Loony the Driflblim

FantinaDrifloon’s evolution, Drifblim is used by one Gym Leader in the Pokemon games: Fantina, a ghost-type Gym Leader in Pokemon Diamond and Pokemon Pearl. Uncreatively named Loony, Fantina’s Drifblim is the only Drifblim with individual significance that I know of.

In the anime and manga, Drifloon – and later Drifblim – is Fantina’s main Pokemon. She uses it for transportation, companionship, and battling. She even styles herself in likeness of Drifloon and Drifblim, wearing a purple dress with a yellow X on it.

Ash battles Fantina’s Drifblim twice in the anime, and it proves to be a formidable opponent, mainly due to its ability to shake off attacks. It defeats Ash’s Buizel and Pikachu, only losing to Chimchar after Ash outsmarts Fantina.

In the manga, Fantina’s Drifblim saved Diamond and Pearl from a deadly fall. It then carried the duo to Hearthome City, where it fought for Fantina in a gym battle.

Fantina’s Drifblim is somewhat of a contradiction to the Drifblims and Drifloons found in the Pokemon games. It actually saved Diamond and Pearl’s life, showing a good side to what’s supposed to be a malevolent creature. I think like any creature, this probably has a lot to do with its upbringing, and is more a reflection of Fantina than Drifblim. Fantina hatched her Drifloon from an egg, so it has been with her since the beginning of its life.

Fantina’s Drifblim has a lesser role in the games, not even appearing in her party during the gym battle in Pokemon Platinum. While she swapped Drifblim out for another Ghost-type Pokemon in Pokemon Platinum, I think Drifblim is still important to her. She still wears the dress she modeled after Drifblim, and she uses Drifblim in Super Contests, where it is revealed that she named her Drifblim Loony. (Super creative name, isn’t it?) Loony is present in Fantina’s party if the player chooses to battle Fantina again in a rematch.

Brave the Storm: Storm Eagle and Chill Penguin Strategy

Nintendo recently released Mega Man X on the Virtual Console for the New Nintendo 3DS. It’s a good time for all of you to get into this series. Oddly enough, I had restarted Mega Man Maverick Hunter X on my PS Vita before the game released on 3DS, so I’m currently playing the game on two systems. I’m a little obsessed with Mega Man. I really couldn’t help myself.

My favorite parts of any Mega Man game are the Robot Master (or Maverick in the X series) battles. Once defeated, each boss gives Mega Man or X a weapon or ability that another boss is weak against. Trying to figure out an order to beat the levels in and using the various weapons and abilities is incredibly fun to me. All of the bosses are extremely well designed, and most of the weapons and abilities are fun to use. I want to take a look at each boss tactically, and discuss the weapons they give X. Here are the first two bosses I always beat when I play Mega Man X: Storm Eagle and Chill Penguin.

Storm Eagle

Weapon: Storm Tornado
Weakness: Chameleon Sting

Storm Eagle is one of the easiest bosses in the game, and defeating him gives X one of the most powerful weapons, so anytime I play Mega Man X, I always defeat him first. Storm Eagle’s primary attack is to push wind toward X in an attempt to push X off of the platform, but it can be easily countered if you have the legs upgrade. Just slide toward Storm Eagle to stay on the platform when he tries to blow X off, and attack him with charged Mega Buster shots. In addition to trying to blow X off of the platform, Storm Eagle will throw eggs at X and try to harm him with dive attacks. Both of these are super easy to avoid. Shoot the birds that come out of the eggs to get rid of them, and simply jump away from Storm Eagle when he is diving toward X. Storm Eagle will repeat these same moves over and over. Keep avoiding them, and slam Storm Eagle with charged shots, and he’ll go down quickly.

Storm Tornado is super powerful; it becomes my default weapon after getting it. Storm Tornado blows wind toward an enemy, attacking it multiple times as it moves through it. It also goes through walls and shields. This is a huge benefit, making Storm Tornado incredibly useful in a number of situations, particularly speed runs, where you don’t want to wait on an enemy to move from behind the protection of its shield.

Storm Eagle reminds me a lot of Jet Vac from the Skylanders series, one of my favorite Skylanders. They are both eagles who blow gusts of wind toward enemies. They also both wear blue armor.

Chill Penguin

Weapon: Shotgun Ice
Weakness: Fire Wave

Chill Penguin is another boss that can easily be defeated with the Mega Buster. Although he’s easier to defeat with Fire Wave, the weapon X receives after defeating Flame Mammoth, the Maverick weak to Storm Eagle’s Storm Tornado, I swing in and defeat Chill Penguin before challenging Flame Mammoth. Chill Penguin’s defeat affects Flame Mammoth’s stage, freezing all of the lava, and making it easier to beat and explore.

