Welcome back to Lorekeeper’s Logs! This series hopes to delve deep into the strangest lore of the Pokémon world and investigate the unexplained, the unanswered, and the unknown. You can find past Lorekeeper’s Logs articles here!
We’re just a day away from beginning our Paldean adventure, Loreseekers! If you’re anything like your erstwhile Lorekeeper, you’re absolutely salivating as you wait to enroll in the academy and start on a treasure hunt, finding all the tidbits of lore a new region brings. But before we pack our bags and head off to ride dragons across the land, we still have some unfinished business, business that ranges across time and space, in the Sinnoh region, where those things are divine…
There’s no better place for a Loreseeker or Lorekeeper than a library, and Canalave City has one of the most famous ones in the Pokémon universe. Absolutely filled to the brim with myths, history, and everything in between, this library is one of our most intriguing sources of fiction in the franchise. But… is it all fiction? Come along with me, Loreseekers, as we look into the needle in the haystack of fantasy that makes it possible the entire library is full of nothing but truth–the mystery of The Sea’s Legend.
The Sea’s Legend
Introduced in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, The Sea’s Legend, at first, seemed like any other book in the library–simply an unusual legend with confusing details that seemed to not line up with our understanding of Sinnoh.
“Once upon a time in the East Sea, there was a Pokémon known as the prince. A brave human asked Pokémon living in the sea to let them see the prince. Mantyke, Buizel, and a Qwilfish with huge spikes acknowledged the human’s bravery and joined them. Together, they set off in a boat over the sunset-streaked sea, sailing through the ocean gate stretched over the waves. News of this reached the ears of the prince, who went to meet the brave little party at the Seaside Hollow.”
To a reader of this legend in modern Sinnoh, or in the real world before Legends: Arceus came out, this would be a very confusing myth. What, exactly, is a “Qwilfish with huge spikes”? It seemed to be an odd detail. But after our journey to Hisui, things started to become clear…
While it is not terribly surprising that Overqwil would have been known about in Sinnoh–which is simply a renamed Hisui, of course–it is notable that this legend is fulfilled by the player character in Legends… who is the player character from Diamond and Pearl, and presumably learned about it from the library itself. So who wrote this book initially? This is a literary trope known as the “bootstrap paradox”, in which an item is used in the future to do something in the past, ergo resulting in the creation of the future item to begin with. The origin of the item, as such, is unclear, and rendered impossible.
Seeing as how Overqwil seems to have been relatively forgotten, and the player character is the only one who would have witnessed both the past and future versions of the region, it becomes clear that this myth, at least, is based in truth, with Manaphy’s appearance in Hisui clearly proving this.
But this raises a far more interesting question. What about the other myths in the Canalave Library? Are these, too, based in truth from the days of Hisui?
The Confusing Canalave Collection
While The Sea’s Legend is the only book added in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, there have always been other myths in the library. Based on Inuit and other cultures’ myths, these books were taken as simply legends for a very long time, until The Sea’s Legend called their fictionality into question.
While we can assume that “if you eat a Pokémon and put its bones in the water it will regain its flesh” is merely a misinterpretation of the oft-confusing breeding habits of Pokémon, there is one specific myth that catches my eye- one about how humans and Pokémon used to interact. While the English localizations make this simply “Pokémon and humans used to be more similar and socialize together”–which is proven in Legends, where the Diamond and Pearl clans consider their Pokémon their equal partners, and seemingly sometimes even their siblings–the Japanese version makes it clear that humans and Pokémon used to marry. This level of equality would seem impossible… But Legends, once again, shows us that there may be more truth than fiction to this story.
There’s no gentle way to put this, folks–there’s a guy in Hisui who married a Froslass. The entirety of the quest “Traces of a Lost Village” revolves around finding the journal entries of a man living in a former village in the Alabaster Icelands, and he spent much of his life married to a Froslass before her true form was revealed and they both vanished.
While it’s unclear if this is the only instance of Pokémon/human marriage, it would seem as if the way it is described–Pokémon and humans as equals, without the seeming deception described in the Froslass quest–might mean this used to be a historical trend. Perhaps this is what eventually evolved into the partner system that the Diamond and Pearl clans utilize, and why they still treat Pokémon as family? Whatever the answer, it’s clear that Sinnoh’s “myths” are more than meets the eye, especially when we remember that their origin myths are also completely true.
As noted, there’s no real answers here, and it’s merely worth noticing how complex the lore of Pokémon can actually get for a “children’s game” series. While there are never any clear answers to these things, it continues to be the job of a Lorekeeper to examine the stories and myths of a region, and I think we’re all excited to take that curiosity and love of history into Paldea shortly. Who knows what myths we’ll discover there? What legends, what historical facts, what powerful Pokémon who will change our understanding of the world as we know it?
I can’t wait to explore the region with you, Loreseekers, and I promise as soon as I’ve found a mystery worth exploring I’ll be back with more. I don’t know what’s around the corner, but next time there will certainly be something exciting, colored in hues of scarlet and violet.
What do you think about the Canalave Library’s confusing collection? Leave your own thoughts about these complex myths in the comments below or share them on Discord!
Next time on Lorekeeper’s Logs: Who knows! Something about Paldea, for sure! For now, until next time, remember…