With Pokémon Sword and Shield next on the agenda for some in-depth exploration here on MoeGamer, I thought we might as well kick things off with a look at some of the delightful ladies you’ll run into in Galar.
Interestingly, Sword and Shield have a few instances throughout the game where the specific gym trainers you encounter vary between the two versions, providing further distinction beyond the usual exclusive monsters. In this way, those who elect to play both games can have a slightly different experience beyond the Pokémon they encounter in the wild.
Unsurprisingly, there’s been a wealth of fanart of most of the prominent female characters, so let’s dive in and see what we can find!
Female protagonist Gloria (or Yuuri as she’s known in Japan) is, as you might expect, a popular choice for fan artists, since she has a distinctive and immediately recognisable design that is strongly evocative of the Galar region’s Scottish and British influences.
Her woollen tam o’ shanter and Aran-style cardigan in particular give her a markedly different feel from many other Pokémon protagonists, and it’s testament to the quality of her design that she remains an iconic character despite Sword and Shield’s ability for you to completely change her whole appearance through hair, makeup and clothing choices.
Sonia, assistant to the Galar region’s Professor Magnolia, was likewise an immediate hit when she was first announced thanks to her distinctive design and overall attractiveness. People were particularly taken with the fact that she was an obviously “grown-up” Pokémon character.
Canonically, Pokémon protagonists are rather too young for anyone to be having impure thoughts about, though their appearance is typically kept deliberately ambiguous to allow players of all ages to self-insert as them, and fanartists often obviously age them up depending on the circumstances in which they’re depicted. Sonia is already a grown woman, however, and the combination of her good looks and the way her personality is depicted in the game itself meant that she was always going to be popular.
Nessa (Rurina in Japan) was always designed to be sexy; that much was immediately apparent right from the moment of her initial reveal. As such, she’s remained consistently popular with players and fanartists alike, despite her contribution to the overall story of Sword and Shield being fairly minimal in the grand scheme of things — she’s simply the second gym leader you encounter and defeat.
In case you were wondering, yes there is some significance to the numbers all the gym leaders have on their uniforms, and YouTuber Gaijinhunter shared the Japanese wordplay they’re all based on over on Twitter in case you were curious. In Nessa’s case, “049” turns into the Japanese words ゼロ (zero), 四 (yon or shi, four) and 九 (kyuu, nine), which in turn is shortened and contracted a bit from “zero yon kyuu” to become “oyogu” (泳ぐ) which means “swim”. Got all that? Don’t worry if not; Japanese wordplay like this takes a bit of getting used to!
Bea (Saitou in Japan) is the Fighting-type gym leader who is exclusive to Pokémon Sword, and the moment I saw those bare feet and muscles I knew fans and artists alike would be all over her, since those cover two popular fetishes that people are more than happy to tell you about at great length on Twitter these days. She also eschews a lot of typically female-coded characteristics in various aspects of her design and personality, making her a strong contrast from the very “girly” girls elsewhere in Pokémon.
Like Nessa, Bea doesn’t play a huge role in the overall story, but her iconic design makes her a memorable checkpoint in your journey through the Gym Challenge in the Galar region. And, yes, her uniform number is once again a piece of Japanese wordplay; this time “193” or 一 (ichi, one), 九 (kyuu, nine), 三 (san, three) is shortened and contracted from “ichi kyuu san” to “ikusa” (戦) — meaning “war” or “fight”.
We didn’t learn about Shield-exclusive gym leader Melony (Melon in Japan) until pretty late, but she’s another example of a character who proved immediately popular for players with particular tastes — in this case, those with a thing for more curvy characters.
Once again, we have some Japanese wordplay on her uniform number. In this case, “361” becomes 三 (san, three), 六つ (muttsu, the form of “six” used when counting small objects), 一 (ichi, one), which in turn is tweaked and jiggled from “san muttsu ichi” to “samui” (寒い) which, as you may be able to guess by now, means “cold”.
Finally, of course, there was no way today was going to pass by without showing Marnie (Mary in Japan) some love, was there? There’s some interesting stuff going on with Marnie as a character and the events that surround her, but we’ll save that for when we come to discuss the games themselves.
For now, let’s just appreciate that awesome, distinctive outfit, that unflappable and stoic demeanour… and the fact that fanartists ship her and Gloria hard. But I’ll leave you to discover evidence of that latter aspect for yourself, because… well, you can probably imagine.
So in short, then, Pokémon Sword and Shield has definitely continued the series’ long and proud tradition of featuring some awesome, memorable, iconic and attractive female characters.
And God bless all you fanartists out there, showing us a side of these characters that Nintendo would never publicly admit to!
Fanart remains the copyright of the respective artists linked above. Please pay their Pixiv pages a visit and support their work!
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