Pokémon Pia, a special one-off magazine released in Japan on 10th September just prior to Black/White’s official launch has included an interview with Ken Sugimori, where he discusses his inspiration behind the new Black/White starters. His interview has led to some doubt as to the legitimacy of the final starter evolutions.
The interview segment regarding the starters is below:
Ken Sugimori, primary illustrator: I really struggled the most with the Water-type [starter] this time.
Yusuke Ohmura, illustrator: There was talk of, “Wouldn’t a sea otter be good for the Water starter?” But it was a really close decision in terms of what this sea otter would become once it evolves. In the end, we decided to have it evolve into something with a completely different appearance.
Sugimori: Of course, we want to make the starters into Pokémon that remain with the player throughout the game, so we hope to make them evolve into creatures that offer a surprise to the player. We always make an effort to throw in some twists and create third-stage evolutions that have an impact.
Ohmura: There was also talk this time about dividing the three starters into Japanese, Western, and Chinese styles of design. Tsutarja was based on Western design, and Pokabu was rooted in a Chinese style, so I was told, “Let’s make Mijumaru into a more Japanese-style design.” Someone even asked, “Can’t you make Mijumaru into a samurai?” [laughs]
Sugimori: I worried about it for a while, and I eventually went to go see the sea otters at the aquarium. I happened to catch the sea lion show while I was there, and I became aware of the sea lion’s power. “Well, let’s try blending a sea otter and a sea lion,” I thought. I came up with the idea of making the shell on Mijumaru’s stomach into a sword (katana) and using it to fight, and that’s how I completed Mijumaru and its evolution.”
The last paragraph is the interesting piece as Sugimori mentions that the design on Mijumaru turns from a shell to a sword on its final evolution.
While it has been suggested that the skull design could be the sword it’s not apparent this is the case and so doubt has been cast over the legitimacy of the final evolutions. What do you think on the matter? Real or fake? We want to hear your thoughts in the comments and on our forum!