To design some 900 Pokémon in the series, the franchise developers had to draw inspiration from all over the world. Fortunately, our planet is full of thousands of different cultures, around which have been forged beliefs praising mythical and legendary creatures. Often, these have been taken over by Game Freak in order to offer its Pokémon a design and a background coherent. Discover now the origins of these 10 pocket monsters that will surprise you.
The turtle is a mythological creature in many cultures around the world. In Hindu, Chinese or Native American myths, the animal is represented carrying the weight of the universe/world on its shell. There are many variations, but the basic idea remains the same.
Although Torterra does not carry a whole world on its shell, a parallel can be drawn with the turtles of these myths. like them, the Pokémon is home to a small ecosystem with trees and greenery. Some versions of the Pokédex even mention old legends about ofa giant Torterra that is said to live beneath the Earth’s surface.
Yuki-onna is a folk character appearing in various works of cinema or Japanese literature. Yuki-onna’s name can be translated as “snow woman”, which corresponds quite well to the idea that we have of Momartik. As a reminder, the Pokémon is the evolved form of Stalgamin and exists only in female form.
Like the Pokémon, the character is a dazzling white woman that floats above the snow. This explains in particular Momartik’s wraith/ice dual-type. The two creatures also employ the same methods to trap their victims. They lure them into a blizzard so that they never come out alive. Yuki-onna’s children also inspired the Pokémon Stalgamin.
At first glance, Sneasel looks like your image of a perfectly normal, if slightly fantasy animal. But his name is a contraction of the words “leprechaun” and “ferret”, which suggests that he is mischievous and devious. This description fits perfectly with the creature he is inspired by.
Sneasel is entirely based on myth from youkai Japanese (spirit) Kamaitachi. Like this creature, the Pokémon is with sharp claws who tear his enemies to pieces. They also use the same hunting methods, which consist of to attack a prey with several and pounding her with quick claws until she couldn’t move.
Lippoutou draws his inspiration not from a character from Japanese folklore, but rather from a trend that was in vogue some time ago in Japan. This one is called “the yamanba“ and consists of dress in very showy colors and bleach your hair to peroxide blonde.
The fashion trend was once popular with young Japanese women. She was inspired by the spirit of Japanese Yama-Uba folklore, a witch who lived on top of a snowy mountain and who took on the appearance of ayamanba“to attract travelers to it. It is from here that the idea of the double type ice cream/psy associated with Lippoutou comes from.
Tenefix is a Pokémon that is not based on a Japanese folklore myth. It is inspired by a strange encounter, which took place in 1955, between a family from Kentucky and little creatures, time, still unidentified.
People who have seen these extraterrestrial creatures have described them as follows: small, quick, bulletproof, with glowing eyes and pointy ears… This portrait surely makes you think of Ténéfix. This is quite normal, since the design of the Pokémon is indeed based on the elements of description which gave birth to this old legend, baptized the “Hopkinsville Goblins”.
Morpheo has the particularity of change shape depending on the weather. It therefore has a different appearance depending on whether the weather is sunny, rainy or snowy. Despite all its forms, its basic physiognomy remains strangely simplistic.
Indeed, without any particular meteorological condition, Morpheo has the shape of a cloud with a large round head. Its appearance is then very similar with Japanese dolls teru teru bozu. These objects made of fabrics are usually hung on windows hoping to bring good weather and chase away the rain.
With its jaw as a hair, the design of Mysdibule recalls Futakuchi-onna’s appearance, a youkai with prehensile hair and a mouth on the back of his head. Mysdibule’s Japanese name is also a combination of the terms “kuchi” (mouth, in Japanese) and “eat” (to eat, in English), which contributes a little more to the connection between the two characters.
In the legends, the character of Futakuchi-onna is a woman who hardly eats anything. Anyway, apparently. After developing a second mouth, she was forced to feed twice as much, using her strange hair to carry her food.
The inspiration around Firenard, the fire-type Pokemon of the first generation, is pretty clear. It is based on the design and concept nine tailed fox found at the heart of many legends in different Asian countries.
In Japanese mythology, the kitsune see their number of tails increase as they age. The oldest then have nine in total. This is consistent with Feunard’s process of evolution. When it is still only a Vulpix, the Pokémon has only six tails in its possession. But when he evolves, three new ones finally push him. Moreover, as the kitsune, Feunard is able to breathe fire.
The nature of Insolourdo is a bit difficult to determine. Is it a worm? Is it a slug? Or even a winged serpent? In reality, it is a slightly more complex creature than that. In effect, Insolourdo’s appearance is said to be inspired by a strange animal that goes by the name Tsuchinoko.
The Tsuchinoko is what can be called a cryptid. This means that, like a Yeti or a Kraken, we don’t know if the creature really exists although some people believe it. Its appearance is similar to that of a snake, a little smaller, but with a digestive part much larger than the rest of its body. The creature shares characteristics close to those of Insolourdo, such as the fact that they have little fangs or that they move by leaping in the air.
#10 Xerneas, Yvetal and Zygarde
You probably know the trio of legendaries highlighted in Pokémon X and Y games. But did you know that these creatures were all three inspired by Norse mythology? If so, we’re sure you don’t know who these three Pokemon refer to.
Xerneas is based on Eikthyrnir, a fabulous deer that can be found at the top of Valhalla and which would be provided with sparkling horns.
Yvetal would be a representation of Hræsvelg, a giant in the shape of an eagle and associated with death.
At last, Zygarde would be inspired by Nídhögg, a dragon/snake living underground and gnawing the roots of the Yggdrasil tree.
Which Pokémon origin surprises you the most? Give us your feedback in the comments. While waiting to read you, discover the first part of this article which presents 9 different Pokémon with equally surprising origins.