25 Best & Coolest Pokémon Designs Of All Time (Ranked)

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A list this definitive is always going to be controversial. On top of that, my tastes are… well… unusual.

I’ve got so many bad takes here that you’re bound to find something to disagree with me over, but that’s okay. We’re all civilized here (I hope?).

Plus, this is my list so there’s nothing we can do about it!

OK in all seriousness, there have been some stellar Pokémon designs over the years. And Game Freak needs to be commended for that.

I’m doing that in my own special way by celebrating what I consider to be the best Pokémon creature designs ever made.

 

25. Vespiquen

Vespiquen In Pokemon Anime

To escape from what was an utterly uneventful and boring childhood, I would often fantasize about living in the Pokémon world.

I mean, I still do, just not in the same way.

It just so happens that Sinnoh was the region of my prime Pokémon days, although I have played every single generation since Red and Blue.

How does this affect Vespiquen? Well, it just so happens that my fantasy of choice was that of a beekeeper. Weird, I know.

I spent many a night slathering honey onto the barks of the various trees around the Gen IV map, although I somehow never got my hands on a Munchlax.

I did get my hands on a Vespiquen, though. Which became my partner Pokémon for all my Combee catching escapades.

You can think what you will about the fact that I spent my childhood like that, I honestly don’t know what I was doing myself. But there’s no taking it back now.

 

24. Mewtwo

Mewtwo Using Shadow Ball - Pokemon Anime Screenshot

Don’t shoot me, okay! Or do… put me out of my misery.

In all seriousness, I’m not a big Mewtwo fan. And for that, I’m half-heartedly sorry.

Still, the design is good enough to warrant a spot in this list.

You’re going to be mad at some of the entries I’ve placed higher, and that’s okay.

Although I could put forward the argument of whether or not Mewtwo is actually a Pokémon, what with it being humanmade.

Yet that opens up a whole moral dilemma that, despite this article already being off to a questionably PG start, I’d just rather avoid.

 

23. Staraptor

Staraptor In Pokemon Anime

Staraptor is what I wished I looked like back in my pop-punk days.

Unfortunately, I’m fat and never had the courage to dye my fringe red. So this entry is more like reminiscing about what could have been.

When it comes to design, though, Staraptor is easily my favorite generational bird Pokémon, just barely beating out Braviary.

I’m 21, and I still wish I could rock the emo look that this edge-lord of a bird does. But it is what it is.

 

22. Roserade

Roserade Pokemon Anime Screenshot

Roserade is very much the other side of my personality.

On the one hand, you have the emo Staraptor that’s troubled and edgy. And on the other side, you have the boy who loves flowers.

And I like cool flowers. Which is why Roserade is here instead of some modern frilly looking grass type.

What’s not to love about a rose ninja vigilante?

It’s such a bizarre idea that it could honestly only ever work in the Pokémon universe… but work it does.

 

21. Alakazam

Alakazam In The Pokemon Anime

When you talk about the OGs of Pokémon, Alakazam and Gengar always come up.

The latter hasn’t earned a spot in this list. But if it did, it would be here.

For a concept design I prefer Alakazam, though. And if you were a gen 1 R/B/Y player then you know why.

This guy was stupidly overpowered back in the glory days.

Game Freak was caught with its proverbial pants around its ankles and messed up the psychic typing. As a result, Alakazam turned the original elite four into a face roll.

That’s why it beats Gengar. But the design of this spoon-bending Avatar remains one of the coolest to this day.

There’s quite a few Gen I Pokémon higher on this list. Yet Alakazam remains one of the best-looking of the bunch that (probably) wouldn’t be considered one of the generation’s hallmark ‘mons.

 

20. Rapidash

Rapidash In The Pokemon Anime

You hate me and think my opinion sucks. That’s okay; you’re allowed to think that.

But I love Rapidash.

Not even touching on it’s out-of-this-world shiny form, it’s just a fire horse. It’s such a simple Gen I design which seems good enough on principle alone.

It looks majestic. I imagine it feels majestic too. And I love the idea of some trainer riding one of these things into battle.

If you can’t get on board with a fiery stallion creature design, then we can’t be friends.

 

19. Haxorus

Haxorus Pokemon Anime Screenshot

This is another 50/50 situation.

Hydreigon could have easily occupied this spot, but I’m giving it to Haxorus by a tiny margin, despite being a Hydreigon stan myself.

Dragon types have a history of being not only stupidly powerful, but also badass looking as well.

Game Freak loves its dragons, and I’m not going to complain.

Haxorus looks like it has just mauled some poor Jigglypuff to death. And I honestly believe that it could (and would) if given the chance.

