“But Maggie, didn’t you write a post listing things from a video game franchise last week?”
I sure did! And I’m going to do it again!
You see, not only did The Legend of Zelda turn 35 in the last few weeks, Pokémon, another franchise near and dear to my heart, also celebrated its 25th anniversary the other day. The Pokémon Company (TCPi) released a delightful retrospective video as part of their celebration:
Anyway, more to the point, Pokémon was my first “real” video game, and it’s a franchise I have a lot of fond memories of, from battling against my neighborhood friends to hunting rare creatures on my college campus in Pokémon Go.
With nearly 900 of these cartoon creatures in existence, it seems nearly impossible to narrow it down to my top 25 favorite, but I’m gonna try it anyway.
25) Gigantimax Pikachu
One of TPCi’s biggest crimes was redesigning Pikachu to make it look less round. I was very happy to see the return of Chonky Pikachu in this special, super-powerful form.
I like collecting things, so naturally I had a grand time trying to find all 28 variations of Unown, which match the 26 letters of the Latin alphabet and the “!” and “?” symbols.
23) Alolan Ninetales
I’m always partial to blue color palettes, but I also like how they captured the beauty and other-wordliness of Ninetales with this regional variant.
I named my Bisharp in Pokémon Shield after Inej, my favorite knife-wielding assassin from Six of Crows.
Don’t let Litwick’s cute looks fool you; according to Pokémon lore, this ghost-type creature wants to suck the life out of you. Fun.
I tend to prefer smaller, faster Pokémon over heavy “tanks” like Aggron, but this character design is just too cool to ignore. It also has one of the coolest battle cries.
I’m a bit partial to Pokémon that move or attack in an unusual way, and as the name implies, Hitmontop spins around on its head like a toy top.
Sneasel has a neat type combination (ice/dark), and it doesn’t hurt that its associated with one of my favorite Pokémon manga characters, Silver.
Middle-stage evolutions often get overlooked, but I really love the way Dragonair looks. Dragonite is cute, sure, but Dragonair actually looks like a mystical dragon.
In Pokémon lore, Absol is able to sense when a disaster is about to occur and usually appears in order to warn people, but instead people started believing that it was causing the disasters. Talk about getting blamed for things that aren’t your fault.
A thousand years ago, I bought a Vileplume keychain at a yard sale or something and I’ve carried it with me ever since, even through my college years. It’s also made its way onto my main team in several games.
It’s ROUND. You can’t look at this and tell me it’s not one of the most adorable sea creatures you’ve ever seen.
13) Galarian Rapidash
Game Freak really said “we’re going to take this average-looking Pokémon and give it a regional variant that looks like the Starbucks Unicorn Frappe” and it WORKED.
The Pokémon 2000 anime movie was my favorite Pokémon movie, and it stars Lugia, one of the coolest legendary Pokémon out there. There’s also a pretty neat (though tragic) backstory about her creation, which Did You Know Gaming covered in one of their recent episodes.
I am a simple woman: I see a Pokémon that looks like a crow, I name it after Kaz Brekker from Six of Crows.
Gallade is a powerful and versatile Pokémon, plus it’s got a bit of a sword/knight vibe going on, and I do love swords.
I told myself I was going to avoid listing “related” Pokémon, but come on! Gardevoir looks so graceful and elegant, but like Gallade, is also rather powerful.
You all should know by now that I can’t pass up a good ancient Greece reference. Falinks probably derives its name from the phalanx battle formation commonly used by Greek soldiers. (It also looks like a bunch of tiny marching Spartans)
My favorite of the “Eeveelutions,” Umbreon just looks cool. It also has one of my favorite “shiny” color variants, where the yellow is swapped for bright blue.
The mascot of my very first game, Pokémon Sapphire. There’s a story to go along with this, but let’s just say I have both fond and stressful memories related to this Pokémon.
I don’t know when I first started liking owls, but when I saw there was a cool owl-like Pokémon wielding a bow and an awesome special move, I was 100% all in.
I have to pay homage to my very first starter Pokémon, back in the days when I just picked Pokémon because “it was my favorite” and not for their battle strength or rarity. I don’t usually get very attached to my starters, but Mudkip holds a special place in my heart.
This is absolutely one of the most ridiculous Pokémon in existence and I love every inch of it. A clam shell with two big eyes sticking its tongue out at you? Sure, why not!
The minute I was sold on the Pokémon Sword and Shield games was the minute I saw Wooloo. I already love fluffy sheep Pokémon (see the next entry), so Wooloo was perfect. And according to the official Pokémon website, “They dislike conflict, and if they need to escape from enemies, they will simply roll away.” Same, Wooloo. Same.
Ampharos is the final stage evolution of Mareep, my other favorite fluffy sheep Pokémon. Ampharos makes the list though, because aside from being adorable, it has also been a reliable partner on many of my Pokémon journeys.