My Poke-Pinions #027-28 The Sand Line

Sandshrew

Name: Sandshrew is a combination of—I’m gonna just assume you know what it’s a combination of. It’s not really difficult. As for whether I like it or not – I do. It’s a bit overly simple, but that’s not a bad thing. It’s still memorable and cute.

And hey, at least they didn’t simplify it to a hilarious level like just calling it ‘Sand’ or something, hahah! Isn’t that right Japa–(image of name plate in Wiki)

………*lip smack*…….Moving on.

Design: I’ve always thought Sandshrew had such a simple yet incredibly cute design. It’s a shade of yellow that’s not too loud, it has an adorable face, cute little paws and I love that brick-like design on the yellow parts.

In regards to the sprites, I can say with certainty that practically every Gen is varying levels of adorable. Even right out the gate in Red/Blue, Sandshrew is sitting there look so adorable. I just wanna cuddle it.

The back sprite for Gen I is kinda weird, but that’s all I really have to say in that department.

Crystal is where it gets really cute. Look at that little itching animation and tail wag. N’aw!

Gen III is adorable, but Emerald is a little silly because I don’t know why it’s just flailing its arms like that. It’s still adorable even with the animation, but it’s a little goofy.

It’s in Gen IV where things get strange. The animations are just erratic. DPP makes it look like it’s trying to be a rabbit,

and HGSS makes it looks it had too much coffee.

Gen V is really adorable with its subtle little head shake.

As usual, Gen VI is just okay.

Alolan Sandshrew

I love that there’s an Ice (and Steel) version of Sandshrew, and I adore the igloo theme they got going on here, but there’s no getting around the fact that it’s, ultimately, pretty much just a recolor of original Sandshrew. It has a band on its face and its ears are designed to look more like igloo entrances, but it’s still just a recolored Sandshrew. Nothing wrong with the recolor, I really love it, but I can’t ignore that.

Shiny:

I’ve mentioned before that a lot of people tend to hate green shinies, but I actually really love Shiny Sandshrew. I think it’s a very vibrant and cute shade of green – and for some reason it makes me think it’s a gummi bear, which just makes it even cuter.

Shiny Alolan Sandshrew is pretty cool (no pun intended) too.

The yellow underbelly is replaced with a dark glacier blue, and it fits extremely well with the ice motif.

Cry/Voice: Sandshrew’s anime voice is actually quite….horrible. It’s a very unfitting and screechy voice. The good thing is Sandshrew doesn’t tend to make noise very often.

Sandshrew’s game cry is equally screechy though not as horrifying. It’s not that memorable, but it’s a tiny bit fitting I guess.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Most of Sandshrew’s Dex entries say the same thing – they dislike water and mostly enjoy burrowing in dry sandy areas such as deserts. If they are threatened, they protect themselves by curling into a ball. The plates on their backs are extremely strong and act as armor.

Some other entries note that dew will form on it overnight if it gets particularly cold, and one entry mentions that, should it get too wrinkled from moisture, it will seek out the heat of a volcano and dry off there.

The Dex entry for Alolan Sandshrew is actually a little ironic because, completely contrary to regular Sandshrew, Alolan Sandshrew supposedly cannot curl up into a ball because of their armor-like back plates that are hard as steel. Alolan Sandshrew were said to come about after Sandshrew fled a volcanic eruption and decided to live in the nearby snowy mountains. Given the physiology of regular Sandshrew, I’m not sure how it lived for so long that it adapted into this polar opposite form, but I guess it’s not completely unbelievable.

It’s also a tradition to play a curling-like game with them by sliding them across the ice and seeing how far they can go. They use this super-sliding nature to assist themselves in the wild by sliding full-force into their enemies.

In terms of design, Sandshrew was based heavily on armadillos. The inspiration for its supposedly poisonous claws may be derived from shrews, of which they also share their name (at least in English) and it may also be inspired by pangolins.

