Slight delay on Whimsical Weekend #13

It’s in the works, trust me, but considering how much effort I’d have to put into it, as well as the importance of not staying up too late (for the sake of work), I think I’d be better off putting in the effort over the week instead of pulling an all-nighter or similar to do so.

 Please understand.

I will give a minor hint about the topic, though: It’s about something that I haven’t brought up in detail in over half a year.

6/20/17 EDIT: Done now. http://wp.me/p4GI1b-k7

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Archeops (Poké Monday 6/5/17)

 

Type: Rock/Flying

Base Stats:

  • 75 HP
  • 140 Attack
  • 65 Defense
  • 112 Special Attack
  • 65 Special Defense
  • 110 Speed

Ability: Defeatist – If Archeops’ HP is below half, its Attack and Special Attack are halved.

Notable physical attacks: Acrobatics, Aqua Tail (via ORAS tutor), Earthquake, Endeavor, Head Smash (Egg move), Knock Off (Egg move), Stone Edge, U-turn

Notable special attacks: Ancient Power, Dragon Pulse (Egg move), Earth Power (Egg move), Focus Blast, Heat Wave (via ORAS tutor)

Notable status moves: Defog (Egg move), Roost, Stealth Rock (via ORAS tutor), Switcheroo (Egg move), Taunt

Notable Z-moves:

  • Continental Crush (Rock)
    • Physical – Converts one use of Head Smash into a base 200 physical Rock-type attack (or Stone Edge into base 180).
    • Special – Converts one use of Ancient Power into a base 120 special Rock-type attack.
  • Supersonic Skystrike (Flying) – Converts one use of Sky Attack (via ORAS tutor) into a base 200 physical Flying-type attack.
  • Tectonic Rage (Ground)
    • Physical – Converts one use of Earthquake into a base 180 physical Ground-type attack.
    • Special – Converts one use of Earth Power into a base 175 special Ground-type attack.
  • All-Out Pummeling (Fighting) – Converts one use of Focus Blast into a base 190 special Fighting-type attack.
  • Inferno Overdrive (Fire) – Converts one use of Heat Wave into a base 175 special Fire-type attack.
  • Z-Taunt (Dark) – Grants +1 Attack with one use of Taunt.

Overview

Ever since its debut in generation 5, Archeops has been one of an infamous set of Pokémon who are hindered by their Abilities. Its statline is offensively oriented, consisting of a hefty base 140 Attack, a decent base 112 Special Attack, and a comfortable Speed tier of 110. As such, its Ability is a huge detriment. Assuming full offensive investment with a Speed-boosting nature, the effect of Defeatist will render Archeops’ Attack and Special Attack equivalent to base 45 and 31 respectively, making it even weaker than Minior above half HP. It doesn’t help that Archeops is not the bulkiest thing around with its 75/65/65 defenses. Sure, it can take advantage of recovery options in Roost and pinch berries, but: In the case of Roost, can it really sacrifice a moveslot and risk the possibility of being brought below half HP again (or worse)? In the case of pinch berries, can it really afford to dedicate its item slot to one? Oh well, at least it has access to Endeavor, which becomes more effective at lower HP values, in spite of Defeatist’s effect.

Ability aside, consider Archeops’ movepool. Although it consists of utility options in Defog, Stealth Rock, and Taunt; along with Ground coverage complemented by Dark and Water on the physical side and Fighting, Fire, and Dragon on the special side; Archeops is lacking in reliable STAB. Stone Edge is strong (and has the bonus of a high critical hit ratio), but its 5 PP and 80% accuracy hold it back from being a perfect STAB move. (Head Smash is in a similar boat, but with more base power at the expense of 50% recoil and a normal crit ratio.) As for Flying STAB, it has to resort to Acrobatics for reliability or Supersonic Skystrike for power, both at the expense of a precious item slot (granted Acrobatics sets can run a pinch berry if so desired). Oh, and the special side is even worse. To be curt, its special STAB literally consists of Ancient Power. That’s right, no Power Gem, no Hurricane, no Air Slash, not even freaking Air Cutter, just Ancient Power. Having a 60 BP move with 5 PP as its only special STAB is, if nothing else, what holds it back from using its Special Attack stat for anything but coverage.

That’s how it is, and that’s how it’s always been. The transition to Sun/Moon gave Archeops nothing but Z-moves, although that in itself presents some interesting wallbreaking options such as 200 BP physical STAB (which is especially nice on the Flying side), stronger coverage moves, and Z-Taunt—which has the potential to shut down utility- and setup-reliant foes while amping up its offensive potential.

In summary, Archeops is an offensive threat at half or more HP, but its Ability is a severe detriment when it kicks in. Beware priority (especially Accelerock, Aqua Jet, Bullet Punch, and Ice Shard) and Choice Scarf users. Keep Stealth Rock at bay if Archeops is not your only Defogger.

