In my earlier post on alchemy and Pokemon, I looked at element systems, and found connections between the new Pokemon Sun and Moon Starters, Alchemy, and element systems.
Western and classical Greek element systems enlist four elements, and ancient Chinese alchemists use a five element system. But do Rockruff and Togedemaru both have places alongside the starter Pokemon in both of these systems?
Another element system from Japanese folklore also used five elements too. I’ll return to this later, but to look back at the question from the last post:
Why Togedemaru? Since when did this Pikachu Clone become a part of the element systems speculation?
That’s a good question. and I thought that just Rockruff alone had a link to the starter Pokemon.
In fact, Rockruff is going to be the starter Pokemon for a new character in a new comic book series to be published in Japan (reported by PokeJungle).
But the answer for why Togedemaru ties into the elemental patterns can be found by looking back at the first Pokemon games from 20 years ago.
Pokemon Red, Blue, and Yellow also have their own element system, and it looks a lot like the alchemical and classical patterns.
Red Blue and yellow has two starters that closely embody half of four classical elements. Charmader’s tail is on fire. Squirtle readily sprays water. But what about air and earth?
Pikachu’s Lightning forks out of the air the same way that Bulbasaur’s bulb is a plant that grows from the earth. Their design choices both evoke the elements, even if the tie is slight.
Together, the four starter Pokemon form a classic element pattern.
If Charmander, Bulbasaur, Squirtle, and Pikachu represent the four elements, with each being a starter you could choose, what about the starter you could not choose? What about Eevee?
Rockruff’s special link with the Pokemon Sun and Moon starters parallels Eevee’s special status as a starter Pokemon.
Professor Oak intends that the player receive Eevee before the Rival steps in and claims the little brown dog.
So what elemental system fits, which includes Eevee? The answer is one I mentioned earlier – The Japanese element pattern. Japan’s folklore describes five elements called the Godai (五大) which means “The Great Five”. They are Air, Fire, Water, Earth, and Void.
Void, The fifth element, represents creative potential, nothingness, acceptance, and communication.
Eevee represents some of the aspects of the element Void – a blank slate, with the creative power to become many different Pokemon.
Comparing the older Pokemon games to the upcoming Pokemon Sun and Moon, the link between Rockruff and the starters becomes more clear.
Why Togedemaru has a place in a five element pattern, instead of any other steel type, also has an explanation. Togedemaru stands in for Pikachu, referencing the older games. A small woodland animal representing an element – Pikachu (mouse) representing air, and Togedemaru (hedgehog) representing metal.
Togedemaru is a reference back to Pikachu’s place in the older five element system. There is a similar reference to Rockruff standing in for Eevee, a small brown dog with a fluffy tail.
The design choices behind the Pokemon games and mythos certainly are deep, but what are your thoughts on these patterns and design choices? Do element systems explain the patterns of starters? Let me know in the comments.