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- If you were looking for the "Legendary Pokémon" species, see Arcanine (Pokémon).
- If you were looking for the "Legendary Pokémon" website, see Legendary Pokémon (site).
An artist's interpretation of Entei
, a legendary Pokémon
Legendary Pokémon are a group of incredibly rare, and often very powerful Pokémon.
While in English, all are typically grouped under the banner of "legendary", there are three distinct terms in Japanese that are used to refer to them. One, 伝説のポケモン densetsu no Pokémon, literally "Pokémon of legend", refers to Pokémon such as Kyogre and Groudon, who are featured prominently in the legends of the Pokémon world. A second, 幻のポケモン maboroshi no Pokémon, literally "Pokémon of illusions", refers to Pokémon seen so rarely, such as Mew, that some question their very existence. This term was translated in the Generation IV games as "mirage Pokémon", in reference to the various myths of Sinnoh, and many consider it to refer to Pokémon that are restricted to Nintendo events, not available during the course of normal gameplay. The third and newest term is 神話のポケモン shinwa no Pokémon, literally "Pokémon of myth", which refers to the Pokémon which are spoken of as the creators of the Sinnoh region.
Characteristics of legendary Pokémon
Aside from the high stats shared by most legendary Pokémon, many of them are only available once to the player in a given save file, and to obtain another legitimately, one must trade with another game. The gender of most legendary Pokémon is unknown (though there are four notable exceptions in Latios, Latias, Heatran and Cresselia), and all but Phione and Manaphy are unable to breed in captivity, even with Ditto.
No legendary Pokémon is known to evolve, though many are part of a legendary trio or legendary duo. Much like starter Pokémon appear at the beginning of each regional Pokédex and their generation's portion of the National Pokédex, legendary Pokémon typically appear at the very end of them.
In the anime
Legendary Pokémon typically make their anime debut in a movie, rather than first appearing in a normal episode. Many are held in a much higher regard than in the games, with their powers seen as being almost godlike. They are often only seen by special Trainers, usually the anime's main protagonist, Ash Ketchum, who have a special connection to them. Villainous teams and others with bad intentions often seek them out, both due to their rarity as well as their superior power.
It has been shown that the capture of certain legendary Pokémon may lead to great catastrophe, due to their often pivotal role in nature. Some speculate, however, that if a Trainer were to "play by the rules", encountering and befriending the legendary Pokémon just the same as they would any other Pokémon, the results would not be as chaotic, if at all. This theory possibly has some weight, as Noland befriended and fought official battles with an Articuno, while Lawrence III's capture of Zapdos and Moltres in The Power of One was one of intended dominance and collection instead. It should be noted, however, that Noland was never seen to have had Articuno in a Poké Ball, and at the same time, he is a rather skilled Trainer.
Many legendary Pokémon are shown to breed in the wild, as seen with Lugia, while none are immortal nor invincible, as seen by the death of Celebi and the injury of Arceus. Very few, in fact, are often considered unique, with only Mewtwo known to be (due to the circumstances of its creation) and Arceus, Dialga, Palkia, and Giratina assumed to be, due to their role in the creation of the universe.
List of legendary Pokémon
Of the 493 Pokémon species, 35 are considered to be legendary, while several more have certain characteristics of legendary Pokémon. Each generation has introduced at least one legendary trio and one legendary duo.
The legendary Pokémon introduced in Generation I can be broken into two groups: the legendary birds and the Mew duo.
The three legendary birds, also known as the Winged Mirages, are the resident legendary trio of the Kanto region. Each of them is based off of a mythical bird, and each is associated with a season (though none of the three is associated with autumn).
In the games, all three are available in the Kanto region in all of its appearances except for Generation II. Articuno takes up residence in the Seafoam Islands in the south, Zapdos in the Power Plant (next to it in Generation IV) in the east, and Moltres in a variety of places, Victory Road, Mt. Ember, or Mt. Silver, depending on the generation. In Generation IV, they are also found roaming Sinnoh, but only in Pokémon Platinum.
