Celebrity Poison-type Specialists - winstein's Review
by, 30th March 2011 at 03:17 PM (4589 Views)
In terms of celebrity trainers, we don’t have many of them. In fact, the only ones that are considered celebrities come from Kanto, and that’s the region where the most Poison-types were introduced! Most of the following trainers are also from the same family, which furthers the rarity of specialised trainers of the Poison-type. Alright, let’s get on with the reviews!
The Poisonous Ninja Master
"Fwahahahaha! I am Koga of the Elite Four. I live in shadows, a ninja! My intricate style will confound and
destroy you! Confusion, sleep, poison... Prepare to be the victim of my sinister technique! Fwahahahaha!
Pokémon is not merely about brute force--you shall see soon enough!" ~ Koga
"While most opponents in the games attack with brute force, Koga has always served as a lesson that status
ailments and stat changes can just as easily turn the tide of battle as a powerful offensive move. His deft
use of the Poison types vast repertoire of stalling techniques has driven many a trainer to frustration, and despair,
which no doubt earned him his place in the Elite Four. " ~ GoldenMuk
"I really like Koga simply because he's sorta shrouded in mystery with his background. All we know that he's a
ninja and he taught ninjutsu on his spare before he became part of the Elite Four of Johto/Kanto. With that and
the way he's portrayed in various media outside the games, I think he's an interesting character." ~ Yoshi-san
And so, we start things off with former Kanto Gym Leader and current Kanto Elite Four member. Gym Leaders in Kanto usually fall under some stereotype (like Sabrina the tamer (she looks like one, alright?) and Surge the soldier). In Koga’s case, he’s most definitely a ninja. While he’s not the kind of ninja that practice tricks we normally see on TV (like water-walking and speed running), he is still a ninja. Not only is he a ninja, he’s also a senior, which is bonus points for him because old people who are also capable of doing cool stuff are awesome in my book, no matter what others say.
Koga’s normally the fifth Gym Leader to face, but due to the non-linearity on Gym clearance there, this may not be true. In terms of Pokémon levels, it is very close to Sabrina (typically the sixth one to face). To drive the point home, in the anime, Koga is Ash’s sixth leader he challenged. His gym is basically riddled with an invisible maze, which you must navigate to reach to him. The anime’s obstacle course is an obstacle course where Ash and friends need to avoid traps on the way. Beat him at Fuchsia Gym to receive a Soul Badge from him, which looks like a heart, and while this is a suitable symbol, the heart emblem has some negative connotations with certain people (especially those who are familiar with Captain Planet).
Koga is a self-proclaimed Poisonous Ninja Master. The reason he likes Poison-types is that they are able to inflict the despair and horror on the opponents. This is quite true, because the Poison-type is indeed quite good with this specialty, as they are able to wear down the opponent by limiting their lifespan with the Poison status ailment, and many more. Thanks to his specialty, people went to Koga to learn the arts of ninjutsu and Pokémon (like jugglers and tamers). Koga is also somewhat of a medical expert, because he studies about medicine and antidotes, and heals his Pokémon accordingly.
Because of the (as of now) scarcity of Poison-type specialists, I am guessing that this is a reflection of real life where the modern generation doesn’t really care about traditional stuff, which leaves only a few who specialises in it. In this case, Poison-type specialism is (I am guessing) not very attractive, so Koga decided that instead of letting it die off, he wants to be able to preserve its existence (hence his role as a teacher). It should be a reasonable explanation on the rarity of Poison-type specialists, as Sinnoh doesn’t even have one, despite substantial population of the Poison-type there.
His anime appearance was brief, because he only appeared in one episode, and that’s the last we saw of him. In the episode “The Ninja Poké-Showdown”, we met him because Ash and friends were at the Fuchsia Gym. One of the highlights here is that Koga was impressed at Misty’s Psyduck (who otherwise isn’t an active Pokémon) that they wanted to trade with it, but Misty declined that offer. Another thing here is that we get to meet Koga’s other family member Aya who is his (younger) sister. Also, the Manga Electric Tale of Pikachu is more tied with the anime, so you can expect Koga to make an appearance here, although his appearance is only brief, like the anime.
