Unova Starters And Evolutions: The Snivy Line

By Jo

It’s smart, calm, and has a bit of an attitude problem. Snivy, the Grass Snake Pokemon, is the Unova region’s grass-type starter. Being swift and agile, it can take hits rather well (or avoid them most of the time) without breaking a sweat. Its design is most-likely based off from the Green Vine Snake that inhabits Central and South America, though it also resembles the Neoseps – a type of skink that has short, stubby arms and legs.

Snivy starts out as a small, snide creature that is very witty. Because of its appearance and the idea of it looking down on others, fans of the franchise case up with a name for it, dubbing it “Smugleaf”, before any of the starters’ official names had been released. “Smugleaf” was quickly picked up on and eventually even a few English magazines used the fan-given name to refer to the little Pokémon. The name Snivy most-likely originates from the words “ivy”, “snide”, and “snake”.

Once it reaches level 17, Snivy evolves into Servine. Servine’s body is a bit larger than Snivy’s, though its arms and legs appear as if they’re ill proportioned. Servine’s name most-likely comes from the words “sir”, “serpent”, and “vine”, since the Snivy line slowly loses its limbs and becomes a snake. Servine’s Pokedex entry even states that it moves around as if sliding, which would reference what it eventually evolves into. Ken Sugimori – an artist who did the art for the original Pokemon games and worked on the conception art for the movies – has said that the Snivy line was based off from French royalty, which would explain the “sir” being present in its name. Its yellow crests on its chest and shoulder most-likely reference the French royalty theme as well.

And finally, at level 36, Servine will evolve yet again into a Serperior – a large basilisk-like Pokemon. Apparently, Serperior is based on various types of non-venomous snakes and limbless lizards including the Green Vine Snake, the Emerald Tree Boa, the Royal Python and the Lialis burtonis. Because the Snivy line slowly loses its arms and legs, many fans believe it may also reference the serpent in the Garden of Eden story – as it was punished for swaying Eve’s judgment and talking her into disobeying what she’d been told by the loss of its limbs. Like the snakes it is based off from, Serperior is extremely quick. Though, like its pre-evolutions, Serperior still is lacking in its health, attack, and special attack stats. Serperior’s name probably comes from the words “serpent”, “sir” and “superior” – referencing it’s “I’m better than you are” attitude.

The Snivy line references the past European idea of feeling superior than all others. Its creators managed to incorporate the past as well as add different sorts of reptiles into the mix.

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