I don't get it. Why the gloves? Many pokemon have clothing items and that's because they are going for some specific idea but for Poliwhirl/wrath I don't see it. It's one thing for Hitmonchan the boxing pokemon to have boxing gloves but what drove the pokemon designers to be like "you know what this tadpole/frog thing needs? gloves!"? There's not even much mention of it even being a skilled fist fighter, if anything what the pokedex always emphasises is how much of a great swimmer it is.
So why the gloves? Is this some sort of obscure japanese pop culture reference or pun or pun I'm missing? Afaik there are no punching frogs in folklore.
Because FIGHTING-type used to mean FISTICUFFS (or kicks, as the case may be). Then Gen 4 expanded it to include weird aura voodoo and knife fingers. Then Gen 5 expanded it to include dancers and sword ungulates. Then things got extra-shitty with Gen 8 pushing the envelope to include big wolves and like four different weapon birds. I guess what I'm saying is you got it a little backwards. The big white mitts ARE the tell that Poliwrath is Fighting-type, just like Charmander's flame says Fire-type. Nowadays Fighting doesn't have such a strong identity.
I miss him. He used to be darker in the TCG too.
I see you skipped yellow, great
But I like how the gloves emphasise how it ends up growing hands, and then fists.
The real question is why is Poliwhirl/poliwrath necessary? Doesn't one or the other suffice? They look like the same pokemon except drawn in different styles. It's the poster child for the "It just gets bigger meme."
Keep in mind that for a while in gen 1 types weren't even a thing so a lot of pokemon were retroactively given types that fitted them so either two things happened: - Poliwhirl/wrath were already designed before types and having the gloves+other traits poliwrath seemed fit to be given fighting type. In that case the typing can't be used as justification. - Poliwrath was designed with it's typing in mind which begs the question of why wanting to make the frog pokemon a fighting type in the first place. If you look at all other fighting mons they are all ambiguous humanoids with attire for a specific combat style + mankey which by nature of being a primate is naturally humanoid and fit to brawl. So why throw a frog into the mix? There's nothing about frogs to suggest it should be a fighter, even the dex avoids the question and always focuses on it's amazing swimming abilities.
do they have mouths
Plus let's not forget that beta poliwrath was a fat bastard so the idea that it was designed with fighting type in mind seems sketchy. At the time Poliwhirl (which isn't even fighting type) already had the gloves so it's not even a matter of at first it wasnt designed to be fighting but when they completely redesigned wrath they changed their mind to make them fighting so added the gloves then to make it fit.