It’s fair to say that the world of Pokémon rarely ventures into territories that might be considered “adult.” This most family friendly of franchises works extremely hard to ensure, no matter how large the grown-up interest, it’s always open and welcoming to children. And then, today they released a VHS-horror short.
Ostensibly promotional material for next year’s Pokémon Legends: Arceus, the video features some incredibly unclear, artifact-ridden footage of a man exploring in the snowy hills of the Hisui region. He seems happy at first. He thinks he sees a wild Pokémon. And then the screaming begins.
Whatever it is that very clearly brutally murders this man, he at first thinks it’s a Growlithe, but then a Vulpix. Conditions are bad, and while they may sound like very different monsters, they do have a similar silhouette. But he concludes it’s neither.
“The tip of its tail is red and swaying,” he notices. Then, as it turns his way, he exclaims that, “it’s adorable!” It has white fur on top of its head and around its neck, which is apparently very fluffy. “Its eyes are round and yellow,” he adds, like he’s playing Pokémon Trivia, and then at that point whatever it is attacks and kills him, presumably leaving his corpse preserved in the snow for generations to come.
And yes, you’d be right to ask, “Um, pardon, I thought Arceus was set in the Olden Days? Where’d they get video camera footage?” But I answer with two responses.
1) Video cameras ARE from the Olden Days, Grandma.
2) They’re going to have Pokédexes and stuff, aren’t they? Players won’t be taking notes on slate. So maybe they had cameras then too?
There’s clearly more going on here than first meets the eye, as the associated social media accounts are asking people to “report back with your findings,” adding, “they may prove useful during your adventures in Pokémon Legends: Arceus.” And, yes, obviously we’re meant to guess.
It seemed immediately likely to me to be some sort of Charmander, right? Red tip of the tail? But no, fluffy fur—surely a Hisui Charmander couldn’t look like that? Replies on Twitter seem to be gravitating to a Hisuian Arcanine, while others have suggested a Litleo (surely not?), and even a variant Flaafy. I mean, that’s insane, but it could match the description!
Now we must wait for the truly great/ludicrous people to analyze the video for hidden clues within the artifacts, metadata only visible via electron microscopes, that sort of thing.
However, final credit must go to one Johnstone, for this extraordinary piece, presumably created using data analysis and facial recognition software:
Updated: 10/21/21, 09:25 a.m. ET: The mysterious Pokémon have been revealed! In an update on the official Pokémon Twitter, they report that one Professor Oak managed to restore the video, thanks to all your help! Good work, everyone!
So as suspected, at the start it was Snorunt our mysterious reporter could see, feeding on snow and ice. But more importantly, the Pokémon he saw before he was definitely murdered, appear to be Hisuan versions of Zorua and Zoroark. Serebii.net is reporting that they’re Normal and Ghost types, although it’s not clear how they know. They appear at the end of the video below.
This doesn’t explain the appearance of Lost’s smoke monster, but it does show the Zorua and Zoroark’s complete indifference toward human life, as they stare nonchalantly at his corpse, before merrily skipping off into the forest. Monsters.