Written by Jonathan Wojcik
DAY 03: MAGCARGO!
It's really too bad that the combination of rock-type and fire-type gives a pokemon quadruple vulnerability to both water-type and ground-type attacks, rendering one of my personal favorite pokebeasts almost laughable in the heat of battle. A creature with magma filling in for all organic tissues should really be one of the single most dangerous and intimidating things that could ever possibly exist, but poor Maggie flees in terror from even a damn Surskit.
Video game logic aside, I've always thought Magcargo was one of the single best examples of Pokemon's creative ingenuity. We've all seen a variety of lava-monsters in virtually every zany fantasy setting, but a lava-monster that also looks and acts like a giant snail is a surprisingly uncommon sight, considering how perfectly it works. The fact that its shell is slowly formed by an outer layer of cooled-off rock is just the icing on the cake. It's all just so simplistically novel, so obvious yet so original, and even if it lacks the eye-stalks I find so crucial to other snail-based monsters, the cool drips around its mouth totally make up for it. It has a real "Jim Henson" sort of feel to it, like a perptually burning, melting Kermit the Frog. It's kind of cruel that something three times hotter than the surface of the sun (if the pokedex is to be believed) is also the most huggable-looking thing in the series.
At least the smoldering mollusk gets some respect from players, as its unique in-game ability speeds up the incubation of pokemon eggs. It's not just a crawling, unnatural molten-rock gastropod from the Earth's core - it's a surrogate mommy to millions of other pokemon. Go ahead, tell that Garchomp how his mama could be fainted by a level five Squirtle. I dare you.