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 fun, the Zodiac has a whole elaborate backstory behind it, too.
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 a number of days. The five seasons of Water, Fire, Earth, Air and Mind were each overseen by one of the most unique legendaries - Manaphy, Victini, Celebi, Jirachi and Mew - such that they were responsible for the season's first thirteen days, while the remaining legendaries reigned over ten days each, barring the weaker legendary trios' sharing one reign each. Mew, however, asked that they dedicate 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 its adult stage and dedicate to it one of its days. If further adult stages were added to the family later, they would be given days of their own.
This went on for eons without incident. One day, however, a Pokémon from a distant planet named Deoxys appeared to claim a position among the legendaries, thanks to his power being very close to theirs. Mew and Arceus agreed, but many of the other legendaries were dissatisfied, feeling that this foreign guest had no right to intrude on their planet and demand power. He was assigned a reign and became Guardian of a few Pokémon, but was regarded with suspicion and disdain.
Eventually, after being treated in such a way by the legendaries for thousands of years with no sign of respite, he resolved to show them what he was capable of.
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 found out about 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, Mew took on Mewtwo's Guardianship for himself and granted him a one-day Reign every four years to acknowledge his power, and he found a strange acceptance among the legendaries thanks to his humility compared to Deoxys's arrogance.
From this day on the legendary Pokémon lived in peace and prosperity, but Deoxys burned with jealousy and a deep-set grudge against the legendaries who had wronged him - and in secret, he planned his ultimate revenge.
(The game Magikarp: The Gathering picks up a little on this story, by the way, 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, and this time I managed to actually make it somewhat closer to the original, third-generation Zodiac, which means I'm considerably more satisfied with it than the fourth-generation one. The seasons are back to being the original five, though not in the same order or placed the same way, and this time I created something of a connection between the five seasons and the five generations, with a cute-all-100-base-stat legendary representing its generation to open each season with a longer thirteen-day reign, and a legendary trio sharing the final reign of each season:
- The Season of Water is overseen by Manaphy (fourth-generation), a Water-type, and features the trio of Cobalion, Terrakion and Virizion (fifth-generation). They are not particularly water-themed, but as Keldeo is a Water-type and associated with them, plus that the Season of Water is associated with calm, loyalty and strength, they do fit the overall theme of the season.
- The Season of Fire is overseen by Victini (fifth-generation), a Psychic/Fire-type, and features the trio of Raikou, Entei and Suicune (second-generation), who were revived by the Fire-type Ho-Oh after perishing in a fire at Burned Tower. Additionally, the beasts represent the ferocity and spirit associated with the Season of Fire.
- The Season of the Earth is overseen by Celebi (second-generation), a Psychic/Grass-type, and features the trio of Regirock, Regice and Registeel (third-generation), who are connected to Regigigas (also in the Season of the Earth). The Season of the Earth is associated both with the earth itself - rocks, minerals and other terrains - and with plants and growth.
- The Season of the Air is overseen by Jirachi (third-generation) and features the legendary bird trio of Articuno, Zapdos and Moltres (first-generation). Jirachi may not seem air-themed at a glance, but it is space-themed, and the Season of the Air encompasses that theme just like it did in the third-generation Zodiac.
- Finally, the Season of the Mind is overseen by Mew (first-generation), a pure Psychic-type, and features the trio of Uxie, Mesprit and Azelf (fourth-generation), also Psychic-types (which are additionally associated with emotion, knowledge and will, also qualities of the mind).
The distribution of the other legendary reigns across the seasons was then pretty straightforward - Water gets the Water- and Ice-types plus Lugia because it's heavily associated with water, Fire gets the Fire-types plus Groudon because it's associated with lava and volcanic eruptions and Giratina because of the aforementioned ferocity/spirit theme of the season, Earth gets the Grass-types, Steel-types and Normal-types because of the aforementioned plant/mineral theme and the 'down-to-earth' theme of Normal-types (plus that Regigigas is associated with its mineral brethren and Arceus in the twelfth movie helped Michina's soil to become fertile again), Air gets the Flying- and Electric-types plus Deoxys for the space theme, and Mind gets the Psychic-types plus Darkrai which messes with dreams. Thundurus and Tornadus share a reign in a similar manner to the trios, but Landorus gets its own reign since it sets itself apart from the other two by having a higher base stat total and being separated from them in the Pokédex.
Finally, the days were distributed such that every Pokémon that has ever been a final evolution gets its own day - so again, Scyther and Scizor get separate days while the Charmander family gets only one, since Scyther used to be a final evolution in the first generation, but now baby Pokémon added in later generations don't get separate days, and split evolutions get separate days for each individual final stage no matter when they were introduced. This does mean it doesn't quite make sense anymore to speak of each day being dedicated to multiple Pokémon per se - otherwise Eevee would be mentioned for seven different days, for instance - but instead, while the day is only designated as the day of the final evolution, the Zodiac images generated for the day will show the Pokémon preceding it in the evolution line too, faded. Finally, unlike the third-generation Zodiac, legendaries do get days to themselves in addition to their reigns, with one day to each distinct form of the legendary. (Here it only counts as a form if it actually has different stats and is treated as a separate Pokémon by the game - thus, Arceus and Genesect's forms don't count, but Deoxys, Giratina, Shaymin and Meloetta's do. With the release of Black and White 2, the Zodiac is a little out of date, since Black and White Kyurem as well as Thundurus, Tornadus and Landorus's Therian formes should be getting their own days according to this rule; I'm in the process of figuring out how to adapt the Zodiac accordingly.)
So What's My Zodiac Pokémon?
Page last modified October 23 2012 at 00:45 GMT