Pokémon Sun and Moon Starters: Info and Fanart

A closer look at the three new additions to the Pokémon starter family!

This week saw quite a bit of news come out concerning upcoming the Pokémon games making their way to the 3DS: two videos were released, one a commercial featuring a young boy who moves to Hawaii from Japan, and another featuring some gameplay footage for Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon.

The trailer of a Japanese boy moving to Hawaii shows the challenges of being the new kid, with the added difficulty of a language barrier. Even though he faces these challenges, he’s still able to find a way to interact with the kids in his class. It’s a pretty heart-warming commercial, and if you haven’t seen it yet (or you just want to watch it again), you can check it out below.


In addition to the video above, another video was released, this time of gameplay footage for Sun and Moon. In it, we are given the new region featured for both games, called Alola. As the name suggests, as well as the video above hints at, the region is inspired by Hawaii. From the environments to the flower-patterned clothing of one of the characters shown, Game Freak created a very distinct atmosphere for these games. Also featured is a man named Kukui, the cousin of the games’ protagonist (and perhaps the professor from the player’s hometown). If you want to see that, as well as a few shots of the starter Pokémon in action, check out the footage below.

Now, let’s take a closer look at the three starters available in Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon, with information and descriptions courtesy of the official Pokémon Sun and Moon website!

Rowlet / モクロー (Mokurō)

Pokemon Sun and Moon (Rowlet)

Category: Grass Quill Pokémon

Height: 1’00”

Weight: 3.3 lbs.

Type: Grass / Flying

Ability: Overgrow

Description: Rowlet can attack without making a sound! It flies silently through the skies, drawing near to its opponent without being noticed, and then lashing out with powerful kicks. It can also attack from a distance using the razor-sharp leaves that form part of its feathers. Its visual abilities are impressive. The darkness of night is no obstacle to Rowlet! It can twist its neck nearly 180° from front to back so it can see directly behind itself. It has a habit of turning its head in the battle to face its Trainer and receive instructions. The move Leafage attacks an opponent by striking it with leaves. Rowlet knows this move from the moment it becomes your partner!

Pokemon Sun and Moon (Rowlet)

Rowlet’s name comes from “owlet,” a type of small owl found mostly in Asia and Africa. The “r” at the beginning of its name could refer to its rotating head, a focal point both in the artwork shown and in the Pokémon’s official description. Its Japanese name, Mokurō, could come from the kanji for tree, 木 (moku) plus the word for owl, 梟 (fukurou). The Japanese name, like its English counterpart, are indicative of Rowlet’s abilities and design.

Litten / ニャビー (Nyabii)

Pokemon Sun and Moon (Litten)

Category: Fire Cat Pokémon

Height: 1’04”

Weight: 9.5 lbs.

Type: Fire

Ability: Blaze

Description: Logical but also passionate, Litten always remains cool-headed and doesn’t show its emotions on the surface. Litten can attack with flaming hairballs! Its fur is rich in oils and immensely flammable. Litten grooms itself by licking its fur, and then uses the collected fur as fuel for fireball attacks! When the time comes for Litten to shed its old fur, it all burns up in a glorious blaze. The move Ember attacks an opponent by firing a small flame at it. Litten knows this move from the moment it becomes your partner!

Pokemon Sun and Moon (Litten)

Litten’s name comes from “kitten,” no doubt due to the fact that it’s a kitten Pokémon. The “l” could refer to the fact that it’s little in size, though “little kitten” seems rather redundant. Since it’s description mentions that Litten’s fur burns in a blaze when it’s ready to be shed, the “l” could refer to the light that emanates from that fire. To get to that point, it has to lick its fur, which gives another possibility as to what the “l” stands for. Its Japanese name, Nyabii, comes from the Japanese word for “meow,” nyaa, plus the word for “fire,” 火 (hi). Here it’s pronounced bi, much like the word for fireworks, 花火 (hanabi). Perhaps when releasing fire from its mouth, it lets out a loud meow? In any case, both words go well with its description.

Popplio / アシマリ (Ashimari)

Pokemon Sun and Moon (Popplio)

Category: Sea Lion Pokémon

Height: 1’04”

Weight: 16.5 lbs.

Type: Water

Ability: Torrent

Description: Popplio’s swimming speed is known to exceed 25 mph. It’s better at moving in the water than on land. Still, when it’s on land, it takes advantage of the elasticity of its balloons to perform acrobatic stunts and jumps. Popplio can snort out balloons made of water! Watch it spin water balloons into a playful battle strategy! Both frivolous and hard-working, Popplio can easily get carried away—unleashing enough power in the battle to make quite a spectacle! But Popplio’s determined spirit means it can usually be found practicing hard on its balloon skills. The Water Gun move attacks an opponent by firing a jet of water. Popplio knows this move from the moment it becomes your partner!

Pokemon Sun and Moon (Popplio)

Popplio’s name is the trickiest to pin down out of all the starters for Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon. One possibility is that “popp” refers to the balloon bubble ability of Popplio’s, and “lio” may refer to the fact that Popplio is a sea lion. I wasn’t entirely certain about this, though, so I went over to the Bulbapedia article on Popplio to see what their take was. The article says that “popp” comes from pōpō, the Hawaiian word for “ball,” and that “lio” comes from īlio-holo-i-ka-uaua, which is the Hawaiian name for the monk seal. This makes quite a bit of sense, considering the locale of Alola in both Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon. The Japanese name, Ashimari, likely comes from the word 海驢(ashika), referring to the eared sea lion (hence the ears on Popplio), and the word 鞠 (mari), which means “ball,” which likely refers to that balloon bubble ability mentioned earlier. Both are pretty good names for the Pokémon, with the English being a nice homage to the Hawaiian language.

Finally, here’s some of our favorite fan art we found of the newly-revealed starters for Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon via Twitter!



Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon will be released this year on November 18 in Japan, North America, and Australia, and on November 23 in Europe. You can pre-order Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon on Amazon.

What are your thoughts on Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon so far? Have you already decided on which version and starter you’ll choose? Let us know in the comment section below!

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About the Author

Cindy Caraturo

Continual student of the Japanese language and valiant attempter at novel (and article!) writing. Enjoys when it's softly raining outside and is an avid drinker of quali-tea. Also thinks she is amusing. Take that for what you will. (⌒▽⌒)

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