However, in the Pokémon Adventures manga, Koga had a more significant role. He is one of the “evil” Gym Leaders, because he was affiliated with Team Rocket, working for. Red and Misty first met him in Mount Moon, where he injected some substance into Rhyhorn to make it evolve immediately, showing off his expertise in medicine (or drugs). He’s also done other nasty things, like attempting to bump Red off the Lavender Tower and attacking him with his Arbok. He’s also got an Articuno, just as his two other comrades Surge and Sabrina obtained the other legendary birds). In Team Rocket’s Headquarters in Saffron City, Blue confronted Koga, as Professor Oak was kidnapped. While it seemed like Koga got the upper hand, it turns out Blue was smart enough to fool Koga until Red showed up (after he defeated Lt. Surge). However, that Articuno was able to put the trainers in freeze mode, but luckily, Blue’s Charizard is able to defrost them, and Koga was finally defeated.
Later on, which I presume means he’s on the good side, Koga and the Pallet Town trainers fought against the Elite Four in Cerise Island, and he paired with Blue to battle Agatha. The battle was intense, what with Blue being injured and Agatha’s Arbok being a beast, but in the end they won, or do they? Actually, Agatha wasn’t defeated easily, as her Gengar attempted to drain their energy. When they figured out the plan, Gengar was defeated. In addition to this, Koga was actually going to be smashed by the collapse, but he escaped the debacle thanks to his Muk’s help.
In the aftermath, Koga was out of contact, which leaves his daughter to be in charge of the Fuchsia Gym. At the end of the Johto Adventures, Koga was shown to have allied with three others who have been abandoned by evil organisations, them being Bruno (saved him at Cerise Island), Will and Karen. Sounds familiar? They are the new Elite Four. They reappeared in a HeartGold and SoulSilver chapter.
His Pokémon selection is rather interesting, to say the least (impressive is “the most”). In Red, Blue and Green, Koga’s team consists of Weezing and Muk (and two Koffings). In Pokémon Yellow, Koga’s team is updated to make it in line with the anime’s continuity. This meant that Koga had to include Venomoth in addition to three Venonats. In the manga, two of his Pokémon has special abilities: Arbok has the ability to regenerate from being sliced as long as its head is intact (like worms) and his Golbat seems to have some magic mirror ability in its mouth, able to show things happening on Koga’s tiny mirror. Oh, and he has an armour made out of Grimer (makes sense, considering Grimer’s Acid Armour move).
Now, his Elite Four team is more interesting. From his old days, he kept both Muk and Venomoth with him. He included two of the Poison-types that were introduced in that Generation, which are Ariados the ninja spider and Crobat the really speedy bat. One odd inclusion he had is Forretress. Forretress is included probably because the Pokémon has some utility, like being a bomb and a hazard dispenser, which fit’s Koga’s theme of being a disrupter. As for his updated team (for rematch), he decided to include three new Pokémon, which are Swalot, Skuntank and Toxicroak. These new additions are quite handy to have (for him), because Skuntank is immune to Psychic attacks that Poison-types hate, while Toxicroak is basically another Pokémon who dissuades Steel-types because he has a super effective attack on most of them. Swalot is more of a staller, what with Amnesia to boost Special Defence and Pain Split to wear down the opponent’s HP at low health, and the fact that it has Leftovers.
As for Koga’s strategies, they are varied, but most of them that are worth noting, as all of his Pokémon packs at least one status move, which means that when battling him, you need to watch out for them.
- Some of them are just Poison-inflictors, who resort in poisoning the target. However, some of them are able to stall you as well! Crobat and Skuntank have two turn moves that completely avoid the player’s attacks for a turn. This makes Steel-types and other Poison-types handy for the purpose of completely avoiding the status.
- Some of them like to raise Evasion; of note here is Ariados, who can pass Evasion boosts, so it’s important to take that one out first in Koga’s first Elite Four match. Crobat’s another culprit, because that Pokémon’s a very fast one. It’s a good thing Minimise wasn’t buffed like it is now, otherwise Muk will be much harder to handle! (Some variations carry Acid Armour too)
- Some of them like confusing the player’s Pokémon. It can be from Supersonic, but Swagger’s also one move you have to look out for.
