Beorn’s Splash: The Tyranny of Charizard
Greetings PUCL! Its Beorn here bringing you another exciting issue of the Beorn’s Splash. In this article I discuss an issue which has popped up frequently on the podcast, the tyranny of Charizard.
Charizard, the Flame Pokemon, has long been one of the poster boys for the franchise. While Pikachu monopolized the market for cute Pokemon during Generation One, Charizard was sold as the ultimate cool Pokemon. Its first generation Pokemon card was much more powerful then its counterpart starters, and it was the only one of the 3 starters which Ash had reach its full power. If you grew up in the ’90s chances were that you saw a ton of Charizard mania!
Fast forward to the present, Charizard is still as prominent, if not even more of a poster child for the franchise. Charizard merchandise is everywhere. On PokemonCenter.com, Charizard has 2 pages of items, ranging from plushies, top selling key chains, cups, to even posters. (Granted this is actually less Charizard specific stuff then I expected to find, but it is still a good amount)
In the video games, it was one of two Pokemon given two Mega forms, with the other being Mewtwo.
According to http://sweepercalc.com/stats/ou.html Charizard is ranked #4 in OU usage, appearing roughly 16.4% of the time, in VGC its featured even more frequently http://sweepercalc.com/stats/vgc.html falling to rank 7, but appearing roughly 21.8% of the time.
In addition, Charizard was named #1 favorite Pokemon of all time by IGN, after collecting a several week long survey. The full top 100 can be found here http://www.ign.com/top/pokemon/1 .
It is an indisputable fact that Charizard is a popularity fiend, that GameFreak and other Pokemon businesses seek to capitalize on. This manifests itself in minor favoritism (2 Mega-evolutions, powerful cards, ect.) as well as over representation, Charizard is a major component of Ash’s first Gen team, and also is the main Pokemon for Red’s team in Pokemon Origins.
By this point many readers may be wondering, well whats wrong with this, Charizard is cool, so what if he is over used, overly good, and over represented? If you are a member of the Charizard hype train, most likely there isn’t a problem; however, allow me to put forth a few arguments why I find this type of over done, rub one character in your face style of marketing exhausting.
First, Pokemon has over 700 creatures in it, why give so much spotlight to one part of the universe? Think if Pokemon Origins had highlighted a first Gen Pokemon which hasn’t already been given its time in the spotlight. How much cooler would it have been to give Venusaur or Blastoise some love, as neither gets nearly as much representation. OR, what if the protagonist started with a less used Pokemon, like the manga did, so the starter doesn’t serve as the center of the Pokemon team. I would much rather be inspired to try a new Pokemon.
Did we really need more Charizard propaganda?
Second, Charizard is a very neat concept, its art style and composition is really compelling for anyone who likes dragons. But, because it is so over hyped many potential Charizard fans, such as myself, are immediately turned off from it. Fluffy summed it up well on the last PUCL episode, “I would really like Pikachu, it may even have been my favorite POkemon, if it wasn’t, well Pikachu.” This same thing applies to Charizard!
Finally, Charizard is stale, its everywhere, its used a ton. When I see a Charizard I don’t think, “wow awesome,” anymore, I just think, “Oh great, another one.” This is a problem.
Another example of this would be the hate for Zubat. For those of you who have not played through Gen. 1, Zubat was probably one of the most annoying Pokemon in the game. It was in every cave with a crazy high encounter rating, so the player is forced to wade through a tide of the little bats just to get anywhere. Zubat is held in such infamy, because of the frequency with which it appeared, much like Charizard is now.
To summarize things, Charizard is a known element by any fans of the series, many people, myself included, are tired of having this Pokemon rubbed in our face, and instead would like to see an unknown element added to the mix, lets see the wacky fighting style of a Muk, or the evasive ambushes of a Keckleon! Stop monopolizing Pokemon with this fire lizard!