Reviewing 50 Favorite Shinies



Ever since Bulbasaur, people have asked me if I'm ever going to review "shiny" Pokemon; the color variants so rare, I've only encountered one in twenty years of playing these games. Pokemon with slightly different colors than normal aren't really something I think can sustain a lot of in-depth opinion on my part, to be honest, but we're going to go through about fifty of them here that I find noteworthy. The first forty because I find their specific color variations interesting in some way, and the final ten because they're shiny versions of my all-time favorite Pokemon species - whether they're "bad" shinies or solid ones.


BRUXISH


Let's begin with a recent one that I think shows off the real potential of this feature. Even if I actually find this Pokemon's default colors more pleasing, the shiny feels as though every color was thoughtfully selected to look like a variant species of exotic fish. It's a tacky set of colors that don't perfectly go together, but we see that in plenty of actual marine life. It's believably, naturally tacky.


CHANDELURE


Regular Chandelure has one of the most beautiful designs and color schemes of just about any Pokemon, if you ask me, and the shiny changes it up quite nicely. I like the pink eyes, the brighter blue and the actually orange flames, though I think they missed an opportunity not giving its glass bulb a redder color.


MEGA GENGAR


Regular Gengar's shiny is one of those disappointing ones that barely differ to any noticeable degree, but the mega goes all out with a completely surprising pure white; the last thing we expect from a shadow monster. What is it about white that can make almost any creature creepier? Is it because our culture is so hung up on it usually being the color of "purity" and "goodness?" That's been subverted enough times that it shouldn't really mean much anymore, and it was kind of always bogus, but it's hard not to feel like we're looking at a really messed-up angel here.


POLITOED


In the real world, green is pretty much seen as the default color of frogs, but Politoed is the only frog in the Pokedex to not normally be blue. Perhaps sick of being ostracized from the blue frog club, shiny Politoed submits to conformity with some very nice lilac highlights.


POLIWRATH


Poliwrath's shiny, meanwhile, does the inverse and turns this blue frog into a more classic color, albeit a rather pale, greyish green compared to regular-flavor Politoed.


GOURGEIST


Regular Gourgeist feels almost washed out next to its shiny, with a blacker pumpkin, a yellower glow and purplier "hair" that all feels a solid 50% more goth and more Halloween.


GRENINJA


If you're tired of green or blue frogs, shiny Greninja comes in a cool black and white, actual "ninja" colors, and really looks a lot cooler in general than the busier scheme it's usually stuck with.


CLAWITZER


Another with a "more tropical" feel to it. Red and orange are more commonly associated with crustaceans, but the electric blue stripes and white elements look more like the candy-colored shrimp you'll find picking their way along a coral reef.


RAYQUAZA


Regular Rayquaza is just sort of okay. I like the emerald green, but I don't think the yellow markings look all that great against it. Not so for the more blackish-grey shiny, which is just plain gorgeous in comparison.


HYPNO


Man, pink Hypno only further emphasizes how much this psychic sandman was BEGGING for fairy typing. I'm also using the female sprite, because I like how female Hypno just has an even bushier beard-ruff. I did consider reviewing Pokemon gender differences, but most of them are so gosh darn boring, and most of them are just a female Pokemon with smaller fangs or horns. What was even the point if they weren't gonna do anything cool with it?!


JELLICENT


See, gender differences are pretty much only that interesting when the design fundamentally changes, and Jellicent was one of the last times this ever happened.

Surprisingly, both forms get great looking shinies, which I have to say I like better than the defaults in both cases. It might have been more novel to simply switch their colors, a blue female and pink male, but I really love the female in this paler, greyer lilac color.


SLURPUFF


Seizing an opportunity the Vanillish line infuriatingly passed up on, shiny Slurpuff opts for a "different flavor" of dessert, trading strawberry pink for delicious chocolatey brown. Personally, I've never liked anything strawberry or otherwise fruit flavored when chocolate or vanilla are options.


TOXICROAK


It's a shame they didn't try something even more radical, but I like that this brighter teal more closely matches some of the most iconic real-world poison dart frogs, especially contrasted by that beautiful plum purple.


SEISMITOAD


Are all the frog pokemon on this list now? While I generally like Seismitoad, its default color scheme makes it feel much more bland and forgettable, especially being the same drab blue of the other anurans. This one has a greener teal than shiny Toxicroak, and more intensely peach colored warts that make it look like just another arrow frog Pokemon.


COFAGRIGUS


The usual blue and gold is honestly quite nice, coming from someone who doesn't usually like gold, but the silver and purple is just classy as heck. Very tasteful, much more futuristic looking, and the bluer quality to the shadow-hands isn't bad either.


YANMEGA


Yanmega is already one of the most badass looking bug types and I already love the combination of its blood red eyes and swampy green body, but the pink and blue of the shiny form seriously knocks it out of the park. This feels like a more iconic color combination for a dragonfly, and the two shades are just so pretty together with the black elements.


