So I hadn’t intended to get to this particular post until later, but fuck it, it’s Pokémon’s 20th anniversary today, and I am all Pokémon nostalgic because I just got Blue, Red, and Yellow on my 3DS, and have started Blue, the first Pokémon game I ever played. I have my original Bulbasaur starter back, and it is fabulous. So you’re getting a Pokémon post today.
I’m not going to talk about Gen I, though. I’m going to talk about Gen II, and the first time I played Silver, and how Sobek and I have formed an unbreakable bond through Pokémon. (And other things, of course. But also Pokémon.) It will get long, and meandering, but there are pictures and artwork and it’s Sobek and Pokémon and all that good stuff. 😀
So, I first began my Pokémon journey back in 99/00, when I started playing Pokémon Blue. This isn’t particularly relevant to Feraligatr, since he came in Gen II, but stick with me. The meandering will be worth it.
I also have memories of watching the Pokémon anime on one of those morning kids TV cartoon shows. I think they also showed Sailor Moon, and Samurai Pizza Cats, and possibly Dragon Ball Z? IDK. I mostly watched it for Pokémon. So of course when the game turned up, and my brother had a copy of Blue, I got a chance to play it, and I loved it badly.
I still have old notebooks from high school, covered in drawings of Pokémon I’d copied from the official art. I had a couple of pages torn from a magazine that showed all 151 original Pokémon, and something I realised only recently, on the back is a page from a comic about the anime, and I recognised it as the scene from the very first ep, post-Fearow attack, where Ash and Pikachu are battered and bruised, but fucking alive. Wow. I think it was from a Pokémon magazine, but idk.
I also made a Pokédex in the back of one of my notebooks, so as I was going through Blue, I wrote down which ones I’d seen, and which ones I’d caught, and what I’d nicknamed them. I don’t know how up to date it ever was, and the cartridge is long gone, but it’s actually the most adorable thing ever. I left blank pages for drawing of my favourite Pokémon, and I think I got to the point of jotting in names for Pokémon I hadn’t caught yet, just in case. I don’t think I ever finished Blue back then. I don’t know where I got to, but the last and only reference I have is that I got stuck in Rock Tunnel. Whether I progressed from there, IDK.
From there, once the Game Boys and the games were gone, because they were my brother’s and for some daft reason I never tried to keep hold of them, I remember my brother found us a version of Red and Blue for PC. I remember them as stand-alone games, and not roms for an emulator, but don’t quote me on that. But then I had a chance to play Red, and that was grand. But I think they disappeared/stopped working/got lost in a computer upgrade, so I was starved of Pokémon.
A LOT happened between then and when I got my first chance to play Silver, so I don’t know how much I was aware of the other games. I’ve been a PC gamer for a very long time, and consoles were always my brother’s thing, so I never really bothered much with them. And I’m the sort of gamer who has a bunch of games I like playing, and I’m happy with that, and I don’t really look for other games to play. This is partly because games are a way to relax for me, but I’m also very picky about what I do play, and most of the time, I can’t find anything I want that matches what I already like.
I honestly can’t remember when exactly this was, but going by the save files, it was 2010, and I was talking Pokémon with one of my close friends, and somehow, she offered to send me the first three generations of Pokémon games as roms, and said to use an emulator for them. I think I might’ve been wondering how to play them without a console, but don’t quote me on that. So anyway, she sends me Red, Blue, Yellow, Gold, Silver, Crystal, Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, FireRed, and LeafGreen. For someone who’d only ever played Red and Blue, this was awesome.
So when I sat down to begin my first game, I decided to start with Gen II, since I hadn’t played it before, and so I picked Silver, because I like the colour more than gold. And when I go to pick my starter, I see this adorable thing before me:
Technically, it looked like this, but close enough, hey?
I had no knowledge of the Pokémon beyond the original 151, so to find myself with an adorable blue crocodile starter before me, you bet I picked the hell out of it. Sobek seems to like any representations of crocodiles, and I got the sense He liked this one, too. So I named him SobekDaddy, because of course I did, and that was the beginning of my adventures in Johto, a region I fell in love with.
I still have fond memories of that first night. The game had a night-day cycle, and as it was nighttime, the colours were all blue and teal and grey and purple, and there I was, with my Sobek, and I fell in love with this Pokémon as a depiction of Sobek that He adored as well.
At some point, I obviously learned about the Gen IV remakes, HeartGold and SoulSilver (HGSS), and at one point, I did find a rom and attempt to play it, but for whatever reason, it never worked, and kept crashing, but I saw enough to know I desperately wanted to play them. Because in HGSS, and from what I can remember, in NO OTHER GAME, you get to walk beside your Pokémon! That adorable little crocodile was now walking beside me! 😀
I think it was that moment that made me determined to buy a DS so I could play them, once and for all. It took a long time. I had to save and find the right price and wait and then layby it because it was expensive, but I did eventually buy a DS Lite, because GBA slot ftw. Then I scoured the internet for Australian versions of HGSS that I could afford to buy, and eventually, I had them. The copy of SoulSilver I bought came complete in the box, with the Pokéwalker, and I keep it with me to this day.
SoulSilver made me fall in love with Feraligatr all over again. I remember one particular moment, just outside Ecruteak City, where I was interacting with him, and he decided to hug me! My Pokémon god hugged me! !!! I’d never experienced that sort of interaction with Pokémon before, and to have it come from my Feraligatr, my beautiful, powerful, Feraligatr, my Sobek, well. That’s why I still remember it to this day.
