As a beloved and lucrative franchise, Pokémon character designs are considered top-notch and revolutionary. Just think that every generation features numerous unique creations from the minds of creators. Living in Tokyo for a year, one of my favorite pastimes was to visit the Pokémon Center in Ikebukuro to discover all of the newest Pokémon merchandise, from plushies to action figures. Aisles upon aisles, the experience there never disappoints anyone who manages to visit this wonderful retail space. Though many legendary designs are enshrined in the gaming annals such as Pikachu and Charizard, not all Pokémon creations are winners.
Perhaps, the creators ran out of ideas or designed themselves into a corner. Especially, when you create an evolution for a Pokémon from a previous generation, the task must be insurmountable. Honestly, some evolutions leave much to be desired. Some evolutions are downright lazy. Some evolutions are even just plain creepy.
I am sure there are Pokémon designs that are universally panned, like any new Michael Bay movie. Here are 15 Pokémon Evolutions that are just kind of lame, or simply crappy. Be sure to suggest some of your most hated Pokémon evolutions on our social media. Enjoy!
It seems like every subsequent generation of Pokémon tries to emulate the interesting dynamic between Teddiursa and its evolution Ursaring. You got Pancham with Pangoro and Stufful with Bewear. However, nothing seems more unoriginal than Cubchoo and Beartic. Poor Cubchoo constantly has mucus coming out of its nose. It might be an odd design, but it is rather memorable and unique. Beartic, on the other hand, looks like a polar bear ripoff of Ursaring, but without the lovable charm of the brown bear with the round circle on its not-so-rotund stomach. I cannot get over the idea that Beartic is just a simple rehash of Ursaring, just with Ice powers. Even its relationship with Cubchoo is all too similar to the Teddiursa-Ursaring combo, albeit being more forgettable.
If you thought Generation I had a lot of lazy and uninspired designs, you must include Electrode on this list. If Voltorb was essentially a Pokéball with an angry face, then Electrode is an upside-down Pokéball with a sleazy grin. Beyond the simplistic design wasn’t much substance, either. Electrode is a Pokémon that finds joy out of just exploding, either to release excess energy or to entertain itself. For the Generation I games, encountering a Voltorb or an Electrode is akin to encountering a Mimic or a Trap in other RPGs. Pretty much, you touched them by mistake thinking it was a valuable item. No wonder gamers viewed this Pokémon with so much scorn, because it certainly deserves all of the animosity directed towards it.
Generation I was filled with lazy evolution designs, such as Voltorb becoming an upside-down Pokéball with a grin and Magneton being three Magnemite stuck together. None is perhaps more-lazy and lackluster than Dugtrio, which is essentially three Digletts stuck together for the rest of their adult lives. Initially, Dugtrio consisted of three very grumpy-looking Digletts with a grudge to settle. This is probably due to the fact that now they have to go everywhere together, including the grocery store, dates, and the restroom. Now that they are triplets, how do they exactly mate with another Dugtrio? I don’t even want to go down that rabbit hole. Over time, the angry eyebrows were replaced with the standard Diglett appearance. While Dugtrio is an extremely-useful Pokemon for specific battles, its appearance is a prime example of laziness. At least its Alolan version made it amazingly-hilarious. That being said, I didn’t “Dig” Dugtrio’s design choice, at all.
Common logic would dictate that Remoraid’s evolution would probably consist of it being a larger fish or maybe a school of Remoraid stuck together, vis-à-vis Dugtrio or Magneton. Its actual evolved form is a bit of a head-scratcher. Queue the Jackie Chan meme. If you guessed Remoraid’s evolved form is an octopus, then you should be hired as a Game Freak designer, because that is exactly what Octillery is. How does a fish evolve into a giant red octopus? That doesn’t make any logical sense, does it? While Octillery is not a terrible design, it just doesn’t make any coherent sense being the evolution of Remoraid. It would have made as much sense as a Magikarp turning into a Blastoise. Yes, a fish into a turtle. Some people might argue that Magikarp evolving into a flying sky dragon named Gyarados is extreme enough, but that was established as an interesting feature of lowly Magikarp. Octillery just doesn’t present the same argument.
