Saying Aloha to Alola #3: Native Species of Alola

Aloha kākou! We are back to another segment of Saying Aloha to Alola, a blog series containing my perspective of references made to Hawaiʻi for the upcoming Sun and Moon games as a player who grew up on Maui and attending college on Oʻahu. If you haven’t read my previous segment, “Tapu Koko and Friends”, you can find it here.

In today’s segment, I will be discussing about newly revealed Pokémon such as Bounsweet, Comfey, Jangmo-o, Pyukumuku, and Crabrawler.

The Queen of Fruit

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Bounsweet has a pretty interesting design. A friend of mine once claimed this Pokémon looks like a lychee, but I didn’t think so at first. I took a look at Bounsweet’s information on Bulbapedia, and it states that this Pokémon’s design is based off a mangosteen.

Now, you’re wondering what on Earth a mangosteen is. Does it look like a mango? Does it taste like a mango? Is it even related to a mango?

Image result for mangosteen

The answer to all these questions is no. The mangosteen is best known for its luxurious taste, and it’s said to have a refreshing sweet and sour taste. I haven’t had the chance to try one for myself for a couple legitimate reasons. They are rare in Hawaiʻi, and because of that, only a few farmers on the Big Island are able to harvest this fruit. In addition to the mangosteen’s rarity, they can get expensive, and they also cannot be exported outside of Hawaiʻi. In Chinatown, mangosteens can sell for roughly $20 per pound. I honestly haven’t seen fruit so expensive, but with how delicious it tastes, it should be well worth its price. If you’d like to learn a little more about the mangosteen, you can read The Queen of Fruit, an article published in Honolulu Magazine. Speaking of queens, its final evolved form, Tsareena, is depicted as a Pokémon with the nature of a high-class nobility, and one of its abilities is known as Queenly Majesty, which both are references to this nickname of the mangosteen.

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A Symbol of the Alola Spirit

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It’s obvious that Comfey’s design is based off a lei, which is a major symbol of Hawaiʻi; however, a lei isn’t only constructed by flowers. It’s typically constructed by things such as leaves, seeds, shells, nuts, feathers, and even the teeth and bones of certain animals. When a lei is given to someone, it symbolizes the aloha spirit in several ways. This would include things like love, honor, and even as a way to greet someone, especially if that someone is new to the islands. In fact, it’s very common to give leis to students at graduation ceremonies in Hawaiʻi. I remember when I graduated high school, we’d walk over to a special area where you receive leis from your friends and family, and I got so much that I almost suffocated in them. It was such a fun time, and it’s exciting to know that I’ll be experiencing this for a second time after I finish college. If you’d like to know more about the tradition of the lei, you can read it here.

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Me suffocating in a bunch of leis at my high school graduation. I can’t believe it’s been over three years…

Deez Dragons Like Scrap

English translation: These dragons want to fight.

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What really stood out to me when looking at Jangmo-o’s evolution line is the suffix of their names, “mo-o”. I thought the way it’s spelled is so weird because many Hawaiian words incorporate the ʻokina, otherwise known as the reverse apostrophe-like character that produces a glottal stop in words. I soon realized that maybe Game Freak’s programs may not have been able to recognize the ʻokina as a character. Another reason could be that the ʻokina is so unusual that it’d be difficult for someone to find this character if the Hawaiian keyboard isn’t available. If they were able to use this character, Jangmo-o’s name would have originally been spelled as “Jangmoʻo”, but nonetheless, their pronunciations should be the same.

“Moʻo” means gecko in Hawaiian, in reference to the common house geckos in the homes of Hawaiʻi and many other places around the world. However, Jangmo-o and its evolution line are dragon types because moʻo can also mean dragon. There isn’t a true Hawaiian word for dragon, and as a result, moʻo is the closest in terms of meanings, which makes this definition quite ambiguous.

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Then, Jangmo-o evolves into Hakamo-o, which gains the fighting type. Before we get into more information about this Pokémon, let’s take a look at a part of its description from the official website:

“Hakamo-o dances before battle to show its strength, clanging its scales together to make them ring out. When this dance reaches climax, Hakamo-o bellows a fierce war cry to challenge its opponent.”

