My Poke-Pinions #037-038 Vulpix and Ninetales

Vulpix

Name: I absolutely love Vulpix’s name. It’s adorable, but also striking and somewhat intimidating. It’s meant to be a mixture of the word vulpes, which is Latin for fox, and six, due to its six tails.

Alolan Vulpix is known by the nickname Keokeo, which is based on the Hawaiian word for white, ke’oke’o. I really like this nickname. It’s very fitting, snappy and cute.

Its original Japanese name is Rokon, which is a mixture of roku, the Japanese word for six, and one of several theories for the second syllable – kon for grudge, due to the curse involved in its evolution, kon kon, which is the Japanese onomatopoeia for the sound foxes make, konro, which means gas stove (I think that one’s stretching too far.) and ko, which is a variant reading of the word kitsune, the Japanese word for fox.

Truth be told, I never much cared for the name Rokon. It’s fine. It’s kinda cute and rolls off the tongue, but it just doesn’t fit this Pokemon.

Fun Fact: Vulpix’s French name is Goupix, and that word is way too fun to say.

Design:

Foxes are one of my absolute favorite animals, and Vulpix is one of my absolute favorite Pokemon. It is one of the most adorable designs to this day, and it doesn’t try too hard to make it cutesy. It has such a sweet wittle face, pwetty eyes, curly tails and hair, wittle paws, and just the perfect shades of brown and burnt orange. How can you not love this adorable ball of everything good in life?

Alolan Vulpix

Alolan designs tend to be hit and miss, and Alolan Vulpix is a home run. I adore the shift to white and ice blue, it’s extremely adorable still, the slight change to its hair isn’t overboard, and they changed it just enough to be a true change to form and not just a recolor.

I don’t like Alolan Vulpix more than regular Vulpix, but it’s a close call.

Sprite-Wise, Gen I looks a teeny bit weird just because Vulpix’s eyes are so tiny. I think they were trying for a more realistic fox look, and while it’s cute and works alright, it’s so much better with bigger eyes.

Gen II looks nice. I love the little blink and tail wag animation they added in Crystal.

Gen II’s cute, although the animation for Emerald is slight spastic.

Gen IV…..can fuck off, quite frankly. Look, I love Vulpix. Truly. With every little bit of my heart. But I do not….ever….want to see Vulpix presenting its ass to me. I just don’t.

HG/SS is a more proper pose, but the animation is just a very simple growl.

Gen V is fine, but, like others, its constant animation makes it look like it’s hyperventilating.

Gen VI and VII are cute.

Shiny:

I…..want the name….of the evil person who decided it would be a good idea to turn my beautiful Vulpix….into…..into THIS.

This is an affront to poor Vulpix. Bright neon slightly green yellow?! Washed out orange?! Some sort of weird washed out pea soup green for the brown areas and the eyes?! What did Vulpix ever do to you?!

It’s weird. Usually Gen I shinies are nothing to write home about. They’re typically either the worst in the set or they’re just blah, but Vulpix’s Gen I shiny version is actually the best one, in my opinion. It’s like a mixture of gold and bronze. It’s quite beautiful.

In Gens VI and VII, it’s like they realized how fugly the previous shinies have been, so they changed it up. Now it looks like someone put a dull lime green filter very lightly over Vulpix. While it technically looks better, it’s still ugly. Vulpix deserves better.

As for Shiny Alolan Vulpix, well, what’s there to say about that?

…..I’m serious, what’s there to say? Because I honestly, legitimately cannot tell the difference between the two. Maybe….the inside of the ears….are darker?

This is probably in the top ten worst offenders of ‘Wait, that’s shiny?’

Dex Entries and Backstory: Vulpix is born with only one (white, for some reason) tail which then splits off into six after some time. Also look at a baby Vulpix!

You can’t tell the white tail color differentiation, but it’s so cute!

