10 real animals we want to see in Pokemon Sun and Moon
On Tuesday, Nintendo announced the first new collectible critters in its upcoming Pokemon Sun and Moon titles. And they're very cute! I expected the flame kitty Litten to become the new social media sensation, but to my surprise, the new grass-type starter, Rowlet, is the one currently filling my Twitter timeline. It must be the bowtie.
Still, this many generations in, you have to wonder if developer Game Freak is starting to scrape the bottom of the barrel for creature designs. Fortunately, nature is always infinitely weirder than anything you see in fiction. So here are a few critters we feel are terribly overdue for Pokemon canonization.
10. Blue glaucus (Glaucus atlanticus)
Also known as the blue dragon, Glaucus atlanticus is actually a kind of sea slug known as a nudibranch. If you ask me, though, the only thing keeping this from being a legendary Pokemon is the fact it's extremely tiny -- about the size of your thumbnail. If something happened to make this species gigantic, however, watch out: it's definitely a Poison type, with a venomous sting comparable to a Portuguese man o' war.
Like the blue glaucus, this is a sea slug called a nudibranch, most of which are extremely colorful (as that's nature's favorite way of saying something is gonna kill you). The various Chromodoris species in particular seem like a natural fit for the series because, well, look at it. It has a face. There are a few slug Pokemon already, I'll grant you, but none quite as eerily cute as this fellow.
8. Pink fairy armadillo (Chlamyphorus truncatus)
Photos of these often show up as evidence that evolution got lazy and just started gluing parts from random creatures together. You have an adorable furry body with some kitchen knife claws and then like half of a lobster's shell stuck on its back like someone placed it there as a joke. Definitely a Ground type related to the Sandshrew line.
7. Brazilian Treehopper (Bocydium globulare)
Come on, look at that thing. It has a chandelier full of balls stuck to its head. If a Pokemon artist turned in a design like this, they might actually get fired for it. The worst thing is that, apparently, scientists still aren't entirely sure what these spheres do: they aren't eyes, just balls of chitin, the same material composing the rest of its outer body. Is it to deter predators? Do the bristles offer additional sensory information? Is it extra storage for Pokeballs? Nobody knows.
6. Dumbo octopus (Grimpoteuthis spp)
First of all, it's named for a Disney character, so it's already halfway to being a Pokemon. Second, look at it. You're not imaginining things, this critter is using the "ears" on the sides of its head to help propel it through water. Tell me you wouldn't much rather have one of these as a water starter Pokemon than that sad seal clown dog.
5. Chinese water deer (Hydropotes inermis)
Also called the vampire deer (really), the water deer is actually a closer relative to the musk deer than what biologists call a "true deer." It looks like someone stuck a puppy's face on a deer's body, doesn't it? You could easily see this starting out as a Grass or Normal type only to develop a Dark attribute in later evolutions (perhaps with a moveset that lives up to its nickname).
4. Maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus)
This isn't a photomanip, nor is it an optical illusion. Those are its real legs. A native of South America, the maned wolf is not actually a wolf, or a dog, or a fox -- it's the lone species under the genus Chrysocyon, a part of the same genetic family as other canines but not closely related to any of them. I assume the long legs help it move through tall grass -- something Pokemon trainers can all relate to, surely.
3. Okapi (Okapia johnstoni)
A personal favorite of mine, the okapi is actually more closely related to the giraffe than the zebra, as you might assume from looking at its striped socks. And since we already have hoofed Pokemon with Lightning, Fire, Grass and Psychic attributes, what about making it a Dark type, to give it an advantage over its Girafarig cousin?
2. Jerboa (family Dipodidae)
Let's be honest, ever since Pikachu became the designated mascot of the Pokemon franchise, Game Freak's piled on as many rodent characters as it can possibly get away with. There is no real need for another. But I would still argue there's a place here for the jerboa, a hopping mouse from the deserts of Northern Africa and parts of Asia. It balances on its hind legs to minimize contact with the hot ground and can jump many times its own height, as seen in this video. Totally a shoe-in for a surprise Flying type, if you ask me.
1. Dolphins (several families including Delphinidae)
No seriously Game Freak, your next game is set in fictionalized Hawaii, put some damn dolphins in this time.