Pokemania is back. On the dawn of Pokemon’s 20th anniversary, Pokemon Go! Has reignited the mainstream audience’s interest in the franchise. Coincidentally, the seventh generation of Pokemon is only a few months away. Due to this, we will likely see many people who haven’t played a Pokemon game in nearly two decades (if ever) picking up Sun and Moon this November. If the folks at GameFreak want these people to stick around for more, they’ll need to be their very best with the new designs. Luckily, what we’ve seen of the Alola region so far has been extremely promising, and I can’t say there’s a single design I have disliked. But not all Pokemon are created equal, so I’ll be counting down my 5 favourites of what we’ve seen of the Alola region’s Pokemon roster. Ready? Let’s get right to it.
Just barely making the list is the box legendary of Pokemon Moon; Lunaala. By far my favourite thing about Lunaala is its design. It’s as if GameFreak asked “what would happen if we crossed the moon with a fancy vampire?”. What I imagine is Lunaala’s main body is painted with the image of the night sky. A strange white skeletal frame complete with two-clawed hands and shoulder spikes tops this off. Its wings are large and imposing, with stars and crescent shapes adorning them. It’s head is also in the shape of the crescent moon. All this comes together to make Lunaala look majestic and imposing. It’s truly a beautiful Pokemon, and the confident smirk on its face gives it just the right touch of personality. It’s a Ghost and Psychic type, a combination we’ve only ever seen in Hoopa. And with its ability Shadow Shield, it can tank hits extremely well when at full hp. Add that to its mysterious Full Moon phase and Lunaala has practically booked itself a spot in the higher tiers of competitive battling. This is a Legendary Pokemon in every sense of the word.
4) Tapu Koko
When we heard that the Alola region would be based on Hawaii, we all braced ourselves for mythical Pokemon based heavily on Hawaiian mythology. Tapu Koko is our first example of this. Seemingly based on the Hawaiian god of war “Ku”. Its design looks extremely tribal, with various markings on its face, body and arms. It also sports a huge mohawk-style plume on its head, and two large shields on either arm which it can enclose itself in for protection and “on special occasions” (according to the official site).
Tapu koko is the second Electric/Fairy type we’ve ever gotten, and its brand new ability “Electric Surge” gives electric types an equivalent to other weather-inducing abilities like Drizzle and Sand stream. I’m very interested to see how this new ability shakes up the competitive metagame, and if Gamefreak makes three more Pokemon based on the Hawaiian deities, Tapu Koko may become all the more impressive by taking on a totem-pole form with its three brethren.
For too long, early game bug types have been a something to use for a quick power boost, and toss in the box for stronger Pokemon. Vikavolt may be about to break that trend. Based on a stag beetle, Vikavolt’s design just exudes power. Its railgun-like pincers and streamlined body give it the look of a fighter jet, while still retaining a distinctively insectoid motif. It is a textbook example of a design that is simple, yet cool. Being the final evolution of the second Bug/Electric line we’ve ever seen, Vikavolt’s rare typing gives him tons of potential when it comes to moves, and having the levitate ability wipes off its weakness to ground type attacks. Vikavolt is shaping up to be one of the strongest bug type Pokemon GameFreak has ever given us, and he has already earned a spot on my Sun and Moon team.
Fire/Poison is a type combo that Pokemon fans have been interested in for a while. Despite being abnormally vulnerable to ground type attacks, Fire/Poison types are immune to two of the most potent status conditions in the game: Burn and Poison, giving them a lot of possible utility. Well with the seventh generation we have finally been blessed with a Fire/Poison type in Salandit. Besides being the first of its typing, Salandit gets points for its design. It’s clearly made to look like a bandit, what with those black gloves and mask-like head colouring, and that delightful grin on its face sells the motif even better. It’s a design that gives the Pokemon a ton of personality, and the fanbase has taken to it quite well.
And then there’s its ability. Salandit’s new ability, Corrosion, lets it poison EVERY Pokemon. This includes poison and steel types who were previously immune to the status condition. Suddenly, big hitters like Metagross and Aegislash are now susceptible to being poisoned. If Salandit gets an even cooler evolution and a good set of stats, it could potentially be a big game changer in the competitive metagame.
When Mimikyu was first released, everyone was considerably confused. While its Ghost/Fairy typing is one of a kind, its design similarity to Pikachu put a lot of people off. They soon regretted this decision. You see, the Pikachu get up is simply a costume. Those two black eyes on its body are the eyes of the real Mimikyu. Why is it wearing a Pikachu disguise you ask? Besides shielding it from the sun, Mimikyu’s disguise is a way for it to seem more appealing. It dresses like Pikachu in order to garner a fraction of the love that Pikachu possesses. That’s heartbreaking. For the first time, Game Freak has called into focus the effect that Pikachu’s popularity has on other Pokemon. And in a heartwarming turn of events, the fanbase has adorned Mimikyu with as much love as it could ever want.
And then there’s its ability. Mimikyu’s “Disguise” Lets it take no damage from the first hit it takes when sent into battle. This has a lot of potential, and if Mimikyu and/or it’s possible evolution are given enough raw power to back up this ability, Mimikyu might be just as threatening as it is adorable. Either way, I’m getting one for myself.
I wish I could give a spotlight to some of the other great Alola Pokemon, but it’s a top five for a reason. With the fountain of potential inspiration that is Hawaii, and Game Freak’s unbridled talent, I wouldn’t be surprised if this list changed significantly by the time Pokemon Sun and Moon are released. If the remainder of the Alola roster is as impressive as the five on this list, we are in for another quality generation of Pokemon.