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Normal-type Reviews: Zangoose


We’re back for the Normal-type reviews, and today we’re going to focus on Zangoose, who is known for its rivalry with Seviper! If you are ready with this one, please proceed.



“Zangoose is hella rad. It’s interesting how it a Normal type could have an equal footing with a Poison type. Instead of it being at the mercy of being poisoned, it’s able to have an immunity to it. It’s even able to gain strength from it! Zangoose turns what would seem like a one-sided fight and prove just how good it is. Also it’s a cat ferret and I like both cats and ferrets.” ~ Karamazov


Selected Fan Art (Artist: bluekomadori)


The relationship between the mongoose and a snake is one with hostility. Venomous snakes generally prefer to kill its victim with its poison, whereas a mongoose is able to stand a chance against those snakes since it is immune to their toxin as well as being agile, making them better equip to handle venomous snakes. Such is the case between Zangoose and Seviper, two Pokémon known to be fighting each other for generations.

As you may have guessed, Zangoose and Seviper are archrivals, so they are not in good terms with each other even on an instinctual level. In fact, the Zangoose has memories of battling Seviper on every cell on Zangoose’s body. The memories include the scar found on its chest and left eye, so it could be a birth mark. When it encounters a Seviper, Zangoose’s fur would stand on end. Their rivalry is so legendary that it’s showcased in the anime and the Pokémon Special/Adventure manga.

In Generation 3, both Pokémon are not encountered in the same game, making them unable to meet each other, so it’s probably safe for either, or that one side managed to exterminate the other. In addition to that, both Pokémon could even be encountered in a Horde battle, with an odd one out. The first thing the majority will do is to take out the minority, so they must have been in a skirmish while you encounter them. Amusingly, Zangoose and Seviper have the capacity to breed with one another because they share the Field Egg Group, containing mainly terrestrial animals (which both are).

Being a capable battler is what Zangoose is. Skills like this are not to just be used against Seviper, but could also be used on other Pokémon. Usually, it would stand on its four limbs, but you never usually see that happening, because it’s always standing on its two feet. It would do that when it battles, and since you normally see it in battle in the games, that is pretty much its natural position. Like the mongoose, Zangoose is agile, which is helpful in dodging the sudden attack of the snake. Zangoose also uses its claws as the main method of offence, as it is quite sharp and will leave a scratch once slashed, and I’m sure there are more uses for it, like cutting Berries.

Zangoose’s poison-related abilities are undoubtedly the result of adapting to the fights with Seviper, a Poison-type, in order to patch up its weaknesses. The ability Immunity is clearly based on a mongoose’s immunity to the snake’s toxin, allowing it to live longer. Having immunities are always very good, so that the opponent has one less option to disrupt you, but for an offensive Pokémon like Zangoose, an offensive ability is better.That’s where its other ability comes in: Toxic Boost.

With Toxic Boost, instead of being immune to poison, Zangoose will use its status of being poisoned to motivate itself to become powerful. This obviously goes well with Toxic Orb to reliably get that boost. The best attack to use on this occasion is of course Facade, which doubles its power when the user ispoisoned, burned or paralysed. From there, it could use other moves for coverage, and its preferred coverage are a Fighting attack for Rock- and Steel-types and a Ghost/Dark attack for Ghost-types. Finally, it could apply either Swords Dance for more power or Quick Attack to get the first strike.

As a Pokémon based on a mongoose, Zangoose is a bit unlike one. Sure, mongooses are partially related to cats, but Zangoose is more “cat” and less “mongoose”. The mongoose’s main form of offence is using its teeth, which is something Zangoose doesn’t do, based on its use of claws for attacks and the fact that it doesn’t learn any biting attacks. Zangoose’s ears are pointed, whereas the mongoose’s ears are rounded, which is another way Zangoose resembles a cat more than a mongoose. The designers certainly take some liberties when designing a mongoose Pokémon, probably to highlight the edged nature of this Pokémon.

The rivalry between Zangoose and Seviper totally fits Pokémon’s framework of fighting creatures by using animals that are natural enemies as the basis. Basically, not only do both Zangoose and Seviper make compatible fighters by virtue of their unique battle methods, they could also fit into the ecosystem of Pokémon seamlessly, which already mirrors the real world in a number of ways. All in all, Zangoose is defined by its rivalry with Seviper, and benefitted much from it, such as its poison-related abilities and useful battling abilities.


+ Rivalry with Seviper is legendary
+ Nicely mirrors rivalry between mongoose and venomous snakes
+ Natural rivalry between animals fits Pokémon very well
± Ability to breed with Seviper is strange yet amusing
– Doesn’t quite resemble a mongoose


TCG Card

Zangoose (EX Emerald 21)

Sensing its archenemy around the corner, Zangoose sits in a stealthy stance ready to strike the Seviper that it instinctually mauls. With the way Zangoose postured itself, it looks like a cat readying to pounce something, so cat-lovers also have something to appreciate here.


Swords Dance

The way Zangoose prepares itself when it readies its battle with Seviper is akin to a ritual where it powers up; therefore Swords Dance is the ideal move to represent Zangoose.

For any Physical attacker, having Swords Dance is a real blessing. Obviously, any way to instantly power up themselves allows them to sweep more efficiently. This move is best used by Pokémon that are reasonably fast and/or have a priority attack, because they could potentially KO the opponent before they could do the same.

All in all, Swords Dance stood the test of time as a move that grants a powerful Physical attack a way to become much more threatening, because up until now, there are Pokémon using Swords Dance as part of their main moveset.


That’s all for today’s article. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I have writing it.

Thanks for reading.


Next Article: Zigzagoon Family

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