Judge-a-Pokémon Express: Three new Pokémon from Hisui

By antemortem, Aqua Jet, ausma, avarice, avg, Blitz, churine, Clorodulce, deetah, Eve, GatoDelFuego, Kaiju Bunny, Lilburr, Lumari, Magnum, Max. Optimizer, May, Pikachu315111, Repu, Ryota Mitarai, Shadowshocker, and Ununhexium. Released: 2021/11/18.
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Codraroll

Codraroll

The release of a new Pokémon game draws near. Once again, we will revisit the ancient region built around the great Mt. Coronet, going back in time for a slightly different Trainer experience than we are used to from previous Pokémon games. We will climb the great mountain and face legendary Pokémon in an epic quest to decide the fate of the world.

... but anyway, enough about Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. Today's Judge A Pokémon Express takes us to the ancient region built around the great Mt. Coro- ... uh, hold on. Oh, right, two Sinnoh games. The games are different, however, in that Pokémon Legends: Arceus will involve a handful of new Pokémon, some of which were revealed to the public quite recently. This time, the panelists will take a look at the Hisuian forms of an evolutionary family from far-off Unova, and a mysterious new evolution of an old familiar monster. Let's hear what they have to say, shall we?

Max. Optimizer

Max. Optimizer

I, honestly, never expected Scyther and its evolution line to ever get anything new, but, now that it happened after, I am actually very excited. For starters, I think that the overall design greatly complements the motif of travelling back in time to the Hisui region's long-gone era. The cleavers are notably reminiscent of prehistoric tools that early humans used to craft and the spearhead on its head is reminiscent of the spears that early humans used in order to hunt for survival. Interestingly enough, the Rock part of Kleavor's Bug / Rock dual typing is what makes it a notable threat to its own Kantonian kind with its respective Bug / Flying dual typing. I love how this old predator adapted to defend itself against its natural enemies such as bird Pokémon, Fire-type Pokémon, and possibly also other bugs. While the Bug / Rock dual typing is not exactly new, I still think it is interesting that Kleavor is an innovative, more offensive approach to this dual typing's traditionally more defensive leaning through Pokémon like Shuckle, Anorith, Armaldo, Dwebble, and Crustle.

Eve

Eve

While giving Scyther another evolution might not have been my first choice given how popular and powerful the Scyther family already is, Kleavor is a very intruiging concept to me, seeming to be a precursor to Scizor that makes use of more primitive cutting equipment while still making for a logical upgrade to Scyther's scythes. Its signature move, Stone Axe, has a lot of potential; I'm hoping it will be the first strong and accurate physical Rock move. It looks suitably lumbering and aggressive to make for a good boss Pokémon as well, so I'm excited to take it on in Legends Arceus's Noble Pokémon encounters.

Lumari

Lumari

I first learned of Kleavor not from the trailer but from our social media head's shitposty reply "no I just drew this" to someone's question whether it was a real Pokémon. Unfortunately, I took this at face value and, embarrassingly, ended up believing it for quite some time into that conversation until I googled the name "just to be sure." In my defense though, it really does check a bunch of typical fakemon boxes; "Scizor except with stone axes because ancient times", the name also becomes a bit um cheesy next to Scizor, and the comical weakness to Scizor competitively makes for the cherry on top.

Awkward initial impressions aside, I actually don't dislike this one at all. Competitively, I really hope it mirrors Scyther's movepool, since with a good base stat spread surely an offensive Swords Dance set becomes at least worth looking into if this thing gets Accelerock, in addition to the Scyther line's usual coverage moves. Earthquake might be a reach, but surely Drill Run at least might be plausible, and hopefully I'm not too optimistic for having my fingers crossed that those rock axes might tease a strong and accurate Rock-type move for a change? Designwise surely I also won't be the first one to point out that the rock axes make for... a nice nod to the times the game is set in, and the design has actually grown on me; it was bound to end up looking a bit clunky one way or another with those huge axes, but at least it channels it in a proper intimidating way and doesn't mess up the details as far as the rock theme goes.

Ununhexium

Ununhexium

This guy straight up looks like a monster out of an anime. Like seriously, this is the intersection of chimera ants and Axe-Hand Morgan. That being said, Kleavor looks like an absolute badass with its rock axe arms, though there's just enough goofiness in its appearance to prevent it from looking too intimidating. As a matter of fact, I think its previous evolution (Scyther) looks a touch more intimidating, and Kleavor is its stronger, goofier older brother or something. I'm really excited to see how this Pokémon plays out.

Ryota Mitarai

Ryota Mitarai

So I initially had problems understanding why Kleavor is a Bug-type, since nothing about its design or known information screams "Bug" to me (in fact, Kleavor looks a lot more like a Rock / Flying to me). Then I checked its name origin on Bulbapedia and that's where I got the idea... not the best justification for the typing decision, but who am I to judge? Anyways, one interesting thing about this new evolution is that it was caused by special materials found exclusively in Hisui. This makes me believe that we may see a return of the Icy Rock and Moss Rock mechanics with a new one being created for Kleavor... or they will just make Scyther evolve in the same way as before, but replace Metal Coat with whatever that material is going to be *sigh*. Something fun that I thought of when I read more about Kleavor is that (whether intentionally or not) its biology is sort of a Minecraft reference. It has a signature move called "Stone Axe" and is known to chop down trees, as mentioned earlier. Unfortunately, we are playing Pokémon and not Pixelmon, but still, I couldn't help but imagine Kleavor as a Minecraft player.

