• All content from the former Roleplaying Games forum has been merged into the Writers' Workshop forum. You can find more information in this thread.

    We hope to see you roleplaying away soon!
  • The World Beyond Restructure is now finished! Check out the update here!
  • The 2020 staff drive for Bulbagarden is now live! If you're interested in joining the Bulbagarden staff team (whether it be forums, social media, or more!) then you're encouraged to apply!
  • Hey everyone! The Writer's Workshop is hosting an exciting event, Trainers of Fanfiction! It's a community event focused around your characters!

POTW Pokémon of the Week #33: Vulpix and Ninetales

Driving You Batty
Joined
Apr 17, 2010
Messages
2,116
Reaction score
1,079
In the World of Pokémon, there lives a vast number and variety of amazing creatures to befriend and collect. Every week, we will be focusing on a single one of these Pokémon or evolutionary line and talking about what makes it special. This week's Pokémon of choice is the Ninetales line!



Incredibly popular ever since the very beginning Vulpix and Ninetales are fox-based Fire-type Pokémon which have recently gained an Ice-type Alolan variant. This line is greatly inspired by the nine-tailed fox spirits known as kyubi no kitsune that are heavy presence in Japanese folklore and media. These fox spirits are said to have many magical powers and live for a many number of years in some stories going up to 1000 years. Depending on the iteration of the myths being presented after a kitsune reaches 1000 years of age and/or gains its final ninth tail it reaches its most powerful form changing into a golden color which is reflected by the evolution of the original Vulpix. Ninetales are also said to have many mystical powers with at least one for each of its nine tails. The extent of these mystical powers has run the gamut from shifting the weather into either extremes of the temperature range and to cursing a human into becoming a Pokémon. Ninetales also possess a high intellect giving it capacity to understand human speech. Like many of the traits previously described the spiritual powers of kitsune are also well established with this line which is strongly reflected with its learnset being full of status and Ghost-type moves. The parallels between Ninetales and kyubi no kitsune legends are pretty much one-to-one in many of the details. All that’s really missing is the shapeshifting.

Even though for six generations Vulpix and Ninetales have been pure Fire-type Pokémon they have had some appearances in cold areas usually within side games like Mystery Dungeon, Ranger, and Shuffle. This has likely been due to the red fox being well adapted to colder climates and the Arctic fox being one of the more thought of snow-dwelling animals. But with the seventh generation came the introduction of regional variants on older species meaning that there finally came a proper snow fox Pokémon! Alolan Vulpix and Ninetales are a reimagining of the original concepts but with a focus in ice rather than fire. They have fully adapted to life on snowy mountain tops now sporting pure white and pale blue coats that allow them to blend into their surroundings. When evolving the line gains the Fairy-type probably as an allusion to their kitsune basis as well as other mythical cold climate beings. Along with retaining the kitsune reputation as trickster and illusionists Alolan Ninetales have also become revered as deities incarnate due to their beauty and calm demeanor. Alolan Vulpix is quite interesting in that there is another name which it is called in the game. The elderly Alolan people have also given it the name Keokeo which is derived from the Hawaiian word for “white”. It is a show of respect by the native people and how beloved this line has become within Alolan culture.

Here are some questions to consider to get conversation rolling. You don't have to answer all of them or any of them in your post as long as you're staying on topic and within global forum rules.
-Do you like or dislike this Pokémon? Why?
-How is this Pokémon in-game?
-How is this Pokémon in competitive play? Are there any interesting strategies you like to use for them?
-Do you like this Pokémon's representation in the anime? Are there any moments or qualities in particular you enjoy/dislike?
-How do you think this Pokémon would interact with our world?
-If given the power to, would you change anything about this Pokémon and if so, what would you change?
-With Ninetales taking so heavily from its inspiration do you think that its type combo should have also reflected this by it having another type like Ghost, Psychic, or Fairy?
-As a Fire-type becoming an Ice-type do you think this line is a good example of the regional variant concept?
-What do you think about Alolan Vulpix’s other name? Do you think other regional variants could have also have other names and is that an idea you would like to see shown in the future?
If you have any suggestions for Pokémon you'd like to discuss in the future just leave your ideas at the bottom of your post. Make sure you give your thoughts about the current Pokémon first!

