Koffing and Weezing
|Koffing and Weezing|
|Pokémon series character|
|First game||Pokémon Red and Blue|
|Designed by||Ken Sugimori|
|Voiced by (English)||Michael Haigney (Koffing)
Eric Stuart (Weezing)
|Voiced by (Japanese)||Unshō Ishizuka|
Koffing and Weezing, known in Japan as Dogas (ドガース Dogāsu?) and Matadogas (マタドガス Matadogasu?) respectively, are two Pokémon species in Nintendo and Game Freak's Pokémon franchise linked through evolution. Koffing evolves into Weezing after gaining enough experience in battle. Created by Ken Sugimori, they first appeared in the video games Pokémon Red and Blue and later appear in subsequent sequels, various merchandise, spinoff titles, and animated and printed adaptations of the franchise. In Japanese, both characters are voiced by Unshō Ishizuka; in English Koffing is voiced by Michael Haigney, while Weezing is voiced by Eric Stuart.
Known as the Poison Gas Pokémon, Koffing and Weezing are Poison-type Pokémon, filled with toxic gases which give them buoyancy and the ability to levitate. They are utilized by antagonists, Team Rocket, as well as the poison-themed Gym Leaders, Koga and Roxie. In the first few seasons of the related anime and subsequent printed adaption, Koffing and later its evolution Weezing served as the primary Pokémon utilized by James of Team Rocket. Their designs have been met with mixed reception, with sources such as GamesRadar stating approval for Koffing's appearance, while GameDaily described it as a "floating fart ball". In contrast, Weezing has been praised to a lesser extent, described as both an "abomination" and "horrific" by various sources.
Conception and characteristics
Koffing and Weezing were conceived and developed by Ken Sugimori for the first generation of Pocket Monsters games Red and Green, known outside of Japan as Pokémon Red and Blue, in which players assumes the role of a Pokémon Trainer whose goal is to capture and train creatures called Pokémon and use the creatures' special abilities to combat other Pokémon. Their names are plays on the words "coughing" and "wheezing", meant to related to symptoms caused by the noxious fumes they emit. Originally, the characters were intended to be named "NY" and "LA" respectively in English localizations, intended as homages to the heavy pollution of American cities New York City and Los Angeles.
Koffing resembles a large, floating blue-purple ball with various gas-emitting stud-like orifices surrounding its body save for its face, which appears as a smiling mouth with two eyes, and two small white upper fangs protruding from its mouth and a skull and crossbones symbol directly below said mouth. Once a Koffing has gained enough experience points, it evolves into a Weezing. Weezing's design appears as two light-purple Koffing fused together at the side, one larger and the other smaller than normal, additionally joined by an appendage from each connecting to a smaller, spherical mass. Both faces appear to be frowning, with the larger featuring two lower large fangs and two upper blunted teeth. On each, the skull has been changed to simpler oval, with the smaller lacking the crossbones. Koffing is 2 feet (60 cm) tall, while Weezing is 3 feet 11 inches (119 cm) tall.
Designated as "Poison"-type Pokémon, Koffing and Weezing are filled with toxic gasses, which give them the ability to levitate and buoyancy. Their bodies can expand and deflate depending on mood and temperature, and may explode if agitated enough or put under intense heat. They will also expel gases from their body, the toxicity of which is relative to their mood. Weezing represents the result of two Koffings fusing together after their gases mix, and as one inflates, the other will deflate. Though the games make mention of triple-headed Weezing, none appear in any games or media. In the anime adaptation of the series, like most Pokémon both communicate by uttering their names or syllables thereof, and when doing so both heads of a Weezing will "speak" in unison. They live in urban and suburban areas, and feed on dust, fumes, garbage and toxic waste.
In video games
Koffing and Weezing first appears as two of the 151 species of Pokémon in the Pokémon Red and Blue Versions. They 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, Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver and Pokémon Black 2 and White 2. Several NPCs utilized the pair, including the antagonists Team Rocket and poison-themed boss, Koga. This trend was continued in the sequel games Pokémon Gold and Silver, with Koga's daughter Janine replacing him as a boss, In Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, the boss character Roxie also uses Koffing and Weezing, and has Koffing as a prominent design motif in her gym.
In the American release of Pokémon Red and Blue, the skull and crossbones symbol usually below Koffing's face was shown on its forehead. Every other game in the Pokémon series (and the Pokémon Anime) shows the symbol below its head.
In Pokémon Stadium and its sequel, both Koga and Janine continue to utilize the Pokémon in the respective games as bosses. In Pokémon Puzzle League, Weezing is one of Team Rocket's Pokémon. In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time and Explorers of Darkness, a Koffing serves as a third of Team Skull, acting as a partner to a Zubat and serving as a minor antagonist and for the course of the game. Super Smash Bros. and Super Smash Bros. Melee featured Koffing and Weezing respectively as one of the Pokémon that could emerge when a Pokéball was thrown. Both had the same effect; upon appearing, they would release streams of toxic gas around them, dealing heavy damage to anyone who got caught.