In the anime, the legendary birds appear together in The Power of One, where they rule over the islands surrounding Shamouti Island. If they are disturbed and begin to fight, only Lugia can stop them, though it will fail without additional help from the Chosen One. Separately, Articuno appears in Freeze Frame, Numero Uno Articuno, and The Symbol Life, while Zapdos appears in As Clear As Crystal, Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea, and Doc Brock!, and Moltres appears in All Fired Up and The Search for the Legend.
The Mew duo, so named because of their similar genetic structure and Mewtwo's origin as an enhanced clone of Mew, are a pair of catlike Pokémon which are believed by many to be among the most rare and powerful Pokémon that exist.
In the games, Mew is only mentioned in years-old journals found in the Pokémon Mansion on Cinnabar Island. It was the first event-exclusive Pokémon, being otherwise available only by glitching the game or cheating. One is available in the wild on Faraway Island, an event area in Pokémon Emerald, the only time it is legitimately able to be caught from the wild.
Mew appears in the anime in both the first movie and the eighth movie. In the first, it appears to fight against Mewtwo, while in the second, its status as the Pokémon from which life began is explored.
In the games, Mewtwo is revealed to have been cloned from Mew in the journals in the Pokémon Mansion. Unlike most Pokémon, however, Mew gave live birth to Mewtwo, rather than laying an egg and Mewtwo hatching from it. Mewtwo was too powerful, however, and it escapes from the Pokémon Mansion, destroying it in the process. Mewtwo then makes its home in Cerulean Cave, where all kinds of powerful Pokémon live.
In the anime, Mewtwo was featured prominently, appearing in several episodes of the original series, the first movie, and the first special episode. Mewtwo's origin is slightly different as well, with Team Rocket boss Giovanni funding a group of scientists to create an enhanced clone of Mew for his own use. Though Mewtwo is initially a very angry Pokémon, viewing all humans as evil due to the acts of the scientists and Giovanni, eventually, when Ash Ketchum sacrifices himself to stop the fighting between Mew and Mewtwo, Mewtwo's heart softens, and he learns that some humans do care about their, and all, Pokémon. Meeting up with Ash again, Mewtwo is further shown that, although it is a genetically-enhanced clone of Mew, it and the other clones are no different than normal Pokémon, and because it erased Ash and his friends' memory at the end of their first meeting, realizes that Ash himself truly does care for others, even if he doesn't know them.
Mewtwo is known in the anime to travel around the world, traversing rooftops at night, and living its life free. It occasionally appears in anime openings, sometimes with Mew, and sometimes alone.
More legendary Pokémon were introduced in Generation II, adding six more for a running total of 11. The legendary Pokémon introduced in this generation down can be separated into three groups.
Like the legendary birds of the previous generation, a second trio of similar types was introduced in the neighboring Johto region. These legendary beasts, so named because their features are reminiscent of both canine and feline animals, were trapped in the Brass Tower when it was struck by lightning and burned to the ground, resulting in their death. The trio was revived by the power of Ho-Oh, and now roam across the land because of their great power.
In the games, more than one of each exists, with only the trio that roams Johto after being discovered in Brass Tower's basement during Generation II and Generation IV being that of the legend. Each was captured and changed into a Shadow Pokémon by Cipher in Pokémon Colosseum, while one of the three, depending on the player's starter Pokémon choice, roams Kanto in Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, Entei for Bulbasaur, Raikou for Squirtle, and Suicune for Charmander.
In the anime, the legendary beasts have never appeared together. It appears that an initial plan for the three Johto-era movies was to have each feature one of the legendary beasts in a central role, with Entei taking a central role in Spell of the Unown and Suicune taking the stage in Celebi: Voice of the Forest. This did not pan out, however, possibly due to the canning of Johto's Celebi plotline, and Raikou was relegated to a role in The Legend of Thunder, featuring anime characters based off of Gold and Kris, rather than the fifth movie, which focused on legendary Pokémon from the then-upcoming Generation III instead.
Each of the beasts made an episodic appearance, as well, with Entei appearing in Entei at Your Own Risk, Raikou briefly appearing in Houndoom's Special Delivery, and Suicune having the most prominence (as in the games) through its appearance in Don't Touch That 'Dile, For Ho-Oh the Bells Toll, and Drifloon On the Wind!.
