Name: Growlithe and Arcanine are two of my absolute favorite Pokemon ever. I love dogs, Fire Pokemon are my favorite Type – they’re the perfect combination.
Growlithe’s name is a combination of “growl” and…..”lithe” Wow, thanks a bunch, Bulbapedia. That was really helpful. I didn’t know what “lithe” meant, so I googled it, and it means “thin, supple and graceful.” Uhm….I mean….I….guess? Those aren’t really traits that immediately jump out at me when I think of Growlithe, but okay? The “growl” part of the name obviously works very well, but I have no idea what the thought process was with the “lithe” part. It’s still a good name in regards to being memorable and snappy, but I just don’t quite get it.
In Japan, it’s originally known as Gardie, which seems to be indicative of “guard” or “guardian” I think like guard dogs. I prefer Growlithe, but Gardie is a bit more of a fitting name. It kinda just sounds like a name someone would give a Growlithe, if that makes any sense.
Fun Fact: In the beta version of RB, it was going to be named Flamie, which is……very not creative, but cute.
Design: Growlithe is one of the most perfect Pokemon designs. Fight me. It does indeed just look like a dog, but the absolute perfect shade of orange for the short fur with stark black stripes all over the body really help it stand out, and it definitely portrays the Fire Type quite well.
On its longer fur, it has shaping and spiky features that resemble flames, making the fire connection even stronger. I think Growlithe is absolutely adorable. I love its face, it ears, the little hair tuft on top of its head, its paws, its tail – just everything about Growlithe. I especially think the eyes are the perfect shape. They’re adorable and friendly while still having enough angle to them to convey a truly threatening expression if need be.
Sprite-wise, Gen I…pbbbtthhhahahaha…Sorry. R/B is really cute, but it comes off a bit too much like a real puppy/animal than it should. Also, I don’t much care for the tail being so tiny.
Yellow looks pretty normal, and R/G looks—PBBBTTAHAHAHAHAHA! It’s looks so doofy. It’s cute, don’t get me wrong, but it’s so doofy. It almost doesn’t even look like a real Pokemon. It’s kinda more like a plushie.
Gen II is quite the tonal shift, making all of the sprites for the Gen look really friggin’ angry.
Gen III is a bit better, but I have no clue what the animation for Emerald is doing.
Gen IV is pretty cute, but the animations for DPP are a bit too hyper for my tastes.
HG/SS is very adorable, though.
Absolutely adore the animations for Gen V. It’s such a playful pup in those sprites.
Everything else looks pretty good.
I hate you, Pokemon. First you spit in my face with Vulpix’s shiny, and now poor Growlithe? How dare you?
Granted, Growlithe’s situation isn’t quite as bad as Vulpix’s. Growlithe’s shiny is more stark yellow than anything, but still this is just insulting. It looks like it did a fusion dance with a mustard bottle.
In Gen II, its shiny looks…lame, but better. The orange parts were simply turned to a brown color, which kinda just makes it look like a regular dog.
Oooooohhhhhhhhhhwwoooooooooooooooowwwwwwwww……Okay, uhm…I’ve never seen this version of Growlithe until this very moment, and it’s…..a lot to take in.
First of all, I’m not against the idea of having like a half-shaggy dog and half-short haired dog – I actually find that very cute – my issue is with the way they styled the hair. The fur on its head looks ridiculous. It looks kinda like a helmet, which is a neat idea, but it’s giving off seriously strong “I was desperately trying to look cool in 1967” vibes.
The fur on its chest is just confusing. Are those balls? Why are they balls? I don’t understand. The tail is fine. It kinda reminds me too much of Wartortle’s tail, though.
The other noticeable detail is that they changed the orange color to being a much deeper orange-red, heavy on the red. I don’t think it looks that bad, but it kinda looks unnatural.
The shiny version is shit, because they just did the exact same color scheme as shiny normal Growlithe.
Dex Entries and Backstory: Growlithe is noted as being extremely loyal, brave, friendly and territorial. It will bite enemies, and it will remain motionless unless commanded by its owner/Trainer. BW also mentions that it’s so protective of its Trainer that it will bark at enemies and run them out of town. It has such a good sense of smell that it never forgets the scents of those it smells, and it can use scents to determine the emotions of others.
Gen VII explains that Growlithe’s natural enemy is Rockruff, and Growlithe are said to have been living and working alongside humans since the stone age.
The only Dex entry for Hisuian Growlithe explains that they patrol their territory in pairs, and it’s believed their typing changed to be dual Fire/Rock Type because of nearby volcanic activity, which is kinda cool. This design doesn’t give off Rock Type or volcano vibes, though.
