Elite Four sequentially. I hate that Sun/Moon lets you face them out of order. It significantly lessens the challenge in my mind.

Battle 1

In the first battle, you’ll be facing off against the first member of my Elite Four, Flannery. For those unaware, Flannery is the fire-type trainer from Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire’s Lavaridge Town. Admittedly, this was the only gym pick I made purely based on previous game skills and not like of a trainer/Pokemon, as there’s not a ton of fire/grass leaders I like.

Flannery is the first fire type leader to use Sunny Day in games, using it on both of her Slugma. In my Pokemon League, however, she’s grown as a trainer from her Gen III days, diversifying her team to include grass type (to fit with the Sunny Day theme) and normal type (due to her familiarity with Norman) Pokemon on her team.

Flannery’s Team

Magcargo
Holds: Heat Rock
Ability: Magma Armor
Moves: Sunny Day, Flamethrower, Recover, Rock Slide

Rapidash
Holds: None
Ability: Flash Fire
Moves: Flamethrower, Solar Beam, Overheat, Bounce

Sceptile
Holds: None
Ability: Overgrow
Moves: Solar Beam, Mega Drain, Dual Chop, Swords Dance

Vigoroth
Holds: Safety Goggles
Ability: Vital Spirit
Moves: Sunny Day, Reversal, Solar Beam, Slash

Torkoal
Holds: Firium Z
Ability: White Smoke
Moves: Overheat, Heat Wave, Iron Defense, Earthquake

Battle 2

Presuming you get through Flannery, you’re on to take on our Rain Dance master, Lana from Pokemon Sun/Moon. Lana is the game’s water trial captain at Brooklet Hill. In nearly every Pokemon game I’ve played, my starter has been the water type starter of the game. You’ll see the influence of my water type starter preference in the second battle, as well as a Alola Pokemon focus in this battle.

Lana’s team also uses rain dance to its fullest by using its powers to improve the accuracy of Hurricane and Thunder via Swanna and Lanturn/Alolan Raichu. I was tempted to add Primarina to Lana’s team as a sixth Pokemon, however I figured keeping all the Elite Four teams at five Pokemon made more sense.

Lana’s Team

Lanturn
Holds: Damp Rock
Ability: Volt Absorb
Moves: Rain Dance, Thunder, Aqua Ring, Surf

Swanna
Holds: None
Ability: Hydration
Moves: Hurricane, Roost, Brave Bird, Surf

Empoleon
Holds: Air Balloon
Ability: Torrent
Moves: Aqua Jet, Brine, Flash Cannon, Rain Dance

Raichu (Alola Form)
Holds: None
Ability: Surge Surfer
Moves: Electric Terrain, Psychic, Thunder, Light Screen

Araquinid
Holds: Waterium Z
Ability: Water Bubble
Moves: Leech Life, Aqua Ring, Rain Dance, Liquidation

Battle 3

For battle three, you encounter the rock/steel/ground filled Sandstorm room of the Elite Four. There’s quite a few options here, particularly considering the prevalence of those types in the first two generations. Of the four Elite Four battles, this one is probably the most straight forward, as you’ll be taking on a familiar face — Gen I’s Brock.

Brock already fields a team filled with rock, ground, and steel types, but he’s got a couple of tricks up his sleeve thanks to his time with Ash, as well as some help he received from Gen II’s steel leader, Jasmine. Brock’s familiar Pokemon do their best to take advantage of Sandstorm, while his new additions attempt to counter those who would damage his main team. And of course, since Brock’s dream is to become a Pokemon breeder, every Pokemon on his team knows a move that can only be learned by breeding (except Magnezone, which can’t).

Onix
Holds: Eviolite
Ability: Sturdy
Moves: Bide, Sandstorm, Stone Edge, Rollout

Magnezone
Holds: Smooth Rock
Ability: Magnet Pull
Moves: Gyro Ball, Discharge, Thunderbolt, Explosion

Golem (Kanto Form)
Holds: None
Ability: Sand Veil
Moves: Stone Edge, Focus Blast, Heavy Slam, Endure

Donphan
Holds: None
Ability: Sand Veil
Moves: Hyper Beam, Rollout, Ice Shard, Thunder Fang

Steelix
Holds: Steelixite
Ability: Study/Sandforce
Moves: Sandstorm, Earthquake, Iron Tail, Rock Climb

Battle 4

You’re finally to the last of the Elite Four members at my meteorology themed Pokemon League. If you beat the final trainer, you’re on to take on me as the Champion. That said, you’ve got to deal with the original ice user and her Hail optimized team first. Lorelei from the Gen I Elite Four is up next.

Unlike the previous three weather types, you know what you’re getting here. Ice gonna give it to ya. There’s just one problem. Lorelei has brought a more diverse team that can learn ice moves — not just ice types. And in the event you plan on bringing in fighting, rock, steel, or fire types here, she’s ready to counter it.

Lapras
Holds: Icy Rock
Ability: Shell Armor
Moves: Blizzard, Perish Song, Surf, Confuse Ray

Froslass
Holds: None
Ability: Snow Cloak
Moves: Hail, Destiny Bond, Thunder Wave, Shadow Ball

Slowking
Holds: King’s Rock
Ability: Oblivious
Moves: Scald, Heal Pulse, Yawn, Dream Eater

Aurorus
Holds: Light Clay
Ability: Snow Warning
Moves: Psychic, Blizzard, Thunderbolt, Stone Edge

Abomasnow
Holds: Abomasite
Ability: Snow Warning
Moves: Blizzard, Energy Ball, Wood Hammer, Ice Punch

Battle 5

Finally, you’re beaten the Elite Four and you’ve reach the champion — me. So what kind of team am I going to bring out? After all, you’ve already ran into the four weather types so far. What else could I have? My team is built around Pokemon who change the weather as soon as they enter battle. The abilities Drought, Drizzle, Sand Stream, and Snow Warning are present on four of my six Pokemon, changing the weather as soon as they enter. As for the other two, they’ll be bent on stopping you in their own unique ways that help balance out my team.

Pelipper
Holds: Damp Rock
Ability: Drizzle
Moves: Hurricane, Surf, Fly, Roost

Torkoal
Holds: Heat Rock
Ability: Drought
Moves: Solar Beam, Heat Wave, Flame Charge, Amnesia

Tyranitar
Holds: Smooth Rock
Ability: Sand Stream
Moves: Dark Pulse, Stone Edge, Dragon Claw, Ice Beam

Scizor
Holds: Scizorite
Ability: Technician
Moves: Silver Wind, Hidden Power, Metal Claw, Toxic

Umbreon
Holds: Chople Berry
Ability: Synchronize
Moves: Yawn, Dream Eater, Confuse Ray, Dark Pulse

Ninetales (Alolan Form)
Holds: Light Clay
Ability: Snow Warning
Moves: Aurora Veil, Toxic, Blizzard, Hex


So. What did you all think? I realize this is a bit different type of post from one I’ve normally done, particularly since it’s a video response. Let me know what your thoughts are in the comments.