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Pokémon fans want to protect Sobble at all costs

Precious water baby

Sobble emerging from the water
Game Freak

A new starter trio inevitably sparks conversation among Pokémon diehards. Which starter is the cutest? Will the fire starter end up being a fighting Pokémon yet again? And most importantly, who will you pick?

Opinions will vary depending on who you ask, but early on, there are already some common threads surrounding Pokémon Sword and Shield. Everyone feels strongly about whatever monster they’re siding with, because that’s fandom for you. And because starters tend to look like babies, many aficionados are expressing tenderness toward their choices, judging from posts circulating on social media:

While enthusiasm and softness are directed at every option, one segment of the fandom is especially vocal with these particular sentiments. It all has to do with the lore that Game Freak has officially shared with people.

Sobble, the water-type choice, is said to be a timid creature who attacks while hiding. Fans have latched onto this description, and begun to characterize Sobble as a sensitive monster who probably tears up a lot. Sobble, sobbing — get it? Accordingly, a lot of fan art features Sobble crying, sometimes even while attacking. No wonder people feel protective of the little guy.

The fandom around Sobble is interesting in light of the last generation of Pokémon, introduced in Sun and Moon. When seventh-gen water-type starter Popplio was announced, many fans pounced on its innocent demeanor, resulting in an internet bullying campaign against the poor water starter. Things only got worse as the evolutions for Popplio were revealed — many fans were confused that Popplio turned into something so “feminine.” Rejection ensued, though this nastiness also emboldened some fans to champion Popplio through a defense squad.

Game Freak has leaned into this characterization of water-type Pokémon as sweet and sensitive once again in Sword and Shield, but unlike last time, things aren’t getting ugly. Instead, Pokémon fans are banding together in feeling maternal toward the new water baby. I mean, look at it. How can you be mean toward a critter that is already having a hard time?

Sobble may not end up being the most popular option — that crown seems to belong to the spunky Scorbunny, given current trending tags — but it may end up being the most heartfelt choice.

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