View Full Version : Interesting pokemon concept origins

March 23rd, 2011, 9:02 PM
As you should know, there are a lot of real-world mythological and pop-cultural references in the Pokemon universe. Most of them derived from Japanese mythology/pop-culture for obvious reasons, but some western cultural references still make it in occasionally.

If you happen to be a huge nerd like me, you've probably independently researched and learned about a couple of these cultural references by now. If you have, this would be a fine place to share your knowledge. Which pokemon with a real-world cultural origin is your favorite? Which one you think might be obscure enough that NOBODY has noticed it before?

As for me, I'm particularly fond of the real-world counterpart to Hoenn's weather trio, the Leviathan, Behemoth, and Ziz from Hebrew mythology, three divine beings with dominion over the seas, lands, and skies respectively that were tasked by God to protect their domain at the end times to destroy it. The Behemoth and Leviathan were briefly tamed by God so He could prove to Job that humans cannot hope to tame the beasts and only God Himself can. Fairly similar to the way Archie/Maxie had to learn the hard way that it's impossible to control Kyogre/Groudon after their resurrection.

Also, while GameFreak fancied up their designs by a large margin, the analogous nature of the two trios is still somewhat apparent, especially in the compositions of these two pictures.


March 23rd, 2011, 9:41 PM
Great thread topic.

A lot of origins are good, but the ones that I'm huge fan for are the those that are based from creepy superstitions. Ghost-type Pokemon are popular (maybe Psychic-type too? I'll have to look into this more :U), like Sableye which was inspired by the Hopskinsville Goblins (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kelly%E2%80%93Hopkinsville_encounter).

I know Cofagrigus might have been an odd idea for a Pokemon, but I am pleased that Ancient Egyptian religion was used for an inspiration.

March 24th, 2011, 5:24 AM
I know Cofagrigus might have been an odd idea for a Pokemon, but I am pleased that Ancient Egyptian religion was used for an inspiration.

I love Cofagrigus's design, but I'm still a little disappointed that it lacks a Ground- or Rock-typing. XD

Speaking of, the Ghost/Ground that we did get is another interesting case. Golurk is based on the golems of Hebrew mythology...or more specifically, modern reinterpretations of ancient mythology found in American pop-culture. Several science-fiction movies and games will feature ancient war golems becoming possessed by a ghostly entity to do battle, either as a good guy or a bad guy.

The Regi quad actually stays true to mythology as the golems in mythology were made by man to be their servants in building their empires and once their task was complete, they'd be sealed away.

Miss Doronjo
March 24th, 2011, 5:33 AM
Hm, Claydol is an interesting pokemon; its design is similar to a clay figurine from the Jomon period of Japanese history. Wikipedia says The term jōmon means "cord-patterned" in Japanese, which refers to the pottery style characteristic of the Jōmon culture, and which has markings made using sticks with cords wrapped around them. . Soooo...basically it represents one of the old Japenese culture; and is inspired by it I guess. I...actually never heard of this culture until just now! Only tales of it.

Nearsighted king of Ice
March 24th, 2011, 5:43 AM
The Old Japanese/Chinese Culture About the Waving Cat being the Basis Of Meowth Was Pretty Cool... Castform Being a teru teru bozu(a doll like thing that japanese peepz hang on their porch to prevent rain) Was Cool Too... Froslass Being a snow lady ghost thing in Japanese Folklore is Cool Too

March 24th, 2011, 6:46 PM
When I saw Sigilyph I, thought it was unique in origin, with the Nazca Lines and the Kachina. Mainly because they drew from other legends not in the realm of Japan or ancient Eastern areas.

I was always wondering Arcanine origin since it was seen by Ash in the Pewter City Pokemon Center since it was featured with some of the Legendary Bird Trio. Xiezhi, a Fire breathing Lion, which also symbolizes justice, which is no wonder why it's pre evo Growlithe is an assistant to officer Jenny.

The Johto bird Duo interested me as well, since it seemed to me Johto was a region steeped in ancient Mythology, especially cities like Ecruteak City. They both draw from Mythical creatures and some dinosaur aspects. Lugia based on a Sea Dragon mixed with Dinosaur/ and Dragon aspects. Then Ho-oh which seemed to have multiple mythical bird aspects such as the Phoenix, Huma Bird, Fire Bird, Feghuang, Achiyalabopa.

