Something about Meditite has always felt uncanny-valley to me – moreso than other “human-shaped” Pokémon like Hitmonchan or Gallade. I think it’s the combination of him having visible fingers and also clearly coded as wearing nothing but his underpants. Especially with the big, swirly ears, he just looks like a monkey squatting in a diaper to me.
Which, yes, is probably what they’re going for. Monkeys are a totem of wisdom in a lot of places, which is a nice segway into his “meditation” theme (fun note; he’s specifically named after Asana in Japanese), even tied together by his nice cap. Maybe it’s that I’m personally not comfortable with this little blue chimp, since he doesn’t seem to have the same shame.
I dunno, he’s doing all the right things, so technically he’s all right; just not my personal cup of tea. Meditite looks like he’d enjoy some tea, though, the thoughtful little chap.
Medicham feels like he’s dangerously close to Jynx territory, particularly with those bulbous lips. When have those ever been used in a flattering caricature that’s not of a fish?
I kind of like him as a concept; he’s got the fun, cartoonish proportions that put him more distinctly into the “mimicking human behavior” group where Mr. Mime and Hariyama hang out. Speaking of, virtually all the humanlike Pokémon so far have either been Fighting-type or Psychic-type; Medicham feels like he falls quite snugly into that Venn diagram, which is satisfying on a meta level.
He’s also satisfying on a gameplay level – his effective physical attack is nothing to sneeze at, and he’s only gotten better at using it in the games since was introduced. He’s got fair speed and isn’t the sturdiest post in the fence, but he more than makes up for it in just how widely the Psychic/Fighting combo covers for super-effective (or at least neutral) damage. Great option to have around on an in-game team.
Amusingly, most of his natural moveset is defensive in spite of that. I think it adds a nice texture to him, though; he’s literally making up for the weakness of his body by tapping into moves that boost his own power or protect him from harm. It’s an idea that you see throughout martial-arts stories – especially those willing to lean into fiction and heightened storytelling – but I’m surprised that so few other Fighting-types tap into it as a motif. Medicham feels almost like a natural addition to the series as a result.
Something still feels a little off about a purse-lipped, grey-skinned lanky-man with poofy pants, but I’m not here to get offended on somebody else’s behalf. If other people are cool with him, then hey, he’s a funny little man with cute patches built into his knees.
It’s not like he’s just borrowing elements for the fun of it – using bindi and even the Triple Gem as a motif, plus a touch of dance, is a nice way of tapping into a different, chakra-oriented interpretation of the Psychic-type. While the first few generations did a lot of “ESP” and “stage magic” for their psychic-types, we’re going to see more creative expressions of “supernatural power” attributed to the type, and a Fighting-type flavor is a great start.
Side-note, while I’m generally not a proponent of the mechanic, I really like design for his Mega Evolution. I wish it was a normal part of the line; maybe they’ll find a way to more fairly do so, since Medicham could otherwise kind of use the love and attention.
All this is to say that I love the idea of Meditite and Medicham far beyond how I feel about their visual designs. Unfortunately, there’s a much more popular Pokémon down the line who does something similar, so it’s hard to say how much this line is adding, but I’d be remiss to retire them entirely. Maybe they need to spend some time in reserve, meditating in the mountains until they can tap back into that Mage Hand energy.
Any and all appreciation for Meditite and Medicham is welcome in the comments!