Alolan Sandshrew was obviously based heavily on igloos, and the Wiki also mentions it was inspired by a curling stone because of the aforementioned game people play with them. Why they decided to do that with a Pokemon who, in no way, reminds anyone of a curling stone, I have no clue.

Sandslash

Name: I like Sandslash’s name, and, again, I’m going to assume I don’t have to explain this one. It’s different enough from Sandshrew, it has a more intimidating vibe to it, to reflect its increase in power, and it’s really cool.

In Japanese, it was originally…..Sandpan?…..That’s a little better than just Sand, but not by much because…what the hell does the ‘pan’ part mean?

According to the Wiki, they’re just guessing that the ‘pan’ part is for ‘pangolin’ which….I suppose maybe, but that’s kinda weird the way it’s arranged. Wouldn’t Sandgolin or something make more sense in regards to composition? No lie, when I first saw ‘Sandpan’ I thought they were referencing bread, because the Japanese word for bread is ‘pan.’

Honestly, I think Sandpan is a pretty goofy name, Sandslash is much better.

Fun fact: In the beta for R/B, Sandslash was originally named Sandstorm, which I think was an equally cool alternative name. Also, in China, its name is Chyūnsāanwòhng, which literally translates to ‘King of going through mountains.’ Okay. China wins here.

Design: Sandslash is just the right combination of intimidating and adorable. It’s just so cute with its big eyes and little nose, but also you know it could cause you some major pain with its quills and claws. I love the hedgehog/porcupine motif it has going for it, and it makes total sense as an upgrade from Sandshrew. The yellow and brown combo is nice, and the contrast makes the quills stand out a lot more. I also like that the quills/spikes themselves are thick and bulky to make it seem bigger and tougher.

As for sprites, R/B looks a little weird, but maybe it’s the perspective.

The back sprite is equally odd because it looks like Sandslash’s face is in the wrong spot.

Yellow looks quite normal, barring the same back sprite, and Green’s looks like someone tries to stuff it into a backpack and smushed it.

Gen II is pretty cute. I love the animation for Crystal. It can either be that it’s slashing its claws to intimidate you or it’s making a gangster-like gesture. Yes, the former makes more sense, but the latter is a lot funnier.

In Gen III, I feel like it’s about to present its butt to me. The weird animation for Emerald doesn’t help at all.

FR/LG is almost boringly normal, though.

Gen IV is pretty cute. Its animation makes it look like it’s cheering.

Meanwhile, HG/SS just looks like it’s spasming out of control.

Gen V is pretty darn cool. Not only is it slashing its claws, but it also has a neat animation for all of its back spikes and its tail.

Gen VI is very okay and boring.

Alolan Sandslash

I absolutely love the glacier/icicle motif they have going on with Alolan Sandslash. That was an awesome direction to go with this alt version. There’s not a lot in terms of color contrast in Alolan Sandslash, but that’s alright because the shades of blue that they chose for it are perfect.

It’s subtle, but I also like the way they changed the style of the claws. There’s a very sharp downward angle that makes the claws almost seem icicle-like too.

Shiny:

Sandslash has one of the best shinies, in my opinion. It has an awesome blood-red color on the spikes and the shade of yellow used on the body made for a more tan look that was great in contrast to the red and really gave off more of a sand vibe.

Shiny Alolan Sandslash, however, is just lazy.

It’s a darker Alolan Sandslash. That’s all. They took Alolan Sandslash’s sprite, turned down the brightness and called it a day. It’s not bad as in ugly or anything, but it’s boring.

Cry/Voice: This is probably going to sound weird, but, in the anime, it always sounds like Sandslash says ‘Slash’ while sneezing whenever it’s attacking. It’s cute, but it’s also a little funny hearing it that way.

Normally, Sandslash sounds…okay. It’s cute, but it kinda loses intimidation points on how high pitched it sounds. It’s even higher than Sandshrew, which is odd. I don’t know why the voice is so nasally, either. Like whoever voices it pinches their nose while recording.

