10 Stupid Pokemon With Surprisingly Elaborate Inspirations


At the time of writing this article, there are currently 721 Pokémon, about 151 of which are actually any good depending on how much of a tool the person you ask is. With nearly a thousand different Pokémon out there it’s understandable that not all of them are going to be winners. As it turns out though, some of the stupidest and laziest looking Pokémon in the series have actually had some of the most thought put into their design. For example, just consider…

10. Magikarp


The lame:

In the Pokémon games, Magikarp is about as useful as a butthole flavoured lollipop and is about half as embarrassing to be caught using. Its singular redeeming feature is that at level 20 it evolves into a hulking dragon monster that can level cities by twerking. However, before that happens you’re forced to use a constantly screaming, flailing, fairground prize with a ridiculous moustache.

The awesome:

As it turns out, Magikarp changing from a flopping, two foot wide fish with a Fu Manchu to a half ton sea snake with that can fire Decepticon obliterating lasers from its mouth is because it’s based on an old school Chinese legend about fish backflipping over a waterfall. More specifically, the legend states that any carp that can jump high enough to clear a waterfall that’s known only as the “Dragon Gate” would turn into a kick-ass dragon. This is why Magikarp turns into a gargantuan death snake if you persevere and train it long enough. Basically, it’s based on a legend with the moral that trying hard enough leads to achieving anything, and it just so happens that Magikarp wants to become death, the destroyer of worlds.

9. Mareep


The lame:

In a game filled with Pokémon that can shoot fire from their eyes and launch mountain ranges into orbit with their minds, Mareep seems a little tame. Sure it’s cute, as far as sheep coated in paralysing wool go, but it’s not exactly an inspired design, is it? It’s a sheep, that’s electric. We mean, how deep could that possible be?

The awesome:

Pretty damn deep, as it turns out. You see, Mareep is based on the short story (which would later inspire Blade Runner) by Philip K. Dick, “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”. Along with this, the name Mareep is an anagram of the word “ampere,” which is a unit of electric current as well as badass band name. As if that wasn’t enough layers, Mareep is also a portmanteau of “Mary” and “Sheep,” so the name is also an allusion towards the nursery rhyme, Mary had a Little Lamb. Plus, its alternate color is pink, which is just adorable.

8. Trubbish


The lame: 

The Pokémon Trubbish is often pointed to as the point at which Pokémon kind of stopped caring because it is, for all intents and purposes, literally just a festering, overfilled sack of garbage with goofy looking eyes drawn on it.

The awesome:

Due to the fact its body looks almost identical to a bulging garbage bag, many people fail to notice that Trubbish has what appear to be a pair of bunny ears on its head. This is because Trubbish is based on the concept of “dust bunny,” also known as those clumps of hair and dirt that live in the place under your couch you can’t reach. On top of this, Trubbish is also supposed to stand alongside the Pokémon Grimer and Koffing as the third and final member of the pollution trifecta. Whereas Grimer and Koffing represent sea and air pollution, Trubbish is supposed to represent land pollution, something that was, up until it’s inclusion in the series, never touched upon. As for why they decided to make this Pokémon look like a bag of trash, considering they made Grimer look like a pile of purple slime and Koffing look like a floating, poison spewing testicle, we’re going to give Trubbish a break since they clearly put more effort into it than they did its spiritual cousins.

7. Girafarig


The lame:

Girafarig looks like a cross between a giraffe and child’s drawing of a horse-shaped lizard that also happens to have a Chain Chomp for a tail. It’s such a weird hodge podge of design elements we honestly can’t tell what it was originally intended to be. The only thing we can discern with any clarity is that whoever came up with this design should have been slapped across the face for thinking it looked anything like a giraffe.

The awesome:

Then again, maybe that’s a little hasty because Girafarig isn’t really based on a giraffe, it’s based on a now extinct, rather kick-ass ancestor of the giraffe called a Giraffokeryx. A giraffe like creature that looked like it was always wearing a pair of zebra stripe parachute pants. Along with this, Girafarig’s seemingly sentient tail and spinal ridges are inspired by the now disproven theory that the stegosaurus had a secondary brain hidden somewhere in its ass. Be honest, when you started reading this, did you honestly think a Pokémon game would contain a subtle allusion to a defunct theory about dinosaurs having brains in their butts?

6. Jynx


The lame:

Just one look at Jynx’s original design before it was hastily changed by GameFreak amidst a storm of criticism and poorly researched ’90s era newspaper articles should tell you everything you need to know about why Jynx sucks. In a nutshell, people were kind of pissed about Jynx’s design because it appeared to be a rather tactless and spectacularly offensive combination of blackface stereotypes.

The awesome:

While we’re absolutely not going to defend blackface, because we have more sense than that, there’s never really been any proof that this was the inspiration behind Jynx’s design beside the fact white people can’t look at the original sprite without first looking over their shoulder. In truth, there are about four different proposed theories about what inspired Jynx’s design, including that it’s based on a Nordic legend about a princess whose skin was turned black by the cold, and one about it being inspired by a brief Japanese fad in the ’90s where girls would tan their faces and dye their hair blonde as a protest against the limited Japanese concept of what constituted “attractiveness.” Since there will probably never be a satisfactory answer to Jynx’s origin, these theories will presumably remain just that. However, it’s a little comforting to think that maybe, just maybe, the people who designed the original 151 Pokémon weren’t huge, lazy racists.

