Building the Best Pokémon Team (Part 24)

Welcome to Unova, featuring the fifth Generation of Pokémon, a New York City ripoff and probably the last Pokémon region truly worth visiting, if you really want my opinion. You won’t catch many Pidgeys and Rattatas on your journeys through the Unovan Routes, oh no. It’s a whole new batch of Pokémon to get you immersed in the new world, not a single Pokémon related to earlier Generations to be found here.

Of course, you know that Game Freak wouldn’t have changed things that drastically. You still have your Water, Fire and Grass starters. You still have generic birds and rodents, and a bug or two. Or twelve. Certainly it’ll be a while until we get to the robo-insect WMD and the dragon with heads for hands. As a general rule of thumb, with the exception of your starter Pokémon, you should always pick your team from the latter half of the Regional Dex.


It’s had a movie dedicated to it, but I think you’d definitely have to say that Victini is one of the more obscure Legendaries. Given its design and how its modelled after victory, I could see it being painted on the side of wartime planes, or even slathered across the bombs they drop. It’ll hit you with a unique V fire move, which would be devastating if you could actually find one and use it in battle. Just use Ho-Oh or something, or Mew or Jirachi if you fancy a cute Legendary to use. Victini is all about himself, and won’t do a thing for you, goofy victory sign or not.


Truth be told, I would have been happier to see little Snivy continue to go down the smug route and eventually evolve into one of those insufferable anime characters with long hair, a dubbed posh accent and a hugely effeminate demeanour. Instead it lost its limbs, became a big shnake and much of the grace and poise was lost. That’s not to say Serperior is no good – one can always find a use for a giant snake in combat – but I just wonder if other serpents can do the job better. I’d say stick with Arbok or Seviper, in case Serpy here catches fire.


Oh no, this won’t do at all. It’s yet another Fire-Fighting starter Pokémon, which we didn’t need. Even if you wanted to pick one, there’s no way you’d take this fella over Blaziken or Infernape, cute little pig that he once was. Those two are lithe prizefighters, this one is an overweight boorish boar. Larger gentlemen can handle themselves in fights, don’t get me wrong – you may remember England’s Anthony Joshua getting knocked on his sexy rump by 400lb man Andy Ruiz, a win for all fatties and one that finally encouraged me to give up my fitness regime for good. And I suppose Emboar might make you look thinner in front of all the Beauties and Nurse Joys, which is always a bonus. I think you should aspire to better things though, don’t you?


It looks like it was a swing-and-a-miss for all three of the Generation 5 starters, because I don’t have much confidence in Oshawott’s line either. Oshawott itself just looked helpless and frightened, not a bit of Squirtle and Totodile’s swagger. Still, you can’t go wrong with otters. Or maybe you can, because by the time we evolved our Oshawotts to Samurotts, it just looked like an abomination. To hit you with some assonance, it takes a lot to make an otter not cute. I’m not saying it’s otterly dreadful, merely unfashionable. And it’s only average in a fight, plus it probably needs its hand held at night.


I don’t like this thing’s pose one bit, with its folded arms and wild angry eyes. It looks every bit like an angry mother who’s waiting for you to come into range before unleashing an absolute barrage of clatters over every bit of your body she can get at. You might have only done something very mild, like fail all your exams or put your little brother into a Crippler Crossface, but that’ll be enough. In reality Watchog isn’t any bit as scary as your seriously irritated muv, but an animal with murderous intent is still something to be feared.


Such is the lifecycle of a wee doggy. At first you’re a little yappy puppy, all small and cute and excitable. Then you’re a fully grown terrier, man’s best friend, your companion for life. No way to stop the wheels of time from turning though, and unfortunately your faithful companion will grow old and perhaps weary. He’ll still look the biz, and his bark and bite are probably still about the same, if he can even catch anyone to bite in the first place. But the end draws near for Stoutland – as it did for one Stoutland in a particularly heart-breaking episode of the Sun & Moon anime. Do keep in mind that I’m not some undies-wearing anime freak who does nothing but watch episodes of Pokémon – I don’t do that every week – but that episode will rock any animal lover to their core. I reckon we spare old Stoutland from the ardours of war and let’s just recognise him as a grizzled veteran, a proudly retired dog of war, who has become Super-Effective against cats and newspapers.


