By Factory White Head
I promised more, and here it is! Today we’ll have a look at four fan-favorite Kanto Pokemon: Golduck, Growlithe, Arcanine, and the ever-so-popular Meowth! I’m sure you’ll learn something new, or at least be reminded of something. The Maneki Neko, also known as the Beckoning Cat or Lucky Cat, is the origin of Meowth. Legend has it that a cat raised its paw to beckon a wealthy lord towards him, saving him from a bolt of lightning that stuck the tree the lord had been standing under. The lord rewarded the cat’s owner with many riches, and since then, cats with a raised paw are deemed good luck. Maneki neko are found at the entrances of many businesses and restaurants, welcoming guests and bringing good luck. They are often found with an ancient coin called a koban, the same kind Meowth has on its forehead.
Likewise, Meowth’s signature move, Pay Day, is also based on this tale, as well as the Japanese proverb “a coin for a cat”, the attack’s Japanese name. Similar to “casting pearls before swine”, this basically means “don’t give something of value to someone who won’t appreciate it”. A Pokemon can’t truly appreciate the value of money, but the cat and its owner from the old legend sure did. If it wasn’t for the “beckoning cat”, Meowth may not be the third member of Team Rocket.
Next up is Golduck. While it does have aspects of ducks, such as its bill and love of water, it is also based on the kappa, Japanese water imps with webbed hands and feet that live in the rivers and ponds of Japan. They enjoy competing with humans in different challenges, such as swimming, which Golduck does often. However, Golduck’s Pokedex entries state that it should not be confused with the kappa, as kappa are very mischievous and play pranks on humans, with some of them being rather malicious by kidnapping children and drowning animals. Golduck is much more benevolent than that, because the worst thing it could possibly do is completely embarrass you by beating you in a swimming race.
The puppy Pokemon, Growlithe, as well as its evolution Arcanine, are based on the Japanese shishi. Shishi, or stone lions, originated in China, but the Japanese adopted them into their mythology as well. They are playful in temperament, like Growlithe, but are very protective. They are often the protectors of children, which can be seen in the anime. As anime fans know, James has a pet Growlithe named Growlie, which was a childhood friend of his. Even many years later, it is extremely loyal to him and protects him from harm. As the puppy-like shishi Pokemon, Growlithe certainly plays its role well. Not only does Growlie watch over James, but many other Growlithe and Arcanine assist the Officer Jennies in practically every region but Unova. Whether it be as a loyal companion or a devoted K9 officer, these Fire-type Pokemon are always a good choice to have around. Next time we’ll look at some rather different Pokemon. You love ‘em, you hate ‘em, and next time we’ll discuss them: Farfetch’d, Gastly, Exeggutor, Drowzee, and Hypno.