When Sunkern was introduced back in Generation II, it was an adorable addition from the next batch of Pokémon designs. Resembling a seedling with giant eyes and an equally-huge mouth, this Grass-type Solarbeamed its way into the hearts of eager fans. However, when this cute seed evolved into Sunflora, it became rather unsettling. There was an episode of Pokémon that featured hundreds upon hundreds of Sunflora, each with its creepy, squinty smile. I haven’t been this freaked out by a smiling creature since Chucky from the Child’s Play films. Just imagine a bunch of anthropomorphic sunflowers in your front yard with nothing but smiles on their faces. Isn’t that terrible? It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it.
Bidoof is one of my favorite Pokémon of Generation IV, because it is almost impossible to resist the charms of its two front teeth. Also, I love animals with bbuck teeth such as beavers, mice, and rabbits. Bidoof is a combination between a mouse and a beaver. When it evolves into Bibarel, it morphs completely into a beaver, but loses most of its rodent cuteness. Unfortunately, I cannot get over the eyesore that is Bibarel. As a lover of beavers, this Pokémon seems like an abomination. Sure, when Pokémon evolve, they tend to look less cute and more ferocious. Certainly, Bibarel appears less cute, but it trades in ferocious with a downright comical disposition. It is neither imposing nor innovative. Rather, it looks exactly like a Bidoof with a larger tail without the lovability.
Koffing’s design is straightforward and simple, pretty much consisting of a round purple ball with vents and an incredibly sly face in the middle. Looking at Koffing, I cannot help but smile at its silly expression that its face is apparent locked in. As one of the main Pokémon of the hapless Team Rocket duo, Jessie and James, Koffing had plenty of screen time in the animated series, often serving as comic relief in its many encounters with the protagonists, where it is sent flying into the stratosphere due to an explosion or Pikachu’s Thunderbolt. Unfortunately, when Koffing evolves into Weezing, the happy-go-lucky expression is replaced with a sad, frowning gaze that is tells everyone that it would be glad to visit Pokémon Tower as a resident soon enough. That is one sad, pathetic looking Pokémon.
8 Alolan Exeggcutor
Why would a bunch of anthropomorphic eggs turn into a walking palm tree with tree heads? That question was never quite answered in the original series, but we all just coped with it, no questions asked because Exeggcutor was a powerhouse of a Pokémon with ample bite to its bark. When the franchise decided to release Alolan version of past Pokémon, it was a daring and innovated marketing move. We got some welcome redesigns of Sandshrew and Vulpix, and their subsequent evolutions. I am sure other people love them as much as I do. But when they redesigned Alolan Exeggcutor as something that can only be described as a giraffe having intercourse with a palm tree, it automatically made it meme-worthy and the target of international scrutiny.
Magmar was one of those single-level Pokémon from the original generation that was given pre and post evolution forms in later generations. Resembling a fire-breathing duck, Magmar found most of its fame from the animated series battling against Ash’s newly-evolved and disobedient Charizard. It was one of those original 151 Pokemon that didn’t really need an evolution, but was a nice touch by the creators of the game to reimagine one for our favorite fire duck. Unfortunately, that evolution came in the form of Magmortar, a weird, Joker-esque chubby jester of a Pokémon with a cannon for arms. While Magby is amazingly adorable, Magmortar is the exact opposite, drawing ire and resentment from the fans. Magmar’s beak is now a strange and creepy pinkish lip that is forever locked in a smirk. I am glad someone is smiling, because Magmortar could only get a frown out of me.
Rhydon was an excellent and imposing improvement over its lesser form, Rhyhorn. That is exactly what an evolved form should be. It should appear more menacing than the creature it evolved from. Rhyperior is one of those evolutions given to a Pokémon many generations later, such as Magmar-Magmortar and Electabuzz-Electivire. Rhydon didn’t necessarily need a new evolution, but it was given one in Generation IV. While I love the design of Rhydon turning from a rhinoceros-like Pokémon to a bipedal wrecking ball with a drilling horn, Rhyperior modified the Rhydon further with unnecessary armor and gorilla arms. The outcome is a Rhydon that just spent too much time at the army surplus store preparing for the upcoming zombie apocalypse.
