The Cave of Dragonflies Zodiac
Ever wondered what that funny date at the top of every page of this site is? It's the date according to the Cave of Dragonflies Zodiac, one of the most important and unique features of this website.
What Is It?
What it is is basically a Pokémon calendar, assigning each day of the year a unique Pokémon such that the one for your birthday is your "Zodiac Pokémon". Basic probability dictates that yours probably isn't your favorite, but hey - it's still fun, right? And because mythology is also fun, the Zodiac has bit of a fictional backstory.
Long ago, when the world was young, only the legendary Pokémon existed. Mew had been given the power of Life, and began to make from itself the lower Pokémon, but Mew worried that the Pokémon would have difficulties surviving on the young planet, and therefore asked that for every Pokémon that it created, one of the legendary Pokémon named itself as its Guardian and would watch over the species for ever and ever.
The legendary Pokémon had previously divided the year between themselves such that each ruled over one week in one of the four seasons of Water, Earth, Fire and Air. Mew, however, asked that they dedicate all but one of the individual days of their reigns to the mortal Pokémon. The legendary Pokémon agreed to it, and when Mew created a family of Pokémon, one of the legendaries would name itself as the Guardian of that family and dedicate to it one of its days.
But though all agreed to this system, the legendary Pokémon still had conflicts of their own. In particular, when a mysterious Pokémon calling itself Deoxys had arrived from outer space and demanded a place among the legendaries, while this had been agreed upon by majority vote, some opposition had remained, and Deoxys retained a grudge against the legendary Pokémon for this.
One day, on the Day of Magikarp, the legendary Pokémon arranged a great gathering to discuss the state of the world, but many did not want Deoxys to attend, as they were still suspicious of his motivations for immigrating to this foreign planet. As the Day of Magikarp was in the Reign of Suicune, Suicune had the final word, and being one of those opposed to Deoxys' inclusion as a legendary, he refused to invite him. This angered Deoxys, and to take his revenge on Suicune and the legendaries, he decided to cripple the Pokémon of the day. The Magikarp were then strong Pokémon drawn to anger and hatred, but Deoxys, using his power over genes to alter their nature, made them weak and quelled their fighting spirits, in the hope that they would be driven to extinction and Suicune would be blamed for letting them perish.
But the Magikarp were more resilient than Deoxys had anticipated, and upon evolution into Gyarados their power returned redoubled. They survived Deoxys' plan, and though Suicune could not restore their former power, he sealed it so that they could not be weakened again. Livid at his failure, Deoxys retreated into himself and planned revenge against the legendaries, Suicune, and now also against the Magikarp that he had failed to wipe out.
Though he could not create new life on his own, he plotted to inspire humans to create a new legendary Pokémon. He tried his hand at first with the virtual Pokémon Porygon, which he innocently offered to Guard after the legendaries heard of it; then, confident in his skills, he planted the idea of the creation of Mewtwo in the minds of human scientists.
At first, the newly-created Mewtwo did just as Deoxys had hoped, causing chaos among the legendaries and attempting to kill Mew and take his place. However, Mew met with Mewtwo and turned him over to the legendary Pokémon's side, and he had immediate suspicions about who was behind it. He went to Deoxys and told him: "You misguided fool; inspiring the creation of a new legendary Pokémon could have been the undoing of us all. If you swear that you will never do such a thing again, you may continue to inspire the humans to create lower Pokémon; but if you refuse, Mewtwo will take your place as a legendary Pokémon and Guardian to the Pokémon that you have protected."
Deoxys did not want to be expelled from the ranks of the legendary Pokémon, so he grudgingly swore never to inspire the humans for the creation of a legendary Pokémon again, though he was permitted to inspire the creation of two new members of the Porygon family. Meanwhile, thanks to Mewtwo's newfound humility he found acceptance among the legendaries and was granted the previously unassigned final day of the year to reign over - the year had lengthened as the planet's rotation slowed since the original assignment of the reigns and seasons, that day being given a special Season of the Mind in his honour.
From this day on the legendary Pokémon lived in peace and prosperity, but Deoxys still burned with jealousy and a deep-set grudge against the legendaries who had wronged him - and in secret, he was still planning his ultimate revenge.
(The game Magikarp: The Gathering picks up where the Deoxys aspect of this story left off, if you're interested.)
Where Did It Come From?
The Zodiac was originally created for the third generation of Pokémon after I had noticed that there were exactly 365 non-legendary Pokémon. Somebody just had to make use of this magic number to do something like this, and because to my knowledge nobody else had, I did it myself. The year was split into five 'Seasons', each of which was split into four 'Reigns' (dominated by one legendary each) and one extra day that fell into the 'Reign of Mewtwo'. Each of the ordinary reigns had 18 days, each assigned to one species of non-legendary Pokémon that I had manually placed to fit at least somewhat with the legendary Pokémon of the reign. This way, every single existing Pokémon had either a day or a reign to itself, and people could look up their birthdays to see if they got a Pokémon they liked.
Unfortunately, with the arrival of the fourth generation, there were no longer exactly 365 non-legendary Pokémon, so when I set out to update the Zodiac, I knew it would never be quite as perfect as the original one. In the end I decided on a rather awkward system in which January 1st and December 31st didn't have a Pokémon at all, there were three seasons (designated by Emotion, Knowledge and Will), the legendaries had three-day festivals to themselves with one day dedicated to the shiny version of the legendary and one to the shadow (as in XD001) version, and each evolution line had one day to itself unless it was multigenerational, in which case it would be split (so that Scyther and Scizor, for example, had separate days, since in the first-generation games Scyther was alone in its evolution line, but Charmander, Charmeleon and Charizard all shared one day). While, again, this was rather awkward, I did stick to the key principles of the original Zodiac: every existing Pokémon had a spot in it somewhere, and the system of the distribution of the Pokémon was fully nonarbitrary, meaning if two Pokémon were not given completely analogous treatment in the Zodiac, it was because of some logical distinction between the Pokémon, not just because I liked one of them more or something like that.
The fifth generation, naturally, meant yet another new Zodiac, this time somewhat closer to the original, third-generation Zodiac, which meant I was considerably more satisfied with it. It went back to the original five seasons, though with a slightly different order and placement, and each season began with the reign of one of the five generations' cute event legendaries, slightly longer than the others, and ended with the reign of one of the five generations' legendary trios. Every Pokémon that had ever been a final evolution got a day this time, with the exception of the legendary trios which shared a day, which worked out to 365 days.
The sixth generation then, to my delight and amazement, brought the number of Pokémon families to exactly 365. Furthermore, there were exactly 53 legendaries, which meant one for each week of the year plus Mewtwo, who has always given the Zodiacs leeway to be treated as something between a legendary and a regular Pokémon and could easily simply be given the leftover day. I don't know if this is a coincidence or if somebody at Game Freak is a fan of my site, but either way it led to the most perfect Zodiac since the original.
So What's My Zodiac Pokémon?
Alternatively, if you just want to see the whole thing listed, go here, or here for the fifth-generation Zodiac, or here for the fourth-generation Zodiac, or here for tables with the whole of the third-generation Zodiac.
Feb 20: The Day of Heracross in the Reign of Keldeo, Season of Water
Page last modified November 10 2016 at 00:23 GMT