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 sixth 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 Sandslash, Whiscash, and Bastiodon? 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 Misdreavus!
Misdreavus was one of the first Generation II Pokémon I remember finding out about when it appeared in an issue of CoroCoro Comic before Pokémon Gold and Silver even came out. Back in the day, the unique thing about Misdreavus was that, unlike the only other Ghost-type Pokémon in Generation I, its pure Ghost-type meant it wasn't weak to Pyschic-type moves. Despite its gentle feminine appearance, the inspiration behind Misdreavus has a slightly more sinister origin.
Similar to other members of its Ghost-type family, Misdreavus is a prankster. Its name may come from a combination of the words mischievous, dreary, or even dream since its Japanese name Muma is a corruption of the word for nightmare. Its Pokédex entry describes it as a mischievous Pokémon that goes around pulling on people's hair and then scaring them from behind with a shriek-like cry. Its big round yellow eyes and long flowing "hair" give it a feminine appearance despite existing as both male and female. It doesn't have any limbs, and its design resembles a stylized floating head with magenta accents in its hair. Misdreavus uses the red "necklace" around its neck to feed off people's fears as nourishment.
Many Pokémon have been inspired by Japanese folklore and while a Pokémon's design may be comical or cutesy, its origins can sometimes be a bit dark. Due to its design and movepool, Misdreavus seems to have been inspired by the Japanese detachable neck monster nukekubi. These monsters appear like ordinary people by day, but at night, their heads would detach from their bodies and roam the world hunting for human prey and devouring their victims after paralyzing them with their wails. They would then have to float back to their bodies by sunrise to else perish. Some legends explain that the only way to successfully destroy a nukekubi is to hide their bodies while they are hunting at night so as to stop their reign of terror. You can tell if someone is a nukekubi in disguise by looking at their necks since they would have a red "neckalce" of symbols showing where their head detaches from their body. So maybe that's why Misdreavus has a crimson necklace.
Being the Shriek Pokémon, Misdreavus also shares a similarity with a Banshee from Irish mythology. Surprisingly, it cannot learn Screech, but it can learn Perish Song, a move that when paired with its Mean Look means your Pokémon would faint in three turns unless you found a way to defeat it. This combination is often given to Misdreavus during competitive battles. While I didn't use Misdreavus competitively, using this combination on wild Pokémon or trainer battles meant an easy victory since the game's AI wasn't advanced enough to escape Perish Song's setup.
After I caught my Misdreavus, I abused its Confuse Ray and Pain Split abilities, the latter being its signature move that only it could learn by leveling up. While its stats and defenses aren't the best, it is a decent Special Attacker. Its pure Ghost-type, with the addition of its Levitate ability, gives it some good resistances and only a few weaknesses. My favorite thing about Misdreavus is its spooky origins that prove anything can be an inspiration for a Pokémon - including detachable killer heads.