In this recurring series, I’ll analyze the origins of Pokémon designs, their culture, and their historical allusions to British culture.
Pincurchin is an odd Pokémon, as it is an Electric-type that lives in the water. It shares its small, round shape with Pyukumuku, but instead has sharp spines around its body that will glow with electricity. Its name is a combination of “Pin cushion” and “urchin”.
It appears to be based on a sea urchin, which are common in every ocean. They are animals which slowly move across the ocean floor in search of algae or smaller sea creatures. Fossil records show that these creatures have existed for close to half a billion years.
In particular, there is the European Sea Urchin which is found off the coast of Great Britain, which may be the inspiration for this Pokémon.
It feeds on seaweed, using its teeth to scrape it off rocks. Electric current flows from the tips of its spines.
It stores electricity in each spine. Even if one gets broken off, it still continues to emit electricity for at least three hours.
Sea urchins don’t technically have eyes or a mouth, but use their spines in a variety of ways. They will move in reaction to external stimuli and can propel its body slowly across surfaces. The spines are venomous, and can be used as a way to defend itself against predators. Its ability to paralyze opponents gives credence to Pincurchin’s Electric typing.
Its small body and spines may also be inspired by the pin cushion, a small stuffed object which was often employed by sewers in medieval Europe to store their needles securely. Often these cushions were given some sort of design. The shape of a bird or a tomato were common in England. With all of these needles sticking out, it does look a bit like a sea urchin.
Pincurchin is an interesting single-stage Pokémon whose spines and small body seem to pack in several big nods to Great Britain’s ecosystem and culture.