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These Pokemon Are Based On The Three Musketeers

The "Pokémon" series has transformed a lot over the years, going from the pocket monsters being mostly designed after flora and fauna, to having more references to popular culture. In "Pokémon: Black" and "Pokémon: White," four monsters were introduced that reference the main characters of one of the most famous pieces of classic literature — "The Three Musketeers." This was revealed all the way back in 2011 in an interview with "Pokémon" illustrator Ken Sugimori for the Japanese magazine "Nintendo Dream," later translated by Dr. Lava.

"The Three Musketeers" was written by author Alexandre Dumas in 1844, but the story takes place in the early 1600s. It's a tale of chivalrous swordplay and swashbuckling adventure as much as it is a commentary on the political climate of France at the time — the first French Revolution just happened at the turn of the century, and the second would begin in 1848. But how does that relate to Pokémon?

Called the Swords of Justice as a group, Sugimori said that the four Pokémon represent each of the main characters of "The Three Musketeers" in their strengths and lore. Cobalion, the leader of the quartet, is the oldest and wisest, and he thus represents Athos. Terrakion is the largest and strongest of the four and represents Porthos, while Virizion stands in for the last member of the "three" musketeers Aramis. Keldeo is the smallest and youngest of the group, and thus represents d'Artagnan, the main character and newest member of "The Three Musketeers." However, that isn't where the analogies end.

Similarities between The Three Musketeers and The Swords of Justice

One of the more compelling similarities is a secret that can only be unlocked by bringing Keldeo back to the original Swords of Justice. In "The Three Musketeers," the trio becomes a quartet when d'Artagnan joins them, and eventually, he succeeds the others after their adventures and experiences together. In "Pokémon: Black" or "Pokémon: White," when players bring Keldeo to the Moor of Icirrus to rejoin Cobalion, Terrakion, and Virizion, it will learn its signature move Secret Sword, reflecting d'Artagnan's character progression. 

The narrative of "The Three Musketeers" sounds a bit serious to be a reference in the "Pokémon" series, but throughout its existence, "Pokémon" hasn't avoided adult themes. Even going back to the original games, Cubone is said to wear the skull of its mother on its head, not to mention whatever's going on in Lavender Town

The Swords of Justice echo the musketeers' motto — "all for one, and one for all" — in their singular goal to prevent further encroachment from humanity on the Pokémon world — but that's about as far as the societal commentary goes. After all, they certainly don't go so far as to criticize politics or monarchies.