Opinions and Stories

Pecharunt’s tale is a welcome return to Pokémon storytelling

Mythical events have been rather lacking in recent previous generations. We review them to highlight how nice it is to see Pecharunt’s story!

Unless you were looking into reports shared from dataminers, the news of an epilogue to the DLC for Pokémon Scarlet and Violet in January was an interesting surprise. It proved to be more than just a short cutscene as well. The hour-long epilogue included welcomed interactions between your rivals of the main story in Paldea and the brother-sister pair from the DLC.

One particularly nice aspect, however, is how it featured a new Mythical Pokémon, Pecharunt. It served as the antagonist of the epilogue, brainwashing characters to fight you leading up to the finale against Pecharunt itself.

Why is this notable? We saw a story for Ogrepon after all, and Terapagas also featured, albeit a bit briefly, in the DLC. The difference is that Pecharunt is denoted as a Mythical Pokémon, and whether a Mythical gets a story is far from guaranteed. Let’s review them!

A slow start

Mythical Pokémon did not really get their own five minutes of fame until the Sinnoh titles, but it’s worth discussing their appearances before then. Mew was never ‘meant’ to be in the game in the first place – Game Freak developer Morimoto had snuck Mew in, and it was only obtainable through glitches.

Celebi was only available via an event item distribution, the GS Ball, in the original release Pokémon Crystal. You may not remember that, because it was via the Japan-exclusive Mobile System GB. Luckily, the Virtual Console version included this for all players as a postgame bonus. You could get the GS Ball from Goldenrod, and take it to the Ilex Forest shrine. No story attached to it, but at least you could go somewhere as part of battling and catching it.

Generation three saw two Mythicals added: Jirachi and Deoxys. Jirachi was only ever a downloadable bonus, either for pre-ordering a movie ticket in Japan or other distributions, while in the West it was a bonus for pre-ordering Pokémon Colosseum in the US or Pokémon Channel in Europe/Australia. Deoxys was a more interactive encounter, but its distribution event, which gave you an AuroraTicket to be able to go to Birth Island, was limited in spread. It was also only for Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, and later Pokémon Emerald. But at least it got a cool unique battle theme, and you also had a puzzle to solve in order to battle it.

We should briefly mention Celebi again – because while it was only available to Japanese players of Pokémon Colosseumit did get a bit more lore than in Johto. It is the protector of Relic Forest, and you get to see it purify a Pokémon when using one of the rare Time Flute items. It was nice to see more of a Mythical Pokémon to the point of actually playing a role in the game’s story, even if you cannot get it if not in Japan, and it was a spinoff.

Generation four – the best time for a Mythical

Sinnoh brought with it five new Mythicals – a large step up from before. While there was some variance between them, overall this generation was kind to Mythicals.

The weakest of these were Manaphy and Phione. These two debuted in the main series titles through interaction with any of the Pokémon Ranger games. You had to complete a special mission in those titles, which were only accessible via a password or a WiFi download. Only then could you send a Manaphy Egg to the main series titles. That meant you got to hatch your own Manaphy, at least, and then breed for Phione. It’s a little bit of involvement, but more so in the spinoff titles.

Darkrai had more of a tale to it, making its debut in Pokémon Platinum. After downloading the Member Card item, you can use it to enter a locked inn within Canalave City. You fall asleep and wake up on New Moon Island to do battle with it. Upon catching it, you will then get some dialogue from an unknown voice – perhaps Arceus? – giving some nice lore on it and why Darkrai is found on this island. Particularly nice is that it also ties into a previous event in the game (that did not require any time-exclusive item downloads), as shown in this video.

Shaymin also required an item to be downloaded – this time Oak’s Letter. With this item in hand, you can go to Route 224 and talk to the man himself, and Marley as well, one of the Trainers you battle with during the game. As she gives thanks, Shaymin will then appear and run off. You can give chase and battle it. Less of a tale around it compared to Darkrai, but still an event for you to actually do and participate in to be able to get it.

Arceus famously was also to debut in the Sinnoh titles via an event item, the Azure Flute. With it, you could access a new location from the top of Mount Coronet in order to fight it. Sadly, this was not sighted until Pokémon Legends: Arceus. From an interview with Masuda, it was too complicated:

NWR: How come the Azure Flute was never made available in Diamond/Pearl/Platinum?

