Illustration: Pokémon

As part of its upcoming Pokémon Day celebration, The Pokémon Company has partnered with Google to poll fans on their favorite pocket monsters. With almost 900 of the little buggers from which to choose, it’s going to be hard for any one Pokémon to stand out, but that hasn’t stopped fans from advocating on behalf of the species they believe are the best. I mean, the right answer is Koffing, but let’s go ahead and entertain some other options, what the heck.

Since the polls opened, the Pokémon subreddit has been inundated with several topics that look more like campaign ads than forum posts. These include calls to action for Bidoof, Eevee, Raichu, Appletun, Qwilfish, and Snom, but fans of Chewtle have produced some of the most creative propaganda, led by a group known as the Church of Albert. For some inexplicable reason, this so-called church—which has less than 30 members on its own separate subreddit—refuses to call Chewtle by anything but Albert, referring to the original name as “the C-word” and treating anyone who uses it as a heretic.

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Whatever their deal is, the propaganda the Church of Albert has created for Chewtle is a step above what I’ve seen for any other Pokémon, calling back to both the iconic “Hope” artwork designed by Shepard Fairey for the Barack Obama presidential campaign and the feminist iconography of Rosie the Riveter.

But all of this is moot, since the best Pokémon is Koffing. There’s very little pretense to be found in the little gasball; what you see is what you get. Sure, it may smell terrible, but I can’t help but be inspired by Koffing’s enduring smile. If a trainer can get around its fumes, Koffing can be a lifelong friend, happy to just float around and suck up whatever nasty vapors come its way. And when push comes to shove, Koffing won’t think twice about literally exploding to win a battle or remove some other sort of hazard that happens to be in your way. Everyone could use a little more danger in their lives.

This cutie pie can also be beneficial to the world’s rapidly degrading environment. Galar, the region in which Pokémon Sword and Shield are set, benefits greatly from Koffing’s evolved form, Weezing. Galarian Weezings have developed the ability to ingest contaminants and produce clean air. They’re essentially living filters, capable of traveling from place to place and purifying pollutants that might otherwise harm humans. Imagine it: fleets of Koffing and Weezing being transported across the globe, gobbling up dangerous toxins and helping to maintain habitable conditions. I challenge you to name a Pokémon that can be more useful in turning back the damage of industrialization.

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In any case, voting for your favorite Pokémon—which, if you read the last two paragraphs, should now be Koffing—is as easy as visiting Google and searching “Pokémon vote.” From there, you’ll be able to choose one Pokémon from each region every day until February 14. The results of this vote will be shared on February 27, otherwise known as Pokémon Day.

Staff writer, Kotaku

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