Growlithe’s design is based off of shisa, which are Japanese statues meant to resemble a mix between a dog and a lion. I can definitely see it. Shisa are guardians meant to protect people from evil spirits, which is very much like Growlithe.
It’s theorized that its striped pattern is either based on tigers, which I don’t buy because it doesn’t have anything to do with tigers, a thylacine, otherwise known as a Tasmanian wolf, which I believe a bit more, or a Kai Ken, also known as a Tora Inu/Tiger Dog, which is one of the most adorable things I’ve ever seen.
Hisuian Growlithe’s Rock typing is seemingly based off of komainu statues, which, as far as I’ve researched, are pretty damn similar to shisa legends. The only difference I can see is that shisa are from Okinawan mythology while komainu are more generally used all over Japan and are primarily guardians for Shinto shrines? Correct me if I’m wrong there.
I don’t really understand this Type change if this is accurate. If Growlithe are already based off of statues, then it doesn’t make much sense for Hisuian Growlithe to be part Rock just because it’s based off of a statue and legend that is almost identical to the one its original form was based from. Why didn’t they just say it was because of volcanoes like the Dex entry stated?
Additionally, while the Wiki doesn’t note this, the fact that Hisuian Growlithe work in pairs is also taken from both shisa and komainu legends since they’re always put out in pairs – one with its mouth open and the other with its mouth closed. The shisa legends states that one pair is always male while the other is female. The male will have its mouth closed to keep evil out of the home while the female keeps hers open to share goodness.
In the komainu legend, the one with its mouth open is pronouncing “A” the first letter of the Sanskrit alphabet while the one with the closed mouth is saying “Um,” which is the last letter. This is meant to symbolize the beginning and end of all things. Both combined create “aum” which is a sacred syllable in Sanskrit that has many meanings – far too many for me to go over here – but check out that link. It’s fascinating.
Name: As much love as I have for Growlithe, and it’s an awful lot, I have a tiny bit more for Arcanine. It’s a beautiful, adorable, powerful giant fire dog, and I love it to bits.
Arcanine’s name is a mixture of “Arcane” and “Canine” which kinda surprised me because I always thought the first part was meant to be based off of “Arf” like the dog noise, but “Arcane” is a much better origin for that part. So fitting, and such a cool word. I love Arcanine’s name. It has such a majestic and cool flair to it that it could easily be a Legendary name.
Speaking of legendary, while I usually don’t discuss category names, Arcanine is called the Legendary Pokemon, and this has lead to a lot of confusion. Arcanine is obviously not a Legendary Pokemon, but it is classified as THE Legendary Pokemon because it is a Pokemon of many legends and tales….Do you get it? Yeah, I don’t either. Maybe because it’s so relatively common given that Growlithe is so common it can be called a Pokemon of legend, but it’s not rare enough to be considered a Pokemon so few people have seen it’s considered simply a legend, making it Legendary?
Also doesn’t help that in episode two of the anime, Arcanine was included on a depiction of an ancient tablet with Legendary Pokemon including the Legendary Birds.
Back on topic, its Japanese name is Windie, which I was never really a fan of. It sounds overly simple and like something you’d expect them to use as a name for a Flying Type. It’s meant to be in reference to the fact that Arcanine supposedly runs faster than the wind, which I also think is flimsy. You have this awesome majestic Pokemon and your only thought is it runs faster than the wind?
Fun Fact: In the beta version of RB, it was called Blaze, which is cool, but also a bit too overly simplistic. I much prefer Arcanine.
Design: Arcanine’s design is amazing. It still has the cute characteristics of a dog, but it’s big and intimidating without looking scary. The lion attributes, though still subtle, come through much more with Arcanine than Growlithe, and it’s just the right balance here. I love that it’s big enough to ride on. When I was a kid, I always wanted to ride on an Arcanine, and I still do, to be honest. I want to give one a hug too. It’s such a cuddly-looking Pokemon.
Sprite-wise, RB looks pretty cool, actually. They made the longer parts of the fur more flowy instead of spiky and I actually think it looks awesome.
Yellow also has this really cool attitude to it. I love it.
RG looks doofy, though.
Gen II looks really cool except for Crystal where he looks like he’s about to sneeze and stops himself by gently putting his paw down.
Gen III looks really good. The animation for Emerald makes it look like it’s barking before growling really intensely, which is cool.
