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Why Cubone Is The Most Terrifying Pokemon Ever (According to Science)

Well, it’s that time of the year again. The dreaded end of the semester, where your blood contains more Red Bull than white blood cells and sleeping begins to look like procrastination. So, needless to say, I had no time for a proper “currently playing” blog post again, because I had no time to play any video games. Obvious issue there. So, once again, to make up for the missing every other weekly video game-based banter, I’m here to beat a dead Ponyta and make fun of Pokemon again.

It’s difficult to keep making fun of scientific inaccuracies in Pokemon, because there are so many things that don’t make any sense that it kind of drives you insane if you try to think about it too much, but there’s one from the original game that has always bothered me: Cubone’s origin story.

Kind of a cute Pokemon, but what’s with the skull being outside its head?  Let’s take a look at the original Pokedex entry, word for word, from the original Pokemon Red and Blue:

Because it never removes its skull helmet, no one has ever seen this Pokémon’s real face.

A little odd, but so far nothing terribly off-putting. So the skull’s just a badass design choice? Nope. Here’s the entry from the next game in the series, Pokemon Yellow. Let us revel in the absolute nightmare fuel that Nintendo came up with for Cubone’s origin story:

Wears the skull of its deceased mother. Its cries echo inside the skull and come out as a sad melody.

WHAT? This Pokemon wears its mother’s dead skull and never takes it off? That’s horrifying! And this is a kid’s game! It takes on another level of haunting when, in the original Red and Blue, we learn that Team Rocket, some of the game’s main antagonists, killed Cubone’s mother. So aside from being probably the saddest Pokemon ever, Cubone is also the most haunting, and keep in mind there’s also a Pokemon actually named Haunter. Let’s take a look at some of the Pokedex entries for the subsequent games in the series:

It lost its mother after its birth. It wears its mother’s skull, never revealing its true face.

If it is sad or lonely, the skull it wears shakes, and emits a plaintive and mournful sound.

It wears the skull of its dead mother on its head. When it becomes lonesome, it is said to cry loudly.

Cubone pines for the mother it will never see again. Seeing a likeness of its mother in the full moon, it cries. The stains on the skull the Pokémon wears are made by the tears it sheds.

Basically, Nintendo does not want you to forget that “Oh, hey, that cute Pokemon that you like? ITS MOM IS DEAD.” Since you never see any Pokemon actually die in gameplay (they always just faint, and can be revived for free, which presents other issues), the fact that Team Rocket actually managed to kill one for good leaves you wondering what the hell they did to it? If you think about it some more, how exactly did Cubone get the skull? Did the body decompose really fast, or did it have to pry the skull out of its mother’s dead body? Yeah, a little more disturbing than you originally thought, huh? Well, don’t worry. It gets even more disturbing.

Now, you may have noticed that so far, everything has been written with “Cubone” in the singular, as if it’s one specific Cubone. However, Pokemon is a game about catching all sorts of different animals: Cubone is a species. There are probably hundreds of thousands of them running around. Yet those Pokedex entries write rather consistently about Cubone’s mom being dead. That would be like if you looked up “giraffe” on Wikipedia and it said “A giraffe wears the skull of its dead mother.”

This leaves us with a rather shocking conclusion with no alternatives: every single Cubone in the world is biologically required to take and wear the skull from its dead mom, meaning that all Cubone moms (presumably Marowak) are biologically required to die when they give birth to a Cubone. As soon as a Cubone is born, some event coded in their DNA is triggered and the mom is compelled to die and the offspring is compelled to pry out its mother’s skull and place it over its head. How’s that for the circle of life?

But wait! There’s more! That explanation works well enough for Cubone in the wild, but what about Cubone in captivity? After all it is a game based entirely on catching and taming these wild animals. In the games, it is possible to breed Pokemon and get new ones, and Cubone is no exception. Breed some Marowak, you get a Cubone. Except, as we have just concluded, the mother of a new Cubone offspring must die, yet none of your Pokemon disappear when you breed. Where does that Cubone’s skull come from? Having given the matter some consideration, I am led to believe that the only possible explanation for how Cubone still wears its mother’s skull is that it has multiple mothers, which can only be explained with lesbian Marowak.

Some female Marowak that the trainer hasn’t even captured, but knows the Marowak the trainer did capture very well, will come back and die just so the Cubone will have its mother’s skull to wear on its head. All of this is genetically required to happen. However, we must also consider that Pokemon will not bred unless their personalities are compatible (this is from the game), so it would be more accurate to say that all Cubone bred in captivity come from bisexual Marowak. It’s just science.

28 thoughts on “Why Cubone Is The Most Terrifying Pokemon Ever (According to Science)

  1. well if u think about it, Marowak is his mother, and not kangaskong (probably. spelled the name wrong). Marowak has the skull on the top of her head but if u look closely, it looks like the Marowak’s skull “mask” is embedded onto its face, so either way u think about it, cubone did not just slip it off his mothers but ripped it off, and also if it didnt decompose quickly, he also ripped out a bone from his mothers skin or the bone his mother carried, question really is, where does he get the bone that he carries around? from the hand of his mother or from inside the skin, cubone carries the bone and skull of his deceased mother. so thats my point of view on how cubone got the bone fragments o.o

    • If you wear a certain piece of clothing for a long enough time without moving, IT WILL EMBED INTO YOUR SKIN. I have a feeling that Cubone stayed by his mother’s side until she decomposed, then took the skull and possibly the femur. He may have then stayed by his mother’s remaining skeleton, too devastated to move on. This poke’mon may be battling depression, and perhaps insomnia, looking into it’s reputation for being very… “socially awkward” and very “solo living” attitude. My opinion has many holes in it but that’s what I think happened.

