Here’s the lowdown. I generate a party of pocket monsters from randompokemon.com. I guess the inspiration behind their names, typing, and Abilities. Then I check Bulbapedia for the accepted name and type origins. Without further ado…
Ability: Natural Cure, Cloud Nine (Hidden)
We’re starting off light and chirpy. Swablu is a Normal/Flying Pokémon with a surprise. How this fluffy bean turns into a dragon is lost on me, though its evolution Altaria is based off a mythical Chinese beast that can turn into a bird. Swablu the mini-Peng has wings made of cotton and is quite peaceable with humans. It tidies dirty areas with its wings, so the idea that this Pokémon would heal a status condition upon switching out of battle seems fitting (Natural Cure). Cloud Nine, its Hidden Ability, frees it from the effects of inclement weather. I guess this happy little fuzz knows how to stay healthy.
Most birds are Normal/Flying, so it’s no shocker for Swablu. As to the name, Swab is for cotton swab and blu is for bluebird. Now that I think about it, isn’t there a myth about the bluebird of happiness? Maybe that’s why this peeper is so content with life.
Bulbapedia Check: Swablu is totally a bluebird swab. Its name may also refer to another bird called the swallow. Avian enthusiasts have added on that Swablu might also be based on the ultramarine lorikeet, perhaps for its looks or tropical and subtropical climates; or maybe the grey jay since both it and Swablu enjoy sitting on peoples’ heads. Funny thing, someone pointed out the Mega form of Swablu’s evolution has a trim of cloud atop its head that resembles the ushanka, a cozy fur hat hailing from Russia. Altaria has a double weakness to ice, but its Mega form buffs that into a regular weakness. I guess all those extra clouds help keep it warm.
Ability: Merciless, Limber, Regenerator (Hidden)
Poison first, Water second. This is one dangerous aquabeast! Toxapex is a native toxic Pokémon of the Alola region. A misclick on the Internet led me to the Wikipedia page for toxaphene, an insecticide that was mostly reserved for cotton in the 60s and 70s. Perhaps some form of pest control spilled into the ocean and forever changed Toxapex’s species. Well, that’s my theory for Dragalge.
I’m not sure where the pex comes from. Something involving multiple limbs? It has 12, so maybe that translates to a Latin number for corresponding sides (hexagon, octagon, etc). It can close its tentacles into a barricade unaffected by the tide. Maybe it’s a miniature apartment complex. The name is probably based on its battling style, though. It shoots its spikes as a weapon, so maybe they’re toxic pecks (they can learn Peck, after all). A hex? I just don’t know.
Its design is probably based on an aggressive or poisonous/venomous sea star, particularly one that feeds on coral—Toxapex loves the branches of Corsola. Its Abilities, Merciless, Limber, and Regenerator, are based on its species and disposition. Merciless is the signature Ability of Toxapex and its pre-evolution Mareanie. These unique Brutal Stars will always land critical hits on a poisoned target. It’s like Venoshock…except always!
Limber prevents paralysis. I suppose it fits for this Pokémon’s poison to affect everyone except itself. With the sea star theory in consideration, it may otherwise be a point toward the species’ flexibility. The final Ability, Regenerator, is an easy one. This hidden Ability recovers 1/8 of the bearer’s HP when switched out. Sea stars can regrow severed arms. Next!
Bulbapedia Check: Toxapex’s appearance and behavior resembles a crown-of-thorns starfish, a predator that feasts on reef coral polyps. That explains its fondness for Corsola. The latter half of its name likely stands for apex, the top predator of a certain area. Along with being top of the food chain, adult apex predators lack natural predators. Yikes!
Type: Normal, Normal/Fighting (Mega)
Ability: Cute Charm, Klutz, Limber (Hidden), Scrappy (Mega)
Everyone’s favorite rabbit mon, Lopunny is a well-known Normal-type. Can you believe they’re barely under four feet tall? Its ears hang down, so it’s a lop-eared rabbit. The second part of its name is obviously a play on bunny. Or maybe it’s supposed to be funny. Either way, Lopunny doesn’t stand out as any particular type, so it makes sense that it would be Normal.
Mega Lopunny dons a scrappy, torn outfit and becomes part Fighting to boot. Why, I really don’t know. Because rabbits attack with their feet? According to the Pokédex, it doesn’t like its ears touched and gracefully kicks anyone who does so. But we can’t limit ourselves observations of its natural state. Behavior aside, Lopunny honestly appears to be some kind of fanservice. Or, at the least, a parallel to human life. It looks like a humanoid rabbit, and is even part of the Human-Like egg group. Maybe its Mega Form is a cultural reference—or a call for Lopunny to be portrayed as more than a cute bunny.