April 6th, 2011, 8:44 PM
Here are the Pokemon that most intrigued me with their origins (out of the current 649 Pokemon):

Sigilyph - the Nazca Lines
Moltres/Ho-oh and the Suzaku (Japanese Phoenix; Guardian of the South) and Fenghuang (Chinese Phoenix), respectively.
Blaziken - cockfighting chicken
Infernape - Sun Wukong, the Monkey King of Journey to the West
Emboar - Zhu Baijie, the 8-Precepts Pig of Journey to the West
Arcanine - liger; shisa
Magikarp/Gyarados - legend of the carp that leapt over the Dragon Gate waterfall would become a dragon
Scyther - praying mantis
Scizor - praying mantis and ant
Heracross - rhinoceros beetle
Mew - natural embryo;
Mewtwo - genetically-engineered embryo
Nincada - cicada larvae
Ninjask - matured cicada, tsukutsukuboshi; ninja
Shedinja - cicada husk
Exploud - boombox
Sableye - Hopskinville incident
Mawile - futakuchi-onna
Wailmer - beach ball/whale
Wailord - blimp/blue whale
Torkoal - tortoise/furnace hybrid
Flygon line - antlion
Zangoose - mongoose
Crawdaunt - crayfish
Anorith/Armaldo - anomalocaris/stegosaurus
Castform - teru teru bozu
the Regis & Regigigas/Legendary Golems - golems (moreso than Golem)
[email protected] - dragon/jet plane cross
Weather Trio (Groudon, Kyogre, Rayquaza): Behemoth, Leviathan, Ziz; respectively
Jirachi - tanabata; genies
Deoxys - DNA/"space virus"
Torterra - World Turtle
Empoleon - emperor penguin
Kricketune - violin beetle/cricket
Bastiodon - shield/dinosaur
Vespiquen - Queen bee
Drifloon/Drifblim - wayward balloon/blimp
Garchomp - land shark
Spiritomb - jibakurei
Ninetales - kyubi
Lucario - bipedal wolf
Abomasnow - the Abominable Snowman
Mamoswine - pig/woolly mammoth
Porygon-Z - origami crane+computer virus
Lake Trio - pixie variants
Dialga - sauropod/Izanami+Izanagi
Palkia - European dragon/Izanami+Izanagi
Giratina - bat-insect-sauropod hybrid
Heatran - volcanic spider/pooling lava
Darkrai - phantom/nightmares/the Bogeyman
Arceus - creation deity; qilin
Victini - victory; V-sign; Nike of victory
Samurott - samurai
Serperior - Rose of Versailles; green snake
Zebstrika - zebra
Rapidash - unicorn
Woobat - Honduran white bat; heart-nosed bat
Pinsir - stag beetle
Conkeldurr - clown carnies; musclemen
Whirlipede - pill bug
Scolipede - millipede; centipede; Arthropleura
Waruvial/"Krookodile" - gharial
Archeops - Archeopteryx
Zoroark - kitsune
Reuniclus - mitosis; cell unionDucklett/Swanna - the Ugly Duckling
Vanilluxe - ice cream
Emonga - flying squirrel
Eelektross - electric eel
Elgyem/Beheeyem - lifeforms from the Roswell incident
Chandelure - chandelier/hitodama (will-o'-the-wisp)
Haxorus - Ceratopsia
Pawniard - dagger/Chess pawns
Bisharp - tokusatsu (Super Sentai/Power Rangers; Kamen Rider) and black knights
Braviary - bald eagle
Golurk - the Iron Giant; Megazord (mecha)
Hydreigon - Zmeys; hydra; hand puppets
Musketeer trio - The Three Musketeers (and kelpie/D'Artagnan the 4th)
Ulgamoth - Atlas moth; tiger lily; Mothra; hathor
Kami trio - Japanese kami; genies
Reshiram - birdlike wyvern; daimonji grand festival torch
Zekrom - Allosaurus; electric turbine; drill
Kyuremu - Theropod; jet
Meloetta - Greek sirens
Genosect - Paleozoic giant insects; genetic engineering

April 6th, 2011, 8:57 PM
For those who didn't know, the 5th gen hoofed trio consisting of Cobalion, Terrakion, and Virizion are based off of the literary legends the 3 musketeers. Keldeo is based off the 4th member who eventually joins the trio. Btw I know this isn't part of mythology but Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres's names all end with Uno, Dos, and Tres, something I didn't notice until recently and feel very idiotic for not noticing. Also if anyone can find an accurate origin for Dunsparce I would be very thankful.

April 7th, 2011, 3:07 AM
Samurott's origin is very interesting; it combines samurai with sea otters and sea lions. I also like how Volcarona is based on the Atlas moth and how Cobalion, Terrakion and Virizion are based on the 3 Musketeers.

Mr Cat Dog
April 7th, 2011, 5:42 AM
Two of my favourite Pokemon - Lapras and Aerodactyl - are probably the most dinosaur-like of all the Pokemon (yes, the Hydreigon evolutionary line is pretty dinoriffic, but only really for its first two stages... the Hydra element comes out in the final form). With Aero, the translators were barely going to keep the façade with a pterodactyl by keeping its Japanese name of Ptera, and with Lapras, the connection to its plesiosaurus - as well as the Loch Ness Monster - couldn't be more obvious. Scotland doesn't have a load of mythology, but it was nice that at least some of it could be exploited in the Pokemon world.