The prefix of its name, “haka”, is a traditional Māori dance typically performed by warriors in the olden times. During those times, the haka would be performed before battle to show intimidation to their opponents, ergo the fighting typing for Hakamo-o and Kommo-o. Nowadays, the haka is performed to welcome guests or to celebrate special occasions such as graduations, weddings, funerals, etc.

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“Wat brah, like scrap?”

There are different types of haka, so if you’d like to learn more about them, as well as other information about the haka in general, you can find it all here. Below, there are videos of the All Blacks, a famous rugby team from Aotearoa (New Zealand), performing two different types of haka. The first is the most commonly known haka, “Ka Mate”, and the other is known as “Kapa o Pango”.

Ka Mate:

Kapa o Pango:

Nobody Wants This Thing…

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“Due to their appearance and their lifestyle, Pyukumuku are considered unappealing to tourists. Part-time work chucking Pyukumuku back into the sea is available at tourist beaches. But no matter how far they’re thrown, Pyukumuku will always return to the same spot.

Once a Pyukumuku finds a place it likes, it won’t budge from it. If someone moves it away, back it comes to the same spot. If it runs out of food to eat in that spot, it’ll stay there—and starve. The people of Alola found this so pitiful that they developed a tradition of chucking Pyukumuku back into the food-rich sea whenever they come across any thin-bellied Pyukumuku.”

First off, I’m surprised Game Freak actually made a design based off a sea cucumber. It’s an oddly satisfying design because I know it looks like a sea cucumber; yet, it’s much rounder and shorter than the typical ones I usually see.

Image result for sea cucumber hawaii

Pyukumuku’s ability is Innards Out, which will be able to deal one last bit of damage to its opponent, equal to the amount of HP it had left before it received the final blow after this Pokémon faints.

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This hand shaped gut coming out of its body is a reference to the defense system of sea cucumbers within the order of Aspidochirotida. This defense mechanism of theirs is usually activated when the sea cucumber is stressed, and they expel enlargements of their respiratory tree, known as cuverian tubes (named after the French zoologist Georges Cuveris), out of their anus. With this defense mechanism, they have the ability to tangle potential predators, like how Pyukumuku can damage opposing Pokémon with its ability.

Image result for sea cucumber defense mechanism

Now, you’re wondering why Pyukumuku’s insides come out of its mouth. First of all, its very likely that parents would not appreciate their children seeing things come out from the back end. Second, its name, “Pyukumuku”, is just a combination of “puke” and “mucus”. The funniest thing about its name is although it sounds Japanese and can easily be written in katakana as ピュクムク, its Japanese name is actually “Namakobushi” (ナマコブシ), a combination of “namako” (sea cucumber), and “kobushi” (fist).

As for the feature of throwing back Pyukumuku in the sea to make money, it relates to the harvesting of sea cucumbers in Hawaiʻi. In fact, in the summer of 2015, there was an emergency ban on the harvesting sea cucumbers, which are mainly prized for medicinal purposes, as sea cucumbers can be used to cure diseases like arthritis, joint pain, and even cancer. In the video below is a clip of throwing Pyukumuku back into the sea.

Dis Crab Goin’ Give You Lickins’

English translation: This crab will beat you up if you make it mad.

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“Crabrawler’s favorite food is Berries. It punches the trunks of trees to give the branches a good shake and knock any ripe Berries to the ground so it can feast! Many Crabrawler may gather around a tree, but only the one that emerges victorious in battle against all the others receives the privilege of eating the ripe Berries.”

According to Bulbapedia, Crabrawler seems to be based off the coconut crab. My first thought was why Crabrawler doesn’t have water typing, even though it’s a crab. I did a bit of research, and found out that the coconut crab is a land crab that cannot swim, except when they are larvae.

Coconut crabs mainly feed on fruits, nuts, seeds, and the pith of fallen trees; however, they are actually omnivores. These crabs can also eat just about anything they can find. They prey on tortoise hatchlings, smaller crabs, and even go as far as eating the carcasses of dead animals, including people and other coconut crabs. Because of their wide options in their diet, they are actually illegal in Hawaiʻi because according to to Dr. Rob Toonen, Ph.D. professor of the Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, “they’ll raid people’s trash cans, eat native birds, eat juvenile plants, and tear up the landscape if they’re here. They grab a hold of things, can rip them open, can bust open a coconut, and the idea of that crawling around in their backyard is not going to be very pleasant to most people in Hawaiʻi.” The last time a coconut crab was seen in Hawaiʻi was in December 2014, and it went all over the media in Hawaiʻi because it’s such a big deal something so dangerous would even show up here. You can read more about it here.

