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How did your favourite Pokemon get their names?

The origins of Wobbuffet, Zekrom and more

Last month we told you how Pikachu got his name but there are so many more Pokemon who have an interesting story behind their names. You may already know that Hitmonchan and Hitmonlee are named after Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee but did you know the origins of Wynaut and Wobbuffet, Zekrom and Reshiram or Elgyem and Beheeyem?

With 649 Pokemon in choose from, we couldn't possibly list the meanings behind them all so we've picked the most interesting from the Pokedex.

Wynaut and Wobbuffet

Wynaut and Wobbufett are notable for being a couple of the most bizarre-looking Pokemon out there, what with their emote-like facial expressions and having eyes in places where there should never ever be eyes. Their names are equally strange, but in English, the origins are relatively straightforward. Wynaut is quite simply taken from the question 'Why not?'. Wobbuffet is a combination of the words 'wobble' and 'buffet' (to be knocked, not a large assortment of food) which is a reference to Wobbuffet being associated with counter moves.

In Japan, the origins of their names are a lot more interesting. Wobbuffet is called Sonans, which apparently sounds similar to a Japanese word that means 'That's the way it is.' The reason for this is because Wobbuffet is partially based on a late Japanese comedian called Sanpei Hayashiya.

Sanpei Hayashiya
Sanpei Hayashiya
One of his trademark quirks was to put his hand to his forehead (as Wobbuffet does) and say: "That's the way it is, ma'am". Wynaut's Japanese name is Sohnano, which sounds similar to the question: 'Really?' It was intended to play off Wobbuffet's name, creating a perpetual conversation when the two were next to each other. "That's the way it is!", "Really?" and so on. The reason for the English name being taken from "Why not?" was probably inspired by this.

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8 comments so far...
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  1. Darkblizz Thursday 11th Oct 2012 at 15:37

    Technically, BEM means 'bug-eyed monster.'

  2. Komodo_Wolfgang Thursday 11th Oct 2012 at 15:40

    Uhm.. Beheeyems B In the name stands for bug, as in bug eyed monster, like the ones from scifi horros back in those days... Blue eyes arent really seen as threatening.. This was in Zabba2s pokemon did you know topic. Which btw is awesome but losing it at the moment.. Hopefully black and white 2 will regenerate it. Cool facts to hype up pokemon though! Just a few more hours ><

  3. Zabba 2 Thursday 11th Oct 2012 at 15:43

    Hi, regarding BEM, that was a small error on my part, but it's been fixed now. Hope you enjoy the article nevertheless.

  4. shy guy 64 Thursday 11th Oct 2012 at 15:46

    i knew most of those

  5. TheMasterSword12 Thursday 11th Oct 2012 at 16:33

    I knew none of those

  6. CraigEmberson Thursday 11th Oct 2012 at 22:37

    It's amazing how an official magazine website gets spelling wrong (even the magazine, despite easily seeing it when reading) or misses info out.

    Giro = Opal/Puratina = Platinum (which has the romanised Japanese spelling of Puratina, how the Japanese pronounce and spell Platinum). It is also meant to resemble the Romanisation for Guillotine.

    Reshiram & Zekrom
    You said "Krom" but only the "Kro" part relates to Kuro (Black in Japanese), as Zekuromu is it's Japanese name's romanised form. Also, Kuromu is the romanization for Chrome - which is a merger of black and white colours - that's just an idea that was tossed around and may or may not be true, but still good trivia.

    Otherwise, great article.

  7. shadowlugia101 Friday 12th Oct 2012 at 07:07

    awesome article! i knew none of these so i'm impressed with your research

  8. VinceLovesToast Friday 12th Oct 2012 at 21:43

    If u check this i will sound weird but reshiram has a very male like feature

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