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.