Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species #5

I suppose I ought to clarify just what my scale really means-I've really just been winging it. My description of the scale is more or less arbitrary, but the scale itself is more or less arbitrary, so it fits.

N/A. If I give something this rating, it's because there's too little information to make an appraisal as far as I'm concerned.

1. A species with a sketchy description and no redeeming features tends to earn a 1.

2. A species with at least one redeeming feature that I otherwise don't like tends to earn a 2.

3. Such a species neither annoys or offends me nor excites me (or possibly offends/annoys me and excites me at the same time); they're largely just there, but are perfectly acceptable.

4. Aliens with a rating of 4 have some feature that makes them stand out from the crowd in a positive way.

5. In some way, shape, or form, a 5 is perfect or nearly so.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled link/list/appraisal post.

41. Anx. The Anx are a vaguely dinosaur-like species. They were represented in the Old Republic's Senate at one point by Horox Ryder, whose name is almost too cool to be allowed to exist. Their native language is apparently a subsonic rumble, and their huge stature and tendency to be knowledgeable about anatomy (I am not making this up) make them powerful unarmed fighters. We also know that their population took a hit during the time of the Empire because of heavy weapons testing on its surface.

And their heads are simply awe-inspiring.

Rating: 4/5. They'd have scored well without all that background, because I just like how they look that much. I kind of have a hard time believing that they're good at unarmed combat, though, because their massive heads and fairly short arms probably interfere with each other.

42. Anzat. The Anzati are sometimes known as "snot vampires" because they feed on "soup," the brain juices of sapient beings, through their noses. And that's all I really have to say.

Rating: 4/5. The fact that the vampire concept was cleverly twisted from one kind of vital fluid to another that actually makes sense (if it was blood, it'd only make sense that they were forced to feed on sapient beings if they couldn't find anything else, which is improbable-feeding on brain juices is actually pretty logical in an internal universe logic kind of way) and then also made ridiculous by giving them the "snot vampire" label is absolutely hilarious and just generally great. My only problem with them is that they look like humans with weird noses. (And of course, the female ones get to have "normal" noses.)

43. Aplocaph. "The Aplocaph were a sentient species preoccupied with finding love."

Rating: 1/5. NEXT. (I hate super-one-dimensional species, and don't much care for species whose members are all assumed to be identical to the first example of them.)

44. Aqualish. Aqualish are the species sometimes called "walrus faces" or "walrus heads." Their best-known member was that guy whose hand was cut off by Obi-Wan Kenobi in A New Hope.

The problem with the species is that they've suffered a huge amount of continuity creep that has made things very weird for them. They come in three "races," the Aquala, who have finned hands and feet, the Quara, who have unfinned, human-like (with clawed fingernails) hands and feet, and the Ualaq, who are built like the Quara but have an extra set of eyes for no good reason. (The fins/no fins thing is because of a continuity error in A New Hope-Ponda Baba's costume had finned hands, but when his arm was on the floor, it had a clawed/fingered hand. The extra eyes apparently come from somebody in the design group wanting to up the detail in the masks a bit, and all Aqualish characters in the prequels themselves have four eyes.)

And they have a tendency to be described as thugs.

Rating: 3/5. Meh, I can handle the stupidity of the continuity stuff (and at least they have clearly distinct races, which is nice), and the whole "they're often thugs" thing is more complex and layered than in most such aliens.

And how can you not love those stupid walrus faces?

45. Aquar. "The Aquar were an offshoot of Humans who colonized Velusia thousands of years ago and evolved into their present [water-breathing] form." Gee, that was quick.

Rating: 1/5. While water-breathing almost-humans is an interesting idea, whoever came up with the explanation for them fails something or another forever on at least two major counts.

46. Arachnoid. Click the link, and look at the picture. And then try to tell me that that's not adorable with a straight face.



Rating: 3/5. It'd be nice to have a little more info than one solitary individual provides, but the fact that he's just a giant spiderish thing wearing a helmet and clothes is awesome. Shame about the hyper-generic name, though.

47. Aramandi. The Aramandi are four-eyed, four-armed individuals who developed on a high-gravity world. They had a complicated caste system tied into a religion, and this religion was messed up by contact with other sapient species, because one of the religion's tenets was that there were no other intelligent beings in the universe.

Rating: 3/5. These source book aliens sound interesting generally to work with, and it's amusing that they gave them extra eyes to go with the extra arms.

48. Araquia. The Araquia are huge pacifistic spiders, and that's pretty much it.

Although a crime lord from a species known for being insectivores set up camp on their homeworld... Creepy.

Rating: 3/5. It's lazy, it's cheesy, and it's silly, but I like this instance of "aliens that are just regular animals that have been made smart and human-sized." They get extra points for describing them as pacifists.

49. Arbran. Like the Alashans, all we know about the Arbrans comes from one of their creations, and like the Alashans, that creation is a monster. It's possible that the monster in question had a similar physical makeup to them, because the creature was made up of all their negative emotions combined. Yes.

Rating: 3/5. Whether they look like the Darker or not, I am amused by the claim that they were able to purge themselves of their dark side emotions and put them all in a guy.

50. Arcona. The Arcona are most infamous for being easily addicted to common salt. They are also rather interesting in appearance-an Arcona was the alien that first bursts into view at the Mos Eisley Cantina in the original cut of A New Hope. Supposedly, male Arcona were the ones responsible for raising children while the females roamed, because females were more free-spirited-not a revolutionary idea, but a nice little detail.

Rating: 3/5. The addiction thing is weird, but it's inevitable that such things will pop up in fiction from time to time.

Fascinating that three of the "Cantina aliens" would come up in one post. (There's an Anzat smoking a hookah in the foreground of one of the reaction shots to Ponda Baba and Obi-Wan's tussle.)

-Signing off.

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