Vulpix and Ninetales

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Vulpix and Ninetales
Pokémon series character
National Pokédex
Clefable - Vulpix (#037) - Ninetales (#038) - Jigglypuff
First game Pokémon Red and Blue
Designed by Ken Sugimori
Voiced by Rachael Lillis

Vulpix, known in Japan as Rokon (ロコン?) Ninetales, known in Japan as Kyukon (キュウコン Kyūkon?) are two fictional creatures, linked by evolution, in Nintendo and Game Freak's Pokémon media franchise. Ninetales evolves from Vulpix when exposed to a Fire Stone. Created by Ken Sugimori, they first appeared in the video games Pokémon Red and Blue and later appear in subsequent sequels, various merchandise, spinoff titles, and animated and printed adaptations of the franchise. They are known as the Fox Pokémon.

Concept and characteristics[edit]

Both Vulpix and Ninetales are known as the fox Pokémon, and are both fire types with multiple tails.


Nintendo decided to give the various Pokémon species "clever and descriptive names" related to their appearance or features when translating the game for western audiences as a means to make the characters more relatable to American children.[1] It was originally going to be named Foxfire in the English versions until Nintendo of America settled with Vulpix, which is based on "vulpus", the Latin word for fox.[2]

Vulpix, is a fox-like creature with six curled tails, based on the Japanese fox spirit kitsune. From birth, Vulpix starts out with only one tail, which is white in color; this tail splits apart as it grows and turns red.[3][4] Most commonly female, Vulpix are especially known for having beautiful fur and tails.[5] Vulpix have a flame in their bodies, which when the temperature outside increases, they let out of their mouths to prevent their body temperature from getting too hot.[6] They can control this fire, and make them fly like will-o'-the-wisps.[7] In the wild, Vulpix will feign injury to escape from more powerful predators.[8]


A print by Utagawa Kuniyoshi depicting the nine-tailed fox (above) which inspired Ninetales.

Ninetales, is a golden-white nine-tailed fox, based on the kitsune, a Japanese fox spirit.[9] The Kyūbi (九尾?), which held similar powers such as shapeshifting, were the main inspiration for the Pokémon. Ninetales' name was derived from the number of its tails, nine, and the fact that the idea for it came primarily from ancient Japanese tales,[9] although the English name may also be a reference to a kind of whip known as a cat o' nine tails. This fox-like Pokémon is covered with a thick, luxurious golden-white fur, with a fluffy crest atop its head and a similar ruff around its neck. Ninetales have gleaming red eyes that are said to give them the power of mind control.[10] Its nine different tails hold strange, cosmic powers [11][12] that let it live for 1000 years.[13] Ninetales are highly intelligent Pokémon that understand human speech.[14] They are very vengeful and have been known to curse those who mistreat them for 1000 years.[15][16] Many legends surround this Pokémon, one of which states that Ninetales was born when nine saints were united and reincarnated as this Pokémon.[17]


In the video games[edit]

Vulpix and Ninetales first appeared in Pokémon Red and Blue, though it was only obtainable without trading in Blue. It has since appeared in every main Pokémon title since, including remakes of the original games including Pokémon Yellow and Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen. Outside of the main titles, it appears in the Pokémon Pinball titles, Pokémon Trozei!, the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon titles, the Pokémon Ranger titles, Pokémon Rumble,PokéPark Wii: Pikachu's Adventure.

Vulpix also appears in Pokémon Snap, and Pokémon Channel, and is a starter/partner in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky.

In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team and Red Rescue Team, Ninetales cast a curse on a human that would turn it into a Pokémon, bringing on many natural disasters. The player is blamed for this and travels to the home of Ninetales at the top of Mt. Freeze to learn the truth. Ninetales later appears when Gengar (the real cursed human) wishes to right his wrongs. Ninetales is an important part of the plot of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team and Red Rescue Team, because of its involvement in the change of the player, as rumors say.

In other media[edit]

During the first season of the Pokémon anime, Vulpix appears often as one of Brock's Pokémon. It is given to him by a girl named Suzy who feels she cannot take care of it as well as Brock could. Brock later meets up with Suzy in Johto and returns it to her. In Magical Pokémon Journey, Kiaraway, a Fire-type Pokémon Trainer, owns a female Vulpix. She is one of his most used Pokémon, first appearing with Cyndaquil. In Pokémon Adventures, Flannery owns a Vulpix that she used to battle Shelly's Ludicolo, but only succeeded in sealing its Nature Power attack before fainting. Years earlier, in the Yellow chapter, Bill also has a Vulpix, which is beaten easily by Green's Blastoise. In Pokémon Battle Frontier, the main character, Enta, has a powerful and loyal Vulpix.

