In this article:
- What mythical pokemon are and what the difference is between mythical pokemon and legendary pokemon.
- The stories behind each of the mythical pokemon and what powers they have as well as their types.
- The in-game and/or in-anime lore for each of these pokemon and what roles they play in the show.
The Pokemon franchise is well-loved among fans of the anime, the video games, and the augmented reality app. This popular series about catching magical fauna and going on adventures with them has been part of people’s childhoods since it came out in the 1990s.
But because the series has gone on for so long, it now has over 900 pokemon for you to discover as of the time this was written. Many of these pokemon have overlapping classifications, the most confusing of which is the mythical pokemon and how they differ from legendary pokemon.
What Are Mythical Pokemon?
Mythical pokemon are, as their name implies, pokemon that have mythical origins. Think of them as the cryptids of the Pokemon world. They’re so little seen that many believe their existence to be nothing more than legends and rare sightings are the equivalent of spotting Big Foot in the woods.
Contrary to popular belief, mythical pokemon are actually not the same thing as legendary pokemon which are just a group of super rare pokemon. The main difference is just that legendary pokemon are more common in the show than mythical pokemon.
Who Are the Mythical Pokemon?
The most well-known mythical pokemon is Mew. Mew was first introduced as part of Generation 1 and is a Psychic-type pokemon.
According to Pokemon lore, Mew was once worshipped by natives of the Guyana forest and was believed to appear only once a year, making Mew sightings rare.
Because of its rarity and ability to make itself invisible, many pokemon researchers believed Mew to either be extinct or merely a legend.
Mew is said to contain the DNA of all pokemon which enables it to transform into other pokemon such as Lugia in the Pokemon series.
Celebi was the first mythical Pokemon to be released after Mew and is part of Generation II. Like Mew, it is a Psychic-type pokemon albeit a dual-type so you’ll see it listed as a Grass-type pokemon as well.
Similar to its predecessor, Celebi is connected to a forest, the Ilex Forest, where it’s honored as a guardian spirit a.k.a “The Voice of the Forest”.
Celebi’s mystical abilities allow it to travel through time, giving it the power to protect the forest at all points in time.
Jirachi is the mythical pokemon from Generation III and was the (literal) star of Jirachi: Wish Maker (2003) where it’s a central figure in the Pokemon universe’s version of the traditional Japanese Tanabata festival.
For context, the Tanabata festival is a festival celebrating the yearly meeting of Orihime and Hikiboshi, the star-crossed lovers of Japanese mythology. During the festival, it’s customary to write wishes on long pieces of paper which is why Jirachi has three tassel-like appendages on its head.
Jirachi is able to grant wishes when awakened. It’s also able to speak in the movie, making it one of the few pokemon able to do so, alongside Jesse and James’ Meowth.
Deoxys is a Psychic-type pokemon and is the second Generation III mythical pokemon. Its weird helix-shaped arms are a nod to its sci-fi origins. Known as the DNA pokemon, Deoxys is the result of a mutated space virus.
Because of its strange origin, Deoxys is able to take on multiple Formes such as the Attack Forme, Defense Forme, and Speed Forme.
As you can guess from their names, each Forme had a specialty stat that was set higher than that of its Normal Forme at the expense of a different, opposing stat.
Manaphy is the first of the Generation IV mythical pokemon. It’s a Water-type pokemon that is said to come from the seafloor. It’s noted for its friendly disposition and for being the only pokemon that’s able to breed.
However, Manaphy is only capable of reproducing with another strange pokemon, Ditto, who it can produce Phione with.
Manaphy doesn’t make a lot of big appearances in the main Pokemon series but it does feature in Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea (2006) where it starts as an egg, hatches, and later develops a bond with May.
Because it’s the product of successful breeding between a Manaphy and a Ditto, Phione is counted as a mythical pokemon.
Like its mythical parent, Phione is a Water-type pokemon. Instead of coming from the cold sea floor, though, Phiones are known for preferring warm water.
Like many real-world animal hybrids, Phione is unable to produce a Manaphy and can only create another Phione. It also has a lower stat distribution compared to Manaphy.
The second Generation III mythical pokemon, Darkrai, is a Dark-type pokemon with psychic powers. It forms part of the Lunar duo with Cresselia, a Psychic-type legendary pokemon.
Darkrai is able to induce nightmares in people and pokemon alike, a power that it uses to scare others away from its home.
While this is done by Darkrai to defend itself, the pokemon is portrayed as an antagonist in the main series where it’s shown as an enemy to Cresselia.
You probably remember Shaymin from when it was featured in McDonald’s Happy Meals as a toy back in the late 2000s to early 2010s. Though Shaymin looks like a regular Grass-type pokemon, this mythical pokemon is able to reverse the environmental damage caused by toxins, breathing life back into the land.
By doing this, Shaymin is able to create Gracidea flowers that transform it into Sky Forme Shaymin when it’s exposed to the flowers during the day.
Shaymin is featured several times in the main Pokemon series, specifically as the companion of Mallow, a trainer from Melemele Island.
