Abra, Kadabra, and Alakazam

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For the Osamu Tezuka creation, see Alakazam the Great.
Abra, Kadabra, and Alakazam
Pokémon series character
AbraKadabraAlakazam.png
Abra (top left), Kadabra (top right), and Alakazam (bottom middle)
National Pokédex
Poliwrath - Abra (#63) - Kadabra (#064) - Alakazam (#65) - Machop
First game Pokémon Red and Blue
Designed by Ken Sugimori
Voiced by (English) Maddie Blaustein (4Kids), Bill Rogers (TPCI)
Voiced by (Japanese) Unshō Ishizuka

Abra, Kadabra, and Alakazam, known in Japan as Casey (ケーシィ Kēshii?), Yungerer (ユンゲラー Yungerā?), and Foodin (フーディン Fūdin?), are three Pokémon species in Nintendo and Game Freak's Pokémon franchise that are linked through evolution. Abra evolves into Kadabra after gaining enough experience in battle, and Kadabra evolves into Alakazam after being traded to another trainer. Created by Ken Sugimori, they first appeared in the video games Pokémon Red and Blue and later appear in subsequent sequels. They have appeared in various merchandise, spinoff titles and animated and printed adaptations of the franchise. Known as the Psi Pokémon, using self-hypnosis, Abra spends 18 hours a day sleeping, unable to utilize its abilities unless rested. This behavior ceases once it evolves into Kadabra, a strong psychic that emits alpha waves affected by its current mental state. Able to remember everything, Alakazam's IQ is around 5000 and can outperform a supercomputer.

In the Pokémon anime, Abra and Kadabra appear under the ownership of Sabrina. In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Alakazam plays a large supporting role in the plot of the game. All three appear in the Pokémon Adventures manga in various roles. IGN described Abra, Kadabra, and Alakazam as "losing most of its charm" as it progressed. Calling Abra cute, they describe Kadabra as having "a bit of that personality", and Alakazam as being a "distinctly grim, foreboding character". Conservative Christian groups have targeted the trio as representing anti-Christian aspects of the franchise.

Design and characteristics[edit]

Abra, Kadabra, and Alakazam were three of several different designs conceived by Game Freak's character development team and finalized by Ken Sugimori for the first generation of Pocket Monsters games Red and Green, which were localized outside of Japan as Pokémon Red and Blue.[1][2] Originally called "Casey", "Yungerer", and "Foodin" in Japanese, Nintendo decided to give the various Pokémon species "clever and descriptive names" related to their appearance or features when translating the game for western audiences as a means to make the characters more relatable to American children.[3] Abra and Kadabra were initially intended to be named Hocus and Pocus for American audiences, but changed to Abra and Kadabra, based on the famous magic charm along with Alakazam.[4][5][6] Alakazam's Japanese name Foodin was inspired by a rough translation of Harry Houdini's last name.[6]

Abra, Kadabra, and Alakazam are bipedal Pokémon characterized by their human-like body structure and somewhat fox-like appearance. They look like they are wearing armor, as they have two pauldron-shaped pieces on their shoulders and a fauld-like piece around their chest. Abra, Kadabra, and Alakazam have three fingers on each hand and three toes on each foot, with two toes in the front on either side and one in the back near the ankle. Abra and Kadabra also have thick tails the same gold color as the rest of its body, except for a brown band located near the top. Kadabra and Alakazam have relatively large mustaches, which are shorter in female species. Kadabra has a red star-shaped symbol on its forehead, and three red wavy lines on its fauld-like torso. After evolving into Alakazam, the creatures no longer have the Zener markings and tails,[6] while their heads become much larger, resulting in extremely powerful mental powers.

