The Ultra Beasts remain controversial to this day. Many fans don’t like them, citing their odd designs and lack of purpose as reasons for their reservations. Some fans hate that these beasts don’t look like the rest of Pokémon, but that’s the point. The Ultra Beasts come from another dimension, so of course, they will have bizarre shapes and colors. These creatures aren’t regular Pokémon, but something entirely different.
But even odd beings need to have some level of quality. Alas, and while some of the Ultra Beasts have inspired and instantly memorable designs, others seem lazy, and a few even look plain ugly.
10 Worst: Pheromosa
Pheromosa exists in the uncanny valley. The problem with this humanoid beast is precisely that; it’s just too human, and fans find it uncomfortable to look at. It isn’t the first creature in the franchise to have a human-like appearance -the Machop family, Jynx, and Blaiziken all came before it – but there’s something about it that simply seems off.
The mystery of why Pheromosa is so uncomfortable to look at perhaps lies in its eery similarity to Lusamine, the antagonist of the Sun & Moon games. And, whenever a Pokémon resembles an actual human, things become too weird to process.
9 Best: Celesteela
Many people believe the design for Celeestela’s most likely Princess Kaguya from The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, as there are many physical similarities and characteristics. It also incorporates elements from space shuttles, and in the anime, it can fly by taking off like a rocket.
Celesteela successfully mixes all the ideas that inspired it, creating something that looks right at home in the Pokémon franchise. It also has the right amount of humanoid elements without overdoing it, and the robotic elements enhance this already original creature.
8 Worst: Buzzwole
Like Pheromosa, Buzzwole is too human-like, but that isn’t necessarily its problem. If anything, Buzzwole is the Ultra Beast that looks most like a normal Pokémon. However, Buzzwole does seem like a let-down, especially compared to its Ultra siblings.
There’s nothing behind its design that seems original. Buzzwole is simply a combination between a mosquito and a bodybuilder, as reflected by its dual Bug/Fighting-type. This creature’s design is literal to the point of laziness, making it stand out for all the wrong reasons.
7 Best: Naganadel
When imagining what a Pokémon from outer space would look like, most people would probably picture something like Naganadel. This dual-type Poison/Dragon creature not only looks like its respective types, unlike all the other Ultra Beasts, but it also looks positively alien.
Naganadel most likely takes inspiration from traditional depictions of wyverns. Its unique tail resembles a syringe’s needle, giving it a distinctive and menacing look. And if that wasn’t enough, it has one of the absolute best shiny designs in the franchise, making this draconian alien even more memorable.
6 Worst: Stakataka
Stakataka is basically a giant pile of bricks with legs, resembling a spider. It’s just a massive moving wall with some blue lighting along its body. It is a dual-type Rock/Steel creature that hates having things on top of it. Stakataka’s lore is much more engaging than its design, though, as scientists believe it consists of almost 150 independent life forms.
However, its intriguing concept isn’t enough to rescue it from its horribly lazy design. In the end, Stakataka gets lost in the mountains of more original and recognizable Rock-type Pokémon.
5 Best: Blacephalon
Blacephalon is possibly the most creative creation in the Pokémon franchise. Everything about it screams “clown,” from the colors in its design to its movements and behaviors. Blacephalon looks like it came straight out of a circus, but unlike the other famous clown Pokémon, Mr. Mime, Blacephalon doesn’t seem creepy, at least at first sight.
That changes when it reveals its evil nature. Blacephalon tricks people with its clumsy and festive movements before blowing its own head up. It then steals the person’s vitality and uses it as energy. Blacephalon looks absolutely nothing like a Fire or Ghost-type and instead resembles a traditional Psychic-type Pokémon.
4 Worst: Guzzlord
Guzzlord looks more like a cartoon villain than a supposedly mysterious creature from another dimension. Every single one of its elements, from its silly-sounding name to its ridiculous pose, seems taken out of a children’s playtime story.
Things only get worse with its white-and-orange shiny, which makes it look like an enlarged jack o’lantern. Guzzlord’s inspiration apparently comes from Lovecraftian abominations and the Agrajag from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. However, it fails miserably in its goal to resemble those creatures and instead comes across like a monster truck tire that somehow came to life.
3 Best: Kartana
Kartana is a near-perfect creature. It looks like a Pokémon that doesn’t come from nature, but that still belongs to the Pokémon world. Its design also presents the inspirations behind it in a clear but fresh way, creating a creature that’s both appealing and fascinating. Kartana looks vaguely humanoid, but its flat, sharp form prevents it from entering the same uncanny valley inhabited by Pheromosa and Buzzwole.
Type-wise, Kartana looks nothing like a Grass-type, but none of the Ultra Beasts look like their respective types. Its bright orange color might suggest a Fire-type, while its origami design seems more appropriate for a Flying-type.
2 Worst: Zurkitree
Zurkitree is arguably the laziest design to have ever appeared in the Pokémon franchise. It’s literally just a bunch of electrical wires resembling a humanoid shape. It also looks like a group of entangled Christmas lights, but that isn’t any better.
The Electric-type opens the door for numerous design inspirations – voltage, current, and resistance come to mind. Yet, the designers settled for the most basic of interpretations and drew a walking set of cables. Zurkitree pales in comparison to its Ultra siblings and ranks as one of the franchise’s worst creations.
1 Best: Nihilego
Nihilego is creepy in all the right ways. This jellyfish-looking creature has an ethereal feel to it and a sense of dread that companies it. It looks perfectly normal yet also seems dangerous and otherworldly. And while it looks like the definition of a Water/Ghost-type, Nihilego is Rock/Poison creature.
Nihilego plays a prominent role in both the games and the Sun & Moon anime, where it fuses with Lusamine to create a disturbing Pokémon/human hybrid. It’s an incredible sight, but one that players all around the world hope they never see again.
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