Quick Facts and Speculations
The purpose of this page is to keep an ongoing list of referencial points about the Nidoran family, the stuff that you don't know about. That said, Pokedex information will not be posted verbatim, please check the Pokedex article instead. Information is true or at least a possible truth, and anything that contradicts information here with sound evidence will be retracted or changed accordingly.
If you have some new info you want to add to the list, please contact me and let me know of your findings. Or, if there's misinformation, also contact me and tell me what's what.
"Just The Facts, Ma'am..." or "GET TO THE LIST CAPSLOCK!!!@!!"
- Nidoran are primarily rabbits. This doesn't discount the possibility of other small mammals' traits being part of Nidoran.
Also consider this: Even though fan art is far from the authority of things, more often than not, detailed Japanese fan art of Nidoran depict them not only as possessing some kind of hair or fur, but as rabbits.
The Japanese Wikipedia also categorizes Nidoran under fictional rabbits, which unifies the Japanese on this fact moreso than in any other country (editorial comment: considering some of us think Nidorina
is a pig and probably wish Nidoran to be something cooler than bunnies in the west, but come on, what isn't
cool about posionous bunnies?). Interesting to note, though, is that this is only for Nidoran, and not the rest of the species, possibly because they start to become more chimera like.
Given the reputation of poisonous barbs, classified as Posion Pin, being shown as posionous to the touch all over (in both the anime and the games via Poison Point, such as Mystery Dungeon), having some kind of hair and generally being known as a Needle-ran, it is possible to conclude that either Nidoran have fine bristly hair or fine short quills that are unsafe to touch.
According to the Japanese Wikipedia, the suffix -ina and -ino in Nidorina and Nidorino
repsectively, are based on Italian diminutives for female and male. There is absolutely NOTHING about a rhinoceros in their name. In theory, they're just bulky unflattering rabbits.
However, this does not discount Nidorino, at least, from being related to the rhinoceros. His anatomy is a very simplified interpretation of a rhino, and Nidorino is a very old conceptual Pokemon. It's possible that back when the creators were toying with the idea of Capsule Monster, Nidorino was Japanese for some obvious word play, Needle-rhino. But, for this to make the most sense, it would assume that the female line (or possibly the rest of the males) did not exist yet. I figure that once Nidorina entered the scene, Needle-rhino kind of lost its originality.
- Here are the prototypes of Nidorino and Gengar from the original Capsule Monsters idea back in 1990. Yes, the idea of Pokemon dates way back. As you can see, Nidorino looks nothing like a rhino or much less anything, yet. He looks much more generically dragon like, but it proves this battle concept of Nidorino vs. Gengar is as old as time. You can compare how Nidorino further evolved in design in the Design Through Time article.
Original image from Capsule Monster mini site.
Editorially speaking, I think it's interesting that Nidorino (and in effect Gengar, along with Slowbro, Blastoise and Staryu to name a few) is one of the granddaddies of Pokemon, and still to this day, Nidos in Japan have absolutely no clout. Seniority means nothing, my friends.
Anatomy wise, Nidoran male seems to evolve from rabbit to rhinoceros. However, the same is not applied to Nidorina. I say this in jest, but it looks like it goes from rabbit to rabbit that can stand on its hind legs with a few Nidorino-isms thrown in for good measure. To be fair (and a bit more serious), Nidoran female's evolution seems to be played straight as a rabbit slowly mutating into a kaiju-esque monster.
Nidorino retains hair or fur of some kind, though it's highly possible they are quills. Both rabbits and rhinoceros have hair, so it's not unthinkable (though barely in the latter case). This is evidenced by Nidorino's ears, which when you compare them to the ears of any other fuzzy creature (such as Vulpix, Primeape or Eevee), it matches up. Compare this, though, to the ears of a creature that's obviously hairless (like the 100% rhino Pokemon, Rhyhorn).
It can be concluded that Nidorina also has hair, given all other Nidos classifed as Posion Pin do. It is also noted that the barbs on a Nidorina's body contract when relaxed, which does not seem to refer to the spikes on her back.
Hair is traded in for scales upon evolution into Nidoqueen or Nidoking
. These scales, however, are still capable of standing on end, something their younger siblings could do.
in Mewtwo Returns (and by association, Mewtwo Strikes Back) is known as Copy Nidoqueen (コピーニドクイン). Being a copy, she was only able to give birth to other copies.
Even if in appearance only, Nidoqueen and Nidoking are the first anthropomorphic Pokemon, appearing before Mr. Mime and Jynx (who are more human shaped). It's possible, though, that they have bodies more similar to primates than humans as seen with Nidoking.
This is just a stab in the dark, but I wouldn't be surprised if Nidoqueen's design started as an in house joke (really, compare her to all other Pokemon in the first generation and she looks ridiculous). That joke also seems to be taken futher in some of Pokemon Stadium's (and the subsequent games) animations (yikes). She certainly emotes much more human like than her barbaric male counterpart, too (all of her actions are actually humorous). As an editorial comment, this seemed to be during the time went Pokemon was much more about cartoony creatures than the SRS BSNS the series developed (and the fans with it. Just saying observationally, you know it's true). Just look at the early anime episodes. Heck, even the Capsule Monster concept art is totally cheesy. I'd've preferred this, but I doubt Pokemon would be as popular had it kept up this angle. [/2cents]
- A common misconception found in cartoon and unrealistic illustrations of rabbits is that they are shown to have pads on their feet, possibly due to being lumped in with the generic fuzzy animal crowd (see rabbit-with-dog-anatomy illustrations...). Fact is, rabbits do not have pads on their feet, only fur. This is also true with the Nidoran line (does it even matter with the final stages?). For a time, however, Nidorina was an exception as clearly shown in the Pokemon Stadium series. Nidorina can be seen with a big white pad under her foot. However, a newer model in Pokedex 3D Pro shows that this is no longer the case. The underside of Pokemon feet is usually not displayed in most promotional art, so it's hard to say just how much stock should be put into the Stadium models, but it could be a relic of an older design, like Nidoran female's tail or Nidoqueen's fangs. Maybe it was an anamoly, maybe it's a Stadium only thing like shiny Nidorina with green eyes (unless that's a "CHARLETTE" nickname thing).
- Speaking of Pokedex 3D pro, Nidorina's model is no longer based on the anime appearance, which along with Sugimori's new art in Fire Red and Leaf Green, should finally put to rest that anime Nidorina's design was never official (now let's hope time will fix the rest for those who are unfortunately ignorant). While this is good thing, the family as a whole aren't very appealing and lost some charm in these renders (say what you will about the Nidoqueen gainaxing, at least she was more lively and funny with her "swoon" animation among the rest), so perhaps its a case of one step forwards... (Editorial: I never thought it was possible to make Nidoran Female uncute).