Sets

Set 1: Lead

Archeops @ Focus Sash
Ability: Defeatist
EVs: 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Stealth Rock
– Taunt
– Endeavor
– Head Smash

A set that takes full advantage of Archeops’ lead potential. Uses Stealth Rock to put pressure on the enemy team, Taunt to prevent opponents from setting up, Endeavor when it falls to a low HP value (preferably 1 thanks to Focus Sash), and Head Smash as a strong STAB move preferable over Endeavor in some situations (namely, against Ghost-types, at full HP, and at low enough HP that the recoil will KO it).

EVs are offensively focused, with particular emphasis in Speed to take full advantage of its Speed tier. No bulk investment is needed due to the nature of the set, and the lack of such investment makes it easier (if only slightly) to activate Focus Sash and maximize the potential of Endeavor.

Set 2: Z-Move Attacker

Archeops @ Darkinium Z / Flyinium Z
Ability: Defeatist
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Taunt / Sky Attack
– Stone Edge
– Earthquake
– Roost / Knock Off / U-turn

As far as Archeops is concerned, Z-moves are the only real improvement in the transition from Kalos to Alola. Two particularly notable Z-moves are Z-Taunt (Taunt with a +1 Attack boost) and Supersonic Skystrike from Sky Attack (its most powerful Flying STAB). Whatever Z-move it runs, it will most likely depend on Stone Edge for Rock STAB (because the recoil of Head Smash isn’t quite as worth risking when it comes to non-lead sets) and Earthquake for coverage. As for the fourth slot, that depends on team needs. Roost helps Archeops stays out of Defeatist range, Knock Off provides the ability to remove opposing items, and U-turn works for scouting the opponent (but is ill advised with Z-Taunt).

In non-lead sets, lesser bulk is not better because there is no incentive to be below half HP. Dumping the remaining 4 EVs in Special Defense is preferred because:

  1. Running 4 HP EVs would mean that it only takes two Stealth Rock switch-ins to enter Defeatist range, while it otherwise takes three.
  2. Porygon2 with Download is a possibility (at least it seems so at the time of writing; if it actually isn’t, investing in Defense would be preferred because most priority moves are physical).

Other Options

On offensive sets not running Z-Taunt, Archeops can afford to run a defense-hindering Nature, dump its 4 EVs in Special Attack, and use Earth Power as an alternative Ground coverage move to hit Aggron, Regirock, and Steelix harder than Earthquake can. Focus Blast is slightly stronger than Earth Power and has a good chance to 2HKO Regirock, but Earth Power is more reliable in terms of accuracy and PP. Continental Crush from Head Smash is an alternative 200 BP STAB that notably scores an OHKO on 252/0 Eelektross and generally hits Electric- and Rock-types harder. Itemless Acrobatics is Archeops’ most reliable Flying STAB and, unlike Supersonic Skystrike, is not a one-off technique. Acrobatics can also be run alongside a pinch berry such as LiechiSalacSitrus, or Mago and the like (the last of which are improved in Sun/Moon in that they now restore half HP when the holder is at or below 1/4 HP).

A Choice set with Switcheroo could allow Archeops to sabotage the opposition in potentially a more vile way than Taunt could, although item-switching moves have become even less effective with the introduction of Z-Crystals. Archeops can also provide Defog support if needed, but such support requires utmost wariness in all situations.

Problems and Partners

Problems

First and foremost, beware of faster threats. Cinccino is particularly menacing, as it packs Skill Link Rock Blast for not only dealing hefty super-effective damage, but also breaking through Focus Sash with utmost ease. Lycanroc may not be able to break through Focus Sash, but it has super-effective STAB priority in Accelerock to compensate.

Speaking of priority, watch out for these guys too. They are the next most likely candidates for carrying STAB priority that, if nothing else, will easily leave Archeops in Defeatist range and therefore crippled unless it has a pinch berry activate or can find an opportunity to Roost.

Sceptile may not have super-effective STAB, but it does have a faster Taunt to prevent Archeops from setting up Stealth Rock. Sableye is a worse case, boasting access to Prankster Taunt and Will-O-Wisp for shutting down Archeops like nothing else.

In addition, anything that can take a hit and retaliate in such a way to either bring Archeops to Defeatist range or help bring Archeops to Defeatist range can become a problem. However, such problems are more manageable if Archeops runs a high-power Z-move or any variety of Taunt.

 

Partners

Lanturn resists 4/5 of Archeops’ weaknesses (i.e., all excluding Rock), doesn’t particularly mind burn, is immune to paralysis, and can provide Heal Bell support if Archeops finds itself afflicted with such status conditions. It can also use Thunder Wave for its own form of paralysis, as well as Volt Switch to prevent it from being a momentum drain.