- There are those that resort in reducing the player’s Pokémon’s stats. Of note are Koffing and Weezing, who all have Accuracy-reducing moves. Makes Keen Eye useful once in a while, though.
- This is a Forretress-only strategy, but like in competitive battling, Forretress’ role is to place entry hazards on the player’s side of the field. Spikes was used in Generation 2, but Toxic Spikes was used in Generation 4 (so don’t switch to the vulnerable ones!).
Alright, now there is one thing that I normally want to avoid talking about, and that is shipping, because I don’t really like the hostility that results from it, although the concept of make-believe unintended pairings is intriguing. One of these pairings that caught my attention is “Toxicboltshipping”, which is a pairing consisting of Koga and Lt. Surge, because I found it very funny. It seems that of all the Gym Leaders in Kanto, Koga is the most commonly used in pairings of the Kanto Gym Leaders. I think I agree that he’s a popular fandom bicycle.
All in all, Koga is a very good Poison-type specialist, because he is a lot of things, and ninja and medical expert are some of them. However, one thing I noticed is that Koga doesn’t really have a main Pokémon, because he doesn’t have a consistent main Pokémon across all the media. Before ending, in FireRed and LeafGreen, he mentioned about having to train his daughter. The character that he is referring to will be reviewed later on in this article. By the way, did anybody notice that all of Koga’s official artwork all shows him holding his index and middle finger together?
10 scarves out of 10!
+ Active senior
+ Have great strategies with his Pokémon
+ A ninja with an awesome ninja outfit
+ Large role in the manga
+ Had a promotion
- One appearance in the anime
"One of the things I most admired about Aya was her bravery, I think, after all it takes guts just deciding
to specialise in the strategically-challenged poison type to begin with. Training as a ninja whilst also having
to live up to the reputation of her gym leader relatives (Koga & Janine) woulbe be no walk in the park either I'd
imagine but she didn't run away from it, instead, she left her home behind to train abroad in Johto and hone
her skills as both a trainer and a ninja even further, beyond the tutelage of the Fuchsia gym. In fact this decision of
hers to leave her home with her Brother in Fuchsia also shows another admirable quality I believe, her independence
and it is primarily for these two reasons that I respect Aya as a character." ~ Green Zubat
Hmm...I would say that Aya is the odd one out of the people, because of them all, she isn’t featured in the games. However, the fact that she is related to Koga and trains a Poison-type made her on the list, because well, she is one of Koga’s students. Besides, the more the merrier. Anyway, she is Koga’s sister, and I bet she is younger, because Koga looks like a middle-aged person, while Aya is more youthful, not to mention she’s shorter (lame reason, I know, but it’s fun to make primitive guesses). Well, I do admit she looks really hot, though.
Let’s get my little factoid out of the way first: as soon as I saw Koga in the Elite Four in Gold, I was eager to see who will take the throne in the Poison-type Gym. I thought I was going to see the “girl that was with Koga in the anime” (referring to Aya, of course), but honestly, I wasn’t aware that the new owner was someone far different at that time. It’s too bad, because this would have expanded her character, because as we all know, if you star as someone important in the games, you get a free ticket in the Pokémon Adventures manga with a kickass role.
She only had two appearances in the anime, in addition to a single (panel) appearance in the manga. This meant that she wasn’t that popular in any of them, but at least she’s better because she had more appearances in the anime than the others. Her first appearance is in the episode “The Ninja Poké-Showdown”, which is also the episode Ash and friend met Koga. In that episode, she is shown to be a student of the Gym, and Koga battled Ash when she lost. From what I understand, she is supposed to be the heir of the title of Gym Leader, as she’s younger and will be the next one in line. Her next appearance is in the episode “Ariados, Amigos”. In that episode, Aya wanted to master the arts of Pokémon Jujitsu, but didn’t manage to do so, and in the end of the episode, she went back to the dojo to master that Jujitsu (and presumably take the position of Gym Leader I think). I made it sound uneventful because I didn’t watch that episode, so I apologise beforehand.
