Why do the New Pokemon Have Such Terrible Names?

Posted by Gia Manry on May 14, 2010 in Videogames |

Why do the New Pokemon Have Such Terrible Names?

As any good Pokefan knows, the next Pokemon generation– Pokemon Black and White –has been announced, along with the requisite end of the current anime (presumably to be replaced with a new one), and with images of the new Pokemon.

Unfortunately, my initial reaction to the new critters isn’t what it should be (“oh, cool! That’s so cute! I want one!”), but rather…”who the hell named these things?” Followed by “…wow, they really don’t look all that great.”

Note that we’re talking about the Japanese names, so in all likelihood they may well be changed for their inevitable North American release, but for now…be brave.


First, on the left is Tsutaja. Aside from looking like the Geico gecko got stoned and let Liberace dress him up, Tsutaja is a weird name. I’m no Japanese linguistic expert, but “~ja” at the end of a sentence is usually short for “janai,” or “isn’t.” Alternatively it can be used on its own for “goodbye.” Tsuta can mean ivy, which seems appropriate for the plant-like creature, but when you add “ja” it would have a sound like “It’s Not Ivy.” Maybe because it’s cannabis?


In the center we have Pokabu, which is the most ridiculous of the names. It’s like the designers sat down and said, “let’s make something kinda like Pikachu, but…not.” There’s a certain amount of “pig” quality to him, to be sure, which suits his name (“buu” is the onomatopoeia for the sound a pig makes), but it just feels so…derivative. Then again we’re very nearly at 500 Pokemon, so I guess retreads shouldn’t be too surprising. But the little black underoos are soooo ’50s comic book superhero.


Finally we have Mijumara on the right. Mijumara’s name isn’t really a problem for me, and it’s also quite likely to be Anglicized. But the design is…really unattractive. It’s sort of a weird sea otter / beaver thing, but those critters can be cute, and somehow this is not. He looks like Hello Kitty’s bipolar cousin in a onesy.

Totally not doin’ it for me, Pokemon. Got anything else?

Gia is a professional writer currently based in San Francisco, CA. She likes being followed on Twitter.

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