It’s round three of the Pokémon Origins Game! I wasn’t so hot with my previous guesses. Maybe the third time’s the charm. Here comes the roster from randompokemon.com.
Swooping in for the first guess is Aerodactyl, prehistoric terror of the skies! Equipped with serrated fangs and razor speed, this ancient carnivore has seen some fearsome appearances in the Pokémon anime. Aerodactyl’s name is split into a compound pun: Aero has to do with the sky (think aeroplane or Aerial Ace), and dactyl is a fancy word for finger—Aerodactyl is known for its deathly sharp grip. Dactyl is also a nod to the pterodactyl, a parallel to this fossil Pokémon.
For the typing, Aerodactyl is a prehistoric Flying-type. Since it’s resurrected from the Old Amber fossil, it’s also Rock. However, Aerodactyl’s Mega form shows it covered in jagged stalactites brimming with painful power. Experts surmise this is the once-extinct Pokémon’s true form.
Bulbapedia Check: It turns out Aerodactyl’s inspiration lies not with the pterodactyl, but the rhamphorynchids, another group of flying dinosaurs. It also is apparently based on a dragon. Its name indeed reflects aero and pterodactyl. Aerodactyl’s Japanese name is even Ptera!
Look at this sweet little Pokémon…literally! Bounsweet is a Grass-type native of the Alolan islands. It seems like a very nice Pokémon, and may provide some kind of food for humans. That’s where the sweet comes from. The bounc(e) part might refer to how happy and bouncy these bright, round plants look. It also brings to mind a bountiful harvest. It’s clearly some kind of fruit or plant, hence the Grass type.
Bulbapedia Check: Bulby’s got a potential match: the purple mangosteen. It also says the bounce and sweet portmanteau may be correct. This Pokémon is shrouded in mystery more than anyone would have guessed!
Smugleaf has finally come around for a spot in the game. This famously expressed Grass starter has a narrow, leaf like body, accounting for the ivy part of its name. The fandom name of Smugleaf led me to believe it was a snide little fellow. Maybe so, but when it hits its final evolution it’s so clear it’s a snake!
As a starter, Snivy had to be one of three types. For the species, there are a couple of green snakes in North America divided by their rough or smooth dorsal scales. The rough green snake in particular is tiny and narrow compared to other serpents. Both species even have yellow underbellies! There is also the Eurasian grass snake, whose diet mainly consists of amphibians. Maybe that’s a subtle nod to Grass-types being good against Water.
Bulbapedia Check: A variety of inspirations went into this unforgettable starter. Snivy may be based on grass snakes or any of the pointy snouted green snakes. It may also be a lizard. Bulbapedia cites the Florida sand skink as a snakelike reptile with stubby legs. True to form, this Grass Pokemon’s body may be designed after a bird of paradise plant. Snivy gets a cultural reference, too. Pokémon illustrator Ken Sugimori has said the Snivy line was inspired by French royalty.
Snake-ivy makes up the name. It turns out sn– may also be snide after all, along with sly, snark, or snicker. Makes sense for such a calm, smart Pokémon.
It’s the great Grass roundup today! Weepinbell looks goofy, but don’t be fooled—its mouth is marinating in acid. The Weepinbell line is based off a flycatcher, a carnivorous plant that dissolves prey in its gaping mouth. That solves the Grass/Poison question. As for the name, the entire line’s heads are shaped like bells, Weepinbell most of all. Why it’s weeping, that’s a mystery. Weeping willow? You weep as it melts away your hand? It’s weeping because it looks so weird? I don’t know!
Bulbapedia Check: Weepinbell is a pitcher plant, not a flycatcher, which turns out to be a species of bird. I meant flytrap. The weeping part of its name was a plant reference, to a weeping plant instead of a tree.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always liked this guy. He’s got such character. Popplio is a peppy sea lion Pokémon trainers can pick as their Water starter in Alola. Lio I suppose refers to its species. Popp is a riddle. They push bubbles out of their nostrils, which pop on an opponent. Maybe it’s a reference to pop music—its evolution Primarina loves to sing. Or maybe sea lions pop something in the circus ring? Popplio has always shown itself off as a performer, chirping a happy tune and standing proudly on its tail. It’s even got a frilly ruff reminiscent of a clown—though upon release of this weird-looking Pokémon, the feature was prime for umbrella jokes. Lio, now I think about it, can also be viewed as an affectionate shorthand for a youngster whose name is Lionel or Leonard. Popplio is the base stage, after all.
Bulbapedia Check: “Popplio may be based on a sea lion with elements of a circus clown.” Nailed it! Not so much on the name. Along with the pup of its IRL species, it may be named after pop or a combo of two Hawaiian words. Pōpō is ball, pointing out Popplio’s circus elements as well as the bubbles it blows from its nose. The second possibility is the Hawaiian monk seal, ʻIlio-holo-i-ka-uaua, which translates to “dog that runs in water”. Popplio does resemble a puppy with its conical snout and little ears. Some people weren’t sure whether it was a seal or a dog!