5. Nosepass


The lame:

Nosepass looks like someone glued big, false nose onto a lump of granite and then tried to hit it with a car. It’s so angular and dumb looking, if you squint hard enough you could realistically mistake it for a potato cos-playing as Johnny Depp.

The awesome:

According to its official Pokedex entries, Nosespass’s, well, nose functions almost identically to a compass and can often be found pointing due north unless someone has farted in that general direction fairly recently. Far from being something someone pulled out of their ass, this trait is based on something called the ethmoid bone. Found between the skull and nasal cavity, in birds the ethmoid bone is said to be linked to their ability to sense the earth’s magnetic field. Although humans also possess an ethmoid bone, we can’t use it to sense magnetic fields or even to ruin credit cards. That explains why Nosepass has such a huge, oversized nose to make up for the fact if it had normal, human proportions it wouldn’t be able to sense magnetic fields or stick iron filings to its face.

4. Klefki


The lame:

Klefki is a bunch of keys. There’s probably a much funnier way we could word that, but we didn’t know how we could make fun of a Pokémon that already looks exactly like something we have nestled in our pockets two inches to the left of our nuts. We’re actually going to stop talking about this thing just because we’re that intrigued about what in the hell a “set of keys” that is also somehow a fairy could be based on that would make it so cool.

The awesome:

A pagan tradition of blaming faeries for your problems.

More specifically and in more words, Klefki is partially based on an old superstition that faeries liked to entertain themselves by stealing keys and other similarly inconsequential objects. As a result, followers of the Pagan faith sometimes blamed missing keys and other such shenanigans on faeries, because they’re whimsical like that. And that explains why Klefki, which is a fairy type Pokémon, is noted as being a big fan of “collecting” keys, which it presumably steals from people who’re stupid enough to try locking their flimsy wooden doors in a world where 20 foot long snakes made of diamond hard coal exist.

3. Sudowoodo


The lame:

In the games, Sudowoodo is a Pokémon that blocks access to a critical in-game path by disguising itself as a tree until the 10-year-old protagonist sprays it with a squirt bottle. If that sentence doesn’t already make you feel a little uncomfortable, we should also point out that Sudowoodo looks like someone drew a caricature of a child molester’s face onto a Slim Jim.

The awesome:

Now, it’s never really explained in the games or anime why this Pokémon has such an intense need to disguise itself as a tree, especially when it’s explicitly mentioned that it hates one of the things trees need to live: water. However, it’s stated that Sudowoodo is a rock-type Pokémon.

This has led fans to surmise that Sudowoodo is based on petrified wood, or wood that has undergone the process of fossilisation and become rock. This is supported by Sudowoodo’s name, which could be viewed as being a phonetic spelling of the word “pseudo,” which means “false,” and the word wood with an extra “O” slapped on the end for style. Meaning Sudowoodo’s name literally translates to “false wood­,” or something that looks like wood, but isn’t. Then again, maybe we were onto something with the Slim Jim idea.

2. Keldeo


The lame:

There’s no real way to get around this, so we’re just going to say it: other than the fact it isn’t being weirdly sexualized, Keldeo looks like a fan-drawn My Little Pony character. We’d make a joke or something to go here, but just by mentioning the words “My Little Pony” in a derogatory manner we’ve already ensured the best jokes are going to appear in our comments anyway when people come to yell at us.

The awesome:

Rather than being based on a children’s cartoon that is inexplicably popular with adult men who shouldn’t be allowed near kids, Keldeo is actually based on a combination of a Chinese Unicorn and the fourth, and youngest, member of the Three Musketeers, d’Artagnan. If you’re wondering how a magic horse is linked to a novel by Alexandre Dumas, Keldeo is the fourth and final member of the so-called “Swords of Justice.” If that’s not enough proof for you, Keldeo’s tail is also somewhat reminiscent of d’Artagnan’s signature and exceedingly pimp feathered cap.

1. Dunsparce


The lame:

Dunsparce looks like a cheap, Chinese knockoff of a rejected Disney design. It’s such an offensively off-putting and ugly design that if you put its image onto a t-shirt, the words “TapOut” automatically appear next to them. It would almost be kind of cute in an “accidentally hit with a shovel” sort of way if it wasn’t also almost five feet long. Luckily, according to the Pokedex, Dunsparce is also super rare, because apparently in the Pokémon universe, a five foot, bright yellow snake with wings can escape detection quite easily. Our guess is that these things are so butt ugly, nobody ever bothers looking for them.

The awesome:

Apparently Dunsparce’s rarity isn’t just a quirk of the game, but a subtle nod to its inspiration, the Tsuchinoko. That’s a species of snake native to Japan that can supposedly leap several feet into the air, speak in fluent English, and escape detection by curling into a hoop and rolling away at high-speed. Like Dunsparce, the Tsuchinoko is exceptionally rare and a bit of a lard-ass since it’s noted as being fatter in the middle that it is at either end.

As you’ve probably guessed, the Tsuchinoko is a cryptid and there’s no real proof it exists or ever has existed. Nevertheless, rumors and legends of its existence continue to persist across Japan to this day, which presumably led to its inclusion in the Pokémon series as Dunsparse. Why they chose to honor this piece of peculiar, traditional Japanese folklore with a Pokémon that looks like someone asked a slug with self-esteem issues to paint a self-portrait is anyone’s guess.

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