Thursday, September 24, 2015

Liberal Rant: The Government We Deserve

I’m just as surprised as anyone that Donald Trump is doing as well as he is doing. It’s baffling; despite who he is, what he does, and what he says, he consistently places first in primary polls everywhere. Often by double digits, no less. It may be because I’m a business hating liberal, but no one should be looking at Trump and think, “yeah, that guy should be the most powerful man in the free world.” And yet millions of Americans are.

But this isn’t another editorial about how Trump is a terrible candidate, because honestly, all slavoes against Trump make him stronger. Actually, I’d like to open by talking about the Republican consistently placing second in these polls: Ben Carson.

Ben Carson shares a lot of positions with your typical modern Republican, and on paper he seems like a good choice for the Republican nominee. Then he opens his mouth. He got some weird looks for saying that the Affordable Care Act was the worst thing since slavery. He’s gotten a lot of flak recently for saying that a Muslim should never be president because of Sharia Law. He even went as far as to cite prison rape as indisputable evidence that being gay is a choice. Carson may speak softer than Trump, but he carries a much wackier stick.

But the worst part about Carson is the support he enjoys. That comment about Muslims he made? That got him the admiration of many on the right. When people got justifiably angry about his remark, they jumped to his defense saying that the rest of America is just too politically correct. Hell, his campaign is now raising more money than ever since his remarks. Just how Trump’s popularity baffles me, it also baffles me that a blatant discriminatory remark would earn admiration.

Carson is of course getting flak for what he said, but the fact that he’s winning supporters due to this should not be the case. Yet he’s constantly second in polls across the nation.

This is what our political landscape has become; where people clearly not fit for governance are met with roaring cheers from a significant part of the populous, and where anyone actually fit is shoved to the side, or worse, is jeered into submission. And we deserve it.

The state of the Republican primary, the state of our government, and the state of our political landscape has been pinned on many things. But one thing that must be accepted is that voters brought it on themselves. At the end of the day, it was their choice to put these destructive, polarizing politicians into office. It was they who voted for men and women who proudly ran on a platform of not compromising and tearing down the government. They were chosen precisely because they had no experience, as if that was an admirable quality. People have no right to be shocked or angry about how our officials are tearing apart the government.

It’s easy to blame something else. Many people blame the disproportionate (and admittedly unfair) influence the wealthy that has been exacerbated by Citizen’s United. And it's true that their money has bought a good deal of airwaves, allowing them to control the message. It’s also true that their money help shape legislative agendas through campaign contributions and lobbying. But at the end of the day, the wealthy cannot buy a person’s vote. People, at the end of the day, are still in charge of who gets into office. They have no one to blame but themselves.

I am not saying that voting conservative is the same as voting for this government to continue its downward slide. The government can still do great things when placed into the hands of moderate conservatives. But many of the conservatives that we elect or pay attention to are not those. Many are those that despise government and are content with shutting down everything without offering an alternative. Yet we chose to elect those people, and our government, and our nation as a whole, is worse off for it.

We vote for these people because we allow ourselves to be easily swayed. We allow ourselves to be caught by meaningless slogans, flag waving, and Constitution thumping, that we are willing to overlook the fact that these people will destroy the very institution we’re sending them to. We don’t look at what they’re saying, and we don’t stop to consider the consequences of choosing an inexperienced, uncompromising politician to run our nation. We allow ourselves to fall for backwards logic that expertise and experience are things to be shunned. As such, this is the government we brought on ourselves.

But all's not lost. We get the government we deserve, and if we educate ourselves, we can again have a government worth believing in. We must be more cynical; take every slogan or reference to our Constitution with a grain of salt. We must prize an ethic to work, not an ethic to destroy. We must toute a willingness to compromise, not willful uncooperation. Cynicism and better judgement are the key to a better government.