Because Archeops is weak to Stealth Rock, it is inevitable that hazard removers be included here. Claydol is only resistant to 2/5 of Archeops’ weaknesses, but it is decently bulky, extremely hazard-resistant (being a Ground-type with Levitate), and can set up its own Stealth Rock. Hitmontop only resists 1/5, but with access to Foresight, it can potentially get a Rapid Spin off against anything. Be careful using Shiftry, because it’s kinda frail, resists 2/5 of Archeops’ weaknesses (sadly not including Rock), and can potentially be counterproductive with Stealth Rock variants of Archeops.

Actually, it’s tough to think of partners for Archeops. I guess just consider what would go well with Stealth Rock and/or how the rest of the team would ideally be molded based on the moves that Archeops runs. That is to say, because of Archeops’ offensive potential coupled with its frailty, it’s better to ask not what your team can do for Archeops, but what Archeops can do for your team.

At a standstill (Whimsical Weekend #12)

Yeah…I’m not even ashamed to be posting this on Monday midnight. The truth is, I haven’t been motivated at all to come up with a proper post over the course of these two weeks. I’ve just been going through the standard routine of going to work every weekday and using my leisure time to indulge in whatever forms of entertainment may tickle my fancy. In particular, watching Twitch streams while doing some freelance coding is what I’ve been into lately. (Whom I watch depends mostly on the time of day, but twitch.tv/360chrism is definitely the stream where I hang out most.)

I suppose, if there’s anything I would have felt like writing about if I had taken more time to think, it’s Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 1. Part of me wanted to save such talk until after completing the entire Re;Birth series, but later on I thought, “Well, it was recently that I decided that I had played the first installment to my heart’s content, so…” Wait, actually, I was considering optimizing the equipment of at least my main party members (Blanc, Noire, Vert, Ram, Neptune, and Nepgear), and I never really got around to that, so perhaps delaying that sort of talk is for the best.

I was also considering talking about the Conceptis Block-a-Pix app now that it’s recently come out on Android (I don’t have an iOS device), but there’s not much to talk about, considering I’ve done an entire analysis on the form of puzzle in question, so I’ll just say here what little I have to about the app. My main beef with it is: If you create a box around a number, the area of that box can exceed the number of tiles required by that number, whereas the site applet has a constraint for that. Second, in greater puzzle sizes on smaller screens (e.g., 30*45 on an 854*480 screen), it’s hard to tell ‘6’s from ‘8’s. The second one is not of dire importance and definitely not an easy fix (considering it’s the standard Conceptis font), but I’m hoping the first one gets fixed in a future update.

I guess that’s all for now.

 À la prochaine! (Until next time!)

…Hopefully I’ll actually have a substantial post by then…

Mudsdale (Poké Monday 5/8/17)

Type: Ground

Base Stats:

  • 100 HP
  • 125 Attack
  • 100 Defense
  • 55 Special Attack
  • 85 Special Defense
  • 35 Speed

Ability choices:

  • Own Tempo Mudsdale cannot be confused.
  • Stamina Mudsdale have their Defense boosted upon taking direct damage.
  • Inner Focus Mudsdale are impervious to flinching. (Hidden Ability)

Notable physical attacks: Close Combat, Earthquake, Heavy Slam, Payback, Rock Slide, Rock Tomb

Mudsdale has no notable status moves.

Notable Z-moves:

  • Tectonic Rage (Ground) – Converts one use of Earthquake into a base 180 physical Ground-type attack.
  • Continental Crush (Rock) – Converts one use of Rock Slide into a base 140 physical Rock-type attack.
  • All-Out Pummeling (Fighting) – Converts one use of Close Combat into a base 190 physical Fighting-type attack.

Overview

As a Poké Ride, Mudsdale’s purpose is to walk on rocky surfaces. Competitively, its most distinguishable role is as a tank. That is to say, its offensive prowess is hindered by its low Speed, and it lacks utility options for making use of its 100/100/85 bulk, but base 125 Attack allows it to hit hard with Ground STAB and such. As another plus, Mudsdale’s unique Ability in Stamina is helpful for allowing it to take physical attacks as long as it remains in play.

However, Mudsdale’s typing, while hitting five types super-effectively on the offensive side and only being weak to three types on the defensive side, has some noticeable cons to it. First, on the defensive side, its three weaknesses are rather common, especially among special attackers. Second, on the offensive side, its STAB can easily be avoided by Flying-types and users of Levitate, while Mudsdale doesn’t quite have the coverage to supplement its STAB. Lack of Stone Edge makes its Rock STAB weak; Close Combat is rather redundant coverage with Earthquake (especially since both have two resistant types in common: Bug and Flying); Heavy Slam, while mostly strong, isn’t quite up to snuff coverage-wise; and Payback, arguably its best bet coverage-wise, is situational (notably, Bronzong, the main Pokémon it hits super-effectively, is naturally slower, meaning the attack is normally only 50 base power against it).

