A Pokémorph (portmanteau of "Pokémon" and "anthropomorph") is a fanon created creature that is partly human and partly Pokémon. The concept of the Pokémorph is virtually nonexistent in canon sources, but has thrived since at least 1998 in fanfiction, fanart, and doujin. Pokémorphs are seen by some as an extension of Furry fandom, although certainly not everyone who writes about or draws these creatures is a member of this subculture.
Pokémorphs are a common topic for role plays, and several forums, online journal communities, and MUSHes revolve around them.
The term "Pokémorph" (this time derived from "Pokémon" and "polymorph") is also sometimes used to describe fanfics about shapeshifter characters who can take the form of numerous Pokémon (often based in large part upon the Animorphs books by K. A. Applegate). Although some evidence indicates that this usage of the term predates the former explanation, it has faded in popularity, and "Pokémorph," today, almost always refers to an anthropomorphic Pokémon.
Because Pokémorphs have no canon basis, the ways they are worked into stories are completely fanon, and can take a variety of routes. The most common methods of introducing a Pokémorph character or characters are:
- Scientific. The Pokémorph is generally a genetically engineered being produced for a variety of purposes, the most common being as either fighters/soldiers or as "elite" beings created to help achieve the experimenters' goals.
- Enemy attack. An example of this is PE2K's War V, where a faction released a PHT virus either as a virus through a city water system or as a missile attack, basically an act of terror. This resulted in characters in the War RP being fused with pokemon.
- Magical. The Pokémorph is often a curse victim (almost always from a vengeful Ninetales or Legendary Pokémon), though any number of magical ways may have been involved in the Pokémorph's existence, such as jewelry or gems (to name two of the most common).
- Alternate Universe. Pokémorphs are presented as having always lived alongside human beings, or the story is set in a world in which Pokémorphs have completely taken the place of humans.
- Crossbreeding. A human engages in sexual relations with a Pokémon, which somehow results in a Pokémorph being born. This is usually only possible with human-like species - Blaziken, Sceptile, or Alakazam, to name a few.
Pokémorphs come in a wide variety of shapes and forms, although these characters are often completely human in all ways except appearance (although more "serious" Pokémorph fanfic writers try to avoid this). Common species for Pokémorphs are usually Raichu, Ninetales, Eevee and its evolutions, and most other canine or vulpine Pokémon. More recently, Lucario and most of the Dragon types (and even a few of the other members of the Dragon Egg Type, such as Charizard) have also been seen quite often as Pokémorphs. Seen as vastly overused, their appearance has become somewhat of a cliché and is often discouraged.
Pokémorphs tend to be based on Pokémon who look like animals or are humanshape to begin with, as opposed to machines, plants, ghosts, or blobs. This is usually because it is harder to relate to a non-human or non-human like character (also why most science fiction writers tend to have humans as main characters as opposed to distinctly non-human aliens).
The general types of Pokémorph are as follows:
- Pokémorphs that look identical to humans, but are classified as "morphs" due to being able to use a Pokémon's attacks. In rare cases these types of characters may have a small amount of Pokémon behaviors or instincts.
- Morphing Pokémorphs: These types can transform into a Pokémon they are related to - Pokémon Power Rangers style, for example, as a metaphorical comparison.
- "Chimera" Pokémorphs: Also known as gijinkas (a term likely carried over from the Digimon fandom), these Pokémorphs look mostly human, but, based on the Pokémon they are blended with, possess some minimal Pokémon features, which could be ears, tails, wings, fins, etc. Some chimera/gijinka type Pokémorphs have more of these sorts of features than others.
- "Taur" Pokémorphs: These Pokémorphs have the body of a (generally) quadruped-type Pokémon and the chest, arms and head of a human (sometimes, they may have the ears of the Pokémon as well), modeled after the centaurs of Greek myth.
- "Pure", "Traditional", or "Classic" Pokémorphs: The most common Pokémorph, and the image most people think of upon hearing the term; they simply look like ordinary Pokémon with humanoid body builds.
Like many other fanfiction genres, the Pokémorph fic has a variety of clichés and tropes. All of these are very common among the fanon, and are sometimes discouraged due to their overuse.
Most clichés and tropes surround Pokémorph fics in which the 'morphs are a result of scientific experimentation. Many of these stories start with presenting the character as a human, very likely a teenager, who is kidnapped, almost always by Team Rocket, and made into a morph, often as part of a group of other victims. The character will often change their name after being transformed to something that is reflective of the type of Pokémorph they’ve become (for example, a Charmandermorph adopting the name Flare). The reaction to the transformation is often one of great delight or severe depression, but neither emotion gets in the way of their desire to escape from their captors. Commonly, they do (sometimes within mere days), and run back to their hometowns with little or no disguise, and are almost invariably accepted back into their families with loving arms. No one in the town or city finds the Pokémorphs particularly shocking, although a few bullies may give the characters trouble, especially if they are still actively walking about in public (despite being on the lam from a group of dangerous vengeful scientists). Despite doing little to hide their location, the enemy group is often slow in tracking the morphs down, but when they do, a great skirmish will erupt. The typical story often ends with the Pokémorphs having taken down the group and becoming heroes, laughing in the face of the bullies. Common cliché "superpowers" for Pokémorph characters, especially those of a decided Mary Sue stripe, include, beyond the typical Pokémon attacks, the ability to communicate with Pokémon, being able to shapeshift from morphic form to that of the form of the pokémon they are combined with, and being able to outperform humans at just about any physical skill, whether it is based in athletics or endurance.
Of course, although these cliches (it should be noted that a trope is only something the reader is familiar with) are very popular in the fanon, not all writers of Pokémorph fics incorporate these things - they are merely common aspects.
- Pokémorph MUSH
- An archive of select Pokémorph (and Pokémon transformation) fanfics on FanFiction.net
Splicing (Mister Froster's Project)