  2. Lol rofl lol I can’t help but laugh dude you need to make a video and post it of just you talking about the pokemon world and how fucked up it is like really you need to

    • I write about Pokemon every few months whenever I get a new idea for something to make fun of. Hopefully I’ll come up with a new one soon; it has been a while.

  3. i think cubone hatches from an egg.Maybe when the egg is laid the mom dies.when cubone hatches the moms skull might be revealed enough to be removed.The bone could be created by somthing in the mothers body like extra calciam.I think marowak is the mother.It could lose its mask halfway through mating season and cant find it.

  4. Heck, as soon as I went into Lavender Town and heard about how a Cubone’s mother was killed by team-rocket and a chick telling me to take her TM because the pokemon she had “doesn’t need it anymore…” after she came from Lavender Town made me realize just how fucked up the Pokemon world can be and I’m surprised they put that in a video game meant for 9 year olds and up.
    Then I read about Cubone’s skull and now I am officially freaked out by Cubone (and your entry doesn’t help much as you evaluate it further D: )

  5. This is way over analyzed. The original blueprints was to have marowak evolve into kangaskhan; however, with last minute problems they didn’t have time to fix the programing moved the evolutionary programing to another part of the game and that is where missingno comes from. Looking at it like that, a baby kangaskhan will become a cubone when it places the skull of it’s dead mother on it’s head. It is similar to the slowpoke and shelder combination

  6. first off its not a male female thing its hemaphrodidic, the male, a cubone, detatches its genetailia during the mating process and becomes a female, marrowak. amphibians do it crustations do it, theres even some fish.

    marowak lays the egg and lays on it to protect, like a penguin, leaving for nothing not even food. she makes the ultimate sacrifice, starving keeping the egg warm. the endothermic reaction of her body rotting keeps the egg warm. when cubone hatches his mother continues to give even so long after her death, she gives him his first meal. his skull is not yet developed it is to soft to protect him in the harsh pokeworld, he wares his mothers skull out of neseccity. he weeps not out of sadness, but under the full moon using the skull as an amplifier, to “sing” his mating call. the cycle repeats its self.

  7. Cubone won’t ever make sense unless they’ll get rid of it’s backstory
    I mean, the outer skull that looks like a helmet might as well just be it’s skull, which naturaly protrudes through the skin or something.
    As a person working on a Pokemon fan-fiction, this is probably the version of Cubone i’ll use.

  8. You are off in your discription cubone is said to be a baby kangaskhan and when the mother sometimes but not always when the mother gives birth it dies so the baby kangaskhan rips the head off skins it and wears it and the bone that cubone has is its arm or leg because that is the strongest bone inside the kangaskhan so it uses it as a weapon

  9. or the skull is outside on the species but then you never see a marowak carcass either in fact other than the ghost of lavender do you even see a marowak more than ounce in the series? plus they have no genitals!

  10. I dunno I see it more as a family heirloom, a skull and bone passed from mother to daughter, each wearing it and having it evolve into its head, what’s under the marowaks skull, I’d assume another skull, maybe it dies apin the wild and the skull is taken, but if a captured one dies then if can be healed up good as new, one skull less ;)

  11. This is the best one i have heard but…really? I bet it went in its mother and ripped it out and while he/she was it there it saw the bone that it carries and took it! And he could not hold the scull so it put in on its head, but it would not come off so it left it there!

  12. These are all unproven assumptions! Missingno did evolve into kangaskhan, but it also evolved into clefairy a few times. It’s simply a glitch. Cubone doesn’t rip out its mother’s skull– if it is so sensitive that it cries every day, it probably wouldn’t have the nerve to do such a thing. It isn’t a species so much as an exception or a variation of one, I think. As in, a Cubone mother won’t die immediately after giving birth– it means that a Cubone is a different ‘mon, like a charmander or kangaskhan, whose mother happens to have died and it was forced to adapt. About breeding, that’s probably just the games overlooking things to simplify it– I mean breeding ghost types is just as impossible.

  13. If you read the Pokemon Special manga (known as Pokemon Adventures in the West), LOTS of pokemon get killed and maimed. Red’s pikachu manages to blast an Onix into pieces with Thunderbolt, an Arbok gets sliced in half – and you see its insides- and Giovanni splits frozen Magmar in half for the lulz. Cheery stuff.

  14. But i don’t know why Pokemon Co. and Game Freak has done this to this terrible thing little poor cubone… its really really sad and mystery!

  15. After the first cubone lost its mum and waited for the body to decompose it must have put on the skull and as it evolved into marowak The cells must have made the skull part of cubone and then transfered though genes technically a marowak has 2 skulls

  16. Don’t you get it? a marowak’s skull and bone is constantly passed down! marowak dies and cubone grabs the skull from the marowak that the marowak is already wearing. thats why its jagged and cracked. its not the skull from the inside of its mother but from the skull that the marowak was wearing.

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