The Pokemon Company recently revealed a brand-new Pokemon game, Pokemon Legends: Arceus, coming to Nintendo Switch in early 2022. As part of that reveal, we got to see the game’s three starter Pokemon, all of which hail from different regions–Cyndaquil from Gen 2’s Johto, Rowlet from Gen 7’s Alola, and Oshawott from Gen 5’s Unova.
At first glance, these three Pokemon look like completely random picks, and no core Pokemon game thus far has ever combined starter Pokemon from previous generations in this way. However, Pokemon Legends: Arceus is set far in the Sinnoh region’s past, and the style of the reveal trailer lends the game a very feudal Japan feel–think shogunates and samurai. The Sinnoh region is based on Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan, which came under feudal rule during this era of history.
So how do Cyndaquil, Rowlet, and Oshawott fit into that theme? Oshawott is the most obvious: Its final evolution is Samurott, a portmanteau of samurai and otter, and the armor on Samurott’s legs is reminiscent of samurai armor. That’s as natural a fit for the setting as you can get.
Rowlet’s final evolution Decidueye, however, isn’t quite as easy a fit; it’s an archer owl that will probably remind you of Robin Hood more than samurai, though the character of Robin Hood did originate around the same time (we’re talking 13th or 14th century, here). That said, the Japanese practice of archery, kyūdō, emerged around the same time in history as well, which makes Decidueye a good choice for the setting overall.
Most interesting, though, is Cyndaquil. Its final evolution, Typhlosion, bears no resemblance to samurai or archers or anything “feudal”–until you take a look at its Japanese name, via @MelkorPxP on Twitter. Typhlosion is called Bakufoon in Japanese, and according to Bulbapedia, that comes from “bakufū” (“blast”) and “typhoon,” which would make the English Typhlosion a very literal translation of that same portmanteau (“typhoon” and “explosion”). However, Bakufoon can also be considered a play on the word “bakufu”–Japanese for “shogunate.” This makes Cyndaquil an especially brilliant fit for Legends’ setting.
Pokemon Legends: Arceus is coming to Nintendo Switch in early 2022. Preorders for the game are now live.
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