Our topic today revolves around the celebrities that specialise in the Dark-type. However, our list only consists of Elite Four members, as there is yet to be a Dark-type Gym Leader. You know, sometimes I wonder why having a Dark-type Gym Leader is more special than having an Elite Four member (several types are yet to have their Elite Four versions). I guess that it has something to do with being the only one that’s not being done before.
Still, it’s cool that these Dark-type specialists are somewhat cool in their own way. If you are ready, let’s proceed.
Our first Dark-type specialist happens to be the only female in the list; not that that’s an accomplishment, considering how there are only three specialists. Karen is an Elite Four member, and is the last one you will face in the gauntlet, meaning that she should be hard, right? Maybe. I don’t consider her old look impressive, considering how she could very well pass off as someone of the Beauty trainer class. Her appearance also got a makeover in the remake, like the other characters. She no longer looks generic (her blue hair was the only notable trait), and now looking more relevant to the times.
She is supposedly designed that way because she likes the wild, “bad-boy” image (or the “bad-girl” image, in her case) and the dark power they portray. In the past, she had a simple black and vertically-striped dress (the latter makes someone looks fatter), which I don’t recall seeing an official art of. Her current sense of fashion gives off that image too, I think. Clothes are not the only thing that changed over the times. Her hair was initially at shoulder-length (according to the in-game sprite), but it’s now up to the hip.
One of Karen’s quotes is one that certain people would remember. To reiterate: “Strong Pokémon. Weak Pokémon. That is only the selfish perception of people. Truly skilled Trainers should try to win with the Pokémon they love best”. It inspired what is called [URL=”http://bmgf.bulbagarden.net/groups/followers-karenism/”]“Karenism”[/URL], people who believe that every Pokémon have potential to be great. This is certainly a valid philosophy, as there is more enjoyment to be had when you win with something you like, rather than something strong you don’t fully enjoy. Sometimes, team support is important if you are planning on winning with something [URL=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-PArgnvqQ4″]“weak”[/URL]. However, the Pokémon I like are generally pretty good in the first place (like Chandelure and Clefable), so don’t take my interests as an example.
(Here’s another instance where Murkrow lifted people, despite their size and weight.)
Because of the scarcity of Dark-types back in Generation 2, Karen understandably doesn’t have a full Dark-type team. This is a rather common practice in Sinnoh, believe it or not, because certain types are in short supply. For example: Flint, despite being an Elite Four member, only had two Fire-types in Diamond and Pearl. Even though there are only five Dark-type families introduced early on, it is strange that Karen doesn’t have a full team of them, as in those days, Elite Four members typically pack five Pokémon. The ones she lacked are Sneasel and Tyranitar. It might be possible that they might have made Karen’s team too strong, especially in the case of Tyranitar. If you are wondering, her other two Pokémon are Vileplume and Gengar, and both share the Poison-type. It’s hard to see how Vileplume is a “Dark” Pokémon other than its hue, and neither Pokémon knows any Dark-type moves. Like every Gym Leader and Elite Four member later on, her final team is, true to form, a mono-type team (obviously, her team is a Dark-type team). The new members are Weavile (which makes up for the lack of Sneasel earlier), an Absol, and a Spiritomb (possibly to have something for Fighting-types).
Her main Pokémon is Houndoom, because that’s the Pokémon with the highest level in her team. However, this doesn’t seem to be the case in Pokémon Adventures, considering how her first appearance shows her with an Umbreon (there’s Murkrow too, by the way). Her future appearance does provide her with a Houndoom among the main ranks, though. Her preference for Umbreon apparently extends to the Pokémon Stadium games, as there’s a lack of Houndoom, but her only Dark-types are Umbreon and Murkrow.
However, Karen appeared in the Pokémon Special manga. She is one of the six children taken care by the Masked Man, and those children are essentially divided into three pairs with different age groups. One of the pairs consists of the two new Elite Four members, her and Will. They are considered the middle age of the pairs. The oldest pair are Rocket executives, while the youngest pair includes the chosen ones for the PokéDexes (who escaped the clutches of the Masked Man at a young age), but I won’t spoil the names of those protagonists. Anyway, they didn’t have a huge appearance back in the Johto saga, only appearing near the end, as guards of the Ilex Shrine while the Masked Man attempted to get Celebi to open up a portal to the past. If I recall correctly, after that time travel plan failed, they had nowhere to go, and then joined forces with Koga and Bruno because they used to do bad stuff, so they are atoners. Of course, that means they form the Elite Four, and it’s just as planned. I heard they made an appearance later on in the HeartGold and SoulSilver chapter, but I don’t know what their roles then are.
Sadly, Karen didn’t make an appearance in the anime. Actually, neither of the two new Elite Four members made an appearance at all. It’s possible that Elite Four members weren’t high priority back in those days, although there is space for Will (the other new member) and her to appear within the saga, as there were a lot of non-important episodes during the Johto saga. The time had already passed, so it’s futile to wish for the saga to improve. It’s too bad the second opportunity isn’t taken to feature them when HeartGold and SoulSilver were still hot, meaning that it’s unlikely for them to appear in the anime.