Voter may have brought Trump, Carson, and our dysfunctional government on themselves. But regardless of what the wealthy or politicians do or say, they cannot take away our ability to make an informed decision. We may get the government we deserve, but that can work in our favor with a healthy dose of cynicism and self discipline.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Mechanime: Brave Express Might Gaine

As a wise man once said: "I like trains."
Original Run: 1993-1994

Number of Episodes: 47

Average Episode Length: 21 minutes
Subgenres: Shounen
Dub?: No

I would like to thank the Planetary Defense Subtitling Group for subbing Might Gaine. I couldn’t have done this review without their sub.

Usually I choose what I review at random. However, I chose to to watch Might Gaine out of curiousity, thanks to how much I like J-Decker, and partially thanks to the show’s gimmick of trains. Unfortunately, the best thing Might Gaine did for me is further my appreciation for J-Decker. As per usual, this is a review of the first 13 episodes, but unlike Eureka Seven or J-Decker, there won’t be a follow-up with this.

Note: I could not find a good MP3 of the opening. Might Gaine's OP should be on YouTube. Check it out if you're curious enough.

Given that the Brave series has 8 openings to its name, it would make sense that some openings are better than others. Might Gaine’s opening, called “Arashi no Hero (meaning Hero of Storms),” sadly, is one of the lesser ones. The song is perhaps the cheesiest, most 90s-ist thing I’ve ever heard, but instead of being a glorious guilty pleasure, it just ends up being average. It didn't impress me, but at the same time, I didn’t find it to be offensively bad. In terms of opening themes for the Brave series, this is probably right in the middle.

Nouville Tokyo is the setting of the anime.
Might Gaine takes place in the near future, fifty years after the disappearance of oil. Society has since been able to rebuild itself since then thanks to advancements in electrical energy and robotics. Still the world is a very dangerous place, with criminals and evil masterminds having access to dangerous new technologies. Luckily for the citizens of Nouville Tokyo, a new hero has appeared on the scene. His name is Maito Senpuuji, a teenage boy who has recently acquired his late father’s company. Together with robots equipped with sentient AI, he vows to rid his home of Nouville Tokyo of all crime.

I will say that the story of Might Gaine has an interesting setup. But despite how interesting the concept of a world without oil is, the story of Might Gaine seems to use it solely to explain why the robots are trains, as electric trains are the only viable mode of public transport left. The story also has a big problem with tone; it repeatedly hints at how dangerous the world has become since oil’s disappearance, yet the actual tone of the show is very lighthearted and silly. The story as a whole feels very generic, as most episodes boil down to a criminal starting trouble, and Maito and his robots show up to save the day. The story has potential, but sadly it never gets past the standard shounen plot.

The main villains of the series. From left to right: Shogun Mifune, Don Hoikowloh, Joe Rival, Catherine, and Wolfgang.
Sit down, I have quite a bit to say about the characters. Let’s start as we usually do; an objective look at both the heroic and villainous sides. Our heroes include Maito, the main protagonist of the story, Izumi, the main secretary of the Senpuuji Corporation, Aoki, Maito’s butler and resident Alfred stand-in, Hamada, Maito’s best friend and head engineer, and Sally, Maito’s love interest. On the villainous side, we have Wolfgang, a mad scientist obsessed with the creating “the world’s strongest machine,” Hoikowloh, a Chinese mob boss who sells his robots to the highest bidder, Shogun Mifune, a terrorist who wishes to destroy technology, Catherine, a world class jewel thief, and Joe Rival, a former fighter pilot who only wishes to find and defeat the perfect opponent.

Maito and the three main robots. From left to right: Guard Diver, Might Gaine, and Tribomber.
On the robot side, we have Gaine, Maito’s partner that helps form the titular robot of the series. Supporting him are the Bombers, a group of three robots that have both a vehicle form and a animal form. They are Lio Bomber, Bird Bomber, and Dino Bomber. The other support team are the Divers, a group of robots built for rescue purposes; the group includes Fire Diver (a fire engine), Police Diver (a police chaser), Jet Diver (a fighter jet), and Drill Diver (a drill tank). The Bombers can combine to form the powerful Tribomber, and the Divers can unite to form Guard Diver.

