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Ah bugs.  The pokemon we often encounter early in our adventures and rarely take with us to the Elite 4.  Black and White was extremely kind to this type though as it added more bug pokemon than any previous generation and some with stats near or over a base total of 500, making them much better for battle than some of the bugs we’ve seen.  In HeartGold it pained me not to take Ariados along on my team, but I couldn’t justify it with only 390 stat points.  I think that anyone who appreciates the bug type will find something to fit their team this time around though.  Here we go!  Hit the spoiler to read more!

[spoiler]

First in the dex we have #540 Kurumiru, #541 Kurumayu, and #542 Hahakomori.  Prior to the Japanese release, Kurumiru was one of the first bug pokemon revealed (along with Denchura) and it was instant LOVE for me.  Grass and Bug are two of my favorite types and this line ties both the essences together extremely well.  The first time I saw Hahakomori I was a bit surprised that it wasn’t a caterpillar to butterfly/moth progression like we’ve had numerous times in the past and the originality was much appreciated.  In some ways I think the final evolution’s stance is a bit awkward, but nonetheless I’m still a big fan.  Kurumayu is a pretty cute (but emo) mid-stage pupa pokemon and doesn’t stand out much, but at the same time doesn’t have a silly design.  I’m going to have to think hard about whether or not to add kurumiru onto my team though because of the long list of weaknesses this line has.  Unfortunately you have TWO double weaknesses to watch out for… both Fire and Flying.  Additional weaknesses are poison, bug, rock, and ice making it a VERY poor pokemon strategically.   Hahakomori’s base stat total is a decent 490, but with its average def/sp def it might be too risky to use in battle.  It does have some handy resistances though, including a double resistance to both grass and ground.  Depending on the situation this could prove useful.  Its speed and attack stats are its best qualities and if you can get it set up with chlorophyll/sunny day and solar beam you could put some serious hurt on a few types.  The lack of U-Turn in its movepool however hurts it since you can’t outrun an opponent and switch out to escape a possible 4X attack.

Next we have an interesting caterpillar -> pupa -> centipede line that also forgos the butterfly stereotype (or any sort of natural progression): #543 Fushide, #544 Hoiiga, #545 Pendra.  This line is an interesting bug/poison line, but I end up being really turned off by the last evolution, Pendra.  I would’ve suffered through another moth type pokemon if it would’ve done justice to the two preceding stages.  Compared to other caterpillar pokemon, Fushide marks a nice change by being a little bit heftier than its featherweight brethren.  It also has a fairly cute moving animation and the half-closed yellow eyes are oddly endearing to me.  The second stage design is also pretty nice by my standards and vaguely reminds me of shelgon.  Pendra though… ugh.  It may be one of the only bug pokemon I actively dislike…  I played a small amount of the Japanese Black version and found that Fushide was surprisingly resilient for a bug pokemon.  My success in the electric gym was directly related to how well it took hits but was also able to dish out some damage as well.  The poison subtype gives this line some good resistances (including double resistances to grass and fighting) while not having too many weaknesses (fire, rock, psychic, flying).  It also doesn’t suffer from having any double weaknesses like kurumiru’s line.  Competitively we’re looking at a base stat total of 475 with a lacking sp atk, sp def, but pretty decent stats elsewhere.  I was surprised to see speed as its strongest stat (112) based on its hulking appearance.  Apparently this bug can crawl fast though.

Covering these two as bug types… feels wrong.  GameFreak has violated me by taking an OBVIOUS rock/water type and throwing it in my face as… bug/rock.  Regardless, I present you with #557 Ishizumai and #558 Iwaparesu.  This line is another that makes me feel “awww” at the unevolved form, but “ARGH WTF” after it evolves.  In other words… I’m not a huge fan of the sedimentary rock on top of iwaparesu.  Other than that I don’t have a lot to say about the designs.  They look very pokemon-ish and fit in well with the other crab/lobster-ish pokemon such as kingler and crawdaunt, well, besides the type.  As a past hermit crab owner I am glad to see that GF at least made an effort to introduce a new sort of animal into the series.  Iwaparesu really benefits from its typing in my opinion as you get a steel/rock/water weakness combo that isn’t too bad.  Water is what you’re going to have to watch out for, but otherwise rock and steel are under represented in the offense department.  As with pendra, iwaparesu has a base stat total of 475 and only really lacks speed.  Its poor sp atk shouldn’t be too hard to work with when many rock attacks are physical and you have X-Scissor.  If you want to try to use the decent defenses to buy time and rock polish yourself up for battle that’s another option you have.  I don’t know how it will fair competitively, but it isn’t too bad of a pokemon to have on your team in the game.

The first time I saw #588 Kaburumo and #589 Shubarugo I found it hard to believe they were in the same family.  You can see kaburumo’s body in its evolution but otherwise the armor makes it look much more like a chobomaki evolution (which makes sense because you have to trade with one in order for kaburumo to evolve).  I find kaburumo’s design to be rather plain and too similar to other bugs before it (including ledyba, illumise/volbeat, and kricketot).  Shubarugo on the other hand is quite an interesting design and offers a completely unique design.  Count me as a fan.  In fact catching bugs as a child would’ve been much more fun if some of them wore suits of armor and had jousting poles at the end of their legs.  As much as I like it though, I don’t know how it will fair in battle.  The only weakness is fire, but it is certainly a liability because of its double effectiveness.  Shubarugo’s terrible speed also guarantees that it will be moving last unless it happens upon an even slower pokemon.  Luckily, to offset the speed deficit, it has great defenses and can stand a few blows, which it will have to considering it’ll be moving last.  Hopefully strategists out there will do this unique design justice by coming up with some fantastic battle plans.