Ninetales first appeared in the anime in Beauty and the Breeder. A friend of Suzy named Zane had a Ninetales and used it in a Pokémon breeding contest. In Just Waiting On A Friend, a very old Ninetales befriended Brock, who bore a resemblance to her long lost master. This Ninetales created all sorts of illusions, including one of a woman through which it spoke. Many other Ninetales have made minor appearances such as one being used by Blaine to battle Ash in their Gym battle.

In the Pokémon Adventures manga, Red and Blue both tried catching the same Ninetales. In the scuffle for its Poké Ball, Blue managed to grab it first. Magma Admin Courtney uses a Ninetales as her main battler. In 'Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Ginji's Rescue Team, the curse that Ninetales can conjure is one of the main points of the plot.


IGN's Kristine, while playing Pokémon, was driven by her desire to own a Vulpix.[18] IGN described Vulpix as "one of the most adorable things you've ever seen", arguing that they felt the character was cuter than series icon Pikachu.[19] IGN's Pokémon Chick called Vulpix "second place" for her in a number of different categories in spite of her desire to raise a Vulpix.[20] Author Loredana Lipperini called it "totally kawaii", as well as "round and graceful".[21] GamesRadar's Brett Elston called it "undeniably cute" but inferior to Growlithe.[22] Authors Tracey West and Katherine Noll named Vulpix the fifth best Fire type Pokémon and wrote that Vulpix was "cute and cuddly" and "special".[23] Author Maria S. Barbo wrote that Vulpix had a "cute exterior" which "hides inner strength".[24]

Ninetales has had generally positive reception. IGN called Ninetales "one heck of a Pokemon that too many people tend to overlook" and a surprise "bombshell-dropper".[25] The reviewer continued, exaggerating that Ninetales may be "considered the new god of all that is holy."[25] IGN also called it "one of the most visually impressive Pokemon."[26] IGN readers ranked it the 31st Pokémon ever. IGN's Kristine Steimer called it "elegant and powerful" and called it "one of the more impressive evolutions" from Pokémon Red and Blue.[27] Game Informer‍ '​s O'Dell Harmon also ranked it at 31 on his list of the best Pokémon.[28] The Capital Times concurred that Ninetales was "particularly powerful".[29] However, IGN also noted that the character served little purpose until later games beyond looking attractive.[25] Many reviewers have commented on the perceived aesthetic beauty of Ninetales. IGN claimed that, while Ninetales may not be as cute as other Pokémon in the series, it makes up for this with sheer beauty.[25] Another noted Ninetales primarily for its visual appeal.[9] Several sources have commented on Ninetales' name, with various reporters calling it "whimsical"[30] and "fanciful".[31] Another IGN reviewer expressed a particular fondness for Ninetales, calling it "elegant".[32] Kotaku's Patricia Hernandez cited Ninetales as one of the better Pokémon Red and Blue due to its "elegance."[33]


