And here we have a whole-concept pun around naming your dog “Sparky”.
There’s nothing inherently wrong about here, and I even really like how she has this odd, oblong head with the distinctive eye markings running all the way back. It looks like she has a constant case of motion blur, zipping around like, well, a bolt of electricity. Fun stuff, ties nicely together with itself.
She always seems to be depicted mid-bark and rearing up, which is a great contrast against how she matures into…
…a poised thunder-hound.
I like the notion of static-y fur – not super-common imagery for canines – but her whole shape is a little bit stiff. It’s like she’s taking the stance of a statue – granted, particularly attentive dogs will do that anyway. It also just feels odd to have a dog-wolf with lizard-y ear-holes?
She just doesn’t have as pleasing a shape as Electrike – granted, it’s harder to pull off with all these stiff angles, but still. It’s like she’s both too loud and also lacks a distinctive detail to pull things together, leaving us with a jumble of colored shapes.
I guess we’ve been spoiled by a strain of super–solid electric–types already (and also Pikachu), but usually there’s a more obvious visual hook with these buggers, and “elemental dog” has already been done (arguably multiple times). Heck, even the specific creature Manetric references has already shown up in-series (even if she’s a more direct interpretation).
But hey, her cartoonish muzzle kinda resembles an electrical clip, so so that’s a neat on-theme detail.
Manetric is also really odd in the – a bit of a fragile speedster as you might expect, but geared toward Special attacks, which feels a bit surprising. She gets a few solid moves to use it with, which is nice, but overall her options are surprisingly limited, leaving her as a bit of a one-trick puppy.
Here’s where I would add in some goofy tertiary details, but I burned a lot of them a moment ago grousing about how Manetric isn’t especially exciting. Rather, I want to make another passing jab at the fan-theory that the Pokédex is largely crowdsourced by contributors under the age of 13, and so can’t be trusted as literally accurate.
To wit, Manetric is “constantly” discharging electricity, which is such a high-energy lifestyle that she should eat any potential owner out of house and home. Or that it creates thunderclouds which then in turn cast its electric-type moves, which seems both inefficient and inaccurate.
Or that Manetric are born from lightning strikes (or at least said to). This one is even tied to real-life myth around the Raiju, suggested by how some mammals (mostly civets) are found dead under trees after a thunderstorm. Dead of natural causes, or the victim of a competing lightning deity?
At least they have the sense to dull some of those hits with “people say it can run at the same speed as a lightning-strike”, which I would certainly hope not considering that going less than 1% of that on land has been fatal to would-be human record-setters.
An even more interesting one is that lil’ Electrike re-captures some of the energy it expends when running, converting the friction in its fur back into a charge to further stimulate its legs. This is more-or-less how many hybrid cars work today, and Game Freak was poaching the idea back in 2001. Nice pull!
I’m sorry to dog-lovers in general and Manetric-lovers in particular, but I just have a hard time seeing a major theme here that we don’t already see with more iconic critters. That’s a sure setup to Retire a design if I’ve ever heard of one; he’s not necessarily a bad pup, he just gets lost in the crowd.
Any and all appreciation for Electrike and Manetric is welcome in the comments!