#124 Jynx

Whoa! Let’s talk this over!

What can be said about Jynx that hasn’t been said a million times over? Let’s try and take this slowly, a step at a time.

So what is Jynx? It’s Pokemon #124 is what it is. It’s also the final evolution of the only Pokemon line to be Psychic / Ice in the entire series. At least, it is for now. That could change in the future maybe.

But what is she?

I NEED AN ADULT

I NEED AN ADULT

I don’t know. There’s lots of very very strange things about Jynx. Everywhere. I mean I’m sure many of you are probably immediately jumping to the real life controversies about Jynx, and what she is, but I’ll get to that in the second section.

WHAT IS JYNX IN THE CONTEXT OF POKEMON?

Let’s look at the facts. Jynx is very reminiscent of a humanoid female. She has hands, what appear to be visible breasts, big pink lips, and long blonde hair. She’s a Pokemon, in other words.

Or is she? I present to you one of the most bizarre things in all of Pokemon.

Ooh a Pokemon Stadium gi-OH MY GOD

Now, normally when a Pokemon is KO’d in one of the 3D games it goes into a short animation where it collapses. It’s typical, standard fare. Jynx, does not do that. Jynx completely vanishes save for the long yellow hair. So what does that mean?

There are two prevailing theories. Number 1, Jynx isn’t solid. She’s actually some kind of gaseous Pokemon that doesn’t have a solid form despite all appearances. When she gets KO’d that gas dissipates, and the one solid part of her form, the hair, is left behind.

Theory number 2, and the one that I prefer to subscribe to, is way more insane. See, Jynx is just a mass of yellow hair. Jynx is dual typed Ice and Psychic. As a type, Psychic has been known to do some pretty intense things in the Pokemon world, and creating a body for itself is well within those established limits. When Jynx gets KO’d, she loses the ability to keep her physical form up, and her true body, the mass of yellow hair, flutters to the ground.

Also the hair has Ice powers.

Also the hair has Ice powers.

Further adding to the weirdness is Jynx’s speech. The Pokedex states across several games (Starting with Pokemon Stadium) that Jynx speaks a language that is completely incomprehensible. Some elaborate by saying that it sounds like human speech, and a few even say that scientists are actively trying to determine what it’s saying. That’s a bit unusual, isn’t it? Scientists don’t care what other Pokemon are saying, and shouldn’t whatever language other Pokemon speak be just as incomprehensible?

Or what if scientists have already figured out how to understand other Pokemon. Suspend your disbelief with me for a moment.

What if scientists had managed to understand other Pokemon, and could listen in on their conversations and what not. What if then, even with that ability, they were still unable to understand Jynx. That would explain why she’s being singled out, wouldn’t it?

Now get this. In the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon games you actually get to play as a human transformed into a Pokemon. As such, you’re able to speak some sort of bizarre universal Pokemon language. All Pokemon can be understood by you, and you can speak with them as well. When a Pokemon joins you they have a handful of lines relating to their current status, and a snippet of dialogue for leveling up.

Jynx though. Jynx is still a mystery. What does Jynx’s dialogue look like in Pokemon Mystery dungeon?

∞XO@#*~♪ ∞XO@#*~♪ Jynx at 51-100% HP
!!O@#*~!  !!O@#*~! – Jynx at 26-50% HP
!!!!!!~! !!!!!!~! Jynx at 1-25% HP
∞XO@#*~♪♪♪ ∞XO@#*~♪♪♪ – Jynx levels up

Jynx is spooky.

DID YOU KNOW?

THAT JYNX IS RACIST?!?!?!*

IT ALL MAKES SENSE NOW!

IT ALL MAKES SENSE NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

*Probably.

I’m sure this is the part that most of you reading this are interested in. Jynx was at the center of some very real controversy surrounding Pokemon back in the early 2000’s. The accusations were that Jynx is a racist caricature of black people. And it’s very hard to deny the similarities between old, black-faced Jynx, and other racist cartoon characters.

