For as long as we can remember there has been a popular theory surrounding the Fire-type starter of every Pokemon generation. For the uninitiated or ignorant, Pokemon fans have long theorized that each generation’s Fire-type starter Pokemon is based on one of the 12 Chinese zodiac animals.
Ever since Gen 8’s Pokemon Sword and Shield released, fans have been speculating what the next Firestarter will be.
Here’s what trainers have matched with this Zodiac so far:
- Rat – Cyndaquil
- Tiger litten
- Rabbit – Scorbunny
- Dragon – Charmander
- Monkey – Chimchar
- Rooster – Torchic
- Dog – Fenekin
- Pig – Tepig
Of the 12 animals, only four remain unmatched Pokémon – Ox, Snake, Horse, and Goat.
With the announcement of Pokémon Scarlet and Violet and our introduction to the three new starters, however, the Chinese zodiac thread seems to be fraying at the seams.
Fuecoco, the Fire Croc Pokemon and Fire-type starter of Gen 9, doesn’t fit into the remaining four animals at first glance. He is a clumsy, large-mouthed crocodile whose design is based on a chili pepper. And the dragon — another “type” of lizard — is already taken. So what is Fuecoco doing to bust a hugely popular fan theory?
Honestly, this theory has always been a bit tenuous, and many Pokémon fans have debated its merits over the years. Starting with Gen 2 Cyndaquil, this little guy’s Pokédex entry describes him as a Rat Pokémon, but his Quilava and Typhlosion evolutions are closer to badgers. Alternatively, the whole line could be inspired by echidnas.
Then there is the Fennekin line, all of which are foxes rather than true domestic dogs. However, foxes are is a member of the animal family Canidae, which makes them canidae and is closely related to dogs.
Last up is the OG Fire starter, Charmander. Being a fire lizard, Charmander isn’t technically a dragon – at least until he evolves into a Charizard. It flies and breathes fire, after all! So it’s a similar problem with Cyndaquil, except he’s getting closer to his supposed inspiration rather than further away as he evolves.
However, there is a fairly plausible way to prove the truth of the zodiac theory. Trust the artistic side of the Pokémon community to really shine with some truly stunning Fakemon designs. Artist Bromojumbofor example, drew inspirational renditions of what the final evolutions of the starting trio might look like:
All three are quite plausible. The potential final evolution of Fuecoco, Picolebre, is based on El Cuelebre, a mythical winged serpent. There are also obvious inspirations from Quetzalcoatl – the Mesoamerican Aztec winged serpent deity – in there.
This design would fit the mold of zodiac starters, and a snake-evolving crocodile isn’t entirely unreasonable. Especially in a franchise where a fish can evolve into an octopus!
The Pokémon Company has never confirmed the zodiac theory, nor do we really expect them to. We’re not going to know for sure until the final evolution of Fuecoco is a snake (or a horse – although the idea of a horse crocodile hybrid is absolutely terrifying), or until Gen 12. if it turns out to be true.
What do you think? Is your compatibility with Chimchar due to the fact that you were born in the Year of the Rat? Or are you convinced that the Cyndaquil line are all deceptively bad badgers? Have your say below!