It’s small, downy, and prideful to an extreme. Piplup, the Penguin Pokemon, is the Sinnoh region’s water-type starter and personally one of my favorite starters of all time. Piplup’s design is most-likely based off from a baby penguin, or Blue penguin. Though the ‘crown’ on its forehead may be a reference to an Emperor Penguin. Piplup and its evolutionary line are the only Pokemon that can learn the move Drill Peck that aren’t part flying-type, though that is most-likely because it is based off from a flightless bird.
Piplup starts off as being tiny and a bit awkward on its feet. Its pokedex entries state that it normally has a hard time walking around so it falls down a lot, though its unwavering pride causes it to quickly recover and pick itself back up. Its pride also keeps it from accepting food or assistance from strangers as it doesn’t like being taken care of. Its name may have come from the words ‘Pip’ – the stage in growth in baby birds directly before they hatch from eggs – and ‘plip’ or ‘plup’, which would make its name a play on ‘plip plop’, the sound of falling rain.
Once it reaches level 16, Piplup evolves into a Prinplup. Prinplup is a bit larger than its pre-evolved form and it is thought to be even more prideful. Its pokedex entry states that each one believes that they are the most important so they are unable to live in groups, instead each one lives a solitary life. Prinplup have quite high special attack and special defense stats thought, like its pre-evolved form, it lacks in speed. Also like Piplup, Prinplup have a sort of crown that stretches from their beaks. Prinplup’s name most-likely comes from the words ‘prince’ (hence the crown on its head), ‘plup’, and is probably another play ‘plip plop’, which references it being a water-type Pokemon.
And lastly, once it reaches level 36, Prinplup evolves into Empoleon and gains a secondary type: Steel. Empoleon is the only pokemon with its type combination and can learn the most HMs of any starter, being able to learn seven. The only one it cannot learn is Fly, which is most-likely a reference to the fact that it’s based off from a flightless bird. Empoleon is based off from Emperor Penguins, as its ‘crown’ would reference. The ‘crown’ on its forehead is shaped like a trident, the supposed weapon of choice for Poseidon, the Greek God of the sea. Empoleon is said to be based off from Napoleon Bonaparte, the Emperor of France, and it is roughly the same height as the former Emperor. Empoleon’s name most-likely derives from the words ‘emperor’, ‘Napoleon’, and perhaps ‘pole’ which would make sense considering it and its evolutionary line are supposed to originate from cooler climates.
The Piplup evolutionary line is depicted as being prideful penguins that can easily retaliate against any that may have attempted to hurt their pride with an unthinkable force. Though they aren’t very quick on their feet, they make up for that lack of speed with power.