Untitled Artwork
Image: Nintendo Life

As the evolved form of one of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire's starter Pokémon, Blaziken has become one of the most well known creatures since the franchise's creation. Apparently, however, long-time Pokémon artist Ken Sugimori designed Blaziken specifically to push the envelope and test whether audiences would accept a more humanoid looking Pokémon.

According to YouTube channel Did You Know Gaming, Blaziken was the very first Pokémon designed for Ruby and Sapphire's Hoenn region, with Sugimori using its design as a test for players to see whether they would keep it in their party or simply shove it in a PC box. In a translated interview with Sugimori from a 2003 issue of 'Nintendo Dream' magazine, he states:

"I thought about how wide the variety of Pokémon could be and wanted to push the envelope of what would be accepted. So the first one I made was Blaziken. I wondered if people would go for such a humanoid Pokémon, I was intentionally testing the waters. Over the years we've developed an image of what a Pokémon looks like, but this time we decided to push those boundaries and weaken the idea of what can't be a Pokémon. Ruby and Sapphire was [about] taking on new inspirations for Pokémon unlike anything we used before."

Did You Know Gaming goes on to say that Torchic's design was finalised after Blaziken's and was actually based on the phenomenon of 'painted chicks', which were sold frequently to children much in the same way that a goldfish would be. Apparently, once the painted chick grows up and either loses its coloured plumage or its natural cute looks, children would grow bored and throw them out (pretty horrid notion, if you ask us).

Sugimori states that this mentality towards painted chicks is what inspired Torchic and Blaziken, in that Torchic "starts out cute then grows into something fierce and hard to look at". In a sense, he was looking to potential replicate the feeling that an owner of a painted chick would feel once it grows up and is no longer deemed cute.

So the question is, did you keep Blaziken in your Pokémon party, or did you ditch it in a PC box for the rest of time? Based on Sugimori's commentary on the matter, we imagine a few of you might be feeling an overwhelming sense of shame right about now...

[source youtube.com]