From Bulbapedia, the community-driven Pokémon encyclopedia.
While there are 829 officially recognized species of Pokémon, with most members of an individual species looking relatively similar to one another, several Pokémon species have remarkable differences in appearance between members. At times, these differences are purely cosmetic, and have no bearing on the difference in the Pokémon's stats from another; however, several Pokémon not only differ in stats, but also type, depending on their form.
Among these are several legendary Pokémon, whose unique forms can be changed between at will, and are spelled officially as "Formes". Many of the forms are known to have special names, while others do not, and are thus only named in fanon. Whichever form is encountered first will be the form displayed in the Pokédex by default; i.e., a player who encountered a West Sea Shellos would have it appear in the Pokédex by default, while one who encounters an East Sea Shellos first would see that Shellos appear in the Pokédex first.
Pokémon with differing forms
In Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, an alternate form of Pichu will appear at Ilex Forest (but only if the player has a Pikachu-colored Pichu in their party). This Pichu has a tuft of hair on the end of its left ear, and is known as the Spiky-eared Pichu. Spiky-eared Pichu's Pokéathlon performance stats are different than a normal Pichu's. It is always a female.
Unown was the first known Pokémon which had visual differences between individuals of the species. From the species' debut in Generation II, each Unown would have an appearance similar to that of one of the twenty-six letters of the Latin alphabet. In Generation III, two more forms were added, corresponding to the question mark and exclamation point.
A special Unown Dex, an upgrade to the Pokédex that was developed by the researchers at the Ruins of Alph to record the different forms of Unown, was available in Generation II after the player had caught several Unown. This was superseded in HeartGold and SoulSilver by the Unown Report, obtainable after the player completes the first tile puzzle in the Ruins of Alph.
Unown's form is determined in Generation III based on its personality value. Though the form has no bearing on base stats, ! and ? Unown have different performance stats than their alphabetical brethren.
Like Unown, Spinda has many visual variations in its species, all involving the placement of its spots. Like Unown's letter, the spot placement is generated based on the individual's personality value, and likewise, has no effect on the Pokémon's stats. Unlike Unown, however, these differences are rarely repeated, as the calculation uses the entirety of the personality value—a number that can range from zero to 4,294,967,295 (232 - 1).
Castform's first appearance at Hoenn's Weather Institute in Generation III brought about the concept of interchangeable forms. Unlike other Pokémon, an individual Castform's form is not static, and will change, due to its ability, with the weather.
Normally, Castform takes on a rather plain appearance, with a gray body. In this form, it is of the Template:Type2; as could be expected, it is in this form that it is at its least effective.
When Castform is exposed to bright rays of sunlight, it changes its form to a more sunny appearance, and becomes a Template:Type2 (Sunny Form). In rain, Castform becomes more like a raindrop, and becomes a Template:Type2 (Rainy Form). Finally, in hail, Castform takes the form of a snowy cloud, and becomes an Template:Type2 (Snowy Form).
It will not transform in any other weather conditions.
Castform's stats do not change between any of these forms.
Deoxys, the final Pokémon in the National Pokédex as of Generation III, was the first known Pokémon whose base stats and move compatibility differed, as well as its appearance, depending on its form. First introduced in Destiny Deoxys, Deoxys was revealed to have three alternating forms, while a fourth was added later, with the release of Pokémon Emerald. Like its base stats, its Pokéathlon performance varies depending on its form.
Deoxys's forms are game-specific in Generation III, but can be changed at will in Generation IV by inspecting the meteorites in Veilstone City in Sinnoh and Route 3 in Kanto.
Deoxys's Normal Forme is the default form it takes, as well as the form it appears in in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire. In this form, its stats are more balanced, though it is notably far more offensive than it is defensive.
It is in this form that Deoxys will be found in the wild on Birth Island, though it will transform after it has been captured, depending on its Generation III game version.
The Attack Forme is the appearance that Deoxys takes on in Pokémon FireRed, and it learns noticeably more powerful moves while in this form. Its Attack and Special Attack stats have been maxed out, making it the most powerful of all Pokémon in both aspects, while its Speed remains the same as its default form. Its defensive stats, however, take a harsh blow, lowering so much that it is only more powerful in Defense than seven Pokémon (tied with three others), and is tied for last place in Special Defense with five others, including Magikarp.
