We’re getting toward the end of Hoenn here – arguably we’re already there, since Chimecho is listed last in Ruby & Sapphire‘s internal index, indicating that she was one of the last Pokémon to make the cut during development.
I can kinda see why; Chimecho definitely feels like she belongs in the same “one-off curiosity” club as an Aipom or a Misdreavus – more on that comparison later. She’s something of a living glass windchime, crossing over the implicit “yokai” angle that Pokémon borrows more-and-more from. But more on top of that, the windchime she mimics is associated with Shinto temples, leaning into a tradition that’s been driving Pokémon’s nature-forward design and attitudes since the very beginning.
And for being a little curiosity, Chimecho herself is super charming! Those powder-blues with a pop of muted red feel both eye-catching and soothing, a tough line to walk. Then there’s those Kirby-like eyes, smile, and stubby little limbs, which are arguably accentuated by the fact that she’s constantly floating through the sky. Who isn’t a fan of the Pokémon who’d look right at home on Popstar?
I like that the stripes on her body and splash on her tail are a little messy, too, either; it feels like the kind of uneven bleed or distinct paint-brush strokes that decorate traditional glasswork, and helps her feel natural despite a clearly inorganic influence. And that little sucker on top of her head just makes for a cute little alien-antenna, besides just being functional.
She’s just a great interpretation of a hand-crafted object in living form. Not gonna blow your hair back like a Tyranitar might, but she’s firing on all cylinders all the same.
Poor little Chingling.
I adore Chingling, I really do. A little animated bell, constantly hopping around and making its little noises, both by crying and by jostling around what amount to internal organs. Precious and horrifying! The corded rope giving her a little “bow” up top is just icing on the cake.
She just doesn’t have a lot else going on, unfortunately. It’s hard to say much about baby Pokémon given that they’re designed to be diminutive and not stand out much, but I will say that I appreciate how she looks nothing like Chimecho. They clearly follow one to the other – hanging bells associated with real-world temple settings – but are clearly distinct entities rather than Chingling being “Chimecho, but simplified”.
I will grant that the little frayed ends on her cord are quite nice. I could imagine Chingling moving them about like digits, giving her an extra pair of hands (or legs?) to make up for how useless her actual limbs would clearly be.
And speaking of not-so-useful, Chimecho really feels like she needed an evolution, not a pre-evolution. In Sinnoh, where so many older non–evolving Pokémon got new evolutions, it’s almost a shame to see Chimecho get a baby form instead – even if it is cute as a button.
With plain typing and a solidly below-average stat total (even after she got a long-needed boost starting from Sun & Moon), the nicest thing to say about Chimecho is that she at least distributes her stats sensibly, with even-ish defenses and a clear favor toward Special Attack. She needs TMs to get most of a useful attacking moveset, but she does get some rare natural healing moves, albeit mostly targeted at allies rather than herself, which could make her a great support if your main hitter is in a pinch – or for the uncommon Doubles situation.
There’s not much to say about these two that isn’t wrapped up in their physical design, unfortunately, though I will note that Chingling‘s name being a portmanteau of two different bell-jingling sounds – both in English and Japanese – is downright adorable.
Chimecho and Chingling are great despite not being stand-outs; a family that fills their little niche properly. I’m not going to pretend that they’re a must-have for the roster or anything, but as the series goes on, I more and more appreciate these purpose-built Pokémon – and hey, I just used one in Brilliant Diamond last year, so there may be some bias in there, but that’s fine. Happy to see them whenever they pop out of Reserve.
Any and all appreciation for Chimecho and Chingling is welcome in the comments!