Ho-Oh & Lugia are some of the most recognized and popular legendary Pokémon out there. But despite all the notoriety, there’s a lot to these Pokémon that most fans don’t know much about. Every Pokémon has a story behind it, but these two have quite the history. That’s in big part to how important they were to the Gen II games. You’ll find out a lot about these two by looking into how they came to be.
Though often covered as a pair, the following entries will focus on both Ho-Oh and Lugia individually. There’s a lot to learn about each of them; with things having to do with their conception to the modern era of Pokémon games.
10 TCG Continuity Errors
For those who are really into the TCG, this one may not be all that surprising. There have been times throughout the TCG which Lugia has been referred to as a Water-type in some prints.
As most fans know, Lugia is actually a Psychic/Flying-type. It can learn some Water-type moves and is often shown in that kind of setting, so you can sort of understand where the mistake came from. But that should’ve still been fact-checked.
9 The First Gen II Pokémon in the Anime
One distinction that Ho-Oh has is that it was the first Gen II Pokémon to make it into the anime. It was first shown at the end of the series’ first episode and could not be identified by with the Pokédex.
This was a pretty huge occurrence at the time, as it was the first sign in the anime that the series would expand passed the original 151 Pokémon introduced in Gen I. If you count out the opening sequence, then Ho-Oh is actually the first ever legendary to appear in an episode – and no one even knew what it was. Crazy.
8 Dinosaur Features
If you’re going just off its look, there’s no questioning where the inspirations from Lugia’s design came from. Given some of its physical traits, it’s speculated that Lugia’s physical features are based off of plesiosaurs.
The inspiration for Lugia could have come from a Japanese Shinto God. Called Ryujin, it is described as a dragon that lived deep within the ocean depths and served as the God of the Sea. That all sounds pretty familiar.
7 No More Signature Move
Long-time Pokémon fans will know that Ho-Oh’s signature move, Sacred Fire is as iconic as the Pokémon that uses it. While the move was exclusive to Ho-Oh for years following the Pokémon’s introduction, that all changed in Gen VI.
Entei also gained the ability to learn Sacred Fire in Gen VI. This making Ho-Oh the only game mascot to have lost its signature move. It’s not a big deal sure, but you would have expected it to have gained another signature move by now. That just doesn’t seem like it’s happening.
6 Pokémon X
There was a time, during the first to second-gen transition that Lugia was known as Pokémon X. It was an obvious placeholder name, but you can find it referred to this in the anime – all prior to Gold & Silver having come out.
There’s a pretty cool Gale of Darkness tie-in to this bit of trivia as well. Lugia’s codename in the game is XD001. The game’s title (XD: Gale of Darkness) makes a little more sense once you figure that out.
5 Ho-Oh & Ash
Ash has encountered plenty of Pokémon in the anime, but among all of them Ho-oh stands out as one of the most important. Its significance in the series has already been explained, but there’s one reason in particular as to why this is one of Ash’s most important encounters.
According to the anime’s director, Masamitsu Hidaka, Ho-Oh appearing to ash was initially used as a plot device. The encounter was a way of getting Ash’s character motivated and at the same time emphasize how special his journey is meant to be to the audience.
4 Noah’s Arc
Pokédex entries tend to change from generation to generation. Some are only tweaked while others reveal new information that adds to a certain Pokémon’s lore. Older Pokémon have this happen quite a bit, and Lugia, in particular, has had some pretty interesting Dex entries.
In Gens IV, V & VI, Lugia’s Dex entries reference its ability to cause a massive 40-day storm. This sounds a lot like a Noah’s Arc reference, which would make sense given Lugia’s prior Dex entries.
3 Connection To The Legendary Beasts
Some fans may not be aware, but there’s a pretty interesting dynamic that exists between certain legendary Pokémon. The Pokémon franchise features a handful of Legendary trios. Each of them have a trio master. For the Legendary Beasts trio, Ho-Oh serves as their trio master.
Ho-Oh’s ties to the beasts are made clear throughout the Gen II games. It is responsible for reviving the trio after they perished at the Burned Tower in Ecruteak City. This doesn’t really have an effect on gameplay, and is more pertinent to those interested in the series’ lore. But it’s a cool little factoid nonetheless.
2 Lugia’s Name
One aspect of creating a Pokémon that seems simple is giving it a name. While design and typing are seen as the more important aspects of creating a Pokémon, there’s a lot of work put into giving each one a suitable name to go by.
Lugia’s name can come from a bunch of different origins. It could come from Lutetium; a silver-colored metal. It could also be derived from the Latin Luna (moon) or even a play on beluga whale.
1 Ho-Oh’s Name
Unlike Lugia’s name, Ho-Oh’s name origins seem to be way more straight forward and clear-cut. If you look at its Japanese name, ホウオウ (Houou) alongside its English translation, the name seems to be derived from 鳳凰. These characters are Japanese for fènghuáng, which is a sort of Phoenix in Chinese mythology.
It’s also possible that the ou sound in its name is a reference to the Japanese words for Emperor or King. Regardless of which you choose to interpret, it makes sense given Ho-Oh’s appearance and backstory.