From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Pokémon series character
Pokémon Magikarp art.png
National Pokédex
Tauros - Magikarp (#129) - Gyarados
First gamePokémon Red and Blue
Designed byKen Sugimori
In-universe information
Gender♂ Male / ♀ Female

Magikarp, known in Japan as Koiking (コイキング, Koikingu), is a Pokémon species in Nintendo and Game Freak's Pokémon franchise. Created by Ken Sugimori, Magikarp first appeared in the video games Pokémon Red and Blue and subsequent sequels. They have later appeared in various merchandise, spinoff entries, and animated and printed adaptations of the franchise. Known as the Fish Pokémon, Magikarp is found in many bodies of water, especially lakes, rivers, and ponds. Magikarp received mixed responses from critics, with some criticism directed towards it for being useless or pointless.


Magikarp is a red, medium-sized fish, although shiny Magikarp are golden in color. Its notable characteristics include large, heavy scales. Its fins are primarily white, but it has a stiff, three-pointed fin on its back and a four-pointed fin on its stomach which are both yellow. The shape of the dorsal fin resembles a crown, leading to its Japanese name Koiking. It also has long barbels, which are white on females and tan on males. Although this Pokémon is capable of surviving in even the most polluted ponds,[1] it is usually overlooked by trainers because it is pathetically weak.[2] Even in the heat of battle it will do nothing but flop around. They are normally seen using Splash, which is unusual, as it makes them easy targets to predators.[3] Before the species multiplied, it is believed that the ancestors of Magikarp were actually much stronger than the Magikarp seen today,[4] and this belief has led scientists to research this species.[5] Long-lived Magikarp are able to utilize their immense splashing power to leap high enough to jump mountains.[6] Magikarp is found in many bodies of water, such as lakes, rivers, and ponds.[7] It is not a strong swimmer, and currents in the water will sweep it downstream.[8]

The concept of Magikarp evolving into Gyarados is based on the Chinese mythological tale of the carps leaping over the Dragon Gate. According to the legend, carps that leap over a legendary waterfall called the Dragon Gate are rewarded for their perseverance and transformed into dragons.[9] In the Nintendo 64 game, Pokémon Snap, the only way for the player to see a wild Gyarados is to knock a Magikarp into a waterfall, where it will evolve. In the first generation of Pokémon games, Magikarp can only learn 2 moves by level. The moves are Splash and Tackle, at levels 1 and 15, respectively. From generations 2 to 8, Magikarp can learn the aforementioned moves at those respective levels, plus the move Flail, at level 25. In some generations, Magikarp can learn Hydro Pump and Bounce, however, the method to learn these moves is not by leveling up. There are some Magikarp that have been awarded to players (either in-game or by events) that know a few moves other than the mentioned before, however, those are few specimens.[10][11]


In video games[edit]

In the video game series, Magikarp is seen commonly when fishing with an Old or Good Rod. In Pokémon Red and Blue, and their remakes, an NPC will sell the player a Magikarp. In Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, Magikarp appear flopping around in a dried-up lake. It has appeared in several Pokémon games later such as Pokémon Yellow, Pokémon Gold and Silver, Pokémon Crystal, Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire,[12] Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, Pokémon Emerald, Pokémon Platinum, Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, Pokémon Black and White, Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, Pokémon X and Y, Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, Pokémon Sun and Moon,[13] Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!, Pokémon Sword and Shield, and Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl.[14]

Outside of the main series, in Pokémon Stadium, Magikarp featured in its own mini-game called "Magikarp Splash", in which players must Splash high enough to hit the button at the top of the screen as many times as it can. It also appeared in Pokémon Snap, Pokémon Pinball, Pokémon Channel, Pokémon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire, Pokémon Trozei!, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team and Red Rescue Team, Pokémon Ranger, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time and Explorers of Darkness, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky, Pokémon Rumble, PokéPark Wii: Pikachu's Adventure, Pokémon Rumble Blast, PokéPark 2: Wonders Beyond, Pokémon Conquest , Pokémon Rumble U, Pokémon Battle Trozei, Pokémon Shuffle, Pokémon Rumble World, Pokémon Picross, and Pokémon Rumble Rush. A mobile video game, called Pokémon: Magikarp Jump, was announced in February 2017 under the title Splash! Magikarp,[15] and was released for Android and iOS on 25 May 2017.[16] It also appears in Pokémon Go[17] and New Pokémon Snap.[18]

