Pokémon X and Y may have gotten its fair share of cool new features, but let’s be real for a moment: the most obvious new enjoyment comes from the addition of new Pokémon.
Not too long ago, I chronicled the hideous Pokémon that made us all question Game Freak’s sanity and hydration levels. This time around, I’d like to list some pocket monster designs that actually deserve some credit.
Here is a top ten list of the new creatures inhabiting the France-inspired Kalos region. Their placement in this list is purely subjective on my part. These are tiered moreso in terms of their design and not necessarily their usefulness in combat.
While the other X and Y starters’ final forms are a chubby beaver and a frumpy fox/witch hybrid, this water type becomes a ninja frog. I’m under the opinion that the simplest designs are usually the most effective, and Greninja is a good example of this philosophy. He’s a frog ninja.
Wielding water shurikens and a disgusting but brilliant tongue scarf, Greninja is quite possibly the most popular starter choice at the moment. His usefulness remains in question, but at least you get to set out on your adventure with style.
Pokémon’s influential roots stem heavily from the Godzilla series, another childhood craze of mine. Creatures like Nidoking, Gyrados and Tyranitar all embody the classic, colossal reptile design. Tyrantrum is no exception.
I don’t think much needs to be said here. It’s a giant dinosaur. He (or she) embodies every trait that made my seven-year-old self say “cool” while shopping around for action figures. He makes Street Sharks look like Ken dolls.
An anthropomorphic sword and shield with an ever-staring purple eye, Aegislash is perfect bait for any medieval fantasy lover. The sentient sword is yet another example of what constitutes a simple yet effective design. Its play style, strengths and weaknesses are apparent with its visual presentation. In other words, it’s cool.
Aegislash may be the best Pokémon based on an inanimate object, though its only competition are magnets, garbage, and keys. Sorry Garbodor, the trophy goes to the sword.
7. Mega Kangaskhan
I believe the expression “why fix what isn’t broke” applies here. Kangaskhan has always been an iconic Pokémon from the old days, and seeing the baby leave the comforts of the pouch to fight alongside its parent is heartwarming.
Usually, legendary Pokémon look like giant robots or dragons or whatever this is, but I was very impressed with Game Freak’s decision to feature a magical elk.
Legendaries aren’t nearly as exciting these days, mainly because there are dozens of them. Nevertheless, there’s a certain je ne sais quoi about this one. The mysterious rock formations on its antlers and its regal pose remind me of the visual qualities I liked about the legendary birds in Red and Blue.
Xerneas doesn’t look aggressive, but one gets the impression it should not be crossed. Its hooves have stomped time and space itself.
5. Mega Ampharos
Ampharos has humble beginnings as an electric sheep, then mega evolves into a glam rock star.
I still haven’t seen one in game, but I relish the day when I can sing power ballads with one of my own. Don’t stop believing.
Sylveon is the newest, fairy-type Eevee evolution, and while it may belong on the cover of a Lisa Frank folder, I love the design.
This Pokémon flaunts 90s, technicolor girl power, not that it’s gender exclusive. It’s cool to see a Pokémon that can wipe out opposing teams and still rock a pink bowtie.
3. Mega Absol
It’s a very mysterious Pokémon, donning both angelic and demonic wings. And just look at those emo bangs.
Again, I’m not sure how useful this one is, but something about it makes competing trainers want to switch out their Pokémon.
The tragedy is that he’s not very good. But look at him! He’s a tough-talking, no-nonsense-taking panda with a yakuza-like trench coat growing out of his own fur.
I really would’ve liked to give Pangoro the number one spot. I mean, what could possibly be cooler than a kingpin panda?
Whoever designed Hawlucha ran out of ideas in the best way possible. If nothing else, its battle animations are enough of a reason to catch one. Every move Hawlucha performs is done with such pride and spirit that it would make even the most cynical Pokémon hater cry. He can also learn nearly every HM move, making him the unsung handyman of the Kalos region.
For every Pokémon based on ice cream or cupcakes, somewhere in the distance there is a Hawlucha waiting to be found. And for those of you who aren’t sold by the mask or stance, look at his little socks. Yes, that’s right. You’ve found your new hero.