Pokémon Designer Ken Sugimori Reveals Serperior's Connection to Rose of Versailles' Oscar
posted on by Kim Morrissy
Pokémon designer Ken Sugimori discusses the origins of each Pokémon design in the Nintendo Dream magazines. He first discussed the origins of the Pokémon Black and White starter Pokémon in volume 201 of the magazine in 2011. YouTuber Dr Lava released an English translation of this interview on his website on June 15, uncovering a fact about Snivy's evolved form Serperior that has remained obscure for eight years: the design was inspired by Oscar from Riyoko Ikeda's The Rose of Versailles.
Serperior is the third-stage evolution of Snivy, the grass-type starter Pokémon of the Black and White games. Sugimori is quoted in the interview translation as saying that Serperior was "designed with the concept of a European knight in mind, kind of like Lady Oscar from The Rose of Versailles."
Oscar is the main character of The Rose of Versailles, the classic shojo manga set around the French Revolution. Oscar is a woman who was raised as a man to become the leader of the palace guards. She embodies the idea of a chivalrous European knight.
According to the interview, the other evolved starters Samurott and Emboar were also inspired by warriors. Samurott was inspired by Japanese samurai, while Emboar was inspired by Zhang Fei, a famous Chinese warlord from The Romance of the Three Kingdoms. "This time around — because the Unova region has a racially diverse human population — we decided to make the starter Pokémon's evolutions symbolize the cultures of Japan, the West, and China," Sugimori said.
The Pokémon Black and White games were first released on the Nintendo DS in Japan in 2010, and internationally in 2011. Riyoko Ikeda launched the original manga in Shueisha's Weekly Margaret magazine in 1972. The story is set in the intrigue-filled court of Queen Marie Antoinette before and during the upheavals of the French Revolution.