Magikarp is Boss, Aracnine is Legendary
Well you all (two) have had a long wait. Here’s something for you. I suppose this is technically more of an analysis. The picture here, courtesy of animemb.com and by no means my own picture, depicts a very stylized drawing of the pokemon, Gyarados and Magikarp. Why do I wish to focus on these two today? I just discovered some interesting facts about these guys.
First of all, these guys are based in Chinese (not Japanese or other Asian, honestly) mythology. It is said there that, if a carp successfully climbs its way up a waterfall, it will become a dragon. That is what Magikarp was based off of. I know that I’m about to be repetitive, but Gyarados also gained the move, “waterfall” when the Johto region was introduced.
Does this sort of mythology hold true for other pokemon? Of course it does. When creating video games, one of the richest resources to delve into is mythology, as I went over with Ballos. The more obscure the myth is, the more original the character sounds. I suppose the easiest thing to do is to name what myths legendary pokemon are based off of, but that’s the easy route. Imma do something different just because I like making life difficult for myself.
When I was younger and played my brother’s copy of pokemon silver a lot, we got into a discussion about legendary pokemon. He claimed that there was only one legendary pokemon and I, having been very linear thinking, argued stalwartly against him. I named off the legendary birds (Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres), the legendary guinea pigs (Entei, Raikou, and Suicune) as well as Mew and Mew Two. He didn’t back down, pulled out his gameboy, and showed me his pokedex. Much like how Jigglypuff’s pokemon type is balloon, Arcanine was the legendary type pokemon. The only legendary type pokemon. I was dumfounded and only recently discovered why arcanine is considered legendary.
The main thing the pokedex speaks of them as is regal. I have, however, found them represented as protectors on occasion. I haven’t seen many myths or legends that seem to fit right, but I figured there had to be some reason to make them legendary. After many books (and one lucky picture I found on the interwebs) I have determined that Arcanine is based off of the Chinese Xiezhi. You know those things that you think are lion statues? They aren’t always lions. These statues symbolize these creatures who seem to have a strict sense of order, law, and justice. Similar statues are found in Korea guarding certain buildings, but I feel as though Arcanine fits the Chinese Xiezhi better than the Korean Haetae. First of all, the Heart Gold pokedex entry says “this legendary Chinese pokemon…” I may be mistaken, but I don’t think it’s Korean. Now granted, the Xiezhi is sometimes called a legendary goat and it also has horns, but if you look at the statues by the Ming Tombs, you will see they definitely have more resemblance to Arcanine than any goat I’ve ever seen. Add to this the fact that, also in Chinese mythology, tigers are said to kill evil people and protect good, you can see further similarity to the Xiezhi. The tiger is also said to ward off fire, which explains why Arcanine is a fire-element pokemon. I suppose they could have used rock or ground, considering statues, or water, simply because it’s more often used against fire, but a tiger just seems more like it would control the fire instead of supressing it. Yeah, it has that kind of power.
Hopefully you don’t consider this a waste of your time. If you skipped to the bottom, basically, Magikarp is based off of Chinese mythology, as is Arcanine. The mythology is what causes Arcanine to be legendary and Magikarp just happens to be one BA fish for being able to change like that after doing something that every salmon attempts before dying a sad, lonely death. Have a great awesome