Pandas are a frequent inspiration for Pokemon, but fans may not realize just how many there actually are.
Despite their rarity, the panda is easily one of the most recognizable animals. These deeply symbolic animals are the crown jewel of zoos all over the world. Pokemon has always taken inspiration from real animals when designing new creatures to catch, and pandas are no exception. Here are three Pokemon with designs based on pandas.
While many Pokemon take inspiration from pandas, none of them do so as directly as Pancham. The Fighting-type Pokemon and its Dark evolution are the most direct equivalent to panda bears in the Pokemon world by a large margin. Pangoro is even more obvious as it gains cape-like fur and human hands.
Pancham sports black and white fur with separations at the neck and belly. They always have a leaf sticking out of their mouth. Pandas can eat over 80 pounds of bamboo in a single day, making it a clear reference. Pangoro’s leaf evolves into a full stalk, referencing their massive appetites. While this Pokemon has Dark and Fighting as types, real pandas are much less belligerent.
Spinda is a little less obvious than Pancham, but there are many connections between this eternally confused bear and the land mammal. The most obvious is the name “Spinda” itself. The name Spinda is clearly a combination of panda and spin, and the Pokemon’s appearance is just a dizzy panda bear.
Aside from that, Spinda is a pretty barebones Pokemon. Originally from Hoenn, the species’ gimmick is that each one features a unique combination of orange and cream splotches. They’re generally found in mountainous regions, which could be a reference to the panda’s natural habitat.
Stufful may not be directly based on the same kind of panda as Pancham and Spinda, but it still has a spot on this list. Many fans have theorized that Stufful’s design is based on a plush red panda. Though not related to actual pandas, red pandas have distinct circular facial markings. Stufful’s design sports this feature, linking the two species.
In addition to being based on an entirely different kind of panda, Bewear turns the Pokemon into a very clear grizzly bear. Its design is also dominated by the toyetic color scheme. Stufful will always be the stuffed animal Pokemon before the red panda one, but it still deserves an honorable mention.