In other media[edit]

In the anime, Magikarp has appeared several times, most notably as the subject of a running gag in which a salesman attempts to trick Team Rocket into buying Magikarp in various guises, the first one being in Battle Aboard the St. Anne.[19] In The Joy of Pokémon, a Nurse Joy from the Orange Islands befriended a giant Magikarp that saved her as a child. It evolved into an equally large Gyarados, but it remained friendly, which happens rarely.[20] In The Wacky Watcher, Ash, Misty, and Tracey help a Pokémon Watcher named Dr. Quackenpoker observe the migration and evolution of a school of Magikarp.[21] Another, in Ya See We Want an Evolution, was nicknamed the strongest Magikarp. This Magikarp was unique in that it was in fact able to battle very well, even knocking out Pikachu.[22] An official music video of Magikarp was made called "I Love Magikarp", the song featured how weak Magikarp is.[23] It appears also on Pokétoon Magikarp’s Journey.[24]

In film[edit]

Magikarp appears in Detective Pikachu when Pikachu throws Magikarp and immediately evolved into Gyarados as it battles with Charizard.[25]


A Magikarp shaped taiyaki served in a restaurant in Akihabara, Tokyo, Japan in 2017.[26]

GamesRadar described it as "the ultimate in terms of being the strongest Pokémon", though noted its evolution Gyarados as one of the "biggest" characters in the series.[27] IGN called it "possibly the most docile, unassuming, and weak of all the monsters in the Pokémon world"[28] and further described it as serving "solely as comic relief", until its evolution into Gyarados.[29] IGN criticized Magikarp as the "worst Pokémon ever", citing its low statistics and inability to learn moves from Technical or Hidden Machines, calling it a "Water wussymon."[30] An IGN guide jokingly noted a trainer in Pokémon Platinum as having the "best team among those in the area" due to having six Magikarps, five of which are unable to attack.[31] Steven Bogos of The Escapist listed Magikarp as 61st of their favorite Pokemon, stating that one of the most useless Pokemon, that if you can manage to level up, turns into one of the most bad-ass: Gyarados.[32]

The book Gaming Cultures and Place in Asia-Pacific cited it as an "example of a common recurring and weak element" in the games, whose presence rather than function was to "emphasize the exclusivity and strength of other, rarer creatures for players to find".[33] Loredana Lipperini, author of the book Generazione Pokémon: i bambini e l'invasione planetaria dei nuovi, described it as "innocuous-looking."[34] Stephen Totilo of Kotakualso gave criticism to Magikarp, commenting that the using it as his character in Pokémon Rumble made him learn the "hard way" that he "couldn't have had a worse idea."[35] The Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Good Game has praised PokéPark Wii: Pikachu's Adventure for its faithfulness to various Pokémon's abilities; while Torterra and Hitmontop were described as using Razor Leaf and Rapid Spin, they merely described Magikarp's actions as just "being Magikarp."[36] In Pokémon Sword and Shield, Magikarp was one of the most hated Pokémon due to some players using Magikarp during the game's multiplayer raids.[37] The website Bright Side of the Sun used an analogy involving Magikarp, commenting that the words "defense" and "rebounding" were "tossed around" more by their coach to them than "a Magikarp card at a Pokémon convention in 1997."[38] Patricia Hernandez of Kotaku said that Magikarp is the best Pokémon Go buddy.[17] Shane Redding of Screen Rant ranked Magikarp as Generation 1 Pokémon that make no sense.[39] Kyle Hilliard of GameInformer listed Magikarp as one of the pointless video game pets that we love.[40] Gortexfogg of Destructoid claimed that Magikarp is the greatest Pokémon, stating that "because he entirely fails at being a Pokémon. He is just a fish, a simple carp. It is that irony that sets him apart as the greatest."[41] Khee Hoon Chan of Paste noted that while players who dislike Magikarp, He had to defend it due to still how useful the Pokemon is, and stating that "It's [sic] existence is still a labor of love, one that has turned into a legacy. It even inspired a song."[42]