In terms of Pokémon, she only has a Venonat, which is hardly a selection, but anime trainers usually have few Pokémon unless they are a main character or are important trainers. Sadly, Aya is neither, so she is doomed to have only a Venonat. Venonat’s nice, but well, you know, a character’s return should at least have some development after a long absence? At least Venonat is able to secure a victory in the second appearance, in which the first just wasn’t his/her day.
One thing I have trouble with is finding fan art of her. I do apologise for this, but my hunch is that she’s so unpopular that good artists forgot about her (or worse: ignored). All in all, there’s not much I can say about her, compared to the only provider of the quote, thank goodness, because I would probably have trouble finding someone to ask for if I didn’t know (s)he’s up for the task. Before I am done, I read that she is interested in poetry. Cute.
5 hair bands out of 10!
+ Awesome looks!
+ Decent character
- Lack of Pokémon (Venonat only!)
- Lack of appearances; makes her look more like an extra than an actual character
The Poisonous Ninja Master*
*That’s right, her title is the same as Koga’s former one.
"I'm going to really apply myself and improve my skills. I want to become much better than both my father and you!" ~ Janine
"Janine is a character who has seemingly been ignored by the western fandom. This, combined with her backstory
(In Adventures, due to her father being in Team Rocket, and in the games, due to him being in the Elite Four) makes me
feel that Janine is like a typical teenager; she wants nothing more but to be acknowledged by Koga, while staying
honourable to her family. She's the little underdog (in both media and fanon) that you just can't help but
root for. " ~ Joshawott
And now the second member related to Koga, who is the daughter of the Poisonous Ninja Master. In Gold and Silver (and Crystal), you meet her in Fuchsia Gym, where she took over Koga’s position when he was promoted to the ranks of the Elite 4. Like Koga’s gym puzzle, her gym is riddled with an invisible maze, with the extra challenge of locating the real Janine, out of the fake Janines you see. As usual, defeat her and win a Soul Badge. Janine’s name is also the odd one out because her name doesn’t sound remotely Japanese, but instead, goes for the name puns that Gym Leaders usually have. In her case, her name is a reverse pronunciation of the word “ninja”.
Technically, while you first saw her in the Generation 2 games, she also appeared in FireRed and LeafGreen, but you probably will not be aware of this, unless you are sharp enough to catch it. There’s one NPC (non-player character) outside Fuchsia Zoo who said that she wanted to be as good as her father, but the name of this NPC is Charine. The translators probably mistranslated her name (or overlooked the continuity), but it’s not like it will matter, because it’s the past, and it’s not worth arguing about past mistakes when you got the correct spelling in the recent remakes.
Janine is basically what you call a dedicated tradition keeper family member (sorry, don’t know the word for this description), because she really looks up to follow in her dad’s footsteps, where she wants to master the way of the Poison-types. She also believes in continuous improvement like a true Japanese, because of her desire to be better than her father and the protagonist. One thing to note is that due to her status as the youngest Gym Leader, her Pokémon have the appropriately lowest level among the Gym Leaders in Kanto’s revisit. Her ninja getup is also not bad, like as if it’s modelled after Koga’s with the black colour and the scarf. By the way, what’s with the need of a scarf anyway? Sure it makes them look cool, but is it practical?
In the Pokémon Adventures manga, she was sort of like a mercenary, because she left town to run errands for people who are able to afford her services. However, after her success in bypassing Goldenrod’s security system (because they needed someone to test it), she contemplated on what she was doing with her life. Her father was working with Team Rocket and wishes her to join the organisation as well, but as he was gone, she felt lost because she was unguided, so she wanted to find a master. She met Suicune, who had a similar dilemma, as it wished to search for a trainer to battle. That Suicune eventually beat her Crobat, though. Also, she battled Falkner at the Gym Leaders Challenge, but because she found the person who was thought to be her father, she forfeited the match, but she never caught up with him. It would be interesting to revisit and resolve this little scenario, though.