I don’t really have much else to say about the rest of the sprites. They’re all varying amounts of cool and cute.
They committed the same shiny sin to Arcanine as they did to Growlithe. He now comes in lemon flavor. The least I can say is that some versions, specifically Gen IV and V, make him look golden instead of yellow, but it’s not much consolation.
Gen II’s shiny is also brown, but it’s a bad shade of brown. Like Arcanine hasn’t taken a bath in three years and spends his days running in dirt.
Where do I start with this thing? I don’t hate it, I just don’t like it that much. I think the tail is the best part. I like how it looks like a smoke plume, especially with the shade of dark gray they chose for the longer fur areas. I don’t dislike how the mane looks.
My opinion on it seems to vary by the minute. I never really like it that much, but I can’t bring myself to really hate it. However, if I do hate one aspect, it’s the way they changed the head design. It looks awful. I also don’t care for the shade of red they chose for the rest of the body. Unlike Hisuian Growlithe, this shade is a bit too red to the point where it’s basically fire truck red. I think having more orange in it is necessary, especially if they’re trying to pull off a lava/magma vibe. Lava/magma is not pure red.
Its shiny is, again, bright yellow. However, it works a tiny bit better with this version, because it comes off more like Arcanine changed to an Electric Type. Then I realized that this shiny looks a bit too much like a Raikou. I was going to make an Entei comparison with the main version, but I didn’t think it looked quite similar enough. But then I saw the shiny and couldn’t get Raikou out of my head.
Why yellow for ALL of the shiny versions of this line? It’s so bad. Please, if another version of this line ever comes out, choose a color besides yellow for their shiny.
Dex Entries and Backstory: Arcanine, like Growlithe, are known for their intense loyalty and bravery. They are incredibly fast and graceful runners. When running, they are considered captivating by many. They can run around 6,200 miles in 24 hours, which is insane. The fire within their bodies is said to help power it to run so far and fast. They are world-renowned for their beauty, and they are said to look like they have wings and are running on air.
In a bit of surprise, the early Dexes note that it is a legendary Pokemon in China specifically (this is later changed to “the east.”) There are legends of Arcanine working alongside military generals and conquering an entire country.
It has a bark so powerful and majestic that people actually grovel when they hear it.
Hisuian Arcanine has a fierce look, especially with fangs that they can cloak in fire, but it mostly feints and avoids fighting fairly often, choosing to playfully chase after and dance around its opponents instead…..Wait, that’s it? That’s all they have to say about Hisuian Arcanine? That’s kinda lame, actually. No notes about volcanoes or lava or rocks or what have you? Why even bother then?
Not many additional design notes for Arcanine except that it might have also been based off of Xiezhi, which…..maybe, but I doubt it? Bulbapedia says it’s a fire-breathing dog with similarities to lions and tigers, but the Wiki page for that legend specifically says it’s an ox, sheep or a goat, and there’s no mention of fire anywhere.
According to legend, the Xiezhi was called upon as a figure of justice. It could accurately detect who was guilty and who was innocent with a glance. They would signify who was guilty and innocent by ramming whomever was guilty and sparing whomever was innocent. That doesn’t sound like anything Arcanine does so….*shrug*
Hisuian Arcanine also doesn’t have any additional notes besides the very obvious fact that the tail and ankle fur look like smoke, which is very disappointing.
And that was the – eh, what should I call this one?….The Guard Dog line. I would’ve said “Legendary Dogs” but then people would probably get confused with the three Legendary cats/dogs/beasts…ya know. I still love Growlithe and Arcanine to bits and pieces, even if their only alternate versions are underwhelming. They’re just such awesome Pokemon, and they’re always high on my favorites list. I wish they existed in real life. Or at least I wish they were a bigger part of the anime. I still have trouble accepting that they wouldn’t let James keep Growly with him. Gary had an Arcanine, but we barely see him.
Next up, the Poli line!
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3 thoughts on “My Poke-Pinions #58 and 59 – The Guard Dog Line”
You’re right, these are super cute pokemon! I’ve always been a fan of Vulpix/Ninetails and I always think of it as a cute puppy type pokemon, but I guess it’s actually more of a fox. So it’s a little different.
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I saw the Hisuian version in my reader, and I had already read the title, and I was like, “Hol’ up, whaaaaat??” It looks like the odd one out like in a cartoon, there’d be some thematic names and the last one doesn’t match? Like Pac-Man, Inky, Blinky, Pinky, and Clyde? Hisuian looks like he’s the Clyde.
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That’s an absolutely perfect way to describe it lol
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