Gotta Review Em' All! (001-009)
by, 21st September 2011 at 09:18 AM (1010 Views)
Gotta Review Em' All!
So my quest begins to review all the 649 Pocket Monsters we call Pokemon that our friends at GameFreak have designed for us to cherish, enslave and train for our own personal enjoyment. These unique and strange fictional creatures based on Animals, Plants, Objects, Human Talents and Mythology vary due to their cool personalities and wierd looks that make them what they are. I'm Human and I'm here to finish my quest! I'll be using Bulbapedia's information about Pokemon.
How I Review A Pokemon
Reviewing a Pokemon is no easy challenge. I have to conjure everything having to do with the Pokemon without being biased. I take in the creativity, origin, thought and effect the Pokemon has given to the franchise into account. The name of a Pokemon has little to no effect. Just to make this clear I don't judge a Pokemon by its statistics and movepool. I judge a Pokemon for what it is. Just because you consider it to be a worthless and bad Pokemon doesn't mean it's the same to others. In other words, it's your opinion. You're free to bash what you think is a bad Pokemon as long as you don't take it as fact.
"A chemical reaction happens to us when we interact with eachother due to our differences. It's what makes the world develop with our different ideas and opinions. If everybody was the same the world would be boring."
I have my own ranking system and it goes like this:
HORRIBLE - A complete utter failure.
UNIMPRESSIVE - While bad, it does have its good stuff.
AVERAGE - In the middle. It's not something bad or good.
IMPRESSIVE - A great design that with a bit more effort put in it can get a PERFECT.
PERFECT - Flawless. I can make exceptions for a few tiny flaws that make no difference to the design. Basically succeeding with the aim of what the designer was going for without being underdesigned or overdesigned. I also count the effect the said Pokemon gave to the franchise.
I'm trying to give a reasonable ranking to all of the Pokemon. To make a few things more clearer, when I give a Pokemon a PERFECT I'm not saying that you should like it or hate it if I give it a HORRIBLE. There are Pokemon I don't like that get PERFECTs and Pokemon I like that get HORRIBLEs. If you have any problem with the reasoning of some of the Pokemon I rank just PM me and I'll see if you have a plausible point or not. I'll even rank a generation as a whole.
The First Generation
Starting the Pokemon craze with Pokemon Red and Green in 1995 in Japan. The birth of Pokemon. Satoshi Tajiri invented Pokemon as an alternative to collecting bugs. His childhood involved catching bugs and making them fight eachother. Sadly, during the years the world became more industrialized and it became harder for kids to play outside so Satoshi made Pokemon for kids to catch them and trade them with other kids. The Pokemon Anime's main character is named after him.
With the help of designer Ken Sugimori and other GameFreak designers the first generation of Pokemon was completed with 151 different species with their own personalities, origin and types for kids worldwide to enjoy.
I grew up with this generation as a kid and to be finally reviewing it is big for me. The question is though, is it any good? Is it really the best of bunch just because it was the first? Is it that amazing as most of the people who grew up with it make it out to be? We all know that nostalgia plays a part in the argument if it really has the best Pokemon with the most creative, original and fun designs.
"Nostalgia can blind us"
Personally, nostalgia never affected me as there are always good and bad designs in every generation and saying that something's good because it was the first is like saying that the first computers were the best because, well, they were the first to start the whole thing. I haven't made the final verdict yet so we have to see if this generation is any good.
The starters from Kanto mainly consist of reptiles. The Bulbasaur line is based on toads, the Squirtle line is based on turtles and the Charmander line is based on lizards. As Bulbasaur evolves into an Ivysaur and later into a Venusaur, its body and bulb on its back starts growing and stops till it becomes a Venusaur. Squirtle evolves into a Wartortle and later into a Blastoise where it gains more curled up white tails and what appear to be ears on its head and then out of nowhere gets cannons on its back when it becomes a Blastoise. Charmander evolves with a horn on the back of its head and claws as Charmeleon and later into Charizard growing wings to be able to fly and another horn on the back of its head.