 

18. Luxray

Luxray Pokemon Anime

Luxray is a lot of people’s favorite Pokémon. And unlike Charizard, that opinion is valid (I’m sorry!).

I really don’t have too much wit or cynicism to add here.

It’s just one of the most fundamentally solid and cool-looking Pokémon designs to come out of any of the generations.

It’s a badass brooding lighting dog thing. And to own one is all I’ve ever really wanted from life.

 

17. Blaziken

Blaziken In Pokemon Anime

Blaziken is my personal favorite starter of all time. But I concede that there are other starters out there with better designs.

Along with a later entry on this list, it’s also one of the infamous fire/fighting typings that actually makes sense.

Blaziken has clearly never skipped leg day.

And it looks like it’s mastered several different martial arts in its preparation to take that title off Machamp.

 

16. Darkrai

Darkrai In The Pokemon Anime

Here we go with the emo phase again.

If Staraptor wore the emo getup as a façade, Darkrai embodies everything that the subculture represents.

It’s a dark, nightmarish Pokémon that’s made from shadow. Admittedly, Gengar has already done that… but Darkrai does it better.

One look at this Pokémon should be all it takes to justify a solid mid-level spot on this list.

 

15. Lucario

Lucario Bone Rush Move In The Pokemon Anime

Lucario is one of the most recognizable Pokémon of all time. And in my opinion, it’s easily the best looking humanoid Pokémon in existence.

It’s very much “cool” personified.

The way it carries itself is enough to make ladies and men alike swoon all over Sinnoh and beyond.

Its level headed and indifferent demeanor gives this thing an air of arrogance that only adds to that coolness factor.

If you’re ever looking for a Pokémon to model your own personal style after, aside from Staraptor (or in my case Slowpoke) then it should be Lucario.

 

14. Torterra

Torterra In The Pokemon Anime

It has a literal tree growing on its back.

What more do you want from me?

Definitely one of the cooler grass-type Pokémon, at least from the later gens.

 

13. Dragonite

Angry Dragonite Battle Stance In Pokemon Anime

Like Alakazam, Dragonite is a Pokémon OG and the grandaddy to all dragon types that we know and love today.

While there are definitely cooler looking and better-designed dragon types that we’ve seen since, Dragonite can take a proud middle of the road spot on my list.

Instead of the fear-inducing design of dragon types that have followed, Dragonite looks like it’s just happy to be there.

It’s chubby, loveable, simple, and is just happiness: the Pokémon.

 

12. The Eeveelutions

Eeveelutions In The Pokemon Anime With Ilima

Am I cheating by putting a whole bunch of Pokémon in one spot? Yes.

Do I care? No.

Even if you don’t like some of the Eeveelutions, chances are there’s one in there that you’re particularly fond of. For me, that’s Flareon.

Or that might be something like Jolteon for you, if you’re a weirdo.

Opinions aside, there’s no doubt that the continued thematic designs that Game Freak has used over the generations with these guys has made them some of the best looking Pokémon to this day.

Every single one manages to be unique in its own right, but similar enough that all of them can fit into the same family.

That’s an impressive design feat, to say the least.

 

11. Charizard

Charizard In Pokemon Anime

Aha! I bet you didn’t think Charizard would be on this list after my earlier comment.

Being serious, I actually don’t like Charizard all that much. Don’t get me wrong; it’s not horrible by any means.

I just hate the Gen I loyalist’s cult of personality around the wannabe dragon.

Design-wise, though, it’s what a dragon should be, despite not actually having the typing.

It’s simple, it’s orange, and it’s got wings. It could almost fit into Yu-Gi-Oh! with how simple and effective the design is.

I don’t think it’s good enough to earn any higher spot into the top 5, though. And I would say I’m sorry for that, but I’m really not.

 

10. Yveltal

Yveltal Pokemon Screenshot

Legendaries are a mixed bag for me.

There’s a handful that I absolutely adore, which you’ll see later. But also those that I absolutely hate (looking at you Kyogre, you glorified Wailord).

It also just so happens that I’m a sucker for black and red color combinations. That’s possibly a remnant of my emo days, but I own it.

There are a handful of sprites that have used that color combination. But none use it nearly as well as Yveltal.

It’s a dark Pokémon with a literal species of destruction. It’s the type of thing you would only see in a legend, so it’ legendary status is very much deserved.

And it also fits into the X and Y team without being obnoxious.

 

9. Aegislash

Aegislash Pokemon Screenshot

Kalos had some real heavy hitters when it came to cool design, and Aegislash is another example of that.

When you think regal and royalty (a major theme in that generation) what do you think of? Maybe a crown or a throne, and maybe you’ll eventually think of a sword and shield.

This is Pokémon. So that sword and shield naturally needs to become a living and breathing animal.

