When we saw the first Detective Pikachu trailer, we have to admit — it was a little jarring. When you’ve been playing and watching Pokémon for 20 years, it’s a bit confusing to see such an abrupt style shift. But, as more trailers have come out, we became used to the idea of realistic Pokémon. And then we became excited about it! You can probably guess that a debate broke out at Gemr — which is the best Detective Pikachu Pokémon design? There have been some decided flops — that Aipom gives us nightmares and keep that Likutung far, far away from us. But there are also some fantastic successes. So we had a “civil discussion” (and by that, I mean rage fueled Pokémon Battles in Ultra Sun and Moon), and with “democracy” (read that as “who won the most battles”), we figured out our top 10 best designs.
We didn’t expect to see any Sun and Moon Pokémon in Detective Pikachu, but we’ve already spotted a few in the trailer. Our favorite of these was Morelull, the sweet floating mushroom Pokémon. There was something so dreamy about how they drifted through the world. It might be because they were accompanying one of our personal favorite Pokémon from the trailers — more on that later! Their bioluminescence and softly drifting shapes lend a greater sense of magic to the world. We doubt they will be relevant to the plot, but we enjoyed seeing them.
The little pink bulldog Pokémon was not one we expected to enjoy when it was revealed in the trailer, but the little grump has grown on us. The design is just dog-like enough to make it cute, without overdoing it. Most of us didn’t give Snubbull the time of day in the games — its design just never did it for us. But put this bulldog into realistic style, and bam! All of us want one. Sure it’s pink, but this fluffy pup had to be on our list. Seeing it changed our minds on the grump. Sure it’s not the best looking Pokémon in the games — but they’re casting it in a new light on the big screen.
This little guy deserves some credit. Sure, he only shows up for a few moments on camera, but we’ve watched them enough times at this point that you might call us obsessed. We have always felt sorry for Cubone — how could you not? Literally, every Pokédex entry talks about it crying, and 95% of them talk about how its mother is dead (this just in: all Marowak are murdered as soon as their eggs hatch). But getting to see the sad little guy on screen was a very nice addition to the trailer. We love the design of this little buddy. It feels about as true to the original sprite as they come — at least so far. The oversized skull looks perfectly matched to its small size, and we hope we get more screen time with it than the trailer shows. 10/10 Pokémon.
When the anime first came out, Misty’s Psyduck was the punchline of every joke. It was a simple-minded and pretty much useless Pokémon. That is until they discovered it had psychic abilities. Even then, there wasn’t much focus on the awkward duck after that revelation. The Psyduck in the movie doesn’t seem to have the same vapid disposition, at least not from the little bits we’ve seen in the trailer. We think we’ll see a lot of this particular yellow friend as it travels with a trainer we are guessing will be a companion to our heroes.
Jigglypuff is one of the old school Pokémon making a comeback. If you ever watched the anime, you know this little guy’s song is about as powerful, and annoying, as they come. The little cutie hated it when people fell asleep during its performances and drew on the faces of anyone who dared. Now they have brought the pink puffball to life in Detective Pikachu, and we think they did a dang good job of it. Sure it’s a little unsettling — but it also lacks a nose, so that has to be expected. We think it looks like a washed-up lounge singer, and we’re really hoping that’s the direction it goes.
Arguably the coolest final evolution of a water starter since Swampert (yeah, we said it. Come at us). Gredninja makes an amazing and frightening enemy. The shots so far seem to show them as antagonists in Pikachu’s journey to discover the truth. These fast-moving frog Pokémon are guaranteed to be frightening enemies — but they have a fantastic design to go along with it. They seem unhindered by the laws of physics as they launch themselves sky high in the trailer and lob devastating attacks.
Let’s face it. All of the promo shots of Charizard have been epic. The old school starter is here to wreck face, and Pikachu happens to be in his way. They carefully blended a dragon and the original design to create something uncomfortably realistic and accurately terrifying. Hopefully, we’ll get to see a lot more of this powerful fire Pokémon — but in case we don’t, it still gets the fourth place spot on our list for best design.
Of course, they couldn’t have a Pokémon movie without an Eevolution. Flareon was a perfect choice. It’s bright and fluffy coat makes it look particularly adorable in this style. The fact it looks like it just evolved and it’s positioning between two legendary Pokémon (with the god of the Pokémon world behind it) makes us think that this fiery eeveelution will have an important part to play. Though it could be that the backdrop is merely for aesthetic, we hope to see more of the eeveelution in the movie.
Of all the Pokémon revealed this far, Bulbasaur is the closest to what we imagined it would look like in reality. It’s bright eyes, bumpy skin, and large bulb perfectly encapsulate the original sprite. There is something so delightfully perfect about them. If you don’t want one — you are wrong. Their little waddly walk made everyone at Gemr squeal with delight. We just want to take each and every one of them home and take care of them until they evolve into Venusaur. We’re all grass trainers now. We’re okay with that.
At first, the fluffiness of Pikachu really threw us off. It took a while for us to adapt to the idea of Pikachu as an actual fluffy animal. Sure, logically we knew Pikachu was fluffy. But that doesn’t make it an easy pill to swallow when you see it in person for the first time. Yet with each passing trailer, we’ve fallen more and more in love with this slightly fluffier electric mouse. It’s not as sleek as we expected, but honestly — if you were full of electricity you would probably have a hard time keeping your fur smooth too. The moment that sealed this love, however, was the moment Nintendo let the little guy say hell in the middle of a bad situation. After that we realized: Pikachu needs to be protected at all costs.