No I don’t know why I wrote this. Let’s get started.
At Number 10, we have Exeggutor. Possibly an unusual entry, given it’s lack of particularly bright or garish colours or classic clown patterns, but ultimately it comes down to one key thing; Exeggutor looks like three bumbling idiots while being actually very effective (although its competative hay day is long gone), exactly the balance a clown needs. A Pokemon capable of single handily performing a three stooges skit deserves to be on this list.
At number 9, unlike Exeggutor we have a weirdly serious Pokemon, but Luxray actually inspired this list with it’s odd stripes down the back of its front legs and bizarre red and yellow coloured eyes. I thought it looked like a clown, specifically one who plays the straight pokemon to the other’s antics. Luxray gets a lot of slapstick against itself; it has taken enough cream pies to the face to be quite literally black and blue.
Clowns need a wide number of tricks, and number 8 on the list, Clefable, can provide that wonderfully. It’s Metronome allows it to access any move it wishes, with the always important chance of it going horribly wrong, while Minimize allows it to shrink down to fit inside those clown cars/pokeballs. With a vast movepool and an easy smile, you can rely on Clefable to always have a trick for the occasion.
Clowns often need to take a tumble, and the Hoppip evolution family are quite possibly the best pokemon in the world at doing this, being constantly caught on the wind as they are. Skiploom gets this spot as Hoppip has too little control over its tumbles and Jumpluff is more of a cheerleader than a clown, but with Skiploom’s bright smile you can always count on an Acrobatics show.
Absol may seem a bit too serious for the role of a clown, but it is in fact perfect for an earlier performance that the modern clown grew out of; the Italian Commedia dell’arte, a costumed performance where each character is an archtype with a specific and reckonisable costume. With it’s black and white pattern, one can easily imagine Absol’s human form dressed as a Harlequin, and fittingly the Pokemon is trapped in a farce, being blamed for the diasters it comes to warn about. Pity the Absol, the saddest clown.
The Commedia dell’arte is not done with providing us inspiration however! Emerging from the Italian tradition and spreading across Europe, particularly to the UK, the Punch and Judy puppet show is essentially clowning in miniture, a series of violent farces played out by hand puppets. And who better to put on this show than Hydreigon, Pokemon’s very own Edward Puppethands! Just look at those goofy arms. That truly is the way to do it.
Mine Jr. plants itself firmly in the list at number four, with the real question being “why isn’t it higher”? While it is true that Mime Jr. covers a lot of the bases for a good clown, appearance, tottering, juggling, it is let down by being a baby Pokemon who just can’t quite reach the upper levels just yet.
If there’s one thing I think about with clowns…well, actually, there’s many things, but a firm one is balloon animals, and Pyukumuku, with its inflatable guts that it uses as a weapon and a hand fits this to a T. Combine this with the simple but easy to reckonise colour scheme and the goofy facial experision, and we have a clown that fits wonderfully into our top three.
If there’s one thing missing from this list so far, it is a scary clown, but here at number two we finally have one. Drifbloon has a strikingly comedic appearance, with the cloudy hair and yellow tape instead of a mouth, but what sets it into horror territory is that it often tries to kidnap children. A creepy, ghostly prescence that fits in with the Pennywises of the world without the more violent aesthetics they often take on.
Before we reach number one, here are two honorable mentions.
I often call Conkeldurr a clown but looking at it for this list, I realised that that’s basically only due to the big red nose it has. Instead, if this was a circus, Conkeldurr would be in the sideshow performing impossible feats of strength even at its advanced age, the red nose testament to long nights drinking as the show moves along.
It may seem like a huge misstep to not give Mr Mime a spot on this list, but I just really couldn’t. While the inspiration is obvious, aesthetically Mr Mime steps out of the realm of clowns and into a space all of its own A human Mr Mime, in my mind, is far more hipster than clown. Ultimately, however, what lost it the position was the fact that despite being a Mime, who are supposed to be silent, Mr Mime will happily shout “Mimemimemime!” while performing its psychic powers. You had one job Mime, and you blew it.
Blacephalon is the clear winner here, and the only one I could choose. Aesthetically it is almost like someone tried to combine all the other clowns on the list badly, with a hallequin’s ruff and cuffs, Luxray’s yellow and blue stripes and Drifbloon’s unearthly feeling of wrongness. But beyond that, we have its special move; Mind Blown, where it whips off its head and causes it to explode. Unlike other moves that explode the user in Pokemon however, Mind Blown only reduces Blacephalon to halve HP, allowing it to pull off a miraclous escape and reveal a new, prestine head to the delight of those parts of the audience that have not been blown up. A trick worthy of a standing ovation.