Tuskaninny: Why So Underrated?
What better occasion than Tuskaninny Day to ask my fellow Neopians why this Neopet is so underrated. They`re super-cute, available in a variety of colours and have great species-specific clothing sets. So why are they not more popular?
In terms of the Tuskaninny`s popularity, the only official numbers I have to go by are the number of Neopets created. Their place on this list is nr 38, with only four species (not counting Ruki as they have been made LE) separating them from the Limited Edition Neopets. I`m sure there are many more in Neopia than what the Neopet Popularity page states, due to morphing and zapping. I obtained my own Plushie Tuskaninny by morphing, the Neopet in question had previously been a Baby Tonu and a Desert Kougra. In other words, I never prioritized getting a Tuskaninny because although I`ve always liked them, there are several species I prefer over them and when it comes to filling pet slots, we can`t "waste space" on Neopets we just like or think are cute, we have to go for the ones we really love. So although my Neopets family has changed a lot through the decade I`ve been playing, it did take nine years or so before a Tuskaninny finally became a part of it.
When discussing the reasons for the Tuskaninny being an un-popular or underrated species on the boards, one issue that kept getting brought up was customization. Many users are under the impression that this species is difficult to dress due to their body shape (their lack of legs in particular) and we`ll look deeper into this in a moment.
Another point that was brought up by several players was that although many think the Tuskaninny is cute, many also find them rather bland. It was stated that they don`t stand out as much as some other species and their body shape and overall look isn`t that appealing or interesting. Many users want to create characters for their Neopets, and a cute and harmless-looking Tusk is usually not their top choice. (With these reasons in mind, what the Sloth is the Jubjub doing in the top 10 most popular Neopets? It`s a furball with feet!) There are however several colours you can paint a Tuskaninny to make them look more evil or scary, if that is what you desire, such as Darigan, Ghost, Halloween, or Tyrannian, if you want to give them a stronger, tougher appearance.
Most people who play this game have a certain preference for animals, whether they be birds, reptiles, rodents, felines, canines etc. And they`ll choose a Neopet that best appeals to their tastes. The Tuskaninny, not belonging to any of the aforementioned groups, will therefore be ignored. The other aquatic Neopets (Peophin, Koi, Flotsam and Jetsam) all have a different appeal, such as the Peophin being more unique and appealing to horse lovers, Jetsam being stronger and more fierce-looking, and Koi and Flotsam both being slender, elegant and more feminine. Compared to all of them, the Tuskaninny can come off as less aesthetically pleasing, and will be your last choice even if you are fond of fish and other sea-creatures.
Another point that was brought to my attention is that Tuskaninny is seen as a low-status Neopet, they`re not really sought after and it really comes back to the issue of appearance and design. Some think Tuskaninnies look a bit odd, and although many think they`re cute, they`re not thought of as that unique or special. (It does beg the question of their popularity rising if they were made Limited Edition and thus being more desirable to own). It`s simply not a species you`re likely to pick in favor of another.
Regarding their artwork, the Tuskaninny hasn`t changed much after the conversion.
(Old to the left, new to the right)
As you can tell by comparing the pictures, their tail and flippers have changed positions, their mouth is closed and their body appears to have slimmed down slightly. All in all small changes, especially when compared to the more dramatic changes in the appearances of Peophin and Flotsam. I get the impression there are divided opinions on whether Tusks were cuter before or after conversion, but in my personal opinion, there isn`t that much of a difference.
Now let`s look at customization. Being able to easily dress up your Neopet in various outfits has become essential to most players after the conversion which allowed Neopets to finally wear clothing. Certain species have body-types which makes this more challenging, and the Tuskaninny is among these. Similar to several other species (most of them aquatic) the Tuskaninny has no hind legs, only a tail fin. Does this make customization a big challenge? No, not really, although many seem to believe so.