Chill Penguin has five basic attacks. He will pull a switch from the ceiling which creates a blizzard that will blow X in one of two directions, he will shoot Shotgun Ice at X, he will create ice clones of himself, he will leap toward X, and he will slide on the ice floor, destroying his clones and attempting to hit X.

Unlike Storm Eagle’s stage, where X can fall off a platform and die, X is surrounded by ice during this battle and is able to jump up a wall and chill (haha) while Chill Penguin is attacking. Hang up there in a corner and charge up the Mega Booster, then jump down and let Chill Penguin have it. Rinse and repeat. If Chill Penguin jumps toward X in the corner, drop and jump to the top of the opposite wall.

Defeating Chill Penguin nets X Shotgun Ice, another powerful weapon. I prefer Storm Tornado over it, but Shotgun Ice isn’t bad. It will shoot pellets of ice toward enemies or walls, which will shatter into pieces on impact and fly in the opposite direction possibly hitting more enemies. Charging Shotgun Ice will create an ice surf board X can ride. I use it to get a heart piece early.

Pop the Drifloon

I’m a horror genre buff and fan. Balloons are prevalent in many of my favorite horror and thriller films: Stephen King’s It, M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense, and Eye For An Eye, a fantastic Sally Field film. Balloons are creepy, like my favorite Pokemon.

Drifloon is clearly modeled and named after a balloon, an object with quite a lot of meaning in life and popular culture. How are balloons used in life and entertainment, and what can they tell us about Drifloon?

In life, balloons are used in events as a sign of celebration. At graduations, they are released to the sky, a sign of one life passing as another begins. They are similarly used at birthday celebrations, as one year passes in life and another begins. To me, they represent change, and letting go of what once was.

In literature and film, balloons often represent youth and innocence. Children are often found holding balloons in books, poems, and movies. A forgotten balloon floating to the sky often represents a loss of innocence, and a transition to adulthood. Once again, it’s a symbol of a life beginning as another ends. It also can represent loss. I think balloons are very temporary, and can represent how short life is. A child holding a balloon, for example, is holding onto something that is tugging against the string attached to it, desperately trying to get away.

Balloons are a very scary thing to many people, perhaps because of how suddenly they can pop and startle someone. They are used as a symbol of horror in many horror films, most notably with clowns, which I personally find very scary. Balloons can be chilling on their own, however.

One of the most popular balloon symbols is found in M. Night Shyamalan’s film, The Sixth Sense. The lead character, a young boy named Cole, is at a birthday party, off by himself, when he sees a red balloon fly up to the ceiling and pop. He follows the balloon up a stairway to a closet, where he encounters an angry spirit who harms him. This balloon in particular, not only represented a life lost, but was also a signpost for spirits, much like Drifloon.

Drifloon is representative of many of the things balloons represent – life passing, and the spirit world, most importantly. Drifloon drifts through the sky like a balloon released in a celebration, and one might think of the good things people think of when they see a balloon: celebration, youth, and fun, but in actuality, Drifloon is representative of the dark things balloons represent. It’s suggested that Drifloon might use its innocent look and misplaced representation to lure kids into grabbing onto it, so that it can take them to Hell. Drifloon is no joke.

Valley Windworks: Introducing Drifloon

The following article discusses Valley Windworks, the setting and game event that serves as an introduction to my favorite Pokemon, the sinister balloon Pokemon, Drifloon.

DrifloonValley Windworks is found in Pokemon Diamond, Pokemon Pearl, and Pokemon Platinum to the southeast of Route 205. It is surrounded by windmills which are used to generate electricity. The player battles one of the three Team Galactic Commanders there. After beating him and his grunts, and saving a scientist inside, the player learns about a mysterious balloon Pokemon that appears in front of Valley Windworks on Fridays. You can battle or catch this Pokemon when you find it. This Pokemon is of course Drifloon. It will be Level 22 when you face it. It is the first Drifloon you can catch in any Pokemon game.

Why did this Drifloon choose Valley Windworks to appear at, and why did it choose Fridays?

First of all, it is important to realize that Drifloon shares similarities with a balloon, and balloons float, or in Drifloon’s case, balloons drift through the wind. Drifloon actually inflates and deflates itself to move through the wind. It makes sense that it’d be attracted to somewhere with lots of wind. Where better than Valley Windworks? Hell, wind is in the name. Since wind energy is used to turn the turbine of the windmills to generate electricity, it’s safe to assume that there is plenty of wind at Valley Windworks for this Drifloon, and plenty of electricity, which brings me to my next point.

