10 Pokemon Inspired By Real Historical Events
With designs ranging from frogs, to ice cream, to actual bags of garbage, you might be forgiven for thinking that Pokemon are created completely at random.
But in amongst the 721 that have been spawned to date, a number of them take their cues (both conceptually and visually) from real-world legends and cultures.
While there’s never actually been a race of spritely yellow mouses that shoot electricity about their cheeks, a number of Nintendo’s other pocket monsters find their origins in parts of the world, and parts of history.
1. Yamask And Cofagrigus
Yamask is inspired by an Ancient Egyptian death mask and has possibly the most disturbing origin tale of any Pokemon.
At level 34, Yamask evolves into Cofagrigus whose design is based on an Ancient Egyptian sarcophagus. Cofagrigus are ghost-type Pokemon who hide in ancient tombs to punish unwary grave robbers.
Their backstory is likely based on the rumours of cruses befalling people who entered the tombs of former Pharaohs.
The inspiration behind Jynx is a topic surrounded by controversy. When Jynx made her debut appearance in Pokemon’s first generation it was suggested that she was a negative racial stereotype due to her appearance and skin colour.
The controversy led to anime episodes featuring Jinx being axed and its official artwork being re-coloured.
Controversy aside, Jynx’s origin is believed to have been inspired by the Vikings with her clothes, armoured breast plate and long blonde hair closely matching the depiction on the Viking goddess Hel.
Relicanth was first introduce in Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire and draws direct inspiration from the coelacanth in both appearance and back-story.
The coelacanth is an ancient fish that was widely thought to have been extinct for over a 100 million years before being rediscovered by a submarine in the 1930s.
The colouring of Relicanth closely matches that of the Indonesian coelacanth while its shiny form matches the colouring of coelacanth native to the West Indian Ocean.
4. Magikarp And Gyarados
Magikarp is pretty much useless in-game due to its weak stats and its ability (or should that be disability) to learn just four moves.
Magikarp’s appearance is based on an Asian carp who are known for their ability to jump up to 10 feet in the air.
The evolution of a Magikarp into a Gyarados is inspired by an ancient Chinese legend that states that if a carp is able to jump over the mythical Dragon Gate then it shall be transformed into a dragon.
5. Baltoy And Claydol
Their designs are inspired by the clay figures of Shakoki-dogu which originate from the Jomon period of Japanese history.
The Shakoki-dogu are often put forward as being proof of the existence of ancient aliens visiting earth due to their space man appearance.
Lapras is inspired by the reported sightings of a monster in Scotland’s Loch Ness. Sightings of the Loch Ness Monster date back as far as 565 AD when Saint Columba reported that he was attacked by a monster while swimming in the river Ness.
The sightings began to become more frequent in the 1930s with reported photographs of the monster beginning to surface, most of which have since been exposed as hoaxes.
One theory involving the Loch Ness Monster is that it is a plesiosaurs that survived the extinction of the dinosaurs and swims in and out of the Loch via a tunnel leading out to sea.
7. Bronzor And Bronzong
The appearance of Bronzor is based on a bronze mirror while Bronzong’s appearance is inspired by a dotaku of Japan’s Yayoi Era.
Dotaku are Japanese bells that were crafted from bronze and intricately decorated; the bells were then buried by priests in order to pray for a good harvest season.
The link between Bronzor’s evolution into Bronzong is also inspired by a historical tradition as the Dotaku bells were often buried alongside bronze mirrors donated to the priests by women in their villages.
8. Fossil Pokemon
This one kind of goes without saying but Fossil Pokemon are directly inspired by real life dinosaur fossils.
The main difference between Fossil Pokemon and real life dinosaur fossils is that real life fossils cannot be revived; although with the current rate of advancements in cloning and DNA research it is probably only a matter of time…
This strange looking Pokemon was inspired by the Nazca Lines, especially the set of lines resembling a stylised hummingbird.
The Nazca Lines were created in the Nazca Desert in Peru by an ancient civilisation of people who lived in around the years 500 BC to 500 AD. Their location in the desert matches the desert location that Sigilyph can be found in in Pokemon Black and Pokemon White.
This small Fairy type Pokemon is inspired by a range of different historical events.
Their Pokedex entry states that in the past royal ladies would carry a Spritzee around with them instead of using perfume. This is similar to the real life tradition of brides in the middle ages carrying a bouquet of flowers with them to try and mask the tell tale signs that they only had one bath a year.
The physical appearance of Spritzee draws inspiration from another, much darker, period of history. Despite its cute and pink appearance, the shape of Spritzee’s beak is based on the masks worn by plague doctors during the Black Death.
The masks had long, cone like beaks that were filled with scented materials that the people of the 14th century believed would prevent the doctor from contracting plague by filtering bad air.
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