The Too Many Eeveeses



I've never been one of those people who dislikes something just because it feels disproportionately popular, so despite the fact that an overwhelming majority of other pokemon have done a little more to earn adulation and despite the fact that there are black-hearted individuals out there who actually only like pokemon at all for the Eevee line, I'm not going to let any of that sour my opinion. It isn't Eevee's fault that it's essentially the Homestuck troll of the pokemon world. That's still a relevant reference to make, right? Didn't the house just get stuck again or something? It's April 2016. If you're reading this in October 2050 I refuse to explain, you're on your own.

So yeah, on its own merits, Eevee is pretty damn cute. It's not in itself terribly creative, but it's both cute and extremely natural looking, another of those pokemon that avoids the dreaded anime eyes of so many others, and you'd think pokemon would learn from its popularity that the jagged anime faces are nearly always the less endearing option on any given design.



This normal type isn't strictly famous for being adorable, of course, but for its evolutionary gimmick. In the first generation, it was the only pokemon with more than one possible evolutionary form, and even had three of them, which seemed totally wild at the time. These days? There are dozens of pokemon with at least two possible evolutionary paths, and while Eevees continue to boast the most options in life, the gimmick feels like it's worn at least a little thin.

EEVEEOMETER:

With Eevee and its many mutations enjoying a fandom practically unto their own, they will be receiving their own special rating system, judging them strictly as Eevees, rather than against pokemon as a whole.

So, the very first numerical Eeveelution, as the kids call them, is actually my current favorite of the original three and kind of remains my favorite overall, so it's gonna be a little downhill from here, I hate to say.

The water-type Vaporeon is cool, because you don't see a whole lot of four-footed mammals given scaly fish features. I really like the combination of the fins for "ears," the reptilian neck frill and the serrated ridge down its back, all of which has a really classical dragon sort of feel to it.

Vaporeon has what I think are the most interesting pokedex details of this family, supposedly capable of loosening up its structure and "melting" into pure water as it pleases, a process which would have to look fairly distressing to witness. Hypothetically, an entire Vaporeon could enter your body and explode you from the inside.

The pokedex also claims Vaporeon's "cellular structure" is "similar to water molecules," which makes absolutely no sense but whatever.

EEVEEOMETER:


Next, we have Jolteon, which was actually my favorite of the Eeveelutions back when Pokemon was relatively new. This was due to the fact that its hair supposedly forms dangerously sharp needles, which in turn are electrified, so just touching this thing is like getting tazed. That's fairly interesting for an electric-type pokemon, or at least was at the time. Otherwise, the design still isn't much more than a Super Seijin fox.

EEVEEOMETER:


Eevee's final option in the Red/Blue era was Flareon. A fire type Eevee was a given, and while it's not my cup of tea, I can respect the choice that at least one of the three looks like a more straightforward evolution of Eevee itself. It's just too bad, for people who enjoy Flareon, that it apparently remains the most strategically useless of the trio.

Altogether, the Eevees did feel like something unique and magical in 1996.

EEVEEOMETER:


Cue Pokemon Gold and Silver, which was not only the first time we received a batch of brand new pokemon, but the first time we received any brand new pokemon types: dark type and steel type. Fans were positive we would get both dark and steel evolutions for Eevee, respectively, but to this day, there's no metal-plated Eevee in sight. Instead, Eevee's two new forms were used to show off the game's new real-time and "friendship" mechanics.

Maximize your Eevee's hidden "friendship" stat through consistent attention and level it up in daylight, and you'll end up with Espeon, a psychic-type Eevee. Appropriately for the type, Espeon looks slightly more like a spooky cat than a weird fox, and in fact, its split tail is more than likely a reference to the youkai, Nekomata, a cat which has acquired both a split tail and magical abilities in its old age, including shape-shifting, teleportation, and the ability to control corpses!

If you want a spooky kitty in your pokemon team, Espeon is still one of the better designed, more down-to-Earth options.

Unfortunately, Espeon marks the start of a new design trend for the Eeveans; thinner, lighter, and much less divergent.

