8 Starter Pokémon With Better Designs Than Their Final Evolution

A few starter designs in the Pokémon franchise are so great that they exceed their final evolutions. In opposition to that, some final evolutions of starter Pokémon are so terribly crafted that it is easier for their initial forms to be better than their final ones. The quality of Pokémon designs across Generations has fluctuated quite significantly, with many deeming that Gen 1 is the best, while others stand faithfully by other Gens. Despite the fact that all Pokémon designs are up for discussion and analysis, those under the most scrutiny are starters.

Starter Pokémon are not only some of the first revelations in every Generation, but they also are some of the most important ones in the games. These are the first Pokémon that players choose to accompany them on their journeys, and they tend to stay in the party for a long time, outliving the usage of most initial creatures that Trainers stumble upon during their adventures. It can be tricky picking a starter Pokémon, though, because they do not always turn out as expected once they evolve to their final forms.

8 Chikorita

Chikorita leaps in the air in the Pokemon anime.

Chikorita is one of the first cases in the franchise in which a starter Pokémon’s design exceeds the quality of its final form. Chikorita is a simple and lovable creature and, even if Meganium is, evidently, an advanced form of Chikorita, it is excessively simple. Meganium is, analytically, an overgrown Chikorita with a flower on its neck. It is an exuberant Pokémon, individually, but one that is too underwhelming to be a starter’s final form.

Related: Why Meganium Is A Better Pokémon Starter Than You Think

Chikorita retains a certain elegance in its simplicity as a starter Pokémon. In contrast, Meganium, which is supposed to build on top of that, only perpetuates Chikorita’s simplicity. The final form lacks more details – Chikorita’s evolutionary line is a perfect example in which the Pokémon’s second form – in this case, Bayleef – is a great evolution to the starter form and still superior to the final one.

7 Torchic

Torchic jumping into battle in the Pokémon anime

Torchic, which was introduced in Gen 3, follows the path set by Chikorita and boasts a great and cute starter Pokémon design, only to be underdeveloped with the final form. Although Blaziken is wildly different from Torchic – which also distances this case from Chikorita – this is one of the Pokémon that feeds a constant problem in the franchise: humanoid creatures. Torchic starts off as a gentle little chicken and gradually evolves into Blaziken, which is a mix between a humanoid rooster and martial arts specialist.

Blaziken is a well-appreciated Pokémon, but its design makes the mistake of looking too humanoid. The franchise has always had humanoid creatures, like Hitmonchan or Mr. Mime, but this is the first case of a starter Pokémon that evolves into one. If Blaziken had more animal-like features and distanced itself from a bipedal humanoid, then it certainly would have been better than Torchic.

6 Tepig

Tepig smiles in the Pokémon anime.

Generation 5’s Tepig treads the same path set by Torchic. The starter Pokémon’s design is much better than the final evolution, Emboar. This is, like Blaziken, due to the fact that the final evolution is too humanoid. The starter Pokémon, Tepig, starts off as an adorable four-legged creature, and with its evolution, it turns into a bipedal brawler. There is no rule that Fighting-type Pokémon have to stand on two legs and use their two arms to battle, so Emboar’s design is sloppy.

Emboar could have been a four-legged boar-like creature with a sturdy body, and that would make him fit the Fighting-type category. One of Pokémon Scarlet’s Paradox Pokémon, Great Tusk, follows this concept, and it works tremendously well for it. Emboar simply gives into the humanoid design – if Tepig started off as a bipedal pig, its final evolution would make more sense.

5 Oshawott

Oshawott smiling in the Pokémon anime.

In opposition to Tepig, Oshawott starts off as a tremendous bipedal starter Pokémon with a cute design and makes its way into a weirdly-designed quadrupedal monster, Samurott. The concept for Samurott’s design is fantastic, a shell-using samurai of sorts, but its execution is somewhat botched. By standing on its four legs and occasionally becoming bipedal to use its so-called seamitars, it looks clunky.

Samurott is one example of a starter’s final form that should actually be bipedal, as it would match the evolutionary line’s general design. Individually, this design would have probably worked, but by being related to Oshawott and Dewott, Samurott looks completely out of sync with the rest of its family.

4 Chespin

Chespin smiles in the Pokemon anime.

Kalos’ starter trio is an interesting bunch when it comes to the concept. The starters from Gen 6 were meant to represent classic RPG roles, with Chespin’s final form, Chesnaught, being a tank. It just so happens that Chesnaught is a blandly-designed creature, and makes the starter Pokémon’s design look superb in comparison. Chesnaught wears a thick shell over its back and, although the idea behind it is great, it looks too simple. In fact, it seems like a mid-game Pokémon that has no evolutions whatsoever.

In addition to that, It has very pastel-tone colors, which allows players to even question if it is a Grass-type creature. If it had at least retained the color palette from its predecessor, Quilladin, Chesnaught would be a completely different Pokémon, and would likely live up to Chespin’s reputation.

3 Fennekin

Serena commands her Fennekin in the Pokemon anime.

While Chespin’s line turns it into a tank, Fennekin sees it become a mage. Once again, however, this starter Pokémon’s design is plagued by its humanoid-like final form. Fennekin’s final evolution, Delphox, works perfectly as a mage-inspired creature – it carries a flaming stick, which resembles a staff. Delphox’s typing is also amazing, with it being Fire- and Psychic-type.

Nevertheless, Fennekin just looks better than its final form. Fennekin is a charming creature, inspired by the adorable fennec fox, while Delphox looks like an animal-like person with fox features. The signs that Fennekin’s design would be better than its final form are already shown with its second form, Braixen, which is already a standing fox-like person with a stick in hand.

2 Grookey

Grookey sits in front of a house in Pokemon

Grookey is, debatably, the cutest starter Pokémon in Galar, and it becomes a horrendous creature with its final evolution, Rillaboom. The cute little monkey in Gen 8 eventually becomes a fully-grown gorilla and, although the concept itself is fine, the result is awful to look at. Rillaboom has a great set of skills, but it looks terrible. Grookey’s final evolution has a weird set of grass-like hair and a bland face that set it very far off from the evolutionary line.

The fact that Rillaboom plays taiko drums is a fun addition and makes sense with Grookey’s constant search for musical beats. The way this final evolution looks in comparison to the starter Pokémon’s design makes no sense, however.

1 Sprigatito

Pokemon Horizons: Sprigatito encourages Liko to fight.

Gen 9 is marked by strange Pokémon, and while Sprigatito is an excellent starter Pokémon design, it ultimately becomes a weird Grass-type magician bipedal performer. Sprigatito’s doom is foreshadowed by Floragato, its immediate second form, which sees the adorable cat-like creature stand on its rear paws. Floragato, however, is still acceptable as it embraces a rogue-ish personality.

Related: Pokémon Scarlet & Violet Starters: Is Sprigatito, Fuecoco, Or Quaxly Best

Then it evolves into the ostentatious Meowscarada and completely butchers Sprigatito’s elegant starter Pokémon design by becoming a weird humanoid cat with a need for attention. Sprigatito could have evolved into a quadrupedal leopard of sorts and still kept Meowscarada’s Grass- and Dark-type, without looking like a poorly-designed creature in Pokémon.

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