September 21, 2021 (Originally posted on Neocities)
Back when Game Boy wasn't advanced and Nintendo only went up to 64, the Pokémon series was finding its footholds in doing whatever it does. A lot of marketing, for one thing. This was when I really started getting into the whole thing, after making a poor attempt at the initial generation and finding more fun in Snap and Stadium minigames than the mainline stuff, I actually got further into Gold than I did Yellow. However I'm not just going to go off nostalgia for ranking the designs of Johto Pokémon, I'm just looking at the designs. Save all the nostalgia stuff for the eternally-marketed Kanto mons next time.
Once again, these will be ranked from 1 as the lowest to 5 as the highest score.
We start with the starters, as we usually start.
It's a pear. Somehow this pear dinosaur baby isn't liked by a lot of people but I find it fine.
A leafy dinosaur. It happens a lot in this series. This one has yellowed a bit and has a big leaf stuck on its head a bit like one of those anime hairstyles with the bit coming off, the ahoge. I guess it could be a bit of a goof, being a big strange dinosaur.
Big flower dinosaur. It's cute, yes. Also pretty tall, as it is a dinosaur. It also has antennae for some reason, sure. I guess it's meant to be like the usual flower genitals or whatever those parts are, but they just look like funny bug antennae.
Cyndaquil is too cute. It's a happy squinting hedgehog that's tiny and fiery. Definitely something to hold in the hand.
Fire ferret. It's a ferret or weasel or something and it has fire. It's adorable and a bit longer than before, but not quite a full wriggly tube.
A big tall fire badger. Well, relatively tall at least. Still big, though, it's got quite a wide shape to it. That and its fluffiness along with its warmth really make this mon incredibly huggable. Perfect for a starter in that way.
Tiny gator. It's cute and bitey. It seems like it would flail around and bite on random furniture and be difficult to remove from it.
Some sort of chunkier cave croc here. It really seems like the teenage punk phase here.
A tall gator that had to have the o removed since names could only be 10 characters long in the translated versions. Still about as chunky as the previous form, but taller. Somehow one of the back sprites makes it look like it's got serious booty though, but (un)fortunately it's just some weird back shape business that got cropped weirdly.
Now some common birds and bugs and whatever small animals.
For common rodent monsters, this one is up there. It has a tiny cute face and a big round yet flat body with arm flaps, and it seems to stand on its tail a lot due to its stubby legs.
This ferret is essentially simplified to what a ferret can be considered. A wriggly fur tube. It doesn't even have a nose, it just has an adorable face stuck on the round end. I love this fur tube. Looks extremely soft.
Owl orb before that other owl orb. Still a fun round bird that somehow looks like it has two legs merged into one, and it has two of those when it takes out the other one. Birds are weird like that.
A more owl-looking owl. Not an orb, more owl-shaped with angry eyebrows.
A cute ladybug that's a bit punchy-looking. Also has big cartoony eyes.
Still cute, but more bug-like and even a little alien-looking. It's even more punchy with its cartoon boxing glove arms, but the eyes are less cartoony now.
Tiny squeaky spider. Well, for real-world standards it's a giant spider, but it's tiny for the series. It also has a happy face on its butt. Apparently its butt face can change expression, like to being sad or even angry. Don't make it angry.
A bigger spider who has had two legs become weird butt antennae. It still has a butt face, but different, because the hole on its butt, which is somehow not a butthole and instead shoots web, acts as the mouth for the eye spots.
Here's a bunch of other monsters for most of the rest of the list.
A weird late result for the annoying bats from the last generation. It has a frowning grin and all of its limbs are wings.
I like this weird round stubby fish orb. It has funny eyes and two glowing antennae so it looks a bit like a bug.
Some say this resembles a dolphin. I don't really see that. So I've still yet to see a full-on dolphin mon in the series to my knowledge. Mainly it's taking the weird concept of an angler fish and making it adorable and plump. It's a radical turnaround from an actual angler fish which definitely live in nightmares.
The star from Smash returns. It's a tiny Pikachu but isn't as spotlighted as its older form. Therefore I still find it at least somewhat less mainstream, but not by much. It also looks great with goggles. It doesn't seem to have been reworked as much as older forms either, so it's still short and a bit round.
A small pink star-shaped round baby that is so young that it lacks the bags around its eyes that it gets later. It's so tiny and adorable, just like babies tend to mean to be.
Demon orb. Well, maybe. It just has gigantic red eyes instead of the cool green or blue of its later forms. So that does come off as a bit creepy.