I seem to have developed a weakness for cats, although this cat is a lot less subtle and classy than the likes of Persian. Still, at least it’s got more elegance than Incineroar. But I can’t get on board with its gaudiness; it might play well at the home of a Cheshire-based footballer or perhaps a particularly eccentric villain. But aren’t tigers better suited to extravagance and opalescence than leopards? Here’s a tip for you James Bond baddies out there – stick to tigers, crocodiles if you can afford them, and a smattering of piranha fish. All this fast cat Pokémon will do is run away from you, or let you down at the vital moment.


The grass monkey who speaks no evil… because monkeys haven’t quite learned to talk yet. When they do, though, and when they make their move, we’re not going to be prepared. It’ll be Planet of the Apes times ten. Have you seen and heard about the strength your average gorilla possesses? It’ll rip your arms out just like that, or have its wicked way with you instead, and just you try to resist. I doubt Simisage is anything like as strong as your average gorilla – a bit too leafy for that – but I wouldn’t chance going into an enclosure with it. You saw what they had to do to Harambe.


The fire monkey who hears no evil… because the evil cannot be heard over the screams of its enemies. If I don’t die from a sudden heart attack or walking under a car, and assuming some boffin fixes global warming at the eleventh hour, then there’s only one way I’m going to perish. That’s right, fighting against fire monkeys from space. But if I were able to sneak up on one, capture and tame it… Well, each of the Gen V monkeys looks crap of course, but Simisear is the pick of the bunch. You just don’t turn down a fire monkey, if there’s one going.


The water monkey who sees no evil… because it’s tough as hell to see underwater. Seriously, never mind the fact that water shits me right up, I can’t swim, I have no lung capacity and I’d be knackered in seconds – I reckon the biggest barrier between me and the water is that I can’t get any water in my eyes without being a jessie about it. That stuff stings, and no amount of goggles can help it. That’d be the problem with Simipour, you know, like when you’d be trying to avoid the water gun fight with all the other kids on your road because your mother says you can’t get wet. Well, Simipour would splash you anyway, because he’s that much of a cheeky monkey.


You get a lot less self-conscious as you get older, but I hope they’d be ready to pull the plug on me if I ever tried to send Musharna into battle with a straight face. I suppose this thing does have a target audience, probably young women who nap far too much. This means it’ll find favour with probably 3 billion ladies out there who all love a nap. I’m sure it can use powerful Psychic moves and maybe even be a Dream Eater. But, oh God, what if Musharna turns you into a Dream Teller? Have you ever had a good time listening to what someone dreamt about…?


It’s a funny relationship humans have with birds, you know. When they’re nice and small and cute, we like to see them in our garden – we all particularly like a fat little red-breast robin. There are a huge amount of pigeon fanciers out there. You could even keep a parrot if you were a bit away with the fairies. But suddenly these birds reach a certain size and we’re cowering in fear. I’m sure we’ve both seen seagulls brazenly attack people on the street. An eagle or a large owl wouldn’t hesitate to swoop at you, claws outstretched. And if an ostrich pegged it towards you, doing 80… it was nice knowing you. I reckon Unfezant’s name, appearance and size puts it right up there in the echelon of birds that you really shouldn’t approach without good reason. Personally I think this thing would happily peck your entire entrails out, Prometheus-style. And a Pokémon like that is always welcome on one’s shoulder.


Not too many stripes, is there? This is probably more of an electric horsey, a thunderous version of Rapidash. Still, I’m only nit-picking because Zebstrika here has a lot of what made Generation 5 great, or at least underrated – it was probably the last time that the amount of good Pokémon designs outweighed the bad. Yes, I know there were ice creams and gears aplenty in this game, but an electrozebra who is equal parts mean and elegant always appeals. It seems more people preferred the services of Galvantula, but if you’re one of those weirdos who’d rather keep spiders than zebras (and there are a lot of you out there), then kindly do myself and Zebstrika a favour and get out of our kicking range.

To Be Continued!

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