Blitz

Blitz

With Game Freak continuing the trend of giving newfangled regional evolutions to older Pokémon, Scyther being the one to receive such a form was a surprise to many: Scizor is mostly beloved by fans worldwide due to its cool design, awesome crimson color, and competitive utility... so why fix what isn't broken? With that said, Kleavor is an excellent addition to the Scyther line and one that should appease to fans who weren't huge fans of Scizor. Kleavor to me exemplifies a callback to Generation I design philosophy, such as the sharp, rough edges that make up its stone axes or its body parts, or the peering, square eyes that are there to say "you're about to get f'd up". I'd also urge people to look at this Pokémon in motion in the game: the "stiffness" of its design actually complements its body type and the use of its weapons in a way that makes the design work better than what art can just show you.

GatoDelFuego

GatoDelFuego

Kinda Bug and kinda axe. Try to catch them in your pack. Feed some minerals and you'll see it is whatever it eats. Find them hiding in the trees. Slaughtering Beautiflies like it's a breeze. Come to the Hisui region and discover its bugsnaxe.

Let's talk about Bugsnaxe. Scyther is a perfect embodiment of the Generation I design philosophy. It's an animal at heart, with modifications to turn it into a Pokémon. I think it says something about the strength of the design that it was brought back to show off branching evolutions in Generation II, and it's finally got the chance to shine again with regional variants. I couldn't be happier. I think this design is very clean, makes great use of colors and shapes that we haven't seen in a Pokémon yet before. This is regional evolutions done right! The axes are of course fierce; this Pokémon gives off robotic and technologic vibes, yet the pinched wasp waist and abdomen make it seem like one of the most insectoid Pokémon we've had so far. I've been a long derider of regional forms for five years now... but if the past couple generations have shown that this is the path forwards, I've finally come around.

ausma

ausma

Kleavor is really sick in concept, and it really sells that rustic, ancient vibe with its faded colors, angular shapes, and armor distribution giving it the classic medieval energy. While I know Kleavor is a very polarized Pokémon, I personally think it's a welcome addition. It feels like a realistic Scyther evolution that feels distinct from Scizor, especially with the emphasis on the Rock-type and literal axes for hands; despite being made of rock, that is metal as hell. It also feels full of flavor and feels like a genuine part of Hisui, with it interacting with the environment directly.

Competitively, if we can expect to see a Scizor-esque stat spread, I don't expect to see it making waves. Bug/Rock is a pretty mediocre type in comparison to Bug/Steel; its saving grace, most likely, will have to be in its offense. If it gets an option like Technician-boosted Accelerock to contest Scizor's Bullet Punch and some Ground-type coverage, it could make for a neat wallbreaker. Though, I'm keeping expectations tempered.

avarice

avarice

The Scyther line has always been a bit perplexing. Literally just slapping some metal on the big bug and ending up with the same BST resulted in the competitive menace Scizor. Scizor is sleek but Kleavor cannot say the same. At all. Kleavor is frankly built like a Kabutops and Mega Aerodactyl fusion gone haywire—but it does still have some goofy charm to it. With its fight scene, Kleavor definitely could be straight out of Kirby's Return to Dreamland. With the Hisuian environment, the axes make sense at least. I find Kleavor a bit too awkward to be an evolution rather than just a different regional form though. Unfortunately, I foresee it having a similar fate of Armaldo on the competitive scene, with a great Attack stat and decent Defense but being unable to really utilize them. But who knows, maybe it could end up with Accelerock, some whack ability, etc. to save it from its own typing.

Magnum

Magnum

While I wasn't a huge fan of Kleavor's design on its unveiling, it's grown on me heaps! I like the fact that it has god damn axes for hands, I know this is supposed to be a Rock-type version of Scizor but you can not get any more metal than that. Aside from its choice of weaponry, I like how its design reflects primitive armor and weaponry—seeing as though this represents the Stone Age. The sharper lines and angles really make it feel dangerous and strong, though I'd be confident taking it mano a mano depending on its size. While I do have an axe to grind with it due to its somewhat bland color scheme, I think Kleavor is a super solid addition to the Dex and I will embrace it with open arms, whether that be to welcome it or suplex it.

Pikachu315111

Pikachu315111

If you thought Scyther evolving to a steel-clad ant with pincers was odd, a new challenger approaches! While the design has grown on me (I mean, how can you not love the ridiculousness of a creature with AXES for arms), I'm still not sure about it being an evolution of Scyther. Okay, a Scyther alternate evolution with axe arms I can get behind, but could it try looking like Scyther a bit more? Oh well, I do like the stone beard, and the axes look pretty sick (if not a bit thin and fragile). I'm curious what direction they'll take its stats; the trailer makes it look faster, which would be pretty unique for a Rock-type and take it the opposite direction they did for Scizor (not sure if it would do well being somewhere between Scyther and Scizor; also, would it also have the same BST as Scyther, like Scizor?).

