Welcome to Origin
What is evolution?
In the field of biology, Charles Darwin or Alfred Russel would have a lot to write about it… Oh! I guess they did… So instead of elaborating with the ancestry of organisms, the mechanisms of inheritance and the origin of life, we will try to follow up on the evolution of a child growing up in a Tokyo suburb, who used to collect insects.
Satoshi Tajiri a.k.a. Dr. Bug, didn’t like school very much; instead he preferred researching new ways to catch different species of bugs, with a bigger taste in beetles.
During the period he was attending technical school in the 70’s, Satoshi also used to spend time in arcades playing coin operated video games and was so keen on this, that the local arcade manager offered him a Space Invaders game machine to take at home.
In 1982, Mr.Tajiri along with some friends started issuing a games magazine named Game Freak. Ken Sugimori, well known for drawing Pokémon images and artwork, was one of the first Game Freak
magazine staff members.
In 1991, he came across the original DMX GameBoy and discovered the potential of the Game Link cable in terms of data communication between different Game Packs and the potential of practical exploit of this feature. He started working on the Pokémon game, with funding and concept help from the game studio, Creatures. His development company got named after the magazine Game Freak and continues to develop and market Pokémon games.
After working with Nintendo for about six years, gamers were introduced to the phenomenal game Pokémon. While working closely with Nintendo, he met Shigeru Miyamoto and made friends with him. On the original version of the game Pokémon R/B in Japan the main characters was named Satoshi (Ash in western versions) and Shigeru (Gary).
So basically, Pokémon evolved from someone’s interest in the collection of insects and battling with beetles. Back to biology, evolution is a very slow process but in insects, a common thing in their lifespan is the Metamorphosis namely a physical development after hatching, involving significant change in form as well as growth and differentiation.
Pokémon as explained, somehow originated from insects hence under the right circumstances they evolve into different species within their lineage.
Usually levelling up a Pokémon, causes this evolution to happen; so for example Rattata will evolve into Raticate at level 20. Since Pokémon is meant not only to be an imagination-capturing game but also, a mean of socialization through trades and battles, to name a few characteristics, there are more complex ways to cause the evolution of a Pokémon.
Some Pokémon require exposure to the radiation of an elemental stone in order to evolve; these elemental stones share a connection to the type of the particular Pokémon. So, by using water, fire, leaf, moon, thunder and sun stones, trainers can evolve their Pokémon to their advanced stages.
Socializing with other trainers and trading Pokémon with friends, is the only way to cause evolution for some Pokémon. With the introduction of held items in G/S/C, some traded Pokémon require to hold a particular special held item during the trade for the evolution to occur. Although trading just triggered the evolution, the item attachment during a trade often had a logical meaning. For example, Onix evolves to Steelix if traded while holding Metal Coat forcing it not only to evolve, but to change type and adding metal (steel) attributes based on the aforementioned item as well!
Not all people train Pokémon for battles. Some of them keep them as pets, but no matter the reason someone has a Pokémon, they share a bond and if this bond is based in pure friendship, which translates to the fact that someone cares for his Pokémon and treat it the right way, can somehow affect it in a way responsible for triggering another type of evolution. As an example, we can mention Chansey that evolves into Blissey if a hidden mechanic responsible for keeping track of Tameness is maxed out.
Although we have a group of Pokémon for each of the above categories, there are some special lineages of Pokémon species, so special, that have a totally different type of evolution.
The martial art-practicing Tyrogue, evolves at level 20 but the evolution is purely based on its stats. So, there are 3 possible evolutions for each possible ratio between its Attack stat and Defense stat.
Wurmple has an almost random evolution based on a four byte value, called Personality Value, while Nincada when normally evolving by levelling up, leaves behind a ‘by-product” in an empty slot in your party.
In the 3rd generation games and the makeover of some stat fields of Pokémon conditions and contests introduced, the elusive Feebas evolves only if its Beauty condition is maxed out, with the use of Berries turned into Pokéblocks.
