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Pokemon Dream Radar, Hisui, and Giratina: A Theory on the Origins of the Forces of Nature



The Forces of Nature are among the most reviled legendary Pokemon in the entire franchise, at least in the English-speaking fandom. Tornadus, Thundurus, Landorus, and Enamorus have long been criticized as ugly designs, and Enamorus in particular has been targeted by some as a female stereotype... which she is, I'll give you that, but as an acearo woman I believe that romance and motherhood are aspects of many women's experiences that shouldn't just be shied away from out of fear of political correctness. I will however say that visually speaking, she's definitely overdone; the heart pattern on her boa tail is a bit much.

And on top of that there's the fact that Landorus-Therian has been omnipresent in the Smogon OU meta for several generations and a sizable number of competitive players hate its guts because it's so versatile that it's difficult to properly prepare for/react to. Kind of a shame, really, considering that the Therian forms' designs are actually passable compared to the Incarnate forms, which are all pretty much bare-chested humanoids with clouds and tails and they aren't even particularly attractive humanoids at that. I doubt there are many fans who would consider any of this set waifu/husbando material. (And if you know of any, please don't give me examples. I beg of you.)

So why am I bringing up my least favorite legendary group right here, right now? Well, it started when I set out to redesign the Forces of Nature to be less cursed (whether I succeeded or not has yet to be seen, but at the very least I came up with an Enamorus-Therian based on the snake-necked turtle) and I started thinking about an old Pokemon spin-off game from the 3DS eShop, Pokemon Dream Radar. In this game, you use augmented reality to shoot at little spheres in the 'Interdream Zone,' described as the place between dreams and reality. (The Dream World was kind of a big thing in Generation Five.) The 'bosses' of Pokemon Dream Radar are the Therian forms of Tornadus, Thundurus, and Landorus, with Professor Burnet (yes, the same Professor Burnet seen in the Alola games) wondering out loud if the Forces of Nature originated in the main Pokemon planet, or in the Interdream Zone.

This led me to an odd realization: what if Pokemon Dream Radar explains how the Forces of Nature appeared in Hisui to begin with?

On paper, everything makes sense. Hisui has experienced spacetime rifts since even before the events of Legends Arceus. The Interdream Zone is another dimension set between dreams and reality (don't ask me how that works because despite my best efforts I'm not the theoretical metaphysicist that I'd like to be and I largely work in magibabble). It's not inconceivable to put two and two together here. While Bulbapedia states that Landorus and Enamorus crossed the sea to arrive in the Hisui region, Pokemon lore has proven inaccurate before (coughcoughLousyThreecoughcough), so it's entirely possible that the spacetime rifts in the Hisui region are how the Forces of Nature first left the Interdream Zone and came to the Pokemon world we know and love.

That being said, there's another important question regarding the Forces of Nature: are they actually related to each other? It's debatable whether the Incarnate or Therian forms are their 'true' forms, and this likely holds the answer as to if they're related or not. The Incarnate forms all look more or less alike, but the Therian forms are so wildly varied that only the clouds around them indicate that they're all from the same legendary group. If the Incarnate forms are their true forms, then they are likely related; if their Therian forms are their true forms, then it's entirely possible that they are four unrelated Flying-type Pokemon that just so happen to shapeshift into similar humanoid forms for whatever reason. And then that leads to the question of whether legendary Pokemon are unique, one-of-a-kind creatures, or simply rare species... but given that multiverse theory has been long confirmed for the Pokemon franchise, in some ways that's kind of a moot point.

Further complicating matters is the method of these Pokemon's transformations. The Reveal Glass, a key item introduced in Black 2 and White 2, allows the Forces of Nature to shift from their Incarnate to Therian forms and vice versa. While no one knows its origins in-universe, the Reveal Glass is based on the Chinese legend of the Demon Detecting Mirror, which can identify a transformed spirit (specifically, a yaoguai) as its true self. Given a certain other legendary Pokemon known to inhabit another dimension, to change form depending on its environment, to be associated with reflective surfaces, and even to be openly compared to a demonic entity... anyone else getting really weird Giratina vibes?

While it's in all likelihood a creative coincidence, it's very interesting to note the strange correlations between the Gen 4 Pokemon Giratina and the Forces of Nature that were introduced a generation later, especially considering that Enamorus was literally first introduced in the same region where Giratina hangs out when it's wrecking us Lighteners' crap. Quite frankly, none of this even occurred to me until I started researching for this article, but if the Forces of Nature really did first come to Hisui through timespace distortions, it's not unthinkable to imagine them somehow coming into contact with Giratina in the process, perhaps even learning from it how to transform their bodies into more humanlike forms in hopes of gaining the respect of the humans in the region.

Of course I have no idea why three out of four of the Forces of Nature would later travel to Unova, with Enamorus going MIA for no clear reason, but given that Legends Arceus retconned the Forces of Nature to be associated with the seasons, and Unova is the only Pokemon region thus far to contain a seasonal mechanic, it's very possible that Unova's striking seasonal changes are tied to the activities of the Forces of Nature. Perhaps Enamorus was in Unova all along, she just never crossed the players' paths over the course of their journeys. Who even knows at this point?

Also of note, in Legends Arceus, the Reveal Glass is shown to have an Enamorus-inspired handle that it doesn't have in any other appearance. While this may seem like a plot hole, in all likelihood, this handle probably broke off between the events of Legends Arceus and the Unova games. Not everything has to be a massive conspiracy.


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