It's a place all right.

October 17, 2020 (Originally posted on Neocities)

Pokémon Design Ranking, Generation 4

Generation 4. A set of DS games that was looked upon fairly decently, though still adhered to the sprites, where people were probably hoping they'd jump fully into 3D at this point. That took two more generations. Still, I do remember messing with these games a lot in childhood, and finding a bunch of favorite monsters to play with. The GTS was also an interesting advancement, and it's still about as usable as usual, with people posting monsters just to show them off for no real reason for about half of the listings.

The score is still from 1 to 5, with 1 the lowest and 5 the highest favorites.

As usual, it's the starters up first.

Turtwig: 3/5
A cute little turtle with a sprouty head. Also giant turtle jaws. Not quite pinchable cheeks but still cute.
Grotle: 3/5
A bigger turtle, now with bushes. Sure, it's a bush turtle then.
Torterra: 4/5
A very big tortoise, with a whole landscape on its back. A pretty cool design that calls up the mythology of the world turtle, and just looks tough and possibly a big sweetheart as well, being a giant nature turtle.
Chimchar: 3/5
A monkey. Apparently it farts to make its butt flame bigger, or at least what I'd piece together from the entries.
Monferno: 3/5
The monkey is now taller. And kind of has a mask.
Infernape: 3/5
The monkey is in full form. It sure is a monkey. I haven't typically been into monkey mons, but this one's fine.
Piplup: 4/5
A small cute penguin. That's about all you need for something to be cute I guess.
Prinplup: 3/5
A bit of a weird but cool penguin anyway, middle evolutions are sometimes just awkward.
Empoleon: 4/5
A very cool penguin, all tall and plump and would be more huggable if not for that big spike sticking out of their belly.

Next, also as usual, it's the bird, rodent, and some kind of bug.

Starly: 3/5
A small bird that looks like it's going to start screaming loudly at any moment.
Staravia: 3/5
The bird now looks angrier. It may be more likely to peck than scream. But it will probably do both.
Staraptor: 3/5
A giant bird with a big spiky pompadour and a giant M on its chest. Just a silly design overall, but a fun one regardless.
Bidoof: 3/5
A weird beaver, otherwise known as a "plump mouse", that serves as this region's rodent and/or HM user, as usual. It has many butt lumps, more if it's a male.
Bibarel: 3/5
A bigger beaver. It has more of a mask and is actually pretty big, too.
Kricketot: 3/5
A small cricket. That's about as much as a bug can be here, just standing up and being small with a nose to boop.
Kricketune: 3/5
This mon is much more notable for its long and loud cry than anything. It resembles a tall stringed instrument, and I'm thinking of the erhu, regardless of what they were thinking.

Now a bunch of other monsters.

