Galarian Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres – Origin of Species

In this recurring series, I’ll analyze the origins of Pokémon designs, their culture, and their historical allusions to British culture.

Galarian Articuno

Galarian Articuno becomes a Psychic/Flying-type Pokémon. It develops a purple hue and its eyes are covered in something that resembles a masquerade mask, a common type of costume in Medieval European parties. It still has the three head feathers and a long tail. It becomes known as the “Cruel” Pokémon.

Its feather-like blades are composed of psychic energy and can shear through thick iron sheets as if they were paper.

Known as Articuno, this Pokémon fires beams that can immobilize opponents as if they had been frozen solid.

Although it does have wings, it seems like they aren’t frequently used for flying but rather for direct attacks. Yet it’s not just a physical attacker. It has the exclusive move Freezing Glare, where it will unleash psychic power from its eyes which has a chance to freeze.

Its name is a combination of “arctic”, relating to its association with the cold due to its stares, and “uno”, for being the first of the bird trio.

Kantonian Articuno
Galarian Articuno (Shiny)

Its shiny form has the same color palette as Kantonian Articuno.

Galarian Zapdos

Galarian Zapdos becomes a Fighting/Flying-type Pokémon, although it does not appear to be able to fly. Its design closely resembles a roadrunner, a flightless bird that is still able to run very quickly. It becomes known as the Strong Legs Pokémon. Similar to its Kantonian counterpart, its body is covered in spikes and it has a sharp beak.

Its flightless form may be inspired by a Kiwi, a bird from New Zealand, or a roadrunner.

When its feathers rub together, they produce a crackling sound like the zapping of electricity. That’s why this Pokémon is called Zapdos.

One kick from its powerful legs will pulverize a dump truck. Supposedly, this Pokémon runs through the mountains at over 180 mph.

Its strong legs seem to be able to help it run but also jump and attack with great power. It has the exclusive move Thunderous Kick, which will lower the opponent’s defense.

Its name is a combination of “zap”, relating to the sound it makes as it runs, and “dos”, for being the second of the bird trio.

Kantonian Zapdos
Galarian Zapdos (Shiny)

Its shiny form has the same color palette as Kantonian Zapdos.

Galarian Moltres

Galarian Moltres becomes a Dark/Flying-type Pokémon. Its body becomes black with a red beak and talons. A red aura flows around it, resembling flames similar to its Kantonian form. It becomes know as the Malevolent Pokémon.

This Pokémon’s sinister, flame-like aura will consume the spirit of any creature it hits. Victims become burned-out shadows of themselves.

The sinister aura that blazes like molten fire around this Pokémon is what inspired the name Moltres.

Although it looks like fire, what this Pokémon emits is an evil aura. It has the exclusive move Fiery Wrath which hits all opponents and has the chance for flinching.

Its name is a combination of “molten”, relating to the fire-like aura it emits, and “tres”, for being the third of the bird trio.

Kantonian Moltres
Galarian Moltres (Shiny)

Its shiny form has the same color palette as Kantonian Moltres.


When the Crown Tundra trailer was released and we got a preview of Galarian birds, people were pretty surprised. They were the first Legendary Pokémon to get a regional variant. While each received a new type, they did spend time designing them and their lore in order to make their names still fit. I also appreciate the colors line up with their original Kantonian forms. Perhaps we’ll see more regional Legendaries in future games.

What did you think about these regional forms? Did they live up to the designs of the originals? Let us know in the comments or on Discord!

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