7. Dunsparce is a goofy fat snake that Japan SWEARS is real

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art credit pinktentacle.com

Whew, enough dealing with gods and deities, now we're looking at the tsuchinoko, which is basically Japan's answer to the jackalope. Capable of leaping through the air and possessing a poisonous stinger, the tsuchinoko is known as the "bee snake". Now take a look at Dunsparce, who is known in Japan as nokocchi and it's pretty much a 1:1 match.

 

8. Do you think Manetric has anything to do with this OTHER blue lightning wolf?

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art credit Christophe Bastin

Raiju is the loyal animal companion to the Shinto thunder-god. Its body shrouded in lightning, it has been said to take the form of a cat, weasel, or specifically a blue wolf. It's also fabled to have the habit of seeking shelter in people's belly buttons, which is an adorable way to explain to kids why they shouldn't stand out in open fields during a lightning storm. I think they would have called this pokemon Raiju if it wasn't for Raichu muddying the electric-type roster already.

 

9. Golurk was summoned to life by a Jewish wizard

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photo credit Yan Vugenfirer

During the 16th century, the Jewish population of Prague was terrorized by anti-Semitic attacks and government sanctioned pogroms. Harnessing forgotten sacred techniques, a Rabbi invoked the name of God to imbue life into a clay figure, who would defend the people and serve the community. While the franchise has previously featured golem-like creatures like the Regi trio, Golurk's distinctive band across the chest is a visual trademark of representations of the Golem of Prague, who can be found in souvenirs and monuments throughout the city. 

 

10. Frosslass is like Elsa from Frozen, but instead of singing, it's murder

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art credit GENZOMAN

Another Japanese yokai is the Yuki-onna, who is described as a beautiful woman in a white kimono that can be seen on cold nights. She seems to hover above the snow without leaving footprints, and if you encounter her, it's assured that you're about to become a corpse-icle. She might freeze you solid where you stand, lead you away from shelter so you die of exposure, or even blow down your front door and let you shiver to death in your own bed. All this adds up to Frosslass being an even scarier Snowrunt evolution than Glalie, the giant monster skull face.

 

11. Ho-Oh is the king bird of Imperial China

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photo credit Bernard Gagnon

Though it's pretty obvious that Ho-oh is supposed to be a mythical phoenix, it's important to distinguish that it's specifically the Chinese phoenix, which is known as a FenghuangWhile the Greek phoenix is just a bird that can shrug off attempts at rotisserie cooking, Fenghuang is said to have three legs, a tail that's made of planets, and its wings create the wind. A symbol of grace, prosperity, and peace, the multi-colored fenghuang has been a recurring motif in Chinese art for 8000 years. In Japan, the creature is known as "Ho-o"... wait, this one isn't even an allusion...  the pokemon is just the famous monster. It's like if Nintendo unveiled a new pokemon that was named "Literally-Dracula". 

 

12. Xerneas, Yvetal, and Zygarde are based on giant Norse monsters

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photo credit Redith

According to the Norse creation myth (aka "Thor: The Dark World") the world-tree Yggdrasil is home to several mythic animals. There's a giant eagle that sits atop the tree, giant magical stags that eat its bark and a giant snake that feasts upon its roots. These creatures align with Yvetal, Xerneas, and Zygarde, who are also shaped like giant letters of the alphabet because Ken Sugimori is still salty about nobody thinking Unowns were cool.