I'm sure many of you have seen Ho-Oh in the world of Pokémon. Whether you know it all the way back from the first episode of the TV series or from playing Heart Gold more recently, you may think you're a bit of a 'Pro-Oh', but how much do you really know about the legendary rainbow Pokémon?
Ho-Oh is the legendary 'guardian of the skies' and was introduced in the second generation of Pokémon. It is said to have resided in the Bell Tower of Ecruteak City in the Johto region before the Brass Tower burned down.
Not much is known about Ho-Oh's personality as it is rarely seen across all media, only flying across the sky three times in the anime.
Almost every one of Ho-Oh's Pokédex entries mention something about the seven colors produced by the legendary bird. Some attribute this to the wings or feathers in particular, but others ambiguously mention the body glowing.
A fair few entries also highlight the joy that seeing this Pokémon or its feathers is said to bring. The Diamond/Pearl/Platinum Pokédex goes as far as to say 'those who see Ho-Oh are promised an eternal happiness'.
Background & Lore
The name 'Ho-Oh' (or rather, the Japanese Houou) comes from a translation of the Chinese 鳳凰 (Hōō) or phoenix.
The Pokémon itself seems to borrow elements from a variety of creatures such as 'Fenghuang' the mythological bird of Chinese origin, and the 'Huma' bird of Iranian legend.
Shared features with the Fenghuang include the associations with the sky and sun, fire, and five key colors (red, green, yellow, white and black). Both birds also have ties to happiness surrounding its appearances.
In terms of the Huma, it is said to never rest on the ground, spending its existence in the skies. Although Ho-Oh is said to have roosted in Bell Tower, each time we see it in the anime it is soaring high in the sky. The Huma are also said to bring a lifetime of happiness upon being seen.
In The World Of Pokémon
Ho-Oh is the master of the three legendary beasts Raikou, Entei and Suicune after having supposedly revived them form three unidentified Pokémon from the burned tower in Ecruteak City. This legend can be found in the games, the TV series and also the Pokémon Generations net animation, heavily suggesting its legitimacy.
Lugia is considered to be Ho-Oh's counterpart, being the 'guardian of the sea' and master of the three legendary birds (Articuno, Zapdos and Moltres). Unlike many of the other legendary partners, the two are yet to properly clash head to head. There are only minor suggestions of such an occurrence.
Ho-Oh in Pokémon media:
Although Ho-Oh is a Generation 2 Pokémon, it was spotted by Ash in the opening episode of the original Pokémon TV series. When Ash attempts to register it in the Pokédex, it simply states 'There is no data. There are still Pokémon yet to be identified'.
It also appears a few other times in the anime, usually to inspire Ash in some way when he feels at his lowest.
Ho-Oh is yet to appear in a Pokemon film aside from when Mew transforms into it in Lucario and the Mystery of Mew.
In the Pokémon main series games, Ho-Oh's moveset is naturally geared towards sky-based moves. For example, Ho-Oh can learn all of the weather moves aside from Hail. Oddly enough, it can also learn Earthquake.
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