In case you somehow haven't heard the news, Pokémon — everyone's favorite handheld video game franchise in which you capture wild animals, cram them inside small confined spaces and force them to battle each other — announced the next step in the franchise earlier this year.
That step of course is Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon, the games which are expected to take Pokémon all the way to Gen VII when they release on November 18, 2016. And last week's big reveal brought with it not only our first look at the Sun and Moon covers, it also unveiled the shiny new starter Pokémon! Check out the video below for the first footage of the newcomers.
You'd think at this juncture the creators would be seriously running out of ideas, and previous efforts have seemed to indicate so (anyone remember Probopass?) but the new offering of starters is looking pretty good right now. So which one will you pick?
The only duel type of the bunch is Rowlet, the traditional Grass starter who also falls under the umbrella of the Flying type. Modeled after an owlet — a baby owl — the cute little guy even sports a bowtie in the form of a little green crest on his chest. D'aww.
Cuteness aside, owls are known throughout folklore as everything from bringers of good fortune to harbingers of death, so don't underestimate Rowlet even though he's cute as a button.
Being nocturnal and possessing of excellent night vision could prove to be very useful too, as the new games may have a day/night system in place, due to the fact they're named Sun and Moon.
The dual grass/flying type is handy too. Grass type Pokémon have an 200% advantage over Water, Ground and Rock, but a weakness against Fire, Ice, Poison, Flying and Bug. On the other hand, Flying types are strong against Grass, Fighting and Bug Pokémon, but weak against Electric, Ice and Rock. So as long as you don't take a Rowlet to an Ice fight you should get on just fine.
The Fire starter Litten is another cutie of the bunch, but with an expression that says don't mess. Like the baby owl Rowlet, Litten's name and design is taken from a kitten — a young cat — but he's spiky around the edges rather than rotund. So what about cats? Cats have long been a staple of various Pokémon designs, and if you didn't bust your ass trying to get a Persian in the original games then you missed a trick.
They're another folklore staple, especially in Ancient Egyptian mythology with the likes of the goddess Bastet, the guardian of the home and secrets, and a ward against evil spirits and disease.
Like owls, cats are also known for their excellent night vision. In terms of contemporary pop culture though they're mainly seen as self-centered jerks and cheeseburger worshippers, but we can get on board with that.
Litten is a Fire type, which gives it a 200% effectiveness against Grass, Ice, Bug and Steel. On the other paw though, Fire is weak against Water, Ground and Rock, so make sure you build up a balanced team.
Poor Popplio. The announcement was barely off the presses before the internet starting making fun of the little seal pup. Maybe it's the neck ruff, or the oversized ping pong ball nose, or the way he looks so damn aloof when he stands up on his hind flippers.
Popplio's design is based on that of a seal pup, a performing seal to be precise. Seals are held within Gaelic mythology to be graceful mermaid-like creatures named Selkies, who shed their seal-skin and come from the sea to walk on land amongst humans.
But performing seals are a little different, while still sleek and graceful creatures, they're paraded as the clowns of the sea, balancing balls on their nose and following the commands of their trainers. Which is pretty apt for the Pokémon series.
Popplio is a Water type, which means it's super effective against Fire, Ground and Rock. The Water type weaknesses are Electric and Grass, but it also has a 50% resistance against Ice and Steel.
Pokémon Sun and Moon are set to release worldwide on November 18, 2016 for 3DS and the New 3DS.