Jigglypuff, Wigglytuff, Igglybuff

#039 – Jigglypuff

Jigglypuff – another classic. I’d argue that she’s a bit redundant coming after Clefairy: another nondescript roundish pinkish monster that was recast from Normal-type to Fairy, evolves once with a Moon Stone, and is found fairly early in the game. The main difference is that she’s downright spherical and balloon-y as opposed to Clefairy’s soft star-shape, which makes her much more focused on that generic doe-eyed adorableness that make people love her so. She’s a bit clearer than than Clefairy’s take on the middle-of-the-road cute-monster shtick as a result – plus, her whole gig (singing people to sleep – backed up by her round body for inhaling air) is used a lot more thoroughly in her depictions, though that might be more noticeable just because she shows up more often.

#040 – Wigglytuff

Wigglytuff is a taller Jigglypuff, with a creamy belly-spot and rabbity ears. That’s pretty much your lot. Still very much a blob-o-sweetness design, but being structured vaguely more like an animal sacrifices a little bit of Jigglypuff’s charm as a more abstract creature and leans a bit away from the singing-balloon gimmick. Still, you could absolutely do worse; this Furby-looking thing looks like exactly like the kind of round, soft thing you’d make into a plush doll and stick on a child’s dresser. Cutie.

#174 – Igglybuff

This is probably the most “nothing” of the baby designs yet – she’s just a round pink puffball with glassy (almost accidentally creepy) round eyes and a little tuft of “hair” on top, with tiny stinted limbs. And gosh darn it, she is a precious lil’ thing, even if she is utterly superfluous. Still, we’re looking at these Pokémon as whole lines, so she’s the design equivalent of collateral damage.

Wigglytuff is all right as things go in the games. Fairy is, as noted, a fairly rare and pretty useful type, and she’s got a lot of HP to stay in and take a hit with, plus pretty all-right special attack and the right moves to use it. Surprisingly chunky for a pink puffball.

Man, this line has had a strong presence in the series for ages, hasn’t it? The little gremlin has haunted the show’s protagonists for years (almost killing them through its obliviousness and single-minded dedication to the Sing gimmick), and she’s even been in Super Smash Bros. since the very first game (a great way to become highly visible to people who otherwise have no interest in the franchise). She’s so high-profile that she makes an obvious cameo in the live-action movie despite otherwise not contributing anything.

It’s pretty cool that these Pokémon are more abstract and based around an idea – the move “Sing”, which inflicts the “sleep” status on the opponent – rather than any concrete noun. A little odd that her name only reflects her balloon-like body rather than the Singing thing that forms her identity, especially considering that she’s portrayed as a lot more elastic than jiggly or wiggly. She doesn’t even get that in the original Japanese, where she’s effectively just named “pudding”, which has little to do with any of this.

She’s also described in-game as simultaneously being inflatable and having super-soft fur, which is a really bizarre combination to think about. Do her follicles get further apart when she expands, leaving her looking like a teenage boy failing to grow a (pink) beard? What would stretchy-fuzzy skin even feel like? The live-action movie has given us a little taste of this, and while it makes relative sense and you can visually adjust to it, she’s definitely still really weird on a conceptual level.

Wigglytuff is another of those Pokémon whose design has changed over time, with her white belly-fur originally only covering up to her chin, but it’s slowly migrated north over time to include the whole of her mouth where her nose would be. She’s honestly a little odd-looking if you examine her face too much nowadays.

She’s pretty odd, but that’s all right – she’s still a pretty focused concept executed in a non-obvious way. Pretty creative without getting messy about it! She’s also hyper-visible as far as Pokémon go, so she’s welcome at the table of Must-Have designs for the series going forward.

Any and all appreciation for Jigglypuff, Wigglytuff, and Igglybuff is welcome in the comments!

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