In this recurring series, I’ll analyze the origins of Pokémon designs, their culture, and their historical allusions to British culture.
Galarian Ponyta is a Psychic-type, with purple and blue tufts of fur rather than the flames of its Kantonian counterpart. It also has a small horn protruding out of its head. It is classified as the “Unique Horn Pokémon”.
A unique horn, or unicorn, is the design inspiration of Galarian Ponyta. Unicorns are mythical horses or goats in European folklore whose distinguishing characteristic is the singular horn on their head. In the earliest Greek writings on the creature, they were said to reside in India.
Its small horn hides a healing power. With a few rubs from this Pokémon’s horn, any slight wound you have will be healed.
This Pokémon will look into your eyes and read the contents of your heart. If it finds evil there, it promptly hides away.
During the period of medieval Europe, art depicting the unicorn with the Virgin Mary was used as an allusion to the crucifiction of Jesus. This link between a unicorn and a virgin led later to the association between unicorns and purity more generally. Various myths suggest that unicorns can only be tamed by virgins.
In its evolution, its horn grows larger and it becomes a Psychic and Fairy-type. Its tufts of fur grow longer and straighten out. Fur also grows around its fetlocks, which seems to be where its psychic power is drawn from.
Little can stand up to its psycho cut. Unleashed from this Pokémon’s horn, the move will punch a hole right through a thick metal sheet.
Brave and prideful, this Pokémon dashes airily through the forest, its steps aided by the psychic power stored in the fur on its fetlocks.
The purity of a unicorn was focused primarily on the horn of the creature, which was made of alicorn. These horns were said to be valuable for their medicinal properties.
Despite the trade of goods said to be unicorn horns, a unicorn itself was never truly seen. Often these horns were from narwhals or rhinoceros. Both animals were hunted by humans with their tusks being highly valuable.
The unicorn is officially the national animal of Scotland. It was chosen in part for being the mortal enemy of the lion, which was the national animal of England.
There are a number of mythical beasts in medieval European history that could be the basis of a Pokémon. Unicorns are one of the more iconic creatures. By creating a Galarian form of Ponyta and Rapidash, it highlights the mythical tie to horses rather than the more rational origins of a narwhal or rhino. Given the national prominence of the unicorn in Scottish culture, it seems like the perfect Pokémon to introduce to the Galar region.
Let us know what your thoughts are on these two regional forms in the comments or in our Discord server!