PALOSSAND


We talked about this one already, but shiny Palossand is great for two reasons. For one, ANYTHING looks cooler in black, a sadly rare choice for shiny pokemon. For another, it has actual real world basis in Hawaii's black, volcanic beaches. It's not often that much meaning is put into these things.


SWOOBAT


Another we talked about on its species review, and another with real meaning behind it. It's unfortunately not that great as far as shinies go - I'm not a big fan of the pukey yellow head - but the slight green tinge to the fur is likely based on the camouflaging mechanism of the real world Honduran white bat. The whole reason for their white fur is that, when hanging under a leaf, filtered sunlight will cast them in a greenish tinge and hide their shadow from predators.


SALAZZLE


Another that goes from black to white, and I'd say Salazzle looks even more menacing this way. I feel like they could have stood to change the color of its lacey clothing-like markings too, though, maybe make them mostly black.


STANTLER


I noticed this on multiple lists of the all-time "ugliest" shinies, but I like it. It's mossy. I think Reindeer actually do pick up algae in their fur sometimes, don't they? They should. They seem like they should.


HAWLUCHA


I still love what they did here. Regular Hawlucha is decked out in some of the most common "heroic" colors in masked wrestling, so of course, shiny Hawlucha opts for the darker combination of bad guy wrestlers, and generally looks a heck of a lot more badass. Prettier, too. "Villain" colors are basically always prettier.


HEATMOR


Another one far more beautiful than its regular colors, but not even all that extreme a difference. It's just darker, really, but by being darker, it also looks like its heat is more intense; like its cracks are really glowing with internal lava!


MINIOR


A lot of things are fun about shiny minior. This pokemon already comes in a slew of color options, so the shiny version has little flecks of every Minior color on a cool black core, and what's more, the armored "shell" form looks like it always does, so revealing your shiny always comes as a surprise to new opponents.


LUDICOLO


I generally wish Ludicolo's design was closer to its prevolution, but the shiny colors are certainly a step in a better direction. Yellow-green is virtually never as nice looking as bluer-green, and it very nicely contrasts the duller brown poncho-body.


NINETALES


Oh! It's a silver fox! That's actually really cool! There's something especially rad about fire creatures with cooler colors, too. It makes their fieriness feel that much more extreme, you know? This is like, a "white hot" Ninetales.


MEGA GARCHOMP


Like Gengar, Garchomp usually suffers from a shiny hardly different from its default scheme, but they decided to make up for this tenfold with the mega. I really like the sheer garishness of this landshark, and it's even closer to the colors of Eva Unit 01, which I swear had to be inspiration for this thing's creepy face already.


LUXRAY


I already thought Luxray looked nice, with its emphasis on cooler colors than most electric types, but the particular gold of the shiny form is quite striking as well. Gold always looks better against a lot of black, and it gives this one an even more Sphinx-like, Egyptian feel.


SLUGMA


Changing the little lava slug to pure grey is a very nice effect, I have to say. It goes from a creature of molten rock to a creature of molten lead or bubbling mercury, and it's just a shame that this is lost when it evolves into Magcargo, whose shiny is a very nice pale purple but still not as interesting conceptually.


BAILE ORICORIO


The other Oricorio forms have okay shinies, but Baile form simply switches around its own black and red parts to truly gorgeous effect.


TOUCANNON


Poor Toucannon fields a lot of complaints that they simply drew a regular, realistic toucan and called it a day, which I really don't think is such a bad thing, but if you wanted something more exotic, the Shiny's definitely got you covered, basically shifting its beak a few degrees further down the color spectrum.


VESPIQUEN


While I overall like Vespiquen, I think she's far cooler with this subtle orange tinge. It's closer in color to some of the larger hornets than to the honeybees Vespiquen primarily references.


MEGA BEEDRILL


The original Vespine pokemon, meanwhile, goes from yellow to green in both its regular and mega forms, which is awesome. When I was a kid, other kids used to make up tall tales of encountering not just "yellow jacket" wasps, but blue jackets and red jackets and yes, green jackets, which do not exist in the sense they were fibbing about, but green striped wasps are out there in the world, mostly in the tropics.


TANGROWTH


Speaking of green, we've got another pokemon trading blue for green, and another case where green would have been the more expected color. I'm glad that blue is Tangrowth's default, making it feel just a bit more unusual than your typical shaggy vine-monster, but I also appreciate that there's a shrubbier green version, much more "Swamp Thing."


INCINEROAR


In a reversal of Hawlucha, Incineroar's natural colors are the "villainous" ones, appropriate to a fire/dark pro wrestler known for its cheap moves and showboating. It makes sense, then, that the shiny has the brighter, more heroic red and white, but there's still a kind of sinister quality to it, maybe because it also kind of looks like it has a skull mask and exposed ribs.


PHEROMOSA


I really wish shiny Pheromosa had gone entirely black, a more typical "cockroachy" color, but it's still fairly cool that it's only black from the waist down, kind of like it's wearing spandex leggings or something.


LUNALA


Both Lunala and its counterpart, Solgaleo, adopt this much redder, darker appearance in their shiny forms, but it looks damn near breathtaking on the moon bat. If it didn't already look to you like a form Dracula might take in a Castlevania boss fight, it sure as heck should now.