How would the evolved form of an already-strange looking Monkey Pokémon with a hand-for-a-tail look like, you might ask? For Aipom, you give it twin tails and double the hands, except the fingers look just like Pikachu’s ears. Go look at it. Doesn’t it look just like there are two Pikachu heads attached to ends of Ambipom’s tails? Originating as a single-level Pokémon, Aipom was given an evolution in later generations. If you have seen Ambipom in the animation, it is similar to a Takashi Murakami design gone totally wrong. I am not sure if the creators were channeling their inner-Murakami when designing Ambipom, but it just came across as bad taste. I don’t have the same attachment to Ambipom as I do to Aipom. It is one of those Pokémon evolution that I would rather forget.
4 Alolan Persian
When I saw the Alolan version of Meowth, I enjoyed its interesting update to an original Pokémon. The resulting creation is an extra-sly version of Team Rocket’s little talking cat. Somehow, it works surprisingly well. Sure, it is a Meowth with Garfield-esque eyes and a new paintjob, but I cannot help but admire its charms. Unfortunately, the Alolan version of Meowth’s final form, Persian, does not have the same level of simplistic excellence. It just looks like a regular Persian with a serious case of the Mumps. That must explain why it has that fat head. Maybe it is a regular Persian that was allergic to a bee sting. There is something rather wrong about that design. Seems like a case of fan art gone wrong. Other than the Alolan Exeggcutor, Alolan Persian might be one of the worst redesigns of Pokémon, ever.
3 Mega Mewtwo Y
Though Mewtwo is an amazing feat of design, morphing the basis of Mew’s essence into a humanoid Frankenstein creation, its Mega Evolutions leave much to be desired, especially with Mega Mewtwo Y. Now, both of Mewtwo’s Mega Evolutions could compete for the title for subpar evolution designs, but Mega Mewtwo Y definitely takes the cake for being one massively disappointing feat of Pokémon design. The good thing about Mega Evolutions is that they are not permanent. Compared to the base form of Mewtwo, its Y evolution just utter garbage. First, Mewtwo’s lovely tail is now extending from the back of its head, like a ponytail. It might be okay, at first. But like a disease, it is a gift that keeps on giving.
While Hitmonlee and Hitmonchan embodied the essence of human martial arts of kickboxing and boxing, respectively, creators developed Hitmontop for the next generation hoping to expand upon the different evolutions that its baby-Pokémon Tyrogue could evolve into. Hitmontop was basically a creature with a top for a head that spun its legs like a capoeira practitioner. Great idea, but you cannot escape the simple fact that it is such an ugly looking Pokémon compared to Hitmonlee, Hitmonchan, and Tyrogue. With its beady eyes and tiny stature, Hitmontop didn’t really fit in with the two other Fighting Pokémon from Generation I. Upon further inspection, it is still difficult to find any redeeming qualities with its design. The more you look at it, the more it becomes unpleasant.
1 Mega Charizard Y
Charizard is an amazing design that is simple and unique at the same time. If you think about it, it resembles a mythical winged dragon from other forms of fiction, but appears just distinct enough that you instantly recognize it as a Pokémon. When they gave it a Mega Evolution, it was an opportunity to modify the successful design of one of the most iconic characters in the franchise. Mega Charizard X reimaged it as a dark-colored dragon that presents forth a menacing persona. In addition to its Fire-typing, it is also given a much-deserved Dragon-typing, one type that I thought the original Charizard should have had all-along. Mega Charizard Y doesn’t seem to have the same type of acclaim. It has a couple of addition lines and spikes, but it didn’t look like the design team did any intensive work, whatsoever. In their defense, Charizard is one of the few Pokémon to receive more than one Mega form, so pretty much they can be given a free-pass for developing the awesome X. Mega Charizard Y, just somehow, misses the mark, completely. If any fans speak about lazy design work in the Pokémon franchise, this is a prime example of that.