FUN FACT: Rock axe mantis seems random, right? Well, that's because it's related to a Japanese alternate name for a mantis and an idiom. The alternate name, "onomushi", means "axe bug". The idiom, "tōrō no ono", means "mantis's axe", and it refers to a courageous but doomed resistance. Not sure why it's Rock type though, maybe cause of that "doomed resistance"; they are designed to be slow and defensive yet are weak to common attacking types like Fighting, Ground, and Water. *Sigh*

churine

churine

At first glance, I thought Kleavor was a pretty cool standalone Pokémon, I mean it's got axes for arms. Then I find out it's supposedly a branching evolution for Scyther, which was pretty perplexing to say the least. On the other hand, it's kind of cool they decided to give a branching evolution for a regular form Pokémon, something we haven't really seen since DPP aside Sylveon, but then on the other hand, why did they choose to evolve Scyther again? The design of Kleavor looks way too deviant from the Scyther line, I think primarily due to the lack of large wings (how will it use Roost?), with the only shared traits being similar body structure and weaponry for arms. On the topic of that, it's got a new move called Stone Axe, and the Fire Emblem player in me dreads that this will be yet another strong Rock-type move with imperfect accuracy, like Stone Edge (assuming it gets added to the main games), cause axes are the strongest but least accurate weapons in those games. I wonder how they'll allocate Kleavor's stats too, considering Scizor has the same BST as Scyther; my hope is that Kleavor is decently fast cause Bug/Rock is not amazing defensively. Everyone is wishing for Technician-boosted Accelerock and I don't blame them, that would be super cool to see.

Shadowshocker

Shadowshocker

Maybe it's the awkward angle the official art positions its right arm, or the feeling that its spindly limbs don't look like they can support those big honking axes, but... I'm not a fan of Kleavor. Kleavor underscores the flipside of what I felt about regional forms: taking ideas that might have been solid enough to stand on their own and giving them to older Pokémon regardless of whether they needed the help. It's not as though Scyther or Scizor really needed it, given their collective history of fans from both visual and gameplay perspectives. For me, Kleavor also gives me the impression of something unfinished. If you told me that Kleavor was Hisuian Scyther when it was revealed, I'd probably find that more palatable, but Kleavor looks more like a Scyther reimagining than a proper evolution. Then again, Scyther was originally intended to be a single stage and Scizor shares the same base stat total, so it's likely Kleavor will have a similar treatment.

But so it doesn't sound like I'm entirely dumping on Kleavor, let me add that I thoroughly enjoy the concept of a rugged, axe-wielding maniac that wouldn't look out of place in East Asia. It helps that its inspirations come from Samurai Warrior's version of Shibata Katsuie, whose axe-wielding version in turn seems to have referenced Li Kui the "Black Whirlwind" from Water Margin, a piece of traditional Chinese literature which I absolutely binged as a kid. If all else fails I could muse to myself how the alternative Scizor, Pokémon #212, now shares the typing with Shuckle at #213. Nerd trivia!

antemortem

antemortem

Our friend stoned Scyther here is looking like tough shit... I'm just begging to ask him to open a bill bottle. When Kleavor was revealed, I was shocked to see how stunningly fast it moved considering it lost its wings to natural selection. Darwinism is a rough mistress, huh? What's more is its new “hands” look like they get offensively cold at night; I bet Kleavor's girlfriend is still pissed about this. There's nothing particularly enamoring about this design except the fact there's definitely some Bisharp body doubling going on here. I would never accuse anyone of plagiarism, but whoever designed Kleavor was definitely “inspired” by some of our more physically-inclined fantasy friends. Kleavor can comfortably sleep at night knowing that if this stint in Pokémon Legends: Arceus doesn't pan out, it'll live a long life on the royalty checks from playing Gimli in the Lord of the Rings series.

May

May

Kleavor is very different to Scyther and Scizor, but that's ok. I like the idea of the entire line having their names be corruptions of metallic tools. The Rock / Bug typing has been seen a few times with Crustle and Shuckle, but from what we've seen it seems to be taking the fast offensive approach. I'm not very sold on its design, though... I'm a fan of Rock-types in general, but Kleavor just looks really ugly. Like, are those brown rocks on its head meant to be hair? Why does it have hair? I feel like it's just too big a deviation from the original designs to the point that it's not very recognizable. The only thing really keeping it "Scyther" is the abdomen, at least to me. It's really the face that breaks it for me. I do hope it succeeds competitively and distinguishes itself from Scizor, but this typing is already a punch to the gut...

deetah

deetah

I know I'm not alone when I say that I'm quite surprised to see Scyther get another evolution given how complete the line already is and has been for quite some time. However, I actually don't dislike Kleavor at all, I'm pretty neutral on its design. It does look a little bit clunky, especially with the position its arms are in, but the design itself reminds me of Pokémon from older generations, so I like that. I do really hope that Kleavor's stats are similar to Scyther's in that it has a high base Speed to allow for a fast offensive Swords Dance set, given that Scizor is on the slower side.

