The Cyndaquil Family

I think Cyndaquil here might actually be my favorite first-stage fire starter. The closed eyes and anteater-like snout are just far too precious, and the concept of an animal with flames for "quills" is pretty interesting. We even get to see Cyndaquil shut those off fairly frequently in the anime; they erupt from a red marking on its back when they're needed. Neat!

It's hard to determine what sort of animal this thing is supposed to represent, however. It's not quite like a hedgehog, an echidna or a porcupine. The closest thing in nature would probably be a TENREC, but I'm not sure they were thinking of something quite that obscure for a starter pokemon.

Unfortunately, Cyndaquil loses that wonderful anteater look when it becomes Quilava, and leaves me pretty much ambivalent on its design, which kinda just looks like some sort of weird ferret with some flames slapped on it. Eh.

Typhlosion at least improves over Quilava with some impressive amounts of menace. Still not as charming as it would have been with a more Cyndaquil-like face, but still a marginal step up from that weird, awkward ferret. It's a bit more badger-like now, but still generally ambiguous. To be honest, I feel like the Chikorita and Cyndaquil lines were both a little phoned in, but they're not outright bad.

Okay if you really like big weasel things with combustible necks?