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The Heart of Darkness: thoughts on Dark-types and their depictions in writing

Discussion in 'Creative Archive' started by Sem, Jun 18, 2011.

  1. Sem

    Sem The Last of the Snowmen
    Former Administrator

    Yes, I used the title of a classic novel, bite me.

    Anyway. One of the more interesting types of Pokemon to write into the fictional arena. Our visions of them vary, and most of us don't like thinking that simply because they're dark doesn't mean that they're evil. Despite this, whenever there is an evil Pokemon in writing, it is commonly a dark-type. Why? Simply because most of them look so sinister. We can't help but see Houndoom as Satan's guard dog, or Tyranitar as the destroyer of worlds, or Weavile as the thing that'll stab you to death in the dark and then make you watch it lick your blood off of its claws while you die.

    To be perfectly fair, Dark-type is essentially called Evil-type in Japan, where the series originated. We also cannot deny that while most Dark-types do not seem all that evil, most of them do tend to lean towards the more mischievous and brutal end of the spectrum. If we look at them all, we can see that there are different kinds or classes, if you will, of Dark-types. There's the mischievous types, which are common and what we typical think of first. There's a neutral class, which is where many Dark-types also fall into. There is a small mysterious/misunderstood class. There is an aggressive/violent class. Finally there is also a properly malicious class.

    These are different classes that I can make out right more, but I have no doubt that there are more, and that we could break down these current ones into more specific definitions. There are many Dark-types that also fall into more than one of these classes. Let's go with what we have for now, but before we even do that let's discuss the the common aspects of Dark-types.

    On top of what the above classes offer, such as mischievous and violent, Dark-types also tend to be a lot more cunning than other Pokemon. They use deceit and conniving plans to get what they want. Many of them are feared, either for the folklore that surrounds them or for how they look. They are commonly associated with actual darkness, shadows, and the moon. They are also often associated with bad feelings such as unease, nightmares, and prophecies of doom or bad luck. Sounds all pretty dark to me - let's take a look at those classes.

    Mischievous class
    As stated above, these are fairly common and what we often think of when we hear the term "Dark-type". While not necessarily evil, those in this class do lean towards playing pranks, scaring, stealing, and perhaps inflicting very minor injury. Pokemon in this class tend to be selfish and otherwise self-centered, but in the end ultimately tend to be good. Examples are:


    Aggressive and Violent class
    The title of this class is fairly self explanatory. Dark-types that fall into this class are the violent ones that will injure you without much thought. Despite this, some of these cases can't actually be classified as "evil" as most of these injuries would occur due to a Pokemon protecting its territory, being competitive, or something similar. Few of the Pokemon on this list actually seek to injure people or other Pokemon for sheer malicious intent. This is the largest class and so it proves that a violent or aggressive nature is a common theme amongst Dark-types.


    Mysterious and Misunderstood class
    This is a small group of Dark-types, where, again, the title is self-explanatory. Pokemon in this group actually tend to be rather good-natured, but are feared for their dark-qualities. In essence, any Dark-type Pokemon could technically fall into this group, but it is most common with these four:


    Downright Malicious class
    This group is very small, but the Pokemon in this group are more than likely to be creatures you never want to encounter without your trusty Pokemon at your side, and even then... Pokemon in this group will seek to harm you for no reason other than because they can and could be properly befitting of the "evil" characteristic.


    Neutral class
    Dark-types in this class are more easily described as being like "everyone else", in that they're not majorly different from the rest of the Pokemon world. They could be as evil as Satan himself or as heavenly as Mother Teresa, and obviously anywhere in-between. A few of these don't even seem to have any of the common "Dark" characteristics at all, and we do have to allow for those Dark-types that are only Dark-types because the creators wanted them to be so.


    I would say that I agree with these above lists, and that this does make Dark-types unique amongst the other types. Don't think that I would abide by these strictly though. I realized that there could be a Murkrow that is the sickest most murderous dastard to ever exist, and I also believe that there are Hydreigon that barf rainbows and Butterfrees. Gyarados is also said to go on rampages similar to Spiritomb and Hydreigon, which also classify it as one evil mofo even though it's not a Dark-type. The Litwik line and other Ghost-types are equally as sinister as some Dark-types as well. Psychic-types also tend to wander into this "evil" sector.

    The writing world is flexible, but I'm really just spilling out my overall views on the type itself. Attacks are also a funny matter, as it's sometimes difficult to describe them, such as Nasty Plot. We could say that a lot of Dark-type attacks utilized Dark-type energy, but the nature of the energy is questionable. Is the energy evil incarnate or is it more benign? Is it produced by dark-thoughts and willpower or is it more like literal darkness? I'd personally wager for a combination depending on the attack.

    Thoughts? I'd like to see what other people think on this matter, and specifically in response to my thoughts and whether they agree or disagree.
    #1 Sem, Jun 18, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 30, 2017
  2. You took the words right out of my mouth, Sem. I pretty much agree with everything you've said. Anyone who knows me knows I love Dark-types, and I made a mental list somewhat similar to this one.

    For Nasty Plot, I'd say it depends on the Pokemon. If it's a particularly evil one, then I'd say all it has to do is focus on dark thoughts or just use their willpower. If it's only a tad bit evil, then it would use literal darkness to empower it, if only for a brief time. As for Pokemon in the middle-ground, it would probably depend on their personality/what's easier for them. I'd also wager that if they get interrupted during the attack, then they'd either lose all of that power they were gathering, or they'd only lose a bit of it. Of course, depending on the natural malice of the Pokemon, I'd say they can gather the energy either fast, slow, or in-between.

    Anyways, I really like this Sem. I always love your work ^^
  3. Linkachu

    Linkachu Hero of Pizza
    Staff Member Administrator

    [me=Linkachu]is tempted to add images in for all of your class lists. |D[/me]

    I like that you classified certain Pokemon multiple times, and by doing so I pretty well agree with your lists except for two Pokemon: Stunky and Stuntank. While Stunky probably isn't as malicious-ish as its evolved form, Stuntank is often portrayed as a stinky bastard. I'd stick it both in the mischievous category and aggressive, because I could easily see it suiting either role.

    Placing Pawniard and Bisharp as neutral seems correct, but I'm intrigued to see how the Pokemon Anime series will decide to handle those two. Bisharp's Pokedex entries make it sound like quite the ruthless bastard (particularly White's description explaining how it "pursues prey in the company of a large group of Pawniard", then finishes the creature off itself), so I could see it fitting comfortably with the aggressive Dark-types.

    Now, your last point: I think I agree with the concept that Dark-type attacks stem from both dark intentions and dark energy. The latter does make sense when you consider that Dark-types counteract Psychic-types, and Psychic attacks certainly do have an energy base to 'em. I tend to view Dark-types as having an invisible "dark aura" that snuffs out Psychic energies, but the attack "Miracle Eye" breaks through that aura/energy barrier to remove its protection. Whether the human eye can physically SEE dark energy, or simply sense/feel it, is another matter entirely. 8D

    Nice insights, Sem. Thanks for sharing. ^^
  4. Well, Pawniard is reminiscent of a chess piece (the pawn) and would thus follow the orders of its older, more experienced superior, Bisharp. In a way, that line seems to me as a pair that enjoys their dirty, violent work, but only if commanded to do it.
  5. Bisharp being the Bishop? Huh, never saw that before in this line o.o

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