|Pokémon series character|
|First game||Pokémon Red and Blue|
|Designed by||Ken Sugimori|
|Voiced by||Katsuyuki Konishi|
Zapdos (サンダー Sandā?, Thunder in original Japanese language versions) is a Pokémon species in Nintendo and Game Freak's Pokémon franchise. Zapdos is one of the three winged mirages along with Articuno and Moltres. It was originally conceived by Game Freak's character development team and finalized by Ken Sugimori. Its English name is a combination of "zap" and "dos", the Spanish word for two.
Its first appearance was in Pokémon Red and Blue, where it acts as one of the rarest Pokémon, appearing only once in the entire game. It has made several appearances since, including in the video game Super Smash Bros. Melee, and it was prominently featured in the theatrical anime film Pokémon The Movie 2000 as a central character to the plot.
Design and characteristics
Zapdos was one of 150 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 "Thunder" 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. Zapdos' English name comes from a combination of Zap, relating to electricity, and dos, the Spanish word for two.
Zapdos, known as the Electric Pokémon, is a legendary Pokémon, one of the legendary birds, along with Articuno and Moltres. It may be based on the thunderbird. Zapdos has the form of a large bird with black and yellow plumage, with its spiky feathers make it look as if it were made of lightning. Its tail feathers stick out in several directions, furthering this illusion. A large crest of feathers decorates its head, and distinctive black rings encircle its eyes.
Zapdos is always seen in conjunction with thunderstorms, because it gathers energy from the electricity in the atmosphere, and is said to live in such clouds. It also causes massive crackling and snapping sounds when it flies; these are contributed to the lightning bolts it is said to shed when airborne.
In the video games
Zapdos is found in a Power Plant off the coast of the Rock Tunnel near Cerulean City in Pokémon Red and Blue. It is a highly rare Pokémon; similar to its counterparts Articuno and Moltres, Zapdos appears only once in the game in a fixed location, and is difficult to defeat or capture. If it is defeated, it disappears. It later appeared in several sequels, including the Red and Blue remake Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, Pokémon Platinum, and Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver. Outside of the main series, Zapdos has appeared in the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games, Pokémon Snap, Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs, and in Super Smash Bros. Melee.
In other media
It also plays small roles in the anime and manga. Zapdos is featured in Pokémon The Movie 2000 together with the other two Legendary birds, Articuno and Moltres. It appears that Zapdos communicates through electricity as it shocks Pikachu to communicate. Zapdos also appeared in the credits for Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea in which it was captured by Jackie.
In Pokémon Adventures, Lt. Surge appears with Zapdos in his team during the events of Volume 3, using it as a neverending power source for his Electric-types, until Red uses Saur's Razor Leaf to cut the supply cords. After having been merged with Articuno and Moltres, the three Pallet Town trainers are able to defeat the combined monster. Green later captures Zapdos and uses it against Will and Karen. During this battle, it is lent to Blue.
Promotion and reception
Since appearing in Pokémon Red and Blue, Zapdos has generally received positive reception. Nintendo Power conducted a contest where readers could win a Pokémon-themed costume, which included a costume of Zapdos. According to Janine Mellini of the Daily Record Zapdos was a popular costume choice amongst Pokémon characters for Halloween in 2000. Zapdos has been featured in several pieces of merchandise, including cards in the Pokémon Trading Card Game, figurines, plush toys, and others. A special Zapdos card was given away to those who saw the film Pokémon The Movie 2000.
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer editor Paula Nechak compared the legendary bird trio as well as Lugia to the creatures found in Igor Stravinsky's The Firebird. Author Loredana Lipperini stated that while Zapdos was not very strong, it was her favourite Pokémon. GameAxis Unwired praised Zapdos along with Articuno and Moltres for making Pokémon Red and Blue "cool." The Daily Texan criticized Zapdos' appearance in the film Pokémon 2000, stating that it lacked the "human personality that make the other Pokemon so endearing". Reeling Reviews editor Robin described the battle conducted between Zapdos, Articuno, and Moltres as being similar to battles from the film Godzilla on Monster Island. Access Atlanta editor Bob Longino criticized the birds' sounds, commenting that the squaking was "way too much for adult ears."
IGN editor "Pokémon of the Day Chick" commented that Zapdos was "painfully overused," citing its combination of Electric and Flying types and it being one of two Pokémon that utilizes this combination (The other being Emolga (GEN.5)) as the main reason for it being overused. IGN also list Zapdos, along with Jolteon, as the best electric type Pokémon, as well as listing it as one of the best Flying types, alongside Articuno and Gyarados; they described it as the "superstar among all flying types." IGN praised the whole legendary trio, specifically praising Zapdos as the best of the three. In discussing Zapdos' appearance in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon, RPGamer editor Michael Beckett called Zapdos " kind of a jerk." Allgame editor Jason White commented that its "spiked feathers and a needle-like beak make this creature something you probably don't want to pet."
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