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Thread: Why are Pokemon based on inanimate objects (or look human-like) the least liked?

  1. #1
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    Default Why are Pokemon based on inanimate objects (or are human-like) least liked?

    Since coming back to the Pokemon franxhise, one thing I've noticed from watching "Top X least..." youtube videos and from reading articles and forum posts is that not a lot of fans have Pokemon based on inanimate objects - or those that look human-like (Mr. Mime and Jynx come to mind) - as their favorites. In fact, these Pokemon seem to be the least favorite (or the most disliked) for many fans out there, often getting listed at the bottom of fans' rankings lists (with many of them being underrated). Now, I''m not saying that this is the case for all Pokemon fans, but for a good amount of them, this seems to be the sentiment (especially for those Youtubers that make ranking lists).

    Why is that? Is it their physical designs (as opposed to their stats)? Is there something going on psychologically and/or subconsciously that triggers people's minds to automatically not have such Pokemon in high regard (thus causing lack of appeal) and instead be looked down upon (maybe even disliked/hated), with some ending up as being underrated? Now I'll admit that I don't have many Pokemon of such kinds that I have as my favorites but there are a few of them that I do like and wouldn't necessarily rank at the bottom. But being away from the Pokemon franchise for many years (till recently), I've missed a lot of conversations in Pokemon fan circles so I'm wondering how fans' feelings over such kinds of Pokemon have developed over the years.

    Please note that I did not have any one particular generation in mind as this is a general observation I have made for all Gens (since all Gens seem to have some Pokemon of such type). Also, please note that I do get that everyone will have their personal preferences, as everyone is entitled to their opinions on Pokemon, yet I'm still curious on this matter.
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    I can't speak for others, but I personally find them boring.

    I understand what things like Garbador, Bronzong, Rotom (forms), and the like are based on, but I don't find appeal or excitement in playing with household or human-made objects. I prefer to play with monsters and critters because they stray from the bland things I see around me in the real world.

    I don't have any gripes with human-shape Pokemon such as Jynx, however.
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    I'm sure the main reason is people just aren't into it, most of the time people don't really make that clear and instead say it's unoriginal or uncreative(Without giving any reasoning why they believe that), but in reality they just aren't into it.

    It's understandable, there's people who just don't like or get the idea of using something that looks human when you yourself are human. And for inanimate objects it's probably more a case of you are familiar with it not being living but in Pokemon it's basically living. You can pet a magnet like you would a Cat in Pokemon, and it is a little odd when you look at it that way.

    Personally, I love all types of Pokemon, Magnemite and its line are one of my most favorite Pokemon and I love a handful of others like it. And on the humanoid look, Gardevoir is one of my favorites as well. There's a bunch of people who aren't into it, but at the same time there are a bunch who are(I'm sure most prefer the more Animal-like Pokemon though but still have plenty of favorite for inanimate and humanoid).
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    I'm actually a huge fan of the inanimate object Pokemon. To me, Trubbish is one of the cutest Pokemon and I love it and all its goofiness. I'm indifferent of the human-like ones but not turned off by them. I kind of just view them the same as the rest.
    Part of it might come down to Gen 1ers where there weren't really any directly identifiable inanimate objects and not many human-like ones either.
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    They are running out of animals and living beings! Now we have ice cream and perfume! I think it's cool I like the ghost appliances and chandeliers

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    My guess is that most people probably view Pokémon as meant to be creatures. Animals. Not things that resemble inanimate objects or, for that matter, humans.

    As for me, though, I've found that my absolute favorite Pokémon are based on inanimate objects/non-animals.
    Aron is my favorite Pokémon of all time, and Aron (as well as Lairon and Aggron, which I both really like too) is based on iron ore.
    Bounsweet, my favorite Pokémon revealed for Sun and Moon thus far, is based on a mangosteen. It's technically a fruit from a living plant, but it's not an animal.
    Litwick is my favorite Unova Pokémon, and the Litwick/Lampent/Chandelure group is based on candles/lamps/chandeliers.
    Honedge is my favorite Kalos Pokémon, and it and its evolutions are based on swords. Bergmite, my favorite Ice-type, is based on, well, stalagmites and/or icicles. You get the idea.