If you have any suggestions for Pokémon you'd like to discuss in the future just leave your ideas at the bottom of your post. Make sure you give your thoughts about the current Pokémon first!

Previous Pokémon of the Week:
 
Fire Chicken
Joined
Jun 9, 2012
Messages
19,579
Reaction score
6,375
-Do you like or dislike this Pokémon? Why?
I like them. The designs for both forms are nice, Drought and Ice/Fairy-typing are nice too.
-How is this Pokémon in-game?
I haven't used regular Ninetales ever in-game (I'm more of an Arcanine person and my version picks were towards that too). Alolan Ninetales was very nice even though it came late in Sun, in fact it is one of the reasons I'm glad I got Sun even though I was considering Moon.
-How is this Pokémon in competitive play? Are there any interesting strategies you like to use for them?
Regular Ninetales has Drought. As for Alolan, I don't know much about its competitive use but I think it would be nice with its unique typing.
-Do you like this Pokémon's representation in the anime? Are there any moments or qualities in particular you enjoy/dislike?
I feel like Brock's Vulpix could've made for a better story than what we got, lots of missed potential for an interesting main cast Pokemon. The only regular Ninetales I remember of is that from the Johto episode with the illusion, which made for an actually interesting story but it was filler :( Lillie's Alolan Vulpix better be good, there's lots of potential for this one and I hope they handle it in a way that will somewhat compensate for the way Brock's Vulpix was handled.
-How do you think this Pokémon would interact with our world?
Regular Vulpix would be well liked. Some people would be afraid of Ninetales because of its associated legends. Not sure about anything else.
-If given the power to, would you change anything about this Pokémon and if so, what would you change?
Better stats for both variants (more Sp. Atk and Speed, less Attack) and a Fire/Fairy typing for regular Ninetales; upon seeing Alolan being part-Fairy I realized that the regular one would be much nicer if it were to get it too.
-With Ninetales taking so heavily from its inspiration do you think that its type combo should have also reflected this by it having another type like Ghost, Psychic, or Fairy?
Alolan got Fairy and I'm really happy it did; wish regular got it too. It being Fire/Psychic or Fire/Ghost since Gen 1 would've been cool, but then I'd like Arcanine to have a secondary type too; besides I like how we did get those typings anyway later.
-As a Fire-type becoming an Ice-type do you think this line is a good example of the regional variant concept?
Sure; it was really nice seeing Alolan Vulpix have a type that is weak to regular Vulpix' type.
-What do you think about Alolan Vulpix’s other name? Do you think other regional variants could have also have other names and is that an idea you would like to see shown in the future?
I didn't even know about that until now, it sure is nice to have around as a worldbuilding aspect. Wouldn't be against it happening again, as long as said other names stay as "unofficial" as this one.
 
Last edited:
Thesaurus rex
Joined
Jan 2, 2010
Messages
6,582
Reaction score
2,269
I actually quite like these pokémon, despite their popularity (Probably because they've not been overexposed like others I could name). I like that their movesets reflect at least some of the pokédex data and give a strong clue as to their inspiration. Perhaps they could have another type - I think Fairy would be most appropriate - but then I don't see that every pokémon needs to have every type that could possibly apply. I see this obsession every now and again with the idea that every pokémon with a Psychic move somehow needing to be Psychic - why nobody gets this worked up over other types I'll never understand.

There's a tendency, I think, for pokémon that can be in some way anthropomorphic to be treated as basically humans with funny ears. From the relatively little I've read I don't get this coming through in the kitsune folklore - to me, it seems as if the kitsune were thought of as being animals, albeit strangely clever animals, with their own ways of doing things. It reminds me rather strongly of the way the medieval (Well, not just medieval) mind looked at fairies. They may look human, but they certainly don't act like it. I liked the idea enough feature it in a chapter of my fanfic, and it was pleasing to be able to use that much canon and - what to call it? Official inspiration? Whatever - to support it.

