Fuecoco, Crocalor, and Skeledirge | Origin of Species

In this recurring series, I’ll analyze the origins of Pokémon designs and their allusions to Mediterranean culture from Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet.

Fuecoco

Fuecoco is the Fire Croc Pokemon, one of the first partner Pokemon you may catch at the beginning of your journey in Paldea. Its name is a combination of “Fuego”, the Spanish word for fire, and “cocodrilo”, the Spanish word for crocodile. Its red shape, along with the yellow tufts of hair, also make it slightly resemble a pepper.

Crocodiles are not indigenous to Spain but are commonly found in Mexico, a country that was colonized by Spain during the sixteenth century. Similarly, the chili pepper became a popular cultivar in Mexico during the same period.

It lies on warm rocks and uses the heat absorbed by its square-shaped scales to create fire energy.

Its flame sac is small, so energy is always leaking out. This energy is released from the dent atop Fuecoco’s head and flickers to and fro.

Pokédex

Crocodiles are cold-blooded creatures which stay warm only by a warm environment. They can sleep up to seventeen hours a day. Rocks are very good at absorbing heat, and crocodiles often will rest near the water.

Crocalor

Fuecoco evolves into Crocalor and grows slightly in size. The yellow stem on its head has turned into a crown-like adornment with a yellow egg on top. Its name is a combination of “crocodile” and “calor”, the Spanish word for heat.

The combination of Crocalor’s fire energy and overflowing vitality has caused an egg-shaped fireball to appear on the Pokémon’s head.

The valve in Crocalor’s flame sac is closely connected to its vocal cords. This Pokémon utters a guttural cry as it spews flames every which way.

Pokédex

The egg surrounded by flames around Crocalor’s head strongly resemble a sombrero, a broad-brimmed hat historically common in Mexican fashion. While this resembles life, Crocalor’s design also has allusions to death. Its pale face and chest make it resemble a skeleton. Crocalor resembles the skeletal character of La Calavera Catrina, who is associated with the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead.

A lot of these motifs are brought to their conclusion once it evolves.

Skeledirge

Skeledirge is the final evolution. It gains the Ghost-typing, further bringing out its skeleton design. In addition to becoming quadruped, the egg on its head has hatched into a ghostly fire bird which accompanies Skeledirge and is not considered its own Pokémon. It is now classified as the Singer Pokémon and learns the signature move Torch Song.

Skeledirge’s name is a combination of “skeleton” and “dirge“, which is genre of music sung at funerals.

The fiery bird changes shape when Skeledirge sings. Rumor has it that the bird was born when the fireball on Skeledirge’s head gained a soul.

Skeledirge’s gentle singing soothes the souls of all that hear it. It burns its enemies to a crisp with flames of over 5,400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pokédex

Skeledirge is likely based on a Nile crocodile, common in freshwater regions of Egypt. The bird on its head is then based on an Egyptian plover, which has long been observed picking food from crocodile mouths and cleaning their teeth in a symbiosis relationship.

Skeledirge likely takes design motifs from mariachi bands, a genre of regional Mexican music. Its name has a strong connection to not just music but a particular kind of somber music reserved for the dead, another allusion to its Ghost-typing. Specifically its bright colors likely stem from colorful Mexican monster sculptures called alebrije and the colorful skull decorations called calavera.

Conclusion

Fuecoco starts out as a cute and simple Fire-type first partner Pokémon. As it evolves into Crocalor and Skeledirge, its design inspiration becomes much deeper, tying into Mexican heritage and culture. Its bright colors and signature move definitely make it stand out for any trainers willing to train it.

Let us know your thoughts on this Pokémon line in the comments below and don’t forget to join the PokéJungle Discord server!

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