My time with X and Y, though brief, was enlightening. Yet one question still stuck in my mind. Pokémon generations have always featured naming schemes where the sets of games are “opposite yet complementary” – they are all sets of things, but they could be viewed as opposites to each other: Red, Blue, and Yellow; Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum. I had seen X and Y as following this scheme, with X and Y being the female and male chromosomes, respectively. The feminine grace of Xerneas and the fierce, masculine image of Yveltal cemented this association in my mind. But it turned out my assumptions were completely wrong.

“The names of X and Y represent the philosophy we had behind the two games,” explained Yoshida. “We’ve taken the idea of X and Y from the geometric X- and Y-axes. They represent two different ways of thought. At the same time, we want to convey a message encouraging people to find a common ground, where X and Y converge.”

When I explained my theory to Masuda, he seemed bemused. “Xerneas is meant to evoke imagery of eternity, while Yveltal is destruction. Perhaps you could see some ties between feminine and masculine qualities there!”

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