Did you know that Pokémon Black and White come out this Sunday and that there are now 649 Pokémon in existence? I remember back in the day when I would watch the anime on television and hear that familiar Pokérap song at the end of each episode naming all the Pokémon that, at the time, totaled 150. I'll admit, I was one of those people who tried to memorize their names, and I also went even further by researching their origins and how they were thought up. And guess what? I still do. This is the 16th of my many I Choose You! articles where I will span over five generations of games writing about each Pokémon and what makes it special. That's right - all 649 of them.
After four generation of Pokémon games, we have become accustomed to the same elements that appear in every game. For example, it's common knowledge you need eight badges to face the Elite Four; most towns have Pokémon Centers; and there is always a group of bad guys trying to rule the world. Another important tradition is that at the start of your game, a friendly professor will always offer you either a Grass, Fire, or Water-type Pokémon to use on your journey to be the next Pokémon League Champion. Each Pokémon has unique characteristics and stats, so your gaming experience might differ depending on which one you choose. Pokémon Black and White is no exception. Hit the jump for Unova's Grass-type starter, Snivy!
Because the games just came out in Japan this past September, my memories of the build-up to their revelation are still fresh in my mind. On May 9 2010, Pokémon Sunday, a weekly Japanese variety show that focused on the Pokémon anime and games, revealed the silhouettes of the three Generation V starters. And as soon as they did, the internet went wild. The show promised to fully reveal the Pokémon a week later, but within that week, fans tried their best to come up with their own representations of what each Pokémon would look like and even try to guess what species of animal each one was based on. Once Snivy's appearance was revealed, everyone thought it was the "coolest" looking one.
At first glance, Snivy, the Grass Snake Pokémon, looks a lot like Treecko, another Grass-type starter that premiered in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, that also happens to be a smug-looking reptile. In fact, if you think about, all Grass-type starters are based on real life reptiles. Bulbasaur and Chikorita are based on dinosaurs; Treecko is based on a gecko; Turtwig is based on a turtle; and now Snivy is based on a snake - but with legs. Like most Grass-type Pokémon, Snivy requires sunlight to stay healthy so it needs to keep the palmate leaf at the tip of its tail up all the time for energy. Snivy's name is a portmanteau of snake and ivy while its Japanese name, Tsutarja, is a mixture of tsuta (Japanese ivy) and ja (snake.)
Snivy has a sly expression, making it look tough and condescending. In fact, in an interview he did for the magazine Pokémon Pia, Ken Sugimori said that Snivy was designed with a Western design in mind. More specifically, it was inspired by French royalty. Its curly collar from behind resembles a fleur-de-lise, a French emblematic symbol. Its future evolutions also have more noticeable designs inspired by those of the French Renaissance. Because of its snake-like body and tiny limbs, Snivy resembles the skink, reptiles with reduced limbs that resemble snakes with legs. Snivy's color scheme seems to be inspired by the Rough Green Snake, a non-venomous North American snake with a bright green body and yellowish belly.
I did not choose Snivy as my starter Pokémon, simply because of practicality which I will explain in my upcoming articles. But, the interesting thing about Pokémon Black and White is that the first gym you visit changes depending on who you choose as your starter - so it's a good idea to prepare yourself if you do end up choosing Snivy as your starter. I did eventually get a Snivy traded to my game, and I really liked using it because of its Leaf Tornado, a Special attack that may lower your opponent's accuracy. Its expression lets it learn the appropriate Leer, Mean Look, and Glare. Snivy's two highest stats are its Speed and Defense, so even at this early stage you can choose whether you want to focus on its defenses and train it to be a good defensive wall with the classic Leech Seed and Substitute combo.
Snivy received a lot of hype when it was first revealed. It became everyone's favorite starter and people fell in love with its smug appearance, even referring to it as "Smugleaf" before its English name was revealed. The reason why I didn't choose Snivy was because I had my eyes set on another Pokémon. But based on your own opinions, will you choose Snivy?