In other media
In the Pokémon anime series, a Koffing was used primarily by series antagonist James of Team Rocket, first appearing in the second episode. It later evolved into a Weezing, and was released in the sixth episode of Pokémon: Advanced to protect a group of Koffing and Ekans freed from captivity. This was over 260 episodes after its first appearance. Ash used a Weezing in a Pokémon League entrance exam in The Ultimate Test. It defeated the instructor's Flareon.
Koffing's most recent appearance in the anime was under the ownership of Roxie in the Pokémon Black and White: Rival Destinies episode, "Rocking the Virbank Gym, Part 1." Roxie used her Koffing in her Gym Battles, scoring many wins for her and defeating any Trainer who challenged her. Once Ash challenges Roxie for the Toxic Badge, Roxie's Koffing proceeds to defeat Ash's Boldore and Unfezant, but it was defeated by Ash's Leavanny.
In The Electric Tale of Pikachu manga, James's Weezing makes an appearance. It first appears as a Koffing in Pikachu's Excellent Adventure. All of its subsequent appearances, beginning in You Gotta Have Friends, are as a Weezing. In the Pokémon Adventures manga, Koffing is seen as one of Koga's Pokémon. When Koga and Blue are ambushed by Agatha's Gengar in Volume 7, Koga uses Koffing's smoke to relay his tactical plan to Blue without Gengar noticing. Koga's daughter, Janine, also has a Weezing on her team.
Promotion and reception
Albert Bergesen, in the The Depth of Shallow Culture, described Koffing and Weezing as examples of Japanese shinto practices, in this case the embodiment of coughing and wheezing as spiritual representations. IGN called Weezing "downright hideous", though questioned "who DOESN'T have a soft spot" for it and cited its presence in the anime. GameSpot editor Greg Kasavin praised Koffing as a "tried-and-true classic" Pokémon.
In terms of appearance, GameDaily ranked Koffing ninth on their list of the "Top 10 Weirdest Looking Pokémon", call it "basically a floating fart ball covered in pimples", and further described its design as bizarre and undelightful. However, InsertCredit's Tim Rodgers named it one of the top fifty video game icons, praising simplistic design and calling the skull-and-crossbones on its front "attitudinous", while noting it as a notch above other similar, round mascots in video games. GamesRadar stated it was difficult not to smile at its "Grimace-like face and chipper demeanor", though called its evolution "an abomination" and "very unsettling". Author Loredana Lipperini commented that while Weezing's skull indicates death, it is "not very smart".
- Stuart Bishop (2003-05-30). "Game Freak on Pokémon!". CVG. Archived from the original on 2008-02-08. Retrieved 2008-02-07.
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- Game Freak (2000-10-15). Pokémon Silver. Game Boy Color. Nintendo. "The poisonous gases it contains are a little bit lighter than air, keeping it slightly airborne."
- Game Freak (2000-10-15). Pokémon Gold. Game Boy Color. Nintendo. "If one of the twin Koffing inflates, the other one deflates. It constantly mixes its poisonous gases."
- Game Freak (1998-09-30). Pokémon Red and Blue. Game Boy. Nintendo. "Because it stores several kinds of toxic gases in its body, it is prone to exploding without warning."
- Game Freak (1999-10-19). Pokémon Yellow. Game Boy. Nintendo. "In hot places, its internal gases could expand and explode without any warning. Be very careful!"
- Game Freak (2003-03-17). Pokémon Ruby. Game Boy Advance. Nintendo. "If Koffing becomes agitated, it raises the toxicity of its internal gases and then jets them out from all over its body. This Pokémon may overinflate its round body, then explode."
- Game Freak (1998-09-30). Pokémon Red and Blue. Game Boy. Nintendo. "Where two kinds of poison gases meet, two Koffings can fuse into a Weezing over many years."
- Game Freak (2007-04-22). Pokémon Diamond. Nintendo DS. Nintendo. "It grows by feeding on gases released by garbage. Though very rare, triplets have been found."
- Game Freak (2003-03-17). Pokémon Ruby. Game Boy Advance. Nintendo. "Weezing loves the gases given off by rotted kitchen garbage. This Pokémon will find a dirty, unkept house and make it its home. At night, when the people in the house are asleep, it will go through the trash."
- Game Freak (1999-10-19). Pokémon Yellow. Game Boy. Nintendo. "It lives and grows by absorbing dust, germs, and poison gasses that are contained in toxic waste and garbage."
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- Albert Bergesen (2006). The Depth of Shallow Culture: The High Art of Shoes, Movies, Novels, Monsters, and Toys. Paradigm Publishers. p. 88. ISBN 1-59451-273-6.
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- Lipperini, Loredana (2000). Generazione Pokémon: I bambini e l'invasione planetaria dei nuovi "giocattoli di ruolo". ISBN 9788882102494.