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

Ninetales, known in Japan as Kyukon (キュウコン Kyūkon?) is a Pokémon species in Nintendo and Game Freak's Pokémon franchise. Ninetales evolves from Vulpix when exposed to a Fire Stone. Created by Ken Sugimori, it 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. It is known as the Fox Pokémon.

Concept and characteristics[edit]

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

Ninetales, also known as the Fox Pokémon, is a golden-white nine-tailed fox, based on the kitsune, a Japanese fox spirit.[1] 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,[1] 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.[2] Its nine different tails hold strange, cosmic powers [3][4] that let it live for 1000 years.[5] Ninetales are highly intelligent Pokémon that understand human speech.[6] They are very vengeful and have been known to curse those who mistreat them for 1000 years.[7][8] Many legends surround this Pokémon, one of which states that Ninetales was born when nine saints were united and reincarnated as this Pokémon.[9]


In the video games[edit]

Ninetales first appeared in Pokémon Red and Blue, though it was only obtainable in Blue without trading. It has since appeared in every main Pokémon title, 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, and PokéPark Wii: Pikachu's Adventure.

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]

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.


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".[10] The reviewer continued, exaggerating that Ninetales may be "considered the new god of all that is holy."[10] IGN also called it "one of the most visually impressive Pokemon."[11] 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.[12] Game Informer‍ '​s O'Dell Harmon also ranked it at 31 on his list of the best Pokémon.[13] The Capital Times concurred that Ninetales was "particularly powerful".[14] However, IGN also noted that the character served little purpose until later games beyond looking attractive.[10] 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.[10] Another noted Ninetales primarily for its visual appeal.[1] Several sources have commented on Ninetales' name, with various reporters calling it "whimsical"[15] and "fanciful".[16] Another IGN reviewer expressed a particular fondness for Ninetales, calling it "elegant".[17] Kotaku's Patricia Hernandez cited Ninetales as one of the better Pokémon Red and Blue due to its "elegance."[18]


  1. ^ a b c "#038 Ninetails". IGN. News Corporation. 1998. Retrieved 4 March 2010. 
  2. ^ 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. 
  3. ^ Silvestri, Cris (2008). Pokémon Ultimate Handbook. New York City: Scholastic Corporation. p. 178. ISBN 0-545-07886-5. Retrieved 4 March 2010. 
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ 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. 
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ 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. 
  9. ^ 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. 
  10. ^ a b c d "Pokemon of the Day: Ninetales". IGN. News Corporation. 17 October 2003. Retrieved 4 March 2010. 
  11. ^ "Games, reviews, previews, nieuws, tips, video's en trailers - IGN Benelux". Retrieved 2013-04-04. 
  12. ^ Steimer, Kristine. "Ninetales - #31 Top Pokémon". IGN. Retrieved 2014-05-18. 
  13. ^ Harmon, O'Dell (2012-11-21). "Top 50 Pokémon Of All Time". Game Informer. Retrieved 2014-05-18. 
  14. ^ 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. 
  15. ^ Stroud, Rob (9 October 1999). "Collecting 'em all". Times-Courier (Charleston, Illinois: Journal Gazette and Times-Courier). 
  16. ^ 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. 
  17. ^ "Pokemon of The Day: Ninetales (#38)". IGN. News Corporation. 6 November 2009. Retrieved 4 March 2010. 
  18. ^ Hernandez, Patricia (2012-12-17). "Pokémon Designs Aren't Getting Worse, They May Be Getting Better". Kotaku. Retrieved 2014-03-16. 

External links[edit]