Last modified: February 24th, 2021
This was an INCREDIBLY innovative generation of Pokémon. The introduction of the Ultra Beasts as extra-dimensional ‘Mon that were often frightening and bizarre was huge.
The hunter cloaked in green is an old archetype, and I’m honestly surprised they didn’t give it a bow made of leaves and vines, or even deer antlers like Herne the Hunter. This is one instance of Pokémon “clothes” that I find perfectly tolerable – the cloak is fashioned from leaves, almost like a ghillie suit. Plenty of real-world birds weave other things into their feathers, too, so this isn’t even a stretch. I find it fairly disappointing that the Grass/Ghost dual typing doesn’t come more into play in the design. It kind of seems like the Ghost typing is only used as an excuse to give Decidueye some sneaky, stealthy, assassin-like moves.
Tiny useless dragons are some of my FAVORITE dragons. Look at how GROUCHY this little goober is. I really like how many aspects of dinosaur anatomy this guy incorporates – the head plate of a triceratops, the side-spikes and tail weapon of an ankylosaurus, and a bit of the round bashing cranium of a pachycephalosaurus. I’m not a huge fan of this little guy’s further evolutions, but I do think it’s neat that it accumulates more round maille-like scales that jingle together. Oh, and also, I really like these colors – gold and silver tones, with a hint of red in the eyes.
There feels like such a sharp divide between “cute animal” Pokémon and “yokai” Pokémon. Dhelmise is definitely in the latter category; a haunted ship’s wheel and anchor, using a pressure gauge as a single eye. It’s important to remember that this is a Ghost/Grass type – meaning the seaweed is more of its “true” being than the ship debris. This is haunted seaweed that, like a hermit crab, grabs hold of whatever sea floor garbage is the most useful for it. I definitely think about alternative Dhelmise made of oceanic plastic, or, hear me out – the gigantic bones of aquatic Pokémon.
A predictable fan favorite, but I cannot resist cute ghost Pokémon. Well, actually, I guess that makes the assumption that Mimikyuu is cute under its Pikachu disguise – which, by the way, did Mimikyuu craft it by itself? Out of WHAT? Mimikyuu feels more like an individual character than a species – wouldn’t multiple variations, like Unown, make more sense here? Just imagine Mimikyuus disguised as Charmander, or Snubull, or as just a common household object? Also, WHAT IS THE DISGUISE MADE OUT OF? I see the childlike drawn-on eyes and mouth, but I question what exactly the base “cloth” is, especially coming from a ghost-type…
One of the Ultra Beast Pokémon, which disappointingly ended up just… kind of being normal Pokemon, but still originating from an alternate reality and a HORRIFYING post-apocalyptic one at that. The extradimensional Ultra Beasts really brought an amazing new element to the games. So let’s look at his design – he’s a garbage truck, with multiple rows of chomping mechanical teeth and a conveyor belt-like tongue, all with the goal of pulling stuff towards that nuclear-blue esophagus. I really hate the tiny robot head on top of its’ mouth – this guy would be perfect as a giant mechanical radioactive jack o’ lantern garbage disposal dragon. Just needs a little more simplification to get away from the ridiculous busyness of all those various spikes and pokey bits.
One of the more abstract Ultra Beasts, and yet the almost-human shape gives it such an uncanny valley quality. I really love designs in which a creature mimics the human form using COMPLETELY inhuman anatomy. In a silly way, Xurkitree is almost like Octodad. Clearly evoking a bunch of electrical cables (including cable management ties) and outlet adapters, but with a bizarre, abstract, star-like “head”. I really like all the little details that evoke animal anatomy – the separated cables of the forearms are like a radius and ulna bone, the feet are like anisodactyl bird talons, and it even has a spiked “tail”. I feel very much that Xurkitree could reconfigure itself into any number of different shapes, including four-legged, and would have loved to see that as another form (or “forme” as Pokémon calls them). Xurkitree’s homeland is an aesthetically AWESOME place of endless thunderstorms over a massive ocean, with more Xurkitrees “rooted” into the ground, absorbing or perhaps creating the atmospheric electricity.