Pokémon games are famous for basing regions on real-world locations. The Hisui Region in Pokémon Legends: Arceus, for example, was based on Hokkaido. But the setting is not the only thing the game appears to borrow.
As noted on 2ch, Japan’s most popular bulletin board, the way that traveling merchant Volo throws a Poké Ball looks very familiar. Here is how the Ginkgo Guild member chucks heat:
Japanese baseball fans have noted that the unusual way he throws reminds them of how retired ball player Hisashi Iwakuma pitched for a spell while at the Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes, and later at Rakuten, during the early to mid-2000s.
Compare for yourself below:
This hasn’t been confirmed, but goodness, the pitching styles sure are similar.
While playing for Kintetsu, Iwakuma had an unorthodox hitch, which at the time was a topic of conversation among Japanese baseball announcers and fans. Iwakuma didn’t have this exact hitch his entire career (it had changed by the time he pitched a no-hitter for the Mariners), which makes the reference even cooler, because it’s such a deep cut in Japanese baseball lore.
On 2ch and Pokémon Matome, fans seemed delighted by the assumed homage:
“This is hilarious.”
“The way he moves is the same. I guess there’s an Iwakuma fan there [at The Pokémon Company]?”
“Only a few people would get this.”
“Volvo is Iwakuma’s ancestor.”
“My wife and I said, ‘Iwakuma!’ at exactly the same time haha.”
“It’s truly Iwakuma.”
This, however, is not the only time that a Pokémon game has referenced Japanese pitchers. Fans point out that the iconic hurling styles of both Hideo Nomo (compare here and here) and Choji Murata (compare here and here) have also been immortalized in Pokémon.
No doubt they won’t be the last!
In case you missed it, check out Kotaku’s tips for playing Pokémon Legends: Arceus.