It's a strange egg baby that just keeps on wearing its shell. Cute, yes, but pretty odd. It's not exactly like a turtle either. It almost has a head like Bart Simpson does in some 3D adaptations where the spikes are only around the outside of an otherwise rounded interior.
Somehow Togepi becomes a fairy bird with wings. Still cute, but also feels a bit incomplete. Not that a design needs to be complex here, but maybe it stems from how tall its head is on some subconscious level.
It's a bird orb with odd staring eyes. It makes more sense once it evolves on why the eyes are how they are.
I remember looking up weird Xatu videos where this totem-inspired bird would make its Game Boy noises to songs while flapping around in semaphore. It's a strange bird.
I love sheep. This sheep is so adorable and fluffy yet zappy. No wonder they made a $500 official plush for it. It's that cuddly and round.
Less wool, lots more pink, and still just adorable. Now it just sits or stands on two legs, which looks a bit funny for a sheep. It looks more plump in a way, given how it seems to sit around since its body isn't quite fully bipedal-looking in general.
I adore Ampharos, and you may already know that. Somehow this is both a sheep and a dragon, but it looks like a flippered giraffe. Totally bald now, still adorable and amazing. A strange way to top a line of sheep that was gradually losing wool, but incredible. I'd risk the static electricity to hug one, they're so tall and happy and chubby. Also great in battle, of course. At least if you ask me. Don't ask competitive people who will only tell you to use very specific monsters everyone else uses. It can learn Thunder Punch, which with this mon is really Thunder Slap for the flippers.
A flowery dancer. Cute, but mainly just a tiny dancer, no relation to Tony Danza, with flowers on its head.
Some may argue that Marill, previously known as Pikablu, could count as a Pikaclone. I can see the connection with mainly its general body shape and face being similar to Pikachu, but it's not quite there. It does have a zigzag tail, but it lacks the cheeks. Whatever the case, this is a cute round plump water mouse type thing.
This bunny is an egg, and therefore the true Easter Bunny. It's very round and cute and also immensely strong somehow. The floppy ears really add more to this. It's a simply cuddly design that I think would be as fuzzy as bunnies can get.
It's meant to resemble a tree. It's a very strange-looking tree at that. It has a weird and goofy face, big ball hands a bit like Mewtwo's, and sorta also looks like a big poop, especially if it's shaded "realistically".
It's a green frog with swirls. Much more frog-like than the alternate path of blue… whatevers. However it also seems pretty average in design as a result of being a pure frog. I do like frogs, though.
A weird kinda plant cat thing I think? It has a big happy face on it.
I think the big floppy ears on this one make it cuter. It also looks rounder and maybe even has a wider smile for the extra girth. I'm even being reminded of this ball robot named Haro from the Gundam series. For all that I'm bumping up the score a bit.
It's a blue orb berry with one of those cat face smiles and three puffy orbs stuck to it. Of all things, this all just reminds me of Mamemon of Digimon and that whole line, orbs of various types, sometimes having a similar face to this one.
Monkey. A monkey with a giant almost creepy smile but it's still a fun monkey.
It's a sunflower seed kernel thing with one of those OWO faces. Creepy cute in an possibly unintentional way. Also may be noted to be among the weakest in stats mons ever or something, I don't know, but I'm not here rating on stats. I'm rating on the exact opposite of stats.
A weird flower that's always squinting in happiness or just has its eyes closed regardless. Maybe it's just looking at the sun constantly and trying to not be blind from it.
A dragonfly. It looks just like a dragonfly, but with cute little eyes in its lenses, a bit like Flygon.
Wooper is pure joy in an armless floppy form. It's so adorable and typically smiling.
Quagsire has arms and is a chunky peanut. It's still a cute, funny, slimy salamander being.
It's a purple cat with a weird split tail. For an Eeveelution, it's all right I suppose.
It's a dark cat with rings all over it. I prefer this one to its sunlit counterpart since it looks a bit cooler but also much cuter in my opinion. Maybe I just like black cats that much, and how they can resemble a void of nothing but eyes in certain lighting. But this one has glowing rings, so it wouldn't quite be able to do that. But it does have big proper cat-like eyes. It must be in the eyes with the tiny little nose as to why I find it as cute as I do.
Bird with hat. It's a hat bird, not in the way of a bird that acts as a hat like Swablu, but it might do that anyway. They needed a crow monster and this gets the job done, and later got to be a big boss crow.
Slowking, like the other Slowpokes, is a funny looking fellow. Pink and wearing a hat but also some kinda collar. Probably a nice mon to hug, too.