The first version mascots that were also legendary Pokémon, Lugia and Ho-Oh are a pair of legendary birds which formerly resided in Ecruteak City atop tall towers, leading to their designation. However, when the Brass Tower, home of Lugia, was struck by lightning, it burned to the ground, and both flew away, Lugia to make its new home in the Whirl Islands and Ho-Oh to search the world for a pure-hearted Trainer. The two are thought to be as closely related as they are polar opposites, being based off of the eastern legends of the Fènghuáng and Ryūjin.
In the games, Lugia does not play a central role in the Generation II storyline, instead being mentioned only as having lived in Ecruteak City before the Brass Tower burned. It is found in the Whirl Islands in the Generation II games and their remakes if the player holds a Silver Wing. It reaches prominence in the storyline of Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness, where one is corrupted by Cipher to become the ultimate Shadow Pokémon, unable to be purified. It is also available on Navel Rock in Generation III, as an event-exclusive legendary.
In the anime, Lugia is featured in a central role in The Power of One, where it is revealed that Ash is the Chosen One who must help it to quell the fighting of the legendary birds. Another pair of them appeared when Ash and his friends traveled to the Whirl Islands in Johto, and through this, the anime revealed that legendary Pokémon could breed (this is untrue in the games, at least in captivity, likely to restrict players from getting a limitless number of them).
Ho-Oh has a much greater focus during Generation II, being named as the savior of the legendary beasts. It can be found, if the player has a Rainbow Wing, atop Tin Tower in the Generation II games and their remakes. It makes an appearance in Pokémon Colosseum, as well, as a reward for purifying all Shadow Pokémon, and on Navel Rock like Lugia.
In the anime, Ho-Oh is notably the first legendary Pokémon that appeared (outside of the opening animation, at least), flying over a rainbow at the start of Ash Ketchum's journey at the end of Pokémon - I Choose You!. Ash has subsequently seen it several times over the course of his journey, but has never come face-to-face with it.
Although it has no relation to Mew that has been revealed, Celebi was dubbed the "New Mew" when it was introduced in Generation II because of their similar size and stats, as well as the status of being the last in the National Pokédex as of its generation and being unobtainable through normal gameplay. Unlike Mew, however, it was not believed to be the ancestor of all Pokémon, but merely the guardian of forests, traveling through time to make sure of their purity.
In the games, Celebi is available only by event, either directly (via trading or Mystery Gift), or, in Pokémon Crystal, through an event involving the GS Ball. This made it the first event Pokémon that was able to be captured from the wild in the games after using an event-only item, something which would continue forward even to the current generation. Celebi also makes an appearance in Pokémon Colosseum and Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness, but it is unobtainable.
In the anime, Celebi takes a central role in Celebi: Voice of the Forest and The Green Guardian. In the movie, one accidentally brings a young Professor Oak to the future when attempting to escape from a poacher, and is later captured in a Team Rocket member's Dark Balls to be used to destroy the forest and rule the world. In the episode, another is attempting to heal after putting out a forest fire, and needs the help of Pokémon Ranger Solana, as well as the anime's protagonists, to do so.
The Generation III games feature a total of 10 new legendaries.
The legendary golem-like Regis were featured in the eighth movie as the protectors of the Tree of Beginning, but the true story of their history remains a mystery. They have a strong connection to the fourth Regi and their keeper, Regigigas.
Latias and Latios (sometimes referred to, collectively, as Lati@s) are twin Dragons (one female, one male, respectively) featured in the fifth movie. Special abilities they share include: Sight Sharing, an act where one twin can portray what he/she is seeing to the other twin and taking the shape of humans. According to legend, they guard the water city of Alto Mare, and are revered as gods. They have a strong connection with the Soul Dew.
- Latias, the female twin, is found in the wild after defeating the Elite Four in Pokémon Sapphire. She changes routes whenever the player does, and is considered as rare as the legendary beasts in Generation II. She can also be obtained in Ruby by using the Eon Ticket obtained from Nintendo Power. In Pokémon Emerald, when the player's mom asks about a TV program after the Elite Four, she appears as in Sapphire if the player chooses Red, and as in Ruby if the player chooses Blue.
