Welcome to episode 2 of Pokémon WITS. This time I'll be taking a look at the new Fairy Type introduced in Pokémon X and Y.
If you were around for the early days of Pokémon, you know there were originally 15 different Types. When the 2nd generation hit, it was a bit of an adjustment as they added Dark and Steel Types to the mix. But, you know, these were really cool types and things were really primitive back then, desperately in need of a bit of rounding out and balancing. If you were anything like me, you wondered what new Types might come along in the 3rd gen. I seem to recall that after much thought I theorized the only new Type they might be able to pull off would be an Astro/Space Type. The Clefairy line could have had it as a second Type, and it would have been good for Deoxys as well. But as we all know, they didn't add any new Types after that. Not in the 3rd gen, not in the 4th gen, not in the 5th gen, not ever---whoa, wait, what's this?!
The 6th generation of Pokémon has introduced the new Fairy Type. What is this shit? Back in the 2nd gen just one move, Bite, was changed to be a Dark Type move, and only two Pokémon, Magnemite and Magneton, earned a second Type by the addition of Steel. Here in the 6th gen, three moves have gone Fairy and a whopping 22 Pokémon have suddenly gained the Fairy Type, some as a complete replacement for their original Type. I bet Professor Oak and his colleagues feel like total dipshits to have been so wrong for so many years.
Four generations of Pokémon games somehow survived with this standard. What prompted the creators to suddenly throw in a new Type like a bolt from the blue? Well, if you look at the damage chart, you'll notice the Fairy Type is strong against Fighting, Dark, and Dragon Types. Why? There's no rational basis for these advantages that I can see, so it seems fairly obvious that this new Type is there simply to even out the competitive playing field, no matter what the cost. And yes, there is a cost. Inconsistencies between generations can severely mess with what players know, or think they know. Maybe I wouldn't be so against the Fairy Type if they'd added it in the 3rd generation, or even the 4th when they reworked moves to no longer be physical or special depending on their Types. But we're talking about 14 years of Pokémon history here that suddenly feel out of date and inconsistent. Remember that spirited speech that Lance gives you after you've battled your way through the Elite Four? He talks about how Dragon Types are virtually indescructable! Of course they aren't, but it made really you feel good when you overcame his powerhouse team of Dragons. Now, not only do Dragons have another weakness with the addition of the Fairy Type, but they can't even affect the Fairy Type, which opens the door for the unthinkable...
Okay, so maybe I'm just ranting here, straying from the real point of this series. Like it or not, the Fairy Type is here, so let's have a look at what affect it has on Pokémon from a design perspective.
In the 2nd generation when they introduced Dark and Steel Types, it was something cool and kind of rare. There were only six of each, and that's counting Magnemite and Magneton's second Type upgrade. With the Fairy Type, the creators have seen fit to SPAM the hell out of it, shoving the Type down players' throats. In addition to the aforementioned 22 old Pokémon that gained additional Fairy status or converted Type completely, Pokémon X and Y present players with 12 brand new Fairy Type Pokémon (not counting the leaked but as of yet not officially revealed ones). It seems a bit too much, and begs the question, was the Fairy Type really necessary from a design perspective, or did they overuse the Type on Pokémon that didn't need it just to justify their decision to add the Type? Let's take a look at these new Fairy Pokémon and find out.
First up we have Flabébé. This lame, little thing evolves into this lame, little thing, and finally into this really hideous thing. If you consult the Pokédex entries for each of these there's no mistaking that their power is directly tied into the power of flowers. Not that we need a Pokédex to tell us that. Two of them are clinging to flowers and the third is being choked to death by a bouquet. Now let me think about this a moment. Flowers are plants, like trees and... grass! These must be Grass Types, right? RIGHT?! Guess again. Pure Fairy Type, all three of them. If these Pokémon had been introduced in any of the prior generations they would have undoubtedly been assigned the Grass Type, but not here. I know very well that there have always been Pokémon that didn't quite match their Type visually, but this is ridiculous. If these three HAD to be Fairy Types, they should have at least been Grass/Fairy dual types.
Let's move on to Spritzee and its evolution, Aromatisse. My God, they're ugly. What the hell are these supposed to be? There's a hint of Flying Type in there somewhere, but otherwise I can't really come up with a better place for them, so I guess they're justified for the Fairy Type. I wouldn't want these wretched things cluttering the ranks of any decent Type anyway.
