On the Origin of Species: Remoraid & Octillery
We’ll start with Remoraid, as it’s the first stage of its family. It’s clearly a fish of some sort – as though being a Water-type didn’t tell us that much. It’s actually a combination of two different fish: the archerfish and the remora.
The archerfish comes from a small family of fish called Toxotidae, which contains only ten species in the single genus of Toxotes. They mainly habituate in freshwater ranging from India to Melanesia, and they’re only about half a foot long (12-18 cm). Seems innocuous, right? Well, they’re called “archerfish” because they can fire a stream of water from their mouths to dislodge prey hanging above the water.
Remoraid are often seen attached to the underside of Mantine, and having a Remoraid in your party is a requisite to evolving Mantyke. This characteristic comes from the remora, also called a “suckerfish”. Remoras have a special dorsal fin that has evolved into an organ that works just like a sucker, allowing the fish to attach itself to a larger marine animal. Remoras often hitch rides on whales, sharks, rays, even turtles and human divers. The remora eats parasites and dead skin off the host, while the host provides safety and a constant flow of water for the remora to breathe.
Octillery, Remoraid’s evolved form, is of course based on an octopus. An octopus is a mollusk rather than a fish: it lacks a backbone and moves around through use of their
I can tell you’re waiting for me to explain why Remoraid, a fish Pokémon, evolves into Octillery, an octopus. As mentioned earlier, you’re not the only one who’s been confused by this fact, and I hope my explanation can put you at ease.
Let’s go back to Remoraid. Take a close look at its overall body shape as well as the markings on its side. If that doesn’t strike any familiarities, think back to the episode “Lights, Camerupt, Action!” where Brock reminisces about a movie he’d seen with Sheriff Snorlax wielding a Remoraid as a weapon. Remoraid is a fusion of both fishy friends and firearms, specifically the revolver. Remoraid’s body shape is like the well-known weapon, and its markings are meant to replicate the gun’s revolving cylinder. Further proof can be found in Remoraid’s original name, Teppouo. “Gun” in Japanese is 鉄砲 teppō, while “fish” is 魚 uo. The archerfish is also called 鉄砲魚 teppōuo, further cementing the connection.
Now, clearly, mollusks and fish are unrelated to one another. So again, where’s the explanation? Perhaps Octillery offers some answers. Maybe its Japanese name can assist us? “Okutank”, where “oku” clearly comes from “octopus”, and “tank” from… “tank”? As in the military vehicle? Could it really be so?
Octillery also learns strange moves for a Water-type, such as Bullet Seed (there’s the revolver influence again), Rock Blast, and even Fire Blast. Octillery also learns Poison moves such as Gunk Shot and Sludge Bomb, a reflection of how octopuses can inject their prey with paralyzing venom. Furthermore, Octazooka’s Japanese name is “Okutank Cannon”.
I’ll grant you that this reasoning is rather obscure if you’ve never heard of it before, but delight in that one of Pokémon’s more oddball families has an answer. Perhaps this will inspire you to take another look through the Pokédex and reevaluate the Pokémon you couldn’t quite understand before. Game Freak draws ideas from more than just the natural world – and while I hope to grant insight through these columns – it never hurts to make your own inferences.
It’s quite possible you’ll discover a fact or reference that’s alluded the rest of us so far.