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Friday, October 11, 2013

Cities and Pokémon Mascots — Full Explanation!

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Given TPCi's blessings.

I normally wouldn't do an article about specific Nintendo social media actions (unless I win a contest or something) but this is quite interesting, especially since it's endorsed by The Pokémon Company International. What am I talking about? They teamed up with BuzzFeed to promote Pokémon (and as you'll see, a subtle Pokémon X/Y nudge) by giving various worldwide cities Pokémon mascots. It struck me as a Punch-Out!! type of action to do, given the... "stereotypes" involved. So let's go over these.


1. Cancun, Mexico - Ludicolo

It's Mexico. It's Ludicolo. It's literally wearing a sombrero. Cancún is a tropical city, which fits with Ludicolo being described as the "Carefree Pokémon". Fits in a tourist trap. By the way, for a franchise concerned with people making sure that people put the accent mark in Pokémon, they sure didn't care about Cancún's. Also, if you want to be culturally inaccurate, you can claim salsa music is from Mexico.

Just don't let any real Cubans hear you say that.

(Fantastic Seinfeld reference.)

2. Cairo, Egypt - Cofagrigus

Well, where do you think these coffins come from? Cairo is significant since it's the capital of Egypt. Interesting to note that Tutankhamen, whose cursed tomb Cofagrigus was inspired by, is currently in a Cairo museum. Note there is a whole anime episode where Cogagrigus's pre-evolved form, Yamask, is haunting the protagonists in the Nacrene Museum. Everything fits.

3. Salt Lake City, Utah - Beedrill

No, this isn't saying anything about our Mormon friends. It's directly referencing Salt Lake City's minor league team, the Salt Lake Bees. And Beedrill is a lot more iconic than Combee ever will be.

This looks more like a Beedrill anyway.

4. Seattle, Washington - Gloom

Now, you could say that Castform or Drizzle Politoed better represent Seattle, but it's important to note that Seattle is one of the most depressed cities in the United States. And the weather IS gloomy. Perhaps Gloom is also a reference to Washington state's new marijuana policies. After all, look at what Gloom is.

Made by Hallieisexposed on deviantART. She hasn't been there for several years so I won't ask if I have permission to use this.

5. New Orleans, Louisiana - Haunter

Hurricane Katrina jokes? Sure. But it's not actually that. New Orleans has a history of being haunted. New Orleans actually claims to be the "Most Haunted City in America", with several ghost tours available for moronic tourists. I'd think a literal ghost town would be more haunted, but I guess "towns" aren't eligible for a list of "cities".

6. Sydney, Australia - Kangaskhan

This should be obvious. People around the world associate Australia with kangaroos and boomerangs (and kangaroos WITH boomerangs). Speaking of which, this is as good as time as any to recommend The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons, for having my favourite kangaroo in gaming: Ricky!

No boomerangs, but he boxes. And the boxing minigame in Oracle of Seasons is fun.

7. Kona, Hawaii - Magmar

Did you know that, like Japan, Hawaii is a series of islands? Kona is supposed to be a city in the "Big Island". Hawaii is an island chain, and one of those islands, the biggest one, is simply named "Hawaii".
Kona isn't the county seat of the island. Hilo is. But it'd sure make this explanation a lot easier if it was.

There is actually no city just called "Kona". It's a region. There is a volcano nearby, the "Mauna Loa". There is a lot of magma there so that's where Magmar is supposed to come in.

Here is a stretch: There is this show called "Duck Dynasty", and they were in the area at some point. And apparently it's quite notable. ...Let's move on to the next city.

...Yeah, this is painful to write.

8. Pamplona, Spain - Tauros

Pamplona is the city where the "Running of the Bulls" festival takes place in Spain. Those bulls don't have afros, so Bouffalant wouldn't be appropriate here. By the way, Ernest Hemingway's novel, The Sun Also Rises? TERRIBLE.

The Running of the Bulls is like the Spanish version of NASCAR. People care about it because someone might DIE. The Running of the Bulls fans have to wait an average of around 8 years between every death. America gets a much smaller waiting period with an average of 1.2 years between every death.

Actually, since The Running of the Bulls was first, it's more accurate to say "NASCAR is the American version of The Running of the Bulls." You can say America has this culture of enjoying other people dying all you want, but they got it from Spain. Except now every "bull" has a distinct personality and advertisements. Hey, after a death, does it look better or worse for the brand plastered all over a car that crashes?

