Pokémon needing evolutions

Game Freak is finally dipping its toes back into cross-generational evolution. Pokémon Diamond and Pearl introduced a cavalcade of evolutions and pre-evolutions to previous generations’ Pokémon. Since then, however, every generation has felt a lot more self-contained. The only other addition to a pre-existing Pokémon’s evolutionary family since Generation IV has been Sylveon. But now, finally, we have not only an evolution for Farfetch’d but an evolution for Linoone that’s exclusive to its Galarian form.

Not counting Legendary Pokémon, more than 90% of Pokémon either can evolve or have evolved. Pokémon Sword and Shield have opened the door for many creatures to finally expand their evolutionary family. Certain Pokémon have been left in the dust since their introduction, and an evolution could really help to bring them to the forefront of everyone’s minds.

Let me emphasize that every Pokémon has the potential to receive an amazing evolution. Also, no Pokémon “deserves” to evolve more than others. But I’m going to put a spotlight on five evolutionary families that I hope receive a little bit of love this November.

Ledian

I’m a huge fan of Bug-types. The hard part about being such a fan, though, is that so many of them are ridiculously underpowered. Though there are plenty of powerful Bug-types like Volcarona, there are even more weak ones like Mothim. The Bug-types that trainers catch on early routes are usually intended to be early-game powerhouses that quickly fall behind everything else. Emphasis on intended, because when the first gym leader specializes in throwing rocks, Butterfree won’t exactly be carrying any teams.

Since Pokémon can’t evolve more than twice and Mega Evolutions are apparently gone forever, Bug-types like Butterfree and Vivillon are stuck being meh. Venomoth and Ariados could also benefit from an evolution, but I’m singling out Ledian because it’s one of my favorites – and this is my editorial, so I do what I want.

Ledian’s an outlier in the Pokémon world because it’s a Bug-type with the correct number of limbs. It also has a surprising number of punching moves in its repertoire. As such, Ledian seems to have the makings of a pretty badass Bug/Fighting-type. While a boxer might be a pretty easy path to go down, a unique approach would be to try something a little more Kamen Rider-flavored. Something like that could appeal to both Japanese children and adult weeaboos. The ideal Pokémon.

Volbeat and Illumise

I’m not done with Bug-types, and I never will be. Volbeat and Illumise are a strange lot because they’re an evolutionary family comprised of two Pokémon that can’t evolve into each other. They’re also not exactly useful. Most one-stage Pokémon are either capable of holding their own in battle (like Absol or Dhelmise) or have a neat little gimmick (like Furfrou’s haircuts). Volbeat and Illumise aren’t exactly good in battle, and they don’t have a flashy gimmick. Volbeat is exclusively male while Illumise is exclusively female, which was already done in Generation I with Nidoran, so they don’t even have they going for them.

Sure, they do have some slight differences. Volbeat is better at dishing out physical damage while Illumise deals in special attacks. Illumise also learns more status-affecting moves, which makes it fairly useful if it has the Prankster ability. But for the most part, they are functionally the same minus design and gender. So, what’s a good way to make these Pokémon individuals? Give them radically different evolutions.

The funny thing about the animal they’re based on is that it’s colloquially known as either the “firefly” or the “lightning bug,” depending on where you’re from. As such, maybe one could evolve into a Bug/Fire-type while the other evolves into Bug/Electric. Their designs also nod toward Roaring Twenties fashion, so playing with that wouldn’t be a bad idea. Turning Illumise into a pyromaniac flapper while Volbeat becomes a mobster with an electric Tommy Gun might give them the edge they need to be considered distinct.

Miltank and Tauros

Now that Farfetch’d finally has an evolution, there are only three Pokémon from Generation I that lack an evolution, pre-evolution, or mega evolution. One of them is Lapras – but Lapras already has a pretty complete design, so adding onto that would just be gilding the lily. Another is Ditto, who is…Ditto. The final is Tauros. However, instead of advocating for Tauros to turn into a bigger, angrier bull with eighteen horns, I’m going to go out on a limb and say it deserves a shared pre-evolution with Miltank.

Miltank and Tauros are meant to be counterparts to each other. They share a Pokédex page in Sun and Moon, after all. However, their evolutionary lines are completely separate. Illumise can produce Volbeat eggs – and vice versa, if you use a Ditto. Not so with Tauros and Miltank. It’s pretty easy to imagine what this pair’s Baby Pokémon would look like, too: a cute little cow with big eyes. Not exactly show-stopping, but it would be very merchandise friendly.

A fair number of Pokémon fans don’t really like Baby Pokémon. Pre-evolutions don’t exactly help too much in terms of actual gameplay. Still, there’s something very satisfying about seeing your Pokémon evolve, even if it’s into a creature that’s been around for more than twenty years. And it could also open the potential for new movesets for both Miltank and Tauros. A Tauros with Milk Drink would be pretty darn good in battle… even if it brings up some weird implications.

Jynx

Jynx was probably intended to be a part of a trio, serving as the icy counterpart of Magmar and Electabuzz. It was a yuki-onna to complement the Karura and the oni. Sadly, there were some flaws with the original design that didn’t really go over well with audiences outside of Japan. Jynx’s pitch black skin turned purple in Pokémon Gold and Silver, but the damage was already done. Jynx fell by the wayside, not receiving an evolution in Generation IV like its former counterparts, and Froslass basically stole the title of “yuki-onna Pokémon.”

With an evolution, Jynx could be buried in the middle of an evolutionary line instead of the endgame. This is similar to Kadabra, who has caused a touchy legal battle with magician Uri Geller and therefore cannot be used in the Trading Card Game. It’s not that Jynx needs to necessarily be hidden, but it’s usually for the best when the cringe-iest part of an evolutionary line is in the middle. Looking at you, Quilladin.

Most fanmade Jynx evolutions basically boil down to “sexy bikini lady.” That’s all well and good, but every Digimon made after 2007 is a sexy bikini lady. In recent years, Jynx’s narrative has shifted from “racist caricature” to “drag queen,” so why not run with that instead? Jynx’s evolution should be a grande dame covered in costume jewelry and faux furs. Replace that ratty wig with something with volume. Werk, hunty.

Dunsparce

I saved the most deserving for last. Dunsparce is based on the mythical Tsuchinoko, a long, fat snake that’s said to be the Japanese Bigfoot. Dunsparce is very hard to find in Gold and Silver. But it’s hard to consider that a selling point when Shiny Pokémon exist. Dunsparce has since become a joke — hell, it was one from the start. It’s got “dunce” in its name, after all.

Dunsparce has some pretty decent moves at its disposal, with access to Coil, Roost, and Yawn. However, its stats aren’t up to par with battle-ready Pokémon like Alakazam and Gengar. An evolution that not only ups its stats but makes it look a little less depressed would do wonders.

The fangame Pokémon Uranium gave Dunsparce an evolution named Dunseraph. Dunseraph takes some inspiration from feathered serpents from mythology, and rightfully so. Dunsparce might look a little derpy, but it has the potential to go full Quetzalcoatl with an evolution. A Normal/Dragon or Normal/Fairy winged beast would be a wonderful way to finally turn Dunsparce from a joke into the king of the battlefield.

Are there any Pokémon you want to see evolve? Or perhaps you want to see a baby Lapras or Pinsir? Shout out some ideas in the comments.

Mark Kelly
Fledgling Young Adult author and rabid Princess Peach fanboy. My favorite Nintendo games are Pokémon, Super Smash Bros, and Fire Emblem. I claim to be good at first-person shooters, but that's a dirty lie.

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