Kaiju Bunny

Kaiju Bunny

I don't dislike a lot of Pokémon designs... But Kleavor is uh... Well, let's just say it's not doing it for me. c': It's scrawny, it looks like it hasn't had good sleep in days, and while I know we normally connote shades of brown to rocks, the muddy colors here just don't do this Pokémon justice. Maybe it's just me, but the fact that this Pokémon has axes for arms also just comes across as incredibly goofy to me, as if Game Freak just straight up ran out of ideas. I'm trying to think of something positive to say about it, but I'll be dead honest: I'm drawing a blank, lol. It's pretty neat to have another Bug / Rock type Pokémon, but overall, I'm just silently hoping there'll be some massively redeeming quality to it so I like it better.

avg

avg

It seems like Pokémon has been obsessed with giving new formes to old Kantonian Pokémon that probably don't need it. Other than that, I really like the design of it, as it stays sort of true to the old style of Gen 1 and 2, which isn't seen much with other regional formes. But I hate to say that something feels off with it. I feel like the design could use some finetuning, such as the abdomen looking a bit weird. I also don't like its Bug/Rock typing, as it's not gonna have many resistances. Its design also looks like it will be slow, further exacerbating its issues.

Max. Optimizer

Max. Optimizer

I already brought this up in the previous edition of our Judge A Pokémon Express series, but Game Freak has really developed a predilection for giving Pokémon tragic backstories involving losing their former habitats and unceremoniously perishing in their new surroundings. We had Galarian Corsola in the Galar region and now we have Basculegion, Hisuian Zorua, and Hisuian Zoroark in the Hisui region. I feel bad for the poor little thing, but I am also glad that it came into existence. Ever since they were first introduced in the seventh generation, the regional variants have quickly become one of my favorite aspects of the Pokémon franchise and Hisuian Zorua is definitely far up there with the best ones we have seen thus far. I love its newly gained unique Ghost / Normal typing, and I think that the new color palette greatly complements the theme.

aquajet

Aqua Jet

I've found Hisuian Zorua to be quite the oddball in terms of style. While I find it to be cute, I can't help but notice parallels in terms of its design and portrayals of Kitsune, a mythical Japanese shapeshifter that takes the form of a fox. This could be the case, as the Unovan Zorua is also based on Kitsune. I think that Hisuan Zorua's color palette couldn't be better, as red is often associated with anger, possibly referencing the negative feelings Hisuian Zorua has towards humans after being driven from its original habitat by them. The white on the other hand may just be there to allow Hisuian Zorua to camouflage with its surroundings to avoid predators or to represent the peace Hisuian Zorua's soul feels after having departed from its body. If I had to guess as to why Nintendo chose a Normal/Ghost typing for Hisuian Zorua, I'd assume that the Normal typing is a reference to its lost morality and its Ghost typing references it being a spirit of the dead.

Eve

Eve

I. Love. It. Hisuian Zorua is absolutely adorable, but I have to admit I feel a bit bad for saying that, as it apparently had to die in a harsh, unfamiliar environment to achieve this forme. Its apparent malice doesn't really come across in its design, especially with its heartbreakingly sad looking yellow eyes, but I'm more than happy with them being this cute instead. The white and red color theme is a great contrast to regular Zorua, and I love how wispy its fur is while it maintains the effective simplicity of the original design in most places. The official website says that Hisuian Zorua can mimic the appearance of lone Pokémon or humans that it comes across, which has me speculating about potential variations to Illusion—pretending to be the opposing Pokémon doesn't sound very useful because of how obvious it would be, so I hope there's more to a potential new ability than that, especially if it comes at the cost of Illusion's amazing synergy with the Normal / Ghost typing.

Lumari

Lumari

I'd missed the reveal trailer on this one too, so when I first saw it in a friend's forum avatar I simply assumed it was a Twitter artist's (excellent) recolor of Unovan Zorua. It was pretty. Soon after I also took note of its eyes, which very much look like an adorable take on the pleading_face emote. Even if it looks a lot like Unovan Zorua otherwise in terms of its overall build, these traits do clearly set it apart from the latter; Unovan Zorua mainly looks very mischievous thanks to its very dark color palette and the... mischievous look in its eyes, whereas Hisuian Zorua simultaneously gives off a calm and eery vibe and makes me think of being lost in a snowy mountain forest. Its lore is far creepier than I would've expected tbh, so I'm open to being surprised. Fantastic design is all I can say for now.

Ununhexium

Ununhexium

I have been waiting for a Pokémon with this typing so long and I am SO happy with how this little fella looks. It has the perfect combination of spooky and cuteness that is tough to get just right, and I think Zorua is a perfect Pokémon to explore this typing with. Also look at its adorable little eyes that look almost like it's sad or it feels bad for spooking you, it's just too much for me. I love this little guy already.

Blitz

Blitz

This little cutie has definitely received the fanbase's acclaim and has quickly risen to stardom as one of the most notable regional variants we've gotten thanks to being a forme of an already popular Pokémon and possessing a long sought-after typing in Normal / Ghost. As noted by my fellow panelist Max, Game Freak's trend of making tragic backstories for Pokémon seems to be a thing that's here to stay... but being a HUGE fan of Ghost-types, I can't say I'm disappointed in their choice in doing so. In Zorua's case, it couldn't adapt to its environment and was cast out by humans due to its illusions, and in this region, it uses the fear of those very same humans in order to scare them and spite them, likely a sign of revenge. So, as cute as they are, you definitely would not want to cross the path of a pissed-off Zorua!

