We need to talk about shiny Pokémon
First appearing in the second generation games, shiny Pokémon are one of the absolute best permanent fixtures ever added to the Pokémon series over the years. Whether at the end of a long hunt or unexpectedly in the wild, finding one of these rare color variants is always thrilling, and seeing the accompanying sparkles always brings a smile. Not all shinies are created equal, however, with some ranging from borderline indistinguishable to unapologetically bad.
Luckily, Game Freak has a long history of adjusting Pokémon colors game to game, including some truly drastic changes particularly between the second and third generations, which is exactly what happened to Charizard’s shiny sprite. Hoping to see some Pokémon’s shiny appearances improved isn’t without precedent, then, especially when some Pokémon’s shiny sprites were given some much-needed attention with the release of Pokémon Home. In fact, Combusken, the pre-evolution of Blaziken, had its shiny coloration adjusted just as recently as The Crown Tundra expansion of Sword and Shield!
Rather than simply calling attention to some unpopular shinies or providing a singular recolor, I thought I’d do Game Freak and the Pokémon Company the enormous favor of providing several proposed alternate shiny colorations for some of the most deserving Pokémon, giving a brief description of each alternate shiny and its significance. And what better place to start than with the two Pokémon at the top of almost everyone’s list: Gengar and Garchomp.
One of the most popular Pokémon of all time, Gengar deserves so much more than the dull, almost unrecognizable shiny it currently has. My first alternate shiny might seem like the easy and obvious way out by simply making it black, but in Gengar’s case, it actually works as a callback to Gengar’s earliest colored sprites, which were largely black, and to its classification of “Shadow Pokémon.” I colored its eyes magenta to keep in line with Gengar’s first shiny sprite, though I used the particular shade used in its Mega Evolution over the original pink used. Recolor two matches Gengar with its shiny Mega Evolution, while three is a simple monochromatic design that bridges the gap between shiny Haunter and shiny Mega Gengar.
My fourth alternate utilizes the magenta in the standard-coloration for Mega Gengar and includes the yellow from its third eye. Five borrows the vibrant purple and bright blue from shiny Gastly, while six emphasizes shiny Gastly’s ghostly blue, resulting in a spectral appearance you might expect from a Western-style ghost. Seven is a riff on six that utilizes an eerie green in place of blue, resulting in a Flying Dutchman sort of spook, and eight is a simple combination of one and five. Forced to choose, two is unbelievably cool but expected at this point, while five matches the rest of the evolutionary line and ended up looking really sleek. Either would be a solid option, although six would make a really fun wildcard.
Even more popular than Gengar according to the most recent poll, Garchomp’s shiny sprite might be even more indistinguishable than the ever-popular ghost’s, which is frankly mind-bending. My first alternate shiny in this set is again black, I know, but it’s honestly the shiny everyone expected, following in the tradition of Charizard and Rayquaza, and needed to make an appearance, so I got it out of the way first. Two comes courtesy of the beta Garchomp design leaked amidst the Nintendo “Gigaleak,” a flood of confidential, company files gradually published online by unknown sources throughout 2020. Cool in its own right, the coloration in beta Garchomp’s design makes for a pretty fitting shiny.
With Garchomp’s actual shiny shifting to a grayer shade of blue with a yellower red chest, I thought I’d enhance those shifts, resulting in a grey and orange Garchomp. When I didn’t like the new sprite, I replaced the grey with Gengar’s purple, was surprised how well it worked, and enjoyed the Halloween-reminiscent result which is how I arrived at variant three. Recolor four was a full color rotation resulting in a cool design that simultaneously looks like an imitation Pokémon. Five through six were all riffs on Gible’s shiny, which, in spite of Garchomp’s, is actually a really good shiny. Eight is a combination of variant one and both of shiny Gible’s blues, that, while cool, doesn’t quite match Garchomp. In the end, I think number six is the only real option and Game Freak should really make it happen.
While it’s unknown if Game Freak will ever adjust these shinies, the likes of Combusken and some other recent recolors have given fans hope. What shiny Pokémon would you like to see changed? Sound off in the comments and at the very least I can give you my take on the Pokémon. Until then, happy shiny hunting!