Gloom into Bellossom, Sunkern into Sunflora
Nidorina into Nidoqueen, Nidorino into Nidoking, Clefairy into Clefable, Jigglypuff into Wigglytuff, Skitty into Delcatty
Vulpix into Ninetales, Growlithe into Arcanine, Eevee into Flareon
Pikachu into Raichu, Eevee into Jolteon
Poliwhirl into Poliwrath, Shellder into Cloyster, Staryu into Starmie, Eevee into Vaporeon, Lombre into Ludicolo
Gloom into Vileplume, Weepinbell into Victreebel, Exeggcute into Exeggutor, Nuzleaf into Shiftry
|Kadabra into Alakazam, Machoke into Machamp, Graveler into Golem, Haunter into Gengar|
Item Attachment Trade Evolution
Poliwhirl into Politoed, Slowpoke into Slowking
Onix into Steelix, Scyther into Scizor
Seadra into Kingdra
Porygon into Porygon2
Clamperl into Huntail
Clamperl into Gorebyss
|Pichu into Pikachu, Cleffa into Clefairy, Igglybuff into Jigglypuff, Golbat into Crobat, Chansey into Blissey, Eevee into Espeon (day), Eevee into Umbreon (night), Togepi into Togetic, Azurill into Marill, Wynaut into Wobbuffet|
Tyrogue at lvl 20 when Attack is lower than Defense, into Hitmonchan
Tyrogue at lvl 20 when Attack is higher than Defense, into Hitmonlee
Tyrogue at lvl 20 when Attack is equal to Defense into Hitmontop
Personality Value Evolution
|Wurmple into Silcoon, Wurmple into Cascoon|
Empty Slot Evolution
|Nincada at level 20, into Shedinja|
|Feebas maxed-out Beauty, into Milotic|
As our project origin continues, this week we will spotlight a Pokémon relevant to a special evolution type. Furthermore Nincada is also a Bug type Pokémon so, one of Tajiri’s favourites.
Pokémon Origins: Nincada/Ninjask/Shedinja
Nincada (JP Tsuchinin) is a Bug/Ground type. Its name is a combination of Ninja and Cicada. In Japanese, Tsuchi means ground and nin also originates from ninja. This Pokémon is a actually very close to its real world inspiration which is a 17 years cycle cicada or commonly known as Magicicada.
Nincada is mentioned in the Pokédex as a Pokémon living underground for years, waiting for evolution to come. In real life, cicadas borrow underground and live there for years (depending on the genus) with Magicicadas having an amazing 13-17 years cycle.
Cicada’s nymphs and especially those of Magicicada, emerge when they are about to evolve (metamorphosis) and they have a coordinated emerge with mass numbers of insects literally flooding areas. A lot of animals including humans, eat them since they are highly nutritious, so the mass number is a key to its survival.
By having large numbers emerging to evolve at the same time and eventually mating, there are more chances of the species’ survival. Periodic emerges of this insect, granted it with the nickname of “seventeen years locust” and they even have dedicated clubs in North-Eastern America whose members go cicada-hunting for 7,11, 13, or 17 years of periodical appearances.
As soon as cicadas emerge, they undergo a metamorphosis as the adult cicada sheds its skin (exoskeleton). Nincada also undergo an evolution relevant to this at level 20, so after evolution except for Ninjask, trainers with an empty slot in their party also get a Shedinja, a Pokémon similar to the empty husks that cicadas leave behind.
Ninjask (JP Tekkanin), is based –again- on the imago (in entomology, imago means the final stage of an insect) cicada. Its name originates from ninja and mask. It is a Bug/Flying type.
Imago cicadas are famous for their stidulatory organs namely their tymbals, which they use to produce a distinctive sound in order to attract their mates. Only males cicadas can produce sounds and this inspired Xenophon to write “Blessed are the cicadas, for they have voiceless wives”.
After mating, the female cuts open several slits into the bark of a tree and deposits her several hundred eggs there. After this task accomplished, it drops exhausted and dies, leaving the newborn nymphs that will hatch to drop to the ground, where they will burrow themselves in, and start another cycle.
While Ninjask is famous for its Speed Boost ability and stealth capabilities (Double Team), practice of ninjutsu, namely a martial art in ancient Japan also known as the art of stealth and invincibility, helped Ninjas to be widely known as spies and/or assassins. So Ninjask refers to the ninjas’ abilities and the mask that ninjas use to wear, maybe led Ninjask to have one of its own.
A trivia worth to mention is that cicadas are the only known insects that sweat to cool themselves.
Shedinja (JP Nukenin) is a Bug/Ghost type Pokémon. The name originates from shed and once again, from ninja. Furthermore nukegara in Japanese means “shed skin”. Since cicada sheds its exoskeleton (as most nymphs of insects do), it gave the opportunity to developers of the Pokémon games to introduce a unique type of evolution. So the empty exoskeleton that Nincada leaves behind is actually a Pokémon that occupies an empty slot in a trainer’s party.
Casted exoskeletons’ fragility made this Pokémon have only 1HP but Shedinja makes up for it with a unique ability, namely Wonder Guard that prevents non-super effective moves from hitting this Pokémon!
That was Origin E, so until the next article try to be around a periodical emerge of cicadas and have a tasty nutritious bite…