Ah, Pokémon. It's a 22-year-old franchise, yet I'm still learning new things about the earliest specimens chronicled in the PokéDex. Did you know Venusaur, despite its name…is a toad?
Take a minute to recover yourself if you need it. I know I did. It's undeniable, though: New footage of Pokémon Let's Go Pikachu and Let's Go Eevee shows Venusaur bounding behind its trainer like a big ol' froggy-thing. It just goes to show how little we know about Pokémon anatomy. Professor Oak warned us our feeble human brains can't even begin to comprehend the complexity of Pokémon right at the start of Red and Blue, and by gosh, he was right.
The Pokémon Company published new Let's Go footage (including Venusaur's new way to walk) early this morning in separate videos. The Pokémon fan account PDLH knit the videos together and tweeted the compilation. Venusaur goes boing-boing-boing at the very start.
Put the five new Pokémon Let's Go Pikachu & Eevee clips together so it's easier to look over and check out the music. - Venusaur in Route 22 and Viridian City- Electrode in Pewter City- Onix in Pewter City- Caterpie in Route 22 and Viridian CityGolem in Diglett's Cave pic.twitter.com/h3XGf4o9dK— PLDH (@PLDHnet) August 3, 2018
"[The] 'Venusaur is a toad' crowd has been waiting for this moment for 20 years," PDLH stated in a follow-up tweet. I had no idea that sub-section of Pokémon biologists even existed, to be frank. I guess maybe they've been shouted down and laughed at for years—like the 19th century paleontologists who first suggested modern birds are the descendants of dinosaurs. Well, consider me humbly educated.
Speaking of dinosaurs, I assumed Venusaur is of sauropod heritage because it's a large reptilian-looking quadruped with -saur right there in its name. I never stopped to consider its Japanese name, "Fushigibana," which is a pun on the term "strange flower." I certainly never bothered to look up its Mandarin name, which is "Miàowāhuā"—"wonderful frog flower."
Venusaur's name means little in the end, though. As a dinosaur aficionado, I should be ashamed of myself for failing to note how there is little that's dinosaur-like about the big plant Pokémon's biology. I'm not just talking about the big eff-off flower on its back, either. I mean Venusaur carries itself with a splayed gait—the same gait that specifically puts Carboniferous synapsids like Dimetrodon in a different category from dinosaurs (which ran around with their legs directly under them).
Moreover, there's no official artwork, sprite, or 3D model where Venusaur is carrying its full weight on its legs. If you look at Venusaur's butt (time well spent), you'll even see it squats on its haunches like a frog or a toad readying itself for a leap. And, like a frog or a toad, its forelegs are much shorter and seemingly built to absorb the impact of repeated jumps across Kanto.
I'm not suggesting there's nothing dinosaur-like about Venusaur. Its teeth are longer and sharper than a frog's, and its skin appears to be tough, scaly, and bumpy. If you held a gun to my head and forced me to classify Venusaur, though, I will no longer entertain the idea of it belonging to Sauropoda. From now on, I pledge to keep my mind open and free of Poké-bias.