    Granted, some of the above Pokémon I described have an animal-like design such as Aron and Bergmite, but chances are a lot of people prefer Pokémon who not only have animal-like designs, but also have designs inspired by animals. You do see a lot of people talking about how Pokémon still needs to make a design based on <animal_name>, but never based on inanimate objects.

    Personally, as much as I like virtually all Pokémon, whether inspired by real animals or not, I find the animal-based Pokémon designs to be more predictable and thus a bit less appealing to me- at least when compared to the Pokémon based on inanimate objects. Animals are great and Pokémon takes them a bit further, but Pokémon can take inanimate objects and make them very interesting, sometimes in ways we didn't expect. How many people would have predicted Sandygast or Pallossand (apart from the help of leaks)?

    As for human-like Pokémon, I'm not certain about any particular mentality besides the whole "animal" thing. The first Pokémon that come to mind for me are Machamp, Tyrogue, Hitmontop/Hitmonchan/Hitmonlee... Who knows. There could possibly be some subconscious thoughts we have about human-like beings being Pokémon and not human, but either way, for me, human-like Pokémon aren't really bothersome. Granted, I'm no huge fan of these Pokémon, but I have no dislike for them either.
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    It mostly depends on the concept of the object-based Pokémon, the Ghost, Electric and Steel-type (and to some extend Poison) object-based Pokémon tend not to get a lot of hate as it not too difficult to understand the concept behind the Pokémon. The more ridiculous ideas (notably the Vanillite line) are the ones that receive the burden of hatred however.

    Lack of exposure to Japanese culture may also be a factor, there are quite a few Yokai based on objects coming to life but the only Yokai Westerners tend to know about is usually limited to the Kitsune (Ninetales), Tengu (Shiftry) and Yuki-onna (Froslass). Not sure whether Western audiences know about Kappas and Onis though.
    Last edited by Tsukuyomi56; 8th October 2016 at 2:10 AM.

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    Because people picture pokemon as animals and when they realize they add some of them based on an inanimate object they dont like it,and also that many of them are boring and or dont have a great concept,or didnt project the idea they wanted,on general i find stuff like metagross,Aegislash and Chandelure great.

    While stuff like klefky still bothers me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tsukuyomi56 View Post
    Lack of exposure to Japanese culture may also be a factor, there are quite a few Yokai based on objects coming to life but the only Yokai Westerners tend to know about is usually limited to the Kitsune (Ninetales), Tengu (Shiftry) and Yuki-onna (Froslass). Not sure whether Western audiences know about Kappas and Onis though.
    I feel like this might very well be part of it. A lot of the inanimate object designs have a lore-based background that not everyone is exposed to. To anyone not aware of that context, these pokémon come off as being not much more than "inanimate objects with faces painted on them) or something like that. Bronzor is a pretty prominent example for me, as I never really liked it all that much, but reading up, I actually found that it was a pretty clever homage to the Japanese legend involving a bronze mirror, all the way down to its ability referencing the mirror's failing to melt in the story. It didn't look like much to me before I knew that, so it seems that a lot of the ideas behind the designs go past people. This isn't limited to Japanese-based mythology either. I've heard a lot of people say klefki was pretty cheaply designed, some even saying it didn't make sense for it to be fairy typed. Klefki's got inspiration from European fairy myths which some people miss as well.

    I'm not sure if this is completely a matter of Gen 1 bias, as that generation's got a couple of non-animal/inanimate object pokémon (geodude and koffing come to mind). Then again, I have heard some people (a lot of them maybe anti-gen-wunners) come out of the woodwork to give flak to some of these old designs as well (like the whole argument over whether voltorb can be considered well designed or not), and likely there are a couple genwunners who hold a double standard. Maybe it helps that some of them were a bit more of an organic blend of animal and object than some others (geodude evolves into the distinctively turtle-like golem, and staryu seems equal parts shuriken/jewelled brooch and sea star), but it seems this is pretty evenly-spread.