To summarize, Mudsdale is a physical tank with a unique Ability but relatively poor coverage.

Sets

1: Choice Band

Mudsdale @ Choice Band
Ability: Stamina
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 SpD
Adamant Nature
– Earthquake
– Close Combat
– Heavy Slam
– Rock Slide

This set lumps all of Mudsdale’s best attacking options into one set. Earthquake is its best STAB, Close Combat notably deals extra damage to Ice- and Normal-types, Heavy Slam hits for maximum base power against most things that resist Earthquake, and Rock Slide deals the highest possible damage to Mantine.

EVs and Nature are centered around Attack and bulk, particularly the former. Stamina is the Ability of choice because its other options are more situational.

2: Rest + Sleep Talk

Mudsdale @ Leftovers
Ability: Stamina
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpD
Impish Nature
– Earthquake
– Rock Tomb
– Rest
– Sleep Talk

The combination of Rest and Sleep Talk is, sadly, Mudsdale’s most reliable means of regaining HP. Moreover, all it can really do with its bulk is whittle down the opposition with Earthquake (which still does decent damage even off uninvested Attack) and use Rock Tomb for Speed control. At any rate, the set and physically defensive investment thereof serve to take better advantage of its exclusive Ability.

Other Options

On the Choice Band set, Sleep Talk can prevent sleep move abusers, particularly Gallade with Z-Hypnosis, from completely shutting it down. On the defensive set, Toxic can be used over Rock Tomb in case Speed control is not particularly helpful. Everything else (basically only Payback) has pretty much already been mentioned.

Problems and Partners

Problems

Special attackers, particularly those with super-effective STAB, can pose a problem to Mudsdale. In fact, Mudsdale has no super-effective coverage against any of the three above, and all three (yes, even Alolan Exeggutor) outspeed.

Burn abusers can also be problematic if Mudsdale lacks Rest. Mantine is immune to Earthquake and has super-effective STAB, while Cofagrigus has great physical bulk and means to attack Mudsdale’s weaker defense.

In general, Mudsdale is not invincible. For this reason, even physical attackers, if they have the means to set up and/or deal heavy damage with their raw power, can wear it down if given the opportunity.

Partners

 

While a problem, Mantine can also serve as a partner. The two complement each other well typing-wise—Mudsdale resisting all of Mantine’s weaknesses while Mantine resists one of Mudsdale’s weaknesses and is neutral to the other two—and stat-wise (as in, Mantine’s special tankiness complements Mudsdale’s physical tankiness). Mantine can also Defog away Toxic Spikes if needed.

Rotom is the only thing currently legal in Mudsdale’s tier that can single-handedly deal with the Water-types and Ghost-types that are problematic from a defensive standpoint. Its access to Volt Switch has potential to provide a free switch opportunity, although only in particular situations.

Other than that, anything that can keep special and/or super-effective attackers at bay, or anything that promotes longevity of a tank by some other means, is a good partner for Mudsdale.

Flash Game Speed Marathon: My marathon debut (Whimsical Weekend #11)

Two months ago, I talked about submitting for Memeathon X, specifically with an unofficial category of Phoenotopia that I call “69 HP RTA,” but my submission didn’t make it into the marathon.

Fortunately, not long before the end of March (I don’t remember the exact date), I happened upon a more esoteric submission form posted by Twitch user LaserTrap_ in the 360chrism Community Discord. That form was for a marathon initially named “Flash Games Done Quick,” but they had to change the name mid-marathon because “Games Done Quick” is trademarked. Regardless, considering that a vast majority of the games that I currently speedrun are Flash games, of course this marathon would be the perfect fit for me. So, I submitted Phoenotopia 100%, Rock Bottom All Levels, and Chompy All Levels; and I ended up being one of only seven runners in the marathon (including LaserTrap_).

It was my first time doing live commentary while speedrunning (granted I rehearsed a bit beforehand), but I’d say it went over pretty well. Highlights can be viewed below:

Phoenotopia [100%] in 1:47:16 — https://www.twitch.tv/videos/137592161

Rock Bottom [All Levels] in 7:53 — https://www.twitch.tv/videos/137592857

Chompy [All Levels] in 6:22 — https://www.twitch.tv/videos/137593444

(Other highlights of the marathon can be found at https://www.twitch.tv/lasertrap_/videos/highlights)

Because I rehearsed so little, it goes without saying that there was at least a little rust involved in all my runs. Prior to the week before the beginning of the marathon, it had been six months since my last Phoenotopia 100% WR (1:44:08), five months since my last Chompy WR (5:09), and three months since my last Rock Bottom WR (6:17).