Before I get started on judging the cast, I want to point out that this show has a character named Joe Rival. That’s not a nickname, that’s his actual name. That is so dumb it wraps around and becomes awesome.

After the solid cast of J-Decker, this cast came as an unpleasant surprise. The biggest offender is Maito, who is a blatant Marty Stu (a implausible perfect character who is beloved by everyone). He’s rich, good looking, athletic, and no one calls him out on shirking his responsibilities as a company president. And it’s not like his allies are any better; all of them are derivative, forgettable, and bland. The villains fair slightly better, as they have gimmicks to compensate for their one-note personalities. I appreciated how they stuck to five big bad guys as opposed to creating a new villain every week. The villains aren’t actually strong though; they’re only interesting in comparison to the lackluster cast of heroes.

This line contains the whole personality of Gaine. I'm serious.
What they did with the robots, however, is just downright sad. Unlike J-Decker, were each robot had a defined personality, strengths, and weaknesses, the robots in Might Gaine are all practically interchangeable. Gaine has barely a personality to speak of, and each support team has only one trait to share between them. They are boring as all hell, which is a huge disappointment. The robots are central part of any robot show, and when you can get invested or even get interested in any of the robots, they show fails. The entire cast of Might Gaine may be a pack of forgettable cutouts, but for the robots to have so little personality made an otherwise dull cast into a poor cast.

This is an actual line. And it's played completely straight. I know this is a kid's show, but come on...
The writing in this show is just as bad as the cast. The dialogue is derivative and flat, and the humor is even more so. The characterization is terrible all across the board, with boring characters and even more boring robots. This is a huge shame, as good writing is one of the things that could have saved this show. Instead, we get paint-by-numbers cast members, predictable plots, a half baked world, and robots just as deep as the toys they were meant to sell.

Gaine's transformation sequence.
There are some good things about Might Gaine. Perhaps the best thing about this show is the animation. The animation is smooth and there are few hiccups. It’s more low budget than J-Decker, as it has some much more noticeable shortcuts, feels and looks less polished overall, and it’s much more willing to recycle its animation. For instance, all the gattai sequences are recycled, which is fine, given how well animated they are. However, Might Gaine’s gattai sequence is more than a minute long, and for all of the first 13 episodes, it insisted on playing out in its entirety. Also, Might Gaine uses the same finisher in every fight, meaning another minute of beautiful but nevertheless recycle animation. This show isn’t as bad as Golion when it comes to recycling it's animation, but it's still annoying that nearly a tenth of every episode is stock footage.

Mecha and Fight Scenes
Might Gain's finisher involves a vertical cut that splits the enemy in two. It's always the best part of an episode.
Despite being bland, the robots of Might Gaine are well designed. Like in J-Decker, the base robots are the right mixture of simplicity and detail; not terribly complex, but having enough visual appeal to avoid being boring to look at. The combined robots look really good too, but are more complex and cooler looking than J-Decker’s giant robots. It also helps that this show really goes above and beyond with the whole train concept. The main robot can transform into a train, and can combine with a bigger train to make the titular giant robot. A team of three triple changers, all of which have trains as their vehicle forms, can take the form of a larger train by default. A team of four robots can meld together to form their own giant train. That’s a lot of trains.

Tribomber engaging in a fierce slideshow battle with the Robot of the Week.

But like J-Decker, the fight scenes in Might Gaine range from “nothing special” to “uneventful and boring.” The fights often don’t have a lot going on, and often devolve into a slideshow rather than an animated fight. In most fights, you’ll be lucky to see any remotely interesting  before Might Gaine’s finisher, and while the finisher itself is awesome, it gets old after the third time you see it. Honestly, I would have forgiven this anime for most of its shortcomings if it had good fights. New Getter Robo is a case of that. But the lame fight scenes turned out just to be another problem on Might Gaine’s long list of flaws.

