Ideas can start to run out when you have to write names for NPCs, especially when they start to hit numbers above 100, as they do in many main Pokemon games.

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After you’ve exhausted the names of your friends, family, and pets, you might start looking for outside inspiration. Or maybe you were such a big fan of a TV show you just came from had to name this character after the protagonist. This certainly seems the case for the teams involved in producing our favorite mega-bit for catching monsters.


Tesla Elesa Pokémon Video Game

Elesa is the Nimbasa City Gymnasium Manager in Black & White and Their Suites – in the latter case, she has moved gyms and hired new staff, three of whom are wonderfully fitting references to a group of incredibly influential people.

Just before facing Elesa, the player will face Beauty Tesla (a reference to engineer Nikola Tesla), Beauty Fleming (representing microbiologist Alexander Fleming) and Beauty Ampère (a tribute to physicist André-Marie Ampère). As a bonus, Mareep is an anagram of Ampere, possibly due to Ampere’s contributions to electrodynamics.

Mr. Crowley

Alister Aleister Crowley Pokémon Video Game

A recent benchmark in the Pokemon series is the Shield exclusive Gym Leader Allister. Allister is a masked Ghost-type user who can see dead Pokémon, which is why his namesake is so apt.

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Allister is most likely a reference to Aleister Crowley. Crowley was a late 19th century poet, occultist, and practitioner of magic, sparking much controversy for his interest in the paranormal and his extravagant lifestyle. The supernatural nature of these two characters, coupled with the fact that they are both from the UK (Galar is based on the UK so close!) Makes Crowley a fitting choice to name a ghost-type gym leader. .

Master Bruce

Batman Pokémon West Keaton Bruce Wayne Comic Video Game

Although a divisive entry in the series, Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee made add some cool extras to the game they were based on: Pokemon Yellow. A notable addition was that of the master trainers. These powerful opponents are a group of trainers that the player can encounter throughout the game after defeating the champion, each using a Pokémon exclusively.

The Master Trainers of Zubat and Golbat are scientists West and Keaton respectively. It’s a nod to two of the actors who played DC Comics’ Batman – Adam West and Michael Keaton, two fan favorites. On top of that, Pikachu’s master trainer is called Ikue, after Pikachu’s anime voice actor Ikue Ohtani.

Catch them all

Pokémon Rhinoceros Beetle Video Game

Pokemon Crystal was the first appearance of the Battle Tower, which has now become a staple in most of the main Pokemon games. Crystal’s Battle Tower would pit the player against seven tough NPC trainers in a row, rewarding them if they managed to emerge victorious.

One NPC, in particular, is called Bug Catcher Tajiri. It is generally believed to be a reference to the creator of the Satoshi Tajiri series. One of Pokemon’s main inspirations was Tajiri’s love for collecting bugs, hence Bug Catcher Tajiri. It’s also likely that Battle Tower NPC guitarist Masuda is a reference to Crystal’s musical director Junichi Masuda.

Feel ya later

Ash Gary Shigeru Satoshi Pokémon Video Game

One of the first references to real people in games occurs in the opening minutes of Red & Green. When the player is prompted for a name, they are given a list of default names to choose from or the option to enter a new name.

The default names given vary by game and language, but in Red & Green two of the potential choices are Shigeru and Satoshi, a reference to Nintendo hit-maker Shigeru Miyamoto and the aforementioned Satoshi Tajiri. This reference refers to the anime, where the Japanese names of Ash and Gary are Satoshi and Shigeru respectively.

Sundance children

Butch Cassidy Pokémon Video Game

Many may remember Team Rocket’s Butch and Cassidy as the counterparts of the series mainstays Jessie and James. Butch and Cassidy didn’t make appearances in too many episodes, primarily serving to illustrate how incompetent Jessie and James were by generally being better than them at all.

In the name of this duo is a reference – very apt, given their line of work – Butch Cassidy is the name of one of the most infamous train thieves of the 19th century and as Butch and Cassidy are in the business of fly, it’s no wonder these names were chosen.

Life is unfair

Lois Hal Malcolm In The Middle Pokémon TV Video Game

The year 2002 gave us Ruby & Sapphire, the third pair of major Pokemon games. Two years earlier, we were treated to the cult television series Malcolm In The Middle. In 2014, the two giants crossed paths in the form of a double battle in the young couple of Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire of Sea Mauville.

For anyone who failed to see the show, Malcolm’s parents’ names are Lois and Hal, and since they had a significant portion of the screen time per episode, with some episodes based entirely on them, this It’s no exaggeration to assume this is a nod to the often dysfunctional family.

City Palette

Pokémon Georgia O'Keefe Video Game

Kalos from Pokemon X & Y is a fictional version of France – with the Lumiose Tower, a reference to the Eiffel Tower and the Glittering Cave, based on the Paris Catacombs, to name just a few notable pieces of evidence. When one thinks of France, several things can come to mind – haute cuisine, the Louvre, the fine arts – which is not surprising that part of the translation team succeeded in sneak a few small references to the latter in the form of Kalos’ NPCs.

RELATED: Pokémon: The 5 Best Things About Kalos (& 5 That Needed To Be Improved)

Four trainers exist in Kalos who pay homage to famous artists – the artists Georgia, Pierre, Vincent and Salvador – referring to the modernist Georgia O’Keeffe, to the impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Publish-the impressionist Vincent van Gogh and the surrealist Salvador Dali.

Prepare for trouble

Jesse James Jessie Pokémon Video Game

Butch and Cassidy aren’t the only Team Rocket duo to hide a reference to a real person – the combination of the adorable antagonist names from the Jessie and James anime reveals the name of another Western outlaw .

Jesse James, like Butch Cassidy, was a 19th century outlaw who robbed trains and banks and would become, like Cassidy, one of the most prolific criminals of the century.

Mister President

Ritchie Hiroshi Yamauchi Pokemon Video Game

Throughout the anime, Ash has had a wide variety of other trainers with him and Pikachu, sometimes for an entire season, sometimes for just an episode or two. One of his first tagalongs was Ritchie, a fellow trainer and Pikachu specialist.

Ritchie is kind, friendly, and generally a lot more level-headed than Ash, who is more aggressive. Equally good, given that many believe his Japanese name – Hiroshi – is a reference to former Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi.

NEXT: Pokémon: The 5 Best Red & Blue Pokémon NPCs (& The 5 Worst)


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