    By the sounds of it, this dislike appears to be limited to a certain type of fans, which I can't really identify, but it appears to be less big among the competitive fans. Klefki, aegislash and washing machine rotom are super popular within competitive circles, and used pretty often. It probably helps that these players tend to judge on usability more than general concept. And there are a couple that are pretty well liked outside those circles as well, like wobbuffet or chandelure. I'm not sure if there's anything that can be said outright, but this dislike of object-based pokémon is clearly not universal among the fanbase.

    Though I think it's pretty safe to say that the developers don't make object-based pokémon because they're out of ideas, but because they want to. There wasn't a koala or donkey pokémon until gen. 7, and there still aren't any turkey, flamingo or earthworm pokémon, so I think it's pretty safe to say that there's more reason for these pokémons' being created than designers grasping at straws.
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    Because a lot of them are unimaginative, I believe so
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    Quote Originally Posted by MechanisticMoth View Post
    I'm actually a huge fan of the inanimate object Pokemon. To me, Trubbish is one of the cutest Pokemon and I love it and all its goofiness. I'm indifferent of the human-like ones but not turned off by them. I kind of just view them the same as the rest.
    Part of it might come down to Gen 1ers where there weren't really any directly identifiable inanimate objects and not many human-like ones either.
    Perhaps not a lot, but there were still a handful, such as Diglett/Dugtrio, Geodude/Graveler/Golum, Exeggute/Exeggutor, Magnemite/Magneton, Voltorb/Electrode, Porygon(?) and for human-like Pokemon,well, the only ones I can think of from Gen 1 are Junc and Mr. Mime. I'm not hating on these Pokémon at all (not an I one to think necessarily that their designs are bad and whatnot), I'm jus pointing out that there were a handful of Pokémon of such type in Gen 1 in and of itself.
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    I love Jynx.
    I love Chandelure.
    I think Electrode is dope.
    Bronzong is one of my favorite Psychic types.
    Aegislash is my #1 favorite Ghost-type.

    I've never understood the grand hatred myself. I know everyone has their own preferences of pokemon, but I feel the displeasure with human-shapes and inanimate objects is somewhat biased, due to the perpetuation that "pokemon are supposed to be animals." Now, I'm not gonna lie, though. I think Garbador is the worst. I hate that thing. Then again, I dislike most Gen 5 pokemon.

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    For human shape pokemon, I think that a lot of people find them a little bit creepy. Personally, I quite like most of them, but I have always found Mr Mime to be slightly... odd. (I usually like looking at fanart of "realistic" pokemon, but if you want to be creeped the hell out, look up realistic Mr Mime!)

    Also, I think Human-like pokemon offer up some pretty key questions. We've all probably seen the question that arises from Cubone - it wears the skull of its dead mother, but then you breed two Marowak in the game, get a Cubone from the egg but its wearing a skull, even though its mother is still in your party, alive and well and still has its head. Well, similar questions can be asked of many human-like pokemon, because a lot of pokemon in this category appear to wear clothes. So then the question becomes: how did Jynx end up wearing a dress? Who gave every wild Machoke that power-belt? Where did Sawk and Throh get those judo outfits?

    Are there people going around clothing these human-like pokemon to cover up certain parts?
    Or are these pokemon actually capable of making their own clothes? And if so, how? This is pretty much the deal with Leavanny, but is it that way with others?
    Or are the clothes bodily structures just grow that way? That's pretty much the case with Lilligant's hat, so is Gardevoir's dress actually just skin that just spreads out from the hips in such a way as to resemble a dress?

    It all gets a little confusing!