In the end, Karen’s influence is felt among the fans (here’s [URL=”http://bmgf.bulbagarden.net/blogs/2739/social-karenism-%E2%80%93-truth-within-truth-19509/”]one fan’s interpretation on Karenism[/URL]) with a nice philosophy, although you probably didn’t hear about this a lot, considering how HeartGold and SoulSilver’s freshness is gone for now. Beyond that though, Karen strikes me as just an average specialist, as her looks are not very impressive (to me, at least). No offense, fans.
7 Dresses out of 10!
+ Encouraging Philosophy in Karenism
+ Has a great reason to pursue Dark-types
+ Rematch team is awesome
– Generally unimpressive looks
– Lack of anime appearance
– Initial team isn’t completely Dark-type
Our next Dark-type specialist also has a decent sense of fashion, with his trademark Mohawk hairstyle. Like Karen, he’s another Elite Four member. If you ask me, I didn’t think that Sidney is a Dark-type specialist. I do have a soft spot for this guy, because he doesn’t have any major appearances so far, making him feel a bit obscure because he’s not a major character.
Sidney is the kind of person who believes that “might is right”. This could mean that when dealing with situations, he is one to tackle it head-on and being direct in its solution. Based on how he speaks to the player when fighting, he sounds like an energetic person, and when he lost, he takes it well (which some people battling online ought to do). In the manga, Sidney possesses an electric guitar, which gives him an appearance of a rock star. Well, he does look like the kind of person who knows how to play a guitar, from the way he dresses and his hair. After all, he looks somewhat like a punk. He acknowledges this too (in the PokéNav), and prefers that people don’t underestimate him based on looks.
Sidney is one to take advantage of the increased abundance of Dark-types in Hoenn, because his team consists of different Dark-types. His team includes Cacturne, Crawdaunt or Sharpedo (depending on the version you play), Mightyena, Shiftry and Absol. He gets bonus points for having a Hoenn-only team, but then again, none of the Generation 2 Dark-types can be found in Hoenn. It’s a pity that Sidney’s team never got an update no matter how many times you faced him, unlike the Gym Leaders in Hoenn. However, his manga counterpart in Pokémon Special doesn’t really show him as a Dark-type specialist. To elaborate, his only known Pokémon is a Zangoose, a Normal-type Pokémon. It does learn a few Dark-type moves like Pursuit and Taunt, but Zangoose isn’t really a Dark-type by nature.
Speaking of the manga, Sidney has an important role, although not to the extent of other recurring characters. Basically, as an Elite Four member, Sidney is to take part in helping in fixing the disaster caused by Kyogre and Groudon fighting. He helped break the seal imbued on Regirock, and was able to awaken the Legendary Regi Pokémon, with Sapphire and Steven’s help. Sidney, together with Drake, were in charge of controlling Regirock while the two giants were in a brawl until something happened to Steven. I guess he was given Regirock because he’s a “rock”-star! (That was silly.)
(Sidney and his guitar. We never actually have an official guitarist specialist until Black 2 and White 2. Note the Zangoose, who is not a Dark-type.)
According to the game, his strategy is all-out offence. In terms of stats, this is true to an extent, because all his Pokémon are indeed offensively-inclined. All-out offence implies that his Pokémon are to dish out as much damage as possible on the get-go, but only two of them could be classified as such (Crawdaunt and Absol) with their ability to boost their Attack. Sure, the others have at least one strong attack in their disposal, but they also have something disruptive. Mightyena has Sand-Attack (which, despite being a Ground-type move, could still hit those immune to Ground) and Intimidate, not to mention Roar. That’s not too bad, but if you plan to set-up, that’s something to take note of. Cacturne has Cotton Spore and Leech Seed, both annoying moves you could easily switch out of. Sharpedo has Swagger, which you could take advantage of if you have a Persim Berry handy. Probably the most annoying of them all is Shiftry. It possesses both Swagger and Double Team, which reduces the chances of hitting it. In Emerald, it has Torment instead of Fake Out, making it harder to manage if left unchecked. Its only attack is Extrasensory (which is presumably for Fighting-types), so you might be able to use a Dark-type to wall it. It’s a good thing that none of these Pokémon are defensively exceptional, so you should apply an all-out offence approach to take care of his team.
There is something about the Hoenn Elite Four that stood out the least amongst every other Elite Four. From what I see, they’re very unpopular, and you don’t see people talking about them as much as the others. Even in DeviantArt, when looking for Glacia, the most popular entries are related to Glaceon! It didn’t help that only Drake made an appearance in the anime. If you ask me, their choice of fashion could have something to do with it. If you noticed, the Sinnoh, Unova, Kanto (to an extent) and the updated Johto Elite Four are real stand-outs in terms of fashion, which make them more memorable, and this makes the Hoenn one rather bland in comparison. To make matters worse, none of the Elite Four members look like their outfits matches their type! Drake could pass off as a Water-type specialist, Phoebe could be a Grass-type one, Glacia (the only one that looks remotely like her specialised type) might do well as a Poison-type one, and Sidney could take up Fire-types. However, like all Hoenn Elite Four members, he does have his own Stadium card called Sidney’s Stadium, which grants any Dark-types status immunity to Sleep, Confusion and Paralysis. I think that is pretty cool, because they’re essentially acknowledging their own types by granting them some privileges.
