Pokémon Origins

By Flora. Art by Bummer.
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We've all heard stories about the horrifying Pokémon Hypno and its intent to lure children away into darkness. Perhaps it sent the children to Wonderland for super happy fun time, or maybe, just maybe it... ate them. All Pokémon have a story to tell behind them, be it good or bad. Here, we explore the lore of ten Pokémon that I personally thought sounded awesome. Let's go!


Although it is called the "Disaster Pokémon," Absol's goal isn't bringing doom to all of mankind. Absol is able to predict natural disasters and will come forth to mankind in order to warn them of these events. All it wants to do is protect the humans from environmental harm. Sadly, this Pokémon is completely misunderstood—humans see the coming disasters and blame it on poor little Absol, which had nothing to do with such events. Human hunters thus drove Absol away toward the mountains, where it will rarely come down from for years to come. Why can't humans just understand...

In relationship to the real world, Absol symbolizes the Chinese creature Bai Ze (which means "White Marsh"). The Bai Ze can take many forms, the most notable ones being an ox and lion-tiger (liger?) hybrid. Throughout all the forms, one common attribute persists: the horn. Whether this horn is able to predict the future and whatnot remains a mystery, but at least it's pointy enough for combat! These creatures are notable for their ability to ward off evil spirits. The Chinese story about the Bai Ze is about its encounter with the Yellow Emperor, whom the creature gave a guide about how to tame and banish all the supernatural beings in the world. In Japanese folklore, there is a similar creature to the Bai Ze called the kutabe. This mountainous creature predicted that a vicious plague would swarm in the next two years. In order to stop that from happening, the kutabe offered to use itself as a talisman to ward off the plague. Strange things can be noble sacrifices!


The gorgeous bird known as Altaria loves to dance around and fly freely across the heavenly skies. Its hums are so beautiful that it causes its listeners to become lost in a world of dreams. Altaria's fluffy wings can cause it to blend in with the clouds as if no Altaria was ever there. As to make its charming voice even more available, Altaria can be heard deep within mountains. If its trainer shares a tight bond, it will softly envelope that trainer with its cuddly wings.

Altaria is based off of the Peng (or P'eng), which derives from Chinese mythology. Essentially, Pengs are giant birds whose wings can be mistaken for clouds during flight. During typhoon seasons, Pengs migrate south to avoid disaster (because they're pretty birds and you don't want pretty birds to become messy birds). Oddly enough, the young "Pengs" are not birds at all; they are giant fish called Kun (or Kw'en). This is a little strange as Altaria's chicks are small, cute Swablu and not huge, terrifying Kyogre. Could you imagine Kyogre evolving into an Altaria?


Arcanine is capable of running up to 6,200 miles per day and is praised for its regal appearance. Anything capable of hearing its voice is forced to bow down to its awesomeness (apparently). There are mentions of it being a Chinese Pokémon, but I thought China doesn't exist in the Pokémon world? ?_? Go figure.

The Japanese koma-inu (or komainu) is Arcanine's magnificent role model. Although the koma-inu is Japanese, it actually means "Korean dog." The koma-inu is essentially a lion-dog statue that guards entrances to sacred shrines from evil spirits. These statues are usually paired, with one having its mouth opened and the other one's closed. The open-mouthed one is expelling evil spirits from the world, while the closed-mouthed one is containing good spirits within.


Although Bronzong is not a legendary Pokémon, its Pokédex information gives it the sense of a rain god. Long ago, Bronzong was unburied from the underground in a construction yard, thus awakening it from its 2,000 year slumber. People of the past prayed upon Bronzong so that rain can appear. After all, who doesn't want a good harvest? The way Bronzong brings rain to the real world though is by opening portals from another world. What is that other world, who knows? But it must be completely flooded with water!

Bronzong comes from the dōtaku, which are Japanese bells made of bronze, hence Bronzong's species name—the Bronze Bell Pokémon. And just like the Pokédex information for Bronzong, the dōtaku was prayed upon by many Japanese people for better harvests. Dōtakus are decorated with animals such as dragonflies, praying mantises, and spiders, all of which are natural predators of crop pests.