    As for inanimate objects being pokemon, I think the issue is with plausibility. These are supposed to be fully functional, biological organisms, yet they look like objects. And as the generations have gone on, there have only been more questions to ask.
    You can feed a Voltorb a poffin. Not sure how, but you can.
    You can leave a Trubbish in the daycare with ditto and get an egg that will hatch into another Trubbish, literally breeding bags of trash.
    You have Klink, which is two gears together, that somehow develop more gears as it "evolves"

    I think that one factor is the suspension of disbelief. It is far easier to accept that an Oddish is a plant bulb that gets up and walks around than it is to accept there is an ice cream cone with a smily face on it floating around, partly because a plant is a living thing anyway, but also the idea of plants that have "come alive" as it were is a long established idea within many stories and mythologies (triffids, ents, mandrakes, dryads, the "green man" motif).

    In other cases its just about what feels natural. Geodude can get away with resembling a rock come to life because there are fish, geckos, grasshoppers and spiders that have developed such a camouflage pattern - they're not made of stone, they just look like one. So you can argue that Geodude is not a rock, its a creature with a humanoid head and arms, and a very tough skin that resembles a boulder for camouflage (and indeed many of its pokedex entries mention the fact that until they move most people don't know there are any Geodude around because it just looks like they are surrounded by rocks, just as you don't notice a stone fish is there until it moves).
    The same can be said of the likes of Sceptile - you believe Sceptile's design because there are mantises, grasshoppers, geckos, fish and frogs that have evolved to either look like plants or have parts to them that look like plants.

    Where that suspension of disbelief ends is when a pokemon looks like something man made. A pokemon looking like a rock or a leaf makes sense from a camouflage perspective, but what purpose would looking like a bunch of keys serve? Have ice cream cones really been around for so long in the pokemon world and appear everywhere so regularly that a pokemon found benefit in changing its physical appearance over many generations in order to resemble one?

    On the other hand, some pokemon do get away with looking like a man-made object without people questioning it. These are usually ghost types - Banette is a doll, Drifloon is a balloon, Lampent is a lamp, Honedge is a sword, Cofagrigus is a sarcophagus, but in these cases it isn't necessarily that the item itself is alive as it is moving about in accordance with the desires of the spirit that has possessed it. They are the same as Rotom, where Rotom itself is a ghost, Rotom Fan is a Fan posessed by a Rotom, Rotom Mow is a lawnmower possessed by a Rotom and so on, the key difference though is that the spirit possessing the Banette doll or the Lampent lamp never leaves its host.

    Other inanimate object pokemon work depending on how believable they are as a concept - Magnemite and Magneton were probably man-made on purpose and are probably robots that have enough sentience to become free thinking and self replicating, Baltoy and Claydol are relics made by people of a civilisation that has long since vanished who used arts not known today to bring them to life, Solrock and Lunatone came from space, which is a whole other thing altogether and Unown may actually be from another dimension entirely.

    The simple fact is that some pokemon based on inanimate objects do fall outside the three categories of origin, those being 'natural occurrence', 'created by man' and 'possessed' and once they do, people really begin to question them - for example, Vanilluxe doesn't seem like something that came about naturally, there is no reason for it to have been created by man, and there is nothing to indicate that it is being possessed (it's not even a ghost type), so how the hell did it come to be?

    (Note: I do personally like Vanilluxe as it grew on me over time, but that doesn't mean I don't get why people question it!)
    Last edited by Sprinter1988; 8th October 2016 at 7:16 PM.
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    Are they unpopular? I feel like there just aren't as many.
    Magnezone, Metagross, even Exaggutor are all awesome and have lots of users.
    Same for Bronzong.

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    I feel like this has a very simple answer. People want to treat Pokemon as pets, which means that, of course, the animal-based Pokemon are the most popular. The people that don't like inanimate objects or human-like Pokemon generally don't like them because it's a little harder to see things like them as pets.

    Also, the whole "unimaginative" argument should never be used here, as it can be thrown right back at the people using it. "There's a magnet Pokemon? That's unimaginative idea!" Just like a standard dog. "Well what about the evolution, which is just three magnets?" I can say the same thing about the dog, that evolves into a bigger dog. "Well, the dogs can shoot flame out of their mouths. What can the magnet do that magnets can't do in the real world?" One, they are alive. They can also shoot lightning bolts, which magnets cannot do in the real world.