Sandslash’s game cry is alright. It’s low and more intimidating, but not too low for it to sound off-putting or unfitting. It’s a bit too static-y, though – like it was meant for an Electric type or something.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Not too much that is all that interesting to note for several Gens worth of Dex Entries. It can blind enemies with sand, it protects itself by curling into a ball and using its incredibly hard quills as armor, it can climb trees and use its powerful claws for slashing. If or when its quills break off, they grow back in a day. They can use their quills to make enemies flinch then strike with their claws.

We do learn in Gen VII that people will use shed Sandslash claws and quills to make tools to till their farms and fields, so that’s pretty neat. However, the Dex entries for this Gen are also worded oddly. Ultra Sun claims Sandslash’s claws and horns break off….I have never heard anyone refer to Sandslash’s quills as horns. Spikes, yeah, but not horns. That’s just not accurate.

Also, in Ultra Moon, they say they ‘Park themselves in trees and go right to sleep.’ That is correct, but it’s weird that they said ‘park themselves’ like they’re a car. (I am aware that people sometimes say ‘park it’ when telling someone to sit, but in this situation it just sounds weird. I’m being very nitpicky here, admittedly, though.)

In Gen VIII, the Dex mentions that Sandslash’s spikes will feel smoother and harder if it’s in drier climates, which makes sense, and when they’re in trees they will drop berries for Sandshrew waiting down below, which I thought was sweet.

In regards to design, it has obviously drawn inspiration from hedgehogs, echidnas, and porcupines, and pangolins have been mentioned already, which I can definitely see in the face. Like Sandshrew, it is also based on shrews and supposedly have poisonous claws as a result. I keep saying ‘supposedly’ because I can’t find anything that says Sandshrew or Sandslash has poisonous claws. Only their Wiki and Bulbapedia pages say that, but I can’t find anything in canon.

The only poison ability it has naturally is Poison Sting, and I always thought that was utilizing their spikes, not their claws. In Gen IV and onward, it can use Poison Jab, but only through a TM so that can’t possibly count.

Alolan Sandslash’s Dex entries explain the same origin as Alolan Sandshrew, but also include that its icy spikes are actually steel spikes covered in ice. These spikes don’t only cause deep wounds, but they can also quickly cause frostbite, which is pretty scary. As opposed to trees, it has adapted its claws to climb icebergs. Utilizing its claws to plow through the snow, it has become the fastest Pokemon to travel within snowy mountain regions.

There’s nothing mentioning the design inspiration for Alolan Sandslash, but it’s safe to assume icicles and glaciers were a big part of it. Not sure where the steel came into play, though, because steel has nothing to do with ice, igloos, glaciers etc. Even taking its origins into play, Sandslash didn’t originally have steel spikes, so I’m kinda confused on that front.

Next up, the entire Nido-line: Both male and female!


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My Poke-Pinions: 021-022 – The Spearow Line

Spearow

Name: Spearow is a mixture of ‘spear’ and ‘sparrow.’ I think it’s a pretty good name. Threatening, descriptive and rolls off the tongue.

In Japan, it’s called Onisuzume which is ‘oni’ for ‘demon’ and ‘suzume’ for ‘sparrow.’ The Japanese name is a bit more of a mouthful, but it’s equally imposing and fitting.

Design: Like Pidgey, Spearow’s design is fairly boring. They definitely do enough to it to differentiate it from Pidgey, particularly in making it seem more aggressive and intimidating, and it’s slightly more colorful with the pink wings, but that’s about it.

In terms of sprites, Gen I’s has always really bothered me. Spearow’s supposed to be intimidating and mean, but the sprite for Red and Blue…..There’s no way around this – it’s giving me bedroom eyes. It’s got its back kinda turned and it’s looking back with half-lidded eyes, it’s totally hitting on the player.

Green’s kinda looks like a chicken.

But Yellow’s is eons better.

Silver’s looks a bit odd, like it’s a plushie of a Spearow instead of an actual Spearow.

The animation for Crystal is actually pretty adorable.

I don’t have many notes for the other Gens until VI where….they did something to Spearow’s face to make it seem…off. I don’t know if the eyes are too small or the face has too many feathers, but it just weird to me.

