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In this recurring series, I’ll analyze the origins of Pokémon designs, their culture, and their historical allusions to British culture. 

In the August Pokémon Direct, we learned a lot of information about characters and Pokémon, including Weezing. It was revealed that they have a Galarian form in Pokémon Sword & Shield.

Weezing’s design is based on a Victorian industrialist. The Victorian era was a period of time in British history during the reign of Queen Victoria, between 1837 and 1901.

Around the same time was the Industrial Revolution, a period where new manufacturing processes and technologies were developed. Harnessing the power of water and steam allowed for machines to produce more standardized components. Coal was often burned, turning water to steam, which would be emitted through a smokestack.

However, the widespread burning of coal had negative health effects on those living nearby. Coal soot created air pollution and led to higher rates of infant mortality and the development of black lung. The environmental movement started primarily to reduce the amount of coal pollution.

Weezing is already the perfect Pokémon to represent air pollution, and the addition of smokestacks provides a relevant British touch. The rims at the bottom of the stacks also makes it resemble a top hat, also known as a chimney pot hat.

This style of hat came into prominence at the turn of the nineteenth century in England, with the style evolving into taller hats by mid-century. While it was first worn solely by nobility, the style spread to all classes of people.

According to the Pokémon website:

Galarian Weezing consumes polluted air and poisonous gases for sustenance. The air and gases absorbed will have toxins removed before being spewed out again from the tops of Weezing’s heads. Apparently the air produced through this purification process is very clean! The toxins accumulated within Weezing’s body form into concentrated poison gas clouds that leak out and drift around it. This gas is so potent that even a whiff is enough to stun and immobilize an opponent. It is Weezing’s best weapon during battles.

Weezing’s comfort with toxic air pollution, combined with the ability to purify these toxins, may be why it is both Poison and Fairy-type. Its ability Neutralizing Gas, may be in reference to its gaseous emissions.

Weezing’s toxic gasses flow closely around its two mouths, almost resembling facial hair. Facial hair is often a characteristic associated with Victorian era men. The style rose in prominence during the Crimea War, and beards were seen as a symbol of bravery. On the American side, the style was copied. General Ambrose Burnside had a unique facial hair style which became known as “sideburns”. The two cultures emulated one another with different facial hair styles for the next few decades.

Is there anything more we can analyze? Will there be a Galarian Koffing? Will female Galarian Weezing have facial hair and chimney pot hats? In game screenshots, the Weezing shown have been male. We don’t know the answers to these questions yet. What do you think? Leave your comments below or join us in Discord!

Thanks for reading

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Nick Felker

I'm an engineer at Google helping the developer community build voice-first apps for the Google Assistant. In my spare time, I've been an avid Pokemon fan since Gold & Silver, and have spent many long hours walking around New York City with Pokemon Go open on my phone.