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Greninja named Google's Pokemon of the Year, crushing the competition

Zarude, the new mythical Pokemon coming to Sword and Shield, was also revealed. It'll make its Japanese movie debut in July.

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Google let Pokemaniacs across the world vote for their favorites from all 890 Pokemon earlier this month, and Greninja was crowned the winner in a Thursday livestream celebrating Pokemon Day. 

The top 10:

  1. Greninja (140,559 votes) 
  2. Lucario (102,259 votes)
  3. Mimikyu (99,077 votes)
  4. Charizard (93,968 votes)
  5. Umbreon (67,062 votes)
  6. Sylveon (66,029 votes)
  7. Garchomp (61,877 votes)
  8. Rayquaza (60,939 votes)
  9. Gardevoir (60,516 votes)
  10. Gengar (60,214 votes)
screenshot-2020-02-27-at-14-11-51.png

The winner, by a wide margin.

Screenshot by CNET

It's certainly an eclectic list, and Pikachu's complete absence is a surprise. At least Mimikyu wears a super creepy Pikachu costume, so he's sorta represented.

If you're looking for more detail on how the voting went, Pokemon Database put together an infographic showing the top 30 from each of the series' eight regions. Pikachu was the fourth most popular Pokemon from the Kanto region, with 48,060 votes.  

After the Pokemon of the Year was revealed, the livestream looked to future by showing the new mythical Pokemon, Zarude. It's a Dark/Grass type, with the ability Leaf Guard. It'll come to Pokemon Sword and Shield on Nintendo Switch, but mythicals (such as Mew and Celebi) can't be caught during normal gameplay. Traditionally, Nintendo has distributed them during events or via the in-game Mystery Gift function.

Zarude, the new mythical Pokemon, is coming to Sword and Shield.

Pokemon Co.

The company didn't say when or how you'll be able to get Zarude, but Sword and Shield is getting a pair of expansions later this year. 

"This mythical Pokemon lives in a pack deep in the dense forests of Galar. It treats anyone that isn't part of its pack with immediate hostility," the description reads. "When fighting, it swings around from tree branches, attacking relentlessly with its sharp claws. Its quick wit helps it excel in battles."

Zarude also appear in upcoming Pokemon movie Coco, which got a Japanese trailer on Thursday. It's the 23rd movie in the franchise and hits Japan on July 10, so Zarude could arrive in Sword and Shield around then.

Feb. 27 is Pokemon Day, the 23rd anniversary of the release of the original Pokemon games (Red and Green) on Game Boy in Japan. They came to the US a couple years later, with Green being replaced by Blue.  

If you aren't fussed about Google's Pokemon popularity contest, other Pokemon celebrations are afoot. Wild Pikachu and Eevee started wearing party hats in Pokemon Go on Tuesday, and similarly attired Bulbasaur, Charmander and Squirtle started hatching from 7km eggs.

The mobile game is also marking the Feb. 27 Netflix launch of Pokemon: Mewtwo Strikes Back -- Evolution by bringing mean-looking clones of Venusaur, Charizard and Blastoise to four-star Raid Battles and Armored Mewtwo to five-star raids. And you'll be able to make two Special Trades each day rather than one. All of that will last until Monday, March 2.

Mewtwo, Bulbasaur, Ivysaur, Charmander, Charmeleon, Squirtle and Wartortle started appearing in Sword and Shield's multiplayer Max Raid battles on Thursday. You can't catch wildly powerful Mewtwo -- you have to use the recently released Pokemon Home to transfer it from an older game in the series -- but you get great items for beating it, Pokemon news site Serebii noted. You can catch the others, and they'll stick around until 4 p.m. PT Sunday, March 1.

First published Feb. 26, 5:45 a.m. PT.
Updated 6:25 a.m. PT: Adds more details about Pokemon Day.
Updated Feb. 27, 5:05 a.m. PT: Notes that Mewtwo and the Kanto starters are appearing in Max Raids, 6:20 a.m. PT: Adds winners, 7:15 a.m. PT: Adds more details about Zarude.
Updated Feb. 28, 4:30 a.m. PT: Adds infographic and Coco trailer.

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