Bulbasaur can be seen as being the most fun and well thought design out of the Kanto starters due to its charming smile, personality and looks. The concept of a new born being given a bulb to care of since birth gives it responsibility. It's interesting how the bulb evolves with Bulbasaur. The more Bulbasaur takes care of its bulb, the stronger the attacks become in which it will later evolve. If it doesn't take care about the bulb, it surely won't evolve. I like this concept as it gives Pokemon its own fictional animal features without being too much like the animal. In the anime, we see Bulbasaur being the most mature Pokemon taking care of other Pokemon which is a nice thing to see. The anime also shows us that female Bulbasaur have spots shapes like hearts which is nice too.
All in all, I can't point out a single flaw in its design. It's clean, simple and adequate. It's cute too with its heart warming smile :3. There just isn't a single bad thing I can say and when only good can be said the result is obvious. It's funny because when I was a kid Bulbasaur was the starter I liked the least and now it's the one out of the 3 I like the most now that I'm older and can understand and appreciate monster designs more.
Classification: ANIMAL, PLANT
Bulldog toads are a man's real best friend
Ivysaur is... his pre-evolved form only angrier coloured blue. I can imagine it smiling like Bulbasaur and see the similarities. This is still a Bulbasaur with an angry face. What the bulb grew into is alright. The size it evolved into isn't big enough between the first and final form. Ivysaur is better off being bipedal like it was in Red and Blue. The face was different enough and actual changes in body shape can be seen. It would have also been good development from Bulbasaur learning how to stand up. Instead we get this.
A lot of Pokemon from the first generation had features that got altered when they were shown in full colour. Ivysaur is one of them. "Hey, let's make Bulbasaur's evolution an angry version of itself!". An evolution shouldn't just be a change of facial expression. It's the bit of wasted potential and the fact that there isn't much change in the evolution. It just isn't as interesting as its first and final stage. If only it was bigger and different enough...
Classification: ANIMAL, PLANT
Hmmmmm... that flower smells lov- *Blood spills*
Venusaur is the perfect final evolution for Bulbasaur. The size, weight and flower are done perfectly. I also like how female Venusaur have a seed to represent fertility. The seed then becomes a bulb for bulbasaur. The warts are nice touches to the design. There are people who hate Venusaur because of its ugly face. This is a dumb reason to hate it. Toads have ugly faces, so it's only logical for Venusaur to have an ugly face. If you don't like toads, that doesn't mean Venusaur is a bad Pokemon. It has succeeded without being too similar to its origin remaining fictional. Oh, and Venusaur can stand up.
Classification: ANIMAL, PLANT
The fire on the tip of its tail is the reason why it's excited
Charmander looked better in 8-bit. There are other Pokemon this generation who suffer from this. Though, I like Charmander with his cheery personality more. Why is this species still alive though? If the fire on its tail is worn out, it dies. The littlest of breeze can take it out and it dies. This is interesting as depending on its mood the tail's fire changes. There isn't much to this design though. The tail is Charmander's responsibility similar to Bulbasaur, only harder. Bulbasaur loses its grass attacks when it doesn't have the bulb, yet Charmander just dies.
One can argue that its parents protect it till it's able to protect itself though that just makes it more hopeless. The fact he evolves into a dragon is redeeming but other than that there just isn't much to the design. Still a generic Pokemon design. Remember that the rank shouldn't affect your feelings towards the Pokemon.
I'm a Chameleon?
Charmeleon gets the honour for being the first Pokemon I review that has a horn. There are Pokemon this generation who are only animals with horns glued on them on them and Charmeleon is the first. I don't know what's with the confusion of how the middle stage of these Kanto starters look like. Charmeleon had a white horn in its back sprite and the Japanese one and now it's red. Charmander and Charizard are both orange and Charmeleon is red. What's up with this inconsistency? There are Pokemon who I am okay with changing their colours lighter or darker but what was the point of making Charmeleon red and then make it orange again when it evolves? Charmeleon is also its previous stage with a horn on its back, only it's bigger than Charmander and probably coloured red to make it look more different. Though, I like how more mature looking Charmeleon is compared to Charmander so that's not so bad.
This Pokemon has been poorly distributed and there's also wasted potential. Charmeleon should have gotten wings to make it more noticable or shown that it would have gotten wings instead of only a horn. There's
I'm not overrated!
You have come a long way, my friend.Charizard is the most slick and well designed member of the Charmander line because it has double the amount of thought put into it. Being a patron elemental makes it related to 3 other dragon Pokemon. It gives it more of an identity rather than just being another fire type starter.
