The Smoliv Family

This was one of the first Paldean Pokemon ever revealed after the starters, and it's this region's answer to simple first-stage grass types like Hoppip or Oddish. It's got an egg shaped, chartreuse body with no appendages other than its two pointed nub feet, it has a worried looking face with a jagged mouth and black eyes with white pupils, and of course a botanical element on top of its head; a large olive sprouting from a circle of leaves.

Smoliv's conceptual gimmick is that it produces a whole lot of bitter oil it can spray to defend itself, but this doesn't translate to any signature move or ability. Instead, it's the first Pokemon to learn the move "Terrain Pulse," a damaging attack that matches the type of terrain effects. I'm not sure what that has to do with olives, really. Maybe the idea is that its defensive olive oil takes on the elemental properties of its environment? But the move isn't thematically related to the olives at all.

Smoliv evolves by level into Dolliv, and it's by now the most predictable route for an early game grass type to go: another girly botanical humanoid. Now wearing a more neutral facial expression, its egglike head is a bit bigger, it has a "hairdo" of two bun-like olives and it has a leafy humanoid body with a "skirt." Honestly rather plain and forgettable, but that's par for the course when it comes to a lot of middle stage evolutions.

Dolliv has apparently lived in symbiosis with humans since ancient times according to the Pokedex, which doesn't sound terribly special, but we only know from Pokemon Legends: Arceus that humans and Pokemon only rarely worked together until more recent history.

After those rather average first and second stages, Arboliva is actually quite nice! It's an entire "olive tree" in a thin humanoid shape, a wood torso tapering quite pleasantly down into a flaring tree root skirt around its two tiny, pale, pointed legs. Leafy foliage covers the upper chest and sprouts up into a sort of collar cradling the head, which is now an even whiter egg but with no visible mouth, and the eyes are thin, sleepy crescents, though they may not actually be "closed," since they're colored in red. Almost menacing! A few more leaves form a little poof of "hair" on top, but no longer with any attached olives. Instead, it has six much larger, darker purple olives hanging from its two exceedingly long, bushy green arms, giving it a really unique overall shape among grass Pokemon!

Though bipedal and "elegant," it's not as bluntly humanlike as a lot of other grass types in recent generations, nor is it as obviously "gendered," coming across a bit more clearly as a strange plant-being with only coincidental resemblance to a person. It's also the first grass type since Trevenant to just be a tree, but Trevenant is really a dead tree possessed by a ghost, so this is the first natural, living tree Pokemon since Abomasnow nearly twelve years prior.

Arboliva is the first Pokemon to ever come with the "Seed Sower" ability, which automatically activates the "grassy terrain" field effect when the pokemon is damaged. Its pokedex information is unfortunately pretty sparse, reiterating that this pokemon makes delicious oil or can launch it as a weapon. We already knew that! My only other critique is that this entire line is grass/normal type, and I really don't know why, since all three stages look as much or more like plants as any pure grass pokemon. A grass/normal combination should have gone to a creature that's more obviously only "part" plant or has a plant on it, like the Bulbasaur line, or the logic behind Paras and Parasect! This still doesn't detract from how solid this design is, a really nice addition to grass types that I find myself giving a pretty much perfect score. Not bad for an only barely tolerable pizza topping! Ha ha, now that's all half of you are going to comment about. Anchovies are the best, mushrooms are great and pineapple is great, but you have to be in an olive mood for olives! Thay just make EVERYTHING taste like olives!

All Scarlet/Violet sprite animations ripped by adamsb0303!