In this recurring series, I’ll analyze the origins of Pokémon designs, their culture, and their historical allusions to British culture.
The three starter Pokemon take their inspiration from contemporary British culture. In the case of Grookey, it is inspired by football (soccer).
The Pokémon gyms in Galar, and the Gym Challenge, is inspired by sports in England. Football has a lot of popularity through the Premier League and is stated to be the most-watched sports league in the world. In addition to its wide television reach, it also has a high attendance rate among local fans.
Football is a popular sport around the world and its origins are from England. While there have been numerous games of kicking a ball through goals, the modern start of the sport is at Cambridge University in the mid-1800s. The Cambridge Rules tried to standardize the rules to promote play between different universities.
During this time, the sport fragmented and both rugby and American football were formed.
The International Football Association Board was formed in 1886 to create and maintain the “Laws of the Game” that every team would adhere to for fair play and promoting the sport around the world. Later the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) was formed to further the goals of making the sport accessible and standardized.
The biggest event held by FIFA is the World Cup, a competition that occurs every four years by national teams from around the world. Like the Olympics, the host country also changes each time. The next World Cup is Qatar in 2022.
Scorbunny’s design is based on a rabbit, a common animal in Europe and England. It has long ears tipped in orange and red, and it has something over its nose. Its name may be a combination of “scorch” and “bunny”, though it may also be a combination of the sporty “score” and “bunny”.
The European rabbit has been domesticated and has been adopted by some as a pet. Its fire typing may be an allusion to the myth of the Lunar Rabbit, an East Asian tale about a rabbit who threw itself into the fire to provide food for an old man. The rabbit was not burnt and instead the old man drew the rabbit’s likeness on the moon.
A bandage on the nose is a trope used in some animes and mangas to show a character is athletic or tough. It may suggest a small physical wound they want to keep sterile. Alternatively it may be a nasal strip which is placed over the nose to help keep the airway open. Some athletes believe this will improve their performance.
At the bottom of Scorbunny’s feet are small pads, as is the one on its face. Rather than aid in breathing, this pad specifically helps regulate heat. According to the Pokédex:
A warm-up of running around gets fire energy coursing through this Pokémon’s body. Once that happens, it’s ready to fight at full power.
It has special pads on the backs of its feet, and one on its nose. Once it’s raring to fight, these pads radiate tremendous heat.
As Scorbunny evolves, it becomes Raboot. Its name seems to be a combination of “rabbit” and “foot”.
It grows something similar to an athletic uniform. The uniform includes sweatpants and a sweatshirt to help it during its athletics. In the front of its uniform, where there seems to be some fur bunched up, is an area for it to place its hands. This seems to be useful, as using hands is not allowed in football.
Its thick and fluffy fur protects it from the cold and enables it to use hotter fire moves.
It kicks berries right off the branches of trees and then juggles them with its feet, practicing its footwork.
By keeping its hands warm and secure, it can practice kicking and juggling berries. Judging by the large yellow bandage, it may also be using its forehead to hit and juggle things.
Cinderace, whose name seems to be a combination of “cinder” and “ace”, has become a fully fledged athlete. Its uniform now resembles a jersey and shorts, with long legs and strong feet that seem similar to cleats. Its forehead is now reinforced by something similar to a crown. Underneath its eyes is eye black, a common strip of makeup used to mitigate the effects of sun glare and stadium lights.
Its feet are used as part of its signature move, Pyro Ball, where it juggles a flaming rock as a ranged attack.
It juggles a pebble with its feet, turning it into a burning soccer ball. Its shots strike opponents hard and leave them scorched.
It’s skilled at both offense and defense, and it gets pumped up when cheered on. But if it starts showboating, it could put itself in a tough spot.
The Pokédex reference to showboating is a reference to the celebrations that football players perform when they score a goal. There are many examples on YouTube, and it gives the players a chance to show off to fans.
It also has the signature move Court Change, which refers to how at halftime the players change sides.
When it is Gigantamaxed, Cinderace’s ears grow long and it takes its place on top of a giant pyro ball. Its arms are crossed, showing off its confidence. It may use this pyro ball as part of its signature Gigantamax move. Of course, a ball of that size (the total height for the Pokémon is about 88 feet), would require a lot of strength to push.
The burning ball at Cinderace’s feet has grown to massive proportions thanks to Gigantamax energy. If Gigantamax Cinderace kicks the ball using its well-honed techniques, its fighting spirit will possess the ball and cause the ball to pursue opponents as if it had a mind of its own.
Gigantamax Cinderace boasts incredible leg strength—in fact, its legs are said to rank among the strongest of all Pokémon! Even without its gigantic Pyro Ball, it can deliver powerful kicking moves that overwhelm other Dynamax Pokémon.