The Alolan forms are nice alright. In some ways it's the most obvious thing you could do with the line, but what the hell, it's an obvious design executed well. It would be nice to think of the Alolan name being used for a subspecies name. Something like, let's see ... Vulpes ultrix keokeo, maybe
 
Fluffy with 80% more spots!
Joined
Sep 26, 2011
Messages
2,929
Reaction score
1,045
I love Vulpix and Ninetales! Regular and Alolan formes. =) I wasn't a fan how late in the game they could be captured in Sun and Moon, but the Ice/Fairy-typing was a nice touch for Alolan Ninetales. Regular Ninetales is alright. Not as strong as her Shishi counterpart, Arcanine, but still a nice addition to have on a team who is a fan of the fire fox. Drought ability Vulpix and Ninetales are the best to have since it boosts their potential even more, in-game and competitively. Flash Fire is only good if you can predict your opponents moves, or the AI in the game is stuck to using Fire-type moves on your Flash Fire Pokemon. :ROFLMAO: I never use Alolan Vulpix or Ninetales in competitive play, so I am not familiar with their strategies yet. I know they can have access to Snow Warning, which is good for an Ice-type team. Too bad Ice-tpes are still bleh in the games with how many weaknesses the have. Then again, Alolan Ninetales is part Fairy, so that may come in handy in some way.

From what little I remember of these Pokemon in the anime, Vulpix was really cute! How can a little fire fox not be cute. Alolan Vulpix made its anime debut recently and I had to resist the urge to want to collect its merchandise!

From what I've read about their Pokedex entries, I'd be a little afraid of them. They're known to be ghostly and bring bad luck if you get on their bad side. Not something I want to piss off if I came in contact with it! XD If I had one, I'd treat it like a queen/king just so it wouldn't hurt me.

Fire-types becoming Ice-types was a neat concept to the Alolan region. I kinda wish Arcanine got the same treatment with it being an Ice-type, too. Ice-types may not be the greatest type in the game, but from an aesthetic point, it would have been lovely. =) It's Alolan name is interesting. Shows that Alola has a history and these Pokemon were not simply known by the name they are constantly repeating like in the anime. I like that. They should do that with all the Pokemon that were seen in the region.
 
"What do you mean, my Gengarite is contraband?!"
Joined
Jun 10, 2012
Messages
3,389
Reaction score
3,529
  • Do you like or dislike this Pokémon? Why?
I don't have very much personal history with Vulpix or Ninetales, it's my sister who's fond of them. I guess they're alright.

  • How is this Pokémon in competitive play? Are there any interesting strategies you like to use for them?
Before Generation VII, regular Ninetales was the only non-legendary Drought user that didn't take up the Mega Evolution slot, a niche that made it the best companion for those who desperately wanted to use Mega Houndoom's Solar Power. Nowadays it struggles to define itself over the much slower Torkoal, low Speed being preferable for weather wars.

I was initially rather harsh towards Alolan Ninetales's prospects due to Ice/Fairy being complete fodder for the Steel types that its Fire type cousin would normally fry, but then we saw Snow Warning and Aurora Veil together on this Pokémon. The Steel type still tanks everything it has though, so I would always use Hidden Power Ground with Alolan Ninetales. Just like Torterra and Rock type moves, this covers all of its weaknesses: Fire, Poison, Rock, Steel.

  • Do you like this Pokémon's representation in the anime? Are there any moments or qualities in particular you enjoy/dislike?
Brock's Vulpix was ok, but I have my eyes on the newly hatched Alolan Vulpix. It's early days yet.

  • If given the power to, would you change anything about this Pokémon and if so, what would you change?
I would swap out Snow Warning on the Alolan forms for an Ice version of Flash Fire. I'm a fan of how Sandshrew and Sandslash have the hail versions of their abilities in their own Alolan forms.

