In this recurring series, I’ll analyze the origins of Pokémon designs, their culture, and their historical allusions to British culture.
Our first look of Arrokuda was not actually its own reveal. Rather, it was shown when Cramorant was revealed. Cramorant’s Gulp Missile ability lets it catch either Pikachu or Arrokuda in its mouth and then shoot them out.
Arrokuda is the standard fish of Galar, the Water-type Pokémon that you will find in lakes and rivers. Its name is a combination of “Arrow” and “Barracuda”, and its design inspiration has a mix of each.
The barracuda is a long saltwater fish that is its namesake. They are found in a variety of oceanic environments, although they usually do not swim as far north as England. They are like piranhas in having sharp fangs and an underbite.
Arrokuda may also be based on the pike, a separate fish with a similar shape but are more commonly found in northern waters around England. It shares a brown coloration and white accents with the pike.
Another key design inspiration are arrows. Its tail fins share the several-tailed design of fletchings, the tails of an arrow. In the past they were usually based on chicken feathers which allowed the arrow to remain stable in the air after being shot, allowing it to fly straighter.
Archery has been used by human civilizations for millennia. They were used for hunting and war across the world. It was in particular they were key weapons used by England in many battles during the medieval period, when they fought against France and other neighbors. Though they were later replaced by guns, the English longbow became a tool of sport.
If it sees any movement around it, this Pokémon charges for it straightaway, leading with its sharply pointed jaw. It’s very proud of that jaw.
After it’s eaten its fill, its movements become extremely sluggish. That’s when Cramorant swallows it up.
A legend suggests that the V-sign was created by English archers as a way to mock French soldiers. While there is not any historical evidence of this, culturally it does show a close connection between archery and Great Britain.
Arrokuda and its evolution have the unique ability Propeller Tail which allows it to ignore target-redirection such as Rage Powder and Storm Drain. This reflects the use of the fletching to allow arrows to fly straight towards the target.
Arrokuda levels up and then evolves into Barraskewda. Its name is a combination of “Barracuda” and “Skewer”. In this form it becomes sharper and more arrow-like. Its underbite is larger, resembling an arrowhead or a spear. It has a white pattern along its side that resemble bones and arrows.
This Pokémon has a jaw that’s as sharp as a spear and as strong as steel. Apparently Barraskewda’s flesh is surprisingly tasty, too.
It spins its tail fins to propel itself, surging forward at speeds of over 100 knots before ramming prey and spearing into them.
Barraskewda swim forward very fast, spearing or skewering their targets. Its steel-like strength may suggest that it is more powerful than an arrow. In fact, it may be based on the torpedo, an evolution of sorts of the arrow. These underwater ranged weapons were first developed during the nineteenth-century by warring navies including Great Britain.
It was British engineer Robert Whitehead that created the first self-propelling torpedo and these weapons were incorporated into navies during later wars. It was during World War II that a British aircraft class Fairey Barracuda was created as a torpedo bomber to attack enemy ships over the Atlantic.
Barracudas, despite their aggressive nature, make for popular cuisine. Their soft flesh are often turned into filets or steaks for consumption.
Arrokuda and Barraskewda make for a uniquely British set of fish Pokémon. Their designs allude to a history of British weaponry, from the longbow of the middle ages to the torpedo bombers of the modern era. Ranged weapons have played a role in many wars and these Pokémon reflect the need to have accuracy and precision when firing.
Share your own thoughts about Arrokuda and Barraskewda in the comments below (exit AMP view). Do you like their designs? Use them in battle? Join in the live discussion going on in our Discord server!