Like *sigh* Marvel's Whitewash Jones

Like *sigh* Marvel’s Whitewash Jones

Nintendo reacted as most companies would, and altered Jynx’s appearance. Her skin was changed from pitch black to a light purple. And in the decade plus since people have argued about whether or not Jynx was actually intended to be racist. Arguments range from Jynx being based on Ganguro, a Japanese fashion trend, various characters or monsters from Japanese mythology, or even just the classic design of an opera singer.

Lots of good points have been presented to the “Jynx isn’t racist” side of things, with GameTheory in particular having a well-thought-out video as to why she’s 100% innocent of all accusations.

Now, I love GameTheory. I really, really do. But I have to disagree with them here, simply because inspiration can come from more than one source. While I agree with the sentiment that Jynx is likely based on a yama-uba, I still think that once they’d come up with a general idea for Jynx’s design, they added the blackface thing because Pokemon is full of ideas like that.

See, Japan is extremely homogenous, with something like 98% percent of the people living in it being Japanese. Making them seem dumb is not my intent, but it’s a fairly well known fact that most things other nations could find racist fly over the head of Japanese people. In 2009 (Yes, 2009. Almost a decade after the Jynx thing) a Japanese actor actually performed Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” on a TV show in full blackface. It was intended to be a tribute to black culture, and the audience had no negative reaction to it whatsoever.

Just look at how big those lips are!

Just look at how big those lips are!

In short, I really think that Jynx’s design was intended to reference a woman in blackface. However, I don’t believe for a second that it was done maliciously. It was just an unfortunate side effect of Japan’s homogeneity.

BUT THAT’S JUST A THEORY. A ME THEORY. Thanks for reading.

USING JYNX IN BATTLE

stats via pokemondb

stats via pokemondb

Oh man what do we have here. 95 Speed is pretty alright. 115 Special Attack is nice. 95 Special Defense is also pretty nice.

Shame about the everything else. 65 HP doesn’t do much good for that 95 Special Defense, and an absolutely pitiful 35 Base Defense is just terrible. This makes Jynx an extremely risky Pokemon to use.

On the one hand it has Nasty Plot, and can get dual STABs in Ice Beam and Psychic / Psyshock. On the other hand, almost all priority moves absolutely demolish Jynx. Fake Out and Mach Punch can lay a nice meaty dent into Jynx, but Shadow Sneak, Sucker Punch, and Bullet Punch are usually a death sentence.

SO, Lovely Kiss is a move you’ll definitely want. If you want to risk playing Jynx as a sweeper, then Nasty Plot would be your next choice. Then just stick your dual STABs on top for all 4 moves. If you’re looking for more of a revenge killer then, swap out Nasty Plot for Focus Blast, or Energy Ball. Depending on situations you find yourself encountering, you may want to also consider Frost Breath instead of Ice Beam. While it is weaker (Frost Breath has 60 BP but always crits for effectively 90 BP vs Ice Beams 95 BP) and has a lower accuracy, it won’t be deterred by screens, or overly defensive Pokemon.

As a final option, you can throw a Choice Scarf onto Jynx, and have it use Trick to disable any Pokemon on the enemy team that depends on setting up. Dry Skin is always the ability you should go for to add a much-needed immunity, and you’ll want to decide between a Life Orb as an item, for more power, or a Focus Sash to get you an extra turn to save you from the inevitable OHKO.

ARBITRARY SCORES

APPEARANCES: 1/5
“I’ll have some of that, please!” – No one, ever.

DESIGN: 4/5
Yama uba, blackface, opera singers, yokai, etc etc. Jynx is a hilarious smorgasbord of random designs glued together to create a creepy Pokemon that may secretly be a pile of hair.

BATTLE: 3/5
Too risky to rate higher, too many good aspects to rate lower.

WAIT A SECOND: BLACKFACE / AND DRY SKIN?
Now THAT’S racist.

OVERALL: 2.6/5

Fun fact: Jynx’s cry is actually the longest ever

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