Regarding its popularity, Charizard is overrated. In the main games, anime, cards, manga, Super Smash Bros. and as a Pokemon. It's a cash cow that's being milked with every chance it gets. They're putting it in game covers to make people buy it because Charizard's on it. It doesn't help when it's considered to be the best Pokemon(but that list was full of nostalgic votes). Most liked =/= Best. Pikachu is overrated, but that's because it's the mascot of the franchise. I guess they wanted Charizard to be a mini-mascot alongside Pikachu. That's what I felt was wrong with the anime. Charizard got the most development of the entire group leaving the others with nearly nothing. Characters like Misty and Brock got ignored while Charizard got everything. In the first batch of cards, Charizard was the strongest card(I had one :3). It's just so overmerchandised. It being overrated doesn't degrade it or increase its rank. You know what the result is going to be anyways.
Classification: ANIMAL, MYTHOLOGY
The water squirting turtle
Squirtle was the first Pokemon I ever owned. Due to this, I've kept taking the water starter in every game. Do I regret picking this guy? Nope. Does that mean I'll give it a PERFECT because it was my first ever Pokemon? Nope. Squirtle is, as the caption I gave him says, just a turtle. A cute one at that :3. A turtle for a starter is a pretty lame choice for starters. It has a very generic design too. I like turtles, but GameFreak hasn't done anything cool with this guy or interesting other than curl its tail. I can't say much to this guy. Again, it's very generic. It isn't bad, but at the same time it isn't any good and you'd just wish that more emphasis was put on the tail.
TEENAGE MONSTER WATER TURTLES
This is whats its evolution is supposed to look like. Put your thumbs on Wartortle's "ears"(the Ken Sugimori art) and tell me that's not Squirtle with a curlier tail. To make it easier for you, here's Wartortle without his ears. The promotianal anime art is tons better as the face is different and the ears match with the body.
Also, what's with the purple colour chage? Are you sure it's blue? Like I said with my Charmeleon review, the middle stages of the Kanto starters have the most confusing designs. Is it like this or that? Poor distribution and way too similar look to its prevolution gives it a poor rank. I would have given Wartortle an AVERAGE with the anime art. The "lives for 10,000 years" makes up a little and showes how turtles live a very long life so to see that come up is a plus.
Well, they couldn't make this any cooler so they decided to forget about design consistensy and make it a robot. Randomly giving cannons to a design is something a designer would do as a last resort. If anybody should compare a Pokemon to a Digimon this is the perfect example. Animal evolves into a bigger version of itself and evolves again with mechanical features. Does that make sense? No. Now I'm sounding stupid for saying that a Pokemon should make sense. There is a little sense in most evolutions as we know that Pokemon evolve into the strangest of things but they still make a bit of sense of what they evolve into. The cannons also kill the dinosaur theme the starters have that GameFreak had in mind.
Those cannons are what made millions of kids get Pokemon Blue. Though, Blastoise didn't get his own version months after the release of Red and Green. Still, I have to thank the coolness of the cannons for attracting the kids because I wouldn't have gotten Pokemon Blue. I'm older now and I think the cannons are stupid. They should just whack cannons on every uncool Pokemon with the logic Blastoise got. The cannons aren't the only flaw. The tail is a a big problem to its design consistensy. They made Wartortle have a more curlier tail for some build up only to make it a normal turtle tail when it becomes Blastoise. Seriously, what was the point of that? If you're making an evolution of something stick with it or if you're going to make a prevolution too stick with what you've got. What was the point of the curly tail on the prevolutions then? Just to make them a bit more fictional?
Kanto Starters closing comments
The Kanto starters will always be remembered for being the Pokemon many people first got so it's natural for the same people to think that future starters aren't that special to them, driving them to think that they aren't as good as these are. It's normal to think this way, not bad. Bad would be saying all of the future ones sucked and the first ones were the best and take it off as fact. The smarter thought would be to think that all of the starter Pokemon are good in their own way and that you can like and dislike whoever you want without being a prick(I was a bit harsh with Blastoise even if I like it but I had good reasons). I also can't blame the guys at GameFreak since it was their first try and they did pretty good with the dinosaur theme going for these Pokemon. The rank is what really matters in the end and it's an IMPRESSIVE. More work could have been given to the middle stages and balancing the quality from each starter would have been better.
What did you think? Should I continue my quest? I'll give away the Kanto starters if I do.
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