Shiny:

Spearow’s shiny is okay. I really like Gen II’s version as it looks like it’s an orange-gold color.

But the parts where the brown are on original Spearow get increasingly puke-green over the Gens and I just don’t care for that.

Cry/Voice: Spearow’s voice is pretty good. It’s one of those voices where you can hear a person saying the word, but the inflection put on the word masks it enough to sound real. Plus, the alteration to the voice to make it sound like a crow-like bird is very well done.

It’s game cry is actually pretty cute – probably too cute for something that’s meant to be mean.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Its Dex entries are a bit boring. Nothing really too noteworthy. It uses its wing flaps to draw out bugs to eat, and its cry can be heard from half a mile away. It’s also very territorial and can’t fly very high due to its short wings.

In terms of design, Spearow is obviously based off of a sparrow. There’s a bit of Lanius shrike in there too, mostly in regards to the hooked beak.

Fearow

Name: Fearow’s name is a mixture of ‘fear’ and ‘sparrow’ but it’s also suggested that ‘feather’ and ‘arrow’ might be inspiration for it too.

I like Fearow’s name. It’s unique, imposing and rolls off the tongue.

In Japanese, it’s called Onidrill, which combines ‘oni’ for ‘demon’ and ‘drill.’ It might also be taken as ‘onidori’ which means ‘demon bird.’ Onidrill’s a bit more manageable than Onisuzume, but it somehow feels clunkier. I like it, but not a whole lot.

Design: Fearow’s pretty ugly. Sorry to be so blunt, but it is. I think somewhere along the lines of trying to make a big bird that both differentiates itself enough from Pidgeot to be unique while also being intimidating lead it to just being ugly. It’s like someone mixed a chicken with a pterodactyl.

I’m not even sure how much more I can elaborate. The beak looks too long and craggy, the red tuft looks weird, its neck looks bent too sharply, there’s not a lot of color to it, it’s just not my cup of tea.

I really don’t have much to say about the sprites except Yellow makes it look like a turkey.

And the backsprites give me more chicken vibes.

Shiny: Fearow’s shiny fluctuates from eugh to okay to eugh again, only worse. Gen II is basically just gray with a slight bit of olive green.

Every other Gen up to VI is green-ish/gold to off-gold, which is fine.

But then Gen VI comes around and….it’s back to disgusting gray and olive green, only this time there’s slightly more green, making it worse.

Cry/Voice: Fearow’s voice is….okay. It’s squawky, so it’s very bird-like, it follows up Spearow’s fairly well, but it doesn’t have any additional imposing….Oomph to it. It just sounds like a big Spearow.

Its game cry is also okay. It’s very musical. However, it also has no imposing air about it. It’s pretty bird-y, but that’s about it.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Fearow’s Dex entries are somehow even less interesting than Spearow’s. It’s a big bird with a sharp beak and it can fly for very long periods of time.

….That’s about it.

In terms of design, it was based off of many predatory birds. It’s an amalgamation of so many birds, it’s actually a little ridiculous. The Wiki lists hawks, vultures, storks, chickens, cormorants, anhingas, snipes and Goliath herons. I’m all for not just ripping off one or two real-world animals, but that’s quite the list to go through there, Chimeramon. Nice to know my chicken observation held water, though.

Next time, the Ekans line!


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My Poke-Pinions 019-020: The Rattata Line

Rattata

Name: Rattata’s first English name was Rattatak, a mixture of ‘rat’ and ‘attack’ Somewhere down the line, the k was dropped, leaving Rattata. Even though I, like many kids, was confused on both how to properly pronounce and spell Rattata, I will admit that the name has grown on me through the years. It’s a bit clumsy to say, but once you get the hang of it, it’s fun. Plus, it’s possible the shortened name was based on the sound ‘rat-a-tat’ kinda like a Tommy gun, and that’s just cool.

I think Rattatak also sounds kinda cool, but it’s a bit more clumsy to say than Rattata.

