We’re back for the Normal-type reviews, and today we’re going to focus on Doduo and Dodrio, a pair of peculiar birds with multiple heads! If you are ready with this one, please proceed.
“I really like Doduo, just for looking like the most clueless moron with two head ever to grace the world with its presence, but then it evolved and became all angry and aware. Just… Disappointing. Has anyone ever complained about something getting smarter? I’ve never really cared much for a Pokémon’s battling ability, so whatever it has going for it doesn’t really have anything to do with it. I can still forgive him for that deadpan one on the side, and for still being that weird Pokémon with the three heads, but I still like the pre-evolution much more.” ~ The Frost Dragon
Selected Fan Art (Artist: Taylor Christensen)
It’s strange to consider Doduo and Dodrio Flying-types since they are weak fliers, but that’s the way it is! A bird with several heads is a strange creature (or creatures?), but the process of evolving is even stranger. Once Doduo evolves, one of its head is split into two, like as if a head is duplicated in the process and both form divergent personalities. That would explain why all heads don’t behave the same way.
Ratites are a species of birds that are known to rely on trotting on land rather than to fly, mainly because their wings are either vestigial or their entire body is heavy. Because of the inability to fly, their strong legs come in handy for running. The bird that Doduo and Dodrio are based on is not quite specific. Since Doduo is brown, tailless and do not have evident wings, it has a lot in common with the kiwi, but with a long neck and legs, much like the other ratites. Dodrio still have that brown down, but now it resembles not a kiwi, but other birds. It has crests on its head like a cassowary, but it is not part of its bone like the real bird. It also has a new tail, much like an ostrich. Finally, Dodrio has a sterner look, similar to the ostrich and cassowary.
Immediately after seeing Doduo and Dodrio, you will see that they have more than one head, so it is like having two/three birds with one Poké Ball. One would wonder why the Pokémon need more than one head. As it turns out, having extra heads can be an advantage itself. It helps when one head looks out for predators while the others sleep, to prevent itself from becoming bird meat. For Dodrio, it has three heads to strategise better through telepathy with one another (same as Doduo), though it might overthink and be immobilised. Sometimes, it could be a burden to have the extra heads, the Pokémon adapted to this specialty and run with it.
When I said “run with it”, I mean it! Doduo alternates the raising and lowering of its heads when running to keep its balance. Speaking of running, the species is known to be skilled runners, much like an ostrich. The ostrich may be tall, but its strong legs allow it to run fast. Likewise, Doduo and Dodrio could run fast, at up to 60km per hour. The Pokémon do have the stamina to do all that running, since Dodrio is mentioned to have three sets of hearts and lungs for more stamina, providing more evidence that it is indeed three birds in one body. Since these Pokémon have this specialty, this is their method of moving around.
The question is, are the Pokémon individual heads, or one entity that operate through many heads? A lot of evidences show that the heads are different in personality and possibly thinking, since Dodrio could express anger, sadness and joy at once. However, their needs seem to be collective, since one head needs to eat to get the others to stop the noise. They may think differently, but ultimately, they are one entity that depends on one another.
Riding on ostriches is something that could feasibly be done, since they are large animals that specialise in running, so a human could ride on them, as some cultures had done. The same could be done with Dodrio since it is larger than Doduo. With the stamina it has, it is a good choice for a racing Pokémon. However, it’s not a good idea for an opponent to distract one of the heads, because it will give them a good pecking since it doesn’t like to be distracted.
The abilities line up with what these Pokémon do. Run Away is because they are runners, Early Bird is because they tend to be alert, while Tangled Feet is from the confusion from two/three heads. In battling, those abilities are not the most beneficial, with Early Bird being the most useful. Since Attack and Speed are the best stats, Doduo and Dodrio are best-suited as Physical attackers. Having powerful STABs is great when you have strong attacks in the form of Brave Bird and a fully-powered Return (Double-Edge can be used, but it is a Generation 3 Move Tutor while Brave Bird is an Egg Move in Generation 4, making them incompatible). It does have some trouble with Rock- and Steel-types, though. Even though Tri Attack is a move suitable for them, it is not really a compatible move because it is a Special attack.