Clorodulce

Clorodulce

I really like the sprite, I love how great it's designed. It definitely looks like a white tiger or lion that lives in a hot ambiance, so surely it's going to have Fire / Normal as its typing. Wait... it's not Fire type, it's Ghost type... well, at least I was sure that Zorua was going to be Normal type. I don't really like how it's Ghost type, I even had to see a picture in its habitat (mountains), and I wish I hadn't done that, because now I think Zorua could have had a Fire / Ice typing. Competitively Normal / Ghost is a good typing at least, because a Fire /Ice typing would have a lot of weaknesses, notably to the super popular Water-type moves.

Regarding colors, the Ghost tying doesn't fit, because red is a warm color, which doesn't work for Ghost-types, except in the case of Litwick, which you knew would be a Fire-type because it's a living candle, and its Ghost typing makes sense, since it appears in a cemetery. Zorua didn't deserve this typing, and I have the same problem with Solgaleo, damn, why the heck Solgaleo doesn't have a Fire-typing? Look at its mane, it looks like a sun! At least I hope that Zorua keeps Illusion as an ability due to this mix-up of typings.

ausma

ausma

I've only seen Hisuian Zorua for a few days, but I would sacrifice myself and every existing being on the planet for it. It is absolutely adorable, though its origin and Pokédex entry make me really sad; it even looks sad itself... Being a Pokémon driven by spite for humans makes me wonder more about the ways in which humans interact with Hisui, whether it's in a destructive, careless, or even morally gray way. Furthermore, Normal/Ghost is an inherently juxtaposing type combo with a wealth of interesting concepts to be had, and in comparison to its Unovan counterpart, it boasts a heavier emphasis on its kitsune origin and a ying-yang (very noble BW references, surely) with Zorua and its evolution, too. I'm very excited to learn more about this Pokémon and see what it has to bring to the table in-game, and you can expect me to have one on my team!

avarice

avarice

I loved the reveal for the new (old?) Zorua. I've appreciated the line ever since the Zoroark movie in 2010, and it's great seeing them get a fun new forme. Having the mysterious footage was infinitely cooler than the obscenely long stream of the forest for SS. Zorua living through spite is a cool concept after getting cast out of what would presumably eventually be Unova. Though it does put into question how Zorua was pushed out rather than the humans if the illusions were the issue at hand. I think the multiple souls manifesting bit could've been scrapped. It just is not as "believable" as the Basculegion concept to me. Thankfully, these Zorua souls compensate for it by being incredibly adorable, and their typing probably makes it a decent in-game option too if you can find them early on enough.

Magnum

Magnum

I LOVE THEM I LOVE THEM I LOVE THEM I LOVE THEM!!!! Hisuian Zorua is so adorable and precious and cute I would DIE for it. While its origins are tragic and surprisingly well done for a Pokémon, there is nothing that will ever distract me from thinking about how cute it is. Contrary to Kleavor, I'm a big fan of this little one's color scheme, and it makes it look both inviting and cute, yet a bit scary and ominous.

Shadowshocker

Shadowshocker

Having dipped my toe into the Yo-Kai Watch pool years prior, now I can't un-see the parallels between Hisuian Growlithe and Komasan, since they were both based after lion dog guardian statues. So maybe it makes sense that out of nowhere, the developers chose to hype a soft-pawed, pet-like creature with wispy effects and a tragic backstory as their own nod to Jibanyan. Hisuian Zorua definitely demonstrates a greater willingness to push Pokémon origins—but I can't quite get over how Hisui seems to keep adding Pokémon to the franchise's bestiary that went extinct by the time of Sinnoh. It might get fans talking, but considering all the Sinnoh remake jokes we've had to sit through since ORAS, the focus on Generation V Pokémon is... troubling, I personally feel. None of this is a knock on Hisuian Zorua. It's Alolan Vulpix with the backstory of Galarian Corsola tacked on to one of the most popular Pokémon of its generation. Sure, it lives in frigid wastelands and will probably drain your soul through you pissing your pants after you try to give it a hug. But I can't bring myself to dislike Hisuian Zorua.

Lilburr

Lilburr

Oh my god. Ohhhh my god I love this thing. Hisuian Zorua is one of the most perfect Pokémon ever created and I will hear nothing else about it. Everything about it is just adorable; its fur color is cute, and I would die for those pleading eyes. It also looks like it's permanently tired, which is something I relate to a lot as a full-time insomniac. The creepy Pokédex entry makes it a lot sadder than I was hoping for because I want nothing but happiness for my sweet little winter baby but it's okay, it's cool lore even if it's depressing. This is easily the best Hisuian Pokémon in my opinion, and I don't think my mind will be changed on that any time soon.

May

May

Game Freak continues its trend of making Pokémon that make you scream: Hisuian Zorua is the cutest ball of fluff I have ever seen. As with everyone else here, if anyone hurts it, I will go ape, I will KILL for this little thing. But, by the looks of the lore, it seems too many have hurt it already! We've failed, Jim! I adore the approach taken with the fur, changing it from a little top-knot thing into a ghostly ember-looking thing. This is about what we should expect for a deviation of a fan-favorite Pokémon, and I'm glad to see Unova is getting some much-needed attention back in 2010. Like half the planet, I'll definitely be looking for one of these cinnamon rolls when I get the chance. Rev up those Day 1 guides!

deetah

deetah

Hisuian Zorua is absolutely adorable! It's just so cute and I kinda want one as a pet now, even though that's probably not a great idea knowing that it inflicts terror on random people and Pokémon. I love the white and coral pink accents of its fur; I think it's a lot cuter than its Unovan counterpart. Also, Normal / Ghost is a typing we've never seen before and is one that I know has been long awaited for and speculated by many. It's also one of the most, if not the most interesting typing we've seen to date simply because the two types are immune to each other.

