The Best New Pokemon From ‘Pokemon X and Y’
Pokémon X and Y were released last week, and I’m pretty comfortable with going ahead and declaring them to be the best video games of the year. Seriously, when Grand Theft Auto 5 lets you pet Pikachu and feed him cupcakes to make him better at fighting, then we can have a debate about it. Until then, it’s not even close.
Of course, in addition to the all-important cuddling-and-cupcake mechanics, the new generation of Pokémon has also introduced an entirely new bunch of imaginary little fighting animals into the mix. So today, as is our tradition here at ComicsAlliance, I’m taking a look at the new batch to figure out the best new Pokémon from X and Y!
Let’s start with the starters, shall we? Here’s Fennekin, and its evolutions, Braixen and Delphox:
The three starter Pokémon are always a pretty interesting proposition, because they’re the ones you’re going to be using for most of the game — and, if you play it like I do, the way it is supposed to be played, they’re also the ones that you will form the strongest bond of trust and friendship with. This, of course is the natural result of making your pet fight squirrels that shoot lighting out of their faces, because really, what’s friendlier or more trusting than making animals knock each other out in ruthless, semimystical combat? Anyway, X/Y, the sixth generation of Pokémon, offered up some solid choices, but ultimately, I went with Fennekin for reasons that are probably obvious.
I mean, Chespin might look like Louise from Bob’s Burgers, which is definitely a plus, but it ends up evolving into something that looks like a palette-swapped version of Onslaught from Marvel Comics, and that’s not something I want around for an entire hundred-hour game. Froakie, the water starter, eventually involves into a gigantic frog ninja who wraps its tongue around its face like a Kamen Rider scarf, and while that’s kind of awesome, it’s also kind of gross. And then we have Fennekin, an adorable, fire-breathing version of the African fennic fox that grows up to be a straight up wizard.
Seriously: It carries around a wand that it uses to launch psychic death rays and Mystic Fire — the actual name of its signature move is Mystic Fire — at its enemies. Finally, we have revealed owls and cats for the bulls**t wizard pets that they truly are. Pyromantic foxes are where it’s at, y’all.
Speaking of adorable little fire animals, here’s Litleo and its evolution, Pyroar:
On the off chance that you haven’t figured it out yet, the formula for designing Pokémon is to draw the cutest possible thing that you can imagine, and then once that’s done, draw an adult version of that thing that is unbelievably badass. Take note, we’ll be revisiting this theme in a moment.
Really, though, Litleo is a concept that I’m surprised it took them this long to get around to: Simba from The Lion King, except that it is also on fire. That’s the most Pokémon thing ever, followed shortly by its second form being Mufasa that is on fire, with streaks in its mane that make the Japanese character for “Fire,” or his mohawked bride. Scar is about to get jacked.
It’s not even close to the ultimate example of that formula, though, Pancham and Pangoro:
Someone thought it was a good idea to make a cute little panda that turned into Marv from Sin City. They were wrong. That is actually the best idea that has ever happened. Its official description talking about berserker rages and arms that can snap telephone poles is just icing on the cake.
The great thing about Pancham, though, is that it only evolves if you have a Dark-type Pokémon in your party, which basically means that it turns into a two-fisted, leaf-chewing thug because you let it hang out with The Wrong Crowd. You are rewarded for contributing to the poor upbringing of a cute little panda. Of course, what with it being entirely about teens who bail out of their houses to go walk around the country and scrap with various criminal organizations and cults, this fits right in with Pokémon‘s pretty favorable attitudes toward juvenile delinquency.
Odds are pretty good that Pangoro carries around a Honedge (and a Doublade) just in case things get hairy:
The other major schools of Pokémon design are a) just looking around and draw a sentient version of whatever objects happen to be in the room (ice cream cone, garbage bag, lamp), b) evolving something by just taping two or three of them together and calling it a day (Magneton, Dugtrio, Klinklang), and c) just cold possessing something with a ghost (Rotom, Chandelure, Cofagrigus). Honedge does all three.
Honedge is a sword possessed by a violent spirit that wants to cut Pikachus and Jigglypuffs into neat slices of Pikachu and Jigglypuff. That alone would make it one of the raddest Pokémon around since it basically turns your trainer into Donovan from Darkstalkers, but then you add in the fact that it is a sword that grows up to be two swords – and can further be evolved into a sword and shield that look like you pulled them off a slain enemy in Legend of Zelda. There is a beautiful logic to that that I just can’t get past: Of course a sword grows up to be two swords. What else would it do?
While we’re on the subject of the obvious, here’s Tyrunt and Tyrantrum:
Look. At this point, we’re 17 years into the Pokémon franchise, and there are 718 of these things. Not all of them are going to be extremely creative. Tyrunt and Tyrantrum, for example, are literally just drawings of dinosaurs with nothing added to them. I am, however, willing to forgive a lack of creativity because this thing is literally a Tyrannosaurus Rex that you can unleash upon your enemies. Then you feed it cupcakes. It is every child’s dream.
And then there’s Inkay.
If you look closely, you may notice that Inkay’s evolution, Malamar (presumably not to be confused with the similar-sounding candy) looks kind of like a more developed version of Inkay, only turned upside down. The reason for this is that Inkay only evolves if it levels up while you are holding your 3DS upside-down.
Why?! Why would they do this?! How is anyone possibly supposed to figure this out on their own without… well, without doing what everyone I know does and going to look it up on Bulbapedia, but still. That is the weirdest, most nonintuitive mechanic they have introduced, and folks, they have introduced a lot of weird and nonintuitive mechanics. But it’s worth including on the list, just to point out that 17 years in, they still know how to frustrate tiny children.
So what’s the best of the new batch? No question.
Hawlucha is a bird that is also a luchador. Its signature move is “Flying Press,” a dual-type Flying/Fighting move that simulates diving at its opponent from the top rope. It also knows High Jump Kick, and if it moves — as high-risk, top-turnbuckle wrestling moves occasionally do — it will damage itself. If you feed it enough cupcakes, it is capable of hulking up and enduring a hit that would otherwise knock it out, coming back to defend its luchador honor with 1 hit point.
It is the best.
Pokémon X and Y were out for maybe ten minutes before I started getting emails telling me I need to catch this thing on Route 10, but rest assured: I have six of them (Cien Plumas, Santo Cielo, Pidgey Jr., Reina Pico, Ciclon Roja, and La Pajara). Hit me up for a trade.