My Poke-Pinions | #052-053 (863) The Meow Line

Meowth

Name: Meowth is a combination of ‘meow’ and either ‘mouth’ which doesn’t make sense to me, or ‘wealth’ which makes a lot more sense to me. It’s also possible that they based Meowth’s name partially on its Japanese name, which is Nyasu or Nyarth, just replacing the Japanese sound for a cat’s cry, ‘nya’ with a more westernly common onomatopoeia, ‘meow.’

I like Meowth’s name just fine, it’s fitting and cute. While I also like Nyasu just fine, I find its Japanese name to be frustrating because almost no one can agree on whether it’s supposed to be Nyasu or Nyarth. The last hiragana in the name is for ‘su’ but so many sources choose to call it Nyarth, including Bulbapedia. I tend to call it Nyasu, but I feel like people who claim that’s wrong are not really incorrect in claiming so.

The explanation for the tail end of Nyasu’s name, that I can’t really understand, is that it “may” be meant to reference ‘shamu’ just with the syllables switched (Which would be musha, I think? But it doesn’t say that) and that, together, it literally makes Myasu, which I can’t understand at all, and that shamu/musha is really referencing Siam in regards to Siamese cats.

Look, I have no idea. All I know is that Meowth’s Japanese name is really frustratingly confusing.

Design: I find Meowth to be really cute, even with years of overexposure. It’s just a cat with a coin on its head, but it’s a cute cat with a coin on its head. Really, the coin does so much more for Meowth’s design than anyone would probably think. It’s just one feature, but it stands out so much that it’s a trademark.

I do have to say that, oddly, Meowth looks a little awkward when on four legs. Maybe it’s just because I’m used to seeing Team Rocket’s Meowth (though, to be fair, most Meowth are depicted as being on their hind legs now) but it’s still weird.

Most of the sprites for Meowth are varying degrees of really cute. R/G is a bit weird, though, because they were leaning more heavily towards the Maneki-neko inspiration, and he winds up looking like a toy or a statue.

Absolutely love the wink in Crystal’s animation.

Emerald is still cute, but the twitch is a little off-putting.

They actually managed to make Meowth look threatening in D/P/P.

Although he’s back to adorable in HG/SS.

Gen V’s animation is really funny to me. It’s like when a little kid is pretending they know karate.

Admittedly, Gen VI and beyond look really, really creepy when not animated, because it just has dead eyes.

Alolan Meowth

Alolan Meowth looks….okay. I really don’t have much to say about it at all, either good nor bad. It’s a nice steel gray color, the eye shape is nice….It’s fine. I think its posing and whiskers are a bit weird, but otherwise it’s okay.

Gigantamax Meowth

Okay, when I first saw this image way back when it was first released, I thought this was super dumb. They just super-stretched out a Meowth, added some stuff near its face and called it a day. But now that I’m really looking at it, I think it’s actually pretty cool. It definitely gives off the air like it’s this crazy supernatural giant malformed version of a Meowth, and I love the shadows on the top with the smoke clouds and the glowing eyes.

Galarian Meowth

What the hell is this thing? It looks like Taz from Looney Tunes fused with a Meowth. Also, I don’t care for the black coin. The coin is what makes Meowth Meowth. Turning it black just makes it look like some weird thing on its head. I get why its black, but I don’t care for it being black. I had to double take because this just doesn’t look like a Meowth. It has some Meowth-esque features, but this isn’t a Meowth to me.

Shiny:

Eeehhhhhhh this shiny needs work. It’s half lazy in that it’s mostly just a darkened Meowth, but the brown parts are replaced with this bubblegum pink color, and I don’t think it works at all. If you’re going to change something so drastically, I feel like you have to change the rest drastically in order to fit. Beige and brown to a slightly darker beige and bubblegum pink is just awkward.

Admittedly, the Gen II shiny sprites look the best because the pink is more of a magenta or purple-ish color, but it definitely wouldn’t be my first choice of shiny for Meowth. It needs a shiny rework.

Shiny Alolan Meowth looks fairly good. It’s a darker steel blue-like color with purple where the white was. The only part I don’t care for is the ears. I don’t know why they opted for an olive-green color where the black was. It doesn’t match very well, if you ask me.