Its Abilities are polar opposites depending on the form. As a literally normal Lopunny, it is intensely wary and dislikes fighting. Its soft fur and timidity shed upon Mega Evolution to prevent any disruption to its overpowering need to fight. The “combative instincts” unleashed therein explain Lopunny’s change to Normal/Fighting. Due to this drastic need to go all-out Mortal Kombat, it makes sense that Mega Lopunny’s Ability would make its attacks affect Ghost no matter the type (Scrappy). Klutz keeps you from being able to use held items—fitting for a rabbit that normally doesn’t like to fight. Cute Charm might infatuate an opponent of the opposite gender if it touches Lopunny in battle. Infatuation makes you less likely to attack due to sudden intense—and shallow—attraction. I mean, you just met her and she Jump Kicked you in the chin.
Lopunny is a fast, graceful Pokémon with a lithe body. No surprise its hidden Ability is Limber.
Bulbapedia Check: Let’s be real, we all knew Lopunny was an inspiration from Playboy bunnies and other kinds of “Bunny Girls”. Further derivations may be fashion models (due to their fur), Holland Lop rabbits, 80s aerobics outfits, and, because of the outrageous size of their eyebrows, quite possibly the jackalope. Their name is a portmanteau of lop and bunny.
Ability: Blaze, Magician (Hidden)
All Fire starters get Blaze, which raises the damage dealt when the bearer suffers from a status condition or has reached half HP. Its hidden Ability is more suited to its dual-type final evolution. Magician snatches the opponent’s held item after dealing damage. This works for the crafty fox with a stick that shows signs of magic powers.
I’m going to guess Brai has to do with the twig (branch) lodged in its tail. The rest of the name stands for vixen. Braixen is a Fire fox (yes, the jokes have been made), perhaps based off a Japanese legend.
Bulbapedia Check: Braixen’s big, fluff-filled ears resemble a fennec fox. Its “role” as a budding magician strongly suggests the Japanese folklore of kitsune and kitsune-mochi, witches whose powers come from foxes. To add on to that, Braixen’s tail looks like a broomstick and its fur is shaped of the seifuku, the usual uniform of Japanese schoolgirls. A student of witchcraft, huh? Its Shiny form is even purple!
Braixen is certainly named after a vixen, and the Brai– may be Bruxa (Portuguese for witch) or Braise, French for hot charcoal. Braixen’s native region of Kalos is based on a section of Metropolitan France. It works.
Ability: Insomnia, Keen Eye, Tinted Lens (Hidden)
Their cry even sounds like their name! Hoothoot is the “generic Normal/Flying bird” of Generation II. At first glance the name is obvious: owls hoot. But Hoothoot itself is also somewhat of a pendulum, as it always stands on one foot, shifting at a speed almost invisible to the eye. Hoothoot also has a perfect sense of time, and thus can tilt its head in flawless rhythm. The markings around its eyes resemble clocks, and it hoots at the same time every day. With its uncanny but certain inner tempo, this Pokémon somehow seems fit to have its name repeat itself.
Hoothoot’s Abilities to have a lot to do with the eye. Insomnia prevents the bearer from falling asleep—perfect for an owl. Keen Eye prevents accuracy drops, which is again suited to a predatory bird that can’t move its eyes. Really, owls’ eyes are fixed to their sockets. That’s why they can twist their heads so far.
Tinted Lens is a funny ability that adjusts lacking moves. It boosts the power of attacks that are ineffective. Given Hoothoot’s internal clock and big owl eyes, I can also see this as its hidden Ability.
Bulbapedia Check: Hoothoot is apparently an eagle owl and has bearings to clocks as well. It’s name may partly refer to cuckoo clocks, those famous wall-hangers that pop open hooting birds on the hour.
Ability: Wimp Out
Talk about turning tail when danger rears its ugly head. Wimpod is, well, a wimp. This worrisome Pokémon has a perpetually anxious look on its face, scuttling from things at high speeds and “Wimping Out” as it reaches potential ail. No, really, Wimpod’s Ability is called Wimp Out. It’s exclusive. It causes Wimpod to flee after it hits half-health or below.
So yes, it’s a wimp. It appears capable of curling up, so maybe the rest of its name indicates that it can curl into a safety pod? Or maybe it’s an arthropod? Wimpod appears to be some kind of modern-day trilobite. That’s why it’s Bug and Water. And its other Ability is…oh wait, Wimpod doesn’t have any other abilities. That kinda sucks.
Bulbapedia Check: Wimpod the wimp may also be named after pod as in the taxonomy for foot. It indeed may be based on a trilobite as well as an isopod, an order of crustaceans that can live in water or on land. It also appears to be based on a silverfish, an insect that’s known to scatter when startled. If Wimpod is a survivor of prehistoric times, maybe it made it because it was so adept at running away from danger. They’re the vacuum cleaners of the Pokémon world though. Whatever they walk upon that’s edible, they clean it all up!
That’s all for now. Tune in next time for Round 5!
Correction on 7/10/2018: Rather than a status condition or half health, Blaze gets triggered when a Fire starter reaches 1/3 health in battle. It also raises the power of Fire-type attacks exclusively.