JM:  When we were first developing the games we thought about including it. I thought it would be fun. But once the game was complete and released, I changed my mind down the road and didn’t think it would be – I thought it would be confusing for people and kind of hard to understand how it worked. So I eventually made the decision not to distribute it.

Agree or disagree, it did not mean you couldn’t obtain it in generation four – it was distributed by event, without a tale or interactive segment. However… in Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, you could find out a bit more about Arceus! If you took it to the Ruins of Alph, you could then travel to Sinjoh Ruins, and get a guest appearance from Cynthia. You even get your choice of Dialga, Palkia or Giratina, after Arceus uses the power of Google Images.

Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver had a bunch of events, including a small interaction with the Lati duo. But as this article is focused on Mythicals, we’ll instead talk about its Celebi event. Taking a special event-distribution Celebi to the shrine in Ilex Forest triggers some time travel. It confirmed a heavily hinted bit of lore that Silver was Giovanni’s son, and then allowed you to fight the original Team Rocket leader as well. It was a great event to play through (at least, assuming your region got the Celebi download event in the first place…)

Generation Five – where Plasma features heavily

One might first think of Zoroark with the generation five titles events, but Mythicals shouldn’t be forgotten either. There’s an in-depth analysis of Mythical events in Rivvon‘s deep dive analysis into Pokémon Black and White (BW). The first one available was right on release: Victini, as a reward for people who downloaded a Liberty Pass Key Item within the first several weeks of game release. This item allowed players to access Liberty Island and fight some Plasma grunts to rescue the Victory Pokémon. This was the first time you could have played through the main story right away with a Mythical Event Pokémon, and it came with a side story that complemented the main game’s themes, like how the Celebi and Arceus events worked in Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver. While Liberty Island was an event-exclusive area in BW, it was accessible in Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 to all players. If you brought your Victini across to island in the Unova sequels, Professor Juniper will also talk to you about it.

Genesect was another case where Team Plasma were involved – a scientist who you battle tells you that it was a side project of Plasma, where they revived a fossil Pokémon, and then added some enhancements. This was a much shorter event, and you had to bring a downloaded Genesect with you to experience it rather than do battle or ‘earn it’. However, it still added something to the world of Unova, gave some explanation to Genesect, and rewarded the player with the disk drives to give to Genesect for special moves. This approach of “bring the Mythical to a place for further lore” persisted.

Keldeo is the next Mythical of Unova, and it also had an event, but only after downloading it. If you bring it, along with the three other Musketeers, to the Moor of Icirrus, you see them interact and an NPC teaches Keldeo its special move of Sacred Sword.

Lastly, we have Meloetta. After downloading it, you could take it to a cafe in Castelia City. An NPC will play a song and refer to ‘sepia-toned memories’ Meloetta spurs in him, prompting Meloetta to dance and learn Relic Song. This move is more than a unique attack – it allows Meloetta to change Forme (yes, with an e) in battle. Relic Song is a move Meloetta supposedly forgot long ago when “sorrow darkened the entire world”… some sombre world-building there.

Generation Six – Scaled Back

But these tales did not return come Kalos. They weren’t outright gone, but the same level of world building or expansions to the main tale were absent.

Pour one out for Volcanion, for instance, one of the most forgettable Pokémon out there – and it’s a Mythical! It was obtainable via download only. You could take it to the ‎Lumiose Press, and encounter an NPC who would tell you backstory regarding it. The thing is, there was no cool scene like the song and dance featuring Meloetta, nor battle sequence to rescue Victini from the clutches of the region’s evil Team. Instead, you got to read memos of people interviewed for some factoids or rumours on Volcanion. It’s something, but it doesn’t fit nicely into the world. The most you could say is that the memo suggests part of Kalos’ geology is due to Volcanion:

In the southern part of the Kalos region, there seems to be a custom to revere Volcanion as a nation-building Pokémon. People seem to believe that a steam explosion caused by Volcanion created the plain where they live. As a matter of fact, a huge mountain range suddenly disappeared due to an unexplained explosion in that part of the region in the past…

You can also bring Volcanion to the TV studio in Mauville and ‘watch’ some never-aired episodes featuring Battle Frontier Brandon telling viewers about Volcanion. Thing is, you don’t really learn anything new about Volcanion this way compared to the Kalos memos.

