Judge A Pokémon Express: Zacian, Zamazenta, Yamper, and Impidimp

By art3mis, BackAtYouBro, Birkal, Estronic, Fischgrat, Jordy, Kalalokki, Lyd, Max. Optimizer, Mellow, Pikachu315111, Ryota Mitarai, TJ, and {Pokemon_Vigilante}. Released: 2019/06/23.
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Kalalokki

Kalalokki

As promised, we're back again for another round of Judge A Pokémon Express! While we still had the two cover legendaries left to judge from the Pokémon Direct, there were also two other new Pokémon that we got a sneak peak of at the E3 Treehouse playable demo: Yamper and Impidimp! Even though these two haven't gotten an official unveiling yet, our panelists got shown plenty of material for them to be able to dig their teeth into them and share their opinions. Without further ado, let's get to it!

BackAtYouBro

BackAtYouBro

Call it your Sif, Okami, Wolf Link, Lycanroc, or whatever else, Zacian looks like it was begging for the comparison game. Nonetheless, its design is a lot more defined and elegant to view compared to its shield face counterpart. I know that many people wished that the sword was a part of its body or infused into it near its mouth, but I find that to be seriously impractical realistically. I know Pokémon is a world where you can hold your suspension of disbelief, but Zacian would have almost zero to no control in shifting its sword and repositioning it. Still, I've got to say, I actually really like this design. Its tough yet exquisite form with wing-shaped fur on its back along with a slender statue makes Zacian look powerful but sleek. It sort of has this mesh of features from all of the 4 wolves I mentioned above that really works along with a color palette that reflects royalty.

Ryota Mitarai

Ryota Mitarai

Zacian is looking towards being the "more popular" brother, with its counterpart, Zamazenta, being a little bit more underrated. Other than the fact that Zacian's name looks more normal than Zamazenta's, what I like about Zacian is the fact it has less golden armor, because that, to me, looks really heavy, and I generally prefer light things to heavy ones. There's also the fact Zacian uses a lighter blue, along with a lighter gold, which makes it less tiring for the eye to look at. I don't really care about which one has the sword or the shield, as they are irrelevant to me, but Zacian looks like it's gonna be a Steel/Fighting, like Cobalion. Maybe Zacian will end up being its mentor?!

Estronic

Estronic

I honestly think Zacian is one of the most, let's say, "interesting" concepts for a Pokemon. I honestly can't take it seriously as a cover legendary, though. I mean, look at it. Doesn't the sword seem inconvenient most of the time? First off, of course it has to use its mouth to hold it, since it doesn't have proper hands to hold it, but it just seems hard to use. I can only see it doing at least two different sword movements with how limiting a head is in terms of sword fighting. It's bound to choke on it a couple of times during a battle, and I can only imagine the neck pain from swiping the damn thing. By the way, is the sword, like, part of its body? If it lets go of it and loses it, what happens? Does it make a new one? Searches for it? Accepts defeat? Regardless of what I say, its PokeDex description will probably answer these questions and thus leave this blurb outdated.

Max. Optimizer

Max. Optimizer

Oh dear, another dogged contender! When the names and logos for Pokémon Sword and Shield were first introduced during the Pokémon Direct on February 27th 2019, specifically Pokémon Sword's logo with the sword having a wolf head as its handle, I was immediately wishfully joking around with friends about how positively absurd it would be if we could have a reference to Dark Souls' "Great Grey Wolf Sif", and, lo and behold, Game Freak threw me a "Homeward Bone"! I have to echo my fellow panelists' expectations about Zacian receiving a Steel / Fighting typing. While it is de facto part Steel-type, complementing Corviknight's medieval "knight" leitmotif and the Galar region's overall themes of "industrial revolution" and "the manufacture of steel and iron", my rationale about a potential dual Steel / Fighting typing is based on the notable resemblance that was carried over from Unova's quartet of "Sacred Swordsmen", specifically Cobalion. Accordingly, I assume that Zacian will have notable Attack and Speed stats, allowing it to move fast and dish out heavy hits, while literally engaging in close combat. I cannot wait to initiate a covenant with my new "unyielding sword".