Kaiju Bunny

Kaiju Bunny

Baby. That was my first reaction. Just a fluffy baby. Hisuian Zorua is one of the cutest Pokémon I've ever seen. Smol, sad-looking, and just generally aesthetically appealing, it literally only took a first glance before I was in love. Something I found pretty interesting was the distinct difference in moods between Hisuian Zorua and it's Unovan counterpart. Zorua by itself is mischievous, trouble-making, and generally seems to want to prank people, whereas Hisuian Zorua has general distaste towards humans and Pokémon alike, and if anything, seems a bit downtrodden and I'd daresay depressed? Which, to be fair, I don't blame it; if I was driven away by humans because of an amazing talent I had and later died due to harsh climates and predators, I'd be pretty pissed too. Makes me want to love the lil thing even more. ;; Can we talk about that typing, too? We finally have a Normal and Ghost-type Pokémon! What better Pokémon to have such an honor as this lil fox??

Max. Optimizer

Max. Optimizer

Right off the bat, I am absolutely amazed regarding the concept that Game Freak was able to come up with for Zoroark's Hisuian counterpart. Hisuian Zorua on its own was already a pleasant surprise when it was first revealed, but Galarian Zoroark is the cherry on top of the sundae. Its design, the color palette in conjunction with the demeanor, strongly reminds me of Sesshōmaru, the character from Rumiko Takahashi's Inuyasha manga series. The Hisuian evolution line stands in such notable contrast to its original Unovan counterpart. Interestingly enough, the Unovan variant's Dark typing is the only immediate weakness of the new Hisuian variant. I had always been wondering whether or not we would ever get to see a Pokémon with a Normal / Ghost dual typing, given the paradoxical nature of this combination, but now I am happy that it exists and I am satisfied that such an amazing regional variant gets to pioneer it.

Eve

Eve

I wasn't too keen on it at first, but the more I look at Hisuian Zoroark, the more I like it. If I'm not mistaken it has nine "tails" in the mass of fur atop its head, which is a sneaky nod to the line's apparent subtle kitsune inspiration. The red lumps and white lines really help to make its otherwise monotonous body more interesting, which is a great improvement over regular Zoroark whose design is, in my opinion, quite boring. Its clear ferocious personality also helps in this regard, as it somehow ends up looking far more evil and threatening than its Dark-type counterpart ever did. Normal/Ghost is a really awesome typing and I'm glad we finally have it, especially on the Zorua line. Having three type-based immunities of common attacking types works well with Illusion if they maintain the ability, as it can bait a move it is immune to and use the free turn to set up or KO the target.

Ununhexium

Ununhexium

Hisuian Zoroark perfectly blends feelings of elegance, spookiness, and power into one Pokémon. What really seals this for me is its eyes, which add a touch of intensity and ferocity to what would otherwise be a beautiful Pokémon. It also gives me some nine-tailed fox vibes, despite not having quite that many tails, which is pretty cool as well. My one question is if it will retain its Illusion ability or if it will switch to something a bit less shadowy and more spooky.

Ryota Mitarai

Ryota Mitarai

It is stated that the line can inspire terror in people just by being seen. I would say that this is definitely true for Hisuian Zoroark. I got cold feet (no pun intended) the first time I saw Hisuian Zoroark, and that's because of simply how it is designed. The way the colors are used, alongside the yellow eyes, facial expression, and its pose, does a great job of emitting danger and its bloodthirsty nature. There's also something terrifying when you realize that the snow you've been watching is actually a monster that's coming for you, but it's too late for you to do much, so you are more or- less doomed. All in all, I would say that, in terms of design, Hisuian Zoroark is a masterpiece simply because the way it has been illustrated conveys very clearly its true nature—a predator that has no mercy on its prey.

Blitz

Blitz

Contrasting the adorable Zorua comes this beast of a regional variant. Hisuian Zoroark exudes badass in every sense of the world, and it looks like one of those Pokémon you do NOT want to mess with! I feel like this is what Game Freak was going for when they intended to make the original Zoroark the "Lucario of Generation V", and the fanbase's response bodes well for the popularity of the Pokémon from a design perspective. It has also made a lot of waves due to its competitive implications. For example, if this Zoroark were to keep Illusion, a Normal / Ghost type provides 3 relevant immunities as opposed to regular Zoroark's single immunity, making it quite dangerous for both the AI or the opposing player with the mind games you can pull off with it. Just pray Game Freak gives it good moves and access to a strong, spammable STAB, and we got ourselves a keeper!

Clorodulce

Clorodulce

Hisuian Zoroark is a very good design, and I really love the colors on it, but I have the same problem I do with Hisuan Zorua. In this case, the Ghost typing complements the design, because Hisuan Zoroark has a spooky look, like it's going insane, and I love it, I love it! But as a Normal-type, now it doesn't have any texture that could justify its typing. Maybe, and just maybe Game Freak thought that Pokémon can be mad, so yea, in that sense it's like an example of normalcy in Pokémon? But that's a vague justification, and Ghost / Fire is what its design suggests.

