We’re back for the Normal-type reviews, and today we’re going to focus on Dunsparce, a well-known obscure Pokémon! If you are ready with this one, please proceed.
Selected Fan Art (Artist: edface)
Unless you are familiar with Japanese culture, you probably think that Dunsparce is an enigmatic little beast. There is a creature known as the tsuchinoko, an animal that may or may not exist. Since this creature isn’t known to exist yet it is suggested that it did, makes them a cryptid. This must be why Dunsparce is a rare species in the wild. I can’t be the only one who thought that Dunsparce is facing up in its original pose, as if it’s sleeping on its back. Even now, I still see Dunsparce as lying down on its back.
Basically, a tsuchinoko is kind of like a snake, except it is not as long as an average snake and its body is quite plump, leaving behind a thin tail. Not only that, but it is suggested to have fangs and be venomous. In other words, it is supposed to be related to snakes. There are a few ways this species is different from snakes, such as wiggling in a straight line and curls its body to leap into the air. The sounds it makes are more like squeaks, chirps and snores instead of hissing. There are other accounts on what a tsuchinoko is capable of, bordering to legendary status. For example, they are supposed to be able to talk (with a lying habit), have a taste of alcohol and roll like a hoop after swallowing its tail.
The tsuchinoko is a somewhat popular creature in Japan that it’s no wonder it eventually adapted it into a Pokémon. There are other Japanese series that used the tsuchinoko in some way, though not all. My first time hearing about the tsuchinoko is from Doraemon, though I didn’t know what it was because I saw it in Chinese. The version in Doraemon is basically like an animal that becomes a popular pet. It goes without saying that you can buy the Doraemon-related tsuchinoko dolls, but I’m sure Pokémon fans would prefer something more familiar (which is Dunsparce, of course!).
The tsuchinoko is also known as a “bee snake”, and from there, that’s how some of its design is made. For one, its body is striped like a bee’s abdomen. The cone-tipped tail looks like a bee’s stinger, and works as a drill, which because it is behind, will propel this Pokémon backwards. This way, Dunsparce will be able to escape. That’s not what its tail is for: it digs to make a mazelike nest, providing safety and a quick means to escape. While not the same as a bee’s wings, it still functions as a tool for flight. The tiny wings are supposed to make it float for a while, which seems to be a good way to make a getaway if the earth takes too long to dig.
Dunsparce is said to live in dark places based on the PokéDex. Of course, there are certain places where it could be found in daylight, so it’s not totally dependent on the dark. Perhaps this is why its eyes are shut tight. Cave animals, being that they have no need for sight (and it would be a pain if they do), will lose the capacity to develop its eyesight. I am not saying that this applies to Dunsparce, but it could if it were to keep itself in the dark all the time (which won’t happen because trainers are always bringing it into the light).
Dunsparce’s stats are generally subpar, with HP being the only notable stat. Because of this, it isn’t necessarily suited for competitive battling, which must be why it is rare: it can’t quite stand up against powerful foes and needs to hide. Dunsparce do have quite a huge selection of moves, so it’s not quite bad when using it in-game. It can boost Physically with Coil, or Specially with Calm Mind, or use some support moves. While Serene Grace is preferable for its secondary effect enhancer, Rattled could be useful to make Dunsparce potentially faster.
When one is asked about the most obscure Pokémon, there are several candidates for that position. Some of those obscure ones might be due to rarity, some might be due to the blandness of their design, and there might be others who are obscure because they don’t do anything significant. Dunsparce is hardly bland in its design, which leaves the other two possibilities on why Dunsparce is considered obscure. Fans of Dunsparce would appreciate something that would make Dunsparce more special, mainly through an evolution since the current Dunsparce design looks underdeveloped. If you compare it with other evolved Pokémon, it’s not hard to see why (mainly, other Pokémon have more developed key areas on their bodies). I am partial about Dunsparce receiving an evolution: on one hand, it would certainly make it more well-known, but part of Dunsparce’s charm is its obscurity as to make its discovery an exciting affair.
Generally, any fan that is into exploring the origins of what they like will eventually learn about Japan, since a lot of elements in Pokémon are very Japanese in nature. Even on Bulbagarden, there is a board dedicated to Japan (though discussions are mainly on anime and manga)! It would be exciting if we have a franchise that encompasses the world, because that way we will learn about the world, and not just mostly one territory. The fact that Pokémon is exploring other territories is a really wonderful start. Overall, Dunsparce is both familiar and alien. It’s quite familiar in its homeland Japan, but it looks like a strange animal for outsiders who don’t know what a tsuchinoko is.
+ Very animal-like, despite not looking familiar
– Quite subpar in battling
The existence of a tsuchinoko is often debatable since any accounts of meeting one is not conclusive. The same cannot be said for the Pokémon world, because if you know of Dunsparce, then definitely it will exist, though it is rare as to make it a curious encounter. It just happens that in this card, the encountered Dunsparce is a well-hidden specimen that’s surprised to see you. Of course, it doesn’t actually look surprised because its eyes are always shut. This specimen must be a brave one for pointing its drill tail at you, or it could very well be cowardice for preparing its flight. In the end, a still image is fun to decide on one of the many possible interpretations.
Dunsparce is one of the only Normal-types that learn this move (the others are Helioptile and Heliolisk). This move fits Dunsparce more for several reasons: one, it is called “Snake Glare”, and that fits Dunsparce’s resemblance to a snake-like creature; two, Dunsparce learns this move naturally; three, Dunsparce’s eyes are always closed, so it must have been a shock for the opponent to see what’s behind Dunsparce’s eyelids, probably because it might be concealing something scary behind it.
Initially, Glare was not as good as Thunder Wave since it doesn’t always hit, but it does have the advantage of affecting Ground-types, so it’s not completely useless. Gradually, Glare is better at focusing on the opponent, where it has an accuracy increase to 90% from 75% in Generation 5, and finally 100% accuracy in Generation 6. It couldn’t paralyse Electric-types in the latest Generation thanks to the Electric-types’ new immunity, but this makes the move superior to Thunder Wave for not triggering Electric-based abilities and still affecting Ground-types. Only problem is the narrow range of learners, so in the grand scheme of things, Ground-types still don’t need to fear the paralysis from Glare.
This simple move may not have a lot of learners, but that makes the current learners a bit more attractive for getting this great move.
That’s all for today’s article. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I have writing it.
Next Article: Eevee