Focus On: Pokémon Designs


Pokémon designs. Possibly one of the most slated aspects of the entire Pokémon franchise. A high number of fans seem to agree with one another that over the span of Generations the designs of the Pokémon introduced have gradually gotten worse. With the First Generation being the best and Fifth the worst. But, is that really the case?

[spoiler show=”Read More…”]Kotaku has an interesting article that’s worth a read, feel free to quote and comment replies from Kotaku here too! We’re going to throw our own spin on it. Nostalgia goggles probably play a large part in the opinion that Kanto Pokémon are the best, it’s not just fans who have been with Pokémon since the start, it’s also late adopters or those who have picked up with later games. Back to the nostalgia goggles, it’s a pretty common thing to say that an older version of something is better than the up-to-date versions, look at well, anything with multiple instalments.

rotomCompare the the ‘backstory’ and reasoning behind Pokémon designs in newer Generations to the the earlier. Charizard, as cool as it is, is just a lizard-dragon thing with wings and fire on the tip of its tail. Magnemite is a magnet. And Rattata is a just a purple rat. That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with simplicity,heck there are some amazing Pokémon from more recent generations who are so simple in design it’s a surprise they belong in their generation (as opposed to the rather simple Generation I). Rotom (not the best example, but hey, it’s Rotom) is a relatively simple Pokémon in terms of design but the reasoning behind its is clear, especially in its forms. It’s a poltergeist. An electrical one that possesses electrical appliances, check out Mechanos’ article on Rotom.

How many Pokémon from earlier generations can you explain their backstory by their appearance? They’re pretty much just animals, nothing wrong with that though. There are more recent Pokémon that are just animals, Lillipup for example doesn’t really have anything special about it, it’s just a puppy.

It seems each generation has a share of “just Pokémon”, Pokémon that aren’t Pokémon and Pokémon. Kanto has it’s fair share of terrible Pokémon, sure they’re unique and most people can recognise them but they really are terrible design-wise. Maybe we were spoiled early on in the Pokémon universe, but things change.

Taking a look at the reasoning behind the existence of a Pokémon is also an important point to make. From Generation III onwards the majority of Legendary Pokémon introduced have been deities, Dialga controls Time and so on… they’re all around for a reason–whether that reason is perhaps a bit stretched is all a matter of opinion. Compare that to earlier Legendary Pokémon, yes, they’re probably some of the most iconic but they’re better looking than their reasoning is.

There are countless reasons why newer/older Pokémon are better/worse (delete as appropriate) and this article would get incredibly long all of them were listed here. But the point is: Pokémon designs are not getting worse. They are in fact getting better. Sure some of them may look less like the Pokémon you’ve come to expect form earlier Generations, but design-wise Unova Pokémon are significantly superior to, say, Kanto Pokémon. Dismissing a Pokémon because it’s downright ugly isn’t the best way to go about things–although, we’re humans and that’s exactly what we do, Ludicolo springs to mind for me here.[/spoiler]

It really all does boil down to personal opinion, this entire article is my opinion, but I’d like to hear yours. What generation of Pokémon is your favourite, are the original 151 really the best and is that opinion based purely on nostalgia value? If you look at Pokémon designs in appearance, ‘backstory’ and reasoning you can see why, in this case newer Pokémon are superior. But voice your own opinions and what-not below, as well as giving me a run-down of why I’m wrong or why you like a certain Pokémon.

There’s no Rewind this week as the news flow has been pretty slow, but don’t forget to check back for our Christmas post and spread the word when it’s up!