Whatever Happened To Baby Pokemon?
With very few exceptions, I prefer Baby Pokemon to their evolved counterparts. Azurill is better than Marill, Wynaut is better than Wobbuffet, and Munchlax, without question, is better than Snorlax. Baby Pokemon have the power to make the entire evolution line relevant. I would never give Chimecho or Mantine a second thought if it wasn’t for Chingling and Mantyke, and if it were up to me, Jynx would vanish from existence in favor of Smoochum. Does anyone really care about Togepi’s evolutions? I certainly don’t. And Pichu is cuter than Pikachu. I’m not taking any questions at this time.
There are a lot of reasons I love Baby Pokemon. As a casual player who doesn’t spend a lot of time breeding Pokemon for good IVs or shiny hunting, the fact that you could only get babies from eggs was a good enough incentive to engage with breeding. Evolving is one of the most enjoyable things about playing Pokemon, so introducing new baby forms to single-stage Pokemon always gave me a new reason to add them to my team. Most importantly, they’re just so dang cute – they’re the most Pokemon Pokemon of all. So where did they go? Why don’t they make new Baby Pokemon anymore?
The first batch of babies came with the introduction of breeding in Gold & Silver. With the exception of Togepi, all of the babies that came were new stages for Gen 1 ‘mons, and mostly for Pokemon that didn’t evolve. Ruby & Sapphire introduced just two more, Azurill and Wynaut, again for previous generation Pokemon, but then Diamond & Pearl came in with a big batch of them, including Riolu, Bonsly, Mime Jr., and Munchlax.
After that, Baby Pokemon disappeared. There were none in Black & White, X & Y, or Sun & Moon, and only one, Toxel, in Sword & Shield. Now Scarlet & Violet are here, and babies are nowhere to be found.
It isn’t just the mainline Pokemon games either. There are only eight Baby Pokemon you can hatch from eggs in Pokemon Go, but there were several years when they weren’t in the egg pool at all. Pokemon Unite features eight Pokemon that have baby forms, but none of them are in the game. Outside of one Team-Up GX card in 2019, Baby Pokemon haven’t appeared in the TCG for over a decade. It’s getting to a point now where it’s hard to remember that Baby Pokemon even exist. Until I mentioned it earlier, did you even know Toxel was a baby? Why isn’t Dreepy a baby? What are we even doing?
If you look at each game individually, there’s justifiable reasons to leave babies out. For the TCG, they create an undesirable power curve, since both the baby and the Stage 1 Pokemon it evolves into are both considered basic cards. For Unite, the developers have given some kind of lore reason for their absence, based on the fact that you’re renting Unite License for these Pokemon that are already trained in whatever the sport in Unite is called… Aeos Ball? I’m sure the VGC players can tell me a good reason there haven’t been new babies too, especially now that regional variants have filled the role of revitalizing older Pokemon.
As we all know, however, the Pokemon brand is not the games, it’s the plushies. All of the manga, TV shows, video cards, and trading cards exist solely in service to the merchandise, which has always and will continue to make up the bulk of the Pokemon empire. There’s just no way that Baby Pokemon don’t outsell every other kind of Pokemon ten-to-one, right? With the exception of Pikachu, I have to believe that Baby Pokemon are among the most popular stuffies. The fact that babies have gone extinct suggests otherwise, but if I were Mr. Pokemon, I’d be making sure there are ten new babies in every generation, minimum. I’m begging you, Pokemon, I just want my babies back.
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