Shiny Gigantamax Meowth didn’t look any different to me upon first glance because it has a hot pink aura around it, but it’s the same shiny scheme as regular shiny Meowth – darker beige with pink, which is disappointing.

Shiny Galarian Meowth is strange. It has the base fur color of Meowth with white eyes, so it looks a lot more like it’s a Meowth form than the normal Galarian Meowth does. I don’t know how I feel about that, but, for the record, I like the shiny version better than the original.

Dex Entries and Backstory: The Dex entries can’t seem to decide if it’s round or shiny things that Meowth loves most as it goes back and forth claiming it’s obsessed with one or the other. Meowth will spend most of its day sleeping while it roams the streets of cities at night looking for coins, which it pursues either because they’re round or because they’re shiny (or both?) Like a normal cat, it has retractable claws, and it typically retracts them to be more sneaky when wandering the streets. In later Gens, Meowth are noted to get into fights with Murkrow over shiny objects. You can make friends easily with Meowth by giving them coins, but Meowth, being cats, are so fickle that friendships made this way typically don’t last.

In regards to design, I’ve already touched upon the fact that Meowth are based on the Japanese legend of Maneki-Neko, which you’re probably familiar with even if you don’t know many Japanese legends. They’re those little cat statues that you see even in some western shops with the big koban coins on their collars, which is where Meowth gets the big coin on its head. They’re very common in Japanese businesses because they’re meant to beckon people into their establishments to buy things, and they’re said to bring good fortune.

Meowth are seemingly based on Siamese cats in regards to style and coloring, but the Wiki also states that the original Japanese classification, Bakeneko, implies that it’s based on the, well, bakeneko legend. There is way too much involving the various legends of bakeneko for me to cover here, so let’s just leave it at them being supernatural, ghost or yokai cats.

Like some other Pokemon, Alolan Meowth didn’t originate in Alola but instead came to be when normal Meowth were brought to the region.

They’re assholes.

That is the majority of what I gleamed from its Dex entries. They’re selfish, fickle, quick to fly into a rage if their pride is wounded or their coin is dirtied, they’re very spoiled because they used to live with royalty, they’re ruthless in battle, cunning, incredibly proud and “famously difficult to handle.”

There’s no information on what Alolan Meowth may be based on in terms of either origins or design.

There’s not a lot of information on Gigantamax Meowth outside of its two Dex entries in Gen VIII where the entry for Shield is SUPER informative and helpful by basically saying ‘A Meowth that has grown larger thanks to Gigantamax power.’

And Sword, which states that the symbol on its coin is said to hold the secrets to the Dynamax phenomenon, but why they think that isn’t mentioned.

Apparently, and this makes no sense to me, Galarian Meowth are Meowth who spent so much time with savage seafaring people that parts of their body started turning to iron (???) The coin on its head has also hardened and became black. It’s said that the harder and darker the coin is, the more respect it gets from other Galarian Meowth. They’re meant to be based on Norwegian Forest Cats, which, honestly, don’t look any different from a typical cat to me, and DEFINITELY don’t look anything like this mess. They do have beard-like poofs in their fur, which I guess may be reflected in Galarian Meowth, but that was also said to be more referencing the fact that they were most commonly owned by vikings. The Wiki doesn’t say this, but I assume that’s also why Galarian Meowth has its fur shaped into tiny horns on the top of its head, like the stereotypical (and historically incorrect) viking helmets? I dunno.

Persian

Name: Persian’s name is strange. It’s very fitting and slick, but you’d think it’d be spelled Purrsian or something, to fit in with the cat sounds theme of Meowth, but it’s not – it’s just the word ‘Persian.’ It makes the name come off like it’s uncreative, and additionally makes no sense because Persian is referencing Persia, which shouldn’t exist in the Pokemon world.

Also, believe it or not, the Japanese name is exactly the same.

Fun Fact: In Germany, it’s called Snobilikat, which is a combination of ‘snob’, ‘nobilis’ which is Latin for ‘noble’ and ‘katze’ which German for ‘cat.’ I think that’s an absolutely amazing name on all fronts.

Design: Persian looks fine. It’s both cute and threatening-looking, but as a Pokemon it is very plain, even moreso than Meowth. It’s just a big beige feline. If Persian existed in real life, it wouldn’t seem out of place among normal animals, outside of the little jewel. It does bother me that Meowth lost its coin upon evolution (Where did it go?) and got this little red jewel that has no explanation.