In Pokémon LeafGreen, the counterpart version to FireRed, Deoxys takes on a counterpart form to the Attack Forme, the Defense Forme. Whereas the Attack Forme had incredible offensive power (and incredibly weak defensive capabilities), Defense Forme inverts this somewhat, having mediocre offensive power (and a lower Speed stat) and heightened Defense and Special Defense. This form of Deoxys learns moves more attuned to attrition than to elimination, raising its already high defenses to protect against opponents' moves rather than attack them before they can attack.
By far the quickest of all Pokémon, Deoxys in its Speed Forme learns many moves that can guarantee that it will strike before any other Pokémon can. Though it can still be outsped by a Pokémon with Speed Boost, Speed Forme Deoxys takes the uneven nature of the stats of Deoxys's other forms and balances them out, keeping it from hitting too hard, but at the same time, preventing it from being hit too hard itself.
Burmy and Wormadam
Both Burmy and its female evolution, Wormadam, have three separate forms, being the first Pokémon whose evolution depends on a specific form. Like others, Burmy can change form freely, depending on where it last participated in a battle actively (Exp. Share maintains a Burmy's form if it does not leave the Poké Ball); however, Wormadam's form is permanent.
If a Burmy last battled in a grassy outside area, hatched from an egg whose Wormadam parent was in the Plant Cloak, or hatched from an egg that had Mothim and Ditto as parents, it will be in its basic state, the Plant Cloak. This form of Burmy is covered in leaves and twigs. If a female, it will evolve into Wormadam in its Plant Cloak, which is a Bug/Grass Pokémon.
If a Burmy last battled on a beach or in a cave, or hatched from an egg whose Wormadam parent was in the Sandy Cloak, it will be in the Sandy Cloak. This form of Burmy is covered in sand and rocks. If a female, it will evolve into Wormadam in its Sandy Cloak, which is a Bug/Ground Pokémon.
If a Burmy last battled inside of a building, or hatched from an egg whose Wormadam parent was in the Trash Cloak, it will be in the Trash Cloak. This form of Burmy is covered in pink insulation. If a female, it will evolve into Wormadam in its Trash Cloak, which is a Bug/Steel Pokémon.
A Wormadam's stats and move compatibility vary with her form, in addition to type and appearance. The cloak a male Burmy takes on before evolution makes no difference, as it sheds it upon evolution into Mothim.
| Plant Cloak
| Sandy Cloak
| Trash Cloak|
Like Castform, Cherrim changes its appearance depending on the weather, though not with all kinds. It will be in its Sunshine form in intense sunlight and its Overcast form in any other weather. Due to its ability, its Attack and Special Defense will also increase in its Sunshine form. Unlike Castform, its type does not change.
Shellos and Gastrodon
Another Sinnoh-native evolution family, Shellos and Gastrodon also have a difference, depending on, this time, whether the Pokémon in question was caught east or west of Mt. Coronet. Like others before, neither form can change to the other, but unlike other multiple-form Pokémon, the appearance of the mother is the determinant to the appearance of the hatched Pokémon.
Both West Sea Shellos and Gastrodon take on a pink appearance, while their East Sea cousins take on a blue hue. There is also a slight difference in bodily appearance depending on the form.
In August of 2008, shortly before the Japanese release of Pokémon Platinum, five silhouetted Pokémon were shown, with a statement that indicated that these Pokémon would be in the game. Days before the game's release, it was revealed that these Pokémon were alternate forms of Rotom.
In each of these forms, Rotom has possessed a different household appliance, and each has its own special move. Heat Rotom, which is based on a toaster oven, can have Overheat, Wash Rotom, based on a washing machine, learns Hydro Pump on assuming that form, Frost Rotom, a refrigerator, learns Blizzard, Fan Rotom, based on a fan, learns Air Slash, and Mow Rotom, based on a lawnmower, learns Leaf Storm.
Despite this new variance in move types, all forms of Rotom retain their Ghost/Electric typing, though all alternate forms have the same higher base stat total than Normal Rotom.
Giratina, much like Deoxys had been earlier, was announced to have an alternate form in the then-upcoming Giratina and the Sky Warrior in February, 2008. One of the two forms is the familiar form to players of Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, designated as Altered Forme Giratina, while the other is a more serpentine form that was not previously known, the Origin Forme.