Lyd

lyd

While Zacian's design might look a bit bland compared to Zamazenta, I still like it quite a bit, mostly due to the royal color scheme and the attention to detail. My main issue with Zacian is that it's not a sword like Zamazenta is a shield; it's just holding the sword, and that surely seems a bit weird to me, like is the sword even an actual part of it's body? Then it wouldn't be the Sword Pokémon, but the Sword-wielding Pokémon, rather. Considering the two legendaries, I find it interesting to speculate on a third; several people brought up the idea that Zacian and Zamazenta are inspired in Odin's wolves, Geri and Freki, which respectively mean "the greedy one" and "the ravenous one", which does fit a bit with the whole leitmotif of attack and defense. That could mean the next legendaries would be based on Odin's ravens, Huggin and Munnin, meaning "thought" and "memory" or "mind", respectively, further strengthened by the aerial angle shown in the video; however, dropping the leitmotif of the 3 subtractive primary colors does feel awkward, and before you bring up CYMK, printers only use black because it's cheaper.

art3mis

art3mis

While the colors and concept are a bit too similar to Keldeo, I do admit that the design of this legendary is much more smooth and flowing than the clunky Zamazenta, and I assume that was on purpose. Zacian looks like it could flow through the wind without a care in the world. Who wouldn't love a giant wolf with a sword? The ribbons coming from its mane remind me so much of Suicune, and I've always loved that. This thing looks flat-out gorgeous in the trailer too, and I can really see how they'll make the sword work in its attacking animations. I assume they took inspiration from Sif (as if this comparison hasn't been made a thousand times before, but I'm talking more about the animations rather than the design), and if the quality is as good as that, this is going to be a great legendary. The best defense is a good offense they say, and Zacian takes that to heart.

Vigilante

{Pokemon_Vigilante}

Here we have one of the few Pokémon that wield a weapon rather than being shaped after one. The other obvious one that comes to mind is Genesect. In total form, Zacian's curves and spikes make it look formidable, and the sword adds flair and dominance. The color scheme could use a few more colors, but it's still a beautiful design!!

Birkal

Birkal

I can't imagine that making a box cover legendary is an easy task. Game Freak has been all over the board in this department, from the truly excellent iconic RSE covers that defined their generation to the questionable crotch fuzz of Reshiram on the cover of Pokémon White. So when I heard on paper that the Pokémon Sword legendary was a dog holding a sword in its mouth, I presumed it fell into the latter category. But lo and behold, Game Freak proved me wrong with what I've come to consider an elegant design. With hints of Keldeo and Suicune, Zacian is set to become an extremely popular design thanks to its piercing eyes and flowing mane. The inclusion of a sword in its mouth will leave some divided, but I absolutely believe it was the right approach to take; something more naturalistic would have been awkwardly placed. Overall, Zacian strikes me as an excellent start to what I'm sure will be a pantheon of new legendaries.

Pikachu315111

Pikachu315111

Out of the two Sword & Shield Mascot Legendaries, Zamazenta looks the most interesting. Sure, Zacian is "holding" a sword and looks to have wings, but Zamazenta isn't just holding a shield: the entire front of its body is the shield! This shield mane gives it a lion-like appearance, a notable animal detail, as lions are heavily associated with European royalty (the Galar Champion's name, Leon, even means "lion"). I like this more natural approach, as I'm not left asking “where did it get its weapon from?" like with Zacian. But that's not all I feel Zamazenta did better. Zamazenta also has wings-like decorations on its body, but while Zacian's just stick out, the wings here actually become part of the shield when in its “activated” state, making it look even wider and more impenetrable. Another little detail I like about it is its back fur and tail fall down to look like a cape that a European king would wear. I will give credit to Zacian for having the most crown-looking headpiece, though Zamazenta could be going for a coat of arms design. I would be surprised if Zamazenta wasn't a pure Steel-type, the ultimate shield.