Shinx: 3/5
A small blue lion cub, more reminiscent of Kimba than Simba. It has unsettling solid yellow eyes.
Luxio: 3/5
This just looks like an angry cub, just a little taller. Still with the round ears and weird yellow eyes.
Luxray: 3/5
Still with the round ears, now taller and hairier with a red background to those yellow eyes, so it's no less unsettling, but it still feels like an "edgy" product of its time.
Budew: 3/5
Roselia, of the generation before, got both a baby form and an evolution here. Any initial reaction of concern I have toward these rose mons is the result of dealing with constantly being bombared by Poison Point before the physical/special split. As far as the design goes, this is a weird and small, but cute bud. It squeaks weirdly and has flat pads on its arms that are usually stuck over its head.
Roserade: 3/5
This one's a bit odd. It now has a mask, which leads to thinking of Tuxedo Mask, but still a design that works in favor of either sex in the game. It also seems to be much more defined in the lower area, where it definitely has legs, and thick ones as well. I'd wonder why this one doesn't show up as often as the likes of Lopunny in certain searches, but I don't go carrying those out anyway and maybe it's a good thing it's not.
Cranidos: 3/5
It's a cute headbutt mini dino, which works for a fossil. Dinosaurs are kind of obvious for fossils, though.
Rampardos: 3/5
Now it's just bigger and angrier-looking. And it looks like it has a hunchback. Maybe from holding that pose for so long.
Shieldon: 3/5
A cute oval-faced mini dino. This also works as an obvious fossil. Its nose looks just boopable enough to be pretty adorable.
Bastiodon: 3/5
Now it's a big ugly shovel-face. It works as a dinosaur fossil at least. Just a lot more flat-faced now.
Burmy: 3/5
A weird bug lump with a beak mouth and a swirly head. It's mostly a lump due to how it's always wrapped up in something, but if it's ever fully nude, it's a weird lumpy screaming worm.
Wormadam: 2/5
For some reason, gender evolutions are a big thing in this generation, and this is one. If a Burmy is a female, it'll become an even bigger lump of weird stuff. It's just a lump, with no sign of it being anything else under the lump.
Mothim: 4/5
Now Mothim, the male evolution of Burmy, is a cute moth boy. Complete with a moth-shaped body, a pinchy mouth, and feather-looking antennae, this is definitely a moth, and I like moths. I think this shouldn't be locked to the guys.
Combee: 3/5
It's three bees stuck together into one weird triple bee that has a wing on each side and only one butt, and one antenna on each of the top faces. Like a bee was multiplied and stuck together while absorbing redundant features. It also doesn't seem to have legs. Plus, the females are identified with a red forehead on the bottom face. It's still cute, but weird when you start looking at it.
Vespiquen: 3/5
There's a reason why female Combee are so desired, because they can actually evolve into this giant bee robot with a dress. I've seen a very similar design in Digimon, but with more missiles I think. The whole "only females evolve" thing would be revisited much later with Salazzle, again I think should be allowed for any of those lizards. At least here they have the excuse of the queen bee.
Pachirisu: 4/5
A tiny cute squirrel. I still like this one, even with the continued increase of Pikaclones. It can also hold immense power and withstand powerful attacks.
Buizel: 5/5
A small otter that's just adorable, and somehow has the ability to fly with its tails, like Tails does with his tails, because I guess having more than one tail just enables that. Yet I don't see any Ninetails going to space.
Floatzel: 5/5
It's like Buizel, but taller, possibly fang-ier, and looks more open to a hug than before. Still quite cute, being a larger overall fuzzy otter. Also now it has some kind of bellybutton marking, so that's fun too. Even though whether or not Pokémon have bellybuttons regardless of hatching from eggs is up for debate.
Cherubi: 3/5
A weird two-headed berry where its smaller head is all shriveled yet stuck with this possibly "content with death" look, while the main body with tiny stubby legs is very cute. Just a bit creepy for the shriveled head thing, though.
Cherrim: 3/5
This comes in two forms. The first, most likely to be seen, is the form where it's just hiding inside of its flower with its face shoved all the way down on its crotch. The second only comes out in the sun and radiates pure joy. It's too bad that one's not seen more often.
Shellos: 3/5
Shellos is a small slug with big lips. It has two colors corresponding to its variants, in slightly different shapes.
Gastrodon: 5/5
This is where the sea slug really shines. It becomes a squishy screaming beast of squish and cute. From the tiny nubs on its underside that resemble legs to it having a three-eyed stare and a gaping mouth where it'll just make funny slug noises as it stares at things, it's a lot of what I could ask for in a fun design. The real life nudibranch is also quite fun in such vibrant colors.
Ambipom: 2/5
Weird monkey. It has weird tail hands that are also maybe udders. It also has this unending creepy smile that brings to mind those cymbal monkeys.
Drifloon: 4/5
A small cute balloon with a tiny mouth in where you'd think its mouth is taped shut. It even has tiny heart hands.
Drifblim: 4/5
Hot air balloon. But with a face. But this time not of Meowth, it's just a much more inflated version of its previous form.
Buneary: 3/5
Small cute bunny. I do like bunnies, and bunny mons. This one's just small and fluffy.
Lopunny: 4/5
A design that's very popular for… reasons. The reasons why I like this design aren't exactly those reasons, though. I just find this bunny adorable, and it being tall makes it easier to hug since it has arms and such. Plus, it being able to kick the ever-loving snot out of those who have strange intents with it is a good thing to have, given what someone might expect searching for this mon on the web.
Mismagius: 3/5
Spooky witch ghost. It took a floating hairy head long enough to turn into this thing, which now has more of a body, and also a hat.
Honchkrow: 3/5
A big boss bird with a hat and a puffy chest. These late evolutions keep getting hats, but at least this one had a hat before.
Glameow: 3/5
A pretty regular-looking cat with a springy tail. That's really all I have to say about this cat.
Purugly: 4/5
This one's actually pretty incredible. It may have "ugly" in the name, but I think it's a great design. It's a chunky and grumpy kind of cat that actually resembles a cat fairly realistically, in terms of what cats are like sometimes. They're not all adorable kittens, but they can still be cute cats. And being extra fluffy helps, too.
Chingling: 3/5
A small baby bell with a weird mouth. It just seems to lack cheeks. Cute but strange.
Stunky: 3/5
This skunk has a butt for a face and it farts. This mon is a farting butt. This definitely appeals to the target demographic.
Skuntank: 3/5
The face is now less butt-like but it still farts, including farting fire now from… apparently its tail. That's a bit weird.
Bronzor: 3/5
A round plate with eyes. I don't know how well someone could actually eat food off of it. Kinda cute.
Bronzong: 3/5
A weird bell. It kinda has a face but maybe it's a fake face. It at least looks like a fake face. Somewhat creepy as a result. It looks like it's hollow inside like a regular bell, but maybe it's like a jellyfish that preys with its underside.
Bonsly: 3/5
A baby rock bonsai tree that grows into Sudowoodo. So of course it has a bit of an odd design, with a pot diaper sort of appearance.
Mime Jr.: 3/5
A small cute clown, not as creepy as its older forms at all.
Happiny: 3/5
A weird egg. Somehow this baby egg is more detailed than either of its larger forms, and it's slightly disturbing for it. It sort of has a band around it to hold egg-shaped rocks.
Chatot: 3/5
A bird that squints in irritation and can mimic sound, therefore it looks like a parrot, but its head is a music note. It could even sort of mimic recorded sound in the game, but at a horrible bitrate.
Spiritomb: 3/5
It's a rock that spits out a creepy face. I suppose that works for a ghost that is part of a cairn. I just remember getting this thing would be annoying if you didn't live in a city where the game is popular, but at least it could breed.

