Pokemon Design Inspirations

You all seemed to like hearing about what certain pokemon and characters are based on so I’m translating what was recently printed in the newest edition of Nintendo Dream.  It’s rather LONG so please read it inside the spoiler :3


  • The fighting trio is based on the three muskateers
  • Cobalion‘s based on Athos and is meant to have a thorny look
  • Terrakion is based off of Porthos and has some angles reminiscent of a hatchet.  Supposed to look like a formidable opponent who can stop a pokemon in its tracks.
  • Virizion is based on Aramis and was modeled to be nimble and have sharp angles
  • Larvesta is partially based on Taiyou No Tou (specifically the red adornments jutting out of its head)
  • Volcarona originally had only 4 wings and the black spots represent dark spots on the sun
  • Cottonee and Whimsicott were based on sheep
  • Petilil and Lilligant were actually slated to have another pokemon in their evolutionary family, but that plan was scrapped.  Lilligant is like a pretty daughter who’s always too late.
  • Haxorus was one of the first designs to be finished and they were fairly proud of it.  It can attack simply by shaking its head.
  • Darumaka and Darmanitan were inspired after the designer saw dharma dolls being burned at a festival.  They kind of resembled a gorilla so that’s how the fire/monkey parts came into the pokemon.
  • Stunfisk was originally designed with an Angler Fish in mind, but obviously turned out a bit different.  It was also a water/electric type but they ended up making it a ground/electric to balance out the type spread of pokemon.
  • Frillish and Jellicent had the ghost type added on at the end for the sake of adjusting what types Unova had which disappointed the designer.
  • Sawsbuck was already an idea for a pokemon before seasons had been added into the game
  • Litwick, Lampent, and Chandelure were originally designed when they wanted an evolutionary line based on an open flame -> candle -> lanturn, but obviously it ended up out of order.
  • Seismitoad was designed before Tympole and Palpitoad.  The protrusions are one of this evolutionary line’s features.
  • Klink, Klang, Klinklang were sort of inspired by Dugtrio
  • Dwebble and Krustle were sort of inspired by kiln-fired pottery
  • Scraggy and Scrafty obviously owe their existence to the low and baggy jean trend and also are reminiscent of a snake with its shed skin
  • Yamask and Cofagrigus were meant to look scary, but also have a certain charm
  • Pawniard and Bisharp are urban pokemon.  Bisharp commands Pawniard who clings to its foes and cuts them with the blades on its stomach.

Now it goes into some of the character designs~

  • Iris and Drayden were designed as opposites.  Drayden is the oldest gym leader, while Iris is the youngest with a lot of potential.  She came from the forest and seems to be raised by dragons, while he studied abroad to better understand his favorite type.   Drayden is also meant to be a gentleman who is both smart and strong.
  • Brycen used to be a movie star who got into a slump after he was done making films.  Alder told him to use his time to master pokemon so Brycen went alone into an icy cave and trained in silence to gain the most knowledge he could.  He also feels it is important to conceal his identity.
  • Alder ended up having the appearance of a drifter and you can see with his clothes they are somewhat torn and ragged.  Original design had a somewhat Christ-like image.
  • Emmet and Ingo are twins who are supposed to invoke a clown-ish image.  Their jackets represent the mix of a subway track-like design with that of a clown’s outfit.  (I’m not seeing it)[/spoiler]

Next issue is supposed to reveal the ‘Elite 4’s Secrets’.  Ooooooh.  Phew this took a long time to write.  zZzZzZ  Full Japanese can be found over at Shell Spider~

<3 pokejungle

ps- New info: Battle Subway (kept its name in English) twins are named Emmet and Ingo.  PokeShifter also keeps its name~

  1. Stunfisk isn’t pure electric though. It’s not even primary electric, it’s Ground/Electric. So I guess the line should have been they changed it from Water to Ground o:

  2. hmmm…..interesting 🙂 lol-ing at the christ-like image. definitely wise to not try and go there! i like alder’s design though, it’s cool.
    Thanks for the info!!

      1. Frankly I reckon it would be too controversial. I think they’ve still kept enough in the design to convey what they wanted to, without being obvious and in-your-face. Kinda like Aloe/Lenora and the darker colouring, and the homosexual undertones in Cilan (in the anime anyway) and others.