Its Japanese name is Koratta, which either means ‘child Ratta,’ since Raticate’s original name is Ratta, or ‘child rat.’ I like Koratta because it’s easier to say and spell, but I can’t deny that I’m slightly more partial to Rattata.

Fun Fact: In German, it’s called Rattfratz, which is one of the most amazing things ever. Not just because the name itself is awesome, but also because it literally translates to “Rat rascal” and that is too adorable.

Design: I really like Rattata’s design. Purple’s my favorite color, so it’s already winning points there (Plus, it’s always nice to have a Normal type that’s not brown, beige or white…) but it’s also an extremely good balance of cute and fierce. I’d love to have one as a pet.

In terms of sprites, it’s pretty normal until we get to Crystal, which has an adorable little butt shake.

Emerald’s animation is also really cute.

HG/SS is just a bit erratic for me.

Alolan Version:

Hey, we finally get to talk about one of these, eh? And it’s……ugly as hell. I like the dark gray/nearly black coloring with the darker tan, but goddamn that stupid whisker design to make it look like it has a mustache. Eugh.

Shiny:

This shiny makes me want to vomit.

Because it’s the same color as vomit.

Who the hell approved this? Yellow shinies tend to be bad enough, but this shade is just gross. At least the color fluctuates to a gray-ish yellow in other gens, but even though that’s not as nauseating at this yellow, it’s still really ugly.

On the flip side, shiny Alolan Rattata is really nice.

I love the maroon on tan. We don’t get enough maroon shinies.

Cry/Voice: Rattata’s voice is just okay. It’s rather bland, to be honest. Sometimes, they’ll be pretty fierce with the voice, which is kinda cool, but overall it’s just another ‘human obviously saying a word’ voices.

Its game cry is annoying. It sounds like you took damage in an old Commodore 64 game.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Rattata’s a rather simple Pokemon. It’s incredibly common, obviously (it’ll probably be the first or second Pokemon you capture in-game) it loves to chew on things and bite, it’s very energetic, it eats a lot and it’s essentially paranoid. One thing of note is that its teeth never stop growing and requires plenty of things to gnaw on it order to keep them from growing too much. Reminds me of that one episode of Angry Beavers where they let their teeth grow out and eventually they took over the whole dam, and they were worried their teeth would grow into their brains.

The Alolan entries state that, since it only loves fresh foods….apparently, which is weird because the regular entries state it pretty much eats anything it finds, some people use them to find fresh fruits when grocery shopping. Yes, that’s what I want to see on my grocery shopping trip – someone traversing the produce section with a rat.

Also, it gathers food for the boss of its nest, a Raticate.

In regards to its design origins, just guess what it’s based on. Specifically, since it has such big ears, they suspect it might be based on a dumbo rat. I didn’t know that was a thing, but spot-on naming, scientists.

The Alolan version’s origins are much more complex. It’s based on the Hawaiian rat, known for being more vicious than the mainland rats, which may explain the Dark typing. Rats were constantly attacking and eating the sugar cane fields in Hawaii, so they imported small Asian mongooses to keep them at bay, which is mirrored in the Alolan Rattata’s relationship with Yungoos.

However, that move blew up in their faces. The mongooses were ineffective at keeping the rats at bay since mongooses are diurnal while the rats were nocturnal. They never crossed paths and thus couldn’t deter them. The mongooses themselves became an invasive species and started annihilating the local bird population. The mongooses were imported in 1883 and they’re still a major problem to this day. Good job.

Raticate

Name: Raticate is either a mixture of ‘rat’ and ‘eradicate’ which I always thought it was, or ‘masticate’ which means ‘to chew.’ I’m going with the ‘eradicate’ version because it sounds and fits better. I really like Raticate’s name. It’s badass, flows nicely and works well with its pre-evo.

Its Japanese name is Ratta, which is derived from, well, ‘rat.’ I find the Japanese name to be horribly boring. It’s only slightly off-shot from ‘rat’ and just gives off a bland feel.