Birds and Flying-types have a close relationship. Because birds can fly, they will logically be a Flying-type. There are definitely outliers: flightless birds. Examples include Psyduck, Piplup and Torchic. Even though Doduo and Dodrio are based on ratites, they are still Flying-types. This means that they are able to fly, despite not demonstrating any plausible way to do this.
It could be reasoned that Doduo and Dodrio were a Bird-type before the type was changed to Flying-type, and the type they have now is a vestige of this change. There are a lot of jokes made about this apparent contradiction, either explaining their ability of flight in absurd ways, or comparing them to other obviously-flying Pokémon that cannot fly like them (such as Scyther). It would’ve been better if Doduo and Dodrio were Fighting-types instead, because it makes more sense to use their strong legs as a basis of being that type.
When one thinks of birds, one might think that they are all flying, but they are quite diverse in characteristics. Some fly, some don’t. Some have a more omnivorous diet, but some like their food to be larger and moving. It is great that Pokémon provides a diverse range of birds for an environment rich in variety. If there is one gripe I have, it is that Doduo and Dodrio shouldn’t have been Flying-types, mainly because they will never be depicted as flying.
+ Two/three heads are better than one
+ Represents different ratites
– Have little in common with a dodo
– Flying-type don’t fit these Pokémon
Doduo’s TCG Card
Although Doduo’s heads are able to face in different directions, their positioning can come off as strange. One such card that is like this is this one, where Doduo seems to look at each other while running, because they’re not looking where they’re running. They must be bickering on where to go, given their different point of views.
Dodrio’s TCG Card
Here is a good representation of Dodrio. Not only does it run at blistering speeds, its heads all have a different reaction to the running. One head is determined in its speed, the other looks indifferent about the whole thing, and last but not least, one of them wants to catch the air in its mouth while travelling quickly (or it might just be catching some breath).
The theme of this move revolves around the number “3”. It is supposed to represent the three main elements of Fire, Ice and Electric, thereby nullifying them into a non-elemental attack. This move also has a chance in inflicting one of three different statuses related to the elemental types it represent, namely Burn, Freeze and Paralysis. It is also learned by some Pokémon with three parts, such as Dugtrio, Magneton, and of course, Dodrio. Doduo used to be able to learn this move, but cannot learn it anymore, probably because of the inconsistency of a two-headed Pokémon learning a three-part move.
While this move represents Dodrio best, Dodrio is not the main user of this move since it is a Special attack, and Dodrio is mainly a Physical attacker. Therefore, any Special attacker will be the mainly user, preferably one with STAB on it. This makes the Porygon family great users of this move, especially Porygon-Z because of its high Special Attack and Adaptability. This move shouldn’t be used for the status effect, since that part is just a nice bonus for your efforts.
If you look at the list of learners, you might notice that there are very few users of this move. Actually, there are a lot more users of it, and that’s not counting Generation 1’s TM list. Recall that Nature Power turns into Tri Attack by default. Since that is the case, any Nature Power user is also potentially a Tri Attack user. As with before, the best attackers have STAB on it, which unfortunately doesn’t cover the Normal-types with Nature Power. It is learned by Amaura and Aurorus, who have Refrigerate, which essentially provides them with a powerful Ice attack with a bonus status effect. Whimsicott is also a good user even though it doesn’t have STAB, mainly because its Prankster provides priority for this move (remember, Nature Power is a Status move).
Overall, this move is an interesting concept for something non-elemental: it has multiple elements at once that when combined, it loses the singular element, kind of like how all of the rainbow’s colours combine into white.
That’s all for today’s article. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I have writing it.
Next Article: Dunsparce