Possessing the ability to read minds, Abra can sense danger,[7] teleporting when it does and can do so quickly enough to create visual doubles.[7][8] Using self-hypnosis, Abra spends 18 hours a day sleeping, unable to utilize its abilities unless rested.[9][10][11] This behavior ceases once it evolves into Kadabra, a strong psychic that emits alpha waves affected by its current mental state.[12][13] These waves can trigger headaches in nearby people and can cause machines to malfunction.[12][14][15][16] Once it evolves into Alakazam, it has mastered every type and form of psychic ability, and its brain continually grows.[17] This causes its head to become too heavy for its neck, requiring psychokinesis to hold it upright.[18] Able to remember everything, its IQ is around 5000 and can outperform a supercomputer.[17][19] Both Kadabra and Alakazam utilize spoons generated mentally to enhance their abilities, two for the latter, and can increase them further by closing their eyes.[20][21][22]

Appearances[edit]

In video games[edit]

The first video game appearance of Abra, Kadabra, and Alakazam was in Pokémon Red and Blue versions. Abra evolves into Kadabra after gaining enough experience in battle, and Kadabra evolves into Alakazam after being traded to another trainer. Abra and Kadabra later appear in every subsequent sequel. In Pokémon Gold, Silver, and Crystal, before the Elite Four are defeated for the first time, an Abra appears as an NPC at the Indigo Plateau which will teleport the player back to New Bark Town.[23] This NPC appears again in their remakes, but does not perform this function.[24] In the main game series, many trainers use Abra, Kadabra, and Alakazam in their teams. Notable trainers include Saffron City Gym Leader, Sabrina;[25] the player's rival in Pokémon Red and Blue, and their remakes, Blue;[25][26] the player's rival in Pokémon Gold and Silver, and their remakes, Silver;[23][24] the Hoenn Battle frontier Salon Maiden, Anabel;[27] and Elite Four member, Lucian.[28] Outside of the main series, Abra, Kadabra, and Alakazam appeared in Pokémon Pinball, the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games, and the Pokémon Ranger games, while Abra and Alakazam appeared in Pokémon Puzzle League and Abra appeared in PokéPark Wii: Pikachu's Adventure and its sequel, PokéPark 2: Wonders Beyond. In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon, Alakazam plays a large supporting role in the plot as the leader of a Gold Rank rescue team.[29]

In anime[edit]

In the Pokémon anime, the Saffron City Gym Leader, Sabrina owns an Abra, which she sends out in a battle against the series protagonist, Ash. After battling, Sabrina's Abra evolves into Kadabra, causing Ash to forfeit the match due to Kadabra's new and more powerful psychic abilities.[30] Ash later returns for a rematch, and Ash's Haunter makes Sabrina laugh, which causes Kadabra to laugh due to the psychic bond it has with Sabrina. Because of Kadabra and Sabrina's laugh, they are unable to fight, and hand over the gym badge.[31] Abra later appears in the series under the ownership of Mira, who offers to teleport everyone to Hearthome city using her Abra, but instead teleports them to a flooded city to find a Poké Ball containing a Sandshrew that was lost in the newly flooded lake.[32] One of Abra and Kadabra's other appearances is living in an abandoned mining colony with several other Psychic-type Pokémon.[33] Alakazam's first appearance was as a giant Alakazam awakened near the site of the Pokémopolis ruins.[34] Alakazam has also been owned by many notable trainers, such as Luana, the Gym Leader of Kumquat Island,[35] Eusine,[36] Anabel,[37][38] and Kenny.[39]

In printed adaptations[edit]

In the Pokémon Adventures manga, Abra makes a cameo as the stolen Pokémon of the Pokémon Fan Club President.[40] Later when Red frees the Pokémon kidnapped by Lt. Surge; instead of his beloved Abra, the President of the Pokémon Fan Club finds himself with a not-so-cute Alakazam.[41] Like her anime counterpart, Sabrina also owns a Kadabra.[42] After Red's aptitude test to be the Gym Leader of Viridian City, a swarm of wild Pokémon suddenly appear outside the Gym after being attracted by Pokémon March music, one of which is an Alakazam. Blue captures all of them with his Scizor.[43] Alakazam is seen again as part of Blue's team for the Gym Leader faceoff,[44] and again as one of the Pokémon in Viridian Gym. It defeated Yellow's Pikachu easily using a combination of Role Play and ThunderPunch.[45] Green is seen to have an Abra, using its Teleport move to transport Silver away to a safer location.[46]

