Greetings PUCL! This week I bring an article topic requested by Dylan Battle, hope you like it :). I am more then happy to do similar request topics, just commented what you want to read about in the comments section and I will do my best.
Right so onto the topic of the week, Marowak!
Marowak, the Bone Keeper Pokemon, is an interesting creature. I always found it to be one of the more morbid evolution lines, besides wielding a bone club, its previous evolution Cubone wears its dead mother’s skull!
Cubone, the lonely Pokemon, is really where I think the depressing, but interesting concepts behind Marowak shine.
Cubone, is lonely after the traumatizing death of its mother (poor little guy). It weeps frequently for her; however, in bizarre Norman Bates-like fashion Cubone wears its dead mother’s skull, perhaps in a form of remembering her (sniff) so sad.
The Pokedex really hammers home how much its mother’s death defines Cubone as a species.
Yellow: “Wears the skull of its deceased mother. Its cries echo inside the skull and come out as a sad melody.”
Ruby/ Sapphire: “Cubone pines for the mother it will never see again. Seeing a likeness of its mother in the full moon, it cries. The stains on the skull the Pokémon wears are made by the tears it sheds.”
Wow! That is some heavy stuff… seriously, is there a Pokemon that has sadder lore?
Ok, quick levity break:
Right, back to Cubone, well once Cubone evolves it overcomes the grief over its mother’s death, and removes her skull! A hardened survivor of trauma Marowak is supposed to be a tough opponent not easily overcome (unfortunately its typing and stats do not reflect this 🙁 ). Despite overcoming grief over its mother, Marowak still maintains a symbolic tie to death, skillfully wielding a club made of bone. It literally holds the remains of a passed Pokemon, using it was a weapon. These dark themes and images definitely make Marowak and Cubone some of the most morbid Pokemon, with some of the closest ties to death (odd since they aren’t even ghosts).
While attending the 2012 Baltimore Otakon, I sat in on a great seminar about Pokemon’s mythological origins. The presenter, Charles Dunbar, was quite impressive, utilizing a Master’s Degree in Cultural Anthropology and extensive research, to highlight some of the more compelling concepts within Pokemon.
During his seminar, he discussed a really interesting theory on Cubone and Marowak. Dunbar argued, that this evolutionary chain originally had a third stage in Kangaskhan. He pointed out the similarity in Cubone’s mother’s skull and the shape of a Kangaskhan head. He also showed the similarity in design between Cubone and the Kangaskhan baby, as well as Marowak. Finally, Dunbar also pointed out, that within the 151 original Pokemon (a time before breeding) Kangaskhan, Cubone, and Marowak are the only Pokemon to highlight baby and parent Pokemon.
Dunbar made the compelling argument that what was originally a evolution trio (Cubone- Marowak- Kangaskhan) was in place to touch upon the deeper themes of death and life. Pokemon is a game filled with depth in its lore, which is one of the things that makes the game so enjoyable no matter what age you are, so it is not crazy to think the game may have consider this sad evolution trio. Dunbar hypothesized that as the last minute someone within the game production team decided this evolution trio was too much, and watered it down making Kangaskhan a separate Pokemon.
I found this theory fascinating and pretty believable. What do you think?
Well that is it for this week, hopefully you enjoyed my discussion of Marowak. Please feel free to leave me suggestions and requests for future articles, as well as thoughts on this article.