GatoDelFuego

GatoDelFuego

I'll be the first to say it: Unovan Zoroark is a terrible design. Yeah, uh... fox...thing? It has a ponytail? Whatever. You can say it's based on the Kitsune, but the only thing notable about Unovan Zoroark is its ability. It's the perfect example of a Pokémon that was designed from a mechanical perspective first, rather than an aesthetic one.

I think Hisuian Zoroark far suceeds where its original variant failed. Everybody knows this thing is a Kitsune, so let's not hide it any more! Lucious, billowing hair! Ghostly flares in its animations! In a way, this Pokémon has turned into more of a Vulpix / Ninetales reimagining than a Zoroark. That's fine, I suppose—I like it more than I like Alolan Ninetales. I'm a big fan of the more prominent markings on its hands and legs. Also, I'd like to say how eerie this Pokémon's design is. The forward hunch, blood-colored hair, and ability to drive others mad with fright make it seem like Zoroark is actually in twisted pain. How can you compare this to Unovan Zoroark and not think it's an upgrade?

Also...it's really nice that we're seeing exotic type reveals with this game, rather than the usual standard rat and standard bird. Ghost Pokémon have been representing this Generation!

ausma

ausma

From a competitive point of view, Hisuian Zoroark is fascinating to me, exuding the highly intimidating Normal/Ghost typing. This type sports 3 powerful immunities, 1 weakness, and a resistance to Bug and Poison. While it is a typing that is powerful defensively for obvious reasons, it is also one of the better offensive types in the game. Rock/Dark, Steel/Dark, Rock/Normal, and Steel/Normal are the only types that handle Normal/Ghost's dual STAB combination, and the latter two types do not exist yet. Its success hinges on a few factors, such as its stat distribution and ability, but there's a lot of potential for sure. If it retains Illusion, it can creatively play with its immunities to find wallbreaking opportunities.

Zoroark's design itself looks stunning; it's gorgeous, yet incredibly imposing. It's a kind of balance that's normally difficult to strike with designs like these, but I think they nailed it here. I feel the eye shape, faded colors, and the paint-like patterns really help to cement that.

Repu

Repu

"Amidst in the depths of dark, with only the brightness of the moonlight as your guide, you see a white, red glowing figure during a fateful night: the Baneful Fox, Hisuian Zoroark, has fiercely arrived to bring you your demise." Quite a spooky story we can tell about this Pokémon, am I right? Ok, enough with the rhymes. Hisuian Zoroark has a very impactful reveal in its mysterious footage found by an unknown researcher. It's something I've never seen done with a Pokémon introduction before, and it creates a tense, but also neat atmosphere about it. Designwise, the soft red taints on Zoroark's fur contributes well to its already menacing appearance, and, as fellow panelist Ununhexium pointed out, its eyes also give a killing touch to it. Culturally speaking, one of the things that appease me most on Pokémon design choices is worldwide references, and I have to mention Hisuian Zoroark reminds me Amaterasu from the Ōkami series game. The Japanese folklore behind it just magnifies the mystical feeling this lineage provides, which are definitely a bonus on my book.

Magnum

Magnum

I fear no man, but this thing? It scares me. The reddish blotches on its giant lock of hair look like blood stains to me, and that's really cool, edgy and very much disturbing. Everything from the color schemes to the markings on its fur looking like claw marks screams at you and lets you know that this is not a Pokémon you should not be messing around with in the wild. As for its ability competitively, its got an amazing typing with probably some strong STAB moves like Hyper Voice and Shadow Ball, and if it happens to be sporting Unovan Zoroark's colorful coverage options I can see it becoming a genuine threat. All around a big fan of Hisuian Zoroark as long as it doesn't bring my demise!

Pikachu315111

Pikachu315111

Hisuian Zorua is cute. Now with that out of the way, Hisuian Zoroark. After a neat way of introducing them, they really got interesting with the reveal they're the long-awaited Normal / Ghost types! The regionalvVariant concept twist is that, while normal Zoroark uses its illusions to confuse and misdirect others by disguising itself and their lair, Hisuian Zoroark uses its illusions to cause terror, insanity, and pain because it was chased from its home territory, died in the cold, and was reborn as a spiteful spirit that HATES EVERYONE (still not sure where the Normal typing comes in; because the "reborn" thing?). Couldn't make them more opposite if you colored them black and white... wait. Anyway, this does make me think it'll have a different but similar ability to Illusion, but the question is, how would it work? Well, we'll have to wait until HOME compatibility with Legends: Arceus for that (or, if it's in the game data, a datamine), as abilities don't seem to be in the game. As for Hisuian Zoroark, I like it; it's pretty interesting if not only for the unique type combination. Along with normal Zoroark they both show the different sides of a Kitsune: normal is just a mischievous trickster out for itself, Hisuian is a malevolent spirit seeking to unleash its wrath (and combined with Ninetales I think we've covered all our basis for Kitsune mythology).

