PokéBase - Pokémon Q&A
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Okay, so I actually understand why most Fairy types are Fairy-type. Some people question every Fairy Pokémon that doesn’t look like Tinker Bell, but I’m more knowledgeable on the topic. Most Fairy types fit at least a few of these criteria:

  • Pink
  • Pastel
  • Humanoid
  • Resembles a small humanoid fairy°
  • Feminine
  • Trickster
  • Magical
  • Based on actual fairies
  • Smells or tastes good (this one’s weird but it applies to a lot of them)
  • Big, sparkly eyes°°
  • Pretty
  • Healer
  • Affinity for nature (especially if it protects nature)°°°

Clefable fits six of these things. Aromatisse fits at least eight. Even Grimmsnarl fits three.
But the Azurill line? The only one it really fits is “cute”, and that fits a lot of Pokémon. They are fantastical creatures, technically, but they’re not magical. They barely learn any magic-related moves.
Help me out here. Is there any reason why this line got the Fairy type besides being in the Fairy egg group?

Edit:
°Originally, this just said “small”, but I wanted to emphasise the Pokémon looking like a fairy. Just for reference, Clefable, Mawile, Mime Jr., Comfey, and Magearna fit this one, but Jigglypuff, Togepi, Snubbull, and Carbink do not. It’s still a little vague.
°°Originally, this said “cute”, but that was waaaay too vague.
°°°Originally, this said “linked to nature”, but tons of Pokémon fit that bill. What I really mean is Pokémon like the Flabébé line, Comfey, Ribombee, and the Tapus.

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They may have wanted to make it more competitively viable. Water/Fairy is arguably better than Water, and STAB Play Rough + Huge Power is brutal. They also may have thought they didn't retcon enough Pokemon to Fairy type, and they needed another.
It's just GameFreak logic, if not balancing purposes. Azurill line's ears are pink, and you could say that Azurill is small and cute (though the latter is subjective). Azumarill also looks pretty humanoid, and not being "magical" is somewhat dumb. How can you faint Pokemon by just singing a song? (Perish Song) Moves like Light Screen, etc. are also not something humans can do. Its dex entry mentions that "Azumarill can make balloons out of air. It makes these air balloons if it spots a drowning Pokémon" which fits both healer and linked to nature criteria.
I guess that I do have an answer for it, and it’s not completely GFL. Wait for it, I guess.

1 Answer

12 votes

The main reason to this isn't what Amethyst and Kiawe said, you almost answered your own question actually. The list of yours has some reasons because of why the Azurill line is part Fairy-type.
You listed "based on actual fairies" as a criteria for a Pokémon to be a Fairy-type, and that's the main reason because of why the evolution line is part Fairy-type. I'll elaborate about this here.


Have you ever heard of Naiads and Nereids? They're fantastical creatures in Greek mythology, and are flowing water (springs, rivers, fountains, lakes) or sea Nymphs, respectively. Nymphs (Greek: νύμφη) in Greek mythology is a large class of young female deities typically identified with natural, fertile and growing features such as mountains (oreads), trees and flowers (dryads), springs, rivers, and lakes (naiads) or the sea (nereids). We're interested in the latter two, though, so I'll talk about them.

Naiads were the nymphs of rivers, lakes, streams, marshes, fountains, springs, brooks and any other type flowing water. They were minor goddesses and appropriately in their relation to freshwater, were represented as beautiful, lighthearted, and beneficent. Like the other classes of nymphs, they were extremely long-lived, although not immortal, which is rare for even minor gods and goddesses. Usually, they lived above Erebus (the underworld) and Tartarus (the deep abyss which was used as a dungeon of torment and suffering for the wicked and as the prison for the Titans), but the five rivers of Erebus also had Naiads, for example Minthe, the daughter of the River Cocytus, who had a really bad ending because of her affair with Hades. Usually they were lighthearted and, above Erebus, they were amiable companions of the major gods and had a nice rep with them (you might be able to associate Marill/Azumarill with them if you look closely).
Nereids were a bit more beautiful and "specific". They were fifty sea spirits, and they were known throughout the world for their beauty. They had long flowing hair, as dark as midnight, sea-green or blue eyes and gossamer white and blue dress which billowed around them in the water. They were daughters of the former ruler of the seas, Nereus, who was the son of Mother Earth and the Oceans itself, Gaia and Pontus. They (Nereids) were known to help sailors on their voyages when they faced fierce storms (also see: Azumarill's Alpha Sapphire PokéDex entry. Note the similarity.). The primary role of the Nereids though was to act as attendants to Poseidon, and so they were commonly seen in the company of the god. Whilst associated with the Mediterranean, they were thought to be specifically concentrated with the Aegean Sea, for this was where their father, Nereus, had his palace.

