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.
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 on K. A. Applegate's Animorphs books.
- Moe anthropomorphic Pokémorphs, also known as " 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 , 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 on 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 quadrupedal or other multi-legged body. Bipedal variations of these Pokémorphs are very rare.
- Naga Pokémorphs — Based on 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.
Notable fan creations
This is a list of fan-made media involving Pokémorphs that are considered notable in the Pokémon fandom:
- The Gijinka Pokédex Project - A deviantArt group that focuses on anthropomorphic Pokémon. An overwhelming majority of the fan art in this group are based on the moe anthropomorphic (gijinka) type of Pokémorphs.
- Moemon - A hack of Pokémon FireRed that changes all Pokémon into gijinka.
- Morphic - A fan fiction written by The Cave of Dragonflies webmaster "Butterfree", also known as "Dragonfree" or "Antialiasis", that is known as a well-written of Pokémorphs.
- Pokémorph Combat Academy - A community fan fiction/comic series created by , who also created the furry comic series, Extinctioners. The series takes place at a boarding school-style high school in an alternate universe Pokémon world where Pokémorphs have evolved from regular Pokémon and humans no longer exist. PokéCombat Academy also has a group on .
- Pokémorph MUSH - According to , it is "the longest-running successful Pokémon-themed MU* on the Internet". However, the site has been under renovation since summer 2011. It has its own wiki called the .
- Transformation and Pokémorph stories - A FanFiction.Net community (called a C2 on the site) that's focused on stories about Pokémorphs as well as Pokémon transformations, which is currently the fourth-largest such Pokémon community on the site based on and .
- Dynamorph - An Alternate Universe (originating from the Tumblr fanbase) in which Dynamaxed Pokémon are fused with their trainers. Became popular after the release of Pokémon Sword and Shield.
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