Also, there’s this weird note, “The tails grow hot as it approaches evolution.” How can it be close to evolution if it requires a stone to evolve?

Vulpix can not only produce flames – it also has an eternal flame burning within its body – like the Char line’s flame only less sucky. When it’s too hot outside, they will expel some of the flames in order to cool off. They can manipulate these flames to mimic will-o’-the-wisps, which trick its prey and local humans.

Most of the Dex entries just point out the tail splitting thing and mention that it’s beautiful, cute and cuddly – can’t argue with facts. Some of them also mention that it will fake injury in order to escape from powerful enemies and that, without brushing, its fur will tangle….because….that last one was useful information. I mean, it technically is useful information because tangled hair can be a huge issues for animals, but it’s not typically something you’d think you’d see in a PokeDex.

In terms of design, Vulpix and Ninetales are very obviously based off of foxes, but more specifically the well-known Japanese legend of the kyubi no kitsune or the nine-tailed fox. According to legend, the kitsune grow many tails over the course of their lives and develop supernatural powers the older they get. When they reach an advanced age, they can start to take on spirit forms

The Alolan Vulpix became as such due to living in the snowy mountain areas of the Alola region. They move in small packs called skulks, which is the actual name for a group of foxes, and they’re typically lead by a Ninetales. Alolan Vulpix exhales air as cold as -58°F and typically freezes its prey and threats with its breath. Shield mentions that, if you look at some of its hair through a microscope, you can actually watch ice particles form, which is really cool.

Ninetales

Name: I love Ninetales’ name. It’s elegant, fitting and a clever play on words by using the word ‘tales’ instead of the obvious ‘tails’ to reference the more mysterious mythical background of the Pokemon. The Wiki page also surmises that it could be based on the cat o’ nine tails whip, but I don’t buy that, really.

Its Japanese name is Kyukon, which I think fits a bit better than Rokon purely in regards to sound. Kyu is the Japanese word for nine, and the kon part is explained in Vulpix’s name section.

Fun Fact: In French, it’s called Feunard, which sounds really funny to me. It is mixing the French words feu (fire), renard (fox) and neuf (nine) so it makes perfect sense, but the word itself seems silly.

In German, it’s Vulnona, which makes me think Ninetales owns a classy bar downtown for some reason. Again, it makes perfect sense as it’s vulpes mixed with nona, meaning nine, but I can’t help but think that.

Design:

I stand firm in my opinion that Ninetales is a contender for most beautiful Pokemon. I can’t find a single flaw with this Pokemon’s design. Cute face, beautiful colors, striking eyes, pretty flowy tails – it’s just amazing. ♥

Alolan Ninetales

Much in the same vein as Alolan Vulpix, I absolutely love Alolan Ninetales, but not more than the original design. I like Alolan Ninetales more than Alolan Vulpix just because I think it’s more elegant than it is poofy. It comes off like the spirit of a glacier or a snowstorm more than just a different version of an existing Pokemon.

Sprite-Wise, R/B looks a little weird in much the same way Vulpix looked off. Its eyes are too small, but it’s also holding its paw in a weird way.

Green is better, and I love that pose, but the tails are way too short and the hair on the top of its head is shaped upwards Vegeta-style, which is strange.

Crystal is a bit overly yellow, like it’s more lemon than cream, but I do enjoy the subtle animations on the tails and the mouth.

I like the static pose for Gen III, but the shaky animation for Emerald is no bueno.

The head position for the sprite on D/P seems really weird, something they appear to have noticed and fixed for Platinum.

The static pose for HG/SS is okay, but the animation is overly simplistic. Why is it ‘barking’?

I like the animation and pose for Gen V, but the mouth is a little bit too wide, like it’s grinning too hard.

Gen VI and onward look really good, though. The first of the sprites to really come off as powerful and elegant.