Cultural impact[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

IGN described Abra, Kadabra, and Alakazam as "losing most of its charm" as it progressed. Calling Abra cute, they describe Kadabra as having "a bit of that personality", and Alakazam as being a "distinctly grim, foreboding character".[47] At the same time, they cited them as one of the most versatile groups of characters in the franchise.[48] IGN also listed Alakazam, and to a lesser extent Kadabra, as one of the best Psychic types, alongside Mew, Mewtwo, and Starmie. They commented that Alakazam was good for "down-to-Earth" players who don't want to use legendaries like Mew or Mewtwo.[49] They further described Alakazam as "arguably the single most popular non-legendary Psychic type in any of the current games", also calling it a "brilliant yet brittle brainiac".[50] Boys' Life named Abra one of the five "coolest" Pokémon from Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen at fourth.[51] The St. Petersburg Times also praised the characters, describing their names as "clever".[52]

IGN called Abra unimpressive, but worth raising because it evolves into the more powerful Kadabra.[4] GameSpy further commented that Kadabra makes up for the shortcomings of Abra.[53] 1UP FM praised the characters' design, as the hosts noted them as some of their favorite Pokémon in the series and that they were impressed with their appearance.[54] GamesRadar editor Henry Gilbert praised Kadabra and Alakazam's mustaches, listing them on their list of "The 10 greatest mustaches in gaming history".[55] GamesRadar editor Brett Elston labelled Abra's moveset "lame", while acknowledging its potential to evolve into more powerful Pokémon.[56] However, he claimed that Alakazam was useful only in limited circumstances.[56] Elston also called Alakazam one of the most disturbing Pokémon of all time for the game's assertion that its brain cells continually multiply until it dies a horrible death.[57] In a poll conducted by IGN, Kadabra was voted as the 91st best Pokémon, where it was called "much cooler" than Alakazam because "He doesn’t need to show off by bending two spoons".[58] Alakazam was voted as the 20th best Pokémon, where the staff commented on the evolution line, stating they "not only loved the clever naming system but the creatures’ designs and abilities as well". They further stated that "Abra has always been a bit of a pain to raise and evolve, but the end result, an Alakazam, is well worth it in my book."[59]

Controversy[edit]

Some conservative Christian groups have targeted Kadabra as representing anti-Christian aspects of the franchise. In Palm Beach, Florida, Pastor Eugene Walton distributed pamphlets that described the symbol on its head as "a pentagram" (even though Kadabra simply has a red five-pointed star on its head, different than a pentagram) and claimed the symbol on its chest was representative of Nazi Germany's Waffen-SS.[60] In the book It's a Dark World, Roger Boehm argued that due to its psychic-status and the symbols on its body of the latter, Kadabra represented the occult, further arguing that the etymology of its name tied directly to them.[61]

In November 2000, it was reported that Uri Geller, an Israeli "psychic"-magician who claims to bend spoons with his mind, sued Nintendo over the Pokémon Kadabra, due to its Japanese name which he claimed was an unauthorized appropriation of his identity.[62] Geller learned of the similarity after fans of both himself and Pokémon noted a resemblance to the character's Japanese name, behavior and face, and presented him with cards of the character to autograph after he had finished taping a television special in Japan.[63][64] He further claimed that the star on Kadabra's forehead, and the lightning patterns on its abdomen, were symbols popular with the Waffen-SS and that, through the character, Nintendo had "turned [him] into an evil, occult Pokémon character".[65] Nintendo countered by stating there was no connection between the two and that they had not named any of the Pokémon after actual people to the knowledge of their staff.[66] Geller sued, claiming damages equivalent to $100 million, but lost.[62]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]