In this recurring series, I’ll analyze the origins of Pokémon designs, their culture, and their historical allusions to British culture.
Small reminder: Tomorrow there will be a Pokémon Direct! Check the time in your area in yesterday’s post!
I will be starting this season of articles with the Pokemon Snom and Frosmoth, the evolutionary line with the unique typing of Ice and Bug. While this may put them at a disadvantage in competitive battling, where are their origins?
Snom’s name may be a combination of “snow” and “nom”, a colloquialism for eating something. Snom is a worm that seems to use the icy shell around its body as a cocoon until it is ready to evolve, passing the time by eating snow.
According to the Pokedex:
It spits out thread imbued with a frigid sort of energy and uses it to tie its body to branches, disguising itself as an icicle while it sleeps.
It eats snow that piles up on the ground. The more snow it eats, the bigger and more impressive the spikes on its back grow.
Not only does it eat snow, but it sleeps while disguised as an icicle. Given how far north the United Kingdom is, icicles can frequently form during the winter. As the icicles begin to melt, you may feel something tickle the back of your neck. What if that was not water but the tickling of a bug?
Snom may have been based on that idea, or perhaps it was later designed to be a precursor to Frosmoth. Frosmoth’s name stems from a combination of “frost” and “moth” and it is classified as the “Frost Moth Pokemon”.
The Pokedex provides this information:
Icy scales fall from its wings like snow as it flies over fields and mountains. The temperature of its wings is less than -290 degrees Fahrenheit.
It shows no mercy to any who desecrate fields and mountains. It will fly around on its icy wings, causing a blizzard to chase offenders away.
Frosmoth appears to be based on the white satin moth, a fluffy white moth that is common to the British Isles. The white satin caterpillar does not have a resemblance to Snom. Like most moths, the white satin moth is nocturnal. This ties into its evolutionary method, happiness while at night.
Around the face of the moth is a thick coat of fur, which translates closely to the scarf-like covering over the neck of Frosmoth.
The Pokedex entry for Frosmoth makes mention of its wings and scales, which are said to be icy and will bring on blizzards. This alludes to its hidden ability Ice Scales, which will half the damage taken from special moves. This can be useful in reducing the impact of its weaknesses.
Snom and Frosmoth have a counterpart from Unova, Larvesta and Volcarona. Both are late-game bug Pokemon that evolve into moths, although each has a different secondary typing. Given the real physical proximity between Unova (New York City) and Galar (United Kingdom), there may be some underlying biological association.
The white satin moth was brought to North America in the 1920s, where it became an invasive species. An article in the January 1922 edition of American Forestry explains the damage it can do to the New England environment. In the Pokemon world, could Snom and Frosmoth have been brought to Unova and they adapted to the different climate?
I’d like to hear your thoughts. Let me know what you think!