The Pokedex is a Pokemon staple. We all know that catching ‘em all is the point of Pokemon, and how would we remember which critters we’ve seen without a trusty pocket computer to store all that information? What? Use a notepad and pen? Pfft.
That’s exactly what the Pokedex is in Pokemon Legends: Arceus. It’s just a big red notebook for you to quickly jot down how many Splashes you’ve seen Magikarp use as you’re running for your life away from the Alpha Gyarados that spotted you. But Professor Laventon adds a personal touch to each entry you complete: his thoughts about the Pokemon you’ve battled, captured, and recorded.
I first became aware of Laventon’s additions when a tweet suggested he confirmed that Pachirisu and Pikachu are genetically related. The Pachirisu ‘dex entry reads: “A species related to the Pikachu line. Though Pachirisu is a calm Pokémon, it still presents a danger should one touch its electrified tail or cheeks.” Does this confirm that the Pikachu clones are all regional variants of each other? No. It confirms that Professor Laventon is a dumbass.
I like the guy, he’s nice enough. But this is a man who thinks that Pokemon shrink down of their own accord to fit inside Poke Balls, not that the carefully crafted steam-powered devices are capable of doing the shrinking. However, his handwritten Pokedex entries don’t only show us how rudimentary the Hisuian understanding of Pokemon is, they also add a slice of fun and personality into what can be dull and overly-scientific in the far future.
Most entries into the Hisuian Pokedex are punctuated with “I believe,” or “I think,” when it comes to the Professor’s analysis. He’s using a lot of guesswork. He even quotes Hisuian legends on occasion, saying that Luxray can apparently “see through anything” when its eyes shimmer gold. TheGamer could not corroborate this statement at the time of writing.
He also brings plenty of his Galarian (read: British) personality into the ‘dex. Take Cascoon for example: “clothes made using Cascoon silk are regarded as top notch.” Top notch. I love it. You wouldn’t find Oak or Elm providing such random opinions in their respective Pokedexes. Science has gotten more boring, I say.
We do learn some actual science, too, though. Well, PokeScience. Did you know Golem sheds its shell every year? Maybe, that’s already canon. But that the shed shell (pun intended) fertilises crops? That’s new. In Oshawott’s entry, Laventon invents the term ‘scalchop,’ which is used in every Pokedex since. Some of his science is plain wrong, such as saying that “no records exist of Togetic being seen in the wilds,” (I saw one just flying about mate) but he’s making an effort to be factual, and his scientific impact can be felt for generations to come. Even Darwin was wrong sometimes. Probably.
He’s not averse to admitting when he’s stumped, either. The entire Porygon line, which appears in Space-Time Distortions, is baffling to his olde timey brain. “I cannot even begin to explain this utterly bizarre anomaly,” he says of Porygon, “its biology remains inscrutable,” of Porygon2, and “this worries me,” of Porygon-Z. Same pal.
Laventon also offers advice, although much of it is predictable due to how most Hisuian people view its aggressive inhabitants: “If one should chance upon this Pokemon in the wilds, one’s only recourse is to flee,” he writes of Kleavor. Why’d you tell me to throw balms at it then? On Sudowoodo, he says, “though it pretends to be a tree, it fails to fool even children.” I guess Hisuian kids are smarter than the entire Johtonian population – I told you science had regressed.
There’s also the conspiracy theories: Laventon mentions Copperajah from his “homeland” in Raichu’s entry. This, paired with his accent, would suggest Galar, but the Galarian Pokedex entry for Copperajah says “they came over from another region long ago.” Is Laventon from this mystery region? Could Gen 9 be set in India? Or has Professor Magnolia just made significant scientific advances in the hundreds of years since to find out about the Great Copperajah Migration?
Laventon is just trying to help people. He helps you when you land on a beach, despite your weird appearance. He helps the people of Hisui – or at least his fellow Galaxy Team colonisers – by building information about their region and its fauna. And he tries to help Psyduck, too. “Suffers perpetual headaches,” he writes. “If the agony grows too great, Psyduck’s latent power erupts, contrary to Psyduck’s intent. Ergo, I am exploring ways to ease the pain.”
Laventon is a nice guy just trying to help people and Pokemon alike, and he’s poured his heart and soul into this Pokedex in ways we can only dream of as we catch precisely one of every monster in the modern games. Pokemon Legends: Arceus already makes completing the Pokedex more fun than in other games, but Professor Laventon makes you feel like you’re actually helping.
But the saddest Pokedex entry is that of Clefable, and these two sentences made me feel more for Professor Laventon than any of his dialogue across the whole game. “Legend says that on clear, quiet nights, it listens for the voices of its kin living on the moon. I, too, often think of my homeland, so far away.” I hope you can visit home soon, Professor. Your mum has probably saved a bunch of money for you.
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