In Aztec culture, there exists a rain god called Tlaloc (t-la-lock). He is covered by cyan, a color that is identified with rain. Likewise, Bronzong has cyan splashed all over it, indicating its role with summoning rain. Sooo, why do Bronzong have the ability to summon the sun as well when it's obviously very rain-oriented? *shrugs*

Lastly, there is a little Japanese myth about a mirror and a bell. To keep it short, a woman donated her mirror to aid priests in their construction of a bell. Later on, the woman regretted her decision and, as such, the mirror refused to melt in the priest's furnace. In order for it to melt, the woman must commit suicide, which she did. Before she died, however, she announced that whoever can destroy the fully constructed bell will be granted a great fortune. Many people attempted to break the bell by ringing it recklessly. At the end, the priests couldn't hold up the bell anymore and were forced to roll it down into a swamp, where it would be forever forgotten. This story ties Bronzor's (the mirror) evolution into Bronzong (the bell).


Claydol are old mud dolls created by ancient humans that became animated when exposed to a mysterious ray 20,000 years ago. They sleep while hovering, thanks to their psychic powers. The Pokédex also mentions that Claydol can shoot laser beams from both of its hands. Imagine Claydol, the Terminator.

Arahabaki, from the Shinto mythology of Japan, is the inspiration for Claydol. The Momunofu are the followers and protectors of this ancient god. Later on, Arahabaki became a symbol for treachery, rebellion, and heresy because the enemy, the Nagasunehiko, also started to worship him. That eventually led to the Arahabaki worship ban for followers of Momunofu. Today, however, clay figurines of Arahabaki are commonly kept within Japanese inns for all to see.


As Darmanitan is a 5th generation Pokémon, not much is known about it. Its internal flames burn at 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit, but I'm 100% sure other Fire-types are capable of that as well (how else do little Fire-types, such as Charmander, use Fire Blast?). Darmanitan is capable of destroying a dump truck with one punch, which seems like a mighty feat until you realize that Pokémon such as Machamp can knock entire trains flying across the horizon with a single punch! I'm not trying to bash Darmanitan, but it could really grow some real muscles! Anyway, like how its Dream World ability functions in-game, Darmanitan is forced to withdraw into a stone statue when heavily injured in battle. During this state, the ape meditates and sharpens its mind to extreme levels (thus the 140 Special Attack).

This should be a fairly obvious one. Darmanitan is, guess what, a daruma doll! No waaaaay! But did you know that real daruma dolls are usually depicted in red and have beards? Yeah, you've read right, BEARDS. This is because daruma dolls are based off of Bodhidharma (bo-dee-dar-ma), a Buddhist monk in a red robe and a fabulous beard. Bodhidharma also happens to be the founder of Zen, which is a division of Buddhism that encourages members to meditate in hopes of reaching enlightenment. Well, back to daruma dolls, they are a symbol of good luck and perseverance. Because they are made of paper mache, have a round shape, are hollow within, and have most of their weight located at the bottom, daruma dolls can return to their upright position immediately when forced down. Talk about balance!


Remember finding a Dunsparce in Dark Cave? Yeah, me neither. Dunsparce uses its drill-like tail to create underground networks in very dark and deep caves. If it is ever in danger, it can simply drill itself into the underground with its tail and evade capture with ease. No wonder I can't find a Dunsparce! Oddly enough, this snake is said to remain almost motionless in these caves. Sooo, how does it eat or even exercise? That's not healthy at all! At least there is a bonus feature to Dunsparce—tiny little wings that enable it to fly just a little bit! This is used as a last resort to easily escape from ground-bounded foes.

Dunsparce originates from the fabled land-dwelling serpent Tsuchinoko (sue-chee-noo-ko). It can grow between 30 cm to 80 cm long and has deadly, venomous fangs. Not even aerial creatures are safe as the serpent can curl itself up and leap into the air like a slingshot. Sound-wise, the Tsuchinoko is said to emit very high-pitched squeaks and chirps. So if being poisoned to death wasn't enough, imagine being blasted by screeching sound-waves that break your eardrums and screw up your mind. Rumors say that the Tsuchinoko is capable of speech, has a habit of telling lies, and enjoys alcohol in its free time. Hey, serpents need to chill out too!