  1. ^ Chua-Euan, Howard (November 22, 1999). "PokéMania". TIME. Retrieved 2008-09-15. 
  2. ^ Pokemon Strategy Guide - IGNguides
  3. ^ Game Freak (1998-09-30). Pokémon Red and Blue. Game Boy. Nintendo. At the time of birth, it has just one tail. The tail splits from its tip as it grows older. 
  4. ^ Game Freak (2000-10-15). Pokémon Gold. Game Boy Color. Nintendo. As it develops, its single white tail gains color and splits into six. It is quite warm and cuddly. 
  5. ^ Game Freak (1999-10-19). Pokémon Yellow. Game Boy. Nintendo. Both its fur and its tails are beautiful. As it grows, the tails split and form more tails. 
  6. ^ Game Freak (2003-03-17). Pokémon Sapphire. Game Boy Advance. Nintendo. Inside Vulpix's body burns a flame that never goes out. During the daytime, when the temperatures rise, this Pokémon releases flames from its mouth to prevent its body from growing too hot. 
  7. ^ Game Freak (2005-05-01). Pokémon Emerald. Game Boy Advance. Nintendo. It can freely control fire, making fiery orbs fly like will-o'-the-wisps. Just before evolution, its six tails grow hot as if on fire. 
  8. ^ Game Freak (2000-10-15). Pokémon Silver. Game Boy Color. Nintendo. If it is attacked by an enemy that is stronger than itself, it feigns injury to fool the enemy and escapes. 
  9. ^ a b c "#038 Ninetails". IGN. News Corporation. 1998. Retrieved 4 March 2010. 
  10. ^ Game Freak (2003-03-17). Pokémon Ruby. Game Boy Advance. Nintendo. Ninetales casts a sinister light from its bright red eyes to gain total control over its foe's mind. This Pokémon is said to live for a thousand years. 
  11. ^ Silvestri, Cris (2008). Pokémon Ultimate Handbook. New York City: Scholastic Corporation. p. 178. ISBN 0-545-07886-5. Retrieved 4 March 2010. 
  12. ^ Game Freak (2000-10-15). Pokémon Gold. Game Boy Color. Nintendo. Some legends claim that each of its nine tails has its own unique type of special mystic power. 
  13. ^ Game Freak (2000-10-15). Pokémon Silver. Game Boy Color. Nintendo. Its nine beautiful tails are filled with a wondrous energy that could keep it alive for 1,000 years. 
  14. ^ Game Freak (2003-03-17). Pokémon Sapphire. Game Boy Advance. Nintendo. Legend has it that Ninetales came into being when nine wizards possessing sacred powers merged into one. This Pokémon is highly intelligent - it can understand human speech. 
  15. ^ Raabe, Nancy (10 November 1999). "The Poke List from 1 to 151, Here's Your Who's Who of All the Pocket Monsters". The Birmingham News 112 (Birmingham, Alabama: Advance Publications). pp. 8–G. 
  16. ^ Game Freak (1998-09-30). Pokémon Red and Blue. Game Boy. Nintendo. Very smart and very vengeful. Grabbing one of its many tails could result in a 1000-year curse. 
  17. ^ Game Freak (1999-10-19). Pokémon Yellow. Game Boy. Nintendo. According to an enduring legend, 9 noble saints were united and reincarnated as this Pokémon. 
  18. ^ Pokemon: Kristine Catches 'em All - DS Feature at IGN
  19. ^ Staff (1999-11-01). "Pokémon of the Day: Vulpix". IGN. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved 2009-10-05. 
  20. ^ Pokemon Crystal Version Pok�mon of the Day: Vulpix (#37) - IGN FAQs
  21. ^ Generazione Pokémon: i bambini e l'invasione planetaria dei nuovi ... - Loredana Lipperini - Google Boeken
  22. ^ The complete Pokemon RBY pokedex, part 4 | GamesRadar
  23. ^ Pokémon top 10 handbook: our top picks! - Tracey West, Katherine Noll - Google Boeken
  24. ^
  25. ^ a b c d "Pokemon of the Day: Ninetales". IGN. News Corporation. 17 October 2003. Retrieved 4 March 2010. 
  26. ^ "Games, reviews, previews, nieuws, tips, video's en trailers - IGN Benelux". Retrieved 2013-04-04. 
  27. ^ Steimer, Kristine. "Ninetales - #31 Top Pokémon". IGN. Retrieved 2014-05-18. 
  28. ^ Harmon, O'Dell (2012-11-21). "Top 50 Pokémon Of All Time". Game Informer. Retrieved 2014-05-18. 
  29. ^ Murphy, Chris (27 November 1999). "Pokemon Kids Try to Bowl Each Other Over on League Night". The Capital Times (Madison, Wisconsin: The Capital Times Company). pp. 1A. 
  30. ^ Stroud, Rob (9 October 1999). "Collecting 'em all". Times-Courier (Charleston, Illinois: Journal Gazette and Times-Courier). 
  31. ^ Hinshaw, Dawn (16 September 1999). "World of Pokemon: Card Game of Fantasy Characters is Icebreaker for School-Age Set". The State (The McClatchy Company). pp. D1. 
  32. ^ "Pokemon of The Day: Ninetales (#38)". IGN. News Corporation. 6 November 2009. Retrieved 4 March 2010. 
  33. ^ Hernandez, Patricia (2012-12-17). "Pokémon Designs Aren't Getting Worse, They May Be Getting Better". Kotaku. Retrieved 2014-03-16. 

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