Might Gaine has a lot of potential to make a great anime, but it squanders a lot of it. While it does have good animation and cool looking robots, it's largely a derivative, paint-by-numbers mecha show that does little to differentiate itself from its peers. Unlike J-Decker, this does feel like a 21 minute weekly toy commercial. I can’t recommend this unless you’re dying to see all the Brave shows; otherwise, don’t even bother with this one.

5.5/10 - Mediocre

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Press Start Double List: Top 5 Favorite Gym Leaders/Top 5 Least Favorite Gym Leaders

Pokemon is a franchise that has earned my respect. The series is a simple one, but under its cutesy surface is a deep and entertaining RPG that has kept my attention for years. The games are home to some great monsters, great characters, and great boss fights. One constant in every main series Pokemon game are the Gym Leaders, a group of eight powerful trainers that test how far you’ve come as a player. And like how the series can have its ups and its downs, the Gym Leaders range from being great to being terrible. This list is dedicated to my favorite and least favorite of all 58 Gym Leaders. I’ll be judging them on their gym, their character, and most importantly, their fight. Let’s get started.

#5 Favorite: Clay
Game: Black and White, Black 2 and White 2
City or Residence: Driftveil
Type: Ground

Note: I have not played Black 2 or White 2, so this segment will judge Clay on his original appearence.

Given that Unova is based on America, it shouldn’t surprise you that one of the Gym Leaders is a cowboy. However, there’s more to Clay’s character than wearing a cool hat and speaking in a southern drawl. He’s a self-made man who started with nothing and worked himself up to be not only a successful miner, but also the fifth Gym Leader in Unova. His gym is my personal favorite of Black and White, being one giant mine shaft. Players must operate elevators in order to get to Clay, who resides at the very bottom of the Gym. I really like how the Gym’s bottom floor is not only noticeably darker that upper levels, but is also filled with gems, which really sells the whole mine concept.

But despite the fun puzzle of his gym and his character, Clay’s fight isn’t terribly challenging. Like most Gym Leaders in Unova, he only has three Pokemon, which means this fight is likely to be a short one. His Krokorok and Palpitoad should go down without a hitch, especially if you have a decent Grass type. While his Excadrill offers some challenge, it’s no match for a good fighting type. But despite the mediocre fight against him, Clay manages to be one of my favorites because of his Gym and personality. This is a personal choice more than anything, but it’s a choice I support wholeheartedly.

#5 Least Favorite- Falkner and Chuck
Game: Gold and Silver, Crystal, Heart Gold and Soul Silver
Cities of Residence: Violet City and Cianwood City
Types: Flying and Fighting

Gen 2 of Pokemon is my least favorite generation. It has an uninteresting region, a lackluster selection of Pokemon, poor characters, and underwhelming boss fights. The games are an unfortunate mix of boring, grindy, and (occasionally) frustrating. Naturally, I find a lot of Johto’s Gym Leaders to be underwhelming. This spot is a tie between the worst Johto had to offer: Falkner and Chuck.

Both Falkner and Chuck share the same set of problems. Both are poorly developed, with Falkner barely having a personality and Chuck being a shallow “passionate fighter” archetype. Both have underwhelming gyms: Falkner’s is essentially a straight path to him that offers little challenge, and Chuck having either a boulder puzzle (the originals) or a switch challenge (the remakes) that are not hard to solve in the slightest. These could be forgiven if the fights were any good, but they aren’t. Both have a team of only two Pokemon, and both teams can be crushed if you have a Electric type (in Falkner’s case) or a Psychic type (in Chuck’s case). They barely pose a challenge, which is a theme that you’ll see often in this list.