9. Hong Kong - Gyarados

Gyarados is apparently a Chinese dragon. Carps jump over the Dragon's Gate and become dragons. So why Hong Kong over Beijing? The Dragon's Gate is located in Hong Kong, obviously. Haven't you watched Jackie Chan Adventures? It's in HONG KONG. I'm willing to compare Gyarados to Shendu any day. (I never beat Jackie Chan Adventures: Legends of the Dark Hand on the GBA...)

After you read this article, go watch every episode in this show. (This is the last episode of the first season, so start from the start.)

10. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - Steelix

Well this is obviously the Pittsburgh Steelers. It's Pennsylvania's American football team. Besides the Philadelphia Eagles. Steelix is the only Pokémon with "Steel" in its name, besides Registeel. Steelix seems more appropriate. I don't care about this, so let's move on.

11. Paris, France - Furfrou

And here is where TPCi gets its Pokémon X and Y advertisement. That game's region is based on France, after all. Furfrou seems posh enough to be a suitable rep! Especially if you look at all of those non-posh leaked designs of the Kalos Pokémon.

You can groom this to change its appearance.

12. Tokyo, Japan - Samurott

Samurott is obviously named after being a samurai. TPCi just wants to remind people that Samurott can be bipedal and can look really cool doing so.

This Mantine luckily doesn't have Water Absorb.
There are a TON of choices for Japan representation. Pokémon Conquest was dedicated in its selection to choosing mostly Japan-centric Pokémon (with the curious omission of Pokémon like Ninetales). But Samurott prevailed for some reason.

Motochika is arguably even cooler with Samurott. If it evolves, does his prow ornament have to change?

13. Nairobi, Kenya - Zebstrika

Zebstrika being in Kenya is a clear reference to President Barack Obama and his mixed heritage.
Half-black and half-white.

I tried getting a picture showing both sides of Obama's family at once, but all I could find was this.
See? Kenya.
Nairobi is notable solely because it's the capital of Kenya.  It's a little far from where Obama's father was born, but it's... close enough. No one expects TPCi and BuzzFeed to be perfectly accurate for geographic African nations where Pokémon isn't even existent. Anyway, as everyone knows, Obama's paternal side is black, and his maternal side is white. And just like President Obama himself, Zebstrika throws away its white side and chooses to be classified as a black Pokémon. Also, just like Obama, Zebstrika is ill-tempered and shoots lightning in every direction when angry, just to try to distract you. Herman Cain would've been a lot better for America. And he's a real black man.

Coincidentally, the Nairobi area has a lot of zebras.

14. Las Vegas, Nevada - Elektross

By the way, the Pokémon's name is actually "Eelektross". Shame on TPCi for not knowing the name of its own Pokémon. Las Vegas uses many TONs of electricity. Eelektross is also a leech on society, just like gambling. Unlike Elekid, which is literally an electric plug.

15. London, England - Honchkrow

Crows come from London, apparently. That's probably it. Also, London was originally the first "gang capital" of the world. That's pretty important for a mob boss like Honchkrow.

16. Los Angeles, California - Koffing

TPCi screwed up. One of Koffing's possible early names was "NY", while Weezing was "LA". Clearly, LA is referring to Los Angeles, and NY is referring to New York. Luckily, the localizers realized how dumb those names would be, and didn't add fuel to the very accessible fire that people who hate Genwunners can use. But yes, Los Angeles is quite polluted, like a Koffing constantly using Smog. Not as much as, say, Beijing, but still.

If Koffing WAS named NY, do you think it would affect Koffing-themed websites like Smogon and Dogasu's Backpack?

So at the end of the BuzzFeed article is that TERRIBLE music video I wrote about here. Let's not talk about that anymore. Or listen to it. Oh, as promised in that article, here's your KoopaTV-exclusive code. At least, it was until other websites leaked all of the other codes. 

...So you know what, screw it. I didn't leak the code you gave for KoopaTV, TPCi! That was on YOUR end. I want a consolation prize. Or the actual prize.

Ludwig has learned a lot about the world while writing this article. If you'd like more articles like this, just comment! And if his explanations seem incomplete, comment on that too. Pokémon X/Y come out Saturday worldwide, and Ludwig isn't getting it right away.

Ludwig gives opinions about some of the cities mentioned in here in an E3 context.
Speaking of Herman Cain in a Pokémon article, what's Cain's favourite Pokémon?
Speaking of Obama in a Pokémon article, what Pokémon are at the White House?

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