Although it looks like a good little girl, Froslass is in fact far from that. Women who become lost on icy mountains will be reborn as a Froslass. Afterward, Froslass live their life by displaying to would-be partners and then freezing them solid with its -58 degree Fahrenheit breath. Well, not like you would enjoy a Froslass partner anyway as their bodies are completely hollow. No lady parts, no nothing!

The Yuki-Onna—Froslass's inspiration—is a tall and beautiful woman with black hair and very pale skin. In certain tales, she's fully dressed in a kimono, but in others, she's nude. Now this is where it gets creepy. It is said that she is the ghost of a woman who froze to death in a snowstorm or perhaps the spirit of the snow itself. She travels throughout snowy landscapes by floating, which means she leaves behind no footprints whatsoever. Humans who happen to cross roads with the Yuki-Onna are often blasted by frosted air and turned frozen solid. Other times, she can lead the poor travelers to travel around endlessly in snowstorms, thus dying to exposure. There are a couple of other tricks that she may play on her victims. One of them includes holding an innocent baby whom if humans try to take away, Yuki-Onna will instantly freeze them to death. The last one? Don't even think about it. If a male attempts to have sex with Yuki-Onna, that guy will have his life drained out of him or be frozen by a single kiss. Yeah, you boys can have fun with that.


Sigilyph are simple-minded guardians of ancient cities. They follow the same exact route to ensure no invaders are let in. It's also because their memories of guarding their respectful ancient cities overflow within them—that is their duty, and they are to do it forever. Any invader that is spotted is quickly met with a powerful Psychic attack. Wouldn't you want a loyal Sigilyph for your house? You'd have no burglars, terrorists, and stalkers to worry about for the rest of your lifetime!

Have you heard of the Nazca Lines? They are lines sketched onto the earth that are located in the Nazca desert of Peru. More specifically, they are called geoglyphs and they're enormous in size. These lines make pictures of several creatures and objects, such as a killer whale, dog, lizard, trapezoid, and hummingbird. Basically, these lines are the "remains" of the ancient Nazca people. They preserve their memories of life and knowledge for generations to come. This relates to Sigilyph because it occupies the hummingbird Nazca Line aspect. Both are bound to a single desert in which they will live for the rest of their lives.

The kachina, a spirit of western Pueblo (Native American) cosmology and religious practices, is part of Sigilyph's design. There are many different concepts that kachinas watch over, such as the sun, moon, insects, arachnids, and corn. Unlike gods, kachinas are not worshiped, but they still help humans out in their daily lives by summoning rain, healing injuries, and more. Talk about useful!


Spiritomb is the result of 108 puny spirits being naughty and misbehaving. Someone or something casted a spell in the past that caused Spiritomb to lock up in a Odd Keystone due to the spirits' ill-boded actions. That's kinda their way of saying "jailed for life," but that seems a little too much, don't you think?

The inspiration for Spiritomb comes from the Jibakurei, which is an earthbound spirit. This spirit is strongly attached to the place it had died due to hatred to someone or something. However, it's not like the spirit is going to prevent you from escaping the area if you've just killed it; it'll just be at the corner of the house, chilling and mumbling about how much you suck.

You have probably noticed that Spiritomb has an obsessed relationship with the number "108." This is based on a Buddhist tradition that on New Year's Eve in Japan, a bell is rung 108 times to end the past year and start the new year. Each ring resembles one temptation out of 108 that humans must resist in order to obtain Nirvana. If you don't know, Nirvana is basically being at peace with your mind.


So there you have it. Those are the top ten Pokémon I thought were the most interesting origin-wise outside of legendary Pokémon. If you want more, check out Bulbapedia and go on a researching rampage! You'll become better prepared for the XY games that are sure to have some crazy Pokémon you really want to learn about.

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