- Latios, the male twin, is found in the wild after defeating the Elite Four in Pokémon Ruby. He is considered as rare as the legendary beasts in Generation II due to the similar route-changing activities that he shares with them and Latias. He can also be obtained in Pokémon Sapphire by using the Eon Ticket obtained from Nintendo Power. In Pokémon Emerald, when the player's mom asks about a TV program after the Elite Four, he appears as in Ruby if the player chooses Blue, and as in Sapphire if the player chooses Red.
Also known as the Elemental trio, the weather-related legendary Pokémon represent the balance of nature and play a major role in the storyline of the Hoenn-based Generation III games. It is said that, early in time, Groudon raised lands and expanded continents as Kyogre expanded the seas. These Pokémon took to a deep sleep after a cataclysmic battle, soothed by Rayquaza. All feature a unique pattern of lines around their bodies.
They are based on the behemoth, leviathan, and ziz of Hebrew legend.
Outer space Pokémon
Though the two aren't considered a duo, they are occassionally grouped together due to the fact that they both are related and come from outer space, are next to each other in both the National Pokédex as well as the Hoenn Pokédex, are both event Pokémon and both have a base stat total of 600.
- Jirachi is the legendary wish-granting Pokémon who was available from Pokémon Colosseum's bonus disk in North America and available within Pokémon Channel in the UK, Europe and Australia (PAL Encoded Regions). It is likened to Mew, Celebi, Phione, Manaphy and Shaymin. Jirachi is the star of the sixth movie.
- /// Deoxys is a Pokémon with strange alien and virus-like characteristics. It changes its form depending on the game version in which it is found. The Aurora Ticket used to obtain Deoxys has been given out in North America at the New York Pokémon Center and 2004's Pokémon Rocks America events. Two different Deoxys were featured in the seventh movie, while a third was featured in Pokémon Ranger - Deoxys Crisis!.
The Generation IV games feature a total of 14 legendary Pokémon, the most of any generation.
Uxie, Mesprit, and Azelf together
Also known as the Pixie, Spirit or Lake trio, these Fairy-like creatures that each dwell in a trio of three lakes. Believed to have been birthed from Arceus, each represents a different aspect of the human mind. They were created to give "spirit" to the world.
Uxie is located in the Acuity Cavern, Mesprit will roam Sinnoh after the first encounter in the Verity Cavern, and Azelf is found in the Valor Cavern. In Pokémon Platinum Version, Cyrus takes each of their jewels to create the Red Chain which he uses to capture Dialga and Palkia in his plot to recreate the world without spirit.
The three Pokémon Dialga, Palkia, and Giratina, known as the Dragon Trio are the mascots for Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum versions, respectively, and have the ability to warp the fabric of reality. Birthed from Arceus to create matter, they battle for all of eternity in a different dimension. Dialga and Palkia were featured in the tenth movie, and Giratina was featured in the eleventh movie. All three had their final encounter in the twelfth movie.
- Dialga controls time.
- Palkia controls space and dimensions.
- / Giratina controls antimatter, the antithesis to the material world created by Dialga and Palkia together.
Depending on the game version, Team Galactic will try to gain control of one using the power of the lake trio. Their goal is to use their power to destroy the universe and rebuild it with Cyrus as a god.
Based on the crescent and new moon, these two Pokémon seem to be complementary of one another. Cresselia can cure the permanent nightmares that Darkrai causes people to suffer.
Sea guardian Pokémon
- Phione is the result of breeding Manaphy (or another Phione) with Ditto, and is the only legendary to be obtained in such a manner. Until recently, its status was heavily debated; however, Pokémon.com revealed that Phione is, in fact, a legendary.
- Manaphy is referred to as the "Prince of the Sea." It must be hatched from an egg, which can, according to the two Ranger games, only be done in warm regions, and has the power to swap the hearts of people and Pokémon, putting them into different bodies. It was featured in the ninth movie, where it had the ability to locate the temple of the sea.
