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 ninth 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 Carnivine!
After four generations of video games, you would think Satoshi Taijiri and his team would run out of ideas when designing Pokémon. In the real world, though, there are many species of animals and plants that are similar to one another, but behave in very different ways. Another carnivorous plant, Carnivine draws inspiration from Victreebel but its stats and inspiration are slightly different and make it a Pokémon worth getting to know.
Like the real world Venus flytrap it is based on, Carnivine is identified as the Bug Catching Pokémon. Its body is mainly one giant head with a fanged mouth that can open to almost 180 degrees. It somehow manages to float, and the in-game Levitate ability guards it from Ground-type attacks. The vines that drop down from its torso also resemble tentacles on a squid and give it access to whip-like moves such as Vine Whip and the awesome Power Whip. Carnivine gets it name from carnivorous and vine, and its Japanese name Muskippa comes from Dionaea Muscipula, the plant's scientific name. The Pokédex mentions how Carnivine uses its tentacles to hang down from trees and feign the appearance of an ordinary plant, luring its prey with its Sweet Scent. It waits for them with its mouth open wide and then devours them when they land on it.
Carnivine's Pokédex entries describe the behavior that is common for most Venus flytraps. The interesting thing about these types of plants is that they not only undergo photosynthesis for energy, but they also absorb nitrogen and minerals from the insects they consume. Their "mouths" are actually two halves of one leaf separated by a thick vein. The "teeth" around the leaves are actually protrusions called cilia. On each leaf are three trigger hairs that cause the plant to snap shut depending on specific conditions. One hair needs to be touched in quick succession or two hairs need to be touched within twenty seconds of each other for the plant to close up. Once it traps an insect, its glands inside the leaves secrete an enzyme that break down its prey, absorb its nutrients, and then open up again once the insect has been completely drained. Venus flytraps are mainly found in areas like marshes and bogs that have poor soil so the nitrogen they get from insects is beneficial to their survival.
When it debuted in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, the rare Carnivine could only be caught in the Great Marsh and catching it was a tricky process. Like the Safari Zone in previous games, you had to rely on mud and bait to capture a Pokémon, so with enough luck, I eventually managed to catch one. One of only a few Grass-type Pokémon that has no evolutions, Carnivine has a good Physical Attack stat that with the use of Swords Dance can be exploited to make it a good Physical sweeper. It does not have the best HP, but you can still use the classic Substitute and Leech Seed combo in conjunction with one of its many Powders to disable your opponents.
You don't often find a Grass-type Pokémon with a high Physical Attack stat, so Carnivine was a nice surprise. I might not have used Carnivine a lot after catching it, but its Dark-type Crunch helped me a lot with those pesky Psychic-types. Despite its comical appearance, Carnivine proves that even an unsuspecting Pokémon (like an unsuspecting plant to insects) can show you its "teeth" when you least expect it.