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I've felt quite uninspired to draw lately, so I decided to leave my OCs to rest for a while and illustrate some beta Pokémon that I wish were actually canon. Here are my reasonings for all of them, but beware - this is gonna get lenghty!
- Legendary beasts. Currently I just wish it was considered canon that this is what the beasts looked like before they were resurrected by Ho-Oh, but funnily enough I am absolutely sure that as a kid I would’ve just all around preferred the beta versions above the final versions. I didn’t like how cluttered the designs of the legendary beasts were, so these much simpler versions would’ve really pleased me back then. Nowadays I do like the actual beasts, too, but I still wish these designs were used the way I descirbed in the beginning in order to both pay homage to the beta versions as well as finally give faces to the then-nameless Pokémon trio that died in the accident of Burned tower.
- Blastoise. If I’m being honest here, I have never liked Blastoise that much. Didn’t like it as a kid and, unlike with the beasts, don’t really like it too much nowadays. Somehow just adding guns to Pokémon feels really wrong to me, even if I have of course grown accustomed to the design over the years. And then we found out that Wartortle was originally going to evolve something completely different than the Blastoise we know nowadays! Argh! We have very little footage of the actual evolution though (just a 1st gen back sprite), so what I drew is a little bit more speculative than most other Pokémon shown here.
- Plesiosaurus-seal starter line. If I could choose only one beta Pokémon line to become canon, it would be this one. Why? Because it would literally be my favorite starter line ever. Also I have never actually liked Totodile line, so if it had been replaced with these guys 2nd gen starters as a whole would be easily my favorite of all time. I also don’t feel like the designs are TOO close to Lapras or Dragonair, especially if Dragonair was tweaked a tiny bit, which would’ve also been a good opportunity to make it a more believable middle form between Dratini and Dragonite.
- Marowakhan. It pains me so god damn much that this isn’t a canon Pokémon. In fact I think it would’ve been a perfect chance to make Cubone line’s evolution very special: maybe the cub looks like the one pictured here in its mother’s pouch if it gets raised peacefully by its mom and then evolves into Marowakhan, but if it gets separated from its mother it grows into Cubone and then the Marowak we know today. Or Marowakhan could just be the second evolution of Cubone line, but I personally would love to get some explanation to the whole Cubone-is-always-mourning-its-lost-mother-and-wearing-the-mother’s-skull situation; not literally every Cubone ever could’ve lost their mothers, right?
- Shellder’s cousing. Another one that in my opinion would just need to exist for the sake of lore. The whole “when Shellder grabs Slowpoke’s tail, Slowpoke evolves into Slowbro” just doesn’t make any bit of sense - the Pokémon attached to Slowbro (and Slowking) looks nothing like Shellder at all! And the whole thing isn’t ever being mentioned as an evolution of Shellder either, so it doesn’t really explain why it suddenly looks like the creature pictured here. Add this fellow to the dex and bada-boom, things are back in sensible order.
- Baby Vulpix. This one looks stupidly cute, but it would also be a good way to make sense to the whole “Vulpix is born with one tail that later splits into several tails” issue. Maybe this fellow could’ve even be depicted with just one tail instead of the already splitting one to make it look even more distinct from Vulpix?
- Baby Meowth. Okay, for this one I don’t have any other reason than the fact that it looks adorable. But now that I think about it, giving Meowth a baby form would’ve been a good way to also further draw parallel between it and Pikachu line, which also got a baby form in 2nd gen.
- Baby Tangela. Another cutie I just want to exist! The second evolution of Tangela they were planning at this point was also muuuuch better than the Tangrowth we eventually got, but I didn’t draw it because I’m not that huge of a fan of it either. But the baby I would’ve definitely loved! (This is also the only Pokémon whose sprite colors I just used as they were instead of trying to speculate what they were intended to represent. The reason was that I just plain and simple really liked these colors!)
- Wooper. Okay the final version of Wooper is already pretty nice, but the beta version is just squishably cute! I would literally want an army of these critters! Later they did reuse the idea in Mudkip, but still I think the beta Wooper was better than both Wooper and Mudkip combined.
- Aipom. Oh my god, what happened to this guy?! I like this cat-monkey a million times more than the googly-eyed, noodly-armed monkey-caricature we eventually got. Just why must you hurt me like this, Game Freak?
- Dark cats. I absolutely have no idea why these two didn’t become canon? Yeaaaah they are a little bit close to Umbreon, but, like, take that moon away and the problem is just about solved. The bells are so darn cute and would’ve been absolutely a neat idea! The 2nd gen could’ve also really used a few more Dark type Pokémon, so there’s that, too.
- Flying blob. This guy was going to be cut from this list when I was drawing the line between what I was going to draw and what not, but it was saved mostly because of how well it filled that space up there. This design seems like it was reused in Mantine and maybe Togekiss, but that scary face on the backside didn’t make it into either of the designs, which I think is a shame.
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