Thursday, May 5, 2011

Let's Play Pokedex or Medieval Bestiary!

Yeah, It's going to take me a very long time to sort through all the Comicon stuff. Especially since the Evil Norway Maple in front of my house has been making up for time lost during the terrible winter we've had by spewing it's pollen everywhere. It feels like my entire respiratory system is coated with yellow and I've been coughing up a storm. Just took some famous name-brand medicine advertised with one of the most irritating ad campaigns ever devised and now I feel like I could never cough again ever. Or make typey fingers make sense of words in brain-thingy

So today, to save me some stress, we're going to play a game based off something I'd been wanting to write about for a while: the striking similarities between some of the crazier Pokedex entries and the descriptions of real animals in Medieval Bestiaries.

Consider: According to the in-game story, the Pokedex is the first collection of information about the Pokemon species in a new area. Bestiaries were apparently the first attempts at natural history field guides. And they both have some... *interesting* theories about the local animals' behavior and abilities.

So everybody get a sheet of paper and number it 1-10. Write down whether you think the following interesting facts about creatures (I will be replacing the terms "this animal" and "this Pokemon" with "this creature" to avoid dead giveaways) are from a Pokedex or a Bestiary. Then check the answers in Spoilertext (highlight to see it) and lie back with a strong drink and reflect on just how far the study of biology has come.

1) These creatures come from trees that grow over water. The young hang from their beaks from the trees. When they are mature, they fall from the trees and transform into birds.

2) This creature sleeps while cleverly balancing itself on one foot. As soon as it spots others of its kind, it congregates with them and then begins crying noisily in unison.

3) The mother nourishes her young with her own blood. After three days of mourning over her dead young, the mother pierces her side and lets her blood fall on their dead bodies to revive them.

4) This creature pines for the mother it will never see again. Seeing a likeness of its mother in the full moon, it cries. The stains on its face are from it's tears.

5) This creature arose from the spirits of people interred in graves in past ages. Each retains memories of its former life as a human.

6) To rejuvenate itself, it flies up to the sun, which burns off its old feathers and eyes. It tears off its old beak and claws with a stone. It then plunges three times into water, and its body is entirely restored.

7) The fierce nature of this creature makes it so hot that its blood can dissolve diamonds.

8) This creature senses coming disasters and appears before people only to warn them of impending danger. Mistaken as a bringer of doom, it fled high into the mountains. Its life span is over a hundred years.

9) This creature is always hermaphroditic, and must therefore never be eaten. They live near tombs and eat the dead bodies they find there. These creatures will circle a house at night, calling out words with the voice of a human. Anyone who goes out to investigate is eaten.

10) Its beautiful mane is made up of hair in every color and at the tip of its tail is a tuft of magical fur. If captured, the creature bites off the tuft so that nobody can get it. It cannot turn its neck, so if it wants to look behind itself it must spin its whole body around. It is said that if this creature looks at you before you see it, you won't be able to speak.


An Swears!

Before I give the answers, I'd like to thank the Medieval Bestiary website and the Psypokes Pokedex. They were both invaluable in jogging my pollen-addled memory.

1) Bestiary entry for the Barnacle Goose. I'm honestly surprised there isn't a Grass/Flying type based off this legend yet. This was so widely taken for granted that it was considered perfectly okay to eat goose during Lent. After all, its really a plant, right?

2) Pokedex entry for Baltoy. Funny how one of the weirdest Pokemon has a fairly mundane entry.

3) Bestiary entry for the African Pelican. This is surprisingly prevalent in folklore of the time and helps explain why you may see stained glass windows of pelicans feeding their own blood to their young in churches. And how did the pelican's babies die? Well, sometimes they are killed be a hunter or another animal, and sometimes the mother pelican herself accidentally kills them. Thankfully, they always come back to life at the end of the story, but even so, I think the mother pelican needs to go have a string drink with Cubone. Speaking of...

4) Pokedex entry for Cubone! And this was absolutely the saddest Pokedex entry ever until...

5) The Pokedex entry for Yamask! Because it would have been too much of a giveaway, I left out the part where Yamask carries around a mask to remind itself of what it looked like as a human. "Sometimes," says the Pokedex, "they look at the mask and cry." Ye gods. The sheer existential horror of Yamask's situation is ridiculous. It changes
everything about Ghost-types. These past two entries are the main reasons why I am hoping for goodness sake that the Pokedex is based entirely on folklore.

6) Bestiary entry for the Golden Eagle. Now you know where that ridiculous Powerpoint thing your aunt sent you came from. (The entry for the "Eagle Rebirth" over at Snopes is priceless.)

7) Bestiary entry for the "He-Goat". Honestly, if an animal with a body temperature that is hot enough to melt diamonds isn't right out of the Pokedex, I don't know what is.

8) Pokedex entry for Absol. The disdain for an animal based upon serious misconceptions about it reminded me a great deal of the next bestiary entry.

9) Bestiary entry for the Hyena. For my money, this is the craziest entry in the whole book.

10) Bestiary entry for the Ethiopian Wolf. To which one can only say, "what?"


On a lighter note, a post over at SomethingAwful brought this very very very weird and undeniably awesome piece of animation to my attention. I can't even imagine how long it must have taken to do all this. I'm linking it because the animation style is freaky enough to scare the young 'uns. Also, it is in Russian, so you may want to activate subtitles... though you really won't need them.

As one comment says, "I feel like I was shown everything. Ever. All at once."

Art of the Day!

Not much to see here. Just a Swampert.

4.23.11 - I Heard You Like...

1 comment:

Albertonykus said...

Got everything except the seventh right! I've certainly received one of those ridiculous medieval eagle Powerpoints before.