Fun Fact: In German, it’s called Rattikarl, which is a mix of ‘ratte’ and ‘radikal’….as in ‘radical.’ Germany, I kinda love you right now.

Design: Raticate’s design is pretty…..okay. It lost the purple, which saddens me, and gained a very boring tan color. It’s made to look more fierce than Rattata, and it succeeds, but it’s also more ugly as a result. It also bothers me that Raticate doesn’t seem to be able to really close its mouth. Must be hard on the jaw.

In terms of sprites, it’s a pretty bland collection. R/S/E looks fairly ugly mostly because of how it’s posed.

Other than that, there’s nothing really of note.

Alolan Version:

Somehow they managed to top themselves on ugly with…..whatever this is. It looks like Raticate has severe anaphylaxis. Again, who approved of this design?

The color scheme is still pretty nice, but I can’t get over that face.

Shiny:

This shiny’s pretty bland too. It’s just a darker colored Raticate. I do like it, but I feel like they could’ve done so much more….Eh, I guess I won’t complain too much if the alternative is vomit.

The Alolan shiny is a little more purple-ish than shiny Alolan Rattata, and I really dig it.

Cry/Voice: I hate to sound like a broken record, but Raticate’s anime voice is also kinda bland. It’s just Rattata’s voice only slightly more vicious.

Its game cry is alright and sounds less jarring than Rattata’s but it’s just okay.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Most of Raticate’s Dex entries talk about three things – it has massive biting power and needs to chew a lot, its whiskers help maintain its balance and it has webbed feet that allow for strong swimming. Its biting and chewing power are so great that it can topple concrete buildings.

Alolan Raticate’s Dex entries don’t really explore more than Alolan Rattata, but it does include a tidbit about Raticate being so good at indicating freshness that restaurants will have Raticate around to prove their quality to customers, which is really only a slight off-shoot of the grocery store thing mentioned in Alolan Rattata’s entry.

Its design is based off of a mixture of a muskrat, a guinea pig (for the ears) and possibly a coypu (for the webbed feet)

The Alolan version is based on the Polynesian rat. There isn’t really much to say there as it just looks like a normal rat.

Next up, the Spearow line!


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My Poke-Pinions: 001-003 – The Bulbasaur Line

Bulbasaur

Name: According to Bulbapedia, Bulbasaur’s name is pretty self-explanatory. The ‘bulb’ part is indicative of plant bulbs, and the ‘saur’ part is Latin for ‘lizard.’ I’ve always loved the name Bulbasaur. It rolls off the tongue nicely, is very fun to say and suits it very well.

In the original Japanese, its name is Fushigidane, which can either be translated as ‘Isn’t it strange?’ or ‘Mysterious bulb’, the latter of which is what I believe the writers were going for. I’ve always liked Fushigidane too, even if it is more of a mouthful than Bulbasaur.

Fun fact: In the French version, its name is Bulbizarre, which I thought was really cool.

In the Mandarin version, its name is Miàowāzhǒngzǐ, which translates to ‘Wonderful frog seed’, which is just amazing. Here’s to you, Bulbasaur! You’re a wonderful frog seed!

Design: Bulbasaur’s design is very simple, but incredibly cute. I love its large and expressive eyes and the overall shape of its body. It looks perfect for a pet. I also really like its color scheme. Oddly, I believe the spots were just the right add-on for Bulbasaur because I think it would look really weird and too simplistic without them.

Going over the sprites real quick, the one for Red and Blue is cute.

It’s in a dynamic pose, and I like that. The back view makes it look derpy, though.

Yellow’s version makes it look possessed.

Green’s version makes him look derpy from the front.

Pretty normal and nice until we get to Crystal, which is also fine, but I could do without that animation. That makes me uncomfortable for some reason.

All of the other sprites look fine except for the backs of the Black and White versions. They’re fine, but the animation makes it look like it’s humping something….

Shiny:

The shiny version kinda ruins the color scheme, if you ask me. Yeah, it’s a Grass type, so green should suit it just fine, but it’s a little…too green.

