“I’m totally unprepared to deal with life’s realities.”
Meowth, Pokémon Anime
Pokémon I Choose You!
Ah Pokémon, one of my life long loves, ever since Christmas Day in 1999 when I unwrapped that blue Game Boy Colour and a copy of Pokémon Blue I have been completely and totally hooked. It was unlike any game I had ever played before (only owning a Sega Master System and Mega Drive at this point) and the best thing was I could take it anywhere with me and even trade and battle with my brother who had gotten a Yellow (loser!) Game Boy Colour and a copy of Pokémon Red.
Pokémon (as I’m sure I don’t need to tell you) became a cultural phenomenon practically overnight, I still remember Ant, Dec and Tess Daly trying to seem cool and “with it” by introducing every episode in an over-dramatic fashion on SM:TV Live and including bizarre sketches about the games/show including this gem from 2000.
Yes that is a (hideously awful) rap about Pokémon that included the line “Muslim, Christian, Buddhist or Jew. You’re gonna need assistance from your Pikachu!”, no wonder my generation is fucked.
Anyway on to the meat of this post, it has now been almost 17 years since that Christmas morning and Pokémon Sun & Moon are on the horizon so I decided to do a list of my favourite Pokémon. Now those of you who read my Favourite 10th Doctor Moments list know that my brain is not a fan of arranging things into Top 10’s (that one technically has 13 entries) so I couldn’t just do “Top 10 Pokémon Of All time”. So instead I am going to go by Generation instead, starting of course with the first generation of games, the first 151 Pokémon. Each generational list will have 5 entries, since due to evolution families etc some generations would only have around 10 left for me to choose from :P.
As always all things listed here are opinions, my list may differ to yours and that’s ok.
6. Blastoise (Bonus Entry)
Ha, one entry in and I’ve already messed this top 5 up, I am so good at this website thing.
Apart from nostalgia, how can you not love the look of that Pokémon? An armoured tortoise with goddamn cannons on his back. Years later in 2013, Pokémon X & Y were released and they introduced the concept of Mega Evolution, a state were a Pokémon doesn’t really evolve again but reaches a higher peak of power and the Generation 1 starters got that treatment and Blastoise can now look like this.
Yeh, needless to say when I was confronted with the same choice I had made so long ago, I chose Squirtle again.
Based on the myth of the Komainu, Arcanine is a Fire Type Pokémon that evolves from Growlithe when exposed to a Fire Stone (one of the various items that cause evolution in the games). Again, maybe nostalgia plays a part in this one because in the opening of the first season of the Anime, Arcanine is one of the first Pokémon you see, so maybe he’s just ingrained in my memory along with the words “I wanna be the very best”.
One of the interesting aspects of Arcanine is whether or not he was originally intended to be one of the games Legendary Pokémon, because despite not being a “Legendary” Pokémon like Articuno, Zapdos & Moltres its category literally is “Legendary Pokémon”. This is made somewhat more valid when in the anime Ash sees a carving of Legendary Pokémon and Arcanine is included with them.
Maybe I am over thinking it and Arcanine is just presented this way because of its relationship with the Komainu but it has to be said that Arcanine is also very similar to the Legendary Beasts of generation 2 (more on them in a later post 😉 ).
Arcanine (until later generations anyway) also had the signature move “Extreme Speed” which was like quick attack on steroids, it always went first (with a priority of +2) and had a base power of 80, double that of Quick Attack’s 40. All of this combined with its generally awesome design is why Arcanine easily earns a place on my list.
Jolteon! Not only in this list of favourite generation 1 Pokémon but easily my favourite “Eeveelution” by far. Jolteon is the Electric Type evolution of Eevee when exposed to a Thunder Stone and just pure awesome condensed into squirrel-dog form and probably number one on my list of fictional creatures I’d love to snuggle up to (carefully mind).
So a bit of background is probably needed (for all 0 of you reading in my mind), when you arrive at Celadon City in the first games it is possible to get an Eevee for free by climbing the back stairs of one of the big buildings in the city. It was like finding a secret in the game and I still remember telling people who had no idea about it (losers who didn’t explore every inch of the game) where to find that little gem.
With its insane Speed and Special Attack, Jolteon still frequently gets a slot on my competitive team.
Gonna let you in on a little secret within my relationship, my partner has been known to refer to me as “her Snorlax”, anyway on to the real stuff.
Snorlax reminds me so much of Totoro so much it hurts, I have in the past owned a giant Snorlax plushie/teddy thing and always loved cwtching (hugging/snuggling for you non Welsh people out there) up to it or resting on it to read by the light of my Pikachu lamp (I may have a problem).
Trying to catch a Snorlax in the first games was a pain in the arse, as anyone who played them will know, as there were only two of them and just as you got them to low enough HP to try to catch it, the bastard would use rest and fully heal itself.
With a colossal HP stat of 160 Snorlax can max out at 524 HP and with its aforementioned ability to heal itself (and in later generations even attack while asleep) makes Snorlax one of the best tank Pokémon out there.
Hitmonchan (if you couldn’t guess) is appropriately categorised as “The Punching Pokémon” and easily earns the number two spot on my list. I was brought up on the Rocky movies and when I went through a phase of nicknaming my Pokémon (something I no longer do) you can guess what I named my Hitmonchan. That’s right, it was Marciano (god I’m funny).
After the Physical Special split Hitmonchan became a power house. To try to explain, Hitmonchan learns all the elemental punches (Thunder, Ice & Fire) but before generation 4 they were categorised as Special Attacks (the opposite of Physical) and as you might guess, Hitmonchan is all about the Physical damage. When these moves were re-categorised as Physical attacks, Hitmonchan became awesome (not that he wasn’t to begin with) because now he could take advantage of the elemental punches and could pretty much be super effective against any enemy, couple this with its ability Iron Fist (which boosts the power of “punch” moves) and he can 1HKO nearly any opponent.
Like Jolteon, Hitmonchan still has a place on my competitive team and many times (while equipped with a quick claw making it more likely that he will go first) he has swept the enemy team on his own. To this day whenever that happens I play “Eye of the Tiger” afterwards to celebrate.
Poliwrath is my favourite Pokémon of generation 1, and you can all just deal with it. Again I may need to throw my hands up to nostalgia as Red from the Manga had a Poliwhirl who later evolved into a Poliwrath but I don’t think it’s that.
Another “punchy” Pokémon Poliwrath is a combined Water & Fighting type Pokémon that I just fell in love with, it can learn Hypnosis early on which puts people to sleep and combined with Wake-Up Slap which does double damage to sleeping targets Poliwrath is just badass. It’s been a staple on my team now for almost 20 years and as such easily earns the top spot for the first generation of Pokémon games and will always be one of my favourites, even when there are over 1000 Poliwrath will always be close to number 1 for me.
Thanks for reading my list and judging by how long this one took you can look forward to the gen 2 one at some point in 4 months time.
How could it not be this? C’mon use your head. ❤