Like many real world animals, most Pokémon start life as extremely cute babies. The tendency for humans to see other babies, especially mammals, as cute is a result of evolutionary conditioning that helps ensure that younger creatures are taken care of and protected. As Pokémon grow, they usually become much more intimidating, cool, or tough-looking.
This structure was firmly established with the Generation 1 starters, which each start as adorable little creatures but eventually evolve into fearsome, kaiju-like monsters. Having a trainer’s journey start with mostly cute creatures and end with a crew of powerful beasts helps create a good sense of progression and often matches the arc of a game’s plot. However, this rule is far from firm, and there are several Pokémon that actually get cuter when they evolve.
10 Snorlax Evolves From A Little Gremlin
When it was first introduced, Snorlax didn’t have a pre-evolution. However, when Generation II introduced Pokémon breeding, the baby Pokémon Munchlax was added. Munchlax is undeniably cute, but it has a gaping maw and somewhat sharper design that makes it feel a little edgier than its evolved form. While many cute things are also small, Munchlax’s size actually works against it. Munchlax’s voracious appetite and speed make it feel somewhat threatening in a way that the massive, slow-moving Snorlax simply does not.
9 Musharna Curls Up And Goes To Sleep
Many Pokémon that get cuter as they evolve start out already pretty cute, and Munna is no exception. This tapir-like Pokémon shares a design inspiration with the Drowzee line, as they are both based, in part, on a mythological creature called the baku, which resembles a tapir and eats dreams.
Munna is very cute, with a pink body and flower pattern, but when it evolves into Musharna it simply curls up and goes to sleep. Seeing this pudgy little animal all curled up and happily snoozing away is one of the cutest things Pokémon has to offer.
8 Ribombee Becomes A Little Sprite
Though its revolution has cute right there in the name, Ribombee somehow manages to be even cuter than Cutiefly. Cutiefly looks very insectoid, and while it is based on cute insects like bees, this can be somewhat offputting. Ribombee leans a little harder on its Fairy typing than its Bug typing, adopting a slightly more humanoid stature, bigger eyes, and a small, cute smile. Ribombee joins Flabébé in being small, pixie-like Pokémon that are undeniably adorable.
7 Sylveon Makes Eevee Even Cuter
Eevee is a very cute Pokémon, but some of its evolutions give it a run for its money. Leafeon and Flareon are great contenders, but perhaps the strongest argument belongs to Sylveon. The Fairy type Eeveelution, introduced in Generation VI to help celebrate the new type, features a white, pink, and blue color scheme, big blue eyes, and a set of flowing ribbons that form an adorable little bow. While its hidden ability Pixilate is much stronger in battle, Sylveon’s primary ability, Cute Charm, should tell trainers all they need to know about the Intertwining Pokémon.
6 Dragonite Is A Big Friendly Dragon
While Dratini and Dragonair are cute, they lack the complexity to really achieve the effect that Dragonite does. Dratini is a very simple little worm-like creature that, while cute, looks a little silly. Dragonair is more elegant than cute, with distinguished pearls or beads adorning its neck and tail and a pair of wings extending from either side of its head.
Dragonite, however, is all cute. Its rounded design, comically small wings, and friendly demeanor make this Pokémon somehow cute, despite being one of the strongest in its generation.
5 Ledian Becomes A Cartoon Hero
Bug types often get cuter as they evolve simply because they start to look less like bugs. This is not to say that bugs can’t be cute, just that they don’t lend themselves to it quite as much as other kinds of animals. Ledyba looks a lot like a ladybug, and while its big eyes are adorable, it still looks like an insect. Its mouthless face in particular is a little offputting. However, Ledian stands upright on two feet, adopting a more humanoid form while still being undoubtedly bug-like. Ledian looks like it could be the hero of a children’s cartoon, making it much cuter than its previous evolution.
4 Goodra Gets A Little Less Gross
Whether or not snails are cute is a very subjective topic. These slimy creatures will gross some people out, while others find them extremely cute. This means that some people will find Goomy and Sliggoo cute while others will absolutely not. Goodra, however, leaves behind enough of its snail-like traits that it achieves broad appeal. Goodra is somewhat like Dragonite in that it is a large creature that, by all rights, should be intimidating but somehow manages to be extremely cute.
3 Butterfree Is An Iconic Cute Bug
In perhaps the very first example of a Pokémon getting cuter as it evolves in Pokémon history, Butterfree is unarguably cuter than Metapod. Metapod is just a chrysalis, while Butterfree is an adorable butterfly with big, expressive eyes and a great purple color scheme. Ash’s Butterfree in the anime definitely helped to cement this Pokémon’s cute reputation, and while Caterpie is kind of cute, it doesn’t hold a candle to Butterfree.
2 Greedent Is The Archetypical Cartoon Squirrel
Greedent’s first form, Skwovet, looks like a perfectly serviceable cartoon squirrel. Greedent, however, is in a whole other league. With an adorable grin, huge cheek tufts, and a truly gigantic tail, Greedent looks like it walked straight out of a Disney movie.
Greedent’s color scheme is also a lot more appealing than Skwovet’s replacing a dull grey with a rich, chocolaty brown. Greeden’ts attitude just makes it even cuter as it aggressively hordes food and berries.
1 Alolan Raichu Can Focus On Being Cute
Pokémon’s mascot is cute, but a mascot can’t get along on that alone. As a main character in the anime and the face of the brand, Pikachu must be a multi-dimensional character not stuck to one trait. Pikachu has to be able to pull off cute and cool simultaneously, a limitation its evolved Alolan form doesn’t face. Alolan Raichu features a much more rounded design than its Kantonian predecessor, with sparkling eyes, a perpetual smile, and a habit of surfing on its lightning bolt tail.