A purely ghost banshee of sorts. But mainly just the head. Apparently its hair works as arms somehow.
Unown are… interesting. Some conundrum about whether language came from them or they came from language. Design-wise, there's many forms, but they're all weird letter shapes with big eyes in there somewhere. Amusingly, the punctuation forms look bored or annoyed, as if they even thought there were enough of these already. They're a bit cute, but also pretty creepy with unending stares. Still, the idea of a wiggly bouncy letter eye is fun.
This weird punching bag-looking creature just always has a pained expression and a tail with eyes. It's very silly.
It's a cute giraffe deer up front, but then it has a cool Chain Chomp-like tail as a second head. It's a neat idea and is handling the idea cutely.
It's a pinecone, but blue and with eyes, and it just randomly explodes for no reason. Sure.
The pinecone became a weird clam that almost looks a bit like a Digimon I've seen, but it's still an exploding pinecone at its core for some reason.
If you know me, you probably expected a high score for Dunsparce. I'm not breaking the scale and giving it a 6/5, though, because I want this list to be at least somewhat consistent. I adore this fat stout snake for all it's worth and more. It's actually pretty big in length, and therefore girth, which is great for hugging, and I would love a life-size plush of one if not just outright having a real one. It's based on the tsuchinoko, a mythical fat and/or flat snake, and likewise I also find interest in characters based on that, like the Noko line from Yo-Kai Watch, the main one of which is also yellow and plump by possible coincidence. I could really go on about how much I love cute snakes, especially squishy ones.
A weird scorpion bat that can't seem to keep its tongue in its mouth, so it just looks silly.
An angry rock snake, but with bigger teeth and somehow metallic. That's really it.
This dog is the whole concept of "tough-looking bulldog being put in a dress". And that's pretty great. The grumpy dog face is a good one here.
This one is much more a regular bulldog, but with weird giant fangs for some reason. It also loses a bit of texture from becoming more a single color than having the wacky polka dots and dress-type thing going on.
It's a blowfish. Don't eat it, especially with low cooking skill. It looks like it has its eyes bulging out of its face possibly going different directions.
It's a neat red bug with a big red bug butt and claws with eye spots so they look more chompy. I think it looks a bit cute and even a bit like a Mega Man boss robot sort of deal.
A weird slimy turtle that can poke its wiggly limbs and head out of any hole. It's a cute banana rock. It can also make the E-rated equivalent of booze, probably. It might even tell Smeargle to shut up.
A strong beetle bug mon with a funny cat-looking mouth and is overall fairly cute. It's blue and gives a big suck on anything with sap. I've liked this beetle for quite some time, all big and blue and round.
Ice cat in original form. They have an odd left ear but long claws everywhere, as well as a feathery butt. As a cat that stands up and doesn't look weird doing so, they're pretty cute.
It's a teddy bear. So of course it's cute. That's about it.
A more bear-like bear, playing up the ferocity while putting a giant circle on its chest for some reason. Sure, why not.
A slug that's just a big blob of magma and therefore practically impossible to pet without protection. Cute in its weird ways.
A snail that's mostly a big blob of magma, but also has a hardened shell that's apparently very brittle, so even petting it there with protection is difficult. I've actually found this one a touch cuter, maybe partly for its big round nose making it look a bit goofier too.
A swine nub. Pretty much a dome of fuzzy hair that scoots along the floor with a piggy nose. It does have feet under that fuzz. Just plain cute.
I would keep misreading this as Plioswine like how I once thought the place in Sinnoh was called Hearthrome. I don't know where I get these names, particularly the latter. Anyway, this is a taller ball of hair with tusks and giant eyebrows over its eyes. It does have eyes, and they're incredibly tiny.
A cute pink coral that's so much like coral it doesn't even really move, it kinda just wiggles around like a piggy bank. Six generations later, it would go on to die horribly with ghosts coming out.
It's a peeping fish that always looks like it's screaming, and also sticks to the big flaps of Mantine. A weird design, but it gets weirder.
Somehow the peep fish becomes an octopus-like mon. And this octopus can shoot rocks. Like those Octoroks that people are sometimes hungry enough to eat. This is really something more expected from Digimon as far as an evolution line, except the octopus isn't made of literal guns and missiles and doesn't have exposed cyborg fleshy bits, for one thing.
Hail Santa. I mean… yeah, Santa. This bird is a Santa owl. It really looks more like an owl than a penguin to me. Its tail is a big sack full of lots of presents that usually explode I guess.
A big flappy manta ray that looks like it's making a funny face, but manta rays just do that. Sometimes it's shown with Remoraid stuck to it.