Since the games that I ran are so fast-paced (well, not so much Phoenotopia, but still), I can’t remember off the top of my head where exactly I messed up in each run, but I do recall that I unfortunately didn’t get the 1-minute skip in level 14 of Rock Bottom. Also, apparently my keyboard doesn’t like me pressing down, right, and Numpad 0 at the same time, so I had a tiny bit of difficulty starting the timer for Chompy.

Another thing: I’m not used to talking in general, so running my mouth for practically two straight hours caused my voice to hurt over the weekend. Thankfully, though, it was nothing major.

Bottom line: I dragged myself into a change of pace by becoming part of an esoteric marathon, and the highlights linked above are the results.

 

 À la prochaine! (Until next time!)

Rapidash (Poké Monday 4/10/17)

 

Type: Fire

Base Stats:

  • 65 HP
  • 100 Attack
  • 70 Defense
  • 80 Special Attack
  • 80 Special Defense
  • 105 Speed

Ability choices:

  • Run Away Rapidash have a 100% chance of escaping non-Trainer battles. However, this Ability is useless in competitive play.
  • Flash Fire Rapidash are immune to Fire-type moves and, under circumstances where they would normally take one, their Fire-type attacks are boosted by a factor of 1.5 instead. This boost only occurs once per switch-in and cannot be Baton Passed.
  • Flame Body Rapidash, upon being hit by direct contact, have a 30% chance of burning the attacker. (Hidden Ability)

Notable physical attacks: Drill Run (via ORAS tutor), Flare Blitz, Low Kick (Egg move), Megahorn, Smart Strike, Wild Charge

Notable status moves: Morning Sun (Egg move), Will-O-Wisp

Notable Z-moves:

  • Inferno Overdrive (Fire) – Converts one use of Flare Blitz into a base 190 physical Fire-type attack.
  • Bloom Doom (Grass) – Converts one use of Solar Beam into a base 190 special Grass-type attack.
  • Gigavolt Havoc (Electric) – Converts one use of Wild Charge into a base 175 physical Electric-type attack.
  • Z-Will-O-Wisp (Fire) – Grants +1 Attack with one use of Will-O-Wisp.
  • Z-Hypnosis (Psychic) – Grants +1 Speed with one use of Hypnosis.

Overview

For Rapidash, not much has changed in the transition from the previous generation to the present. It’s still the same fast-ish attacker in PU with reliable recovery and odd coverage as it was back then. That said, Sun/Moon did bring a few new tools to the table:

  • Smart Strike: Coverage against Fairy-types that’s less redundant than Poison Jab…and another option for Rock-types, I guess
  • Z-Crystals:
    • Firium Z – used in conjunction with Flare Blitz for recoil-free but still powerful STAB, or with Will-O-Wisp for a one-time Attack boost
    • Grassium Z – used in conjunction with Solar Beam for a strong option against the likes of Quagsire and Whiscash
    • Electrium Z – used in conjunction with Wild Charge in a similar vein to Flare Blitz
    • Psychium Z – used in conjunction with Hypnosis to make one use perfectly accurate and with a Speed boost (not that the latter is needed all that much)
    • Groundium Z or Buginium Z to perhaps bring a bit of accuracy to its slightly inaccurate coverage options in Drill Run and Megahorn respectively

Well, actually, that’s about it. The most notable new tool definitely has to be Z-Will-O-Wisp, and Rapidash is one of the most effective users of the Z-Move, let alone in its tier.

Set

Rapidash @ Firium Z
Ability: Flash Fire
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Will-O-Wisp
– Flare Blitz
– Wild Charge / Morning Sun
– Drill Run / Morning Sun

Firium Z allows Rapidash to choose between base 190 recoil-free Fire STAB or, better yet, a perfectly accurate Will-O-Wisp that boosts its Attack (but only once per battle, of course). That aside, Flare Blitz is its STAB of choice for the sheer damage output thereof. Primary choices for coverage moves are Wild Charge for Water-types and Drill Run for Fire- and Rock-types. On the other hand, it could forgo one of its coverage moves in favor of Morning Sun, which allows it to stick around longer in spite of its recoil move(s). EVs and Nature are offensively focused with particular emphasis on Speed, while the Ability of choice is Flash Fire for the extra immunity and the potential to power up Flare Blitz.

Other Options

In terms of non-Z-Moves, Low Kick is its only option to 2HKO offensive Golem, Smart Strike is its strongest option against Carbink, and Megahorn notably hits Lunatone and Solrock.

