The Pokemon company

On February 27, 1996, Pokemon Red & Green released in Japan for the original Game Boy and Game Boy Color.

Now, 24 years later, Pokemon is one of the most popular, beloved franchises anywhere in the world. So for Pokemon fans, the anniversary of the series' launch—now known as Pokemon Day—is a time full of celebration when The Pokemon Company pulls out all the stops.

One of the most exciting Pokemon Day events this year was the reveal of the top favorite Pokemon of the Year, as voted by millions of fans. How does someone even choose a favorite from the nearly 900 different Pokemon species that currently exist? Do most people just default to adorable series mascot Pikachu? Do they pick Charizard because COME ON, IT'S FREAKING CHARIZARD!?!? Or, do they identify most with a frogman who wears its own tongue as a scarf? Ah, yes. It's definitely that last one.

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Honestly, it's wonderful to see Greninja getting so much love from the Pokemon community, and it's also great to see Mimikyu make the top 3. If an anthropomorphic frog ninja can get so many people to love him, maybe there's still hope for the rest of us.

On the video game front, Pokemon Sword & Shield is getting a special Mewtwo raid for Pokemon Day, wherein trainers can join forces to challenge the incredibly powerful, emotionally damaged science cat. Apparently he's strong enough to wipe out most challengers, and it's also impossible to catch him. That said, victory nets you coveted rewards like Bottle Cops and PP Max, so it's definitely worth taking him on if your team is up to snuff.

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Finally, what better gift could fans receive on Pokemon Day than the introduction of a brand new Pokemon?

After a few weeks of teasing, Nintendo has finally revealed the new Mythical Pokemon for Sword & Shield, and...oh boy.

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Zarude is officially classified as "The Rogue Monkey Pokemon," which is the most accurate description one could possibly give to a red-eyed, edgelord monkey Pokemon with a pointy tail and sharpened claws. With a dark/grass dual-typing, Zarude is going to get absolutely wrecked by bug Pokemon, too, which is kind of ironic considering the fact that monkeys eat bugs. But hey, not every Pokemon can be a bug-wrecking monster like Greninja.

CULTURE

The "Pokemon Sword" and "Shield" Galar Dex Leaked, and the Cuts Are Brutal

The Galar Dex is like a Pokemon franchise Thanos Snap.

The Pokemon Company

One of the Pokemon franchise's most prevailing, and perhaps most important, features has been the National Pokedex–a system whereby every new mainline game, no matter where it took place or what new Pokemon it added, would ultimately allow players to collect any Pokemon in the entire franchise during the post-game.

The National Dex meant that every Pokemon game built upon its predecessors, and a player's favorite Pokemon could always be counted on to join them in the new game, even if they didn't really fit the new region's theme. So when the news broke that Pokemon Sword and Shield, the first mainline Pokemon entry for Nintendo Switch, would be getting rid of the National Dex, fans were understandably upset.

****POKEDEX SPOILERS FOLLOW****

But some still held out hope. Sure, a lot of the less popular Pokemon would probably be getting cut––Pokemon like Musharna, because wtf is that thing?

Musharna Seriously, wtf guys?The Pokemon Company

But all the favorites, powerful bad boys like Garchomp, Metagross, and Dragonite, would certainly be safe, right?

Well, the final Galar Pokedex (Galar is the new region in Sword and Shield) just leaked on 4chan, and oh man, this sh*t is like a Pokemon purge. Out of the 800+ Pokemon currently in existence, 400 are gone. It's like the Thanos snap, but worse, because instead of being random, a lot of the choices are actively ridiculous.

Here's a visual. Green background Pokemon are included. Orange background Pokemon appear in an alternate "Galar form"; but the white background Pokemon are straight up gone:

Sword and Shield Pokedex Credit to anonymous user on 4chan

Not a single starter Pokemon line has made it to the new games other than Charizard. And while I'm not about to lie and say I don't love Charizard, how could they do Venasaur and Blastoise dirty like that? What about Greninja? What about Incineroar?

It's almost unbelievable how many great Pokemon have been cut. No Alakazam. No Absol. No Zoroark. No Fossil Pokemon. What was Game Freak thinking? And before anyone argues that those Pokemon just didn't fit into the Galar region, which is based on the UK, they didn't include Stoutland––a Pokemon based on freaking Scottish and Yorkshire terriers.

Stoutland The Pokemon Company

Even weirder, they included Musharna. Why, of all the Pokemon out there, would they cut Salamence but include FREAKING MUSHARNA?

Luckily Mimikyu, probably my all-time favorite, is still in the mix, but this entire new Pokedex is a massive disappointment, and the decisions of which Pokemon to include are frankly baffling.

Pour one out for your lost Pokebros.

CULTURE

The Pokemon Mimikyu Is a Great Metaphor for Autism

Mimikyu speaks to something deep and existential about the human experience.

While every generation of Pokemon games introduces a new Pikachu-adjacent knock-off, Mimikyu is the first to feel truly original.

