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Popplio’s evolutionary line is Pokémon’s best ugly duckling story

The dumb clown seal has blossomed into a beautiful seal superstar


Remember how much we all hated Popplio when Pokémon Sun and Moon’s starters were announced? Turns out that Game Freak, developer of the franchise, was just trying to teach us all a little lesson about snap judgments. We’ve now seen the stupid-looking, clown-nosed water-type’s full evolutionary line, thanks to last night’s big data dump, and it’s official: Popplio is a precious flower, a gorgeous soul and a true beauty.

Meet ... whoever this is, Popplio’s long-rumored, finally confirmed (by way of leak) last evolution:

Isn’t it pretty? It’s like a mermaid had a baby with the most majestic seal in the ocean. We’re jealous of that hair, but we’re more entranced by that coquettish look on its face. How could you not be?

Indeed, this (very feminine) Pokémon is modelesque. But that means we have to confront our previous feelings about Popplio, whom most of us were quick to write off as the worst of the three starters.

But we began to suspect that we’d been wrong about Popplio, that stupid, dopey sea lion, when we met its first evolutionary form. Brionne is by definition the “pop star Pokémon,” and its smiling face and loving eyes drew us in quickly.

Perhaps Popplio was more relatable than we first thought, it seemed. Just as many of us were downright hard to look at in our youth, Popplio has room to grow. Where the water starter is a pimply 13-year-old, Brionne is a bright-eyed, self-assured young adult. And whoever this final form is, it’s exactly what we all aspire to be: a confident and attractive adult.

We remained skeptical, however. Popplio was just so ridiculous-looking, especially in comparison to the adorable Rowlett and Litten. Yet, as poor Litten can teach us, a Pokémon needs to stick the landing in order to really win us over. And that’s exactly what Popplio has done for the Pokémon community at large.

Never judge a book by its cover, Pokémon fans. We’re not pledging full allegiance to the Popplio line or anything — we’ll wait until Nov. 18 to make our final decision — but the water-type’s journey from “blah” to beautiful is something of which we should all take notice.