Sandygast and Palossand

About dang time we get to an inanimate object, if you don't count Comfey, which I don't, because it's entirely a living plant creature. Sandygast, on the other hand, is another clever entry in Pokemon's long line of Tsukumogami, and this time, it's a "sandcastle" that's sprung to life as a malevolent ground/ghost spirit - or at least a sand pile made by a small near-infant, complete with a discarded shovel!

Sandygast's design has that simplistic sort of perfection I love so much in countless first-stage pokemon; you can't go wrong with a living, creeping pile of something, whether it be sludge or trash or soil or sand, and I'm always a fan of eyes set in a single socket. The mouth hole going all the way through Sandygast's body - a "tunnel" built into the "castle" - also adds a lot of novelty to an otherwise straightforward "blob monster" design.

Cute though it may be, Sandygast is a ghost type, and very few ghost types get by without a dash of horror. Said to originate from the grudges of the dead, anyone who reaches into Sandygast's mouth or touches its plastic shovel will fall under its mind control - compelled to keep adding more sand to its body.

...And with the aid of those possessed servants, Sandygast eventually builds itself up into a proper castle, Palossand, said to generate a vortex to ensnare living things and drain away their life force, as Ken Sugimori himself saw fit to demonstrate thusly:

Yes, that is none other than pikachu (well, "a" pikachu, maybe not "the" pikachu) getting sucked under the ground and murdered by a haunted sandcastle. How cool is it that a sandcastle ghost hunts like an antlion?! How cool is it that a sandcastle ghost is a pokemon at all? I've seen a lot of monsters and spirits with bodies made of sand, but I've seldom seen one take such an obvious, humorous form to ambush prey.

My VERY favorite detail, however, is that the shovel sticking out of Palossand's head is constantly rotating, like a little sonar dish, and that is exactly how it functions, apparently picking up the presence of delicious "life energy." I love object monsters enough as it is, but it's all the more fun when practical "biological" uses are found for their nonbiological components.

I also don't usually comment on shiny forms, but Palossand's beautiful black variation likely references the actual black sand beaches scattered around Hawaii, formed when molten lava came into contact with cool seawater and literally exploded, cooling into dunes of fine basalt.

A welcome addition to Pokemon's many weird and wacky spooks.