#4 Favorite- Misty
Game: Red and Blue, Yellow,  Fire Red and Leaf Green, Gold and Silver, Crystal, Heart Gold and Soul Silver
City of Residence: Cerulean City
Type: Water

No, this isn’t because of her anime role, though I will say Misty is more entertaining than any of Ash’s other female companions (hey, having an actual personality helps). The reason Misty is on this list is because she serves as Red and Blue’s wake-up call. Brock is pretty much a pushover even if you chose a Charmander, and Mount Moon may be long, but it’s more annoying than challenging. However, Cerulean’s resident Gym Leader is there to show you that you can’t just breeze through the game.

In terms of gym design or character, Misty doesn’t have much going for her. There’s no real puzzle to speak of, and list most Gen 1 gym leaders, she doesn’t have much character to speak of. However, the fight more than makes up for it. True, she only has two Pokemon, and her Staryu isn’t terribly tough, but her Starmie is what makes this fight worth remembering. Her Starmie can tank Thunder Shocks and Razor Leafs like they were nothing, and can deal tons of damage too. This means that if you walk into the fight without a backup plan, you will get wrecked. Misty is the first actual challenge in Red and Blue, and while there are better Gym Leaders in the same game, Misty gets a spot for letting the player know that the game is not always a cakewalk.

#4 Least Favorite: Liza and Tate
Game: Ruby and Sapphire, Emerald, Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire
City of Residence: Mossdeep
Type: Psychic

Ruby and Sapphire may be my favorite Pokemon game, but I still know a bad Gym Leader when I see one. Or in this case, bad Gym Leaders.

This fight has a lot going for it. The gym has a cool sliding tile puzzle in Ruby and Sapphire, and while it was replaced by a much easier puzzle in the remake, the spectacle made up for it. The twins are pretty interesting, being able to (allegedly) communicate telepathically. This battle also stands out as being the only gym battle that is a double battle, which is really cool, especially when you consider Ruby and Sapphire introduced the mechanic.

However, the battle has one major pitfall: it’s way too easy. Tate and Liza only have one Pokemon each, which means that the battle could last less than a couple minutes if you bring a capable Ghost type. Also, their Pokemon choices are lackluster. They have a Solrock and a Lunatone, and while they make a decent team, there are far better Psychic types in the game. In a game with Gardevoir, Alakazam, Metagross, and other powerful Psychic types, they went with two mediocre Pokemon that can be easily dispatched. If these two had more and better Pokemon, this would be one of the best fights in the game, but instead they end up being pushovers. Talk about wasted potential.

#3 Favorite: Sabrina and Blaine
Game: Red and Blue, Yellow, Fire Red and Leaf Green, Gold and Silver, Crystal, Heart Gold and Soul Silver
Cities of Residence: Saffron City and Cinnabar Island
Types: Psychic and Fire

I may not have the same nostalgic attachment many others have with Red and Blue, but I can easily say that they have some the best fights in the series. The Gym Leaders (discounting Brock) can be very challenging, even if you have a good counter for their teams. Two Gym Leaders that exemplify this the best are Sabrina and Blaine.

Unlike Misty, both Sabrina and Blaine have well established characters that really add to their status as Gym Leaders. Sabrina is a Psychic master who can communicate with her Pokemon telepathically, and it is established that she feels very passionate towards them, only fighting when she absolutely has to. Blaine is a bright old man who devotes a great deal of time towards Pokemon research, and is always eager to test the knowledge of younger challengers. In addition, both gyms have great puzzles: Sabrina has the very first teleporter puzzle in Pokemon history, and Blaine’s gym has you answering increasing difficult quiz questions as you get closer to Blaine.

Where these two really shine are their fights. Both Sabrina and Blaine pack a team of four powerful Pokemon, each with several powerful moves. While Blaine prefers to overpower his opponents with Fire Blasts and Fire Spins, Sabrina takes a more strategic method, with Pokemon knowing moves like Calm Mind and Baton Pass. Either way, you’re in for a tough fight thanks to how both have powerful Pokemon in their own right. Both Blaine and Sabrina are great mixes of good characters, good gyms, and great fights.