    Everything stems from the fact that they are less pet-like than some fans want.
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    I'm one of those people who doesn't like human or inanimate object pokemon, except for a few exceptions(like Klefki because it's pretty cute,actually I like only the ones that I see as 'cute'). And I do agree that it's because I see Pokemon as 'pets' and it is difficult to look at some of the more human ones such as Mr.Mime and Jynx or the more random object ones like the icecream or sword as a pet.

    Tho I will admit that aesthetic or whether I find a 'Mon cute/pretty factor heavily into whether I like a non-animal/creature, or even if it is a animal based pokemon I'll still judge it heavily on whether it's cute/cool/or pretty or not lol.

    That's just me, everyone of course will have their own likes and dislikes and reasons for them. I don't think object and/or human-like Pokemon are BAD and shouldn't be made, I just don't care about them most of the time or care to use them myself.

    Btw, I don't battle competitively so that's probably a factor as well.

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    Hmmm good question. To me pokemon that are based on animals are just more cuddly than pokemon based on inanimate objects. I use a few inanimate pokemon like Metagross and Golurk often, but they don't appeal to me the same way that animal based pokemon do. ^^


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    The human thing is probably just the uncanny valley at work
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    For me, i don't really mind pokemon that are based on inanimate objects, or even human-like. In fact I like quite a few of them. But I can sort of understand why they be not as popular as ones that are more animalistic; for those who wish to treat Pokemon as pets, having a human-like pokemon might rub them the wrong way.
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    From what I understand, it's more mixed than anything. While people generally don't care for guys like Klefki or Vanilluxe, Magnezone and Chandelure are well appreciated. I think it's just that people don't like percieved lazy designs
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kansas_Rocks! View Post
    I feel like this has a very simple answer. People want to treat Pokemon as pets, which means that, of course, the animal-based Pokemon are the most popular. The people that don't like inanimate objects or human-like Pokemon generally don't like them because it's a little harder to see things like them as pets.
    ^ Basically this.. I myself however don't really understand though, given there's no rule that said every pokemon have to be based from animals (given that most of pokemon that get bashed are mostly based on an inanimate objects).. As for me, i actually do love some of them such as Kadabra or Sawk for Human-like pokemon and Magnezone and Metagross for the inanimate objects ones..

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    It's a shame. I like some of the object base Pokemon. As for humans I don't care for the Machop, Jynx, and the Mr. Mime lines. However I find Mime Jr. and Smoochum cute. Out of those three lines Mr. Mime creeps me out the most. His 3D animation doesn't help.

    I guess people view Pokemon as animals and forget that Pokemon stands for Pocket Monsters. An object being a Pokemon works because monsters don't always have to be based off of animals. As for humans well we are animals. We're mammals.
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    As mentioned, I think its because they tend to not be very inventive with most inanimate object Pokemon. This is especially in the case with Pokemon like Voltorb. I appreciate Pokemon like Palossand for being creative
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    I have no problem with the Pokemon based on inanimate objects but I do have two issues with them.

    1. I find them difficult to explain and justify. Animal based Pokemon are obviously easy to explain but sandcastles, ice creams, piles of trash, chandeliers and key chains are difficult to justify as living creatures.

    I became a fan in generation 1 and as a child Pokemon like Voltorb, Electrode, Magnamite and Magnetron, Grimer, Muk etc. didn't seem hoaky.

    2. I just hope they don't get ridiculous with the inanimate Pokemon to the point where it feels like Moshi Monsters. I wouldn't want to see a door, computer chair, envelope, wheel, bottle etc Pokemon. Because I think the more they churn out ridicukous inanimate object Pokemon the more I believe it compromises the integrity of the brand.

    Dhelmise is starting to push the boundary a little.

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    I have been playing since red/blue and like others have said pokemon have always been more on the creature side. A Chandelure/chandelier or inanimate is something familiar to us. I think the key is familiarity. A bulbasaur on the other hand is something that doesn't truly exist and sparks our imagination.
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