Fischgrat

Fischgrat

So we ended up with two wolves as cover legends, which is cool with me and fits right in with the history of quadruped predator-based legendary Pokémon all the way back to the GSC trio, or even Arcanine as the "Legendary" category Pokémon. At first glance, there's not much that puts Zamazenta apart from most of these besides the species it's based on, and it certainly is the less flashy one of the two wolves—the shield-like mane even resembles Solgaleo for me. Sadly, Zamazenta's design ended up quite disproportionate, with an overbearing head featuring heavy metallic armor and quite a slender body that in contrast looks like it might tip over frontwards by a nudge. The blue cape-mane does pull the design together a bit, but that still doesn't hide the fact that Zamazenta looks unbalanced. Speaking of the blue "cape" though, the color scheme is a highlight of the new legendary (and its sibling, too), for me the color choice and combination fits a cover legend perfectly. Overall, the design does some things right and fails at others, so I'm left with mixed feelings; Zamazenta fails to set itself apart enough to become a favorite.

Lyd

lyd

Zamazenta is probably my favorite Galarian Pokémon so far; it has that same majestic color scheme as Zacian, but the darker blue and the deeper red make it stand out so much more. The design on its mane is very carefully detailed as well, and while many people would call it overdesigned, I do appreciate the attention to detail, including that ponytail that does add a lot to its design. Legendary Pokémon are often based on real world mythology, and it looks like Zamazenta and its counterpart are no exception. As soon as I saw that video, the first idea that came to mind was them being based on Sköll and Hati, two nordic wolves that chase the sun and the moon, respectively, which the sun- and moon-colored shines at the end of the video could perhaps hint to? That would most likely mean a third legendary based on Fenrir, parent of both wolves, which gets freed when Sköll and Hati both eat the sun and the moon at the same time. The main counterargument to this theory is that we already have a Pokémon supposedly based on Fenrir, Zygarde-10%, but well, it's Game Freak, you just never know.

art3mis

art3mis

While this big doggo might be the definition of "overdesigned" to some people, I personally don't think it hinders the design too much overall. Although, I am admittedly a bit worried to see the in-game model of this thing; hopefully it doesn't look that bad, because a lot of models can be pretty clunky with that kind of design. But gosh, I love the animations of the two when they're preparing their attacks in the trailer, but this legendary just looks plain intimidating with its pure yellow eyes and its armor that forms into an impenetrable shield. The two really feel like the "unstoppable force meets an immovable object" paradox. I love the way the sides of its shield fold in. By far my favorite duo of legendaries thus far. I just pray they don't slap a Psychic typing onto it like they have the horrible tendency to do.

Birkal

Birkal

If you think that designing Pokémon is difficult, I'm sure that naming those designs can be even more difficult, especially considering Game Freak localization teams have to name them in several languages. I've heard whispers that Zacian and Zamazenta are referencing cyan and magenta, which are two of the three colors that are utilized in subtractive coloring (the third being yellow). While the idea is clever, I don't think it's immediately apparent enough in either of these legendaries' cases. Zamazenta I find to be the most brutalized of the two, to the point where the name is so unwieldy that I feel it will hinder the design's popularity; it's just not an accessible name, especially to people who don't play Pokemon. Regardless, I find this to be just as solid of a design as Zacian, with an excellent complementary color scheme and a more natural implementation of its iconic shield. Its tough expression and cool pose will make it a great secondary choice for anyone who's too cool for Pokémon Sword.

Kalalokki'

Kalalokki

Wooloo, eat your heart out, there's a new top cutie in town! I really love the green details on this otherwise yellow Electric-type doggo, a kind of odd pick of a typing in my opinion, especially when demo stats show it being very slow. Its new ability Ball Fetch just melts my heart, I can totally picture this little runt running up with your last Poké Ball to save you in a pinch. My only complaint is its very big yellow fur scarf, it's just way too smooth and makes it look like Yamper was way too enthusiastic when playing and got its head stuck in a small yellow tire.

Ryota Mitarai

Ryota Mitarai

I am gonna be honest and say that Yamper looks like the name of something that's enormous or fat, probably because I associate it with "whompers" or something like this. I am also calling it now, but Yamper is gonna evolve into some aggressive dog, despite looking so cute and innocent; I mean, look at Lillipup, it becomes so grumpy with its evolutions. But enough about other dogs, Yamper looks like the "regional" Electric Pokémon that we will encounter early (assuming it ends up as Electric). I really don't have much to say about this thing's appearance (other than it being cute and innocent), except that its rhombus eyes seemingly look at the sky if you look at them closer, which is really weird.

