Even from the start, the Pokémon series proved to be addictive and garnered a major following. The Game Boy title was one of the most impressive RPGs for the handheld console, but with a manga and anime series to accompany the games, Pokémon only had more opportunities to amass fans. It’s been over two decades since the series began and it’s hard to believe that the games have maintained a consistent popularity over all of those years.
That’s certainly a hard thing to do and while the Pokémon titles have slowly expanded and evolved with the growing times of the gaming industry, they’ve always been able to please their audience. While the games as a whole have largely progressed for the better over the years, the Pokémon themselves have also experienced changes in their designs, history, and play styles, for both better and for worse. Accordingly, Here Are 20 Pokémon That Have Changed The Most Since Red and Blue.
Even though he wasn’t always intended to be the series’ official mascot or Ash’s steadfast companion, there’s a reason that the adorable Pikachu has risen to the top. At a quick glance it may not look like any drastic changes have taken place with the creature, but a comparison to the Pokémon's original design makes it pretty obvious. Not only did Pikachu have a white belly in some cases before adopting the solid yellow look, but he also had a considerably more rotund physique. Maybe he’s just been hitting the PokéGyms more often.
Mew and Mewtwo share an unusual connection and while there are many obvious similarities between the two Pokémon, it’s fair to say that Mew is the cuter version of the two creatures. Mew has a very aesthetically pleasing, rounded appearance now, but it’s easy to forget the character’s original rare appearance in Red and Blue showcased alien-like ridges on the back of the character’s head that drew even more comparisons to Mewtwo.
There are a number of Pokémon that seem to thrive in the filth and squalor of the world and Weezing is definitely one of the signature examples of that in the original games. He and his previous form, Koffing, are Pokémon that just generate pollution. Weezing’s original look is already pretty poisonous, but as the franchise progresses, Weezzing’s Galar form is considerably more awesome. The Pokémon now has unseemly smokestacks that grow out of his head and he’s much more intimidating.
17 Alolan Dugtrio
Sure, sometimes it’s nice when the changes to a Pokémon's design over the years result in a power boost or access to whole new skill-set of moves, but there’s something to be said when the change is purely aesthetic and mostly done as a gag. The Alolan take on Dugtrio throws some luxurious blonde locks on the Pokémon and gives it a more feminine appearance.
16 Alolan Muk
The Alolan versions of Pokémon marked a big steeping stone for the series as it allows the games to delve deeper into their lore and look at how regional differences can make an evolutionary impact on Pokémon. It also allows “revisions” to be done on previous Pokémon and a whole “Bizarro World” effect to take place. Muk’s Alolan equivalent is beautifully rainbow colored and littered with debris. The Pokémon is now also a poison/dark-type, as opposed to how the original Muk is just a poison-type.
Eevee was a special Pokémon in the original titles because it marked having to make an important decision on which evolutionary form of the Pokémon you were after. Water fans likely took the route of Vaporeon and even though the character has remained the water mascot for Eevee, its design has also gone through changes. Vaporeon used to have more of a monstrous look where there were fins on its legs. The fins have been lost over the years in favor of a sleeker design.
Some Pokémon undergo major physical changes through the various games in the series, but there are plenty of other areas in which Pokémon can grow and evolve. For instance, the ghost Pokémon Haunter is particularly significant since he’s the Pokémon that undergoes the most cry changes through the games. His Pokedex identifying call changes in Generation 2, 3, and 6.
13 Alolan Marowak
Cubone and Marowak have rather tragic backstories as far as Pokémon are concerned, so the idea of an Alolan take on the creatures is comforting in the sense that they could perhaps now have a less grim existence. Nope. If anything, Alolan Marowak appears to have an even more sinister life and an even more aggressive appearance. If the flaming bone isn’t enough of an indication, Alolan Marowak is a fire/ghost-type rather than how the original is just a boring ground-type.
Some changes on Pokémon are subtler and you really need to study their physical appearance, but even though minor changes may not seem severe, they can still drastically alter a Pokémon's life. Poliwhirl is a Pokémon that used to have fingers, but now it doesn’t. This change in Poliwhirl’s appearance is actually kind of funny because it could even fall back on the plausible excuse that Poliwhirl simply evolved enough over the years that his fingers are no longer necessary and he’s even purer now.
11 Alolan Golem
The Alolan take on Golem is another really creative revision on the classic form that finds success in a whole other take on the foreboding evolution of Geodude and Graveler. Red and Blue’s Golem is already nothing to laugh at, but this Alolan version looks a whole lot cooler. He’s practically turned into a generator now, which makes sense since he’s now a rock/electric-type instead of just rock/ground.
