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Origins of the Pokémon: Volume Six

The release of Pokémon X & Y felt like a fresh rejuvenation for the Pokémon franchise. Set within the French-inspired Kalos region, X & Y introduced the concept of Mega Evolution, new beloved characters, and of course, new Pokémon. But, rather than the tradition of introducing a hundred or so new catchable critters, the sixth generation was small in number – seventy-three to be exact. I suppose the Mega Evolving acted as a counterweight to the smaller number. Nevertheless, there are plenty of colourful new Pokémon to love and adore, each with their own origins and inspirations to explore.

Fennekin, Braixen, and Delphox

At last, I am discussing one of the starters! Fennekin is a fiery fennec fox, evolving into Braixen, and then Delphox. The three have elements of mysticism to them. Fennekin can be associated with the kitsune, known to be able to breath fire and possess witchcraft. The witch-like characterization becomes more apparent as the Pokémon evolves. Braixen carries a wooden within its tail, and can use it as a weapon, like a magic wand. Its entire tail, complete with the branch, resembles a broomstick. Delphox possesses prophetic gifts, a nod to the Oracle of Delphi. Its appearance with robe-like fur, and using its branch as a torch weapon further emphasizes its European witchcraft origins. The trio may take further Japanese inspiration from the kitsune-mochi, witches who inherit their magic from foxes.


Flabébé is a tiny Fairy-type associated with flowers, likely based on, well, fairies, or nymphs from Greek mythology. It and her evolutions could be based on Antheia, the Greek goddess of flowers and wreaths. While most Pokémon can have mythological origins, Flabébé could be based on insect pollination. Flabébé has an interesting history in X & Y, related to the immortal, former king of Kalos, AZ, who once was friends with a Flabébé. The Flabébé went to war, but died. In his grief, AZ built a weapon to resurrect Flabébé, only to use the weapon to destroy both sides of the war. Upon learning its master used the souls of dead Pokémon to revive it, the Flabébé left in disgust.


For a region based on France, it may seem a little weird that a Pokémon like Hawlucha would exist there. Is Mexican wrestling, really popular in France? Yes, Hawlucha is so obviously based on a luchador, but this is one of my favourite sixth generation Pokémon, so I had to include it. It takes inspiration from Aztec culture, possibly based on an eagle warrior – elite, noble, feared soldiers, who lived a constant life of battle. Its feathery yet humanoid appearance could be a reference to Quetzalcoatl, a Mesoamerican god who resembles a colourful feathered serpent. Or could just be based on the resplendent quetzal.

Goomy, Sliggoo, and Goodra

Goomy and its evolutions Sliggoo and Goodra are certainly unique Dragon-types, having slimy bodies and are more based on slugs than reptiles. Goomy is based on the blue dragon sea slug, and the prehistoric Wiwaxia. Sliggoo takes on a more snail-like appearance, and is based on the Lou Carcolh, a draconian-mollusc hybrid from southwest French folklore. Its mouth is covered in long, slimy tentacles, and it wears a huge shell. Alternately, it may be based on a Japanese yokai, the Shussebora, a trumpet shell snail that will become a dragon after three thousand years of moving from mountains, to plains, and to the sea. That would explain why it takes so damn long for Goomy to evolve!


Trevenant can be seen as haunted trees, being Ghost/Grass-types. They may be based on the kodama, Japanese spirits who dwell within old trees, or the western Dryads of a similar nature. In its Pokedex entry, Trevenant are described as being fiercely protective of forests, a nod to hamadryads, which are said to be bound to a single tree for life. The cycloptic look of the Trevenant may be based on the cyclops or the one-eyed yamawarawa. Trevenant’s name comes from “revenant”, or zombie, further referencing at its basis on a haunted tree or forest. There are many haunted forests in Japan, but so does France, such as the Paimpoint Forest, which has many ties to Arthurian myths. Interestingly, Merlin is said to have been trapped in a tree for eternity by Nimue.

Xerneas, Yveltal, and Zygarde

Xerneas, Yveltal, and Zygarde are the central legendaries of the sixth generation. Xerneas can bring eternal life, whilst Yveltal destroys it. Zygarde acts a neutral force, appearing when the balance of life and death is disrupted. The trio derive a lot of European mythology, specifically Norse and Celtic legend.

Xerneas could be based on the sacred white stag of many European cultures. It has appeared in many tales, books, and films, representing purity and hope. Another source of inspiration is the Celtic horned god, Cernunnos, who granted life. Xerneas transforms into a tree and will slumber for a thousand years. This is a nod to several stags in Norse myths: Eikþyrnir and the four stags Dáinn, Dvalinn, Duneyrr and Duraþrór. Eikþyrnir resides in Valhalla, sporting glowing horns that drip with tree dew. The other four live under Yggdrasil, eating its branches and roots.

Yveltal is a huge bird of death and destruction, based upon several deities and figures. This includes Morrigan, the Celtic death goddess, who can materialise as a raven; Hræsvelgr, a Norse creature that appears as a giant eagle, which sits at the end of the world; and Veðrfölnir, a hawk which resides at the top of Yggdrasil.

Zygarde appears in many forms. Bulbapedia suggests that it is based on three Norse deities, who happen to all be the children of Loki – Fenrir, Jormungandr, and Hel. Zygarde’s dog-like form is based on Fenrir, the great wolf, complete with his leash Gleipnir. Its primary, serpentine form is based on Jormungandr, a sea serpent that encircles the world, but it could be based on Níðhöggr, a dragon that eats Yggdrasil’s roots. Finally, Zygarde’s “Complete Forme”, is based on Hel, ruler of Helheim, but also resemble a giant mecha. Now, picture Cate Blanchett piloting one of those in Thor: Ragnarok!

Which Pokémon of the sixth generation are amongst your favourites? Leave a comment below, or on either our Twitter or Facebook feeds.

About the author

Mark Russell