Here's those pseudo-Legendaries that everyone likes to overuse.

Gible: 3/5
A small stumpy shark dinosaur. It's mostly mouth. It's a very silly baby-shaped design.
Gabite: 3/5
A shark dinosaur reaches adolescence. It now has a single claw on each arm, which is far less fingers than it had before. So I guess it just pokes things now.
Garchomp: 3/5
A tall angry shark dinosaur. I feel like I've seen this pattern a lot in the series, so this didn't really bring anything new for me. It's just a beast that's tough in battle.

Now a few more random monsters.

Munchlax: 3/5
Snorlax is a classic giant fat bear sort of mon. This is the baby form of it, and it's a bit weird. It's kinda just a small demon imp thing that kinda has a skirt around its round lower self.
Riolu: 3/5
A small dog that can punch. It has floppy ears.
Lucario: 3/5
A very popular mon in a lot of aspects, but what I find best about this one is that even though it's meant to be all badass as a fighter that hits others with bones, it's really a kinda short doggy and would probably react in a cute way to being pet like a dog. I'm just going to treat it as a puppy dog that's harder to hug due to the random spikes and not take it too seriously
Hippopotas: 3/5
A weird hippo that looks weird with its eyes on a pedestal and two big nostril cannons. It comes in different browns depending on its sex.
Hippowdon: 3/5
A very large hippo with a giant mouth and resembles a hippo much more than its previous form. This time, though, it has a bunch of holes in it that sand comes out of. At least according to the anime, all of its insides are connected in a way that allows a squirrel that it might eat accidentally to pop out of random holes. It's a weird biology, but so is most biology in this series.
Skorupi: 3/5
A small scorpion. It has a funny face that makes it look surprised all of the time.
Drapion: 3/5
A scorpion monster. It's bigger and looks more like a typical angry monster.
Croagunk: 3/5
A weird frog with a weird expression and brightly colored middle fingers to either flip someone off or attack the ass of a horny Gym Leader.
Toxicroak: 2/5
This frog type being is pretty disturbing. From the giant throat lump to its strange expression, plus an even more pointy maybe middle finger, it doesn't sit well here.
Carnivine: 3/5
A giant fly trap with vine limbs and eyes on its mouth. Neat monsterish design, but I haven't seen it with enough to really stand out to me. I forget it exists sometimes.
Finneon: 3/5
A small butterfly-tailed fish, with eyelashes. It's a cute fish, but that's about it.
Lumineon: 3/5
A much more butterfly fish than before, now seeming to have tired or "bedroom" eyes.
Mantyke: 3/5
A small ray mon. This one becomes Mantine from a couple generations back. Its back markings also form a happy face, which is cute.
Snover: 4/5
A small, cute tree. It's pretty nice, and looks like it could use a hug, but the safety of that can be a toss-up with certain mons, of course.
Abomasnow: 4/5
A giant, chubby yeti, complete with kind of a mustache and eyebrows and other hairy bits, including where the nipples might be. Also looks incredibly nice to hug, if it's not totally freezing to the touch. Maybe the fur will help.