Arceus is the last mythical pokemon under Generation IV but has one of the most intimidating lore of all the mythical pokemon. It’s heavily implied that Arceus is the Pokemon universe’s deity and is the central figure of the Pokemon creation myth.
He’s Pokemon god, is what the lore is saying.
Arceus is said to have created Dialga, Palkia, and Giratina first to bring order to the universe before creating Uxie, Mesprit, and Azelf.
Arceus is the only pokemon able to change its form and type, making it the most powerful pokemon.
Victini is the first mythical pokemon of Generation V and is a dual-type pokemon. Specifically, he’s a Psychic/Fire-type that’s said to bring its owner victory. It’s known for having a warm, outgoing personality and is mostly friendly, unless its trainer is in danger.
Similar to Mew, Victini has the ability to turn invisible. Its psychic abilities include being able to show people visions of the future.
In the Black – Victini & Reshiram / White – Victini & Zekrom (2011) movie, Victini is revealed to be the old friend of the King of the People of the Vale, a legendary figure who once ruled in the Kingdom of the Vale in Unova.
The second of the Generation V mythical pokemon, Kaldeo is one of the Swords of Justice, a group of pokemon based on the novel The Three Musketeers. As a member of this group, it’s Kaldeo’s sworn duty to protect pokemon and pokemon habitats from aggressive human expansion.
Keldeo is a dual-type Water and Fighting-type pokemon who was orphaned in a war and was later taken in by the other Swords of Justice who taught it how to fight.
Among its abilities are walking on water, and the Secret Sword move. He is one of the pokemon to introduce the concept of Resolute Forms which is explained in the lore as his “awakening”.
Meloetta is the third mythical pokemon from Generation V and comes in two different Formes, Aria and Pirouette. Unlike the previous mythical pokemon to have Formes, Meloetta’s Formes have different types.
Pirouette Forme is a Normal and Fighting-type pokemon while Aria Forme is a Normal and Psychic-type pokemon. Meloetta is able to switch between these Formes by singing the Relic Song, though its Aria Forme is considered the “default” state.
Genesect is an insect-like mythical pokemon of the hybrid Bug and Steel type. Though already a fearsome hunter since when it first existed millions of years ago, Genesect was altered by Team Plasma after they captured it. Team Plasma added the cybernetic modifications on Genesect, including the canons on its back.
Genesect appears in Genesect and the Legend Awakened (2013) as an army in search of their old home which happened to be where the modern city of New Tork currently is.
Diancie, as in “diamond”, is the first mythical pokemon to be part of Generation VI. It’s not a naturally occurring mythical pokemon, instead having been created in a lab using a Carbink.
Diancie is a Rock and Fairy-type pokemon capable of creating diamonds out of thin air. Literally. It takes the carbon in the air and turns it into diamonds which it then uses to shield itself and create a Diamond Storm.
Hoopa is the second mythical pokemon from Generation VI and, like Meloetta, has two distinct Formes each with a different type combination. You have Hoopa Confined, which is a Psychic and Ghost-type pokemon, and Hoopa Unbound, a Psychic and Dark-type pokemon.
Hoopa is heavily inspired by Arab myths about djinn as shown by its mischievous personality and use of a Prison Bottle, an item that lets it transform between Hoopa Confined and Hoopa Unbound.
The last mythical pokemon of Generation VI is Volcanion, a Fire and Water-type Pokemon that first appeared in Volcanion and the Mechanical Marvel (2016) and appears in X Omega Ruby and Y Alpha Sapphire.
It lives a reclusive life and generates steam to help it hide and escape any humans it may come across in its mountains.
Magearna is the first of five mythical pokemon that are part of Generation VII. As you can tell from its design, it’s a Steel and Fairy-type pokemon that was said to be created by human mechanics. However, its steel body hides its Soul-Heart where it draws its power from.
Magearna appears alongside Volcanion in the aforementioned movie, being the “Mechanical Marvel” in question.
This cute second addition to Generation VII’s mythical pokemon is a Fighting and Ghost-type pokemon known as Marshadow. Its design seems to be inspired by the Monkey King legend if its oriental-style cloud motifs are to go by.
This pokemon is one of the few that are hostile to Ash as it’s shown attacking Ash when they first met. However, it later guides him and his friends in their journey.
Marshadow is a very mysterious pokemon and is able to teleport by using shadows as portals.
Zeraora is the third mythical pokemon to join Generation VII and is one of the few recent mythical pokemon to not have two different types. It’s an Electric-type that’s capable of generating electricity, flying, and superspeed.
Zeraora was introduced in Pokémon the Movie: The Power of Us (2018).
Are there 21 mythical pokemon or 22? Meltan is partly to blame for the confusion because it is one of the few mythical pokemon capable of evolving.
This Steel-type pokemon is known to absorb other metals and even other Melmetals to create its evolved form, Melmetal.
Because of these seemingly mystical abilities, Meltan was once worshipped as a metal deity.
Zarude is the latest addition to the list of mythical pokemon and belongs to Generation VIII. It’s a Dark and Grass-type pokemon that mostly lives in the forest and is capable of healing itself.
It was introduced in the 2020 Pokemon film, Secrets of the Jungle.