Sprite-wise, I don’t really have any notes for any Gen. All of the sprites, even early Gens, look fine. They’re either cute or threatening or both.

Alolan Persian

Oh god, here we go. What is this ugly-ass thing? It looks exactly like a gray Persian had an allergic reaction and desperately needs an epi-pen. Admittedly, its head shape does make it look more connected to Meowth, but that doesn’t mean it makes the design any better. It is awful. If I saw this thing, I’d take to the vet because it obviously has some sort of glandular issue in its face.

Also, its jewel is now blue for some reason.

Galarian Persian

Doesn’t exist. I’ll get to that in a little while…..

Shiny:

It’s the same as shiny Meowth only much lazier. It’s slightly lighter instead of darker, and the only pink area is in the ears……ya know….where pink commonly is on any animal. It’s really hard to tell the difference between normal and shiny Persian. You really need to sit for a second and basically ‘spot the difference’ it.

Shiny Alolan Persian is exactly the same as shiny Alolan Meowth.

Dex Entries and Backstory: It’s a very sophisticated and beautiful Pokemon much sought-after as a pet, especially for rich people, because of its shiny fur and sparkling/glowing forehead jewel, but it’s also noted as being notoriously difficult to keep as a pet because it will attack for literally no reason and is particularly vicious, even to its owners. It will attack anyone who looks it in the eye. It’s also so prideful and snooty that it’s even more difficult to make friends with a Persian than with a Meowth.

Fans of Persian do apparently discuss the size of a Persian’s jewel a lot, which…..I dunno how much mileage you’d get out of those conversations.

“That Persian’s jewel is quite big.”

“Yes, quite.”

“That Persian’s jewel is not quite as big.”

“No, not quite.”

Sadly, Persian are also hunted for their jewels.

Its whiskers are very sensitive, and they use the air movement around their whiskers to sense things in the environment. Oddly, it’s also noted that yanking on a Persian’s whiskers makes it docile. I’d think that’d make it super pissed, but okay. It will also stick its tail straight up when it’s about to attack.

Finally, Persian’s temperament puts it at direct odds with Perrserker, which, again, we’ll talk about in a bit.

In terms of design, Persian was based off of Persian leopards and other large felines, with its facial features being attributed to Siamese cats. The Wiki says the jewel is meant to resemble a Carbuncle, and I implore you to not Google image search that word without ‘jewel’ or ‘legend’ with the search keywords.

Alolan Persian are assholes.

I’m not kidding. It’s basically the same stuff as Alolan Meowth only worse because Alolan Persian will have fun trying to kill you in addition to being a snotty prick. It will fight dirty and brutally tortures its weak prey instead of finishing it off……Wow.

What’s especially funny is that you can only get an Alolan Meowth to evolve to Alolan Persian by leveling it up with high friendship…..

Its ugly-ass round head is by design. It’s said that the round face is a symbol of wealth and prosperity in Alola – the bigger and rounder the face the better. It also has an amazingly silky and beautiful coat, making it a favorite Pokemon in high-class environments.

Design-wise, the Wiki states that Alolan Persian was likely based on British Shorthairs, which were bred in such a manner than they developed trademark round faces, and its coloring both in fur and jewel may be based specifically on the British Blue type of British Shorthair…….And then it also states that maybe it has a big head because it’s a visual pun on the term ‘big-headed,’ as in egotistical, which made me chuckle. “Ah, yes, the elegant Alolan Persian is likely based off of this beautiful British breed of cat that is highly regarded and popular……or it just has a fat head, I dunno.”

What I find funny about the British Shorthair connection is that their Wiki page specifically says those cats are easygoing, extremely sweet and devoted to their owners, which is the exact opposite of what they’re saying about Alolan Persian. Although, interestingly, when the popularity of British Shorthairs were waning in the early 1900s, they started breeding them with the more popular Persians, creating the British Longhairs.

Perrserker

I had no idea how to list this because, technically, it’s not a new Meowth evolution nor is it a different form of Persian. It’s a new evolution purely for the Galarian version of Meowth only. Why they didn’t just have Galarian Persian, I have no idea. Soooo….Uhm….enjoy this awkwardly placed entry for Perrserker….