This next group is a bit interesting, it's a whole lot of evolutions added to existing lines. Of course they've been scattered throughout this whole list but there's a big group here.

Weavile: 4/5
It's time for ice cat, the sequel. Very slashy still, now with a headdress. I feel like this one in particular has some personality showing, mainly for being a strong cat that can pose and express freely. Plus the weird hat thing.
Magnezone: 3/5
What if you took three orbs, blimped one up into an oblong shape, merged the other two into some kind of shoulderpads, and called it a UFO? This thing. It's all right, but I still think I prever the small orb forms.
Lickilicky: 4/5
I seem to be among the few that actually likes this weird big fat orb monster with a silly tongue. Sure, Lickitung had the tongue thing before, but this design is so goofy yet huggable I can't help but like it. It's also a giant pink orb, and pink orbs are fun, such as Kirby.
Rhyperior: 3/5
A chunkier and more orange version of Rhydon. It also has hand holes for some reason. I don't think it's intended as a reference to any religion because the holes are instead for shooting out rocks. So its arms are just guns.
Tangrowth: 4/5
Actually kind of a fun design, it's a big blue yeti, and not a microphone. I think I actually really like this goofy as heck design, a big tangly mess with limbs and it's just a big chunky beast. Plus if you take off the vines, it's a strange black lump with the same googly eyes.
Electivire: 2/5
A weird… monkey maybe? It has nostrils on its strangely-shaped head. It just looks creepy with its fully fingered hands as well.
Magmortar: 3/5
A weird fat duck that's made of fire and called Booburn in Japanese. Those don't sound fun to burn. It also has arm guns because why not I guess.
Togekiss: 4/5
A big plump fluffy football triangle of a bird. It's very happy and has tiny feet. Looks like it could be a lot to hug. I just really like fluffy birds.
Yanmega: 3/5
This really just looks like a slightly monsterized dragonfly. In fact, it looks a lot like a Digimon. Specifically, something like Yanmamon. But of course that Digimon looks much more beastly than this.
Leafeon: 3/5
It's an Eeveelution, but this time the fox cat is made of leaves kind of. It… just looks leafy.
Glaceon: 3/5
Another Eeveelution, now blue with hair kind of. But only on the front of the face. And then it has flappy flat parts for head thingies and its tail.
Gliscor: 3/5
A crazy bat. It looks both more grown up and less mature at the same time, which I don't know how they did that. The design is more complex and somehow goofier? Even though this time its tongue isn't just sticking out.
Mamoswine: 3/5
A big pig mammoth. That's about it. It has tusks and a pig nose and angry bugged-out eyes.
Porygon-Z: 4/5
Porygon, the cyber duck series, ends at this glitchy mess. It's silly and twitchy but is still a cute weird bird. It would pass even less in a duck pond unfortunately, but I like it.
Gallade: 3/5
What if Gardevoir but boy? Okay, they already had that specifically, but what if boy only? I guess you get this person with egg-shaped hip thickness. Not entirely sure I see the point of this one aside from they wanted a physical Gardevoir and then try to appeal to people who wanted a specifically and deliberately masculine version. I'm still sure there's way more dirty pictures of Gardevoir anyway, including male, and possibly the male segment of that might surpass the Gallade stuff. But I'm not checking.
Probopass: 2/5
How disturbing. Not only does it have a giant nose, but it has smaller noses for weird floating things. It also has a piercing stare and a giant bushy mustache. It's silly, but not my favorite.
Dusknoir: 4/5
A big huggable ghost with a belly mouth. It has a grumpy expression so that just makes it look like it could use a hug even more.
Froslass: 4/5
The redeemer of the Snorunt line, unfortunately only the female Snorunt can become this, though, another one of those sex-specific things. Still, it's a cool design that calls upon mythology once again about ice women that steal souls.

The last part here are mostly Legendary and Mythical, with some of questionable status left in the mix, mainly the ones actually capable of breeding.