When I saw #595 Bachuru and #596 Denchura I thought ‘PLEASE HAVE USABLE STATS’.  I related the pain of leaving ariados in my PC and I have never stopped wanting a spider I could USE in battle.  Denchura looks even better than ariados and I doubt even the biggest bug hater could turn a blind eye on bachuru’s fuzzy wuzzy cuteness.  The yellow/blue color scheme would probably not be my first choice if I were the art designer, but it still pulls off its look with the grace that only a denchura could manage.  It’s also worth pointing out that if you look at the official art for denchura it is really more of a dark purple than the sprite’s blue.  The base stat of 472 does me proud and I really believe there’s a place for this little guy on my team.  Its defenses really aren’t the best (60 for both), BUT with a 108 in speed and a similarly impressive 97 sp atk you can definitely get the jump on your opponent and hopefully do some serious damage (and hopefully paralyze it).  Its unique typing also lends itself to great weakness coverage as denchura comes out with only two weaknesses: fire and rock.  Not too shabby at all.  I’m not sure about the rest of you, but it was a little surprising to me that the first bug/electric type we have is actually not a firefly.  No complaints from me though! EDIT: Ai pointed out that its ability, compoundeyes, raises the accuracy of ‘thunder’ to a likely-to-hit 91%.  Nice!

Here we have the bug that loses its great suit of armor during evolution: #616 Chobomaki and its evolution #617 Agirudaa.  This is an interesting line to be sure and a completely unique one.  The shell of chobomaki is definitely cute (and a little shellder-ish), but the odd thing is it doesn’t have the bug/steel combination.  Instead this is a pure bug line through and through (in fact the only pure bug line in Isshu).  Agirudaa strikes me as a very weird and somewhat awkward design.  On one hand it is a pretty kickass ninja-looking bug, but on the other hand… how is it standing up?!  Seriously.  It ends in a stump essentially.  Its arms are similarly conic and seem like they’d be pretty useless in battle.  It seems to be the opposite of shubarago however though as its speed is lightning fast (145), but lacks the defensive powers of its “counterpart”.  Agirudaa’s base stat total is a respectable 495 and, besides its great speed, its attack stat really shines through at an impressive 100.  An HP stat of 80 isn’t too bad either.  The only downside I see is that bug is only offensively strong against 3 types, but weak against 6 types.  That means Agirudaa’s STAB moves will potentially be at a disadvantage in twice as many matches than not.  Otherwise this is another speedy bug!

#632 Aianto is the only unevolving non-legendary bug of this generation and the only ant-based pokemon of any generation.  Being the huuuuuuge Transformers: Beast Wars fan that I was when I was a kid I always think of Inferno when I see this pokemon.  The steel subtyping only backs up that image.  Design-wise there isn’t much to say, it is simply a steel ant.  This could be seen by some as cool and by others a metal coat over a real animal.  With the same bug/steel typing as shubarago we also have to look at which one is better.  Aianto’s base stats are slightly lower with only 484 total, but this is yet another fast bug.  Like Hahakomori I only wish that it could learn U-Turn to take advantage of the decent speed and attack, but also flee the field in a pinch.  Its special defense is undeniably weak with only 48 points.  That means that any fire attack (no STAB needed) will probably take it out.  I feel that ‘dig’ could be its redeeming move however as it hits fire types’ weakness and takes advantage of Aianto’s great physical attacking strength.  In the end though this little guy could be considered a glass cannon with its weakness and downright lousy special defense.

Here are our last two non-legendary bug pokemon #636 Meraruba and #637 Ulgamoth.  I love this line.  I love the furry coat it has, I love the incorporation of sun-like spikes/wings, and I love that we now have a bug/fire line.  Not to mention that when meraruba evolves (ugh, lv59) it takes on a “I’m a bug, but I will kick your ass” type expression.  The real question though is whether or not keeping the caterpillar on your team is going to be worth the late evolution.  To me, yes, it is worth it.  Ulgamoth has a base stat total of 550 with excellent speed, special defense, and special attack.  HP is average, but attack/defense is a respective 60/65 which may disappoint some.   It has 5 resistances which is certainly beneficial, but a double weakness to rock which you’ll have to watch out for.  The biggest threat there could be rockslide, stone edge or a few other rock type moves.  Overall though this is a super strong bug type that hopefully changes some opinions out there that bugs are a “weak” type and not worth a second glance.  Normally we see these high base stat totals and late evolutions only in dragon lines.

To end the article we have the FIRST… EVER… LEGENDARY BUG: #649 Genesect.  And, wow, it is effing weird.  I mean really?  It looks like sableye got its hands on a metal coat and a back-mounted plasma cannon.  I guess you could say I’m not the biggest fan of the design, but legendaries really aren’t my “thing”.  They’re fun for the challenge of catching them (this guy’s an event pokemon though), but I don’t use them on my team and they just collect dust in my PC box.  This guy will be no exception, even though its got an impressive base stat of of 600 meaning there are no real gaps in stat coverage.  Good offense, good defense, good speed.  Pretty standard event legendary.  Since it is bug/steel though you’re going to still have to watch out for fire attacks.  If you’re playing in the Uber-tier this could prove problematic because of Reshiram’s STAB.  In the end I suppose I could be a little less harsh on the design and say it’s nice that bugs are getting the recognition they’ve always deserved, albeit a few generations late.[/spoiler]

Thanks for reading, thanks for waiting.  Hope you liked it :3

<3 pokejungle

ps- Mt. Moon (our forums) have been kinda slow lately.  Don’t let me be lonely guys 🙁  [Facebook / Twitter]


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pokejungle

Paul studied journalism just to write better articles about Pokémon. He still resides in Tokyo, Japan.