Volbeat, Illumise

Another twofer this week, of a pair of buggos.

And, for all the grief I gave Plusle and Minun last week, these two have it even worse. They’re not particularly buggy bugs – they strike me more as people wearing mascot outfits – and while they complement each other well, there’s not much to say about them individually.

I guess the idea with their “boa” neckpiece, bobbed hair, and penchant for posing, is that they’re intended to look fabulous. Of course any animal that generates its own light would be a bit showy, sure, and I like that it’s fairly well-integrated into the rest of the design. But after that, there’s just nothing memorable about these two to me – in fact, I even don’t like that their tail-lights are just orbs pasted onto their rumpuses.

They’re not especially attractive in the core games, either – their type all of their stats are below-average at best – a shame given that they have a fairly interesting moveset – and their typing is hardly unique. Really, I think this is the most “plain bug” we’ve had since Ledian, and there’s not much difference between the two as far as I can tell – in fact, were these introduced just a few years later, I’d expect them to be form- or gender-derived variations of the same species.

Oh, and one more unappealing bit about these before we go:

How do you adapt an animal called both “firefly” and “lightning bug” – twice – and not make them a super-interesting Bug/Fire or Bug/Electric combo? It’d spice them up even further to have both in the set – they just look at a glance like the red boy should be fire type and the blue gal should be electric, which would also make them way more appealing as a tag-team.

The one thing that might redeem them is that these two apparently do coordinated mating dances at night, creating a visual show of light patterns. Unfortunately, while the manga and anime are primed to show this off, this has never really been honored in the games – not even in New Pokémon Snap, which would be the de-facto place to dazzle us with something like this and bring new life into more behavior-oriented Pokémon that would otherwise be forgotten.

Which is exactly what these two are at this point.

Be straight with me: did you even remember these two existed ten minutes ago? Thought not. The series could Retire these two in a heartbeat without consequence.

Any and all appreciation for Volbeat and Illumise is welcome in the comments!

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