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Pokémon series character
Pokémon Articuno art.png
National Pokédex
SnorlaxArticuno (#144)Zapdos
First gamePokémon Red and Blue
Designed byKen Sugimori
Voiced byYumi Tōma (TV episodes)
Rikako Aikawa (Pokémon: The Movie 2000)

Articuno /ˌɑːrtɪˈkn/, known as Freezer (フリーザー, Furīzā) in Japan, is a dual Ice and Flying type Pokémon in the Pokémon franchise. Articuno is one of the three winged mirage Legendary Pokémon, along with Zapdos and Moltres. It is a large bird, noted for its ability to control cold. Articuno was one of many designs conceived by Game Freak and finalized by Ken Sugimori in Pokémon Red and Blue. Their names were changed in the English localization to give them more "clever and descriptive names". Articuno, for example, comes from a combination of the words "Arctic", and "uno", the Spanish word for one. Articuno first appeared in Red and Blue, and has since appeared in all main titles in the series since, notably in the Red and Blue remakes Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, Pokémon Platinum, and Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver. It makes multiple appearances in Pokémon spin-offs, manga, and anime, notably in the film Pokémon The Movie 2000.

Since appearing in Red and Blue, Articuno has received generally positive reception. Articuno has been featured in several pieces of merchandise, including cards in the Pokémon Trading Card Game. Articuno has been compared to other creatures from fiction, including the creatures found in Igor Stravinsky's The Firebird and the monsters in Godzilla on Monster Island.".

Design and characteristics[edit]

Articuno 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 Japan as Pokémon Red and Blue.[1][2] Originally called "Freezer" 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] Articuno's English name comes from a combination of "Arctic", and uno, the Spanish and Italian word for one.[4]

Articuno, known as the Freeze Pokémon, is a legendary Pokémon,[5] one of the legendary birds, along with Zapdos and Moltres. It is a large bird with brown eyes, blue plumage, a bluish-white-feathered chest, a three feathered crest adorning its head and a gray beak with matching legs. With its long, sparkling tail trailing behind, its flying form is magnificent.[6] It can create and manipulate ice freely by freezing the moisture in the air.[7] Its translucent wings are imbued with the essence of frigidity, and the flapping of its wings chills the air,[8] causing the conversion of water particles in the air into snow or ice, causing snow to fall when it flies overhead.[9] In legend, Articuno resides within the confines of icy mountains, because those who have seen it were often doomed explorers scaling such mountains, and therefore it is believed Articuno makes it a point to appear before them and save them.[10]


In the video games[edit]

Articuno first appears in the Game Boy video games Pokémon Red and Blue and Pokémon Yellow. It is a highly rare Pokémon; similar to its counterparts Zapdos and Moltres, Articuno appears only once in one game in a fixed location, the Seafoam Islands, and is difficult to defeat or capture. If it is defeated, it disappears and will never be seen again. It later appeared in several sequels, including the Red and Blue remake Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, Pokémon Platinum, Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, and Pokémon X and Y. In many of these appearances, Articuno will appear flying over the different regions after the player completes the main game. However, in some of these games, Articuno will respawn if the player re-defeats the Elite Four.

Outside of the main series, Articuno has appeared in Pokémon Snap (where it gives Pikachu a ride in the Cave level), the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games, and Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs. In Super Smash Bros. Melee, Articuno can be released from a PokéBall, and will use a Blizzard attack that freezes any opponent that is caught in it for a few seconds. In the Pokémon spinoff Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team and Red Rescue Team Articuno appears in the Frosty Forest level, where it will attack the player. It can be recruited later in the game.

In the mobile app Pokémon Go, Team Mystic is represented by Articuno as a mascot.[11] Following the first Pokémon GO Fest in July 2017, Articuno was released into the game and available via the raids feature.[12] In June 2018, Articuno became available to trainers as a reward for reaching a research breakthrough in the game.[13] On July 7, 2018 the game featured Articuno day, with three hours of Articuno raids and a chance to catch the Pokémon in its shiny form.[14]

In other media[edit]

Articuno is featured in Pokémon: The Movie 2000 together with the other two Legendary birds, Zapdos and Moltres. In the beginning of the Battle Frontier challenge in the anime, Noland, the battle factory frontier brain had befriended one. After reuniting with their photographer friend Todd, Ash and his friends hear a rumor that Articuno lives on a certain mountain. After several encounters with Team Rocket, Ash and Todd are saved by Articuno from a snowstorm, and Todd manages to snap a picture of it. According to Team Rocket's imagination in the episode called "Numero Uno", Articuno would come to cool down their boss Giovanni because his area seems to be hot.

Articuno appears in the Magical Pokémon Journey manga, in The Legendary Articuno!, atop a mountain used by a ski resort. This Articuno is rumored to spirit away the lives of lost travelers, but in reality, it is a friendly Pokémon that runs a Snowcone shop. In Pokémon Adventures, Articuno was acquired by Team Rocket, and was used by Koga to try to finish Red and Blue and succeeded in freezing them. After Koga being defeated, it is called upon by Sabrina's Kadabra and merged with Zapdos and Moltres to form Zapmolcuno, a combination that proved almost unstoppable until Saur saved its trainers with a web created using Vine Whip and evolved to Venusaur to deliver the final blow with Charizard and Blasty. It at last regains its freedom after the defeat and splits from its fellow birds. Much later, it reappears under Green's possession with its fellow birds and is lent to Red in the battle against Will and Karen, who nearly overwhelmed the three with Ho-Oh and Lugia.

