All right, so there’s these two fish, and they hate each other. Okay, Game Freak, I like where you’re going with this. What else?
Oh, you mean that’s it? All right, well, what do the two fish evolve into?
…nothing? That’s… err… nice. So, uh, what differences are there between the two fish?
…there’s a red one and a blue one.
Today on Pokémaniacal I have the dubious pleasure of discussing Basculin. There are red Basculin and blue Basculin, and they hate each other. That’s really all there is to it, and to be honest even that seems to be open to interpretation; the Pokédex entry for Basculin on Black version says that red and blue ones will start fighting the instant they meet, but the entry on White version contends that Basculin sometimes do mingle with schools of the opposite colour, despite normally hating each other. So, to make this clear… the only vaguely amusing thing about these Pokémon is that they hate each other… and they don’t even hate each other all that much! We don’t know why they hate each other – well, actually, they seem to hate just about everything, but we don’t know why they hate each other particularly – nor do we have any reason to care since there’s nothing else interesting about them. The idea of Pokémon with an everlasting blood feud against each other isn’t even a totally new one; this is exactly what Seviper and Zangoose did back in Ruby and Sapphire. Those two hate each other because Seviper is a snake and Zangoose is – you guessed it – a mongoose. The real-world relationship between snakes and mongooses has a lot of popular appeal, which these two Pokémon can draw on, and it also conveys that they have evolved and adapted to be good at killing each other, specifically, and will never pass up an opportunity to do just that. What’s more, that’s backed up by one of Zangoose’s in-game abilities – immunity to poison, one of Seviper’s primary modes of attack. Basculin… well, Basculin are just big, angry, pointy bass, and once you accept that it’s hard not to compare them to Carvanha and Sharpedo, who are just so much more badass that it’s not even funny. They’re neither unique, nor interesting, which is not a good start…