I swear, Goldenrod makes a fortune selling Revives against this beast! Miltank certainly lives up to her name. These all-female bovines have stout, plump bodies perfect for battling. She’s sturdy as a tank and can hit like one too!
Miltank has plenty of reserves stocked up. Miltank can heal herself in battle with Milk Drink or use it on an ally in the field. Their milk is known for its exceptional nutritive qualities. All of Miltank’s Pokédex entries are about it! All else aside, Miltank is a pretty average Pokémon and the unofficial counterpart to Tauros, so it makes sense that her typing is Normal.
Bulbapedia Check: Miltank is particularly likened to Jersey and Holstein Friesian cattle. Her name is a bigger pun than I expected. Miltank’s dairy can be stowed in a tank meant for liquid. Bulbapedia also notes the possibility for this Pokémon’s tank-like Defenses. Nice one, Bulbapedia.
That’s it for this round. Was that it, really? Give me more of a challenge next time! (Keep tuning in to watch me eat my words.) In the meantime, I’m itching for more out of this article, so I’m going to speculate the reasoning behind this roundup’s Abilities too. Abilities are a handy battle mechanic introduced in Generation III. Each Pokémon has an Ability, and some have one of two. They usually have a positive effect. Some Abilities, like Klutz, take a bit of skill to use. Others like Illuminate are like…why. Why do you need any more Zubat to come to you. I hope people with Lanturn like to battle.
Aerodactyl: Rock Head, Pressure, Unnerve (Hidden)
This Pokémon’s been trapped in stone for millions of years, so it makes sense that its rock-hard head would prevent recoil damage. As a ruthless flyer, its second Ability fits well. Pressure reduces the power points (max usage) of your attacks by two instead of one. It’s usually given to mysterious, intimidating beasts. Knock Aerodactyl out fast, or you’ll be depleted of your Ability to battle! Okay, I’ll see myself out the door after that horrible struggle for a joke.
Pokémon also have Hidden Abilities, which are gained under special circumstances. Unnerve prevents the foe from eating held Berries in battle. Is it any wonder the ancient predator Aerodactyl can have it?
Bounsweet: Leaf Guard, Oblivious, Sweet Veil (Hidden)
Leaf Guard prevents status conditions in harsh sunlight. It would make sense that this tropical, sunny Pokémon would thrive in such good weather. Oblivious prevents attraction, but I think it may refer to Bounsweet’s happy-go-lucky disposition. Even when it runs from danger it looks like it’s skipping happily! This Pokémon is often swallowed whole by birds for its super sweet aroma, but the Pokédex says that “it’s not intelligent enough to care”. Burn!
Its Hidden Ability is Sweet Veil, which prevents it and its allies from falling asleep. Since Bounsweet is known for its smell, it makes sense that this tool would be sheathed up its sleeves.
Snivy and Popplio: All Grass and Water starters get Overgrow and Torrent as their abilities. For their Hidden Abilities, Snivy’s Contrary causes stat-changing moves to have the opposite effect. For example, Swords Dance would drop the user’s Attack by two stages instead of raise it. I want to say this has something to do with Snivy’s knowing face, but this little smugger will grow up to be a regal Grass snake with a glare to intimidate the biggest of opponents. I can see this line playing chess master, making sure all the moves on the opposite end of the board turn inside-out.
Popplio has Liquid Voice, which turns sound-based moves into Water moves. This exclusive Ability fits Primarina, which uses its voice as a weapon.
Weepinbell: Clorophyll, Gluttony (Hidden)
Chlorophyll is a fairly common Ability given to Grass Pokémon. It raises the wielder’s Speed in harsh sunlight. Many plant-based Pokémon get this, so it’s no surprise Weepinbell is on the list. Gluttony consumes a held Berry faster than usual. When Weepinbell is hungry the whole jungle becomes a buffet, so it makes sense that this wide-mouthed Pokemon would eat a berry quickly.
Miltank: Thick Fat, Scrappy, Sap Sipper (Hidden)
Miltank is certainly thick, so her hide is great for resisting Ice- and- Fire-type moves. I think more people go for her infamous Scrappy though. Scrappy lets the wielder use Normal- and- Fighting-type attacks on Ghost Pokémon. Miltank is an unlikely legend of battling, so why not make her even harder to beat?! This Pokémon gives off an aura of taking a challenge, too, though that may merely be an association with Whitney’s Miltank. Well, I won’t stand in her way. Have you ever imagined being hit by a cow in real life? Yikes!
Sap Sipper raises the wielder’s Attack when hit by a Grass-type move instead of damaging them. Miltank is based off of cattle, so sure, Sap Sip away.
That’s all this time, for real. See you next round of the Pokémon Origins Game!