Mellow

Mellow

I wasn't particularly impressed with the cover legendaries, but god is this little bugger cute. A corgi was a pretty good pick for the setting, considering the notoriety of the Queen's pups. While its ability, Ball Fetch, doesn't seem to have any competitive usage, I love the flavor of it, and it seems pretty useful in-game. I can't wait to spend hours on end petting and feeding the little fella in Pokémon Refresh, I bet it'll have some dope ass animations too. One minor complaint I have is that the ears point out to the side too much, but all in all this Pokémon is pretty great.

Max. Optimizer

Max. Optimizer

When I initially found out that the new Galar region is based on the United Kingdom, I was immediately thinking about how the Queen's iconic Welsh Pembroke Corgis would make for a great addition. I myself am the proud owner of a Welsh Pembroke Corgi and I can tell from personal experience that they can make for ideal energetic and loyal companions. With both Zacian and Yamper, Game Freak did, in a sense, fulfill two of my most anticipated references! I was initially very surprised to find out that Yamper is an Electric-type Pokémon, as opposed to a Fairy-type Pokémon. My initial speculation about the anticipated Corgi Pokémon being at least part Fairy type was based on the fact that Corgis are closely linked to fairies in Welsh folklore and that they are even the favorite riding mounts of fairies! However, E3 visitors that got to play the demo confirmed that Yamper has indeed access to the Fairy-type move Play Rough, which leads me to believe that its evolution could very well receive an Electric / Fairy dual typing.

Fischgrat

Fischgrat

When I heard about there being a Corgi-based Pokémon design, I was as exited as anyone would be. Sadly, Yamper fails at what I've hoped for. Sure, it might look cute on itself to some, but past that there's nothing more to it than a loaf of bread with a bandanna that looks like an egg yolk in shape and color, with a head like a cheesy toy robot that's trying (and failing) to look like a dog, rather than an actual living creature. For me, a Corgi is about fluffy fur with a cute body structure that still tells you about the watch dog ancestors, and one of the most beautiful faces a dog can have; and Yamper fails to capture that essence on most levels. It's like one of these Chinese knockoff toys from back in the day that should be cute but are rather creepy at a second look, and instead of wiggling its tail it gives you an electrical shock (kinda fitting, right?). I mean, at least they could've made an effort to make that barrel look like it has some fur to it... There is hope for a well-designed evolution though, but for now I call this one a flop.

TJ

TJ

It may take a while for Yamper to fetch something for you due to its lower-than-average base Speed, (which is pretty ironic because of its new ability Ball Fetch, lol), but he's still a good boy! Next to Wooloo, Yamper is what I believe to be the second cutest Pokémon to be revealed thus far. I can see Yamper evolving into an Electric / Fairy type later down in its evolution line, because of Yamper's access to the move Play Rough, as seen in the E3 demo, and the history of real-life Corgis being associated with fairies.

art3mis

art3mis

WHO'S A GOOD BOY

Vigilante

{Pokemon_Vigilante}

This little dog has created quite the buzz!! I'm sure it will generate a bigger buzz as we learn more about it, too. Now, I'm not one for cuddly and cute Pokémon, but even I am drawn to give this little scamp a chance. I wish it didn't have a heart-shaped butt in its design, and a little more color would be nice to give Yamper a little more vibrance. But all in all, new designs based on real-life animals always get a chance before I condemn them in my book.

Pikachu315111

Pikachu315111

Impidimp is surprising. Not because it's based on an imp, that's fitting for a region based on the UK, but bright pink isn't the color I associate with them. I feel Impidimp's design hints to a possible evolution. Looking at it from the front, its purple mask and pointy ears may make people think of a bat, further reinforced by its fangs and the bat-like wing on the back of its head. Some are predicting a vampire-based evolution, but I see things differently. Instead of a bat I see purple flames, the ears looking like horns, and the wings... well they're still bat wings. BUT instead of a vampire I see it evolving into a devil-based grotesque because there's one more detail that's overlooked: its hanging tongue, which looks like a stream of (purple) water. Dark/Fairy is a new type combination I'm surprised hasn't been done yet and creates a Pokémon that could take on the big threatening types (Dragon, Psychic, and Fighting) but is weak to types that are considered more defensive (Steel and Fairy). This imp could be annoying to take down, and it looks like a Pokémon that would have Prankster as an ability.

