It’s wild to me how much this series can diverge from humans – and even extant life on land – and still provide us with an image that is clearly of an ickle-bickle baby.
Just look at those big, wide eyes and head. His two useless little arms. The absolute blank stare and pose. Precious.
I especially like the choice of insectoid wings down his sides. Given that he’s meant to be aquatic, it begs the image of him buzzing along through the seas, darting in and out of rock formations and and hovering above the seafloor. That’s perfectly Pokémon to me – something utterly preposterous on its face, but just rooted enough in actual zoology that I can conjure a perfect image of it.
And just as life moved from the seas to land, so too does this family.
Maybe it’s just me, but I the more I come back to this thing, the more I imagine it as an Ultraman monster–of–the–week. He’s even got little kneecaps and holes in his “suit” for the arms to move around! Not at all surprising – you start seeing kaiju and tokusatsu influences all over the series’ designs once you start looking for them – but it’s still always fun when another one pops up.
As for Armaldo himself, he can feel a bit like a chunkier Kabutops, what with his chitinous carapace and pincer-arms, but the two are so dissimilar that it doesn’t feel like a rehash. For that matter, Lileep and Omanyte share a lot of indirect similarities, too – the two pairs just make for a good rhyme, and I’m here for it.
Anyway, Armaldo just looks cool. Like a praying mantis that could take a hit and still mess you up. It’s a bit of a loss not to have those glorious mandibles still attached to his face, but I still love the idea of this guy stomping around the battlefield until he catches something and just tears it apart. An implacable monster despite his broad, goofy head and now-useless feather-wings undercutting him a bit.
And he feels like that in the games, too. Slow to move, and unfortunately weak to the ever-common Water-type. But with a resistance to ever-more-common Normal moves and passable defenses, and (usually) immunity to critical hits, he can stand long enough to swing an absolutely wicked attack stat around, and boy oh boy does that feel satisfying.
More than anything else, I just want you to take a look at Anomalocaris and bask in how utterly bizarre it looks compared to modern biology, like a three-foot-long millipede-ray-eel-thing. He’s the weird grandpa to probably just about every arthropod on the planet, and he was king of the roost back in his day. Ain’t no better origin story for a prehistoric kaiju.
The first two rounds of fossil Pokémon are just all hits. I adore these two and their definitive Cambrian-era style, out-weirdin’ out all its modern ancestors and looking cool as heck doing it. The series rotates its fossils in and out a lot and insists on adding new variants every other generation, but these two land near the top of my Reserve list.
Any and all appreciation for Anorith and Armaldo is welcome in the comments!