Gushing About My Favorite Pokemon Designs, Episode 1; Bulbasaur
I'm a huge Pokemon fan. Being a kid born in the late 90s, it was pretty much my job to consume and love everything Pokemon. The games, toys, and anime are all pretty much part of an Late-Millenial/Early Gen-Z diet of pop culture. So I thought it would be fun to discuss the designs of some of my favorite Pokemon to see what really makes them tick. To show the artistic value of them. And to justify my not-healthy-in-the-slightest obsession with these critters and the games they come from. So let's start with the first Pokemon I had under my control, Bulbasaur.
OH MY GAWD IT"S SO CUTE AND AWESOME AND GREEN AND AWESUUMM AND CWOOTTEE!!!!!! HOW COULD YOU NOT LAWVE THIS GIFT FROM HEAVEN!!!! IT MADE MY CHILDHOOD AWESOME!!! OH MY GAWD IT"S SO CUTE AND GREEN AND---
One thing that I really appreciate about the Kanto starter Pokemon (for those not familiar with Pokemon, at the start of each game you are given the choice of 3 Pokemon to start you out with) is that what they are about jumps out at you when you just glance at them from a group.
The shell on Squirtle gives you a water-vibe, the flame at the end of Charmander's tail tells you it's fire based, and the plant on Bulbasaur's back tells you it's plant-based. Sure their color-coding also helps, but that alone wouldn't cut it. It's color plus what jumps out at you that seals the deal. You notice that all Pokemon pictured are mostly a single shade of their color aside from their eyes, and that main color is the first thing you notice. Once you do, you notice that there is a different color calling out to you. The color of Bulbasaur's plant, the color of Charmander's flame, and the Squritle's shell stand out from the main colors to make them grab your attention.
Didn't I say I was only analyzing Bulbasaur today?
With Bulbasaur, you see a green theme and a plant. Gives you a pretty good idea of what he's about.
Furthermore, Pokemon are creatures to be used in combat, but they are also your companions. So you want them to both friendly and tough-looking for the most part. How do you convey this? Well, Bublasaur's design is mostly rounded. His body is rounded, his plant is rounded, his legs are stubby, all help give it a cute vibe. Which is offset by the dark green patches on his skin, which have sharp edges and also convey blemished skin that you can get from "roughing it out" in the woods. And he has sharp teeth. Perfect blend of cute and tough.
This part may be reaching, but I think that bulb on his back also foreshadows one of Pokemon's defining features: evolution. The closed bulb on his back makes you think it must open up eventually right? Well, it does.
I think it's telling that when I think of Pokemon growing and evolving, the Bulbasaur line is what immediately pops into my head.
So there you go, my first episode of analyzing Pokemon designs. Follow me more if you want more of these, because I'm going to commit to this. I'm putting this promise out there so that I'll be motivated to post this blog consistently, because otherwise, this last paragraph will make me look like a total ass-clown.
God help me......