The Abra Family

This is gonna be fun, because I've almost NEVER talked about Abra before, but I love Abra and its evolutions. These are some outstandingly cool monsters. They're the first true psychic types in our dex, and they're every bit as weird and frightening as we've been teased.

What IS this thing supposed to be, even? I mean, biologically? Some people liken it to a fox, because it seems like anime fans can't get enough of the things, but I'm not seeing any particular mammal here and ESPECIALLY not a fox. If anything, I'd liken Abra more to something like an Australian possum, though that's also pretty tenuous, and what's especially interesting is its insect-like, exoskeletal appearance.

Abra is an especially tricky pokemon to catch, traditionally using the move "teleport" to escape from battle on the first turn. According to the pokedex, its psychic abilities allow it to just sleep all day and teleport whenever it senses danger.

Abra eventually evolves into Kadabra, and Kadabra was a source of multiple controversies back in the day. For one thing, there's the fact that it was named after Uri Geller in Japan, a famous "psychic" magician who convinced people he could bend spoons with his thoughts.

Rather than be flattered that he inspired a badass monster in a children's franchise, Geller attempted to sue, claiming his likeness had been turned into an "evil, occult character." Some two decades later, this has actually never been resolved, and as a precaution, Kadabra has been consistently left out of the TCG and anime, making it impossible to use Alakazam in the card game without a way to circumvent normal evolutionary mechanics.

...And more on that "occult evil" later.

...So anyway, Kadabra ultimately evolves into ALAKAZAM, following their "magic word" English naming pattern, which I do think is the coolest looking of the line. It loses the star and the tail, but becomes lankier and bonier, its mustache gets mustachier, and now it can eat raisin bran twice as fast. Come for my pokemon reviews, stay for these edgy, subversive grown-up jokes.

Again, I still don't think we're looking at a "fox" here, even if it does look a little more like one than Abra. I'll always see this line more as a series of nondescript "monsters" who embody psionic powers, and just happen to look a little bit like dogs with exoskeletons.

Like Psyduck, those psychic powers actually get pretty unsettling. Alakazam's brain is supposedly so heavy that it uses its own telekinesis to hold its head up, and its thought processes can outperform the most advanced supercomputer. Creepier still, it's repeatedly mentioned in Kadabra's pokedex that a human child is said to have just up and transformed into one from studying ESP too closely.

Sadly, I can't say I like Mega Alakazam nearly as much as regular Alakazam. I appreciate that it's now a floating wizard with five spoons, which is way more spoons than I wake up with on a good day, but the serene, elderly look of this design just isn't as menacing and slick as the 'zam.

So, anyway, about that occult thing...

Some of you reading this are probably a little too young to remember the cultural environment of the late 80's to early 90's, but hot off the era of Mom's Against Dungeons and Dragons, pretty much anything popular with children used to get accused of pagan devil magic by the fundamentalist right-wing, whether Smurfs or Star Wars or Furbies or even god damn POGs.

These kind of goofballs were so rampant at the time that they were even treated with a degree of seriousness. They weren't limited to niche religious radio shows or obscure cable networks. Guys like this were often given a soapbox on everyday, mainstream media outlets as if it was necessary for real, mature adults to debate whether Pikachu's Vacation was in reality Pikachu's Satanic Indoctrination Camp, which, to be fair, would have definitely been the bigger ratings-grabber.

Probably the #1 piece of "evidence" these dudes fixated on was the existence of "psychic" pokemon, as anything "magical" was believed to be an attack on Jesus and a communist illuminati tool for endearing demonology to impressionable youth. Kadabra was pretty much the poster child of these accusations, waved around like it was Gamefreak's official Beelzebub Fandom I.D. Card.

I'll be honest: when I was younger, I thought this was one of the most upsetting things going on in the world. Being a sheltered, homeschooled teenager without any internet, I thought there was nothing in our society more infuriating than the fact that people burned piles of pokemon cards and forbid their children from watching cartoon shows. To be that young and innocent again. At least nowadays we're all too busy living in perpetual horror of police and government corruption to care about this crap.

...Where was I? Oh yeah. Of COURSE these cuties are blasphemous heathen sorcery monsters! Look at their dang heads! KILLER!