Now that I've explained the two, how are they related to actual fairies, though? Nymphs were the fairies in Greek mythology. A fairy is a small imaginary being of human form that has magical powers, especially a female one. Nymphs fit this explanation totally, and in the Iliad, Homer describes Nymphs as "a natural female magical deity", thus cementing the fact that they're Greek fairies.
Now, how're they related to the Azurill line? The said line is considered to be closely related to fairies (not magical, but design-wise and characteristically), as they're in the Fairy egg group also, and they do look like fairies. And they're part Water-type, too, so water nymphs and the line (except Azurill) are pretty related to each other, characteristically. If we look at other Water-/Fairy-types, Primarina and Tapu Fini, they're also like nymphs if we look at their PokéDex descriptions (Tapu Fini's description might sound weird, but Nereids were like that, too, spreading destruction when angered).

Now, let's compare the line with your list:

  • Pink ✓ (ears)
  • Pastel ✓ (their palette is light)
  • Humanoid ✓ (almost)
  • Small ✓
  • Feminine ✕
  • Trickster ✕
  • Magical ✕
  • Based on actual fairies ✓
  • Smells or tastes good ✕
  • Cute ✓ (relative, but most will agree)
  • Pretty ✕ (relative, I don't find them very pretty though)
  • Healer ✓
  • Linked to nature ✓

So, even with conservative estimates (which would strike some the ticks off), we're getting at least five points which fit the Azurill line, and with some leniency, we get eight.

Now we can have the points put forward by Amethyst and Kiawe.

They may have wanted to make it more competitively viable. Water/Fairy is arguably better than Water, and STAB Play Rough + Huge Power is brutal. They also may have thought they didn't retcon enough Pokemon to Fairy type, and they needed another.
commented 13 hours ago by Amethyst

True -- dual STAB options are usually better than single STAB, and the second reasoning doesn't strike me as concrete, but it might be true.

It's just GameFreak logic, if not balancing purposes. Azurill line's ears are pink, and you could say that Azurill is small and cute (though the latter is subjective). Azumarill also looks pretty humanoid, and not being "magical" is somewhat dumb. How can you faint Pokemon by just singing a song? (Perish Song) Moves like Light Screen, etc. are also not something humans can do. Its dex entry mentions that "Azumarill can make balloons out of air. It makes these air balloons if it spots a drowning Pokémon" which fits both healer and linked to nature criteria.
commented 12 hours ago by Kiawe

I disagree with the GameFreak Logic point, but yeah I agree with everything else.


Now that we're almost done with the answer, I'll provide a tl;dr with all the points discussed here.

  • Related to Greek mythological sea fairies
  • Fits a lot of criteria according to your table
  • Competitive viability raised because of Water-/Fairy- dual typing

So that's all for the answer, let me know if I missed anything, hope it helped!