Solar Beam, when converted to Bloom Doom, constitutes its most hard-hitting option against Water/Ground types, and it also works wonders against Water/Rock types such as Relicanth. For example:

4- SpA Rapidash Bloom Doom (190 BP) vs. 248 HP / 8 SpD Quagsire: 576-680 (146.5 – 173%) — guaranteed OHKO

4- SpA Rapidash Bloom Doom (190 BP) vs. 248 HP / 8 SpD Relicanth: 576-680 (142.9 – 168.7%) — guaranteed OHKO

Z-Hypnosis provides a one-time, perfectly accurate sleep move to cope with defensive threats (Altaria for example) and make it harder to revenge KO by Choice Scarf users and such (or, perhaps, to mitigate Sticky Web).

Problems and Partners

Problems

Physically defensive Altaria can easily take any of Rapidash’s hits, even if Rapidash is at +1 as a result of Z-Will-O-Wisp, and has a decent chance of 3HKOing with Dragon Pulse. That’s without mentioning the recoil of Flare Blitz and Wild Charge on Rapidash’s end, and Altaria’s end has another huge benefit in Roost.

Floatzel is naturally faster than Rapidash and threatens with Water STAB. Perhaps another justifiable reason to run Z-Hypnosis.

The rest of the list depends on what Rapidash is running. If it only runs two offensive moves, it gets walled by a particular subset of Pokémon (Dragon-types and particular Fire-types in the case of Flare Blitz + Wild Charge, and several Flying-types in the case of Flare Blitz + Drill Run). Without Bloom Doom, Rock/Ground and Water/Ground types become problematic. Without Smart Strike, Carbink is tough to break. Without Megahorn, Solrock and Lunatone can be problematic.

Partners

As is the case with all offensively oriented Pokémon weak to Stealth Rock and prone to other hazards, hazard control is one of the best forms of support. Wartortle and Prinplup, which carry Rapid Spin and Defog respectively, are especially favorable, as they resist Water-type moves and do not share any weaknesses with Rapidash.

Knowing that Altaria and Floatzel are the main two problems listed, examples of Pokémon that can take care of both are Politoed and Lapras with Water Absorb. They can take Floatzel’s STAB and Ice Punch, and Altaria is hit with Ice coverage. Lapras is particularly adept in dealing with Floatzel thanks to Freeze-Dry.

Grass-types, particularly those with special attacking potential, can be helpful to Rapidash not running Bloom Doom (and maybe even those that do run Bloom Doom). Be warned that Simisage needs a Choice Scarf to be able to combat Floatzel, and Exeggutor should not be sent out lightly.

Juuou Mujin no Fafnir? (Whimsical Weekend #10)

Still technically a weekend because I haven’t had work since Friday 

Juuou Mujin no Fafnir (alternatively known as Unlimited Fafnir, henceforth referred to simply as Fafnir) is a fantasy harem light novel series written by Tsukasa (ツカサ) and adapted into an anime for the winter 2015 season. I have already talked about the anime once before, but because I am currently reading through the light novel and have also rewatched the anime, I decided that I would go back and provide further detail, be it through rephrasing or adding on to what has already been said.

Back when the anime started airing, I was the type of guy who could (and would) chase breezes when it comes to anime series; I would pay no heed to clichés or minor animation faults or anything like that. Even though I had already watched Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance, which is very similar in terms of execution (in the beginning if nothing else), I somehow decided that Fafnir was worth my attention. That, plainly and simply, was how I got into it.

The lore of Fafnir is centered around gargantuan beasts known as dragons (which are not quite comparable to the types of dragons normally depicted in mythical stories) and humans with dragon marks who are sometimes sought to become mates of the dragons (i.e., transformed into dragons themselves). The humans with dragon marks, who are also characterized by their ability to generate dark matter (a substance that can be molded into a different material by the user’s imagination), are called ‘D’s (with no connection to male genitalia, mind you), and the main character, Yuu Mononobe, happens to be the only male who fits this criterion. Initially a part of NIFL, a military organization meant for dealing with dragon disasters, he starts off having been transferred to Midgard, an island meant for housing an educational institute for ‘D’s, and becomes acquainted with the other ‘D’s who are all female. In particular, Yuu is assigned to the Brynhildr Class and becomes comrades with:

  • Mitsuki Mononobe, his foster sister
  • Iris Freyja, the first person whom he met on Midgard
  • Lisa Highwalker, a blonde tsundere who initially disapproves of him
  • Firill Crest, a (mostly) emotionless avid reader
  • Ariella Lu, a brown-haired tomboy
  • Ren Miyazawa, a red-haired laptop girl of few words
  • Tia Lightning, a transfer student (introduced later in the series) who starts off under the impression that she is a dragon and his wife (she is called Tear in some translations, but I prefer the name Tia because it’s more of a real name (I’ve never heard of “Tear” being a name outside of fiction) and, as mentioned in the light novel, is short for Tiamat (which is dragon-related))

However, Yuu finds himself different from the other ‘D’s not only in his gender, but also in his combat experience. While ‘D’s are usually trained for dealing with dragons, Yuu is initially only experienced in man-to-man combat. Fortunately, Yuu has a dragon living inside him (“Green” Yggdrasil) that provides weaponry for the destruction of other dragons in exchange for his memories. It does get the job done, but with the drawback of hindering his relationship with Mitsuki.