Name: Honestly, I like Perrserker’s name. It’s a mixture of ‘purr’ or ‘Persian’ and ‘berserker.’ I always thought the word ‘berserker’ was really awesome, which makes me kinda bummed that it’s reserved for…..this. It also frustrates me that they add the extra ‘r’ but don’t spell it ‘Purrserker.’ It’s right there. Just make it say ‘purr.’

Its Japanese name is Nyaking, which supposed to be a mixture of ‘nya’ and ‘viking’ or ‘king.’ I get the viking thing, but without the ‘vi’ part, people are just going to assume it’s ‘king.’

Fun Fact: In Germany, it’s known as Mauzinger, which not only makes me think of Mazinger Z, but is also really cool because it’s just the German version of the Japanese name as in it’s ‘mauzen’ which is the German onomatopoeia for cat sounds, and ‘wikinger’ which is German for ‘viking.’

Design: Ew.

I don’t even feel like elaborating.

Just ew.

This is…no. There’s nothing right about this Pokemon, except maybe its goofy-ass expression. It looks awful, and why this is related in the slightest to the Meowth line baffles me immensely. It doesn’t even look like a cat anymore. Does it even have ears? What is that weird huge tail? That’s not even a coin on its head anymore. It’s just some weird bulge that comes to a coin-shaped end. Ugh, go away.

Shiny:

Ew.

It’s YELLOW.

It’s not even beige like Meowth and Persian. It’s just straight yellow where the brown was. The brown was ugly enough, but the shiny makes it super ugly. Ew.

Dex Entries and Backstory: It has hair oddly shaped like a viking helmet, it’s even hardened to a metal-like consistency, but it’s still just hair. Ew. Perrserker lives for battle, and can even turn its claws into daggers, which are really the only cool thing about it.

Perrserker has a very scattered design explanation. It is obviously based on vikings, even moreso than Galarian Meowth was, and its name and behavior are based on berserkers of Norse legend. I have no idea why because, while berserkers had several animal variants, none of them were feline in nature. There were bears, wolves and boars – no felines of any kind. Perrserker may also be based on Freya’s cats, Bygul and Trjegul. Bygul means ‘honey’ while Trjegul means ‘amber’ which is supposedly the explanation behind the colors of the normal and shiny versions of Perrserker, but I don’t particularly believe that. Maybe honey for the shiny, maybe, but amber for the normal? No. It’s not orange at all. It’s brown. Being fair, not only are these names not technically accurate because the legends never gave the cats names (Any names listed were made up by writers years later) but also the cats were supposedly blue or gray in color, which means their names didn’t make any sense for them either.

Its Steel typing is meant to be because of the iron vikings commonly used in their helmets and weapons, which…okay? I really don’t understand how new Pokemon species come into existence if shit like this happens. Vulpix becoming an Ice type because it suddenly had to live in snowy mountains, fine. But because a bunch of Meowth spent a few hundred years with vikings, suddenly they not only change their base appearance entirely, but they evolve into a completely different Pokemon than they evolved into before, have beard-like fur and their hair hardens into a metal-like substance that forms a stereotypical viking helmet?

Finally, Bulbapedia states that its weird grin could be based off of the Cheshire Cat……..the hell? What does that have to do with vikings or Norse mythology or anything? This Pokemon is so confusing. Honestly, I don’t get why the Alolan or the Galarian Meowth/Persian and Perrserker exist. They don’t add anything interesting to the lore nor do they have any really interesting features just as standalone Pokemon, and most of them are fugly.

Meowth wound up getting more forms than Pikachu, and that’s really friggin’ weird. It got an entirely new evolution and everything. I wonder if they don’t like changing too much with Pikachu because they’re worried about backlash. I mean, they created Alolan Raichu without an Alolan Pikachu or Pichu, and that’s even more confusing. These new forms are confusing as a whole, but the more I learn about them the more confused I get.

——————————————-

And that was the Meow line. I honestly didn’t realize what a rabbit hole this was until it was too late. I’m still confused on why Meowth has so many forms. The only form it didn’t get was a Mega form, and that’s kinda offset by having a Gigantamax form.

Next time, we’ll have an easier time with the ‘duck line!

Previous – The Dig Line


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3 thoughts on “My Poke-Pinions | #052-053 (863) The Meow Line

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