Other legendary Pokémon
- Heatran is a dual-type Fire/Steel Pokémon that can be found in Stark Mountain. It was born from the flames of a volcano when Dialga, Palkia and their relatives first created the universe. The lava and magma pooled together to become the first living Heatran, and later, Stark Mountain, its home. In Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia, it is a guardian of a prince tear. It is also the first legendary Pokémon that can be either male or female. A Heatran appeared in the twelfth movie.
- Regigigas is the Normal-type Regi that can be found only when the three other Regis are reunited. It is said that it moved the continents into place by pulling them with rope. A Regigigas was awakened in the eleventh movie from its shrine. In Pokémon Platinum it is stated that created the other golems in the image of itself from an iceberg, rocks, and magma.
- / Shaymin is the Gratitude Pokémon that curls up in flower-beds and often goes unnoticed. It has the ability to instantly purify an area of all pollutants and transform it into a flowery field. It can transform into another Forme. Shaymin and its Sky Forme were featured in the eleventh movie. Many Shaymin appeared in the film, as well in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of the Sky, confirming that the Shaymin species is more common than that of other legendary species. If the player has Oak's Letter, Flower Paradise, where Shaymin is located, can be accessed after their thanks are expressed at the white rock on Route 224.
- Arceus is the creation Pokémon said to have been born from an egg in the nothingness of space in a vortex of chaos. It created matter (time and space) and spirit (knowledge, emotion and will) before falling into eternal slumber. It can be awoken by playing the Azure Flute at the peak of Mt. Coronet. Arceus appears in the twelfth movie.
Other Pokémon of myth
- Like Arcanine, Ninetales is occasionally considered a legendary Pokémon due to it being elusive, incredibly long-lived, and possessing the ability to cast powerful curses against anyone that touches its tails. This is specifically mentioned in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon. It also is the counterpart to Arcanine.
- Arcanine's species classification is Legendary.
- The fierceness and destructive nature of Gyarados is described in the Pokédex as a thing of legend as is the seemingly complementary beauty and calming ability of Milotic.
- The pseudo-legendary Pokémon Dragonite, Tyranitar, Salamence, Metagross and Garchomp are usually placed within the end section of a regional Pokédex together with other legendaries (with the exception of Garchomp), and are rare and powerful.
- Unown are a mysterious species of Pokémon based on the Latin alphabet. Professor Oak referred to them as legendary, probably because they were featured heavily in ancient myths and legends and because they can display large amounts of otherworldly power in swarms. Also, like legendaries, they cannot breed. In the anime, they appear to live in the same dimension as Dialga and Palkia.
- Togepi and its evolutions are incredibly rare and bring joy wherever they go. In A Togepi Mirage! Togepi is referred to as a savior.
- The presence of Absol is a fabled warning of impending disaster. It also was featured as a protagonist in Jirachi: Wish Maker.
- Spiritomb was formed by 108 spirits and is bound to a fissure in an Odd Keystone because of misdeeds 500 years ago. It also has a unique method of capture (in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl and Pokémon Platinum), being only attainable after the player had gone underground 32 times and using the Odd Keystone on the Hallowed Tower.
- Lucario and its master Sir Aaron were forever revered because of their help pacifying an ancient battle, as seen in the eighth movie. In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon, a Lucario was regarded as a legendary Rescue Team Leader in the distant past, and "Lucario Rank" is the highest attainable team rank in the game. In Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia he is the only non-legendary guardian of a prince tear. Also, in the opening of the Diamond and Pearl theme song, Lucario appears beside Dialga and Palkia. Riolu, Lucario's pre-evolution was only obtainable as a gift egg Pokémon up to Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver.
- When facing Rotom, the music is the same as when facing a legendary Pokémon. It, along with the legendary Giratina and Shaymin, has also received new forms in Platinum. Rotom is sometimes considered to be a semi-legendary.
- In the games, there appears to only be one of every legendary Pokémon, but in the anime, there is more than one of most legendaries.
- This may just mean that the creators of the game intended the canon to imply that the player only ever happens to meet more than one of them, and in fact there are others elsewhere.