Throughout the story, it is made clear that decisions are to be made when a dragon attacks. The best case scenario would be to eliminate the dragon, but such is much easier said than done. Because dragons are such threats, the characters are occasionally stuck contemplating between two options: (1) killing the ‘D’ whose mark has changed color, or (2) letting that ‘D’ transform into a copy of the dragon in question. They obviously stand and fight to the end, but they always take care to prepare for the worst case scenario.

Anyway, I’d say that about covers it for basic plot elements. So, I mentioned how I got into the series, and the next step would be to talk about how it has managed to keep my attention for so long. The way I was the first time I watched through the anime, it was not hard for a series like this to do such a thing. However, a less common phenomenon is for such a series to leave a legacy even after I finish watching the anime. I would say that this series is nothing special…that is, if not for the existence of one particular character: Kili Surtr Muspelheim. Yes, she is the one depicted in the third panel of the image at the beginning of this post.

Kili starts off as a terrorist responsible for the death of Tia’s parents and the creation of Tia’s two horns, and she appears to Lisa (and is soon encountered by Yuu) in an attempt to kidnap Tia and force her to live as a dragon. In spite of her villainy, however, she is surprisingly attractive (especially with that long black hair), voiced wonderfully by Marina Inoue (who also voices Yozora in Haganai), and has some amazing super powers centered around the conversion of dark matter into thermal energy.

Through her mind alone, Kili can create fire and explosive dark matter, and she can melt material such as bullets and guns. She was confronted at one point by a direct attack from Lisa, but she deflected it as if it were nothing. As if that wasn’t enough, she is capable of biogenic transmutation, which allows her to take on any appearance she pleases, notably that of her mild-mannered alter ego [Honoka Tachikawa] (who actually becomes friends with Yuu [and, in the anime, the rest of the Brynhildr Class] before revealing her true identity), and even to heal her own wounds (a quirk that is sadly not seen in the anime). She can also do this biogenic transmutation to other people, which is how Tia got her horns. How is this all possible? In volume 4 of the light novel, it is explained [that she is made of dark matter]. (See those brackets? They indicate spoilers. Highlight the white text within at your own risk.)

So…yeah. The first five episodes of Fafnir were not all that interesting, but then when Kili made her first major appearance in the second half of episode 6, I was left thinking something along the lines of, “Wow…what an amazing character,” and then I became more invested in the anime as I continued watching (hence the image at the beginning of this post). The time between her disappearance at the beginning of episode 7 and the unveiling of her disguise at the end of episode 11 made me increasingly anxious as it passed by, but the finale was well worth it. Her final fight with Yuu made her seem like a pushover (especially considering how close she was to having her way in episode 6), but…well, that’s to be expected. I mean, the battle couldn’t be dragged out any longer because there were still some loose ends to tie up, especially the attack on “Red” Basilisk and the aftermath thereof. I mean, I will admit that it’s a bit disappointing, but hey, that’s just the way it is.

Primary thoughts on the anime as a whole:

  • The story was decent. I particularly liked how the conclusion played out and how the characters were affected.
  • While the nomenclature of ‘D’s is questionable and might turn off some (if not most) critics, I wasn’t the type to care about that sort of thing, and I’m still not.
  • I had no strong feelings about the music or visuals. The theme songs were meh.
  • The characters as a whole were…above average, I’d say. Tia was bleh, Iris was meh, Loki (NIFL representative, formerly Yuu’s commanding officer) and Lisa were okay, Charlotte (the principal of Midgard) was good, Firill and Mitsuki were decent, Yuu was great, Kili was awesome, and everyone else was darn near forgettable (although Ren stood out the most amongst the forgettable characters).

Needless to say, since the first time watching, Kili gradually ended up becoming one of my favorite anime characters of all time. As such, when I was reading through the Mondaiji light novel, I figured that Fafnir would be next on the list, especially since I had read some dissonant information on a certain character profile of Kili. I did mention that the Fafnir anime is an adaptation of the light novel, and it’s specifically based on the first three volumes, although with a few notable differences. There is also a manga adaptation of the light novel, although from what I’ve read of the manga (i.e., only a few chapters), it seems to follow the light novel more closely than the anime.

To summarize the light novel a bit, it’s a story told mostly from the first-person perspective of Yuu, although some parts are from the perspective of Mitsuki, and there are even a few third-person parts as well. As such, not only does the light novel explain and describe more than can be fit into twelve episodes of anime, but the first-person aspect of the light novel makes it so the character’s thoughts and senses are more vividly communicated. Additionally, as mentioned before, volumes 1-3 of the light novel differ in canon from the anime, not to mention the light novel canon carries on much longer (and, consequently, goes further beyond face value).