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I knew most of that stuff about naiads and nereids. I’ve heard that reason before. The Azurill line still isn’t that similar. They’re both blue and they both live in the water, but that’s about it. You know who else is blue and aquatic? Carracosta. Also, they really don’t look like fairies at all. They may be in the Fairy egg group, but many Pokémon in that egg group are cutesy, brightly-colored animals with powers.
In my opinion, they still don’t fit with the list:
• pink ❎ (inner ears, eyes, noses, beaks, bird feet, and inner mouths don’t count)
• pastel ❎ (they’re super vivid)
• humanoid ❎ (they’re bipedal, that’s it)
• resembles a small humanoid fairy° ❎
• feminine ❎
• trickster ❎
• magical ❎
• based on actual fairies ❎ (Carracosta)
• smells or tastes good ❎
• big, sparkly eyes° ❎
• pretty ❎
• healer ❎ (they sometimes help people and Pokémon, but so does Stoutland)
• affinity for nature° ❎ (not more so than other Water type)
°different from the original (edited in my answer)
Honestly, I’m almost convinced that this line were only retyped because there weren’t enough type combos that included Fairy and this line was one of the few monotype lines that generally fit. That, and being a parallel to the Igglybuff line. There might be another reason, but connection to Greek fairies isn’t it.
Nice that you've heard the reason before (there's more to it by all accounts), I can cut the speech and get straight to the point.
* You haven't played your argument very well. The list is yours, and it is frightfully relative. What you may agree upon, someone else mightn't, and what I agree upon, you/someone else mightn't too. The example which you gave to solidify the fact that Azurill isn't based on actual fairies is a bit bizzare, for me. Carracosta is blue and aquatic, and so is the Azurill line, but how're you comparing *fairies* to Carracosta? If you're not happy with the Nereids reason, here is one more for you. Let's take Marill as an example this time. It's a blue, round and a cute-looking (again, relative, but *most* would agree) Pokémon which evolves into a bunny-shaped Pokémon. Get a reference? Easter Bunnies. What's a characteristic of those bunnies? It represents fertility and motherhood, are are cute in their own way. Now what does that refer to? Fairies. They're also usually embodiments of love and care. Things matching now?
* If you look at Marill's older demo and final sprites (its concept art), they're pink. In Gold & Silver's 1997 demo, Marill was a pink Water-type without an evolution -- as Azumarill didn't exist, yet. The sprite was afterwards finalised in 1999, and it was changed to blue. Now what does this signify? Pink, usually, is related to fairies. I'm pretty sure this would tick two points from your list.
* I personally feel that the white on its belly is pretty cool than vivid. And about the blue, as a whole, blues are generally low intensity and aren't very bright. On the Azurill line, the blue is pretty soft, and especially in the older art. As I mentioned in the answer, this is a relative question and you might cross this point off if you're taking conservative estimates, but again, this is a personal view and you can't really get a worldview of Azurill line being pastel unless you have six people to discuss it with you.
* I'm still genuinely confused about your Carracosta point. Both Carracosta and the Azurill line are blue and aquatic, but I never said that on *that* basis one can call a Pokémon to be related/based on fairies. As I've mentioned in the answer and in this comment above, Carracosta and the Azurill line are pretty much like chalk and cheese in terms of their design and what they're based upon -- Carracosta is a turtle while the Azurill line is hugely based on aquatic mouses.
* Stoutland helps people, if we want to embellish the fact that it's a Fairy-type we can tick that point. But it doesn't fulfil a lot of the other points, so it is *not* a fairy. Marill (say), on the other hand, is based on fairies. You can't really juxtapose the Azurill line and Stoutland and come up with an idiosyncratic conclusion.
* You can't really change the list after the answer is posted and say after doing thus that the answer doesn't contain information about this certain point. The Azurill line is linked to nature and I won't be changing that in the answer. Apparently almost all wild Pokémon are linked to nature because they live in the midst of it, and not all share a mutual understanding with it.
* If you think that the connection to Greek fairies isn't the reason, well and good because I'm not entitled to change your view. The reason which you gave is more of a GameFreak logic one, and questions like that aren't allowed on the site, so I can hide my answer if I'm asked to.
You spent way too much time on that answer, and it still didn’t really prove anything. The Azurill line still isn’t more similar to naiads or nereids than Carracosta is. And I’m not gonna call Marill pink just because its beta design was. Is Hoppip black because of its beta design? All your arguments are stretches, and most Pokémon have much more solid reasons for their types.
I'm sorry but I spend less than forty minutes on it (I said "wait for it" as I was going to sleep). You know what else is blue and aquatic? Gyarados. And it's based on Chinese sea dragons. Hoppip was black because it was based on cats, and was known as the "leaf cat" Pokémon. If my arguments are stretches (and you haven't countered them, I'm waiting for it), how did the answer get nine votes? Most Pokémon's reason for their typing is GameFreak logic (which could close this question, apparently), and one can hypothesise about them.
Not sure what you’re even trying to say at this point. Yeah, Gyarados is a dragon and Hoppip is a cat. That doesn’t make Marill a fairy.
If you're going to disagree with every point someone makes on a subject just because you think otherwise without much proof or reasoning for your choice, then you aren't going to end up with an answer better than "It's just Gamefreak Logic". It's fine if you think that the Marill line shouldn't have the Fairy type, but arguing with somebody who has the opposite opinion without much proof on why that line shouldn't be Fairy isn't gonna change their opinion much. The answer tells you what Azurill, Marill and Azumarills origin seems to be, says that the Marill line can fit into some of the categories you listed, and how Azumarill wouldn't be as good as it is today if it wasn't given the Fairy type, what else do you want from this answer?
What else do you want from *an answer*, in fact?
Honestly, at this point, I’m fine with the “Gamefreak wanted more Fairy types and there weren’t many other options” answer. It seems like the most likely answer. I thought there might have been a better reason, but now I’m convinced there isn’t.