Dressing up a Neopet with a tail fin is not that difficult, in fact, the Tuskaninny has certain advantages over their aquatic fellows. Unlike a Peophin, they have flippers instead of front legs, and are not shown in profile, but turned more towards you, meaning sweaters, shirts and tops are positioned better. Compared to the slender Flotsam and Koi, the Tuskaninny is a rather bulky Neopet, but this need not be a bad thing when dressing them. On the larger-looking species the clothing is often showed more clearly due to the simple fact that they`re covering a larger body, allowing the detail to show better. Something else that I personally think counts in the Tusk`s favor is the fact that they do not appear to float or hover in thin air, like Flotsams and so on do. They are instead positioned firmly on the ground/floor in any customization, and while some feel this species look out of place (like a fish out of water, if you will) in any scene that does not have water or a beach in it, I personally think the Koi or Flotsam look stranger put against a backdrop that doesn`t feature them underwater. Unlike their fishy friends, the Tuskaninny has the ability to live on land, and so they can feel at home anywhere from the depths of Maraqua to the sand dunes of the Lost Desert. Don`t let owning a Tuskaninny limit your background options!
Every Neopet species has some kind of problem or challenge when it comes to applying clothing and accessories. The Neopets on my main account are all Eyries and a Peophin. And while I love them, both species present certain challenges when customizing. The Eyries mane covers up a lot of clothes and you can forget about making them wear jewelry around their necks. Many wigs that look gorgeous on most species look bad on my Peophin due to her mane not being restricted, and finding the perfect skirts and dresses for her can be difficult. The latter is a challenge shared with the Tuskaninny.
Dressing up a Tusk can be a bit hit and miss, it all depends on how you want them to look.
Wigs and Hats
In this category, there are practically no limitations. Tuskaninnies have beautiful, round heads which means hats are positioned well and most wigs look great on them. Long, short, wavy, curly, braids or pigtails, the Tuskaninny can rock any hairstyle.
Jackets, Shirts and Trousers
When dressing a male Tusk, I have personally found that they look very smart in jackets, most suit them quite well, and although the selection of full sets (tuxedos and suits) are slim at the moment, they look very handsome in them. They also look good in most shirts.
Some may think trousers (and shoes) look odd on this species, and that is naturally due to the lack of legs. I suppose it`s all a matter of opinion, but if you play around on DTI and put together a great overall look, will the tailfin really bother you that much? When a Tusk is wearing a jacket and trousers, it`s the top half that really grabs your attention and it makes the tail less noticeable.
Dresses and Skirts
The Tuskaninny has a certain masculinity to them, with their bulky frame and large flippers. This does not mean you can`t dress up your Tusk girl and make her look sweet and feminine, it`s actually quite easy. When it comes to dresses and skirts, I`m afraid it`s a bit hit and miss. You can`t put her in any garment and expect her to look fabulous. There is however a wide selection of both skirts and dresses, and while there are some that don`t look good there are plenty that do! I personally think Tuskaninnies look best in dresses, but you can combine a skirt with a cute top, too. And this should be easy as tops, shirts and sweaters mostly suit this species well.
The section of female clothing does not suffer from lack of options, but with a Tuskaninny you have to be somewhat more selective than with a quadruped. You sadly can`t select ten dresses at random and expect them all to be a perfect fit. There are still many great skirts and beautiful dresses that look wonderful on them, you just need to take some extra time to browse through the racks and let your Tuskaninny try everything on.
Similarly to other Neopets with fins, this species wear shoes in a unique way due to lacking actual feet. With basic, simple shoes or boots that are black or brown, they mostly serve to cover up the Tusk`s tail and don`t really add anything to the outfit. However, and this is mostly the case with female footwear, shoes that are colourful, with bows or patterns can really spruce up an ensemble and add that final touch to the look. Many girly shoes add a cute finish and a striking, unique detail to a customization.
In conclusion, Tuskaninnies are NOT that hard to dress. Play around on DTI (Dress To Impress) and see for yourself. Also be sure to check out their species clothing, they have some great sets.
We all have different tastes when it comes to Neopets, and many have completely reasonable and valid points for not feeling too fondly of the Tuskaninny, but I hope this article has helped to shed some light on the customization issue and how it`s really not as challenging as many assume.
The Tuskaninny have many fans across Neopia, and I for one have always had a place in my heart for them.
Happy Tuskaninny Day!
I would like to thank the people of Charter who contributed their thoughts and opinions, it was all most helpful. Thank you for reading, and don`t hesitate to Neomail me with comments or questions.