- Every generation has had at least one Psychic- and Template:Type2 legendary (though in Generation IV, Shaymin is only able to be part-Flying during the daytime, and Arceus is only Flying-type when holding the Sky Plate).
- According to interviews with Junichi Masuda in 2009, legendary Pokémon are the most difficult to design names for because GameFreak strives to make sure that the names of legendary Pokémon are universal across the different translations, so extra work must be put into their names to make sure that they work universally in all languages and don't conflict with anything else. This is consistent with the relatively small amount of legendaries who have had their names changed outside of Japan (a current number of six, the legendary birds and lake guardians).
- As of the release of HeartGold and SoulSilver, all non-event legendary Pokémon can be caught in Generation IV. Raikou, Entei, Suicune, Lugia, Ho-Oh, Kyogre, Groudon, Rayquaza, Mewtwo, Latios and Latias can be caught in the Johto remakes, Uxie, Mesprit, Azelf, Dialga, Palkia, Heatran, Regigigas, Giratina, and Cresselia can be caught in Diamond and Pearl, and Articuno, Zapdos, Moltres, Regirock, Regice, and Registeel are in Platinum.
- Heatran is the only dual-type legendary Pokémon that is not Flying-type, Psychic-type, or Dragon-type.
Battle themes are shared by related legendaries, while many legendary trios have a theme specific to themselves. These themes are either entirely unique in melody, or they are a small to major variation of a song already in game. Specifically:
- Generation I Legendaries
- Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres feature a theme specific to themselves in Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, a remix of the standard wild Pokémon encounter in Kanto, as a reference to the fact that in Generation I, there was only one battle theme for wild Pokémon, legendary or not. When they are encountered in Pokémon Platinum, they use the standard wild legendary battle theme.
- Mewtwo features a theme specific to itself in Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, another remix of the standard wild Pokémon encounter in Kanto.
- Mew features a theme specific to itself in Pokémon Emerald, and despite being found in the wild only in a Hoenn-based game, it is yet another remix of the standard wild Pokémon encounter in Kanto.
- Generation II Legendaries
- In Pokémon Gold and Silver, Raikou, Entei, and Suicune featured the standard wild Pokémon encounter music of Johto, however, in Pokémon Crystal, this was changed to a theme specific to themselves. When they are encountered in FireRed and LeafGreen, they use the standard legendary battle theme shared with the legendary birds, while in Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, they each received a different remix of their theme from Crystal.
- Lugia and Ho-Oh use the standard wild Pokémon encounter music in Generation II, use Mewtwo's theme in Generation III, and finally get their own themes in Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, with each of them having their own specific theme.
- Celebi has only featured the standard wild Pokémon battle music when it is encountered.
- Generation III Legendaries
- Regirock, Regice, and Registeel feature a theme specific to themselves in Generation III when they are encountered. It was tuned up and reused when they are encountered in Pokémon Platinum.
- Latias and Latios have only featured the standard wild Pokémon battle music when they are encountered.
- Groudon, Kyogre, and Rayquaza have a theme specific to themselves when encountered in Generation III.
- Deoxys features a battle theme specific to itself when battled on Birth Island, making it the first to share its theme with no other Pokémon.
- Jirachi has never appeared in battle as a wild Pokémon aside from cheating.
- Generation IV Legendaries
- Uxie, Mesprit, and Azelf feature a theme specific to themselves in Generation IV when they are encountered.
- Dialga and Palkia feature a theme specific to themselves in Generation IV when they are encountered.
- Giratina features a theme specific to itself in Pokémon Platinum when it is encountered.
- Heatran, Regigigas, Darkrai, Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres feature a theme specific to themselves in Generation IV when they are encountered. This theme is, strangely, shared with the non-legendary Rotom, and likewise is shared with Giratina in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl.
- Manaphy and Phione have never appeared in battle as a wild Pokémon aside from cheating.
- Shaymin and Cresselia use the standard wild Pokémon battle music when they are encountered.
- Arceus, perhaps fittingly, has its own theme shared with no others as well. However, it has been noted that its theme is similar to the mysterious radio signal encountered in the Ruins of Alph in Pokémon Gold and Silver, and Pokémon Crystal.