Nintendo had been teasing the reveal of a new Mythical Pokémon for weeks leading up to Pokémon Day on February 27, and now the majestic beast has been revealed as some kind of fearsome monkey that looks a little bit like a Gremlin.
Nintendo revealed the new Pokémon, called Zarude, early Thursday morning to kick off Pokémon Day 2020 celebrations. In the reveal video, Zarude appears a bit taller than most humans, and it's hunched over like some kind of ape. It has blood-red eyes and scary teeth, which goes along with its primary Dark-typing. There's also a patch of bright green on its mostly black fur, but its distinguishing feature is definitely the retractable vines that coil around its wrists, accounting for the Grass subtype. These will probably uncoil much like Bulbasaur's vines or Greninja's tongue when Zarude appears in the upcoming Pokémon the Movie: Coco due out in Japan this July.
Dubbed the "Rogue Pokémon," Zarude seems pretty aggressive based on its official description: "When fighting, it swings around using trees and their branches, attacking relentlessly with its sharp claws or any other means it has. Its quick wit helps it excel in battles." In the debut video, we see him beat up a Rillaboom and Drednaw, and it's enough to make you want to start a monkey-themed Pokémon team.
Game Freak confirmed in an official press release that the creature won't be encountered in regular gameplay, which means it'll be part of some kind of special event in the future. The release does confirm Zarude "can grow vines from the back of its neck, its wrists, and the soles of its feet at will. The vines are strong and flexible and are useful for many different situations. They can be used to wrap around tree branches to move around and grab Berries from distant branches, and they even have healing properties." Sounds pretty resourceful.
As a Dark/Grass Pokémon, Zarude shares a typing with very few Pokémon out there. When it swings into Pokémon Sword and Shield later this year, it'll be super-effective against Water, Electric, Grass, Ground, Ghost, and Dark Pokémon while also being weak to Fire, Ice, Fighting, Poison, Flying, and Fairy. That also means it'll be doubly weak to Bug-type moves, but who even uses Bug Pokémon?
Zarude comes with the Leaf Guard ability, which prevents status conditions while in harsh sunlight. It's unclear if Zarude will be able to learn the move Sunny Day, which would come in handy to manually trigger the harsh sunlight condition. Either way, it'll give plenty of Pokémon trainers a reason to incorporate the move into their squad. As a Mythical Pokémon, Zarude is bound to come with strong stats that'll make it a powerful asset to any team.
We'll learn even more about Zarude in due time, especially after Pokémon the Movie: Coco comes out in July. In the teaser trailer, Ash and Pikachu travel to some kind of remote jungle where they encounter a human swinging around like Tarzan who was presumably raised by wild Pokémon. They also have vines wrapped around their wrist just like Zarude, so clearly their outfit is inspired by Zarude in some way.
Zarude clearly has some kind of "Forest Guardian" vibe going for it so far, and it's unclear exactly how intelligent the creature will be when it debuts. The official release says Zarude "lives in a pack deep in the dense forests of Galar" and "treats anyone that isn’t part of its pack with immediate hostility." Clearly this human is part of its pack, but how quickly will it attack Ash and Pikachu?
Zarude will be available in Pokémon Sword and Shield later this year.