As for the anime, she didn’t make an appearance, so she never met Ash. If she did appear there, I think she will make a good travelling companion with Ash, because her goal of striving to be as good as her father (maybe even better) will surely encourage some good team dynamics in Johto, and oh...imagine the possibilities! Some possibilities I can think of is that Koga’s family will be able to make more appearances in the anime like Brock’s family, because they only appeared in one or two episodes, like maybe Koga sneaking up on Ash as an occasional running gag, and the fact that Team Rocket faces ninja attacks in their antics, or maybe Janine wants to find her father and decided to tag along with Ash. Ah well, the opportunity’s gone, but does anybody here agrees with me that Janine will make a great travelling companion with Ash?
In the games, while her team is not as disruptive as Koga’s teams, they still have some disruptive quality nonetheless. In the originals, Crobat uses confusion (she has two of these moves) and Screech, while whittling the player’s Pokémon with an attack, two Weezings are the Poison or Explode variety, Ariados reduces the player’s Speed and dish out attacks, and Venomoth is in charge of confusing and poisoning. In the remake, her team is notably more offensive, especially Venomoth who now has Tinted Lens and more attacks. Oh, and she traded a second Weezing for another Ariados as well. In the rematch, she lost the extra Ariados, but has two new Poison-types in exchange. There’s Toxicroak who relies on Attraction to keep its Substitute up, and Drapion, who is quite offensive (as Swords Dance implies) in addition to having a Psychic immunity. Even her Pokémon have updated movesets. Crobat now carries Heat Wave to hit through the Special side as well as U-turn to get to another Pokémon. Weezing has Thunderbolt, while Ariados has the odd inclusion of Bounce, which I suppose is for comboing with the ability to poison (Toxic) and confuse (Swagger). Venomoth now carries a Sleep move, which is annoying, I am sure, so get rid of it as soon as you can!
From her personality, it is clear that she just wants to be part of the family, and that’s where her motivation comes from. Being a young trainer that wishes to take the position as the Gym Leader, you really can’t help but throw your support for her, as she seemed ignored (remember she had no anime appearance). I admit that I never really pay attention to her, but come to think of it, she is a pretty cool character.
8 scarves out of 10!
+ A girl ninja!
+ A character you can sympathise with
+ Looks pretty good as a ninja
- No anime appearance (Could be a good travelling companion, though!)
"I am Agatha of the Elite Four. I hear Oak's taken a lot of interest in you, child. That old duff was once tough
and handsome. But that was decades ago. He's a shadow of his former self. Now he just wants to fiddle with his
Pokédex. He's wrong. Pokémon are for battling! " ~ Agatha
"Agatha is a really creepy old lady, thats for sure. She claims to specialize in Ghost-types, but we all know that
her real specialty is Poison." ~ Super Seaking
I decided to revisit reviewing Agatha, because almost all her Pokémon are Poison-types, meaning that it’s only fair if I covered her again in a different light. Besides, the last one was very short and didn’t have a lot of content, so I might as well put as much content as I can, and the judgement on her will be different from before, because this is about Poison-type specialists and not Ghost-type ones. Still, her early artwork made her looked a lot creepier than now.
Agatha looks like a homely old lady, because she has the homely clothes, the fading hair colour and a walking stick for good measure. Of course, as an old lady, Agatha has some wrinkles too, especially at the cheeks, because it’s easier to see those when old people smiles. Well, maybe that’s not really true, but it’s more pronounced on old people, OK? Luckily we have old ladies in Pokémon too, because if there are no old ladies as main characters, I am afraid that Pokémon will be seen as a universe where only young girls are only allowed to thrive, and Agatha’s fortunately the first (but not last) one to be like this.
Agatha was an Elite Four member in the Generation 1 games and FireRed and LeafGreen, but was absent when you met her in Gold, Silver and Crystal, which means that she will retire from the position (it’s not explained why she retired, though). Anyway, because of her senior status, she was the inspiration for all the senior trainers within the region, which is another way of saying “Kanto Pride, Senior Version”. She also has some sort of grudge against Professor Oak, as was hinted in the games. Agatha and Professor Oak were friendly rivals, and she even had a crush on him, but when Oak took up the career of being a Pokémon Professor, she was bitter about this because she thought he was too weak to continue competing. This backstory, while not very deep, is actually neat. Agatha also has a short temper, which I don’t think is highlighted in the games (an NPC said it).
