MY COMPLICATED AND EXTENSIVE FEELINGS ON GIGANTAMAX GARBODOR
(THIS REVIEW CONTAINS STORY SPOILERS)



You're kidding. Really?! Every single past-gen Gigantamax is from the first generation except one, and that just "happens" to be my single favorite Pokemon so unloved by so much of the fandom? It's so unloved, the above image was broken for almost an hour because I didn't realize that, out of all the Sword and Shield animated gifs I'd downloaded, only this one's name was spelled wrong, so I had to correct "garboBor-gigantamax.gif." If any one thing could have sold me on Galar, it would have definitely been the almost comical decision to include this as a giga form. I swear I am not secretly running Gamefreak and I am not petty enough that I'd have actually done it that way. In fact, I'd have tried to make it fairer by throwing in a Gigantamax Lucario or Gardevoir (even both?) and some brand new Eevee-lutions for the rest of you, because to me, the single best thing about Pokemon is how it appeals to so many contrasting tastes at once.

But, yeah, wow, they really did this. They really gave my unpopular #1 the only giganto-boost out of the entire 666 (huh...) Pokemon that sit between Snorlax and the next Gigantamax form, Melmetal. Wild! But maybe not all that terribly surprising. The Pokemon team actually seems to share my feelings on this critter, since Trubbish and Garbodor have, up to this point in the series, never been left out of a new region's dex even if the similar Grimer or Weezing lines were benched, it has a correlation with the Pikachu family I might just go back and add to my original Trubbish and Garbodor review, and it's even one of the few Pokemon whose cry now sounds a little like its name even in-game. It feels a lot like the Trubbish line is considered the "mascot" or "face" of the entire poison type these days. What's more, Garbodor has a minor story role here in Galar, which is precisely why it has a Gigantamax form! Let's take a moment to talk about that:

World's #1 greatest 4chan comment I've ever seen aside, this character is Oleana, a secretary who also plays a somewhat villainous role at one point, but not without some sympathetic backstory we'll get to in a moment. She's highly fixated on a clean, organized and glamorous appearance, so she employs a team that includes Froslass, Tsareena, Milotic, Salazzle, and of course a big, rancid pile of refuse.

I've seen some commenters speculate that this is supposed to symbolize how she's "beautiful on the outside while rotten on the inside," but the true reason is nothing so vapidly mean spirited. The real story goes that she used to live in squalor and poverty, maybe even orphaned and homeless, and a dirty little Trubbish she met in the streets was her only friend and protector. When she whips out her Gigantamax Garbodor, she even gives the pokeball a quick little hug. I'm not sure if I'll be doing human character reviews this time around, so consider this one a freebie: Oleana gets 5/5, easy, and already would have just on fashion sense and those AMAZING facial expressions:

So there's a plot reason why Gigantamax Garbodor exists, and it's a really sweet, really interesting one. If I were rating that alone it would also get a 5/5. If I were rating the simple FACT that they made a Gigantamax Garbodor I would also give that a 5/5. That's almost three 5/5's in a single review now!

Which is why I'm sorry to say that Gigantamax Garbodor itself makes me a little ambivalent.

HOLD ON NOW! That's only because I like Garbodor enough as-is! Enough that, while I obviously want to see it getting boosts, evolutions and forms, there isn't a whole lot to this one other than the "getting bigger" part. We've talked about how that seems to be the "point" of a lot of these, but we've also seen some that were pretty strikingly different from their base, and we'll be seeing several new species to come whose Gigantamaxes are totally different creatures. What this form opts instead to change are the objects embedded in Garbodor's trash, and I did say in its original review that I wish it had some recognizable objects in it, so, props for that. My favorite is what appears to be a Magikarp skeleton.

But, as we established, the Gigantamax forms are just fancy Brocken Specters anyway, and even if this Hedorah-size menace were "real" in-canon, the buildings and vehicles lodged in it are not. If you skimmed the design without looking twice, you may have missed that those are giant toys, rather than actual airplanes and boats. I suppose this is because Japan has suffered enough disasters that they didn't want to integrate imagery of a wrecked city directly into a Pokemon's core design, but according to its pokedex entry, those really are supposed to be a bunch of big children's toys that it just sort of willed into existence by "condensing its toxins."

And, okay, that IS a fun idea. It recycled some pollution into usable plastic! Is this also meant to tie in with Oleana's story? That this is what Garbodor wished it could have provided for her when she was just a kid? Man, that's heartbreaking! But if that had been the reasoning, it feels a little odd that such unique story circumstances apply to an entire "species." Also, everybody thinks its new "train tail" looks more like a train going up its back door:



...On another down note, this Pokemon's "G-Malodor" move just does poison type damage and inflicts normal poison status. It inflicts poison at a 100% rate, yes, but giving something vanilla poison over "toxic poison" is kind of a waste, especially for what's supposed to be the extra-special secret move of an extra-special secret form. With nothing but a temporary hit point boost otherwise, there's not a lot of reason I'd have used G-Garbodor for anything other than dramatic effect. I sure as heck would do exactly that, but still, not a lot of strategic point.



In the end, I feel like G-Garbodor encapsulates why I'm a bit underwhelmed by most of the Gigantamax forms they gave to older Pokemon, and the saddest part is that I end up relieved I don't love it too much, because I'm still expecting we'll never get to use it again by the time another new region is unveiled. I'm still giving it a 4/5 on personal principle, but there's some untapped potential here I guess I'm ultimately glad might be saved, some day, for a regional form or even a whole new evolution.

This is the very last form we're reviewing for past Pokemon...tomorrow, it's all new species.

And it's not much, but here's just one quick and messy scribble of just one way I might have designed this form, without getting too different from the base anatomy that they did keep:



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