“Crabrawler uses its claws to protect its face and belly while getting in close to an opponent to throw punches. Its punches are powerful enough to split tree trunks!”

In addition to how threatening coconut crabs are, they have very powerful pincers. If you ever get pinched by one of these things, they might be capable of breaking your finger. In the video below, you can see a coconut crab easily crushing a pen:

Even though Crabrawler is supposedly based off a coconut crab, the most interesting thing about it is that they punch things rather than pinch things. The only crustacean I know that punches things is the smasher mantis shrimp. The mantis shrimp’s punch is as fast as a 22-caliber bullet, which is impossible for us to see. The punch is activated with a saddle-shaped part of the exoskeleton, which acts like a spring to store and release energy. These punches can easily break a crab’s shell, and they can also probably break your hand if you’re not careful. There are mantis shrimp in Hawaiʻi, but they aren’t smashers. In fact, they are zebra mantis shrimp, a variation of the spearers. The zebra mantis shrimp roam free in the water of the Ala Wai Canal, which has the dirtiest water in Honolulu. Surprisingly enough, all that muck in the water actually benefits the zebra mantis shrimp. I even think people are crazy for canoe paddling over there, and I heard from a friend that someone swam in the water and ended up getting sick.

In the video below, you can learn more about both spearers and smashers (WARNING: NSFW):

Bonus: Spooky Owls

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To commemorate Halloween, I decided to circle back to Rowlet and its evolution line. First off, I did first think of the pueo in my first segment; however, the more I look at Rowlet and Dartrix, the more I’m convinced their designs are actually based off the invasive barn owls. Like the mongoose, the barn owl was mainly introduced to hunt for rats, but they preyed on native birds instead, which include seabirds, waterbirds, and forest birds.

Image result for barn owl hawaii

Recently, a friend gave me information that very fascinating. The final evolution of Rowlet is Decidueye, which is Grass/Ghost, rather than Grass/Flying, and this is because Decidueye is based off the genus of true owls known as Grallistrix, or stilt-owls, and looking at Decidueye’s design, it has long stilt-like legs. These owls all lived on the Hawaiian Islands, but are now extinct, which is one thing that explains the ghost typing of Decidueye. Another explanation of the ghost typing is although stilt-owls can very well fly, they stalked sleeping birds on foot and raided seabird colonies at night. Currently, there is no photographic evidence of any of these owls whether it’d be a picture of a fossil or a drawing, as they have never been seen alive by scientists.

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Another thing I noticed is Dartrix’s name. According to Bulbapedia, its suffix is derived from Strix, another genus of owls, which is referred to a type of owl believed to suck on the blood of infants. It could also have been derived from Grallistrix because by looking at Dartix’s design, it also has slightly long stilt-like legs. With this name derivation, it probably hinted the ghost typing of Decidueye, and it looks like Game Freak did a good job at making it hard to notice at first.

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Closing

First and foremost, I sincerely apologize for such a long delay. So much has been going on in my life, and I’m really trying my best to keep it together. I really appreciate your patience for this third segment, and I really hope you enjoy this one like you enjoyed the other two. Sometime this week, I’ll get another segment up for you all, and to be fair, I’ll give a preview of what’s up next. In the next segment, I’ll discuss about Oricorio, the guardian deities, and their respective islands. I’ll also write about a few of the Alolan forms that stood out to me. Much mahalos for reading! Shoots, buggahs!

DISCLAIMER: This blog post contains only my personal perspective on the Sun and Moon news, so some of the information cannot yet be confirmed as fact, although I did research on these topics. I’ve tried my best to make it sound as accurate as I possibly can, and I continue to do research on such topics and update whenever I spot mistakes. Mahalo for understanding.

© 2016 Kasoman’s Sea of Thoughts
Published on 10/31/2016 at 12:15 PM HST

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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