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Pokémon Fans React To Scarlet & Violet's Streamer Gym Leader

Waiting for the release of "Pokemon: Scarlet & Violet" on Nov. 18 is going to be difficult for many gamers, and in the meantime, players have begun to analyze every tiny detail in trailers and promotional stills from Nintendo in anticipation. All of this hunting has led the internet to its new favorite Pokemon, Lechonk, and subsequently to Lechonk's apparent fate as a horrifying ham sandwich in one trailer. New Pokemon are one of gamers' favorite things about a new generation of pocket monster games, and seeing cuties like Lechonk only makes fans wonder: What other new elements will be arriving in these games?

Considering that one recent preview of the game hid three Pokemon in plain sight, it makes sense that Nintendo might subtly drop hints at other creatures on the way. However, the company took a completely different approach by teasing a new gym leader – who had a clickbait-style reveal of her own. The official "Pokemon" Twitter account shared a short video featuring Iono, "an influencer, streamer, and Gym Leader who specializes in Electric-type Pokémon." The trailer asks viewers to guess who Iono's partner Pokemon is, who she claims she'll reveal at the end of the video. Iono quickly maneuvers into a fakeout, then explains that she's not going to share her pal just yet. She even encourages viewers to smash that like and subscribe button, just like a real streamer or YouTuber.

Viewers had varied reactions to Iono, sounding off in response to the new trailer. Some were overjoyed at Iono's cute aesthetic – including the pastel Magnemites complimenting her haircut – while others were irritated about her fakeout reveal and chirpy personality.

Who is Iono?

Some commenters focused specifically on Iono's streamer schtick, speculating that she's actually another character in the game who has a Vtuber alter ego. One gamer wondered if Iono might secretly be Penny, another new character introduced in the "Pokemon Scarlet & Violet." Penny is shy and nerdy, wearing glasses and an adorable Eevee backpack, but Iono's personality and style are over the top. Both characters also have two-toned hair. Another fan speculated that Iono was actually an adult man masquerading as a cute VTuber online. The original tweet concluded that the game's developers probably wouldn't decide to shock gamers by making Penny a secret VTuber, but the thought brought up some interesting possibilities for the plot of "Pokemon Scarlet & Violet."

Researcher, academic, and Poke-fan Liam Pomfret pointed out that Iono might be the first transgender Pokemon trainer. "Worth noting that, alongside being a bokukko (i.e. feminine presenting while using the masculine pronoun 'boku'), the colours of Iono's hair and Magnemite hair accessories appear to evoke the transgender flag." He continued, saying that Iono's name in several languages all hints at mystery, and that many languages refrain from using gendered pronouns to describe the new trainer. Others commented that some languages – like German, French, and Spanish – used feminine gendered language, but that those languages don't have official nongendered terms. While it might not be the first time a "Pokemon" game has included a transgender character, it would be a considerably higher profile character. One thing's undeniable, though. Iono is a Poke-Icon.

Gamers love Iono, for the most part

For the most part, people just seemed content to appreciate Iono's style, posting fanart and commenting on how cute she is.

Everyone wasn't so satisfied, though. At the very least, some gamers took the opportunity to make fun of Iono's sharp, shark-like teeth. One fanartist posted a photo comparing Iono to Riff Raff, the indie rapper who went viral for a Vine where he declared he wanted to "blow up, then act like I don't know nobody." Some gamers just joked that Iono wasn't the first influencer at all, sharing pictures of Squirtle selling goods.

Some gamers suggested it was ironic that content creators were mad that they had to wait to find out what Iono's new Pokemon was, because streamers often rely on clickbait-style titles to entice viewers. Soon, viewers were taking Iono to task, just as they would real streamers. One Twitter user joked, "Can we cancel Iono. I have receipts from 3 years ago of her saying bad thing that could get her cancelled. Lets make her make an apology video, especially after her la test live stream."

Finally, one gamer explained that Iono is reminiscent of another famous Nintendo franchise: "Splatoon." Iono's high energy presentation, bright colors, and streamer style definitely warrant the comparison.

Though Iono promised that she'd be revealing her Pokemon pal soon, it's unclear when that will happen. However, Poke-fans will definitely be on the lookout for the game's next teaser.