On the Origin of Species: Charmander: Investigating the inspirations behind Pokémon

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    Dreams of electric Bulbasaur BulbaBot's Avatar
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    Default On the Origin of Species: Charmander: Investigating the inspirations behind Pokémon

    On the Origin of Species: Charmander: Investigating the inspirations behind Pokémon

    In another column exploring the likely cultural and zoological origins of Pokémon species, we take a look at Charmander, the Lizard Pokémon.

    Read more on Bulbanews

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    Surrender now or carry on Bikini Miltank's Avatar Bulbanews Editor-in-Chief
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    Default Re: On the Origin of Species: Charmander: Investigating the inspirations behind Pokém

    Sorry about this one being late: I've been babysitting a sick cat. Looks like she'll be okay, though.

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    sparkl on, dargon slaer Fox Magician's Avatar
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    Default Re: On the Origin of Species: Charmander: Investigating the inspirations behind Pokém

    It's alright. Not the article though. It was great. I was just checking now for a new one. 5 mins later, we get something spectacular about a classic. Hope the cat's alright...
    One more for your sig!

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    Surprise! winstein's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: On the Origin of Species: Charmander: Investigating the inspirations behind Pokém

    Well, this explains your delay, but still, it's an interesting read nonetheless. I liked how salamanders are misinterpreted by the old, and gave us another myth to enjoy. I noticed that previously, Wooper has its own origin, Meowth has its own origin, and now, Charmander has its own origin, as in its evolutions have a somewhat different origin. Approximately how many Generation 1 and 2 Pokemon have separated origins among evolutions then?

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    sparkl on, dargon slaer Fox Magician's Avatar
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    Default Re: On the Origin of Species: Charmander: Investigating the inspirations behind Pokém

    I think Bulbasaur would be too hard for you to do! Such a 'strange' thing!

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    Subete wo kagayakasu MizuTaipu's Avatar
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    Default Re: On the Origin of Species: Charmander: Investigating the inspirations behind Pokém

    I had no idea that Hitokage had such an interesting inspriration.

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    From Leyend to Myth Infinity Mk-II's Avatar
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    Default Re: On the Origin of Species: Charmander: Investigating the inspirations behind Pokém

    Too bad we aren't getting anything based on the Undine or Gnome. Sylph is already a company.

    I already knew this, but it was still a good read. However I always thought the salamander got its fire association because of their poison feeling like burning, it surprised me when I heard that in fact they had a cold touch (I thought it wasn't a generally good idea to touch them, not that they weren't cold) instead. (Which shows the curiosity of a different reasoning and evolution of the myth then, as nowadays they'd get associated with cold and ice or water)

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    Registered User Kamex's Avatar
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    Default Re: On the Origin of Species: Charmander: Investigating the inspirations behind Pokém

    Yet another great article. I knew about salamanders, but not as much as I do now. And I think it was a great idea to do a Pokémon in your column that is probably one of the most familiar ones. I can't wait to see which pokémon you will do next!

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    Monochrome. Torisho's Avatar
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    Default Re: On the Origin of Species: Charmander: Investigating the inspirations behind Pokém

    Interesting read.
    I always thought Charmander was supposed to be based off of a young dragon with salamander-like features. Never thought its origin was that deep. :3


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    Default Re: On the Origin of Species: Charmander: Investigating the inspirations behind Pokém



    I thought it was going to be Psyduck this time.

    That last line. Does it mean that what you've been writing is all LIES!!!

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    Froakin' Hilarious. V Faction's Avatar
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    Default Re: On the Origin of Species: Charmander: Investigating the inspirations behind Pokém

    I wish there had been a small section dedicated to the some peoples' different interpretations of Charmander. Mainly for folks like me who still can't see Charmander being completely based on a salamander, but instead drawing on a combined inspiration from it like so many other Pokemon with dual origins. There's too many conflictions between real life salamanders and Charmander in my opinion, putting the legendary notion to the side for a second.

    Charmander has sharp teeth. Charmander is standing on two legs. He has clawed toes. Salamanders are long, almost eel-like. Their skin secretes mucus. They possess the ability to regrow lost limbs. In my opinion, and it is just an opinion, the similarity between Charmander/Hitokage and salamanders is in name only. Much like Charmeleon and Charizard, it has more saurian qualities to it, and I would classify as a mixture between the old salamander myths and a small dinosaur.

    However, I realize that it isn't always the objective of these articles to quantify Pokemon based on appearences alone, so I'm essentially just sharing a piece of my mind.
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    Default Re: On the Origin of Species: Charmander: Investigating the inspirations behind Pokém

    I have to say that I must be in that small percent that believed that Charmander was, like its evolved forms, baised on a type of dragon. Though I had believed due to its name and shape it took a bit from the mythology given to the salamander. It was very interesting to hear how the myth of the fire breathing salamanders came about.

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    Typhlosion! rbogey's Avatar
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    Default Re: On the Origin of Species: Charmander: Investigating the inspirations behind Pokém

    I love these articles. Very intelligent and well written, I can't get enough!

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    Mischief Maker Uncanny Madman's Avatar
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    Default Re: On the Origin of Species: Charmander: Investigating the inspirations behind Pokém

    Quote Originally Posted by rbogey View Post
    I love these articles. Very intelligent and well written, I can't get enough!
    Yeah, they're really informative and fun to read! I read through nearly all of them the other day when I got distracted whilst using Bulbapedia to help with my current mass breeding in Heart Gold.

    My favourite was the Farfetch'd one! Trapinch/Vibrava/Flygon were very interesting too.

    I did always wonder why he was named after a Salamander being a fire type...it's great to finally know why!

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    Surrender now or carry on Bikini Miltank's Avatar Bulbanews Editor-in-Chief
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    Default Re: On the Origin of Species: Charmander: Investigating the inspirations behind Pokém

    As for Charmander's reptilian/saurian features: bear in mind that its species name is the Lizard Pokemon, and the Japanese term for salamander (well, one of them) means "fire lizard". Even though Pliny the Elder figured out that salamanders weren't lizards, this idea wasn't incorporated into mainstream science until relatively recently. As such, various cultures have thought of salamanders as lizards for hundreds of years, and I think this informs our portrayal of them (in much the same way that hyenas often get drawn with wolf-like features).

    Oh, by the way, when I was searching for images of salamanders as portrayed in the Final Fantasy series, guess what I found?



    Does this remind you of anything?

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