ZYGARDE


Not really a whole lot of legendaries on this list, so let's also throw in the planarian snake while we're at it. This cool, minty white and teal is a far cry from its usual green and black, but I feel like the quality of a shiny is better measured by how extreme a change it is than how much sense the particular change makes. It looks more like toothpaste now, but in a nice way.


TREVENANT


Like I said in its review, I love everything about this choice of colors. The silvery bark matches several actual species of tree, but it's also how a tree might look after it's been stripped of bark, or even struck by lightning, and then you've got the reddish, autumn leaves to make this Pokemon look all the Halloweenlier.


MIMIKYU


Is this the only shiny that actually loses all color, going basically greyscale? It's a positively killer effect, and it couldn't have gone to a pokemon more worthy of such a tastefully eerie, gloomy transformation.


BLACEPHALON


The newest Pokemon here gets a delightfully exteme shiny that looks precisely like you put regular Blacephalon under a blacklight. It's perfectly trippy for an already very trippy pocket monster, and despite what we said before about white, it manages to look much more ominous this way.


ROTOM


There's nothing special to say here; I just think shiny Rotom's particular shade of red-orange is awesome.


THE FINAL SHINIES: MY TOP TEN POKEMON



BUZZWOLE


Rather than simply shoving my ten favorite shinies at the end of this article, we're doing something a bit different. These last ten are the shiny versions of my top ten pokemon, even if I don't actually like their shiny versions, and Buzzwole is a strong case in point. What a wasted opportunity! The "blood" filled muscles could have been changed to just about any color and looked great, but instead, they change just some of its black parts to a vivid green that clashes with everything else. That same green especially would have been a cool looking replacement for the red fluid, filling Buzzwole up with some sort of radioactive isotope. Sigh.

Yes, I know the sprite I use for Buzzwole is non-animated and larger. That's because nobody made a larger animated version and Buzzwole is simply not meant to look so tiny. It even looks too tiny in the in-game menus!


MUK


We're going to do regular Muk and Alolan Muk together, because they've got equally interesting shinies for different reasons. Classic Muk takes on a more green-grey color that feels much more realistic and much more traditional to toxic sludge creatures, while the shiny version of Alolan Muk interestingly just incorporates the specific purple of classic Muk, keeping some of the other color stripes it acquired in its Hawaiian vacation. I like both, though I might have liked the shiny even better if it also changed the other stripes.

The color shifting effect is also present on non-shiny Alolan Muk, but the sprite circulating the internet just doesn't include it.


PARASECT


Sadly, not a lot of my personal favorites get especially good shinies. I kinda like shiny Parasect's more orange mushroom, which is more in line with some of its older sprites, but the dull gold body just isn't great. Undersaturated yellow is probably the least pleasant color anything can be.


WEEZING


Weezing, on the other hand, looks excellent with its cool, crisp blue tinge, and even its poisonous gases change color from the usual mutated, noxious yellow-brown to a more toxic and unnatural purple, the symbolic color of the poison type!


SLIGGOO


Bleh. Another pale yellowy dud. I love Sliggoo, but the usual dripping, sticky white of these dragons does bring to mind some unwholesome associations, and throwing a more creamy yellowishness into the mix is...grosser. Much grosser.


GLOOM


Tragically, my original #1 favorite Pokemon doesn't have a stellar shiny form either. It's not terrible, but its usual blue-grey body and darker brown petals are so much more satisfying to look at. Shiny Pokemon never look that great when the colors are on the paler side, and the flower at the very least could have used an extreme color change - a vivid red or purple - to balance out that green.


TOXAPEX


I definitely like Toxapex in pink, however. It's a color I've really seen in Crown of Thorns starfish, and it just has an all the more "toxic" feel to it.


DHELMISE


Dhelmise, too, looks fairly decent when it trades cooler for warmer shades, especially since a great deal of marine algae is sorted into either the blue-green type or red and brown types, the latter of which also tend to be more poisonous.


EELEKTROSS


Of all my favorite Pokemon, it's the wonderful electric lamprey that actually has the most appealing shiny overall. The sea green just looks great here, closer to the lighter shades of some real lampreys, and I'm biased because, in twenty years of playing these games, this is still only the second shiny I have ever owned thanks to a trade with a good friend of mine.

...And what's the FIRST shiny I've ever owned?


GARBODOR


I swear, I am not making up the fact that the only shiny pokemon I have ever seen and captured by myself, in an actual random battle, was also my very favorite species. Granted, this was because I spent some time hunting Trubbish in a Friend Safari in Pokemon Y, where the shiny encounter rate is vastly increased, but that's still a rate of one in every five hundred something encounters.

It's a shame I'm not terribly fond of shiny Garbodor's lighter colors compared to the lovely blackish-blue of shiny Trubbish, but you have to appreciate the fact that a teal blue bag like this would most likely be for medical waste than anything else.


FIRST     PREV    ARCHIVE    NEXT    LATEST