Grimer and Muk
|Grimer and Muk|
|Pokémon series character|
|First game||Pokémon Red and Blue|
|Designed by||Ken Sugimori|
|Voiced by (English)||Michael Haigney (Muk)|
|Voiced by (Japanese)||Unshō Ishizuka (Muk)|
Grimer and Muk, known as Betbeter (ベトベター Betobetā?) and Betbeton (ベトベトン Betobeton?) in Japan, are two Pokémon species in Nintendo and Game Freak's Pokémon franchise. Created by Ken Sugimori, they first appeared in the video games Pokémon Red and Blue and subsequent sequels. They have later appeared in various merchandise, spinoff titles and animated and printed adaptations of the franchise.
Design and characteristics
Grimer and Muk are two of 150 different designs conceived by Game Freak's character development team and finalized by Ken Sugimori for the first generation of Pocket Monsters games Red and Green, which were localized outside of Japan as Pokémon Red and Blue. "Betbeter" and "Betbeton" in Japanese, Nintendo decided to give the various Pokémon species "clever and descriptive names" related to their appearance or features when translating the game for western audiences as a means to make the characters more relatable to American children. Grimer's name comes from the word "grime", while Muk's comes from the word "muck".
Grimer is a purple pile of semi-hardened, poisonous sludge. It has saucer-like eyes and a gray mouth. Grimer may be distantly related to Koffing (since both Pokémon are associated with pollution, and whose evolutionary lines are the only ones to learn Sludge). Grimer emits an odor so strong and disgusting, many cities in the Pokémon world have been evacuated because of its presence. Since Grimer's body lacks a solid form, it can slip through the smallest of openings. Grimer thrive anywhere there is pollution and even feed on it. As it moves, it loses bits of its body from which new Grimer emerge, which worsens the stench around it. Grimer also exudes a germ-infested liquid from its body that acts as a herbicide and makes the land around it uninhabitable for any new plants. Not even weeds will grow in the path of a Grimer. There is some dispute over how a Grimer came to be. Some Pokédex entries claim that a Grimer was born when sludge in a dirty stream was exposed to the moon's X-rays. The Pokédex in Pokémon Sapphire states that a Grimer was born from the sludge that settled on a polluted seabed.
Muk is the living manifestation of pollution and all things disgusting. Muk basically looks very similar to its previous form, Grimer. The main differences are that Muk is larger than Grimer, and has a wider mouth and smaller eyes. It is also usually depicted with its left arm being much larger than the right one. The toxicity of a Muk is also stronger than that of a Grimer. Just a drop of Muk's essence can turn a virgin lake into a stagnant, rancid swamp within minutes. The poison from a Muk has a negative effect on whoever touches it, ranging from a simple fever to death. Its footprints alone can cause influenza if a person or Pokémon were to come in contact with it. This Pokémon likes warm and moist places, such as garbage dumps or sewers. They sometimes also reside in dirty back alleys and in cities where pollution is common. Despite its severe toxicity, Muk has the ability to control its toxins and will never deliberately cause harm unless provoked to do so.
In the video games
The first video game appearance of Grimer and Muk was in Pokémon Red and Blue versions. It later appeared in several sequels, including Pokémon Gold and Silver, Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, the Red and Blue remakes Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, and Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver. Outside of the main series, they have appeared in Pokémon Pinball, Pokémon Snap, and the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games.
In other media
In the anime, Ash and friends encounter a horde of Grimer, which is led by a Muk. After a group of Magnemite and Magneton save them, Ash captures the Muk. When Ash first caught Muk, its smell was able to escape the Poké Ball, much to everyone's displeasure. For this reason, Muk was given to Professor Oak. A running gag in the series involves Muk and his overly affectionate personality. He constantly expressing gratitude towards Professor Oak by hugging him, and in the process smothering him with its gooey body.
In Pokémon Adventures, Koga wears a Grimer on his shoulder in the form of a ninja outfit. He used it extensively to smother Blue, preventing him from breathing and restrict his movement so that he would be unable to call on his Pokémon. He again used it in the battle with the evil Elite Four Agatha, to little effect. Koga also uses a Muk in his attack on Zapdos. Muk is seen again during the Elite Four saga, used by Koga to shield himself from the debris of the collapsing Cerise Island. His daughter, Janine, is later seen with a Grimer. She uses it against Falkner during the Gym Leader faceoff, using its Minimize attack to outwit his Noctowl.
IGN commented "Moving, fighting, grunting sludge? What's not to like?" IGN editor "Pokémon of the Day Chick" commented that Grimer looked cute, citing its "little arms reaching up" and its "little googly Cookie Monster eyes pointed every which way." In discussing Muk, she described it as a "butt-ugly mass of undefined tissue." IGN also listed it in its list of "Do Not Want" Pokémon, describing it as "disgusting", adding that owning a Grimer is a "socio-economic stigma". IGN described Grimer as a disgusting character, comparing its nature to Oscar the Grouch.
GamesRadar compared Grimer and Muk to Godzilla villain Hedorah, adding that their many poison-based attacks made them "truly annoying Pokemon to deal with." GamesRadar also included it on the list of the most disturbing Pokémon, citing how its poison is able to kill nearby plant life. However, Loredana Lipperini, author of Generazione Pókemon, commented that Grimer was actually good for the environment, since it fed on industrial waste.
Albert Bergesen, author of The Depth of Shallow Culture, described Grimer and Muk as "abstract entitites" in the series. He specifically described Grimer as a "mound of grime", and Muk as "oozing slime".
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- Stuart Bishop (2003-05-30). "Game Freak on Pokémon!". CVG. Archived from the original on 2008-02-08. Retrieved 2008-02-07.
- Chua-Euan, Howard (November 22, 1999). "PokéMania". TIME. Retrieved 2008-09-15.
- Pokemon Strategy Guide - IGNguides
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- Pokemon Crystal Version Pokemon of the Day: Arbok (#24) - IGN FAQs
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- The most disturbing Pokemon of all time | GamesRadar
- Lipperini, Loredana (2000). Generazione Pokémon: i bambini e l'invasione planetaria dei nuovi "giocattoli di ruolo". Castelvecchi. ISBN 978-88-8210-249-4.
- Albert J. Bergesen (2006). The Depth of Shallow Culture: The High Art of Shoes, Movies, Novels, Monsters, and Toys. Paradigm Publishers. ISBN 978-1-59451-274-2.