Top 10 – Magical Menageries
A menagerie is a collection or group of animals, in today’s case, we’re going to be looking at magical ones. This isn’t just a list of herds or groups, but rather areas which feature a collection of the most magical creatures. In this week’s Top 10, we’re going to get all magical and in some cases, a little bit science-fictiony. But don’t worry, we’ll stick to our guns and only pick gatherings of creatures that have some strangely magical properties.
10) Wildlife Exploitation Preserve – Borderlands 2
Sci-fi maybe? Well the definition gets a little stretched when you remember that a lot of the flora and fauna of Pandora naturally spits fire and lightning with no adequate reason why other than “nature’s scary y’all”. And with the outpouring of eridium slag the range of powers among the local wildlife is only getting more and more interesting, leading local entrepreneur and all around good-guy Handsome Jack to gather them together for scientific abuse- RESEARCH! Research.
Vault hunters will have to fight their way across the safari park, through the autopsy labs and onwards to the holding pen of Bloodwing, Mordecai’s pet talon, who has been souped up, gigantified, and driven mad by giving her fire powers, lightning, slag, corrosive, and… that other one, now what was that? Either way… your average science can’t pull shenanigans like that.
9) Slime Rancher
You take the role of a slime rancher, in charge of a ranch of slimes. Nice and easy!
It’s a game of herding, rearing, and breading these adorable blobs of semiconscious mucus by feeding them to one another to create increasingly interesting and dangerous hybrids on a distant island on a distant planet where the little beasties roam free. Presumably there’s a market for them somewhere, they do provide a wide variety of interesting properties and someone keeps paying you for slime products
The mutable little blobs are harvested, distributed, and fed via multipurpose vacuum cleaner that can suck up and sort into stacks the various resources you require to keep your ranch up and running and free of infestation (because infestations there are). All of which earns you money to buy pens, assistant drones, upgrades and devices that aid in the farming of slime, which in turn earns you money, which in turn buys stuff… you get it, it’s an infinitely looping Skinner-Box but with adorable blobs of protoplasm that’s yours to play around with, and set on a huge explorable island full of curios.
Curios and slime.
8) The SCP Foundation
The mysterious contents of the SCP holding facilities run the full gamut from pseudo-realism, outright science fiction, and straight-up magic, no matter how you dress it up with analytical and formal language, the box full of origami dragons, the extra-friendly blob of goo, the various godlike beings and fantastic entities, are unmistakably magical and moreso than classics like the shy guy and the endless Ikea.
The Foundation relies on a variety of magical and religious powers, incantations, and materials to help contain many of its more dangerous and volatile charges, alongside armed guards, and explosive, chemical and electrical countermeasures. All of these are necessary when holding hearts that create cults around themselves, or disks that turn mirrors into extra dimensional portals, or swords that teleport the souls of the slain to a small town.
7) Equestria – My Little Pony
Love or hate My Little Pony, we can’t ignore how important Equestria is for them. Furthermore, we cannot ignore how popular the series got, so with that in mind, we absolutely had to include Equestria into the equation. My Little Pony is known for its titular ponies and their ridiculous powers (because trust me, some of them are just far too powerful for a kids show).
Based on a different planet, which is somewhat similar to Earth, but a lot more magical, Equestria is home to pretty much all of the ponies. It’s on Equestria that we see feats of magical powers, such as lasers, flight (without wings), super strength and much more. Trust me, there are some crazy feats done by these seemingly innocuous and colourful creatures.
6) The Facility – Cabin in the Woods
Kind of a callback to the SCP foundation, but in this case the creatures are used in bloody and horrifying entertainment to hold back the rage of an immortal, all-powerful analogue of the audience. Beneath the mysterious cabin is a vast facility that holds a wide collection of horror film classics, held in an ever shifting mass of cages ready to conduct ritual sacrifices whenever the “Audience” gets testy.
Demons, zombies, ghosts, snakes, werewolves, megabats, spooky schoolchildren, alien parasites, masked psychopaths, robots, and the merfolk that no one ever wanted, all in the vast toolkit of the team in charge of keeping us safe from the one evil that they have been fighting for centuries to contain.
5) Bill’s PC – Pokémon
Okay, so, we never said that this menagerie had to be a free-roaming one.
Bill’s PC is a very clever contraption made by, yeah, Bill. These PC’s are usually found in Pokémon Centres, as well as there being an invisible one in Pokémon Red/Blue in this hotel. Aside from the invisible PCs out there, Bill’s PC is specifically the feature where you can transfer the Pokémon you’ve caught to another place, keeping them safe and out of harm’s way, kind of.
What shocks me is how in theory, all trainers would do this. They would all sign up to Bill’s service, sending their Pokémon to Bill. When we first meet him, he was playing around with technology, causing his body to be switched with that of a Pokémon. Imagine if he did that with your Pokémon, you freaks!
4) Newt Scamander’s Briefcase – Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them
What can be said about Newt Scamander’s Briefcase? It’s basically a Briefcase of Holding, but specifically to house himself and all of his animal companions. Newt Scamander is arguably the most loving and caring character in all of the Harry Potter franchise, as his whole purpose is to find and catalogue all of the magical creatures (and to ensure they’re looked after).
