Quick Reads

Glaceon’s Gracious Design Origins

Digging into the snow, we find a possibility that a Russian Elsa might have inspired our Ice-type quadruped!

Deep within the frigid forests of Sinnoh lies the Ice Rock. The remarkable geological element holds strange powers that help Eevee evolve into the elegant Glaceon. Gen IV had a field day introducing new evolutions, whether they be next-stage evolutions like Magnezone or Electivire or pre-evolutions like Happiny and Mime Jr. Glaceon was one of these new evolutions.

The graceful master of ice is one of the two Eeveelutions introduced in Gen IV. Glaceon does look cool. But what does it resemble? What were the artists thinking of when they came up with Glaceon? It would help if we broke down its design elements.

The Eevee Connection

Glaceon evolves from good old Eevee; tackling the classic starter Pokémon first would undoubtedly be a good reference, if not a starting point. Eevee looks like… like… a cat? a fox? a dog? a… what? One can’t help but struggle to put a finger on what exactly Eevee itself is based on, despite the vacant sense of familiarity. This was because Eevee’s artist, Motofumi Fujiwara designed Eevee as a blank slate – a creature that children could connect to, as it would exist “in people’s memories”, upon Satoshi Tajiri’s request for a Pokémon with multiple evolutions.

Although all Eeveelutions share this vague mix-of-all traits, Eevee being a great template helps add a lot of influences organically, as we can see in the Atsuko Nishida designed Ice-type.

Animalistic Traits

At first glance, Glaceon seems to possess vague feline features (except for the flat tail and the lack of whiskers). The body shape, paws and face contribute to this look. Colour-wise, Glaceon bears a light blue shade on its trunk and most of its body, while the diamond shaped patterns on its back, tail and ear bear a darker shade of blue. The darker shades manifest at the extremes of Glaceon’s body and such a phenomenon can be observed in cats with point colouration. Have a look:

Would this be a normal-type Eeveelution? Source: Wikimedia

Colour point cats are a specific breed or variety of domestic cats characterized by a distinct color pattern. They have a lighter body color with darker colors (the “points”) on their ears, face, paws, and tail. This description is applicable even to our diamond dust forming “eon”.

When it comes to further animal-like features, Glaceon could be stretched to be viewed as a glorified arctic fox, considering how nimble these creatures are, and their similar habitats. Glaceon is known to convert its surroundings to ice, and creates diamond dust, due to which it is popular in ski resorts. Arctic and grey foxes have been known to wander into ski resorts. But again, the similarities here are rather vague.

Cultural Clues

Speaking of Glaceon’s crest, an interesting and plausible origin for this design element can come to light via folk tales. Glaceon possesses a crest that’s of a shade of blue darker than its trunk but lighter than the diamond-shapes. This crest and flap resemble a “Kokoshnik”, a folk wear from Russia, associated with the mythical Snow Maiden, “Snegurochka”. Snegurochka is popularly depicted with the Kokoshnik, which also has a fabric or crystal panel that drops down from the head to reach the lower jaw, resembling Glaceon’s flaps. About the Snow Maiden – Ostrovsky, a famous Russian playwright, wrote “The Winter Tale” in 1873 (the tale was also known as “Snegurochka”), which told the tale of a snow lady falling in love. This play turned out to be rather popular and was performed at Christmas events.

A common depiction of the Snegurochka, adorning the Kokoshnik. Source: Wikimedia

Artwork of the Snegurochka was on full display via figures and cards that could decorate the Christmas tree. The myth chronicles the tale of Snegurochka, the daughter of Father Frost and Mother Spring. She appears as a winter blessing to a childless couple and diligently looks after them. Over time, she falls in love with a man, but the emotion of love warms her heart, and she ends up melting. Considering the aesthetic parallels, Glaceon’s crest and flaps could be assumed to draw inspiration from Snegurochka, but the crest could also be viewed as a resemblance to the Ushanka, a Russian fur cap with ear covering flaps. Again, Glaceon’s crest flaps can be considered akin to these fur-flaps, like so:

Shun the Ushanka…uh, no sport the Ushanka, shun the cold! Source: Wikimedia

All resemblances are, however, vague at best. But all in all, Glaceon has these references homogenously integrated into the design, without abruptly standing out and has a pleasing appearance. Designer Atsuko Nishida incorporated various elements from around the world and came up with a Pokémon as elegant as Glaceon, which is commendable. Adorable yet stylish, Glaceon can be a sight to behold, but beware, lest you be frozen before you realise!

Info credit:

With contribution from Cocoman.
Edited by bobandbill and Aldo.