Did you know that with the advent of Pokémon Black and White there are now 649 Pokémon in existence? I remember back in the day when I would watch the anime on television and hear that familiar Pokérap song at the end of each episode naming all the Pokémon that, at the time, totaled 150. I'll admit, I was one of those people who tried to memorize their names, and I also went even further by researching their origins and how they were thought up. And guess what? I still do.
This is the 13th of my many I Choose You! articles where I will focus on one Pokémon or on its evolutionary line and cover its origins and abilities. I'll also include my own opinions about the Pokémon and what I remember most about them. Sure, we all know about Pikachu, Mewtwo, and Lucario. But what about the less famous ones like Finneon, Lombre, and Graveler? I've added all 649 Pokémon into a randomizer and I will try to focus on all of them as they come and in no particular order. Even if you are not a Pokémon fan, I hope you'll learn a bit about them, how they affected my own gaming experience, and perhaps realize why the Pokémon franchise is still going strong. Hit the jump for Seviper!
Most Pokémon are inspired by animals from our world represented as caricatures in a video game. And like in our world, there exist many different families of the same species yet to be discovered. Regardless of this fact, a naïve younger version of myself could not help but compare Seviper to another snake Pokémon Arbok when I ran into it in the grass in Hoenn. But after getting to know Seviper, its attacks, and the history behind its creation, I can now look at it in a whole new light.
Seviper, the Fang Snake Pokémon, has a lifelong rivalry with another Pokémon named Zangoose. The feud between these two Pokémon is always mentioned in each other's Pokédex entries, and because of this, nothing is known about Seviper except that it lives to fight Zangoose. Based on the pit viper known as habu, Seviper's name comes from severe (or sever) and viper, while its Japanese name Habunake is a portmanteau of habu and snake. Indigenous to Okinawa, the habu has a sad history of being part of road shows that pitted it against mongooses for money matches similar to cock fights. Unfortunately for the habu, mongooses have the upper-hand in a fight due to their immunity and resistance to snake venom so they often overpowered these snakes and won many matches. While the Pokédex may not mention Seviper's history of loss and defeat, the habu's inhumane exploitation is known by many, including conservation and animal rights groups who have fought to end these fights making them less common across the world.
Bigger than the average habu, Seviper measures almost nine feet in length. When I first saw it in the game, I thought it was smaller, almost the size of Ekans. But because Seviper has no evolutions - the only pure Poison-type to not have any - it's pretty big and hefty too. It is the only Poison-type Pokémon to be part of the black color group in the Pokédex and its body also contains golden diamond markings and purple zigzags that look like scars. Seviper's distinct features are its long red visible fangs and its sharp bladed tail that's marked with a red color, perhaps signifying the blood of a certain Zangoose. It whets its tail against rocks to sharpen it, but it cannot learn any sword-like moves in the game. Its tails and fangs let it learn Poison Tail and Poison Fang, the former being its signature move until Pokémon Black and White gave other Pokémon the ability to learn it.
Because I played Pokémon Sapphire, the version-exclusive Seviper was only available in my game. I gave one to my brother who could only get Zangoose in his, and then I trained one until level 42, using its Crunch and Poison Fang attacks extensively. The best thing about Poison Fang is that it has a 20% chance of badly poisoning the opponent, and for some reason, I was always lucky enough that it happened quite often. Like other snake Pokémon, Seviper can also learn Glare, giving you the option to paralyze or poison your opponents. If you decide to use Seviper competitively, your only good options are to make it a mixed attacker with reliable moves like Flamethrower, Earthquake, and Poison Jab or to give it Choice Band and teaching it X-Scissor and Crunch to take care of the Psychic and Bug-types. It may have low defenses, but Seviper can be some use to you if you play your cards right.
I did not know much about the relationship between mongooses and vipers until after meeting Seviper and I don't usually like Poison-type Pokémon, but something about its story and attacks (Poison Fang) won me over. Seviper also plays an important role as the favorite Pokémon of Lucy, the Frontier Brain of the Battle Pike in Pokémon Emerald, who shows you that sometimes you play with Pokémon that call out to you for reasons other than their stats of strength. I think that's a good motto to play by.