  3. Again it proves the superbness of Volcarona, it’s the best designed pokemon of 5th gen. It has so much references.

  4. A little thing that someone else had in their translation, the designer of Frillish didn’t like the ghost type addition, because it added scary qualities to the Pokemon she had designed based on a prince and princess.

  5. Will any of the gym leader’s “backstory” make it into any games or is it purely WoG stuff?

    Funny how things were changed to balance type distribution but there still ended up only being 3 ice-type pokemon lines.

    Still can’t say I like haxorous’ design. And kiln-fired pottery? Really? How? There’s nothing clay or shaped-by-hand or even fired about them. They’re sediment.

    1. And we have three Poison-type evolutionary lines as well, with no legendary. Two of the Poison evolutionary families are only “Poison” type because they are paired up with the usual Bug and Grass pairings. Big deal.

      Poison-types still don’t have a legendary (not including Arceus with Toxic Plate).

      And Gen IV was very generous with Ice-types. They got staples like Glaceon, Froslass, Weavile, and Mamoswine. Hell, you now have a Rotom form which counts as part Ice.

      The best Poison types got in Gen IV was a Roselia evolution (which suffers from the usual Grass-type weaknesses),, Toxicroak (which, if it wasn’t blessed with Sucker Punch, would have been the shittiest pokemon ever), Drapion (decent defense), and meh Skuntank who is only good for exploding.

      1. Yes, Poison was left behind way too much.

        But, while it’s true that Ice did get another legendary, notice how all the ones you listed are not new lines, but merely evolutions or alternate evolutions.

        1. Even Abomasnow (the only ice-type line in Gen IV) had some use in a Hail team.

          And most of Gen IV was full of evolved/alternate pokemon, so to speak, but that doesn’t mean they are bad. An Ice/Ghost type or a Psychic/Fighting type… People asked for these things a long time ago. People also asked for a beefed up Sneasel or a Piloswine long ago. I rather take evolutions of older, pathetic pokemon than new evolutionary lines that would have the same type coverage anyway.

          Take note that we had 2 three-stage Psychic lines this gen.

  6. Stunfisk was first an ANGLER FISH!?
    Frillish and Jellicent whould have been BAD without the Ghost-type addition…
    And in my opinion Frillish look a bit… bad…and boring… kinda… It could have been MUCH better…in my opinion…
    Jellicent is better, but I recommend to NOT draw famous food characters and say that it was your idea first…
    You get a lot of Copyright issues…

    To sum up: Mr. DerpDerp should have been Super Angler Fish.
    Frillish and Jellicent creator loves potato chips.
    Frillish is average… and does NOT look like a prince or princess!
    Frillish and Jellicent creator should go home and play with her dolls instead of creating pokemons.
    This is NOT The Legend of Zelda! Got it? They are jellyfishes for gods sake, not your ****ing barbie castle inhabitants!!
    Pringles gonna sue the Jellicent and Frillish creator.
    Jellicent and Frillish creator will be sent to jail for being stupid.
    Stunfisk should´ve been Stunfart.
    Palpitoad should´ve been The Emperor of The Sith.
    And finally, Litwick should have been Lickdick.
    Goodnight everybody!! Have a good night!! Or day!! Or morning!! Or afternoon!! Or evening!!

    1. We already have an electric angler fish. Maybe they wanted something a little different for another electric fish?

      1. You got a point…
        But imagine a CREEPY angler fish…
        A strong and really CREEPY angler fish…
        Four words: I STILL WANTS IT!! 🙁

  7. There seems to be more talk on the page source about design inspirations for the bridges. Anyone care to tackle that translation?

  8. I can’t believe the ghost type was added at a last minute for Frillish and Jellicent to me I can really see the ghost characteristics of them I know they don’t look scary but Jellyfish tend to glow which gives of a mystic feel. I can see the ghost type addition very fitting

    *Important for those who watch the anime*
    The tower that Larvesta is based off ;Taiyou No Tou, the design looks very very very similar to Sunnyshore tower in the anime that Jessie and James tried to take over.