10 Mr. Mime
Mr. Mime has always been a bit of an anomaly in the Pokémon universe, especially in the first games when there were substantially less weird Pokémon out there. Mr. Mime’s human-like appearance is distressing on a number of levels, but it reaches a whole new level when the Pokémon anime implies that Mr. Mimes may be used as servants.
Regardless, Mr. Mimes used to have four fingers, but now they have five. This actually may be the result of the cruel fact that they have so much work to do that they actually had to grow an extra appendage to handle it.
Magnemite and Magneton have been consistent Pokémon throughout the run of the series. They’ve been there from the start and they may not be the flashiest Pokémon, but they’ve still changed in big ways that are not as necessarily noticeable as the shifts with other Pokémon. Magnemite is actually the first Pokémon to change types between generations. It progresses from an electric-type to an electric/steel-type. Additionally, the Pokémon's cry changed in Generation 3, too.
8 Alolan Vulpix
The original Vulpix is already so adorable that it’s hard to believe that there’s any room for improvement with the Pokémon, but the Alolan version of Vulpix makes a strong case for the matter. Alolan Vulpix shifts from the Pokémon's fiery red complexion for more of a frosted white look. Accordingly, Alolan Vulpix is an ice/fairy-type rather than how the original Vulpix is a pure-fire type. These changes continue on into Alolan Ninetails, too.
Wigglytuff doesn’t act as flashy as its previous form, Jigglypuff, so it’s easy for this Pokémon to sometimes get lost in the shuffle. Wigglytuff may not rock the boat, but he’s a consistent performer through the series, especially in the original games. Wigglytuff’s look has mostly remained similar through the series, but certain aspects of the Pokémon's look have become exaggerated. Primarily, Wigglytuff’s white stomach now extends up and past the Pokémon's mouth, encompassing much more of the character.
This change in Koffing’s design feels more a result of oversensitive censorship during the series’ earlier days, but that makes for a particularly depressing evolutionary excuse. Back in Red and Blue, Koffing’s design is much more obviously reminiscent of a skull and crossbones design, like on a poison label. The character’s look from a glance is the same, but closer inspection yields a much more generic pattern where the skull is actually absent.
5 Alolan Sandshrew/Sandslash
No offense to Sandshrew and his evolutionary form, Sandslash, but despite the cute resemblance to an armadillo, these aren’t the two most memorable of Pokémon from the original games. Alolan’s Sandshrew and Sandslash, however, are strong contenders for coolest Pokémon of the region. The Pokémon now have blue and icy appearances, which signifies how their type has shifted from ground to the more substantial ice/steel-type.
Moltres enters the series as one of the three Legendary Bird Pokémon and even though it’s still a powerful Pokémon, its importance has been reduced throughout the games. In Red and Blue, Moltres has a much more mystical appearance that’s akin to the Phoenix that it draws its inspiration from. It even has a look that’s not unlike to what Ho-Oh would adopt. Gen 2 Moltres changes to an appearance that’s more like a flamingo, and then the Pokémon relatively stuck with a stable flame condor appearance from Gen 3 onwards.
The changes that Arbok has experienced through the different generations of Pokémon almost raise some interesting questions about the variety of Pokémon . In real life, plenty of snakes of the same breed still have slightly different patterns, so shouldn’t that mean that not every Arbok needs an identical pattern on their back, too? Regardless, Arbok’s pattern has shifted over the years and the zig zag look has been in flux. Perhaps it’s just an advanced camouflage technique that the snake Pokémon has developed over the years.
2 Alolan Exeggutor
Alolan Exeggutor should really be the poster Pokémon for the benefits and creativity behind the Alolan region’s variety of Pokémon . Alolan Exeggutor is as silly as it gets and the idea here is so simple. The Pokémon retains his tree-like aesthetic, but the Alolan version gives the Pokémon a drastically longer neck, which looks pretty great.
Charizard is definitely meant to be a reckless and ferocious Pokémon, so it’s easy to forget that in Red and Blue, his look is actually much more demure. Charizard almost looks like a relative of Dragonite in the original game with this very Pete’s Dragon design. Throughout the years this softer look has been lost and the design has made him more aggressive and dinosaur-like.
These are all of the Pokémon from the original games that we thought have shown the most change throughout the years, but there are still more that have experienced differences. Now’s your chance to sound off over your favorites in the comments below!
Sources: Bulbapedia.Bulbagarden.net, Serebii.net, Gamefaqs.com