Potentially inspired by the Breton myth of the Bugol Noz––a kind woodland fairy whose appearance is so hideous that anyone who sees him dies of fright––Mimikyu is a ghastly looking Pokemon who inadvertently curses anyone who gazes upon its true form. As such, Mimikyu lives a life plagued by loneliness, craving acceptance, love, and friendship more than anything else. So, realizing that Pikachu is an incredibly popular Pokemon adored for its cuteness, Mimikyu creates a crayon-decorated Pikachu guise to hide beneath in hopes of acceptance.

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Screenshot: The Cutting Room Floor (ResetEra)

With Pokemon Sword and Shield set to launch in just a few short weeks, I can't help but feel a little underwhelmed.

It's not the lack of a National Dex, as I'm fairly confident those cuts aren't permanent, and I'm not hardcore enough to keep my Pokedex up-to-date anyways. Moreover, I actually think the curry cooking and Gigantamax battles (mainly fat Pikachu, AKA PIKACHONK) look really fun. But for me, the bread and butter of any new mainline Pokemon game is the new Pokemon, and with the exception of Wooloo, who will be in my final party regardless of their battle prowess, the new ones are kind of disappointing.

Sun and Moon might not have been the most memorable entries into the series, but Mimikyu––the ghost Pokemon that hides its terrifying appearance beneath a shoddy, crayon-drawn Pikachu rag because "it thought it would be able to make friends with humans if only it looked like Pikachu"––is arguably the best new Pokemon concept since Gold and Silver.

Mimikyu Nintendo/ Game Freak

Currently, Sword and Shield seems to fall short in comparison. Like, what the heck is wrong with Morpeko, and why does it look like a derpy Pikachu that fell into a mud puddle?

Morpeko Nintendo/ Game Freak

This is a real shame because, as it turns out, Game Freak has had a few really great unused concept monsters in their pocket for over two decades. In 2018, a leaked ROM of a 1997 demo for Pokemon Gold and Silver revealed a whole slew of scrapped Pokemon. And while some of them later appeared with updated designs, a few––and maybe even the best of them––were ultimately forgotten.

Beta Pokemon Nintendo/ Game Freak

Thankfully, a Twitter account called "Dr. Lava's Lost Pokemon" has spent the past year faithfully hunting down and documenting info on the lost Pokemon species. It's a bit of a double-edged sword though, because now we know what we're missing.

One painful loss is an evolution chain of electric tiger Pokemon consisting of Kotora, Raitora, and an unnamed third evolution that received a back sprite but not an official frontal animation. As such, Pokemon researchers can only guess what might have been, but we still mourn for this cute little thickboi.

Another major loss is Wolfman and its evolved form, Warwolf, a lost Pokemon chain that seems to depict a strange monster wearing a werewolf costume. One could easily imagine an alternate universe wherein Warwolf plushies flood the Nintendo Store every Halloween.


Even more unfortunate, the Warwolf concept might have actually been translated into Swinub and Piloswine, who kind of suck.

But no loss feels quite as brutal as that of the Ditto evolution, Animon––a Pokemon that literally look like a screaming condom. Oh, what a world we could have lived in.

Of course, not every change was bad. The original designs for the Legendary Dogs were a lot less cool than the final versions.

All things considered, Entei, Raikou, and Suicune look a lot more powerful than En, Rai, and Sui.

Legendary Dogs Nintendo/ Game Freak

Similarly, the first Pichu design looks insanely doofy, and actually not that far off from Morpeko—which actually explains a lot.

Then again, why would they remove Turban, the shell Pokemon that clearly lives on Slowbro's tail (in spite of the fact that the game officially refers to it as a Shellder, which it so obviously is not).

Mainly though, we'd like to see Nintendo and Game Freak bring back Animon. Until the new games give us a proper condom Pokemon, the franchise will never truly be whole.

Gaming

New Pokemon Mimikyu Comes with Exquisitely Sad Theme Song

It's Mimikyu, not Pikachu!

In promotion of their forthcoming Sun and Moon versions of Pokemon, Nintendo released a total bummer of a video on their YouTube channel yesterday. "Mimikyu's Song" is the apparent theme song for the Pikachu-imitating Pokemon that wears a poorly drawn Pikachu mask. As you can imagine, the Pokemon suffers from extreme social anxiety and a lack of self worth, and so it has turned to impersonating everyone's favorite super-powered creature: Pokemon.

This is another example of the more self-aware tone that Nintendo has adopted for its incredibly long-running series, Pokemon. Given that they've already resorted to making Pokemon out of regularly inanimate objects like swords, magnets, and telephones, it's no surprise that they've made a Pokemon who suffers from such bad anxiety that it is forced to wear a Pikachu costume to function. This crushingly sad, but also bitingly funny, take on the "dark" type Pokemon is sure to add some color to the Sun and Moon Pokedex, most of which has already leaked here.

YouTube user Tobias did us all the favor of captioning, in English, the heartbreaking ballad of Mimikyu. Check it out for yourself below, but have tissues for your inevitable tears on the ready: