Saturday, October 9, 2010

29. Nidoran♀

The next six entries will be about permutations of the same basic pokemon. IT’S GOING TO BE FUN YOU GUYS

So you’re making a videogame. You have a small catalogue of creatures you need to expand to a big even number like 150. Why not take an existing creature, and split it into two versions, based on gender! And call them separate species! That makes sense right

To Game Freak’s credit though, it only took them one game to realize, “Wait a minute… wouldn’t most of these things have genders?” Further to their credit, they went ahead and implemented that. Genders for everyone! Of course, that made no actual difference, except for certain attacks like Attract, or who can pair up with whom when you decide to play god and not-so-subtly encourage your pokemon to mate. Which… is a topic I’m not even getting into, because there’s a whole cache of surreal observations to be made about pokemon breeding, which have already been made by people who have actually bothered to breed in the games. It is an action that opens a chasm to a whole new sulfurous cave of pokemon obsession.

And alas, you can’t blame Game Freak for not foreseeing the success Pokemon would have to even allow them to make sequels and further flesh out the pokemon universe. A family with a gender divide was just an early step in that later direction. And a risky one; I mean, their evolutions have fair popularity, but Nidoran♀ and ♂ are about as far from iconic as you can get. They never got much attention in the anime or other media. It’s hard to imagine yourself using them; how do you even voice their names? “Go! Nidoran Female!”

So naturally the female one is the one with fewer pointy bits—or almost none at all, in Red and Blue. I’m not sure what the Nidorans are supposed to be really. Rabbits? Poison rabbits? In any event, there’s one element of its design I really like, and that’s the little barbs on its ears. That’s right: this thing is so dangerous, even its ears are weaponized. Kind of a downer if you wanted one for a pet. This actually comes into play in the games, when in Generation III it gains the ability Poison Point, which can poison opposing pokemon just for making contact with Nidoran. Which makes training it far more vindictively satisfying.

The Winner:

It seems like every game the art team gets together and says, “All right, let’s brainstorm ways to barely change Nidoran♀’s half-standing, looking-down-with-mouth-agape pose.” Most of the time it’s not even remotely an improvement, like when they changed it from D/P to Platinum, despite Nidoran♀ not appearing in the regional pokedex of any of those games. It is to that point that I come to appreciate any Nidoran♀ sprite that doesn’t look like that. There are some good ones: Yellow, Silver’s, and actually Ruby and Sapphire’s.

But this Gold one stands out to me for a reason that has probably never been cited in the history of pokemon fandom: it looks like a spaceship. I’m serious. Not like a big spaceship, but one of the smaller pod-like ones that Star Trek ships are always sending out. It just looks so different and sleek compared to the others: the static limbs, the symmetry, the metallic blue, the serene expression, the hard light reflecting off its starboard bow. Like it should be floating through 16-bit space.


  1. I always thought that it was a little strange that Nidorina, the one that is supposed to be more feminine as it is the female of the species, seems to be some kind of doglike creature while the male definitely looks like a bunny rabbit. Not that bunnies can't be manly, but masculinity isn't something that that particular animal is usually associated with.

  2. Also the males are all pink and purple!

  3. I like Nidoran because you can't really tell exactly what animal they're supposed to be with complete certainty. I also think that they are different enough to be made into seperate Pokemon, though that would mean they should have made two different families of Shellos and Gastrodon. Because they're more than just recolors of each other, there's a pretty significant difference.

  4. This Nidoran is also the only female that can breed, for some reason Nidorina and Nidoqueen are sterile. No, you don't get an explanation for this.


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