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:
Scorbunny is my favorite pokemon starter from gen 8 ! pic.twitter.com/pyjOHzqqfX— PKBunny (@PSIBunny) February 27, 2019
stop being mean to them they are friembs!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/uFGwMmYWXH— @ ttm (again) (@finnmertens) February 27, 2019
SCORBUNNY THE BEST STARTER SINCE TORCHIC pic.twitter.com/VOQ4sD3wpC— Wes (@WESABl) February 27, 2019
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.
So this is how Sobble works, right? pic.twitter.com/Ke3Ft7fJAH— Shenaniganza (@dbMisadventure) February 27, 2019
Thoughts on Sobble:— BYOC | ShuC (@ShuCTheYoung) February 27, 2019
Want to protect it ☑
Want to see it grow up healthy ☑
Love it to bits ☑
Shy introvert & precious cutie ☑ pic.twitter.com/8qZeoenyYa
Sobble evolves into Bawlin evolves into Havinacryonthesubwayafteraroughdayatwork— brian david gilbert (@briamgilbert) February 27, 2019
sobble is scared and sad and so am i therefore we will be best friends— Reb ✨ (@serinide) February 27, 2019
gym leader: Yer starter doin' alright, lass?— ellen (heaven version) ️ [80/300] (@bursterasure) February 27, 2019
player character: He's fine ma Sobble's just havin' a wee cry is all
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.