With the newest generation of Pokémon games right around the corner, fans’ minds are running wild with imagination. Many in anticipation wonder what kinds of Pokémon we will see in X and Y. Half the fun in waiting, however, is guessing at what animals or objects they might pull inspiration from. In this series, I’ll be highlighting a few animals that I think would be great candidates for Pokémon designs! Our first group: the mammals.
It’s surprising to me that dolphin’s have not inspired any Pokémon designs. We have seen whales and we have seen seals, but why haven’t we seen these wondrous aquatic mammals? Not only are they intelligent and speedy, they hold a piece of human heart. Long they have been known as rescuers in the seas, often carrying shipwrecked humans to safe shores. Dolphins hold endless charm and wit, and they also utilize echolocation. It is a perfect candidate for a water-type Pokémon, with its best stat easily being speed. Type combinations to go along with that could include fighting, or perhaps even psychic—if one took echolocation to mind.
Why it hasn’t been used is beyond me, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see one in the near future.
Marsupials are rather under-represented in Pokémon’s slew of critters; the first and only was Kangaskhan, a Pokémon loosely based on a kangaroo. Fresh new ideas could be found in this unique group of mammals, who raise their young in pouches. Koalas especially hold potential, being both adorable and one-of-a-kind.
Koalas forage for leaves in the branches of eucalyptus trees, using their paws with two opposable thumbs (each, mind you) to climb from limb to limb. Due to the water concentration in eucalyptus leaves, koalas rarely need to drink water, but they do need to sleep 20 hours a day. Tails are entirely absent in these guys, although they have a cartilage pad on their rear end—probably to make sleeping in a tree all day a little kinder to the rump.
Koalas aren’t the fastest of marsupials, so a Pokémon based on them would lack in terms of the speed stat. However, with its close relationship with eucalyptus trees, koalas would make logical grass-types, earning boosts in special attack and special defense. Being slightly rodent-like, I would suggest that koalas also have normal typing.
Many other marsupials would be great for designs, but since after the kangaroo, the koala is the most recognizable of them all, it would be a smart an original choice.
Deer and horses have been made into Pokémon, but another hoofed animal that could make a great candidate for design is the antelope. Species of all shapes and sizes can be found in Africa and Asia—one can even be found in the plains and scrublands of North America. They live in a wide variety of habitats, but the ecosystem that comes to mind when most think of antelopes is the savannah. More specifically, the African savannahs. Generation 5 found us a design based off another African animal, the zebra, but we could do with more African-inspired designs.
Antelope specialize in two things: jumping and running, and this should be emphasized in the Pokémon’s design and stats. Most ruminants (hoofed animals) that have been made into Pokémon have given a normal typing, and so it would make sense to give an antelope this typing. However, given its skills, antelope could also be part fighting or part electric. Given its hot dry environment, these animals could also be given a fire-typing.
With the wide variety of species, plenty of inspiration could be pulled from antelope, making them a reasonable candidate.
Oh, the whimsy. I think everyone will agree that the moose is quite the character with its large nose, dangling waddle, bulky body, and stilt-like legs. Pokémon have had their fair share of quirky designs, which makes moose more than qualified. But one shouldn’t be fooled by the moose’s oafish looks—these animals are tanks. The largest species stand at over 7 feet (2.1 m), and weigh up to 1,056 lbs (480 kg). One would never want to get on their bad side—especially a mother and her calf.
Because of this, a moose Pokémon’s best stats would definitely be defense and special defense. It is a ruminant, like antelopes, so normal typing would come naturally. These animals are frequently found in the water, so a combination type with water would also be logical.
This tank-like animal would make truly a fantastic tank-like Pokémon.
After Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, I really came to appreciate Ice-types, and I would be more than happy to see more. Personally, I would love to see a snow leopard become a Pokémon—one, because it’s a cat and two, it’s a unique cat. These felines are rarely found, due to their extreme habitats in the mountains of Central Asia. They have several adaptations that help them in their usually snowy habitats: stocky, well-muscled bodies, wide paws, thick fur, and an extremely long tail used for balance and fat storage. Above all, it just looks really cool. This animal has the potential to be an awesome Pokémon, being both sleek and mysterious.
While I’m all for a solid Ice-type, a snow leopard could be a good candidate for being half ghost type, due to the mystery of its rarity. Yet if one stretches the imagination, all other kinds of combinations could work: psychic (again, for the mystery), rock (for its rugged habitat), steel (for being a sharp predator), and so on.
Of course, there are countless animals that could be made into Pokémon—if only I had the time to explore them all! If there’s another animal you think deserves to be Poké-fied, leave your thoughts in the comments below. And keep an eye out for my next article, which will discuss what five birds should be Pokémon. Until next time!