The Origin Forme is known as Giratina's natural form, which it appears in in its home of the Reverse World (in the anime) and Distortion World (in the games). If it travels to the Pokémon world, it assumes its Altered Forme. Both Formes appear in Pokémon Platinum, where Giratina is captured in the Distortion World in its more offense-oriented Origin Forme, and will revert to the defensive Altered Forme outside of this area unless it holds the Griseous Orb.
As with Giratina, an alternate form of the event Pokémon Shaymin was announced to appear in Giratina and the Sky Warrior, and is, in fact, the titular sky warrior. This new Sky Forme of Shaymin, with the previously-known form now called the Land Forme, has a completely altered appearance and, rather than being a pure-Template:Type2, is now Grass/Flying.
Like Giratina and Deoxys's transformations are activated by an external source, Shaymin's is activated by contact with a Gracidea, whose bouquets look almost like a sleeping Shaymin.
It is interesting to note that upon changing forms, Shaymin also changes its cry. It is the only Pokémon to do so.
Arceus has eighteen different forms, each with a slightly different coloration, which correspond to the eighteen different elemental types.
Arceus's transformation between these Formes is brought about by its held item: if it is holding a plate, it draws its type from that plate as stated in Sinnoh's mythology, while remaining Template:Type2 when not holding a plate or holding any non-plate item. The Template:Type2 Forme of Arceus is currently unavailable in any legitimate manner, as there is no plate to turn it to this type. Educated speculation attributes this to an attempt made by Nintendo to prevent the game from freezing if a ???-type Forme Arceus is hacked into the game.
While its base stats remain constant despite its changing type, its Pokéathlon performance changes slightly.
Shikijika and Mebukijika
Shikijika changes its appearance depending on the season, each of which lasts a month in real time, rather than three. During spring, its coat will be pink; during summer, green; during autumn, orange; and during winter, brown.
Mebukijika, Shikijika's evolved form, also differs with the season, with flowers in its antlers during spring; a full set of leaves in its antlers in summer; brown and wilting leaves in the autumn; and white antlers along with sections of thicker, white fur in the winter.
It is unknown whether their stats change with their form.
Similar to Shellos and Gastrodon, Basurao has two differently colored forms, one of with an orange stripe and eyes, and the other with blue. However, its color depends on which game it is found in, rather than where in the region.
The Stage 2 evolution of Mamepato, Kenhorou has two differently styled forms, one with a green breast and a red head with two "tails" coming off it, the other with a brown breast and grey head with no "tails". What causes these differences is currently unknown, though it may be related to gender, as in real-world birds.
- The Generation I Pokédex entries for Arbok state that the markings on its belly differ between regions. The pattern has differed in sprites; however, this is dependent on the game rather than the Pokémon.
- Shellder also changes between bivalve and spiral-shaped variations depending on whether or not it is attached to a Slowpoke's head or tail.
- From Generation IV onward, there are many Pokémon that appear differently as a result of their gender, some drastically, some not.
- XD001 was a Shadow Lugia that was so thoroughly corrupted that its appearance changed.
- A Dialga also changed its appearance when it lost control of time in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time and Explorers of Darkness.
- Mantyke's Pokédex entry in Pearl says that the special patterns on its back vary from region to region. Unlike Arbok, however, its backsprite shows no difference between Sinnoh and Johto games.
- The Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum Pokédex entries for Weezing state that triplet forms have been discovered; however, this variant has not been shown in any Pokémon media. A third section of Weezing (without a face) appears on every Weezing seen so far.
Other form differences
There are several other differences that Pokémon have. For detailed descriptions of them, see Variant Pokémon.
In other languages
- French: Forme Originelle
- Spanish: Forma Origen
- German: Urform
- Italian: Forma Originale
- French: Forme Alternative
- Spanish: Forma Modificada
- German: Wandelform
- Italian: Forma Alterata
- French: Forme Terrestre
- Spanish: Forma Tierra
- German: Landform
- Italian: Forma Terra
- French: Forme Céleste
- Spanish: Forma Cielo
- German: Zenitform
- Italian: Forma Cielo
- French: Motisma Chaleur
- German: Hitze-Rotom
- Italian: Rotom Calore
- French: Motisma Lavage
- German: Wasch-Rotom
- Italian: Rotom Lavaggio
- French: Motisma Hélice
- German: Wirbel-Rotom
- Italian: Rotom Vortice
- French: Motisma Tonte
- German: Schneid-Rotom
- Italian: Rotom Taglio
- French: Motisma Froid
- German: Frost-Rotom
- Italian: Rotom Gelo