What time is it? Time for another round of GUESSING POKÉMON INSPIRATIONS! I’ll do six this time, the first being my choice. All the others will be generated through randompokemon.com. After my guesses, I’ll refer to Bulbapedia for the accepted origin. Here we go!
Type:Ghost/Electric (alt: Ghost and Fire, Water, Ice, Flying, or Grass)
Left in the depths of Eterna Forest, Rotom haunts the echelons of the abandoned Old Chateau…and he probably does all the chores too. Rotom is a Ghost Pokémon that changes secondary type with its form. I’m guessing this has to do with “Rotom” being a reversed “Motor”. The name may also be a play on these appliances needing power to run, but working all backwards and mysterious when Rotom possesses them. So if you need your dishes washed or your nightlight charged, call on this guy…as long as you don’t mind the plates being possessed afterward.
Bulbapedia Check: Rotom is believed to be based on Pulseman, a separate creation of Pokémon designer Ken Sugimori. It may also be an animate form of ball lightning, which has never been fully understood. For more direct paranormal origins, Rotom has been attributed to poltergeists, tsukumogami, or magic smoke. Rotom’s name is indeed Motor spelled backwards, which may refer to appliances malfunctioning when under this Pokémon’s control. A notebook entry in Platinum also states that the discoverer of Rotom first found it coming out of a lawnmower’s motor, hence the name.
Our manta ray Pokémon has spread its wings and flown…I’m really hitting a blank on where the –tine comes from. It has to do with something aquatic or floating. Maybe the Remoraid tucked under its flap can give us a hint?
Mantine resembles a kite or a parade float, which is where the Flying-type comes from. And a ray’s flaps are more or less underwater wings. It’s a cool concept for sure.
Bulbapedia Check: Okay, get this. Mantine is based on a kite. It’s classified as the Kite Pokémon. There’s also an animal called the flying ray, which may also account for the Flying type. And…get this…the original artwork and sprites for Mantine wouldn’t see it without its Remoraid hanger-on. Since Remoraid is a piscine rifle, Bulbapedia figures Mantine may be based off a fighter plane. We really do have to stop in the name of intergalactic law!
Mantine’s name is probably a play on manta ray and marine. I knew it rhymed! I knew it! (Depending on how you pronounce it, it may also be based on brine.)
Don’t grab this ghost. It’ll kill you! This possessed sword has a pretty sharp blade, hence the “edge”. It appears to be based off medieval weaponry, so maybe the first part stands for honor or having to hone your skills before you can command this Pokémon in battle. Given it drains the life force of anyone who dares grab its hilt, maybe it also stands for edgy. Okay, you want me to touch it now, don’t you?
Bulbapedia Check: Alright, Honedge is totally about the possession. This sword could be based on all sorts of things. It could have come from the bushido mythos: after possessing its samurai’s soul, a katana can attack on its own. It could also be based on the tsukumogami, the Japanese myth that any abandoned or forgotten object will eventually acquire a spirit. It may even be based on the tyrfing of Norse legend. Dwarves welded the tyrfing and later cursed it to kill a man whenever it was drawn.
Design-wise, Honedge might be a spathe, claymore or jian sword. Its name may be a portmanteau of Hone, edge, and one (Honedge’s evolutions are two swords and a sword and shield).
Here’s the cute little heat sack! Torchic is a popular starter, and the beginning to a string of Fire/Fighting jokes. The name is a portmanteau of torch and chick. There’s probably a more subtle joke evading me.
Bulbapedia Check: Well, I’m not giving this guy enough credit! Torchick is obviously a baby fire chicken, but it’s probably also based on the actual fire-breathing chicken, the basan. These poppin’ avians are another part of Japanese myth. Torch and chick make up this Pokémon’s portmanteau. No, I have never named mine KFC. Or Colonel Sanders. My friend King might name one “Bucket” though.
One of the original duo Pokémon, Hitmonchan is the punching counterpart to Hitmonlee and its long, long legs. These two might be the only Pokémon to be referred directly to someone in real life. Hitmonchan is named after the legendary martial artist Jackie Chan. It strikes with punches so fast they’re invisible to the human eye. So, the other Pokémon’s getting pummeled every which way while Hitmonchan’s just standing there. What an image.
I don’t know where the Hit comes from. Hitmonlee has it too, so maybe it’s a general idea of fighting masters hitting their opponents? Or maybe it’s a cry martial artists make while they’re practicing. And I’ve been around since the beginning yet only now realized the mon is short for the monsters of Pokémon. Hitting monster Chan. That works.
Bulbapedia Check: I got the name right. Hitmonchan’s concept overall is based around boxing. Its regular form has red gloves and its Shiny form’s are blue, which refer to the respective corners in boxing rings. Pokédex entries state that Hitmonchan needs to rest after three minutes in battle, which is the same duration of a boxing round. Pretty clever.
They’re so cute! Most people remember these little guys from Cianwood City. Shuckle appears to be a noodly body of tentacles inside a rock-solid shell. It’s known for making berry juice, so maybe shuck stands for the shucking of a harvest. Doesn’t really make sense, though, unless there are certain types of berries that can be shucked. Shuckle’s a bug, so maybe the –le stands for beetle? For the type, I’m guessing Shuckle is based on an insect that has something to do with making fruit. Inside its home. Which is a rock. Well, now I know not to put entomology on my resume.
Bulbapedia Check: Time to get SCHOOLED on the mini-organisms of our world. Bulbapedia has informed me that Shuckle may be based on any one of these things:
- An endolith, which habituates in porous rocks and discarded shells
- An abalone, aka some kind of sea snail
- Scale insects, whose honeydew fluid brings other insects closer
- Certain mollusks, which share similarities with Shuckle
- Turtles, tortoises, and vases
I thought shuck was exclusively an adjective, but it is also the name for a husk or pod. That makes sense. The –le supposedly stands for turtle or barnacle.
That’s another round down. It really stumped me this time. Well, see you next time, and happy trails in whatever region is of your current travels. There will certainly be more posts discussing Pokémon origins. I’m just dreading the day I have to figure out Phione.