From a campfire curry with some suspect meat products to haunted teapots and fish-spewing seabirds, Nintendo's steady stream of Pokémon: Sword & Shield reveals have been both confusing and delighting the Internet for months now. Something Pokémon fans have come to expect since the release of Sun & Moon are the addition of region-specific variations, and the latest trailer from the Pokémon Company does not disappoint.
Meet Sirfetch'd: the Galar region-exclusive evolution of Farfetch'd.
That's right! Farfetch'd, the lowly, leek-carrying Wild Duck is getting knighted. Once forced to fend off hungry attackers with a blunted vegetable, the new-and-improved, Fighting-type Sirfetch'd comes equipped with a lance and shield fashioned, of course, from its trademark leek. "Only Farfetch'd that have survived many battles can attain this evolution," its official description reveals. "When this Pokémon's leek withers, it will retire from combat." (Old Man Sirfetch'd, anyone?)
It goes on: "They are calm and collected, and they make a point of always battling fairly. They are so noble in battle that they are often chosen as a motif for paintings. Of particular note is a painting -- famous in the Galar region -- that depicts a duel between a Sirfetch'd and an Escavalier." Escavalier is a Bug/Steel-type from the fifth Generation who, with a red plume and two candy-striped lances, also closely resembles a classic knight. The tie-in anime episode practically writes itself.
Sirfetch'd's unveiling was preempted by a glitch that affected Pokémon's official sites on September 13, hinting at another new spin on an old classic. (The error has since been blamed on a "mischievous" Rotom in the system.) Whether a genuine mistake or a calculated marketing ploy, it certainly helped build up a drum roll before Sirfetch'd's official debut. Updating preexisting evolutionary lines, particularly those from the hallowed first and second Generations, is a trepidatious exercise that doesn't always sit well with fans. In 2012, Smoochum, the "baby" pre-evolution added to Jynx's line made IGN's readers' poll of the top 10 "Most Hated" Pokémon. (Though that may have just been people piling on the Jynx hate train.)
Elsewhere, region variants are pretty hit and miss. On the one hand, Exeggcutor's Alolan version is a ludicrous tower of magnificence. On the other, Alolan Persian looks like it has mumps.
At 23 years -- the longest gap, we think, between a Pokémon's original introduction and a variant/evolutionary form -- this one really had to be worth the wait. Sirfetch'd only hours after its initial release into the wilds of the online world is being met with a wave of approval:
Sirfetch'd's Japanese name is "Negigaknight", which is olausibly a mashup of "negi" (leek onion), "giga" and "knight". So basically, he's GIGA ONION KNIGHT. holy fuck
— mad p ☿️ (@pancakeparadox) September 18, 2019
I haven't kept up with pokemon since 2002, but I would die for Sirfetch'd pic.twitter.com/C8kkDbTvgw
— Sara Alfageeh @ NYCC B-34 (@SaraAlfageeh) September 18, 2019
— Bel J. 🌺 (@orcafall) September 18, 2019
Without waxing lyrical for too long about a bird with a sharpened bundle of leaves, we can totally see why. The previously released Generation I variant coming to Sword & Shield, the Galarian form of Weezing, merged the Pokémon's toxic fumes with the factory chimneys of the U.K.'s industrial revolution -- the country that clearly serves as Galar's inspiration. (We say "chimney," you say bong.)
Sirfetch'd takes one of the franchise's obscure oddities and gives it a culturally-specific upgrade that brilliantly builds on its roots. It's more than a localization, it's an elevation: From wandering Celtic warrior to a knight of the realm. Sirfetch'd is Pokémon design at its best, proof that, among the handful of misfires, the game series has far from run out of creative steam.
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