I Hope There Are More Inanimate Object Pokemon In Legends: Arceus

Name your favourite Pokemon. Right now. Do it. Write it down, pop it in the replies to this article, or just think it in your head – I don’t care. Now I’m going to perform a feat of psychic abilities of such magnitude that Alakazam would grant me its spoon. Ready? Here we go.

Using my Psychic powers bequeathed upon me by Mew Itself, I can safely confirm that not a single reader was thinking of Trubbish. Think that’s impressive? I can also confirm that none of you were thinking of Klefki. ‘How many people are thinking of Vanillite?’ I hear you ask. None. ‘What about Lucario?’ you scream, the readers of this page a deafening cacophony in my head at this point. Fucking loads of yous are thinking about Lucario you unoriginal bastards.

But I’m not here to talk about how many of you want to shag Lucario – Stacey’s already done that – I’m here to talk about inanimate object Pokemon, how they deserve your love, and how I hope there are many more in Pokemon Legends: Arceus. Alongside Hisuian forms of the starters, my wish for an Ancient Gastrodon, and the potential of Primal forms of Dialga and Palkia, I want to see some boring Pokemon – some inanimate objects turned into catchable creatures.

I’m not saying that any inanimate object Pokemon are my favourites. For me, they can’t compete with the likes of Gengar, Jolteon, or Cufant for my affection. But they’re cooler than you give them credit for. Yes, I know Trubbish is just a bag of trash and it evolves into a bigger bag of trash, but Geodude is a rock with arms that evolves into a bigger rock with arms and I don’t hear many complaints about that!

The Gen 1 sprites were weird, but I won’t hold that against them. There are some sick designs, and most of my favourite Pokemon come from the series’ early years. But some – looking at Krabby and Sunflora – are straight up uninspired. They’re literally a crab and a sunflower. And you’re complaining about an ice cream?

But I’m not here to tear other Pokemon down; Krabby and Sunflora are fine really, and so are Trubbish and Klefki. But it goes further than that: inanimate object Pokemon are better than fine, they’re great! My favourite quality of theirs is how they provide environmental storytelling about the region – or specific place – that they reside.

Take the Alola region for example; Palossand is just an animated sandcastle. It’s silly, sure, but it also says a lot about the Alolan environments. There are plenty of beaches in the Pacific Island-modelled region, right, so it makes sense that it introduces a beach-based Pokemon? If that’s not good enough for you (and I admit, it’s not the best defence I’ve ever written), take Comfey. Comfey goes one step further, being an animated lei – the floral wreaths or garlands typically worn around the neck in many Pacific cultures. Not only does Comfey acknowledge the cultural traditions of the Alola region, it nods to the people that inspired the region. After all, in a Pokemon world, why wouldn’t the Alolan people use an appropriate monster as a wreath instead of regular, inanimate flowers and feathers like we do in the real world.

Similarly, Chandelure represents the fading influence of the French aristocracy, and adorns the crumbling mansions and chalets of the Paris-inspired Kalos region. Rotom is a poltergeist-esque creature that inhabits inanimate objects, which does put it up for debate whether or not it is actually an inanimate object Pokemon or not, but it’s a great spin on the haunted house and freshens up the Ghost-type Pokemon who have just been saying ‘boo’ from Gengar’s shadow for generations. Polteageist is based on the fact that us English love a cuppa! See, they’re fun and educational.

Personally I think Voltorb fits into the ‘mimic’ category of fantasy creature (see: Dark Souls etc.) better than being a true inanimate object, but the Hisuian form rolls with the likes of Comfey and Chandelure: it tells us that Olde Timey pokeballs were made of wood, and Aegislash should have been introduced in Sword & Shield, but it’s Stance Change ability alone makes it a great Pokemon.

These Pokemon are based on an old concept – Tsukumogami. Similar to Japanese kami – spirits that inhabit natural things like rivers or mountains – Tsukumogami are inanimate objects that have acquired a kami, usually due to being abandoned.

Whether the Pokemon is a cake or a candle or a bag of trash doesn’t actually matter – the fact is each one says something about the region they inhabit, and that’s why I want to see more of them in Legends: Arceus. Sure, some of you will have dove headfirst into the leaks and be able to tell me if I’m right or wrong, but I’m staying leak-free for the moment, and continuing to wish for my perfect game to land on my Switch at the end of the month.

Let’s see some ancient devices in Pokemon form to really make us feel at one with the Hisui region; I want a Pokemon that represents the technology of the time. We’ve got Voltorb, yes, and presumably Electrode too, but how about Hisuian Aegislash that resembles a katana? A Pokemon that is a rice ball (aka a jelly filled donut), too, considering the Hisui region is based on feudal Japan. We’ve had ice cream, so why not that?

If people in the Hisui region are starting to harvest the land for its resources, let’s see some tool-Pokemon! Not like a hammer, but a bag of crystals that has gained sentience (or perhaps it’s the other way around – people have noticed the sentient bag of crystals and thought to harvest them? Really makes you think…) It’s quite an uncreative suggestion, sure, but there’s an anchor Pokemon because the Alola region has lots of sea, so Game Freak set the precedent.

I want to learn about the Hisui region through its Pokemon, and to become Hisuian David Attenborough, working out how the wildlife has influenced the people who live there and vice versa. Animals alone can’t do this, and that’s why inanimate object Pokemon are not only cool and fun and a little bit silly, but they’re important for creating an immersive and interesting world for us to explore.

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