A variety of merchandise depicting Magikarp have been produced such as Poké lids,[43] Toys,[44] Plush,[45] 18k luxurious gold and silver necklaces,[46] and the Pokémon Trading Card Game.[47] Magikarp has been also cosplayed by a Twitch streamer to compete other hot tub streamers,[48] and a baby on Honolulu Comic book convention[49] being deemed to be the cutest cosplay ever.[50]


  1. ^ Game Freak (2003-03-17). Pokémon Sapphire (Game Boy Advance). Nintendo. Pokédex: Magikarp is virtually useless in battle as it can only splash around. As a result, it is considered to be weak. However, it is actually a very hardy Pokémon that can survive in any body of water no matter how polluted it is.
  2. ^ Game Freak (2007-04-22). Pokémon Diamond (Nintendo DS). Nintendo. Pokédex: It is said to be the world's weakest Pokémon. No one knows why it has managed to survive.
  3. ^ Game Freak (2000-10-15). Pokémon Silver (Game Boy Color). Nintendo. Pokédex: For no reason, it jumps and splashes about, making it easy for predators like Pidgeotto to catch it mid-jump.
  4. ^ Game Freak (1998-09-30). Pokémon Red (Game Boy). Nintendo. Pokédex: In the distant past, it was somewhat stronger than the horribly weak descendants that exist today.
  5. ^ Game Freak (2003-03-17). Pokémon Ruby (Game Boy Advance). Nintendo. Pokédex: Magikarp is a pathetic excuse for a Pokémon that is only capable of flopping and splashing. This behavior prompted scientists to undertake research into it.
  6. ^ Game Freak (2009-03-22). Pokémon Platinum (Nintendo DS). Nintendo. Pokédex: A Magikarp living for many years can leap a mountain using Splash. The move remains useless, though.
  7. ^ Game Freak (1999-10-19). Pokémon Yellow (Game Boy). Nintendo. Pokédex: Famous for being very unreliable. It can be found swimming in seas, lakes, rivers and shallow puddles.
  8. ^ Game Freak (2001-07-29). Pokémon Crystal (Game Boy Color). Nintendo. Pokédex: This Pokémon gets easily pushed along rivers when there are strong currents. It is very hard to evolve.
  9. ^ McDaniel, Laura (October 2001). ""Jumping the Dragon Gate": Storytellers and the Creation of the Shanghai Identity". Modern China. 27 (4): 484–507. doi:10.1177/009770040102700403. ISSN 0097-7004. S2CID 144202835 – via JSTOR.
  10. ^ "Magikarp Pokédex: Stats, moves, evolution & locations".
  11. ^ "Magikarp generation 1 move learnset (Red, Blue, Yellow)".
  12. ^ "Pokemon Ruby Player Takes Six Years to Beat Game Using Magikarp". Game Rant. May 8, 2017.
  13. ^ "Someone beat Pokemon Sun & Moon using only a Magikarp, for some reason". November 28, 2016.
  14. ^ Hernandez, Patricia (December 3, 2019). "I sent my worthless Magikarp to do jobs in Pokémon Sword and Shield". Polygon.
  15. ^ Funnell, Rob (16 February 2017). "'Splash! Magikarp', a Bizarre New Pokemon Title, Has Been Announced for the App Store". TouchArcade. Archived from the original on 18 February 2017. Retrieved 19 February 2017.
  16. ^ "Magikarp finally gets its due in its own game". May 22, 2017.
  17. ^ a b "Magikarp Is The Best Pokemon GO Buddy". Kotaku Australia. September 15, 2016.
  18. ^ Boom, Daniel Van. "New Pokemon Snap Requests: 8 rare shots you shouldn't miss". CNET.
  19. ^ Yukiyoshi Ōhashi (writer) (September 28, 1998). "Battle Aboard the St. Anne". Pokémon. Season Indigo League. Episode 15. Various.
  20. ^ Junki Takegami (writer) (March 4, 2000). "The Joy of Pokémon". Pokémon. Season Adventures on the Orange Islands. Episode 92. Various.
  21. ^ Shinzō Fujita (writer) (September 16, 2000). "The Wacky Watcher!". Pokémon. Season Adventures on the Orange Islands. Episode 109. Various.