Cry/Voice: Bulbasaur’s cry is cute, but sounds too much like an old Atari crash sound near the end. Bulbasaur’s anime voice has always been a favorite of mine. Whenever I feel like imitating a Pokemon, my first choice is usually Bulbasaur.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Bulbasaur’s story is pretty straightforward in all of its Dex entries. It’s a creature that had a seed planted in its back from birth. The seed slowly sprouts and grows with the Bulbasaur over time. Bulbasaur absorbs and stores nutrients from photosynthesis in the bulb, and can go days without a proper food source thanks to this storage system. The bulb itself is full of seeds.

Anime-exclusive, the bulb will glow blue when it’s close to evolving, which I believe is a fine add-on.

Another thing they only mention in the anime is that researchers aren’t sure whether to classify Bulbasaur as a plant or animal, but that’s always seemed silly to me. The entries clearly state it’s an animal that had a seed planted in its back upon birth. In fact, no matter the physiology of the Pokemon, don’t all Pokemon have to be technically classified as animals or animal-like since they’re living, breathing creatures?

Ivysaur

Name: Ivysaur’s name is on par with Bulbasaur’s, even if it has slightly less bounce to it. Like before, the ‘saur’ part is Latin for lizard while the ‘ivy’ part is alluding to the plant, ivy.

In Japanese, its name is Fushigisou, which is also not quite was bouncy as Fushigidane, but still nice. It translates to ‘It seems strange’ or ‘strange grass,’ again, the latter of which is what I believe they were going for.

Fun Fact: In French, Ivysaur’s name is Herbizarre, poking at herbs. I think Herbizarre sounds cooler than Bulbizarre and Fushigisou.

The Mandarin version of Ivysaur’s name is Mìaowācăo, which means ‘wonderful frog grass’ Somehow, not as funny as ‘Wonderful frog seed.’

Design: I adore Ivysaur’s design. They add enough to it to make it very distinct among its line without seeming like it’s purely a middleman. The flower bud is pretty, the leaves make it look much grassier, the sharpness to its face is just enough to keep it adorable while also giving it a clear tough look. The slight change to its color scheme is nice. I like the darker blue-ish green hue and the black pupils they added, plus it’s cute little ears.

Sprite-wise, what the hell is up with Red and Blue?

Green’s look like it got run over.

And all of the early back sprites look very odd, like they pushed the flower up way too high.

Silver makes him look like a super villain, which is awesome.

And Crystal makes it seem like he just ate a part of my face, which is…awesome?

Every other sprite looks pretty okay, except what is up with Black and White? Why does it look like its waving its leaves at me?

Shiny:

I like Shiny Ivysaur much better than Shiny Bulbasaur. It’s not my favorite shiny by a long shot, but the yellow flower looks nice, and that melded with the lighter green skin gives off a calm spring meadow vibe.

Cry/Voice: Ivysaur’s cry is rid of the Atari crash sound from Bulbasaur’s cry, which is nice. It also sounds a little higher pitched while ending on a deeper note, which makes it sound pretty cool, in my opinion.

Ivysaur isn’t in the anime enough for me to even remember what it sounded like (Mid-evo starters get no love in the anime. They even had the perfect opportunity to give a main character an Ivysaur, twice (Ash’s Bulbasaur refused to evolve – May’s evolved into Venusaur from Bulbasaur OFF-SCREEN, but nope. Pbt.), so I had to go check. Ivysaur’s voice is mostly just a slightly deeper and more gravelly sounding voice, which is fine, but not as nice to listen to as Bulbasaur.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Personally, Ivysaur is my favorite Pokemon – really only sharing that spot back and forth with Raichu. I can’t really explain when or how Ivysaur became my favorite, but I’ve always been a huge fan of it.

Ivysaur’s Dex entries are usually off-shoots of Bulbasaur’s, explaining that the bulb on its back has now turned into a flower bud. The bud absorbs nutrients from sunlight much in the same way the bulb on Bulbasaur’s back did, and it will start to bloom when it’s fully grown, IE ready to evolve. It’s also said to be close to blooming/evolving if Ivysaur starts spending much of its time laying in the sun.

