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Fixing Kalos Pokemon pt. 2: Rethinking Vivillon, Furfrou, and Florges


Lorekitten

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The Kalos Pokedex is something of an oddity in terms of Pokemon generations. Coming hot off the heels of Gen 5's largest introduction of new Pokemon in a single generation to date, Kalos had a Pokedex so large that it was split into three segments in-game, yet still holds the record for the least number of new Pokemon introduced in a full generation (not counting Mega Evolutions or other alternate forms). As I mentioned in my previous Kalos Pokemon article, this is very likely because of the massive leap in translating every single previous Pokemon from a 2D sprite to a 3D animated model, including the new Mega Evolution gimmick that helped sell the game.

That being said, the Kalos dex didn't really need any padding, as it contained a whopping 457 Pokemon species (counting legendaries and mythicals, but not Megas or other alternate forms). Despite this, Kalos boasts a mere 71 entirely new species of Pokemon, a few species of which try to cover the slack of the rest of the dex by sporting a somewhat ridiculous number of possible forms to collect. There are of course mons like Pyroar and Meowstic, which both exhibit sexual dimorphism (and, strangely enough, are both feline -- I wonder what that's about?), the four different sizes of Pumpkaboo and Gourgeist that have varying stat spreads, and Aegislash's in-battle form change that frustrated the competitive community at the time before King's Shield was nerfed. But when it comes to weird and unusual form variations in the Kalos Pokedex, the three poster children are, naturally, Vivillon, Florges, and Furfrou.

None of which did a particularly good job with what they were given.

They looked nice, sure, I'll give you that -- none of their designs were bad, at least from my perspective. But their cosmetic changes were merely that -- cosmetic. If you caught one Flabebe, you didn't really have any reason to seek out the other four versions aside from aesthetics. A single Furfrou could wear multiple haircuts within its battling career, but its hair would always grow out over a scant three days, and then you'd have to buy it another haircut again. And don't even get me started on the pain of trying to trade with enough people from all over the world to fill out your Vivillon dex -- younger me didn't even realize that all the Scatterbug I was breeding would only ever evolve the same way anyway. And with the 3DS online going the way of the National Pokedex (I refuse to use the term Dexit out of principle), it's only going to get harder to complete your bug collection. (Apparently there's something going on with using 'postcards' from Pokemon GO to evolve Spewpa into different Vivillon forms, but I'm one of the only three women in America that doesn't own a cell phone... like, at ALL... so I wouldn't know.)

So how about we change that, shall we? (The forms, I mean. Not the cell phone... though honestly, I should probably change that, too. I mean, once I get healthy enough to actually have a life again.)

Vivillon

Oooooooh Vivillon. I have a personal vendetta against its multiple forms because of the aforementioned difficulty in getting every last one of them, but especially because there's no good reason to get them all, as most if not all of them will just sit in your box looking colorful. Vivillon isn't even a particularly strong Pokemon; it's the regional bug for Zygarde's sake, and given that it's following hot off the heels of the likes of Leavanny and Scolipede, it's got big shoes to fill and utterly fails to do so. You want my advice? If you're looking for a solid Bug/Flying type in Kalos, grab a Surskit. Masquerain is dope.

But if we want to redeem Vivillon, then let's look at what we could do with all those forms. Most of Vivillon's myriad wing designs are based on certain biomes of the world -- Garden, Meadow, High Plains, Icy Snow, et cetera. What if Vivillon had a special attack move that changed type and/or secondary effect based on its form? And what if its form changed based on what biome you evolved Spewpa in? Obviously this plan wouldn't work in Z-A specifically as it takes place in a single city, but in a wide open area like Paldea with so many different environments, why haven't they taken this opportunity to fix Vivillon's troubles?

When I looked to the Pokemon TCG in search of move names to base my new Vivillon move on, I'd expected that a Pokemon with twenty separate forms would have a great deal of representation in the game. I did not expect six cards total. Over its entire existence. What's the point of having so many different colorful forms of the same Pokemon if you're not gonna market those designs for all they're worth? Anyway, the move name I chose for Vivillon's new special nonexistent attack is Miracle Powder from Scarlet & Violet 10, a move that in the TCG allows you to choose a status condition to inflict on the target.

In-game, I imagine my Miracle Powder to serve as a special attack that changes type and secondary effect based on Vivillon's form, or even transforms into another move like Nature Power does. Although... if it's the latter, then why not just change each Vivillon form's moveset to contain moves fitting of the biome it represents?