  22. ^ Yukiyoshi Ōhashi (writer) (July 10, 2007). "Ya See We Want an Evolution!". Pokémon. Season Diamond and Pearl. Episode 21. Various.
  23. ^ Webster, Andrew (July 29, 2016). "The official Magikarp music video is an anthem for lovable losers". The Verge.
  24. ^ "Pokétoon Anime Short Shows a Magikarp's Journey". July 3, 2021.
  25. ^ "Detective Pikachu Artist Teases Scrapped Charizard vs Gyarados Battle". Anime.
  26. ^ "Magikarp now appearing in Japan as a traditional taiyaki sweet 【Taste Test】". December 24, 2016.
  27. ^ Elston, Brett. "The complete Pokemon RBY Pokedex, part 12". GamesRadar. Future Publishing. p. 9. Archived from the original on 2014-03-06. Retrieved 2009-10-03.
  28. ^ "Gyarados Biography". IGN. IGN Entertainment. Archived from the original on 2013-11-11. Retrieved 2009-10-03.
  29. ^ pokemonofthedaychick (October 21, 2002). "Pokemon Crystal Version Pokemon of the Day: Magikarp (#129) - IGN FAQs". IGN. Archived from the original on February 5, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-14.
  30. ^ "Video Games, Wikis, Cheats, Walkthroughs, Reviews, News & Videos - IGN". IGN. Archived from the original on 2010-10-23.
  31. ^ "Pokemon Platinum Guide & Walkthrough - Nintendo DS - IGN". Archived from the original on 2011-07-21.
  32. ^ "Top 100 Pokemon - From 70 to 56". February 23, 2016.
  33. ^ Hjorth, Larissa; David Surman (2009). "9" (PDF). Gaming Cultures and Place in Asia-Pacific. Taylor and Francis. ISBN 978-0-415-99627-3. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-06-20. Retrieved 2009-06-06.
  34. ^ Lipperini, Loredana (26 May 2017). Generazione Pokémon: i bambini e l'invasione planetaria dei nuovi "giocattoli di ruolo". Castelvecchi. ISBN 9788882102494. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011 – via Google Books.
  35. ^ Totilo, Stephen. "At Last, An Easy Pokemon Game". Archived from the original on 2010-01-06.
  36. ^ "Good Game Spawn Point - PokePark Wii: Pikachu's Adventure". Archived from the original on 2011-09-22.
  37. ^ Hernandez, Patricia (November 20, 2019). "Pokémon fans are sick of trolls bringing Magikarp to raids". Polygon.
  38. ^ "Phoenix Suns Look To Continue Defensive Magic Against John Wall, Washington Wizards". Bright Side Of The Sun. 5 December 2010. Archived from the original on 8 December 2010.
  39. ^ "10 Generation I Pokémon That Make No Sense". ScreenRant. April 18, 2021.
  40. ^ Hilliard, Kyle. "Six Pointless Video Game Pets We Love Anyway". Game Informer.
  41. ^ "Let's settle this once and for all: Which Pokemon is the best?". November 12, 2017.
  42. ^ "Behind The Enduring Appeal of Magikarp". November 5, 2016.
  43. ^ "Magikarp-themed Poké Lids land in the Chubu region of Japan". Nintendo Wire. November 27, 2020.
  44. ^ "'Detective Pikachu' Toys Coming to Retailers Next Week". Anime.
  45. ^ "This Magikarp Plush Flops And Splashes All Over The Place, Just Like The Real Thing". Nintendo Life. August 13, 2019.
  46. ^ "U-Treasure Immortalizes Magikarp in 18k Gold and Silver". HYPEBEAST. March 19, 2020.
  47. ^ Dwyer, Theo (June 26, 2021). "Gyarados VMAX To Feature In Pokémon TCG: Sky Stream". Bleeding Cool News And Rumors.
  48. ^ "Twitch streamer uses hilarious Magikarp cosplay to "compete" with hot tub meta". Dexerto. May 11, 2021.
  49. ^ "I hope this adorable Magikarp baby never evolves". July 6, 2015.
  50. ^ Reiner, Andrew. "Perhaps The Cutest Pokémon Cosplay You'll Ever See". Game Informer.

Further reading[edit]

  • "Magikarp: The most useless-seeming monster in the Pokeverse hides an awesome secret". Edge. No. 249. Jan 2013. pp. 122–123.

External links[edit]