Cutiefly and Ribombee

Today's pokemon is just a little twinge bittersweet for me. If you've been reading these since the beginning, or read enough of anything at all I've ever written, you know how special flies are to me. My clear-cut favorite animal, practically the mascot of my entire life, the one thing I've MOST wanted as a pokemon since day one...but not just any old fly.

The order Diptera is vast in number and staggeringly diverse, but it's always the "classic" fly I come back to, the "pests" everyone swats at with their fat, scuzzy-haired bodies and organic gas-mask faces. There's nothing in nature quite like them, and as one of the most common and well known of all insects, they seem obligatory for a bug pokemon.

But, like I said, flies come in very different forms, and for their first foray into the Diptera, Gamefreak played it safe with something conventionally "cute" - perhaps because this photo of bee flies or Bombyliids had recently gone viral around the web.

So, the one animal group I wanted most of all in a Pokemon has technically arrived at last, but this bug/fairy type is almost the spiritual opposite of the aesthetic I love most in my bi-winged insects.

Am I completely disappointed, though? It's hard to be, considering how much this generation is about to make up for it. The whimsy of the Bombyliidae is also simply undeniable, and it's cool to see Gamefreak get that specific with a bug type. I first learned about bee flies when I must have been only five years old, and I remember drawing them obsessively from references in a pocket-sized field guide. To this day, I've only ever seen the real thing twice, and it felt like catching rare glimpse of something almost too fanciful to be real.

It's also fun to see people cooing and squeeing over these little fuzzballs (whether in reality or Pokemonia) and know that it's not only a fly, but an opportunistic brood parasitoid, meaning these six-legged marshmallow peeps spend their larval stage devouring the babies of other insects, particularly bees and wasps.

The tiny, yellow kiwi bird face of infanticide.

What I DO find thoroughly disappointing are the differences between Cutiefly and its evolved form, but honestly, what else is new? I've said before that I don't mind the pixie-like humanoid bug types as much as you might think, but I do take issue with Ribombee dropping the proboscis, one of the cutest and most distinctive characteristics of bee flies to begin with. They weren't broke, and they didn't need fixing. This doesn't even make any logical sense, to boot. Cutiefly should be the final stage after a larva.

It's also kind of a crying shame that nothing whatsoever was done with the real insect's parasitic tendencies. Pokemon is usually all over an excuse to give something cute a remarkably twisted Pokedex entry, and the life cycle of a brood parasitoid even brings to mind the "changelings" of fairy folklore. All we needed was some mention somewhere that Cutiefly prey upon Weedle, or something.

I still can't give a "bad" rating to a fly pokemon, but Ribombee is yet another evolution outstaged by its prevolution...and why do your eyes overlap the pattern on your face, Ribombee!? That just looks weird!

On a final note, here's some doodles I did of a more Muscoid fly pokemon, with slightly borrowed teeth. Also present is basically a bug/psychic "nerd tick."