Rotom: 4/5
Rotom has a lot of forms now, including several unplayable ones at this point. Originally, this was just a tiny ghost sprite that could inhabit things, and was found inside of a haunted TV. Then they added the idea that it could possess specific appliances, which would change its appearance and give it different typings. And after that, they eventually came up with the Rotom Dex, which is a bread with a horn and arms and legs and a face. It's pretty cute, even if it filled the role of "thing that keeps telling you the tutorial". You can even kinda sorta date it in the ULTRA games, maybe? I haven't played those. And then with the most recent generation, they went wild and now Rotom is just integrated into literally everything, setting the stage for a haunted robot mechanical uprising. They do need to run with that plot thread. Long story short, a cute little electric ghost that can manipulate anything that uses electricity is a fun idea, just don't go overkill on it or you'll end up with the likes of RotomNet sending Roterminators and completely obliterating any sense of canon with a billion alternate timelines.
Uxie: 3/5
One of three similar monsters, this one is yellow and has its eyes closed. Apparently it's supposed to keep them closed or else terrible things happen. So it can just sleep whenever it wants.
Mesprit: 3/5
This one has its eyes half open and is pink. Its hair is more tentacle-like.
Azelf: 3/5
This one has its eyes in a surprised state constantly. It stares and looks the most alien of them all with a blue hair hat thing that goes to its face as well, and with the red gem on its forehead it kinda looks like Chaos from Sonic Adventure.
Dialga: 3/5
A giant blue deer dog with a really long head. It also squeaks when it roars. It has a few spikes over itself.
Palkia: 3/5
A pink dragon that looks a bit phallic. It's less spiky than its counterpart but has a similar face. The faces of both here look a bit like the Colossi from Shadow of the Colossus.
Heatran: 3/5
This is a weird and forgettable lava frog. It's kinda just hidden in the game and its design isn't super spectacular so people probably forget about this one even existing.
Regigigas: 3/5
A giant robot that's got bushes growing on it and has stoplights on its front, alongside the usual dots these robots have. Its arms look a bit like plugs.
Giratina: 4/5
This devil monster comes in two forms, and both are neat. The first one has six legs, wings, and is like a weird dinosaur demon lord with a smile as well. The second is a snake with spikes on its sides and its wings became a bunch of weird fingers. I think I prefer the first one more.
Cresselia: 3/5
It's a moon dragon. Fine enough in design. It's pretty much a plump moon banana, wearing more bananas, with added pink and blue. Simple but not overly simple.
Phione: 3/5
This is dollar store Manaphy. It's the Manaphy you give people when you don't want to give them Manaphy. It's still cute, though. It just lacks the heart transplant feature in its full version, and also somehow can't become it. It's just a strange occurrence to have a Pokémon in general be able to breed, but then it comes out as something that can't become like the parent, and not just due to the sexclusive evolution thing in some mons. I feel like it gets short-changed. There's a plot, a Phione that's going to become a Manaphy at any cost, even if it means putting Manaphy organs or whatever into itself. Would be a very weird plot for an actual game or the anime, but maybe on par for the manga.
Manaphy: 3/5
Tiny, cute, and incredibly elusive. It was distributed weirdly, and not just in the usual "only in New York special events" thing. It came on Pokémon Ranger. And you could only ever get one from a copy of the game, unless you somehow found a way to completely reset the entire game, which is incredibly difficult without special equipment. Or maybe you can just use a flashcart somehow. Maybe. I only got this one quite some time after this generation was done when they decided to just give everyone Mythicals for a while. Still, it's cute, and can do this mind switching thing as its trademark, which isn't really how heart transplants work.
Darkrai: 3/5
It's dark, it has an eye, it also has really long spindly legs sometimes. It's a generally edgy monster. And people in the anime who have GameSharks love to use this to destroy entire teams.
Shaymin: 3/5
This one comes in two forms. The initial form is a tiny cute hedgehog that's a hedge. Hog. The second form later introduced turns it into a weird deer. Okay then. I'm not sure why they gave it such a completely different form.
Arceus: 3/5
The god of all Pokémon. At the time at least. But it still seems to be the case, though it can be caught like any others. Just a weird thing about the series. Some liken it to a llama that got its beer belly trapped in some kind of fence. The true face of any deity is bound to be weird, anyway, but at least looking at it doesn't cause people to melt. It also comes in some different colors when it's given different things to hold, or has some kind of weird error.

Finally, statistics with a chart, because data analysis.

In a shocker to nobody, probably, I've put most into the middle "average" rating again. I only found a handful below average but several times more to be in the top picks. I thought I liked a lot of these designs more on average, but maybe I was more focused on the standouts. Still, the ones I've picked out I enjoy quite a bit.

Next, back to the fully 2D era where the handhelds were still some kind of Game Boy with Generation 3, and all of the brass instruments that come with it.

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