Darumaka and Darmanitan



There are some people who can't really get into today's pokemon for the simple reason that it is a fire-type primate, and we've already seen two fire-based primate lines, including an incredibly underwhelming example in this very same generation. This one, however, is clearly the best designed of all monkey pokemon, even if (or because?) it doesn't even really look like a primate of any sort. This is like some sort of fat, dancing owl-goblin and it is perfect.


Luckily, Darmanitan does not completely lose all semblance of its infant form. It's significantly less adorable, yes, but it still has that bizarre owl-monster look to it, now with lanky orangutan arms and a giant set of jagged teeth. It's just a nice, round, toothy, freaky-eyed ape design with minimalistic, unobtrusive decor, just enough to drive home that these pokemon are also modeled after Daruma dolls, of course. Daruma represent the monk Bodhidharma - the father of the Buddhist "zen" movement - and this is further reflected by Darmanitan's signature gimmick:


With the hidden ability zen mode, the literally and figuratively fired-up ape literally and figuratively cools down once its hit points drop to 50% or lower, becoming a still, silent, statue-like fire/psychic type that fights more with its mind than its body. It's a really fun concept, even if it isn't all that useful strategically; Darmanitan can actually come with an alternative ability, Sheer Force, which has proved so much more valuable in hardcore competitive play that almost no-one really uses Zen Mode Darmanitan at all, and that just makes me sad, or it would if I really cared all that much what competitive players think.


We're gonna give this one another five.

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