Big metal chicken. It looks like it would be ridiculously aggressive to where it kept ending up in funny situations and getting chased off by bigger threats. Still, a pointy metal chicken is very dangerous as it is.
A skull puppy. Not to be confused with the dark puppy one generation later. It just looks a bit bitey perhaps, but not evil.
A demonic-looking dog. Definitely not to be confused with the fluffy dark dog one generation later. Almost funny how much they played up the demon angle with this.
The final form of the seahorse from the previous generation. It just looks even more ferocious but in a weird way.
Baby elephant walk. It's adorable, no doubt about it. Having a pet elephant below knee level is probably a dream pet for kids. This one comes in baby blue.
Big grumpy elephant that somehow becomes a wheel. That's pretty weird in general, but fairly normal for Pokémon. It's also still kinda short, but more just big overall.
A cyber duck in smooth form. It's a fun duck, stable yet incredibly smooth. I still feel like I would lean more towards its blockier previous form, though.
A weird reindeer that may or may not have a coconut butt. It does have eye antlers, though.
A weird dog with paint secretions that can also learn pretty much any move. It's just weird and based entirely around a strange gimmick. It looks like it has one of those artist hats. It may also tell others to shut up.
Here we are at more babies for the first generation. This one is a small fighting baby with head spikes.
An upside-down kicking balancing mon that even obtaining a normally colored one would cause some soft resets, where weird evolution methods started getting developed. It's like a breakdancing style, and if you know of certain things in some more recent Yakuza games, you might know of how wild the Breaker style can be.
This one started purple so by the time this one came out they already seemed to know about the deal with the evolved form from last generation. Anyway, it's a purple baby with big lips. That's really it.
Plug egg. Of all the things to not stick into electrical outlets, it's infants. And here comes one that might actually somehow benefit from it because I guess Pokémon work that way. It does also have limbs, not just being a plug egg.
A sad-looking fire duck. It does work as a baby form for Magmar at least. Its Japanese name is also Booby. So that's fun.
This fat pink cow is great. It's fat and pink and, as a cow, has nipples out in the open. It's also notorious for being extremely strong and rolling over the competition. While I find cows in general weird, I like this one a lot, mainly for being cute and tough.
Chansey, but two-toned and with frilly bits. It's a bit of a natural extension of Chansey, really.
Finally, Legendaries and pseudo-Legendaries together, including a Mythical.
I don't know if these are supposed to be cats, dogs, or lion dogs. I think they eventually just settled on "beasts". This one sort of looks like a tiger and has funny big cheeks.
This one is big and brown and has a star smacked onto its face. Also kind of a big mustache.
This one somehow got its own game in the expanded version of the originals. It has a big crystal shape in its giant horn thing. Also whips. Also very blue.
A small and stumpy dino baby. It is what it is. Cute enough.
The only way we got a basic cocoon monster this time is somehow in the pseudo-Legendary line, since the common bugs only have two forms each this time. It's hopefully over soon enough. Not the worst cocoon I've seen, though, just very basic.
This tall green monster and Typhlosion share a bit of the same face, but this one's interesting enough as it is. The only problem comes when some lines try to become this one instead of doing their own thing.
Calling this a whale of a bird is accurate. It's large like a whale and bird-shaped. It's also a bit plump by design, which makes sense for something that lives in the ocean and is large. Just like whales. It looks ferocious yet cuddly, angry eye thingies and a plump body with giant wing hands to hug with. It combines cool with cute pretty effectively. Definitely the reason why I went for SoulSilver after having played Gold prior.
It's a funny sorta-rainbow chicken. Counterpart to Lugia, it's also a funny bird. It's more based around a phoenix, but a funny one. Maybe more relation to whatever weird bird Dyna Blade is.
It's the onion fairy Pokémon. Somehow it's involved in time travel. Mainly it's green and onion-like, but pink if Shiny. Until next time, see ya.
Statistics time, once again.
Of course most are in the average, because I guess that's how averages work, or maybe it's more of a mode technically, but it's very leaning toward things I like. That part I expected, I do like a lot of mons from this generation. They're still a mix of strong and cute overall, but not quite the slightly "reboot" feeling starting with the next generation, when the reference art got more clean-looking and starter mons got gradually larger heads.
Next up is the generation that practically everyone who even barely knows about Pokémon knows about, the original set, which will be eternally marketed with Pikachu and Charizard leading the charge as long as Game Freak somehow knows how to make games, or the same marketing tactics stick around for the rest of the games.