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Drawing of a Pikachu Pokémorph, named Stunner Pikans, drawn by Shawntae Howard. The character is an anthropomorphic Pikachu from the community fan comic, PokéCombat Academy
Pokémorph is a popular term used among fans to describe two things; it is used as a term for either a character, usually a human, that has the ability to transform into one or more Pokémon, or an anthropomorphic Pokémon.
The term and its meanings are not used in any Pokémon canon, with the possible exception of Pokémon RéBURST. Nearly all Pokémorphs of either kind (though more so the anthropomorphic kind) are within the realms of fan fiction, fan art, fan comics and dōjinshi, role playing forums, and various MUSHes.
It is not known exactly how or when the term "Pokémorph" came into existence within the Pokémon fandom and accurate information pertaining to the history of the term is scarce. It is presumed that the term and/or its initial meaning existed since around the time that Pokémon Red and Blue were released worldwide. "Pokémorphs" were first used to describe any fictional characters that could shapeshift into various Pokémon species. These characters, a derivative of "Pokémon" and "polymorphism", were usually based upon the Animorphs book series by K. A. Applegate.
Over time however, "Pokémorphs", this time derived from "Pokémon" and "anthropomorphism", were then used to describe fictional Pokémon characters who had a combination of both human and Pokémon attributes. These Pokémorphs usually have the physical shapes and sizes of humans, with the appearances and powers of a single Pokémon, as well as mixtures of both human and Pokémon abilities, behaviours and characteristics, such as various forms of communication (e.g. verbal speech between both humans and Pokémon). This "anthropomorphic Pokémon" explanation increased in use as these kinds of fan characters became more prevalent over the years while the original "polymorphic Pokémon" term faded in popularity. Currently, "Pokémorph" is almost always used to refer to an anthropomorphic Pokémon, though its older "polymorphic" meaning is still used in some newer fan fiction to this day.
Relations to the furry fandom
It is assumed by several Pokémon fans and some non-fans who are aware of Pokémorphs that most, if not all, Pokémorphs of the anthropomorphic kind are either closely related to or are the Pokémon-based version of furries, which are fictional anthropomorphic animals that are part of the furry fandom subculture. The furry fandom has been rather infamous for various perceptions and portrayals by non-fans and the media that those who relate to this fandom are believed to have a strong sexual interest in anthropomorphic animals. Likewise, several Pokémon fans tend to look down on anthropomorphic Pokémon because of their negative views and beliefs that they are "Pokéfurries", such as in this biased definition of a Pokémorph in a "Guide to Writing Non-Sucky Pokémon Fan Fiction":
Pokémorph - I shudder as I write this, but it is a sacrifice I as an author am required to make. A Pokémorph is a creature that is a combination of a Pokémon and a human. It is essentially the Pokémon equivalent of a furry. (If you don't know what a furry is, consider yourself lucky.) Pokémorphs (and the stories that include them) are very popular in furry circles, and should be avoided at all costs.
However, contradicting the above "definition", the furry fandom does not generally see Pokémorphs as a part of their fandom, rather seeing Pokémorphs as an extension of the Pokémon fandom. As quoted on WikiFur:
As a general rule, not all people with Pokémorph characters are furries. In point of fact, these people play such characters out of a kind of fandom for the video game they were based on. As such, unless a person with such a character says they are a furry, they should not be considered to be a furry. To them, it is more of an interest in the subject and fandom of the game which is thought of as separate from the furry fandom, although there are some with Pokémorph characters who are actually furries and also have separate furry characters. In some general consensus, the number of actual furs with such characters is low, though this is not confirmed and is subject to shifting even lower, or higher as time passes.
The simple naming scheme of a specific species of Pokémorph is adding the suffix, "-morph", to the name of a Pokémon species (e.g. "Pikachu-morph"). However, despite the basic descriptions above, Pokémorphs come in a variety of different forms, beyond being simply humans mixed with different species of Pokémon.
List of Pokémorph types
Most of these different types are based on the anthropomorphic meaning of Pokémorphs:
- "Human" Pokémorphs — Pokémorphs that look much like humans, but are still referred to as "morphs" due to that they are able to use a Pokémon's attacks or abilities. Rarely, they may also have some of a Pokémon's behaviours and instincts.
- Polymorphic Pokémorphs — As aforementioned, these Pokémorphs are usually humans who have the ability to transform into a Pokémon, mostly at will. They were usually based off of K. A. Applegate's Animorphs books.
- Moe anthropomorphic Pokémorphs, also known as "Gijinka Pokémon" (Japanese: 擬人化ポケモン) — Anthropomorphic Pokémon that look mostly human, but contain moe qualities. Many of these Pokémorphs tend to look like humans in cosplay, though they often have some Pokémon features, such as tails, ears, fins, and wings.
- Burst — A technique used in Pokémon RéBURST that allows a human to temorarily transform into a Pokémon-human hybrid using a special item called a Burst Heart (Japanese: Ｂハート) in the vein of the typical Henshin Hero, though the owner can also enter the Burst Heart in order to communicate with the Pokémon trapped inside. Those who can use Burst are known as Burst Warriors (Japanese: バースト戦士). A minority of Pokémon fans consider RéBURST to be the only instance of Pokémorphs appearing in any canon, although the term "Pokémorph" is still not used in any canon material. Aesthetically, the Burst form of a Burst Warrior appears to be somewhere between a gijinka and a fully anthropomorphic Pokémon, but moreso gijinka.
- Taur Pokémorphs — Based off the centaurs of Greek mythology, these Pokémorphs have the upper body (head, arms, and torso) of a human, but the lower body (and, occasionally, the ears) of a Pokémon with a quadruped or other multi-legged body. Bipedal variations of these Pokémorphs are very rare.
- Naga Pokémorphs — Based off the nāgas of Hinduism and Buddhism, these Pokémorphs have some of the parts, especially the arms, of a human, but the body and appearances of a serpentine Pokémon, such as Arbok or Seviper.
- Traditional or fully anthropomorphic Pokémorphs — These Pokémorphs basically look like Pokémon with humanoid body forms. The Pikachu-morph character seen at the top of the article, Stunner Pikans, is an example of this type.
- Combiomorph — A rare kind of Pokémorph, combiomorphs were created by fan fiction writer pikachuhunter1 for the fan fiction, Pokémon Periwinkle: It's Real. They are described by pikachuhunter1 as "a combination of two Pokémon and a human. The human side of them is the most prominent, and whoever is afflicted with being a combiomorph is able to turn into either [one] of the Pokémon associated with them." Their appearances look similar to that of chimeras, which are mythical creatures composed of different animal parts.
Notable fan creations
This is a list of fan-made media involving Pokémorphs that are considered notable in the Pokémon fandom:
- ↑ "Stinkoman" (real name unknown) (March 2007). The Guide to Writing Non-Sucky Pokémon Fan Fiction | Chapter 2: Glossary of Important Terms. Geocities. Archive taken from Archive.org capture. Retrieved July 24, 2011.
- ↑ Pokémorph - WikiFur, the furry encyclopedia | Section, "Pokémorphs, furries, and people". WikiFur. Retrieved July 24, 2011.