You can make arguments for guys like Neville Longbottom or ladies like Professor Sprout, but Newt truly embraces the Hufflepuff spirit. He’s a caring, loyal friend who is relatively shy and awkward, but possess a stunning bravery unlike most others. Fan of the Niffler, friend of the Thestrals, Newt and his briefcase is basically a home to all of the most fantastic beasts in the Wizarding World.
3) Skull Island – King Kong
The King does not reign absolute, his home is riddled with challengers to his throne, and while none can truly best the towering gorilla, he must still fight off gigantic squid that ought not survive on tiny lakes, spiders that no respiratory system could support, reptiles that time abandoned millenia ago, and bone-plated horrors that exist nowhere in nature.
As we await the showdown of the century between the greatest ape, and the most legendary monster of the deeps, let us not forget the fictional ecology in which these beasties reign. Godzilla’s radiation based diet and the war of the megafauna, and Kong’s prehistoric clash of titans. If such creatures could survive in great numbers they’d wipe us out, but fortunately they’re impossible. And besides, we’d have found them by now. Right?
2) Kwama – The Elder Scrolls
The Kwama are a harvestable, farmable animal in The Elder Scrolls franchise. First introduced to us in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, The Kwama are usually made up of larvae, workers, warriors and their queen. The Dark Elves of Vvardenfell farm the Kwama for their eggs and also for their Scrib Jelly, which is said to possess a bunch of magical properties for alchemy (and even eating).
The Kwama are native only to Vvardenfell and they’re ultimately fuelled with firey power. They may not be able to control a lot of magical elements, or manipulate fire in any truly meaningful way, other than “we like it hot, we also can spit some fire on the rare occasion”, but they’re a powerful bunch of bugs. If you’re thinking of visiting a Kwama Egg Mine, be prepared to fight off some of their Warriors; especially if you hurt their young in the process.
1) Avalar – Spyro: the Dragon – Ripto’s Revenge
Avalar, a pun on the legendary Arthurian world of Avalon, is arguably the most magical world of all of the ones on this list. A gathering of all creatures great and small that possess some strange abilities; many of which are born from the magic of the dragons, of which our protagonist, Spyro, is one of them. Sure, not many creatures do a lot of magic throughout, but when I think of magical animals gathered together, this is always at the front of my mind.
When we first enter Avalar, we are told about the terrible threat that Ripto brings to the world. Ripto himself is a sorcerer, so there’s a good start. Creatures have a multitude of abilities, making Spyro a pretty tricky game to play, as you have to observe and learn what these creatures do. However, the biggest magic trick of all belongs to the bear, Moneybags. I mean, how does he make all of those gems disappear so easily?
Well now that the cat is out of the bag of holding, it’s time for us to look at some uh, questionable entries. I mean in their own way, they’re pretty magical, but they’re definitely a menagerie of animals, in their own way. Just, have a gander…
Amber College – Warhammer
A cheeky entry, insofar as this is a magical bunch of shaman and druids from the world of Warhammer. This means that there are animal speakers here, as well as shapeshifters. What? No one ever said we couldn’t have shapeshifters on this list! They’re animals too, damn it and I’m sticking to it. Anyway, yes, the Amber College studies the Brown Wind of Magic; animal magic.
Whilst it’s impossible to truly call them animals, they certainly are magical and certainly turn into animals. In a fantasy filled world, I think this is arguably the closest you can get to a magical menagerie, oh without being one of the entries in our Top 10 list above. Not bad for a bunch of animal-speakers. Also, just want to point out, these guys call giant birds to ride, because they’re cool.
Life… uhh… doesn’t work like that.
The cloning process is awkward as hell, and there are biological factors that we learned about that simply can’t be accounted for when resurrecting the extinct creatures that inhabit John Hammond’s theme park. Reconstructing species out of mere fragments of DNA harvested from dried out and mummified mosquitos and using bits of modern animals – the wrong modern animals at that – and using modern creatures as hosts for the fetuses, at best it might work, more likely you’d get one, barely formed dinosaur.
To say nothing of feathers!
But we still love it, and damn the consequences of science-magic run rampant, we’re going to make giant reptilian super-weapons and entertain the kids with it. We’re going to repeatedly tell you how safe it all is so that we’re totally surprised when the bad thing happens, and let everyone enjoy the ride until the mix of bad working conditions and the most dangerous safari park all lead to the most predictable conclusion.
We’re out of mana. No more magical creatures for you guys today, but don’t worry, we have really good mana regeneration. We’ll be back with more magic for you next week, so whilst we wait for our abilities to cool down and for our mana to replenish, why don’t you pick our next list? In the vote below, please pick the list you’d like us to conjure up next and we’ll do our best to not deplete our mana again in that time!
The pen’s been closed; no more free-roaming magical creatures for you. Thankfully, I couldn’t contain these beasties even if I wanted to. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t help us with marking off these menageries. What did you think of this week’s list? Did we remember all of the important ones, or did we forget a few? Was our order any good? As ever, share your thoughts in the comments below, or on Facebook and Twitter.