EEVEEOMETER:


See what I mean? Espeon's "night-time" counterpart is even more simplified than the basic Eevee. A lot of people like that, and I've praised this kind of naturalistic feel in other pokemon, but we've seen that Eev-o's can be weirder looking than this. I will say however that this dark-type is VERY cool, particularly for its color scheme, but also because the pokedex also says it sweats poison, and its gold markings light up in the dark as a warning. That's some pretty fun, believable biology going on, and Umbreon even became my favorite of the line for a few years.

It was around this point, however, that Eevee and company rocketed to the top of popularity. Now that we knew there could conceivably be more of them on the horizon, the internet really exploded with original Eevee fan-forms, Eeveesonas, ideas for third stage Eeevees, Eevee fusions, Eevee babies, you name it.

Naturally, as soon as a third generation was announced, the Eevee sub-fandom went hog-wild with speculation. Would we finally get a steel Eevee? Rock? DRAGON!?!

Instead, Eevee not only received no new evolutions at all, but was unobtainable in the third-gen games, another of the less fair reasons Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire were considered the "worst" generation of them all.

EEVEEOMETER:


It felt like, maybe, just maybe, Eevee's tyranny might have been put to rest...until the fourth generation rolled around, and we got another two of the dang things, the first of which was the grass type, Leafeon.

Judging Leafeon for Leafeon, it's not bad at all. The ears and tail turning into tattered leaves is pretty cool looking, and I like the color fade.

That said, Leafeon could not possibly be more predictable for a grass type Eevee. It's pretty much the bare minimum. Eevee+Leaves, boom, done, time to move on. Looking back on the original, more formidable three, Leafeon could have been SO cool. It could have been covered in thorns, it could have had ears and a tail like the jaws of a fly-trap, it could have had vine tentacles, it could have had little weeds and flowers sprouting out of its fur, the sky was the limit.

And they still just went with "Eevee, only leaves." Like I said, it's a pretty nice design and I understand if it's anyone's favorite, but for me, Leafeon demonstrates little imagination when compared to either the other Eevee forms or to virtually any other grass type.

EEVEEOMETER:


And then, there's Glaceon, which suffers all the same problems as Leafeon without the saving grace of a pleasing aesthetic. Glaceon is Eevee, only blue, nothing to see here, folks...unless you're really, really into the fact that Glaceon has anime girl hair glued to its face. This is definitely only supposed to reference the legendary snow woman or Yuki-Onna, but in practice, it accidentally panders to all those people who want to bone Eevees.

I'm not really gonna bash those people at all. We all have our quirks, our guilty pleasures, our unpopular opinions. For some people, that's just wanting to bone all the Eevees. Whatever. They're not real anyway. It's always been difficult, however, to google Eevees for long without running into an orgy of fan-smut, and if Glaceon truly needed to accessorize its creepy moe-dog face with pigtails, the least it could have done was have basically anything else to its design. Anything. Kimono-like fur. A tail like a winter scarf. Give is SOMETHING besides "blue with hair" to represent the ice type.

EEVEEOMETER:


After that double-whammy of disappointment, Eevees were laid to rest for one more generation, until the sixth, which introduced just one to show off the new "fairy" type.

...And I actually find it pretty cool.

Yes, it kinda takes that anime-character syndrome and even adds tentacles to the mix, but as a design, Sylveon is probably the most interesting Eeveelution next to Vaporeon. I like that it has "bows" and "ribbons" of basically its own flesh and fur. Fairy is superficially the most innocent, cutesy pokemon type, and yet, the fairy Eevee is one of the stranger and more inventive of its kin.

It also feels, appropriately enough, like it wraps up Eeveelutions with a nice little bow. Eevee now has exactly eight possible forms, a perfectly even number, and each form is both strong and weak against at least one of the other forms, isn't it? I have a feeling in my gut that we definitely haven't seen the last of these things, but for now, Sylveon is a nice note to end them on.

EEVEEOMETER:

With its extreme ups and downs but interesting enough gimmick, the Eevee line as a whole would probably get three and a half to four pokeballs in our traditional rating system. I was almost dreading reviewing these things because I didn't think I could say much about them individually, but they proved me wrong, and I actually had a lot of fun reviewing something so outside my usual tastes, which is part of why I vowed to review every Pokemon in the first place.


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