In all seriousness though, there's nothing I'd really like to change.

  • With Ninetales taking so heavily from its inspiration do you think that its type combo should have also reflected this by it having another type like Ghost, Psychic, or Fairy?
Fire/Fairy is a type combo I'd love to see, but Ninetales's movepool points me more towards Fire/Psychic.

  • As a Fire-type becoming an Ice-type do you think this line is a good example of the regional variant concept?
Yes, and it also showed how drastic these changes are in comparison to Mega Evolution, which keeps at least one of the Pokémon's original types.
 
Borderland Sword
Joined
Mar 19, 2013
Messages
3,450
Reaction score
1,493
-Do you like or dislike this Pokémon? Why?

Of course, I love it! Adorable little fluffy fire fox with six tails? I was always jealous of Brock's as a kid XP And for Ninetales, PMD really gave it such an interesting take on its being "all-knowing" lore that I grew to love it more after that

-How is this Pokémon in-game?

One of those Stone Evolution mons always is a struggle to use in game, but I think it's alright. I just recently used the Alola form in my Sun playthrough and it didn't take as long as I thought for her to learn Ice Beam~ And after that, it was a simple evolution and we were good to go~ Can't remember what game I used regular Vulpix and Ninetales but I remember it being a bit longer before I could get Flamethrower and evolve, but it was still a good teammate~

-How is this Pokémon in competitive play? Are there any interesting strategies you like to use for them?

I actually run a Drought Ninetales on a Doubles Sun Team I have. She's not all that strong attack-wise on her own, but if she can get the Sun up, the rest of the team does the work well. :3 And Vulpix is cool on LC~ I haven't used Alolan Ninetales too much, but it's pretty decent if not up against a Steel-move

-Do you like this Pokémon's representation in the anime? Are there any moments or qualities in particular you enjoy/dislike?

I just love how it's so pet-like and cute like a puppy. I wished we could see more of Ninetales, tho.

-How do you think this Pokémon would interact with our world?

Well Ninetales could certainly end up being something really creepy to encounter. I aways imagine them lurking creepy old houses.

-If given the power to, would you change anything about this Pokémon and if so, what would you change?

Honestly, I'm pretty content with them design wise. If anything, they could use a Special Attack boost since the Speed is fine, but nothing else stands out to me.

-With Ninetales taking so heavily from its inspiration do you think that its type combo should have also reflected this by it having another type like Ghost, Psychic, or Fairy?

I did always think Fire/Ghost Mega Ninetales would have been very cool and a very interesting way to tie its lore into it getting a Mega~ Unlikely now since it has an Alolan Form but I'd love to see it, still. Maybe it could be another regional variant

-As a Fire-type becoming an Ice-type do you think this line is a good example of the regional variant concept?

I think it's perfect, TBH~ A literal polar opposite, pun intended~ It's a perfect means by which to show a Pokemon having to complete do a 180 to adapt and survive the climate.

-What do you think about Alolan Vulpix’s other name? Do you think other regional variants could have also have other names and is that an idea you would like to see shown in the future?

I like Keokeo, in part because it reminds me of its Japanese name, Rokon, and I think it's cool to give Pokemon so backstory like that~ I would definitely like to see more of it! :3
 
Call of Fate
Joined
Feb 26, 2015
Messages
720
Reaction score
330
I'm a big fan of this line, regardless of the form. They are just so sleek and elegant. I remember using a Ninetales in my Emerald playthrough, but it wasn't all that great, because its movepool was barren back then. I like the fact Alolan Ninetales sacrifices its Attack it doesn't need anyways to boost its Speed, I think regular Ninetales should get a buff in Special Attack since it is just underwhelming now. Also, for some reason, Alolan Ninetales doesn't get Water Pulse yet gets Aqua Tail, despite the fact most non-Water Ice Pokemon get the former but not the latter.
 
Top