All in all, there is something about Sidney’s obscurity that makes him likeable, and it’s a pity that the Hoenn Elite Four is rather forgettable. Here’s hoping the future Hoenn remake (in Generation 6) would do him justice.
6 Guitars out of 10!
+ Solid Dark-type team
+ Reasonable design
– Bland design makes him forgettable
– His design doesn’t imply his specialism
– Lack of anime appearance
– Team lacks updates (like other Elite Four members)
Our final Dark-type specialist for now is the suave and smart-looking Grimsley. Again, like the other two specialists, he is an Elite Four member. His placement among the four is not set, so he could be your first opponent, second, third or even fourth. However, one thing for certain: his room is quite cool, like the other members. You have a haunted house room (Shauntal), a glorious bedroom (Caitlin), a fighting ring (Marshal), and what’s Grimsley’s room? To quote Bulbapedia: “The room is somewhat of an elegant ballroom, reminiscent of vampire castles and 1800s Eastern European design”.
In terms of appearance, Grimsley looks like a rather devilish person, because his hair is “horny”, similar to how Liepard’s ears are pointy and Batman’s pointy “ears”. His sinisterly appearance is actually inspired by the traditional vampire, as in the Dracula-like ones, which explains his dark garb and pointy appearance. In addition to the vampire inspiration, the red and black colours on his suit are inspired by the roulette found in casinos, which matches his gambling habit. Yes, that’s right, Grimsley is shown to have an affinity in gambling! According to develop interviews, he took this up as a result of his distinguished family falling into ruin. He is also the kind of person who believes that results matter.
(Apparently, his affinity of gambling covers the Pokémon TCG as well.)
Grimsley’s Pokémon team, like the other Elite Four members of Unova, consists of different available Pokémon found there. His team includes Liepard, Scrafty, Krookodile and Bisharp. The latter is presumably his main Pokémon, because it has the highest level, despite being underleveled (it’s at Level 50, whereas Level 52 is its evolution level). There’s a reason his Bisharp is his main Pokémon: trainer and Pokémon have the same thematic colours of red and black! It’s arguable that Liepard is his main Pokémon, and don’t worry, I thought so too because they are “pointy”, but besides some fan art, this isn’t shown to be the case.
His team’s gender is out of the norm. While other trainers opt to have Pokémon with the same gender as them (therefore making Attract easier to abuse in-game), only one of Grimsley’s Pokémon is a male. In his case, Scrafty is the male. Oddly, in his updated team, the Scrafty is female. Like his old team, only one of his members is a male, and that is his Sharpedo! Besides those five Pokémon mentioned, Drapion is his other new Dark-type. His team is generally offensive, because all his Pokémon have attacks, and they’re all Physical! This makes life easy for a Physical wall like Skarmory or Gliscor, so keep this in mind. Just watch out for Bisharp’s Guillotine if not using a Pokémon with Sturdy!
So far, Grimsley haven’t appeared in the anime, which is also the case with the Elite Four. Then again, none of the Dark-type specialists appeared before. Hopefully, if Ash finally being able to obtain a Dark-type Pokémon is of any indication, there shouldn’t be a problem with a Dark-type specialist appearing in the show on one occasion.
(He’s the hooded person, in case you didn’t notice.)
He appeared in the Pokémon Special manga, though. On his first appearance at Route 4, he was in disguise and played a game of Card Flip (that Johto Game Corner game) with the workers there, for them to do something during their breaks. He quickly got acquainted with Black while there, and challenged him to guess where the local Drilbur will pop up. When a worker fell into a Drilbur-made hole, he realised that that worker is an impostor, since that worker didn’t follow the instruction to not go to the side where they were playing the game. This impostor turns out to be a Plasma Grunt (revealed later), whom Grimsley defeated handily with his main Pokémon Bisharp. After that, he revealed more of himself to Black and had a battle, in which the loser had to give up something precious. On Black’s side, those precious things are his Gym badges so far (at this point, he has three), because he needed that to compete at the League, of course. Eventually, he collapses at the dilemma. Grimsley saw that and understood why he fainted (he believed that he could have chosen something else to bet), so he left him unawake or Black might go back to worrying again, deciding that personally battling him at the League is a better idea.
Since Grimsley is the most recent Dark-type specialist, starting this Generation, there’s not much else to say about him at this point. Despite this, Grimsley strikes me as the best Dark-type specialist of the bunch, thanks to his great design, wonderful Pokémon choice and generally being a cool guy.
10 Roulettes out of 10!
+ Great design that suggests his specialism
+ Choice of Pokémon is great
+ An intriguing personality
– Haven’t appeared in the anime yet
That’s all for our Dark-type specialists, folks. We have covered pretty much all the essentials of the Dark-type, from the Pokémon to the specialists, but there is one more entry that I am cooking up regarding the Dark-types, so it’s not over. What will it be about? It will be the Award Ceremony! Anyway, I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I have writing it.
Thanks for reading.