OH. MY. GOD! Cotton candy and a dessert?! *facepalm* I can't even begin to express my hatred for Vanillite and his evolutions introduced in the 5th generation. Their presence literally offended me, insulted my intelligence. Shit like that and these are so frickin' stupid that it starts to become embarrassing to say that I love Pokémon. Seriously. Especially when I'm someone who likes Pokémon specifically for the Pokémon themselves, crap like this is like a turd in a punch bowl; they add a sour taste to the whole batch. As for the Typing, these atrocities would have been perfectly fine as Normal Types.
Xerneas, hm... A pure Fairy Type? I honestly don't know what this weird deer should be, but to look at it I'd say Psychic, Dark, Normal, or Steel could work in any combination. As a forest animal and a symbol of life, maybe you could throw Grass Type into it. There's nothing about this design that strikes me as Fairy worthy. Maaaybe the antlers, but come on. They opted not to convert the Chansey line to Fairy Type but this thing makes the grade? Seems like another case of Type use just for the sake of Type use. Like hey, we should make one of these legendaries a Fairy Type, just 'cause we can!
I'm gonna go ahead and rush through these next few.
Dedenne, or Dedenne, however you say it, is the latest addition to the tiresome tradition of throwing an electric rodent into each generation. There's nothing about it that makes it seem any more of a Fairy than any of its predesessors. There they go again, needlessly tacking the new Type on where it doesn't belong.
Carbink? COME ON! This should have clearly been a Rock or Rock/Ice Type, not a Rock/Fairy Type. That white scarf... frosting ring, whatever it is around its neck does not justify the use of Fairy Type.
And Klefki? What is this shit?! For now let's not even bother to get into the stupidity of this design. Just ask yourself, what is it about a ring of keys that feels sparkly and mystical like a fairy? Oh, I know, I know: ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! This thing, if it had to exist at all, should have been a pure Steel type or, if you want to reach and account for its floatiness, a Steel/Psychic, maybe.
So where does that put us? We've got a group of a dozen new Pokémon that are Fairy Types. Nine of them could have or should have been Typed differently, and five of them are among the worst designs in the history of Pokémon. Verdict: the addition of Fairy Type did NOTHING good for world of Pokémon design, only hurt it.
But wait! The observant viewer will no doubt have noticed that we've only looked at 11 Fairy Types so far. Yes, I've been saving the worst for last--not the worst design mind you, but the most upsetting and disappointing to me, personally.
My favorite Pokémon happen to be Vaporeon and Espeon. After them I'm a little more diversified, but suffice to say that Eevee and all its forms rank very highly on my list. As such, I cannot convey how appalled I was when my eyes fell upon THIS ridiculous design and in the moments following, read that it was a new Eevee evolution. At last they'd done the impossible, and created an Eeveelution I didn't like.
It could have been great--SHOULD have been great. In fact the entire Fairy Type concept could have been infinitely better, if they'd made designs that were more about being magical, mystical, and enchanted. Instead, they made designs that were more about being frilly and fluffy, with shades of pink. They did the same thing to poor Sylveon, applying the obligatory color scheme to a generic Eevee-esque body, and trying to busy it up with a tangle of ridiculous ribbons and bows to hide the fact that they didn't really have a good idea what a Fairy Type Eevee should look like.
Maybe the Fairy Type will blow me away with great designs in the seventh generation, but for now it's off to one hell of a crappy start.
Thanks for watching Pokémon WITS. Join me in the next episode for a look at the overabundance of different Pokémon forms and the arrival of Mega Evolutions.
Wait, hold up! These episodes can take a long while to make from start to finish, and between the original audio recording and the completion of this one, Nintendo officially announced one of the special event Pokémon, Diancie. So before we end, let's take a look at one more Fairy Type. Okay, so good start with crystaline headgear--it's got that magical, mystical feeling that I was talking about. And what do you know, it's got a cute face, too. So far I'm liking this one. Good, good. Uh-oh, they just couldn't keep from using the frills, could they? But wait, it doesn't stop there? Oh, it's got a rock shoved up its butt. Terrific! So much for that!