The Popplio Family

Poor Popplio. Every generation, there's that one starter everyone immediately dumps all over, and this time, it was a darling little circus-themed seal with a design vibe straight out of a Fleischer-era theatrical cartoon. Some people haven't a lick of taste.

The only thing unpleasant about Popplio is that it blows giant bubbles from its nose as an attack, but at least we don't have to see its snot balloons all the time, like Cubchoo's frozen booger.

People really went off the deep end once Brionne was introduced, with a veritable tsunami of outrage, both sardonic and all too real, over the fact that Brionne here looks "feminine" but starter Pokemon are usually male. I don't think we need to recap why that's a pointless complaint to make about anyone, human or monster, real or fictitious.

...But I'm sure you can imagine the uproar that turned into when the water/fairy Primarina was the confirmed final evolution. Some of you might be reading this years after Sun and Moon's release, so you'll just have to take my word for it that it was a sight to behold.

Haters aside, the mashup between a traditional "mermaid" and a seal feels obvious, but seldom explored, and it's bee done here with a stylish and classy flair. I'm a little disappointed, however, that nothing about her retains the "circus clown" vibe of Popplio. Whatever your opinion of clowns, it's an appropriate motif for a seal, and it's too long since we've seen it in a Pokemon.

Primarina does, at least, have a cool "sea siren" flavor, using its singing voice as its primary weapon and even boasting a signature move called "Sparkling Aria," which can be upgraded by a Z-Crystal into "Oceanic Operetta." Actually...did we mention Z-moves yet? They're a thing now. They're once-per-battle super-powered moves available to every pokemon, some of them are pretty cool, and several are species-specific.

Anyway....I'm going to have to give the Popplio line another five. This is the very first time I've liked all three starter Pokemon enough to give them all solid 5-ball ratings, which is doubly surprising since this is the first time all of them have been "warm blooded" animals, and the second time all three have been "anthropomorphic" to some degree. These aren't usually things I favor, but there's no denying the amount of thought and personality that went into this trio.