In the anime, Agatha is late to the party compared to her other Elite Four colleagues. While Bruno made his appearance around the Pokémon League, Lorelei (called Prima thanks to syllable difference) made hers at the Orange Archipelago and Lance at the Lake of Rage, Agatha was met at Viridian Gym. Doesn't sound impressive, huh? Actually, Ash and friends met her after Ash's journey through Hoenn, which means that she essentially appeared in the middle of the Advanced Generation series. I am actually impressed by this, because they actually didn't forget about her, since I have the impression that old people are usually forgotten. Moreover, because of her late appearance, the style that she's drawn in is vastly different from her peers. In that episode, Agatha assumed the position of temporary Gym Leader in Viridian City, and both Ash and she duked it out in a friendly battle, but the victory went to Agatha anyway.
In the Pokémon Adventures manga, Agatha had a more significant role. She was one of the villains in the Yellow arc, and her evil plan was to destroy humanity from their base of Cerise Island. It seems like as if Elite 4 members are evil here, with Agatha being the main one. Lorelei affiliated because they share something in common, while Bruno was essentially manipulated to be villainous. While the games mentioned her grudge against Oak, this manga expanded on this. Basically, Oak wanted to build a PokéDex, which was deemed a ridiculous idea by Agatha, and because of this, she went into a battle with him, in which she was defeated. Because of this, she will have a vendetta against anybody associated to him. This just happens to be Blue (aka Gary), being the grandson and all, and she decided to finish him off with Gengar’s Dream Eater, but that also failed thanks to a boy’s help.
Agatha claimed that she is a Ghost-type trainer in the games you can play, but in actuality, there was only one Ghost-type family in the first Generation (aka Kanto), so that cannot be fully realised. Instead of stuffing her team with all the members of the Gengar line like what Morty did, she went for a more diverse selection of Poison-types, as there were a lot of them at that time, not to mention Gengar's also part-Poison. In FireRed and LeafGreen, Elite Four trainers will have updated teams that take advantage of the increased pool of Pokémon species, but oddly, Agatha only has one new Pokémon, and that was Misdreavus, despite the fact that there were four other new Ghost-types at that time, meaning that her team is still mainly Poison-based. In Pokémon Stadium, her first team is actually an all-Poison team, because of the six members, four are not of the Ghost-type.
Speaking of that, if you think that this only applies to the games, you are mistaken. The anime only showed that she had a Gengar and a Golbat, which are hardly what you call a Ghost-type team. The manga, on the other hand, at least gave her a ghost army, but even then, her most dangerous Pokémon that battled Koga was an Arbok, a pure Poison-type.
Agatha definitely has the spirit as a senior, which is great because active seniors are pretty cool people to hang out with, because they know how to have fun. Her idea of fun here is of course the battling, which she even said in the games. There is one fun thing I would like to suggest: imagine how she looks like when she was younger. I am surprised to see nobody do that in fan-art (or maybe I overlooked those who did).
8 walking sticks out of 10!
+ Active senior
+ Big role in manga
- Retirement from battling in Gold and Silver
- Late appearance in the anime
And so we are done with the people that specialises in the Poison-type, who are all from Kanto. I have to admit that doing the manga section is by far the hardest in doing the review, because I only started reading it (as of finishing this, I am at the Yellow arc). Alright, and now I finally conclude my Poison-type reviews, which I started months ago and completed now (what a journey!). It’s been fun and sometimes tiresome, but I enjoyed doing it and enjoyed the comments I received from anyone who sent them. I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I have writing them.
Thanks for reading, everyone.
I appreciate it.
But wait, I am not done yet! I have one more article planned, so be sure to expect it in the future! What is it about?
The only clue I can provide is that it has a type that I didn’t do in the past few months. That will be the last one before
I will be taking a break doing these.
Fan Art Time!
(Warning: Large images!)
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