Due to the large flower bud on its back, it can no longer stand on its hind legs (so it can’t look weird in Red and Blue….well, weirder.) and now its legs and trunk have started to become much stronger in response.

Finally, Ivysaur’s flower bud emits a very pleasant and sweet aroma, which is more just a note than anything else as it doesn’t appear to have a function.

Venusaur

Name: Venusaur’s name keeps the saur=lizard theme, and the ‘venus’ part is referencing the Venus Fly Trap, which I find odd because Venusaur’s flower in no way looks like a Venus Fly Trap. If anything, it always reminded me, oddly, of the Corpse Flower.

At least with Ivysaur, its leaves looks somewhat reminiscent of ivy leaves.

Venusaur’s name is alright, but it never hooked in with me that much.

In the original Japanese, it’s called Fushigibana, but which is a pun on the phrase Fushigi no hana – or Strange flower. I like Fushigibana. It brings back the bounce that Fushigidane had – in fact, I’d say it’s even bouncier.

Fun Fact: In French, it’s called Florizarre, which I find difficult to pronounce for some reason, and in Mandarin, it’s Miàowāhuā or Wonderful frog flower.

Design: I’ve never been a huge fan of Venusaur’s design. The flower doesn’t look all that great, the angles of the face, particularly the eyes, don’t sit well with me, and the wart-like bumps put me off, but if there are few Grass Pokemon that give off a feeling of the pure power of nature, it’s Venusaur.

In Bulbasaur’s Mysterious Garden, a Venusaur is basically portrayed as the king of this forest. Its voice even causes a tree to immediately blossom. This thing is huge, looks like a reptilian or amphibian powerhouse and, as we see in the manga, it looks like a sneaky Bulbasaur when it has its flower closed.

It’s still my least favorite of the three final evo Gen 1 starters, but I’ve gained a better appreciation for it over time.

Sprite-wise, we’re going pretty good in Red, Blue and Yellow, but Green looks like it was, again, run over by a truck.

The back sprites of the early games were just sloppy. You can barely tell what that is.

Other than Crystal’s animation looking like it’s winking at me,

and Black and White’s randomly getting its groove on,

the rest of the sprites are very good.

However, the back sprites of the most recent games….let’s just say, I don’t think Venusaur is meant to show so much ass.

Shiny:

I feel about the same way towards Shiny Venusaur as I do Shiny Ivysaur mostly because the changes are identical. It gains a light/lime green skin color with a yellow flower. Though, the flower for Venusaur is slightly more golden looking, making it seem slightly a little better than Ivysaur’s to me.

Mega:

Mega Venusaur was one of the first Megas I ever saw and….I was never a fan. They added more plumage, put a flower on its head, marked its face up a bit and put some vines in there. Sadly, I have not gained a better appreciation for Mega Venusaur over time. There are much better looking Megas out there, and, frankly, Venusaur’s somehow looks both cluttered and lazy at the same time. I prefer the regular version of Venusaur.

Cry/Voice: I’m okay with Venusaur’s cry, but it doesn’t have a deep enough tone or enough oomph for me to be impressed with it. Its anime voice is a huge step in the right direction. It’s deep toned, powerful and fitting. The only gripe I have is that it sounds a little goofy while saying ‘Venusaur’, particularly when yelling it.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Venusaur’s Dex entries are kinda boring because they say almost nothing different from Ivysaur’s except that the little flower bud is now a huge flower. Venusaur is also noted as being more powerful in summertime due to the energy it absorbs from the sun, but why can’t that be said of Ivysaur and Bulbasaur?

Other than that, the sweet scent emitted from the flower, stated in Ivysaur’s Dex entry, is said to soothe people and Pokemon. I prefer that the anime adds that it has somewhat of a power of nature, because that makes it seem a lot cooler.

Next entry: the Charmander line.