Promotion and reception[edit]

Since appearing in Pokémon Red and Blue, Articuno has received generally positive reception. Articuno has been featured in several pieces of merchandise, including cards in the Pokémon Trading Card Game, figurines, plush toys, and others.

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.[15] GameAxis Unwired praised Articuno along with Zapdos and Moltres for making Pokémon Red and Blue "cool".[16] The Daily Texan criticized Articuno's appearance in the film Pokémon 2000, stating that it lacked the "human personality that make the other Pokemon so endearing".[17] Reeling Reviews editor Robin described the battle conducted between Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres as being similar to battles from the film Godzilla on Monster Island.[18] Access Atlanta editor Bob Longino criticized the birds' sounds, commenting that the squawking was "way too much for adult ears".[19] IGN praised the whole legendary bird trio, commenting that even though Zapdos is the strongest of the trio, Articuno is still important.[4] IGN described Articuno as one of both Ice and Flying types, commenting that it was an "unappreciated powerhouse".[20] IGN editor "Pokémon of the Day Chick" praised Articuno as being "particularly beautiful".[21] In a poll conducted by IGN, it was voted as the 13th best Pokémon, where the staff commented that after "solving a perplexing puzzle of rock-pushing and surfing across strong currents", "adding Articuno to your Pokedex was like earning a badge of honor for completing it."[22]


  1. ^ Staff. "2. 一新されたポケモンの世界". (in Japanese). Nintendo. p. 2. Archived from the original on September 13, 2010. Retrieved September 10, 2010.
  2. ^ Stuart Bishop (May 30, 2003). "Game Freak on Pokémon!". CVG. Archived from the original on January 16, 2008. Retrieved February 7, 2008.
  3. ^ Chua-Euan, Howard (November 22, 1999). "PokéMania". TIME. Archived from the original on September 13, 2008. Retrieved September 15, 2008.
  4. ^ a b "Pokemon Strategy Guide – IGNguides". Retrieved April 5, 2011.
  5. ^ HAL Laboratory. Super Smash Bros. Melee. Articuno trophy: Clouds gather, the barometer plunges, and fresh snow falls from the frigid air when this legendary Pokémon takes wing.
  6. ^ Pokédex: One of the legendary bird Pokémon. With its long tail trailing behind, its flying form is magnificent. Game Freak (September 9, 2004). Pokémon FireRed. Game Boy Advance. Nintendo.
  7. ^ Pokédex: A legendary bird Pokémon. It can create blizzards by freezing moisture in the air. Game Freak (April 22, 2007). Pokémon Diamond and Pearl. Nintendo DS. Nintendo.
  8. ^ Pokédex: Articuno is a legendary fire Pokémon that can control ice. The flapping of its wings chills the air. As a result, it is said that when this Pokémon flies, snow will fall. Game Freak (March 17, 2003). Pokémon Ruby. Game Boy Advance. Nintendo.
  9. ^ Pokédex: Legendary bird Pokémon. As it flies through the sky, it cools the air, causing snow to fall. Game Freak (July 29, 2001). Pokémon Crystal. Game Boy Color. Nintendo.
  10. ^ Pokédex: A legendary bird Pokémon that is said to appear to doomed people who are lost in icy mountains. Game Freak (September 9, 2004). Pokémon LeafGreen. Game Boy Advance. Nintendo.
  11. ^ Allegra Frank (July 11, 2016). "Which Pokémon Go team should you join?". Polygon. Retrieved July 13, 2016.
  12. ^ Their, Dave (July 22, 2017). "'Pokémon GO' Decides To Just Go Ahead And Release Lugia And Articuno, It's Great". Forbes. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
  13. ^ "Pokemon Go Articuno UPDATE: Legendary new Field Research quests LIVE". Liam Martin. Daily Express. June 2, 2018.
  14. ^ Their, David. "Pokémon GO's Shiny Articuno Day: What Time Is It, And What You Need To Do". Forbes. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
  15. ^ "More is less in ho-hum, moralistic 'Pokémon 2000'". July 21, 2000. Retrieved September 24, 2010.[dead link]
  16. ^ "GameAxis Unwired". December 2004. Retrieved September 24, 2010 – via Google Books.
  17. ^ Ashley, Robert C. (July 25, 2000). "Film Review: 'Pokemon 2000' can't even Pika-please Poke-maniacs". The Daily Texan.
  18. ^ Chris Zell. "Show #234 of Reeling: The Movie Review Show with Robin & Laura Clifford". Retrieved September 24, 2010.
  19. ^ "Atlanta Movie Theaters/ Movies in Atlanta". accessAtlanta. Archived from the original on February 17, 2006. Retrieved September 24, 2010.
  20. ^ "Pokemon Red Version Guide & Walkthrough – GB, Game Boy Walkthrough – IGN". September 30, 1998. Retrieved April 5, 2011.
  21. ^ "Pokemon Crystal Version Pok�mon of the Day: Articuno (#144) – IGN FAQs". Retrieved April 5, 2011.
  22. ^ Lucas. "Articuno - #13 Top Pokémon – IGN". IGN. Retrieved May 4, 2011.

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