BackAtYouBro

BackAtYouBro

What really caught me with this Pokémon is its name. Impidimp. IMPIDIMP?! This name is just one of the goofiest names of any Pokémon ever. It almost resembles impediment, and with its dumb look and tongue sticking out, it could straight up be interpreted as offensive. Other than that, this is our first Dark / Fairy type, a typing that the fans have been pleading for since the confirmation of Fairy-types in XY. It's an awesome typing, but it was granted to the wrong Pokémon. The tiny and devious imp design has been overplayed throughout video game history. It doesn't help Impidimp's case when the rest of its body appears like a boring and bland hot pink with no other notable features and its protruding long tongue is the only anatomical structure that draws attention. Its wings too maybe, but they're so oddly misplaced on its head. Hopefully its evolution line changes this scrawny and silly demon into a buff and malevolent harbinger of destruction, mind my edginess.

Kalalokki'

Kalalokki

Now this is a truly wack Pokemon: bubblegum pink with dark purple details, vampire fangs, wings on top of its head, and a body that makes Sableye look like a respectable member of society. However, it's exactly what one should expect from the first Pokémon with a Dark / Fairy type combination. It's also interesting that the two new Pokémon we saw from the E3 demo both had their tongues sticking out, and with fangs at either side of them. Hopefully this will evolve into something more fierce, as it might otherwise be as disappointing competitively as Sableye was at its introduction.

Mellow

Mellow

I'm kinda hyped for this one, too. It might look like nothing special right now, but it definitely looks like it's gonna evolve at least once, probably twice—the design just doesn't look fully fleshed out, so I think there's places to expand in evolved forms. I also think it's gonna be a fast offensive threat just from its frame, and it has a pretty cool new typing in Dark / Fairy that has pretty decent coverage. Also the name is pretty fun to say so that's neat.

Estronic

Estronic

Impidimp's Dark / Fairy typing is probably the only thing I see cool about this Pokemon. Still, I'm kind of annoyed a cool, unique typing is wasted upon a Pokémon with a design like Impidimp's. It's lazily designed, almost like a modern cartoon character from a studio that only wants money with its circular head, simple eyes, and basic as hell body structure. If you think that's the only reason why I hate it, let me tell you something. This thing of a Pokémon is being put in this game, but my favorite Pokémon won't be? My favorite Pokémon are going to die for Impidimp? I don't know how to say this professionally, but this son of a bitch should die with the rest of the unlucky Pokemon, but of course it's being introduced in this game. Look at it, sticking its tongue out like the asshole it is. It knows exactly how angry I am, and it can't help but rub it in. Sorry, had to let that stuff out of me.

Jordy

Jordy

While Impidimp's typing in Dark / Fairy is honestly very cool, I can't help but find it anything other than underwhelming. As a Pokemon, it emits a lot of the same vibes that I get from Sableye looking at it, which just takes away from it as a Pokémon overall. Because it's so alike Sableye, there's definitely the possibility that Impidimp won't evolve either, which I think would be really disappointing. Contrary to Sableye, Impidimp also just looks very bland; it has no interesting features that really define it. No, a big tongue, a large snout, and a wing (wings?) as pony tail do not count as interesting features. All in all, while its typing is very cool, it's a shame that it went to Impidimp instead of something more interesting.

TJ

TJ

Impidimp makes its way into the PokéDex with a brand new typing! The Dark / Fairy typing has been a unique type combo sought after by many fans due to its remarkable offensive presence. However, I think Game Freak gave this amazing typing to the wrong Pokémon. I find Impidimp's design to be mediocre and not fully fleshed out compared to other Pokémon that have been revealed thus far. Impidimp just looks more like a cartoon character than anything... Hopefully, Impidimp evolves at least once into a relatively fast Pokémon with good offensive stats and a good design so it doesn't end up like Sableye...


^ Return to main menu

Kalalokki'

Kalalokki

We've arrived at the end of another successful round of JAPE, thank you very much for reading! Further news since E3 ended has been kind of slow, with a large portion of the Internet being caught up in National Dex hysteria and the effects of it. Hopefully we'll get the official reveals of Yamper and Impidimp soon enough, as well as some more information on the mysterious legendaries we know so little about. This pre-release roller coaster of emotions has just started, and we'll be there to cover it all the way. Until next time!

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