#3 Least Favorite: Koga
Game: Red and Blue, Yellow, Fire Red and Leaf Green
City of Residence: Fuchsia City
Type: Poison

I never really was a fan of Poison types. They are the greatest at heckling and crippling the opponent, but few Poison types have the muscle to back up these tactics. I’m not saying their aren’t good Poison types: Crobat, Dragalge, and Nidoking all do their jobs very well. All I’m saying is that a mono-Poison team wouldn’t pose much of a threat, given their lackluster offensive capabilities. Maybe that’s why I never found Koga to be a big challenge.

Despite being a ninja and a potions master, Koga has one of the worst gyms in Pokemon history. The challenge is trying to navigate a maze with invisible walls, which is incredibly frustrating without a guide. Most of the gym trainers don’t even use Poison types. Of the 14 Pokemon used by the gym’s trainers, only 3 are Poison types, and they’re all Arboks. The gym itself is very bland in terms of design. Koga’s gym is easily the worst in Kanto.

The fight with Koga is definitely not worth the struggle. Regardless of what version you’re playing, his team is very lackluster. In Red and Blue, he uses two Koffings, a Muk, and a Weezing. In Yellow, he comes packing three Venonats and a Venomoth. In either case, you’ll probably be sweeping his team effortlessly. Yes, many of his Pokemon can utilize moves that can cripple your team. However, his Pokemon aren’t strong enough to last one round with a decent Psychic type, or really any Pokemon that can hit remotely hard. Janine may have the same crappy gym and a worse character than Koga, but at least her team can put up a good fight. Koga is just a bad Gym Leader. He does make a decent Elite Four member though.

#2 Favorite: Norman
Game: Ruby and Sapphire, Emerald, Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire
City of Residence: Petalburg City
Type: Normal

Norman is a nostalgic boss for me. Ruby and Sapphire was the first was the first Pokemon game I ever beaten, and any fan of Ruby and Sapphire will tell you that the first Gym Leader you encounter is not the first one you fight. He’s your father Norman, and he’s Hoenn’s fifth Gym Leader. When I beat him for the first time, I felt like I actually got stronger as a trainer, something that none of the previous four Gym Leaders managed to do.

But there’s a lot more to Norman than nostalgic value. For starters, he has a great gym. The gimmick here is that you progress through the gym by going through different rooms. Depending on what room you enter, the trainer will use a certain item at the beginning of the battle, boosting a certain stat of your opponent’s Pokemon. So not only can you pick who to fight ahead of time, but you also get to chose what challenges you get to face first. It’s a great concept, and it puts you on your toes more than most gyms do.

The fight with Norman is also really good. He comes at you with a Vigoroth and two Slakings, which doesn’t seem like a good team on paper. After all, Slaking can only attack every other turn. But honestly, Norman’s Slakings are the biggest threat in the game up to that point. They have some serious attack power guaranteed to deal serious damage to even the toughest Pokemon. His Slakings also have some serious defensive capabilities, meaning they’ll be able to survive a lot of the Fighting type moves you’ll throw at him. Norman offers a tough but fair challenge, especially in the original Ruby and Sapphire, and holds a special place in my heart.

#2 Least Favorite: Juan
Game: Emerald
City of Residence: Sootopolis Gym
Type: Water

I was never a big fan of Wallace to begin with. Yeah, he’s absolutely fabulous, and his Milotic is pretty beastly, but other than that, he’s pretty average. As a Gym Leader, he’s just okay. In Emerald, he replaces Steven as the champion (which is a terrible decision, honestly), and his replacement, Juan, is one of the most forgettable Gym Leaders in Pokemon history.