Next we have Hoopa. It also was only available through a download-only Event. If you took such a Hoopa to the Parfum Palace Library, an NPC would tell you same tales about it – but again, it amounted to reading a bunch of text rather than doing anything more involved to learn about it. You find out about Hoopa using its rings to move objects around including entire islands, how it had vast amounts of treasure, and how it took revenge on an evil organisation trying to use its powers for their own benefit.

The first of these has some arguably relevant world building, in that it may have been an explanation for Mirage Island in Hoenn, a location very few players could claim they had legitimately accessed due to the high amount of luck needed.

The odds of a single Pokémon activating Mirage Island is 1/65536; this chance is increased to approximately 1/10923 if the player has a full party, assuming no two Pokémon in the player’s party have the same first two bytes in their personality values.

Rarer than finding a pre-gen-6 Shiny! Mirage Islands did return in the Hoenn remakes in generation six, Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire (ORAS), but of course now there were multiple, and you could easily access them via Soaring. However, another postgame mechanic of ORAS was battling past Legendary Pokémon, many which appear out of a portal… quite likely a Hoopa one.

Meanwhile, if you take Hoopa to a PokéMart in ORAS, you get the Prison Bottle item after being told it was used to confine an evil and powerful Pokémon. This item allows you to change Hoopa’s form into Hoopa Unbound, but you don’t get to do any quest for it – you just get a small bit of text.

And then we have Diancie. It has no event for it in Pokémon X and Pokémon Y! In ORAS, if you take it to a Pokémon Centre, then two NPCs will try to take it from you for a child they work for, only for the child to walk in, say they don’t want the Mythical Pokémon anymore (?), and then give you Diancite, the Mega Stone for it. But lore on Diancie itself? Perish the thought.

Does it get better than this?

Little going on in Seven

No, afraid not. We had five Mythicals in generation seven: Magearna, Marshadow, Zeraora, and Meltan/Melmetal.

Magearna was made available via a QR code, but had no event. Marshadow was a Download event. Its special item for the generation’s gimmick, Marshadium Z, was available by showing it to an NPC in Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, but no backstory accompanies it. Zeraora had a Download event too, and… no backstory.

Think that is bad? In Australia and New Zealand, Zeraora’s Download event was cancelled. It was unobtainable (outside of trades) for the whole generation.

Zeraora nowhere to be found in Australian distribution event

Meltan was a bit better, but it didn’t debut in the main series titles. It first showed up in Pokémon GO, and was sendable to Pokémon Let’s GO, Pikachu and Eevee! At least there it came with its own set of story quests and even promotional videos about it. So it wasn’t all bad – but it was the worst generation for Mythical Pokémon for quite a while.

Generation Eight was…

…bad – at least, for its new Mythical.

Zarude was the one Mythical Pokémon in the generation, like how Pecharunt was the sole Mythical for generation 9. It had a download event, and that was it! Sure, we’re ignoring it having a movie, but that applies to all the other Mythicals, and this article is about their role in the main series games.

We did see two other generation eight titles, and they did a better job with older Mythicals. Granted, one was Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl (BDSP), so it merely reused the Mythical events from Pokémon Platinum. And they gifted Mew and Jirachi to players via a Download event with no backstory, so those games were not without fault in this regard. But it was still good to see Darkrai and Shaymin have something. And we have Pokémon Legends: Arceus, which gave us new events for Shaymin, Darkrai, and for the first time in a main series title, Manaphy (which also related to a story in Canalave library in BDSP!). It was nice to see these Mythicals get their own stories suddenly. And let’s not forget Arceus himself – obtainable as the final boss and reward in the game, complete with using the Azure Flute. Finally, the item appeared in a game and was not doomed to be unseen outside of hackers.

Come generation nine, we’re happy to see this late trend continue for Pecharunt, where we had a full story scenario and battle involving it, that also related to the earlier main story of the DLC. It is such a big change from the previous few generations. And it gave us a weird dance.

On a closing note, however, we should point out that another Mythical appeared in the DLC of Pokémon Scarlet and Violet. It’s Meloetta – but while you could argue that, yes, the method for getting it does have references to its event in Pokémon Black and White, it is such a Guide-Dang-It way of getting it that we’d comfortably wager nobody found it without knowing at least part of the process involved, including the fact it is available in the first place.

But that is another aspect to over-analyse in itself, and Pecharunt’s story is a great return to form. More of this in the following games please, Game Freak.

Edited by Aldo and Rivvon.