Shiny:

Shiny Ninetales is 100000000000x better than Shiny Vulpix. It’s baffling how polar opposite these two shinies are. Whereas Shiny Vulpix is gross yellows and greens, Shiny Ninetales is beautiful silver and blue. I don’t think this color scheme would have worked well for Vulpix, but it would’ve been so much better than the puke they gave us.

Even Shiny Alolan Ninetales looks much better. Granted, it kinda loses some of its ice motif by heading more for a purplish gray than glacial blue and white, but I like to think more along the lines of a cloudy sky on a snowy day. And, hey, at least I can tell the difference between regular Alolan Ninetales and the Shiny version.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Ninetales is an extremely interesting and simultaneously confusing Pokemon. It is intelligent enough to understand human speech, which….I dunno, is neat, but also a weird thing to note because it seems like most Pokemon can understand human speech just not speak it themselves. The point is that Ninetales are extremely intelligent and vengeful.

Supposedly, this intelligence and mystical power was created when nine saints merged into one, but that’s…..huh? Were they vengeful saints? Why did they merge together? How did they merge together? How did they form an evolved Pokemon? Why take the form of a fox? Another Dex entry says the spirits of nine saints were reincarnated as Ninetales, but since when do numerous spirits combine when reincarnating? It’s really interesting, I just wish there was more information available to help clear up the hows and whys.

They can hypnotize others with their beautiful flames and can even control minds if someone looks into its red eyes. Depending on the source, or I guess your own interpretation, Ninetales either curses you if you mistreat it and/or you get instantly cursed if you grab one of its tails – the curse in question could also last for 1000 years, but considering most living beings don’t live nearly that long it seems strange to make that assumption (how would you even know?).

Ninetales can live upwards of 1000 years using the power stored in each of its nine tails. Each tail is supposed to have a unique power, but no source lists suggestions on what each individual power might be nor if it varies from Pokemon to Pokemon.

Alolan Ninetales was originally mistaken for a mountain/snow deity before they distinguished it as a variant of normal Ninetales. Locals now believe a deity lives in the mountains with Ninetales and they choose to not enter that territory out of fear. Ninetales itself seems to be a force to be reckoned with because they not only have zero tolerance for people damaging nature, but they will freeze their enemies stiff in an instant.

They guide lost travelers back down the mountain, and here’s something funny from Shield “The reason it guides people all the way down to the mountain’s base is that it wants them to hurry up and leave.” Pbbbtttt. “I’m not actually rescuing you. I just want you to leave faster.”

Ya know, I adore Ninetales, I truly do, but reading up on its lore really shines a light on the fact that it’s a bit of a dick. They can be really friendly and sweet Pokemon, but it does not come off as nice in any of its listed information…..Would definitely still get one if they existed, though. No doubt.

Alolan Ninetales was based on the arctic fox, which sports white fur to blend in with the snowy terrain. Its lore indicates it might be loosely based on Poli’ahu, a Hawaiian goddess of snow which resides in Mauna Kea – the tallest mountain (and dormant volcano) in the world if measured from the seafloor. While Poli’ahu is not a fox of any kind, she is noted as being the most beautiful of the already beautiful four goddesses, which definitely relates back to Ninetales, and it seems extremely fitting that she resides on a snowcapped dormant volcano considering Ninetales can either be Ice or Fire.

It’s also theorized that Alolan Ninetales could be based on tulikettu, a mythical ‘firefox’ of Finnish legend that creates or is made of the Northern Lights but also, obviously, controls fires.

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And that was our beloved Vulpix and Ninetales. Love to love them to bits and pieces, and they are extremely interesting Pokemon, but there are some details here and there that are not exempt from criticism. I’m still salty about Vulpix’s shiny. Poor Vulpix. Ninetales fares a lot better, but there’s no denying that its Dex entries and backstory don’t paint it in a particularly pleasant light. I need a real life version of both of them, though. Right now.

Next up, get puffed, get tuff and get buff – we’re going after the ‘iggy’uff line…….I might need to workshop that name….


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