CONTENT UNCOVERED BY THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR, original sugimori style artwork by Rachel Briggs!

Okay, this one baffles me. Hoohoo was eventually replaced by Noctowl for all time, and as you may recall, I've always felt that the realistic Noctowl was a step down from the immediately memorable stylization of its unevolved form, Hoothoot.

I'm going to say I still find Hoothoot a little more delightful and I probably always will, but this slick and streamlined owl is just plain awesome. Minimalistic, yet distinct, like many of the series all-time greats, with an overall feel that's so much more "pokemon" than what we wound up getting.

I'm still not outright knocking Noctowl, it's a fine pokemon if you like quasi-realistic owls, but you could easily mistake it for an owl from just about any stylized game series, whereas the prototypical version has a look to it that instantly says "Pokemon-like" by the standards of these first two generations. It's clearly an owl from the same ecosystem as things like Pidgey and Fearow.