Drifloon is a ghost-type Pokemon, and is described in several games’ Pokedexes as being a signpost for spirits. Basically, where there is a Drifloon, there are spirits. Many paranormal investigators believe there is a strong connection between ghosts and electrical and magnetic fields. They are not only drawn to electrical fields, but they increase them. Increased magnetic or electrical energy is usually a sign of paranormal activity. Whether Drifloon itself is attracted to the electrical energy, or if it is attracted to the spirits that are drawn to that energy is uncertain, but it makes sense that Drifloon would be drawn to Valley Windworks.

Valley WindworksBut wait, there’s more! When you’re moving down Route 205, it’s hard not to notice the giant windmills surrounding Valley Windworks. There’s nine of them. I know. I counted. These windmills circle the building, and they are its main attraction. Why are there nine of them? That’s random, right? Why not ten? Why not eight? I tell you, whoever constructed Valley Windworks was practically begging for a Drifloon’s presence. Let’s explore.

In a number of different cultures, nine is an incredibly unlucky number associated with death. In Japan, where Pokemon was made, by the way, nine is considered an unlucky number because the word for nine, ku, sounds too much like the word for suffering, agony, or torture; many hospitals in Japan lack a ninth floor or ninth room, simply skipping the number because of its perceived luck. In other cultures, nine is the number of heaven, and its number holds a significance with death and passing. Then, there’s of course the creepy. Beethoven wrote exactly nine symphonies before he died. Lady Jane of England, often referred to as “the Nine Days Queen,” was executed for high treason after ruling England for just nine days. President William H. Harrison, the United States’ ninth President was the first to die in office. In Christianity, Jesus died on the ninth hour of hanging on the cross. As you can see, the number nine has all kinds of connections with death and bad luck. Why would there not be spirits at a place surrounded by nine windmills? Drifloon chose prime real estate in Sinnoh.

There is still the mystery of Fridays. Why did Drifloon frequent Valley Windworks on Fridays? Fridays, you guessed it, are a day perceived to have a deep connection with bad luck and death. In Jewish culture, Friday is the optimal day to die, as it is the day before their Sabboth, Saturday. Dying on Friday will ensure that you pass easily into heaven on the day of rest. In Christianity, Jesus was crucified on a Friday. Some scholars believe that Eve tempted Adam with the forbidden fruit on Friday. And we can’t forget that Cain slained Abel on a Friday. Finally, there is the Western obsession with Friday the 13th, and how unlucky it is perceived to be.

I mean, of course there is a freakin ghostly balloon Pokemon signpost of spirits hanging out at Valley Windworks on Fridays. Why wouldn’t there be?

Riffraff, Street Rat

Ever since I was a little kid, I have been drawn to Aladdin. Maybe it was because he was voiced by Scott Weinger, an actor I loved in Full House, or maybe it was because I empathized with Aladdin, not having much materially, but finding joy in the world regardless. I looked up to this fictional character, and even today, Aladdin is my favorite Disney character. As a child, I liked Aladdin for his strengths: his good nature, his heroic qualities, and his vibrant personality. As an adult, however, I’m able to look at Aladdin and appreciate his faults. I explored a major one below:

Stealing is pretty much a way of life for Aladdin. He lives on the street and is viewed by his station; he’s a street rat. Aladdin steals, but he steals out of necessity. In Aladdin’s introductory song, One Jump Ahead, he expresses how he views himself, focusing on stealing.

Gotta eat to live. Gotta steal to eat.

AladdinAladdin steals to live. In the movie, we only see him steal food. While I assume Aladdin also stole the clothes he wears, it’s pretty clear that he steals out of necessity. In One Jump Ahead, one of the women sings that she would blame Aladdin’s parents for his stealing, but he doesn’t have any. Aladdin has to take care of himself, and probably has had to for a long time. Stealing what he needs is second nature to Aladdin, but more than that, it’s adapting to the life he has been given, trying to survive.

Aladdin has the opportunity to steal jewels and gold, but material possessions don’t seem to interest him. He even gets onto Abu for trying to steal jewels and other valuables. When Aladdin and Abu enter the Cave of Wonders, Aladdin has access to so many jewels and so much gold, but unlike Abu, he refrains from trying to take any.

I don’t think Aladdin gets any enjoyment out of stealing. He tells Jasmine as much in his home, imagining life in the palace.

“It’s better than here. Always scraping for food and ducking the guards.”
— Aladdin

I think Aladdin viewed his thief lifestyle as a temporary one. He told Abu that one day they will be rich and live in a palace, yet he didn’t try to attain wealth from stealing it. I think he honestly believed things would get better for him. Unfortunately, he was too busy living, trying to scrape by, to better his own situation.

Aladdin knew he deserved better. He knew he was something better than a street rat.

Riffraff, street rat.
I don’t buy that.
If only they’d look closer
Would they see a poor boy? No siree.
They’d find out, there’s so much more to me.