Answer: because that's literally twenty new movesets that have to be coded for the same Pokemon, and for the regional bug no less. Game Freak can and does make questionable decisions from time to time, but they're usually erring on the side of what's easier for them, not the opposite. And regardless of how many moveset buffs Vivillon might get, it's still a frail Bug/Flying type that if you want to use in any capacity whatsoever, you'll have to stack with Quiver Dance and Heavy-Duty Boots, and then probably lose anyway.

If I ever had the time on my hands to create an entirely new Pokemon RPG (and honestly I did try to make a Pokemon TTRPG once, and it did not end well), Vivillon would definitely be on my list of mons to rework completely. It's not a bad design, it just doesn't live up to the hype that any mon with twenty different forms honestly ought to have.

There's also the concept of just having each individual Vivillon change its forms based on what environment it happens to be in at the time, like Red's Eevee in the Adventures manga, but then there wouldn't be any collection aspect to it whatsoever.

Furfrou

Furfrou is one of those single-stage gimmick mons that basically exists so that Game Freak can say "Look how cool this is!" without making it actually competitively viable. What gives Furfrou its true claim to fame isn't its multiple dos, though, it's its excellent Fur Coat ability doubling its defenses and making it a solid pick for the early game, especially if you're doing a nuzlocke.

The weird thing is, Fur Coat is Furfrou's only ability. Across all its forms, most of which are obtained by giving it a literal haircut. Why does a trimmed Furfrou have the exact same defensive stats as an overgrown Furfrou if its massive defenses come directly from its own fur? It doesn't make sense lorewise, which is why I think that Furfrou's haircut forms need to come with new abilities to give them some functionality outside of mere cosmetics. What kinds of abilities? Well... I actually have absolutely no clue what would even work with Furfrou's stats and the haircuts' theming, but for starters, if the Pharaoh haircut had Mummy, that would be hilarious.

Also, this has nothing to do with anything, but I once saw an ORAS screenshot where a player decided to enter their Furfrou into all the Master contests, but with a different color-coded haircut to match each category. That's probably the most awesome use of Furfrou's form gimmick that I've ever seen.

Florges

For this flower fairy Pokemon, I decided to give it a new move that would be the same type across all of its five forms, but inflict a different status effect depending on what color Florges' petals were. A few colors are pretty straightforward in what status they'd inflict -- Frozen for white, Burn for orange, and Paralysis for yellow. That leaves blue and red for Poison and Sleep, and honestly, I think I could go either way on which one gets which status. (Although I like the idea of red being Sleep, because it's the color of poppies.)

As for what to name this new move, I once again went to the TCG for suggestions such as Wonder Shine, Magical Shot, Bright Garden (yes, really), and... well, there actually wasn't much in the way of cool attack names for Florges, it being a relatively recent and underhyped Pokemon. There was however a pretty decent ability name in BREAKthrough 104, and that was Floral Breeze. Granted, in the original card the ability healed status conditions rather than inflicted them, so perhaps instead of inflicting status conditions, Floral Breeze has the added effect of curing any Pokemon in the party that has that specific status condition? But we already have Sparkly Swirl as a Fairy-type attack that cures the party, even if it's locked behind a single overpowered starter Eevee in one freaking game that personally I think is overhated even if it does have some questionable design decisions (I want Steelix and Crobat dangit!) So maybe Floral Breeze could act similarly to Matcha Gotcha, dealing damage, healing the user, and having a small chance of inflicting the chosen status condition. This could be an interesting buff, although given how excellent Fairy is both offensively and defensively, I wouldn't go so far as to make it hit multiple targets. That'd just be broken.

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Cyb3rkn1ght

Posted

I agree with the Vivillon hype problem. Granted, I was in the hype (Just check my Pokemon Violet Box), but as soon as I found out how frail most bug types were, I never thought about it again. The Florges color attack ability sounds fun for Doubles or nuzlockes. If they do this again, id say make it a 1-2 stage with actual potential. Wish to see that TTRPG someday, I would take notes for my Pokemon fangame. (Pray it doesn't get taken down by the Nintendo ninjas, even though Sega Samurais are better-)

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Maple Syrup

Posted

I like the different type attacks for Florges, it would make it a unique gimmick Pokémon.

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Lorekitten

Posted

@Cyb3rkn1ghtUnfortunately I simply do not have the math skills necessary to create a viable and balanced TTRPG, which is one important reason my attempt fell through the cracks. Another reason being that with literal hundreds of Pokemon in existence, trying to balance them all is a nightmare.

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Cyb3rkn1ght

Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, Lorekitten said:

the math skills necessary to create a viable and balanced TTRPG, which is one important reason my attempt fell through the cracks.

after 2 seconds of reaserch, i now know what a TTRPG is. (Yeah that is a nightmare-), but, I did visualize a traditional Pokemon game not too long ago. (Im so proud of myself)

Edited by Cyb3rkn1ght
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