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Origins of Pokemon: Cryptids

Origins of Pokemon: Cryptids


What is a cryptid?

A cryptid is a creature whose existence cannot be proven, but whose existence is widely considered to be possible. Pokemon draws several references from these real-world creatures, often transforming them into rare or specially-stylized Pokemon.

In this post, I hope to reveal four Pokemon’s ties to the world of cryptids.




Coelacanth —> Relicanth

Relicanth is what I perceive to be one of the cooler “Easter Egg” sort of references in the Pokemon world. In the first games it was found (Ruby and Sapphire), there was only a 5% encounter rate while diving underwater around Mossdeep City and Sootopolis City. On top of that, catching this Pokemon would consistently prove more difficult than most encounters since it had recoil moves and only a 50% chance to have the recoil-negating ability: Rock Head.

In 1938, the belief that the coelacanth was a cryptid was debunked by a museum curator near South Africa. Before then, it was thought that the transitional species between fish and tetrapods had long since been extinct, making it a missing link of sorts. In fact, the coelacanth is more closely related to mammals and reptiles than most fishes. Personally, I think the transitional nature of the coelacanth would be highlighted if it is given a pre-evolution in the form of a normal fish, and a next evolution that can walk on land.

In the games, the first real application of Relicanth in the story was to serve as a “key” in unlocking the ruins of the Regi-legendaries. This is alongside the other Pokemon known as Wailord, also based on a nearly extinct real-life creature: Blue Whale. Perhaps the conjunct of these two Pokemon is to highlight the importance of being from another time. Presumably, these Pokemon may have been designated as keys when they were plentiful in the oceans, and perhaps regarded as icons of the sea.




Yeti —> Abomasnow

I mean, yeah, this one is sort of obvious, but I feel like it should at least be mentioned. If the likeness between the two creatures isn’t immediately seen in the appearance, Abomasnow’s originally unique ability of Snow Warning would be a dead giveaway. Often obscured in blizzards or snowy conditions, one of the attributed reasons to people never getting definitive footage of yetis is often that they are in snow storms. If Abomasnow actually causes the snowstorms, that certainly makes things convenient.

The yeti is thought to live in the Himalayan Mountains around Tibet, Bhutan, and Nepal. Though there are records of footprints and such of these creatures, most of them have been debunked by comparing the markings to those left by Asiatic Black Bears and some of the larger monkeys of the area. Basically, the yeti is the sasquatch of Asia.












Tsuchinoko —> Dunsparce

But wait Scron, isn’t that just a sna… NO. That’s a tsuchinoko. But wait Scron, is there even a diff… YES. The Tsuchinoko can supposedly talk, enjoys drinking liquor, and has a bad habit of lying. That may just be the folklore speaking, but at least it’s entertaining.

While Dunsparce has some added features like the spikes under its chin and the little wings on its back, the resemblance is pretty clear. This becomes especially clear when you compare the preferred residences of these creatures as both being dark places (AKA Dark Cave in Johto). Also, they both dig through the ground.

If the name didn’t make it clear, the Tsuchinoko originates in Japan, and is currently the basis for many popular culture references in that country. Also, don’t try to approach one if you ever try to prove its existence, because apparently their bite can kill.


mokele-mbembe tropius










Mokele-mbembe —> Tropius

Supposedly a remnant of the age of dinosaurs, the cryptid known as Mokele-mbembe, according to Congo River Basin Folklore, inhabits the Central region of Africa. Similarly, the Pokemon known as Tropius inhabits the only area in the Hoenn Region with constant rainfall and an actual river. Coincidence? I think not. Even considering the relative rarity of Tropius to other Pokemon on the route to Fortree City, its resemblance to a Sauropod is really a dead giveaway.

Perhaps the largest difference between these two is their propensity for unexpected elements. Mokele-mbembe is said to dwell in the water, making it difficult to find. Tropius, however, can flap its fern-like wings to fly from danger instead. This comparison could warrant further research, though I’d say it’s pretty likely there’s an intentional connection there.