|Pokémon series character|
|First game||Pokémon Red and Blue|
|Designed by||Ken Sugimori|
|Voiced by||Jimmy Zoppi|
Cubone (カラカラ, Karakara) is a Pokémon species in Nintendo and Game Freak's Pokémon franchise. Created by Ken Sugimori, Cubone first appeared in the video games Pokémon Red and Blue and subsequent sequels. They have later appeared in various merchandise, spinoff titles and animated and printed adaptations of the franchise. Cubone is voiced by Jimmy Zoppi in English.
Design and characteristics
Cubone was one of 151 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. Originally called "Karakara" 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. Originally, its name was to be "Orphon," in reference to the story of it losing its mother. The name Cubone may come from a combination of "cute" and "bone," because it is a young Pokémon.
Cubone, known as the Lonely Pokémon, appears to be a small, brown dinosaur-like Pokémon, that constantly wears its mother's skull like a helmet. The skull masks its true face from view, which makes it a puzzlement for many Trainers and researchers. Its cries echo within the skull and it comes out as a pained and sad melody. On the night of a full moon, it cries, for it seems to recognize its mother's face in the moon. Its tears create stains on the skull that it wears. Cubone has a plump body with a paler-colored underbelly, with strong, clawed limbs to carry its bone as a weapon around wherever it goes. Cubone has a single, nailed toe on each foot, with two spikes on its back. A small tail is also present for balance, but it can be used for attacking.
In the video games
The first video game appearance of Cubone was in Pokémon Red and Blue versions. It later appeared in several sequels, including Pokémon Gold and Silver, Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, the Red and Blue remakes Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, and Pokémon Black and White. Outside of the main series, Cubone has appeared in Pokémon Pinball and the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games. In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the Pokémon Stadium 2 stage features a Cubone on the Ground Terrain mode standing atop the highest platform built into a rock.
In other media
In the anime, Cubone first appeared on the Pokémon episode The School of Hard Knocks under the ownership of a pretty, yet snobby Pokémon Academy student named Giselle, who battled her Cubone against Ash's Pikachu. A Cubone was among the four Pokémon that were causing trouble for Pikachu and co. during Pikachu's Vacation. A Cubone was helping Meowth preparing his party in Pichu Bros. in Party Panic. This Cubone played drums in Meowth's band and got easily sad and gloomy when Meowth chewed it out, but it was also easily consolable.
In the Pokémon Adventures manga, Cubone makes a cameo in Onix is On!, part of the Red, Green & Blue chapter, battling against Red's Bulbasaur as a Pewter Gym trainer's Pokémon. Crystal owns a Cubone, who has a star-shaped crack in its skull. Cubone's main role in the team is to take out targets from afar using its bone-based attacks.
In the Pokémon Origins television special, an orphaned Cubone is seen at the Pokémon House in Lavender Town, having been taken in by Mr. Fuji after his mother, a Marowak, was killed by Team Rocket. Hostile towards other humans because of this, he is soon able to make peace with his mother's ghost before helping the trainer Red to drive Team Rocket out of the Pokémon Tower.
Since it appeared in Pokémon Red and Blue, Cubone has received generally positive reception. It has appeared in several pieces of merchandise, including figurines, plush toys, and the Pokémon Trading Card Game. It was also included as part of a more adult-oriented line of t-shirts in Japan, along with Mewtwo, Hypno, and Articuno. UGO Networks editor K. Thor Jensen noted that the Cubone t-shirt was a favourite among the staff.
GamesRadar editor Raymond Padilla ranked Cubone third on their list of "Five unintentionally scary Pokémon", noting that the skull it wears on its head and the bone it carries around suggests cannibalism. Fellow GamesRadar editor Brett Elston described it as disturbing, joking that Norman Bates from Psycho would be proud of Cubone, in reference to the fact that Bates wears his mother's clothes. He also described its back story as "heart-mangling", commenting that "we really need a telethon or something to save the poor Cubones". A theory exists that Cubone is the child of a dead Kangaskhan due to its similar appearance to it. GamesRadar's Carolyn Gudmundson supported this theory and thought that it was possible that some Pokémon species were mixed up and Kangaskhan was originally an evolution to Marowak. Missingno. and M are commonly believed to be the missing link between Cubone and Kangaskhans theory. IGN noted that Cubone was a good choice for players early on in the game. IGN editor "Pokémon of the Day Chick" gave Cubone extremely high praise, commenting that it was her "all-time undisputed favoritest snuggly-wuggly Pokémon." She added that its misgivings are forgiven by its cute appearance. Author Ryan Omega commented that in the opening to the Pokémon anime, Cubone was "camera shy." Loredana Lipperini, author of Generazione Pókemon: i bambini e l'invasione planetaria dei nuovi, cited Cubone as a popular Pokémon, commenting that Cubone resembled a small dinosaur with a skull helmet and appeared "mysterious".
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- Game Freak. Pokémon Yellow. (Nintendo). Game Boy. (1999-10-19) Wears the skull of its deceased mother. Its cries echo inside the skull and come out as a sad melody.
- Game Freak. Pokémon Red and Blue. (Nintendo). Game Boy. (1998-09-30) Because it never removes its skull helmet, no one has ever seen this Pokémon's real face.
- Game Freak. Pokémon Ruby. (Nintendo). Game Boy Advance. (2003-03-17) Cubone pines for the mother it will never see again. Seeing a likeness of its mother in the full moon, it cries. The stains on the skull the Pokémon wears are made by the tears it sheds.
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