Juan’s biggest problem is that he’s essentially Wallace-lite. He shares the same love of elegance and flair for the flamboyant. He has a harem of female trainers ready to fight you in case you mess up on the puzzle. The gym’s puzzle involves you trying to step on each tile once and only once before you can move on. Juan has very few, if any, original bones in his beautiful body. It certainly doesn’t help he’s a Water type boss in a game filled with Water type bosses.

Aside from being bland and forgettable, Juan’s fight is really easy. Wallace’s fight in Ruby and Sapphire wasn’t that hard; not terribly easy, but nothing really that hard either. Juan’s fight somehow manages to take a step back from that, with a worse team than Wallace that can be crushed in as little as five turns. Wallace had the same problem, but Juan’s blandness really pushes it over the edge for me. If it wasn’t for the fact that he’s the only Gym Leader exclusive to Emerald, he’d be my least favorite Gym Leader.

#1 Favorite: Blue
Game: Gold and Silver, Crystal, Heart Gold and Soul Silver
City of Residence: Viridian City
Type: None

Gen 2 may be my least favorite generation, but it’s home to three of the greatest boss fights in Pokemon history. There’s Lance, who shows you how terrifying a goofy looking dragon can be, Red, who’s probably the hardest boss in all of Pokemon, and my favorite Gym Leader, Blue.

Blue is one of the greatest characters in all of Pokemon, being the world’s biggest jerk and Red’s number biggest rival. In Gold and Silver, his title of biggest jerk has been usurped by Silver, but he’s still an arrogant jackass. He’s taken over the Viridian gym, and unlike all other Gym Leaders, he doesn’t specialize in a type. The gym itself, at least in Heart Gold and Soul Silver, has one of my favorite puzzles. Like the Mossdeep gym, the floor is covered in sliding tiles, but in Blue’s gym, you actually have to think twice about where you step It’s a fun puzzle through and through.

The reason Blue’s my favorite Gym Leader is the fight with him. Like the champion bout with him in Red and Blue, you’ll be facing a balanced team that doesn’t have a clear weakness. His team is a strong one, filled with Pokemon that can hit hard, take punishment, and are often able to cover their weaknesses. Unlike most Gym Leaders, where you can just bring one or two Pokemon that have a type advantage, you have to make sure that you have a balanced team in order to even stand a chance. Blue’s champion bout in the first generation may be more memorable, but this fight is easily the greatest gym battle in all of Pokemon.

#1 Least Favorite: Wulfric
Game: X and Y
City of Residence: Snowbelle City
Type: Ice

In order to be considered the worst, you don’t have to be terribly offensive, you just have to lack any semblance of good. My least favorite Gym Leader has all the elements of a bad one: a poor gym, a lack of character, and a underwhelming fight. That man is Wulfric, the eighth Gym Leader of the Kalos region.

The problems Wulfric has are shared with all the other Kalos Gym Leaders. For one, his charcter is non-existent. Other than being the “gentle giant” archetype, there’s nothing to his character besides looking like a walrus. His gym, while a visual spectacle, is not that fun to navigate. In his gym, you have to rotate huge platforms to progress through the gym. A cool idea on paper, but the puzzle is too easy to be impressive. Ironically, this Ice type gym is all flash and no fire.

However, the biggest sin Wulfric commits is having an easy battle. He only has three Pokemon, which is common for Kalos Gym Leaders. However, most Gym Leaders at least attempted to cover their weaknesses by having Pokemon with typing that negated some type weaknesses. Wulfric’s team does not. Each of his Pokemon are weak to all of Ice’s weaknesses, so as long as you come in with a strong Fire, Steel, or Rock type, you can crush his team. Even his beefy Avalugg can be stomped with a Flamethrower or a Flash Cannon thanks to its pathetic Special Defense stat. The kicker here is that Wulfric is supposed to the the final Gym Leader; the final stepping stone before you can challenge the Elite Four. Wulfric is the ultimate culmination of blandness and easiness, with no redeeming qualities. That’s why he’s my least favorite Gym Leader.