  9. ps- New info: Battle Subway (kept its name in English) twins are named Ebony and Ivory. PokeShifter also keeps its name~

    Oh joy.


  11. I don’t quite understand Jellicent’s inspiration. So, were they disappointed at his design, or his type?

  12. Well some of these are helpful to know, but there’s still something I’m confused about…what exactly inspired the electric poop cake?

    1. Ken Sugimori did eat some radioactive lasanga……Then, he went to the toilet to poop……Suddenly Stunfisk was born……to be continued……

  13. I totally figured Frillish and Jellicent weren’t designed with the Ghost-type in mind. It seemed a little tacked-on to me. I actually suspected it was to make sure Shauntal had a team of 4 Ghost-types. I’m also glad they cut out the (middle?) evolution from Petilil and Lilligant, because three girl-ish Pokemon would look too much like Gothita-Gothorita-Gothitelle. Not to mention the Ralts line before it.

    Emmet is an awesome name. But what the heck is an Ingo?

  14. I think Emmet and Ingo’s name basis comes from “exit” and “enter”, since they are both train conductors. Ingo is like “in you go / enter” and Emmet sounds like “exit”, hence the names.

    1. I really can’t remember where I read it and the exact day. But a few months back I think and apparently it was official. From there, there was info about the gym leaders and Elte 4. From what I remember about Skyla apparently her and Grimsley have a little thing going on.

  15. I got a flyer about the Celebi event when I went to get my Celebi for my SS. I read the flyer, and it seems to me the Transfer Machine has been renamed the “Relocator”…

  16. Even though the Ghost type was added later, it’s completely fitting. Besides this being my opinion, there’s also the thought, that if it was not fitting they wouldn’t have put it in after realising, especially when they scrapped more designs than they put in.

    Also consider that Frillish/Jellicent are not Ghost/Water, but Water/Ghost Pokemon. Water is the main type. The Ghost type does not need to stick out overobviously in it’s design, like it does for Ghost/Other Pokes.

  17. Again I love the Darus!!
    Dweeble inspired by kiln firing??
    How is right.
    I kinda wish they had a mid evo for Petilil and Lilligant, it seems like it was a huge leap in forms and that would have made the total 650.

      1. I forgot about Lanturn. T_T
        WE NEED A MORE ANGLERFISH LOOKING ANGLERFISH. Anglerfish shouldn’t be cute. xD

        1. Yeah Lanturn when it evolves SHOULD take a male and female merged together and ends up just female because in the animal world- a male bites at a female and becomes a mere lump on its body forever a part of the gal’s anatomy.

  18. I remember reading something on Bulbapedia about one of the scrapped ideas for a Gen. V Pokemon. It was supposed to be a Pokemon based off of Dolly, the first cloned animal. It was a sheep in case anyone was wondering. It got scrapped for being too controversial or something, but I think it sounds awesome!

    1. Oh yeah I read that. I kinda wish they stuck with it. Maybe Whimsicott came in after the scrapping of Dolly the clone sheep.

    2. Doesn’t sound like something you could base a pokemon off to me. And especially Dolly which is surrounded by misinformation.

      I don’t see how it would even remotely work. It would be a sheep alrite. But a clone is an exact copy of an organism, not something different, so how can a pokemon be based on cloning? It can only work if one doesn’t understand it and thinks cloning results in weird monsters or some stupid thing like that.

      1. And since there’s already an genetically enchanced clone of Mew in generation I, I’m confident they did not scrap it because of cloning being controversial, but because of it making no sense or being based on misinformation.

  19. There was a couple of sentences in Adeku/Alder’s design notes that weren’t translated, so I’ll post them here:
    “He’s a man with the image of the sun and hair like a lion’s mane.
    He does not understand how to use computers, so he walks around with more than 7 Pokeballs but,
    his ace is in a ball from the past.”

    I think that’s how it goes. There’s also a bunch of stuff about bridges.

    By the way, would you mind if I wrote a bit about battling? Like a quick introduction to the 3v3 random available in game?
    I just want to explain some stuff to people and show them they can use whoever they want and point out the differences from 6v6 and stuff.

  20. does anyone know when the pokemon black and white plush will come out in the US? i really want to buy a snivy 🙂

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