The main difference in canon lies in how Kili impacts the Brynhildr Class and is kept in check by Yuu. Specifically, Kili, who is initially taken into Midgard as her alter ego, reveals her true identity in the middle of volume 2 of the light novel, which corresponds to the middle of episode 6 of the anime. In the anime, however, she doesn’t reveal her identity until the end of episode 11, which would be more around the middle of volume 3 of the light novel. To elaborate, it’s almost as if the close encounter with Kili in the light novel was split into two moments in the anime: the encounter at Midgard where she appeared to Tia and Lisa as her criminal self, and the encounter on that one ship where she posed as her alter ego and unveiled her disguise. I say “almost” because the anime doesn’t perfectly simulate Kili’s battle tactics as described in the light novel. In particular, the light novel implies that Kili does not require any preparatory motion to generate dark matter and such; but in the anime, the explosions caused by her are heralded by a snap of her fingers. I would assume that this is partly for dramatic effect, and partly because implementing spontaneous combustion would look silly and be tough to find a way to explain. Even aside from that, the clash in the light novel is so much more fierce than the split clashes in the anime that I would go as far as to say that the split clashes collectively are an abridged version of the full clash. (Another case of the “light novel adaptation curse,” as I would like to call it.)

[As a side note, I mentioned in my primary review that I had trouble wrapping my head around the dual identity of Honoka Tachikawa and Kili Surtr Muspelheim, because the anime was rather vague about it. Having read the light novel, however, I’ve come to the conclusion that…well, actually, both are fake names. She needed a normal-sounding name to infiltrate Midgard, and she gave her havoc-wreaking form a more sinister moniker. Well, that’s how I see it, because the light novel is pretty vague about it as well, albeit less so. (Just before the full clash, Kili said that the name “Kili Surtr Muspelheim” was randomly chosen, and I’m thinking “Honoka Tachikawa” is in the same boat. She also said she liked the latter name, but Yuu refused to call her by that name when she revealed her identity, so she stuck with the former name.)] (Sorry, just had to belt out a lengthy spoiler. Once again, highlight at your own risk.)

Also worth noting is that during the Basilisk arc, when the Brynhildr Class relaxes at a hot spring, only Firill sees Yuu there in the anime, whereas in the light novel, Tia is involved as well. Oh, and I’d like to point out that Ren actually says more in the anime than in volumes 1-3 of the light novel (which makes sense, considering her only form of verbal communication in the light novel is “んん” (“Nn,” basically just a grunt) until volume 6, and the anime doesn’t go nearly that far). Wait, one more thing: Kili has purple eyes in the anime, while colored depictions of her in the light novel show her with green eyes.

As for volumes 4 and onward, needless to say, there is plenty of new content compared to volumes 1-3 / the anime: new dragons, new characters, new plot twists, new character development, new camaraderie, new lore, and did I mention the plot twists? What’s particularly great is being able to see the characters in a new light, even in such a way that I ended up convinced that all of them are awesome in their own right (even Iris and Tia, of whom I was not a huge fan when I watched the anime). With that in mind, I wanted to establish a new character ranking of the Brynhildr Class, including the four characters who are newly inducted as members thereof. (I won’t spoil any further than that Kili is one of those characters, so the other three will be hidden through the magic of white text.)

  1. Kili
  2. Ren
  3. [Vritra (given the pseudonym “Ritra”)]
  4. Yuu
  5. Ariella
  6. Firill
  7. Mitsuki
  8. [Shion Zwei Shinomiya (Kraken Zwei subdued)]
  9. Tia
  10. [Jeanne Hortensia (enrolled as Shion’s guardian)]
  11. Lisa
  12. Iris

With all that said, I think it’s time to wrap things up. To recap, Juuou Mujin no Fafnir is a fantasy harem series that I undoubtedly would not have found all too interesting if not for Kili Surtr Muspelheim. But alas, after having fully watched the anime when it aired, I got interested to the point of reading the first 12 volumes of the light novel and even rewatching the anime. Speaking of which, over the course of the rewatch, I have to admit that I noticed some animation faults that my former self didn’t care about: Firill mysteriously disappearing in episode 7, Lisa occasionally having Iris’s hair color when shown at a distance, and that Basilisk’s head skin looks like an unfinished Blender project.

But anyway, if this series is unfamiliar to anyone, I can totally understand that, because on the surface it totally looks like the type of series to be lost in a sea of fantasy harem series. I also wouldn’t openly recommend the series to anyone, but if anyone is somehow interested, all I have to say is:

 

 À la prochaine! (Until next time!)