What is it I love about Feraligatr in particular, and why does this Pokémon remind me so much of Sobek? Partly, it’s the whole crocodile thing, and how just about any crocodile will remind me of Sobek one way or another.
But for me, Sobek has always been so much more reptilian and crocodilian than anything else. He is closer to His animal representations than some of the other gods are. He has that primeval, ancient, energy of a crocodile, of something unchanged for millions of years. He feels like the crocodiles swimming in the waters of creation, coming forth from the Nun, to create the first mound of land. Sobek is so much a crocodile that to understand Him, it is wise to understand crocodiles. This is arguably true for other gods with animal representations, but I think it is essential for Sobek, because it exposes so much of His character.
Why Feraligatr? His face is the most adorable face ever. In Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire, I managed to obtain a couple of Totodiles, and ngl, Feraligatr is more adorable than ever when you play with him in Pokémon Amie. The way he smiles, and how he reacts to me, how they rendered him, it’s just – it’s Sobek.
I mean, look at this art. Sobek is having an awesome time. LOOK AT THAT FACE. *squishes Him* Feraligatr is a blue crocodile, and this basically ticks all the boxes Sobek needs to find it adorable. It is blue! Blue is one of His favourite colours! It is a crocodile! Sobek loves crocodiles!
My Feraligatr always knows Surf. I had one in Gold and Silver, HGSS, a randomised Ruby solo run (Totodile was one of my starters!), and ORAS. And – just look at the power of that beast. That’s Sobek’s strength coming through. He is a master of the waterways. He can navigate the waters like no other. He is just – Sobek is Feraligatr, and having him isn’t just about having the best crocodile Pokémon (sorry, Krookodile, but you are terrible and not even a Water type), but it’s about sharing something with Sobek, and bringing Him with me.
Also. Fun fact. The Totodile you get in Gold is female, and the one you get in Silver is male. So my starter in Gold got nicknamed Sobek instead. Sobek did not mind at all. Either the god, or the Pokémon. And, when you think about crocodiles, Sobek does have some of those more traditionally feminine qualities. Male crocodiles tend to the next, to make sure it’s the right temperature for the eggs. They tend to their young, and carry them to the water. (They also have true four-chambered hearts like mammals, the only reptile to have them, so.) In the same way, Sobek takes care of His own, and He will carry you across water if you need it. He looks fierce, but Sobek’s rage is directed at His enemies. For me, and those who love Him, there is fierce protection and love from Him. He is quiet, but He’s always there for you.
And of course this piece of art makes for a great transition into Lugia, who is another Pokémon I associate with Sobek.
Lugia is said to be the leader of the Legendary Birds (y’know, Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres). Yes, bird. Lugia, for some daft reason, is Flying/Psychic type. Why is this daft? Lugia is the Guardian of the Oceans, just as Ho-Oh, their counterpart, is Guardian of the Skies. You go to the bottom of the Whirl Islands to find Lugia, and they emerge out of a goddamn waterfall. Lugia sleeps under the ocean. This is a god of the seas. If Ho-Oh can be Fire/Flying, I’m sure Lugia could be Water/Flying, ffs. Fix this for Gen VII, Game Freak. Also, a mega Feraligatr would be nice, plz and thank you.
Anyway. This is Ho-Oh, by the way, seen here on the left. The Rainbow Fire Bird Phoenix Fire Bird Legendary Guardian Of The Skies Bird Thing.
You can kind of see where the Sobek!Lugia/Heru!Ho-Oh thing is coming into the mix, can’t you? Lugia has the power to control the weather, and whip up powerful storms. These are things I associate with Sobek. For me, Sobek is a god of storms, particularly winter storms. So Lugia taps into the Sobek I find in winter, who lies dormant under the seas in summer while Heru/Ho-Oh reigns, only to emerge with the rain, and bring life and water and relief to the parched earth. So, for me, these birds are ways to conceptualise the yearly cycle. I can see Them in nature, and Their influence, and how They interact.
Lugia is also said to be able to calm down the Legendary Birds when they fight over territory, and this feels like a very Sobek thing to do, to be able to calm things down, and watch for trouble, and keep things under control. Sobek watches everything, and His watery nature helps to calm things down. After all, water has a tremendous capacity to absorb heat.
And I did actually catch Lugia in SoulSilver, for the record. It took about half an hour, and involved spamming Flash with my Kadabra until they couldn’t see me, but I caught it! 😀 (I’m saving my Master Ball for Suicune. Always, for Suicune.)
Srsly, Lugia comes out of a goddamn waterfall when you go to encounter them at the Whirl Islands. The art above is a particular striking example of that scene. Lugia’s associations with water really do remind me of Sobek, even if the whole water-bird thing is still, well, a Thing. I’ve often considered getting some sort of Ho-Oh and Lugia things for the shrine, to represent those aspects, but I don’t really have a lot of room, and I can’t find anything I like enough to buy. But I always have them in mind, when I think about Sobek and Heru, and Their relationship. It’s a way of conceptualising it in an approachable image that I can play around with and decipher and interpret in my own way.
But anyway. This is arguably long enough, and I had other things I wanted to do tonight, so I’ll leave you with my Pokémon squeeing, and hope you got something out of it. A more, well. A less fannish post on some more Sobek art later in the week, perhaps, unless I think of something else to write. 😀 But basically, tl;dr, Feraligatr is the best crocodile Pokémon, and Lugia should be Water/Flying. Happy 20th anniversary, Pokémon! Bring on Gen VII! 😀