Chinchou and Lanturn

Oh. My. Gosh, LOOK at Chinchou. Really look at it. This water/electric type obviously represents a deep-sea anglerfish, which you all know is one of my very favorite living things on this here planet, but it's more specifically built like certain weirdo cousins to the anglers...

That round, squat body waddling about on little foot-like fins couldn't really be anything other than a walking batfish, another of my favorite living things on this here planet.

So Chinchou's got aspects of two of my favorite, closely related sea creatures and it's almost incomparably cute, but more than anything else, I just adore those giant, yellow eyes with the plus-shaped pupils. Those are the coolest eyes of any pokemon ever. They're adorable, they're snazzy, and they're just plain weird.

If I went into this game knowing nothing about what was in store, I'd expect Chinchou to have one heck of an evolution. A more menacing ceratoid angler with the needly teeth they're so famous for? An even weirder and glowier batfish resembling some sort of flying saucer? I'd have accepted almost anything, assuming it at least kept Chinchou's single best feature, those wonderful lovable alien eyes.

Perfect, perfect, perfect. Chinchou can do wrong.



Not that I'm genuinely surprised right now, obviously, I've been familiar with Lanturn since 1999, and thankfully I saw it before I saw Chinchou, so it never really got its chance to set me up for heart-tearing disappointment. Still, as the years have ticked by, my love of Chinchou and contempt for Lanturn has only grown. I hate disliking any pokemon, of course, I fully support you if Lanturn is for some reason your all-time favorite, and if these two pokemon were unrelated, I could tolerate this thing in peace, but it throws everything beautiful and pure about Chinchou in the dumpster and doesn't even have the decency to look anything like the deep sea fish it's supposed to reference. This is more like some poorly drawn, stubby porpoise than an anglerfish.

Lanturn is a big load of MALARKEY is what it is. MALARKEY. First Sentret, then Hoothoot, now Chinchou. That's three pokemon lines in Johto's first eight that go from highly unique, stylized and immediately memorable to more normal looking and seemingly unrelated creatures.

We haven't had a lot of one-ball pokemon, but Lanturn lives up to neither its real-world inspiration nor a fraction of its unevolved form.

And as a one-ball pokemon, it's time for...

The Quick Fix:

The real "fix" for Lanturn would have been to just switch places with Chinchou entirely, but if Chinchou itself had to evolve, I'd want to see its existing features played up and a little dash of scary thrown in. All I've really done here is merge the two stages, play up the weird shape of a batfish, and give it simple, jagged cartoon teeth. It's more monstrous, like a proper deep sea fish, but I think I've kept it about 90% cute.

...At least there's always the little cup tier, where you can only use completely unevolved pokemon, and I hear Chinchou actually does pretty good, by which I mean the very first sentence of its Smogon review calls it "one of the biggest threats" in little cup, whereas Lanturn remains among the least popular pokemon in regular, fully-evolved competitive play.

Never grow up, Chinchou.