FUN FACT: The Blair Witch-style reveal could be a reference to normal Zoroark's reveal: it was shown as a silhouette on Pokémon Sunday as a teaser for its starring appearance in the 13th Pokémon movie.

churine

churine

I don't think I would've expected a regional variant of the Zoroark line but here we are, and what a forme. We finally get the fabled Normal / Ghost typing not in a Schrodinger's cat-like Pokémon, but in these illusion foxes that have apparently already died? I know Ghost-type Pokémon are always quite morbid but even then, it isn't helped by Hisuian Zoroark's unsettling design. I'm really curious as to how these guys will play out in battle, cause Normal / Ghost has three immunities and a near unresisted STAB combination. Zoroark's Illusion ability has always been fascinating too, so if the Hisuian forme keeps that, then there's a lot of potential here.

Shadowshocker

Shadowshocker

Now this is a Ghost-type that makes me feel truly unnerved. Without the context of Hisuian Zorua, Hisuian Zoroark would have simply been a passable palette swap with the type combination that DeviantArtists and fans have been clamoring for. But Hisuian Zoroark takes its pre-evolution's heartbreaking backstory and turns it into a full-fledged yokai. Between its pale complexion, flickering fur, and strange red nodules on its body, Hisuian Zoroark looks like a menacing, emaciated beast that you would NOT want to run into in... any situation, really. Unovan Zoroark always stood out to me as something strange to give to Pokémon USA (then again the leading legends are based on Asian concepts of yin, yang and Japanese deities so what do I know), so Hisuian Zoroark fits right in with ancient Sinnoh. But just like Galarian Corsola, it seems a shame to have to kill it to start with.

Lilburr

Lilburr

Holy moly this thing took a turn. While Unovan Zoroark is more of a playful mischief maker, this thing is a whole demon and I'm super here for it. Hisuian Zoroark's white palette is an interesting take on such a scary, vengeful Pokémon; white is typically associated with innocence and purity, so the contrast here is even more stark than just comparing it to its darker cousin. It really helps to hammer home the whole "angel of death" vibe they seemed to be going for. I also enjoy the little tidbit of lore that says it's protective of Hisuian Zorua; that's super cute to me, not even this scary beast can resist the little fox's charm! Both members of this line get a 10/10 for sure.

May

May

Hisuian Zoroark is really cool, I've wanted a Normal / Ghost type for a long time. Three immunities, one weakness, one badass design. I've seen a few people criticize the large amount of fur on the head, but I really like it, it gives a somewhat disheveled appearance that you should expect from its isolation from the rest of the world. I also like the red spots on its skin, they look sort of fleshy, as if they're bulging out the skin. These boil down to Hisuian Zoroark using a significantly more grounded kitsune design, matching that of traditional artwork, including in the more spiritual appearance. It does all this while not losing the Noh makeup either, which I greatly appreciate. I'm interested in how Hisuian Zoroark will function in the competitive scene without Illusion, but I am cautiously optimistic. While the typing looks good on paper, the lack of resistances outside of its immunities and weakness to Dark feel as though it'll leave it a bit short. I feel like it'll find its home in a lower tier and dominate, if Zoroark's history is anything to go by.

Kaiju Bunny

Kaiju Bunny

Oddly enough, I actually prefer a regular Zoroark to Hisuian Zoroark. Rest assured, I don't dislike Hisuian Zoroark's design, but it's definitely not as strong as its Unovan counterpart's. Its fur is kinda all over the place like it had a bad hair day, but I also realize this was done on purpose, design-wise, which I guess I can't really complain with. Besides the wild-like look in its eyes, I think that's about all I can comment with in terms of its design. Lore-wise though? Hoo boy, there's a lot more to unpack here. So it uses its power of illusions to straight up harm people both physically and (what I'm assuming) mentally. This Pokémon straight up has so much hatred that it causes people to lose their freaking minds. That's... That's pretty insane to me. At first, I was sad by the understandable fact that Hisuian Zoroark housed such an intense hatred towards and Pokémon alike, but luckily it seems that this Pokémon is also just... Essentially a tsundere since it warms up to people over time if they treat it in a respectable manner. As someone who's a sucker for lore, Hisuian Zoroark definitely delivers.

avg

avg

The much-anticipated Normal / Ghost Pokémon has been bestowed onto us. Its typing greatly benefits its signature ability Illusion, now granting it three immunities to more effectively take advantage of it. Compared to its sly Unovan counterpart, it looks like it has had some built-up trauma as a Zoura that has been unleashed throughout its body, much to the misfortune of an unsuspecting trainer heading towards Mt. Coronet.


^ Return to main menu

Codraroll

Codraroll

It generally seems to me that the panelists have high expectations for these Pokémon ahead of their Hisui adventure! With their interesting typings, intriguing designs, and potential to synergize well with abilities (assuming abilities are even a thing in these games, that is), Kleavor and the Hisuian Zorua family promise to be fun to play with and perhaps tricky to play against. In a few months, we will be able to tell for sure. Until then, we can get to enjoy the remakes of Pokémon Diamond and Pearl. It is uncertain whether The Pokémon Company will reveal any new Pokémon for a while, leaving the spotlight for Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, but if and when they do, we will be right back with another JAPE! See you then!

Planned by Codraroll | Avatars by Albatross, ausma, Breadboy, Bummer, cleffa, Kaiju Bunny, LifeisDANK, Modeling Clay, Sephirona , Shaymoo, Shadowshocker, Ticken , tiki, and Zephyri | HTML by Lumari | Script by Quite Quiet | CSS by ant | Official art by Ken Sugimori.
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