Easily the best-looking Pokémon based on a real-life item. Which is reason enough to put it on the list.

It’s the sort of Pokémon that wouldn’t look out of place on the wall of a throne room, as morally gray as that would be.

 

8. Dragapult

Dragapult Pokemon Anime Screen

Dragapult is my favorite dragon type of all time.

Is that influenced by the fact that it’s the first shiny I ever hatched?

Maybe, but I digress.

This Pokémon is based on a stealth bomber. As a veteran FPS player, that’s a design that’s just begging to be on my team.

It’s got the perfect all-round balance to make it one of the most unique yet stellar-looking Pokémon of all time, and is easily at the top of the Galar list.

Plus, just look at those eyes. You just know Dragapult is judging you, and there’s nothing that you can do about it.

 

7. Infernape

Infernape Thunderpunch - Pokemon Anime Screenshot

Infernape is the starter of choice for the more discerning Pokémon fan, and I’m completely okay with that.

It’s an ape with a fire head that blends a simple color combination wonderfully.

A prime example of a fire/fighting type that does the combo better than Blaziken ever could, even with its mega evolution.

While I’ll admit that I took Turtwig as my Gen IV starter, I can compromise in saying that Infernape is the better designed of the two.

 

6. Galarian Rapidash

Galarian Rapidash - Pokemon Sword Screenshot

Is it cheating by putting Rapidash on this list twice?

Yes, but do you honestly care?

I love unicorns, yes I’m a guy, and yes that’s okay. I’ve always had a love of them for whatever reason, and have been looking for a unicorn Pokémon for years.

When we finally got one in Gen VIII, I knew I had to get one.

I bought Sword, so I went out of my way to get my hands on one before I played through the majority of the game.

It’s a unicorn Pokémon. I know that’s all I’m saying, but that’s all that I can say.

 

5. Blastoise

Blastoise In The Pokemon Anime

Now we’re onto the real king of the Gen I starters.

Blastoise is easily the best-designed OG Pokémon, and it’s not even close.

Whoever thought of giving a giant turtle two massive cannons that come out of its shell is a genius, and definitely not getting paid enough.

It’s a visibly bulky Pokémon that looks like you would find it in a seedy sailor’s bar. And I love that, for whatever reason.

 

4. Rayquaza

Rayquaza In Pokemon Anime

Rayquaza’s spot at number 4 is heavily influenced by the Pokémon’s shiny sprite; I couldn’t lie to you guys.

But its original sprite is still one of the greatest of all time.

It’s unlike most of the dragon types we’ve seen over the years, and that’s a good thing.

I would argue that it’s the first time that Game Freak really got the legendary design right, even though Ho-Oh and Lugia are great too.

The green serpentine body, the yellow emblazoning, and the red accents all come together in what is a Pokémon that looks like it comes from outer space. Which isn’t too off the mark, considering the Alpha and Omega remakes.

 

3. Garchomp

Garchomp Pokemon Anime Screenshot

Yet another dragon-type graces the list, except this time it’s Cynthia’s nightmare machine.

Garchomp is here for only one reason: sheer unrivaled ferocity.

If there’s a Pokémon that looks like it could rip you to shreds, it’s this one.

Garchomp is covered in spikes, blades, and points, just to make sure that you know it could slice you up on a whim.

I have a bit of a pet peeve about its puny shoulders, though. Which is partly why I can’t justify a higher spot for it.

 

2. Gardevoir/Gallade

Gardevoir In The Pokemon Anime

Both of these guys get the number two spot because of the similarities between them.

While each design is clearly unique, it’s close enough to warrant not separating them. They’re both so awesome.

Gallade is actually my favorite Pokémon of all time. Gardevoir is my second favorite Pokémon of all time, and not for that reason so get your mind out of the gutter; that’s what Lopunny is for.

There’s just something about the elegance that these two bring to the table.

Gallade has its swordsmanship demeanor and just exudes honor, while Gardevoir is nothing short of Grace Kelly made Pokémon.

You’re going to be hard-pressed to find a best Pokémon design list that doesn’t feature these two at some point; it just so happens they’re at the top of mine.

 

1. Groudon

Groudon Pokemon Anime Screenshot

Groudon is a bit of a dark horse for the “best designed” spot.

In fact, I didn’t even expect it to be here before I was doing research for this list.

Despite that, there’s no denying just how well Game Freak has done here.

Groudon defines power like no other Pokémon we’ve ever seen.

Without even touching on just how intimidating the fight is, the red color palette combined with all of those spikes turns Groudon into (arguably) the strongest-looking Pokémon ever created.

Game Freak really knocked it out of the park with the Gen III legendaries. And Groudon is the opus magnum of that.

Plus, I already said I’m a sucker for black and red.

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