Some Pokemon are scary. Banette is a creepy voodoo doll, while Arceus is an angel of biblical proportions. Have you ever stared into Gigantamax Gengar’s gaping maw and seen the abyss stare back at you? Even cute little Drifloon steals children for fun!
But despite Kaiju-Tentacruel in the anime and a proliferation of weird Ghost-types throughout the games, Pokemon is for kids, and that means it is not that scary. It’s never going to go full Resident Evil or Silent Hill, so it leans into the horror that you can create in your own mind. What Pokedex entries say – or what they don’t – is often scarier than anything that happens during the course of the games.
And then comes Melmetal. Slowly. I’ve had Melmetal for a while thanks to the ease of opening Mystery Boxes in Pokemon Go. In fact, I’ve got more candy for Meltan than for almost any other Pokemon – and that’s after evolving three and maxing out one to level 49.5, none of which comes cheap. Anyway, I recently achieved Lucky Friends with my brother, and we swapped shiny Meltans to re-roll their IVs and decrease the Stardust cost of powering them up. And, as buddies are only good for flexing shinies these days, I started my journey to having a maxed-out Best Buddy shiny lucky Melmetal. Well, I’m hardly going to do another Bulbasaur Community Day, am I?
There it is, Melmetal, my buddy. But as I go to snap a photo of it and feed it some berries, it disappears. Or rather, fails to appear altogether. Eventually, the massive mythical lumbers onto my screen and I can almost feel the ground shaking, the Jurassic Park glass of water rippling with every booming step of its metal feet. Unlike Ekans and Milotic in Pokemon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl, this is a monster that moves with purpose and as intended. Its animations on my phone screen make me fear for the television it’s walking past, as if it was a proper Kaiju in my actual living room. I move my girlfriend’s laptop out of its path just in case.
The power and enormity of this monster is clear from just its walk, but things get scarier still. It stares at you from your screen with one lidless, metal eye. As I feed it berries, the sci-fi cyclops consumes them not by mouth – there is no opening that could be considered a mouth – but through its eye. You could argue that this is nothing more than a lazy animation or an oversight, but I know better. This is a purposeful addition. This is putting the ‘myth’ in mythical and creating a terrifying aura for Pokemon Go’s only addition to the ‘dex.
Before this, showing off my shiny Melmetal next to my trainer was just a flex. Now it’s a threat. I have a giant metal monster crawling after me and he’s ready to eat you through his eye. No wonder I’m tearing up the ranks of Master League with Melmetal by my side. He cowers to nobody – other Melmetal are the only threat, and even then it’s an honour to watch two hulking giants throw Superpowers at each other.
What even are they made of? Molten metal? Surely not, they’d be a Fire–type. Just, like, liquid metal then? Can they change their shapes at will but decide not to? Gigantamax Melmetal would suggest that is the case. Why would Melmetal not change its form constantly then, adapting to fights like the less-metal-more-purple amorphous blob that is Ditto? Because it doesn’t need to. Melmetal has found its most powerful form already, and it is terrifying.
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