RetroVision – Pokémon’s New Starters Part 3: Popplio

In parts one and two we looked at Pokémon Sun & Moon’s brand new grass and fire type starters in Rowlet and Litten. Whilst both are brand new, based on fan reaction, it seems like Rowlet and Litten are already more than a hit with Pokémon fans worldwide. However, there’s one more brand new Pokémon that’s set to debut this November.

That Pokémon is of course Pokémon Sun & Moon’s water-type starter, the equally adorable sea lion Popplio. Popplio may not have gained the same unanimous outpouring of love that Rowlet and Litten have received, however that doesn’t make it any less deserving. First of all not only is the Pokémon’s overall appearance extremely charming, but is seems this is also mirrored in the Pokémon’s characteristics that seem to clearly represent a playful and loyal dog.

Popplio Pokedex
Some general Pokédex information about Popplio.

Aside from simply looking as its appearance though, as with Rowlet and Litten, there’s also a fair amount we can learn based solely on the information that’s already been released. First up, it seems that the energetic sea lion’s playfulness is also one its strengths in battle. You see, whilst Popplio can snort out water from its nose, it also has a tendency to use this water to create balloons of water. All before spinning these around its opponent in a battle style that mixes strategy and fun.

What’s more, whilst Popplio is extremely playful, it’s also very hardworking at the same time. It turns out that Popplio’s skills with the water balloons it creates both in and out of battle are something the little Pokémon practices relentlessly. On top of this, it also has a tremendous amount of energy stored away in its body, so much so that when it gets going it’s said to have the ability to impressive anyone.

Popplio Attacks
Popplio showcasing its acrobatic abilities and water balloon skills.

Popplio’s skill with water extends far beyond water balloons though. In fact, the little sea lion’s swimming speed can even be known to extend well beyond 25 mph, something that it combines with a great deal of agility and manoeuvrability when submerged in its natural habitat. Even more impressive though, is the fact that whilst Popplio is better suited to water, when on land it’s able to make up for any deficiencies by utilising the elasticity in its water balloons to perform incredible acrobatic stunts and jumps.

Additionally, in terms of Popplio’s name, as always this is a clever pun, albeit one that is far more complicated than normal due to the way it takes a great deal of inspiration from Hawaii, the inspiration for Pokémon Sun & Moon’s Alola region. That’s because this time around, it appears as though Popplio’s name has been created by seemingly merging the word pup, as in a sea lion pup, alongside two Hawaiian words in pōpō (meaning ball), and īlio-holo-i-ka-uaua (a term commonly used to refer to the Hawaiian monk seal, but literally meaning “dog that runs in water”). On the other hand though, Popplio’s Japanese name Ashimari (アシマリ) is a much simpler merging of words, combining ashika (海驢) meaning sea lion, with mari (鞠) meaning ball.

Finally, unlike both Rowlet and Litten, it is unknown at this point whether Popplio can also utilise a move that takes advantage of its water-type right from the moment it becomes your partner. However, it is probably fairly safe to assume this is the case. Although it will be interesting to see whether this is a move we are more than aware of as is the case with Litten, or rather a brand new move such as the one Rowlet can take advantage of.

All in all in many respects what we currently know about these Pokémon may still be somewhat limited. However, once we learn more, such as what these three evolve into, you can be sure that Rings & Coins will be on hand to fill you in on not only Rowlet, Litten and Popplio, but also everything Pokémon Sun & Moon, as we build up to release this November. Despite this though, one thing is certainly clear, all three are set to be some of the most popular starters of all time, making that early decision all the more harder.

Simon Aubrey Drake

A lifelong gamer with a fanatical love of all things Nintendo and Japan. So much so that I've written a thesis on one and lived in the other. Currently on a quest to catch every last Pokémon. Follow me on twitter via @DudeXChill or @RingsandCoins.

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