Wednesday, September 11th, 2013
The downside to Pokemon dominating this contest the way they did is that this contest was made up entirely of three-way polls. Meaning that in the late rounds, if Pokemon won too much like they did this year, there was bound to be cannibalism going on. Neither one of these two characters would have beaten Snake one on one, but it's not like they ever got the chance to either. Squirtle and Pikachu just absolutely destroyed each other's chances of making the finals, and Snake was all too happy to take advantage and punch his own ticket. Rivalry Rumble aside, Snake has made at least the semifinals of every contest since 2005. That has to count for something, right? Granted he's never actually won a contest, but he'll break through eventually.
Snake winning the match wasn't the only story here, though. Even today, I'm completely floored that Pikachu beat Squirtle, and it really makes me question my knowledge of the hierarchy of Pokemon. I know the match was literally dead even until the morning vote and THE KIDDIES WAKING UP is what caused Pikachu to win this, but even still. I would have never picked Pikachu to beat him, by any standard. My biggest guess there is that Pokemon strength at the very top is a jumbled unpredictable mess, and that the Pokemon fanbase is split in two among current adults that grew up on RBY and children. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but the tastes are clearly different. Children still prefer Pikachu, but during the hours when adults were the primary voters, Squirtle held a slim lead.
It reeeeeeeally makes me wonder how Squirtle's path would have turned out had one guy in the NRT voted for Blastoise instead. Does Pikachu beat Blastoise? I'd be floored if he did, but given this match I really don't know.
You know what would have made this match more interesting? Cloud here instead of Squirtle. If Pikachu had inherited all of Squirtle's votes he would have been close to Snake in strength, and you can also assume that Cloud would have LFF'd Snake based on Classic PlayStation nostalgia, so the match would have been really close. Funny how I'm saying Cloud would have been the one to hold Snake back. What a year.
But instead of Cloud we had Squirtle, and while Squirtle impressed by staying close to Pikachu, that didn't really surprise anybody at this point. Ulti makes a point to say that Blastoise was one vote away from beating Squirtle in the NRT and being our chosen pick instead. I don't know if Blastoise would be stronger than Squirtle, while he certainly is "cooler" as well as being the cover Pokemon for Blue, I'm not sure if that would translate into as much raw strength as Squirtle just being Squirtle.
Do you know how many Picsmiths were trying desperately to get Squirtle's Kamina sunglasses into every pic? Yeah, that's cuz of the anime, not cuz of the games. Squirtle gets a huge portion of his strength from that as well as being playable in Brawl. I think Blastoise would be close in strength but not stronger.
On the other side of that coin, would Charmander do better than Charizard? Definitely not, no, because Charizard was a focal point of the anime for longer and comes back every time the anime needs to get the views up. He's also cool as heck.
Back to the actual match: Yeah, some people took Squirtle over Pikachu, and yeah, he had an early lead, but Pikachu is the face of the franchise, and even though at one point he was a contest punchline he's now a juggernaut. Pikachu is one of the most recognizable things on the planet, and unlike Pac-Man, people actually seem to give a shit. Two shits. Three, even!