Pokemon Sun/Moon’s Alchemy theme goes DEEP!
I love it. pic.twitter.com/YMtUJ2gpFE
— Tim Poultney (@DreamsofLuxor) June 11, 2016
It’s fairly clear alchemy ties into Pokemon design and folklore, especially when the Pokemon designs resemble alchemical properties, as Tim Poultney picked up on in their sketch.
Pokemon Sun and Moon draw from Alchemical influences.
The most basic building blocks of matter defined by alchemists are the elements Earth, Fire, Water, and Air in western alchemy, which stems from Greek philosophy.
Based on body shapes and markings, the new Pokemon Rowlett, Popplio, and Litten link to these elements, and with one specific entry in Alchemical lore – Salt, Sulphur, and Mercury. These were ‘Philosophical’ versions of familiar elements, not found on the periodic table of elements.
The three new starter Pokemon are designed after the ‘Prima Materia”, or basic alchemy symbols
Popplio looks like the alchemical symbol for mercury.
Litten’s markings resemble sulphur
Rowlett is round like the symbol for salt.
Then there is Rockruff, the little dog that shares a secret connection with the three starter Pokemon.
Youtube creator Eryizo proposed an interesting theory that ties the four new Pokemon together in a 4 minute and 30 second video:
With Rockruff linked to the starters, A four element structure becomes clear, where Rockruff represents earth and lead – the starting points for alchemical work
Iwanko, or Rockruff, represents earth in a four element structure, and potentially the element lead, which is the mineral alchemists begin working on when attempting to transmute gold. Rowlett shifts from representing earth to air, which fits its design as an owl.
But what about a five element structure?
However, Alchemy from Zhou Dynasty China (1000 BC) involves five elements.
In a traditional Chinese elemental system, there’s another element. Chinese alchemy is similar to the Western discipline. The pursuit of immortality is considered noble, which transmuting metals is derided as common.
This is where Togedemaru fits.
The five elements from this point of view are Earth, Fire, Water, Wood, and Metal.
Togedemaru is a steel type, and the Pikachu-clone of the Alola region. Fitting in with Rockruff, Rowlett, Popplio, and Litten there is a five element structure.
What’s important about comparing and contrasting both element patterns and perspectives is Rowlett’s types play a role in each pattern. Grass is wood, and flying is air.
But why Togedemaru and not any other steel type? Well, there is another element pattern, which ties back to Pikachu and Pokemon Yellow, which I will clear up in my next post.
Is there room for this five element theory? Let me know in the comments what you think.