Pokémon Sword and Shield was an immediate hit for the Switch upon its release. As with any new mainline game, Sword and shield introduced many Pokémon, from beginners Grookey, Sobble, and Scorbunny, to new evolutionary twists on old favorites, such as Perrserker and Sirfetch’d. Pokémon are given different names around the world each time the franchise is localized. But in Japan, where Pokemon is developed and designed, the names acquire a deep intentionality.

Since the First Generation, the names of Pokémon have been differentiated into Japanese, English, and many other languages. In the case of Japan, looking at the name of a Pokémon reveals a fascinating trend for word games and descriptors that can give fans clues as to how or why a Pokémon was developed. For example, the Japanese for Scorbunny is Hibanii, or “fire rabbit,” which feels simple and obvious until one remembers that the original fire starter, Charmander, is called Hitokage, or “fire lizard”. Several other fire Pokémon have also followed this trend, making it Hibanii a direct generational callback.

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Generation 8 added 88 new Pokémon, including Sword and shieldtwo DLC. While some, like Inteleon and Wooloo, share English and Japanese names, many more have fascinating differences. You can find a full list of Pokémon names at Bulbapedia, and the following explanations are courtesy of Bulbapedia, Jisho.organd the author’s own experience with the Japanese language.

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Gen 8 Pokémon with surprising Japanese names: Grookey

Pokemon Grookey

Between Sword and shield beginners, Grookey becomes a major drummer. So it is natural that his name incorporates rhythmic elements: in English, “groove” and “monkey”, and in Japanese, “saru” (monkey) and “want” (rhythm) to get Sarnori (Sarunori). However, it should be noted that want It is not an old rhythm. Nori is used specifically to talk about rhythm in No h, a form of Japanese dance-drama. Although Grookey is not a No h dancer, “norinori” it is also a phrase used to describe being in a good mood.

Gen 8 Pokémon with surprising Japanese names: Sobble

Sobble’s helpless nature made many coaches want him at the beginning of Sword and shield. Like the english Below-ble, this Pokémon’s penchant for crying is inherent in Japanese メ ッ ソ ン (Messon). The name is an acronym for mesomeso, the onomatopoeia of the sob, and the end -on, which may be a nod to “chameleon”.

Gen 8 Pokémon with surprising Japanese names: Eldegoss

Milo and Dynamax Eldgoss during the first gym battle

Eldegoss is like a fluffy cotton ball and a surprise pick to Pokémon UNITE. Eldegoss spreads nutrients in the wind that benefit both plants and Pokémon, hence its Japanese name, ワ タ シ ラ ガ (Watashiraga) combines Moon (cotton) and shiraga (white hair) to reflect your design and coloring. However, the number of layers in a Pokémon name should never be underestimated, because there is another sensible way to dissect Watashiraga: watashi (I and Body (the bare bud of a plant), which combined would be an ultrashort sentence that means “I am a Body. “

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Boltund’s Japanese name, Pulse One (Porusuwan, or “Pulsewan “), is probably a lovely tribute to Pulseman, a game developed by Game Freak before the first Pokemon ever came out. The tribute pun works very well because “pulse” refers to Boltund’s electrical-type abilities, and changing a letter creates “Pickup truck, “the noise of a dog barking, a bit of onomatopoeia leads to an endearing real-world term for dogs:” wan-chan. “

Gen 8 Pokémon with surprising Japanese names: Applin

Pokemon Applin

Applin can be difficult to evolve, but like many Japanese Pokémon names, this Grass Dragon-type hybrid trapped in an apple is ready for puns. カ ジ ッ チ ュ (Kajicchu) uses as a base kajitsu, a very specific word for “fruit”. According to Japanese Particle Master, that “It does not necessarily mean something edible that grows on a plant. It means fruit as a result of the growth of the plant in general.” What could be more Fruitmore complete than this unassuming Pokémon, who can become a team asset? Kajitsu‘sending –tsu it changes to -cchu to fit a reading of the error kanji character. And what is more, kajiru means “nibble”.

Gen 8 Pokémon with surprising Japanese names: Cramorant

Cramorant from the Pokémon series

Westerners playing Sword and shieldCramorant seemed like a strange outlier. But the intention behind Cramorant’s design is evident in its Japanese name, ウ ッ ウ. It is better to transcribe it as U’u, with a deliberate, choking-like pause between two short “oo” sounds. The Japanese word for cormorant, the bird this Pokémon is based on, is simply “or.” And wonderfully onomatopoeia for choking and gasping is also “or” but with a pause added at the end. It’s hard to say whether the name or the Pokémon came first, but it feels like a fitting incarnation of its throaty moniker.

Gen 8 Pokémon with surprising Japanese names: Polteageist

pokemon sword and shield sinistea polteageist

The Ghost-type Polteageist is the “Black Tea Pokémon”. It could be argued that the solid pun on “Polteageist” makes it one of the strongest English Pokémon names in recent memory. The Japanese name comes from a similar angle, with equally strong results. This Pokémon is called ポ ッ ト デ ス (Pottodesu), for which the official romanized translation is Potdeath. But the intelligence doesn’t stop there: collapsed, Potto-desu it is also a complete sentence in Japanese, which simply means “It’s a pot.”

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Gen 8 Pokémon with surprising Japanese names: Perrserker

Shield Sword Pokémon Perrserker

The intimidating Sword and shield Pokémon Perrserker is a Steel-type mutation from Galarian Meowth, vaguely gruesome and inspired by Vikings. In Japanese, “nya” It is the equivalent of the English “meow”. Nya is the key building block in the Japanese name of Meowth, Nyaasu or “Nyarth” as well as Perrserker. Nyaiking (Nyaikingu, or Nyaiking) is the clever combination of nya and Viking (and maybe king). The term “Viking” is also a common way of referring to a buffet-style meal in Japan, so perhaps Perrserker is also very hungry.

Gen 8 Pokémon with surprising Japanese names: Sirfetch’d

Pokemon Go Sirfetched.png

Sword and shield finally gave fans an evolved form of Gen One’s Farfetch’d: the chivalrous Sirfetch’d. Both the Japanese names for Farfetch’d and Sirfetch’d focus on the lowly negi, or green onion, which both Pokémon wield. As the negirounder cousin, the name Negiganita (Negiganaito) has many layers. Negi combines with jig, a prefix meaning “billion” often used to make mechs and the like sound impressive. Naito is “knight”, so altogether Sirfetch’d is a Giant Green Onion Knight.

Gen 8 Pokémon with surprising Japanese names: Urshifu

The star of Sword and shieldThe first DLC, Ushifu’s English and Japanese names refer to this Pokémon’s base in martial arts. ウ ー ラ オ ス (Uuraosu, or Wulaosu) may have a few different origins, however. Uura could come from “career, “an interjection originating in Russian that roughly correlates with” hooray. “Anyone who has seen hunter X hunter knows “osu, “a salute, interjection, and statement commonly used in Japanese martial arts and sports. Also, the long “uu” could be a nod to “wushu, “the Chinese word for kung fu.

Pokémon Sword and Shield added a lot of colorful and interesting Pokémon to the franchise. They can’t be all U’u, but their Japanese names tend to give a clear idea of ​​the intention behind their designs.

Next: Pokémon Card Heist Leads To Arrest In Japan

Fountain: Bulbapedia, Japanese Particle Master, Jisho.org, The noh

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