"Wonderful! Your work is impeccable!"
If you're looking for a Pokémon character that could rival Pikachu in terms of fame, popularity, and pure lovability, look no further than Professor Oak. This eccentric professor worked his way into our hearts (and pants) starting way back in Pokémon Red and Blue, and with his debut in the anime series, he quickly skyrocketed to celebrity-status amongst Pokémon fans across the world.
But Professor Oak may have just met his match. Sure, we've had other professors to lend us advice (and a starter Pokémon) along the way—Elm, Birch, Rowan, Juniper, Willow, the tree outside my window, etc.—but none of them have ever titillated us with as much gumption as Professor Oak... until now.
Meet Samson Oak, Professor Oak's tropical cousin
Called "Nariya Oak" in the original Japanese, "Samson" Oak is a dude with a 'tude... and a whole plethora of sight gags, it seems, if his over-embellished antics in the anime are any evidence. Japanese and global fans alike are already quite taken with him (or taken aback by him?), and no, we assure you—he's not just Professor Oak with a wig on (after a long day at the beach).
Samson's looks aren't the only point of interest, however—his English-localized name is also pretty clever. Could he be named after the Samson of biblical fame? Who would lose his inhuman strength if you cut his hair? It's also similar to "Samuel" Oak, which is the first name of the Professor Oak we all know and love.
In another intriguing point, Ash's mom's name is "Delia," which is veeeeery close to "Delilah," the woman Samson falls in love with and is eventually betrayed by in the Bible. Hmm...
The memes have already begun...
Samson Oak is basically prime meme material, and the jokes, art, and comments have already begun on both sides of the Pacific. Fans can't get enough of (and can't get over) how ridiculous this new "Alola version of Professor Oak" is, and the hilarious bi-products will only grow in number the closer we get to the release dates of both the new games and anime.
Even the official Pokémon site is getting in on the meme fun.
Samson even takes after a few other iconic video game characters...
Could Samson's true identity be...
...Enrico Pucci of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure?!
Or perhaps he's really...
...Ansem, the main villain of the first Kingdom Hearts game?!?!
The nefarious possibilities are endless...
Japanese netizens are having their fun as well.
All the fun can't be left to English speakers, am I right? Japanese fans have their own thoughts about Professor Oak's hip, tan new cousin.
- Professor Oak -> Grandson Shigeru
- Professor Samson Oak -> Grandon Shigeru?
Apparently, Samson looks strikingly similar to Matsuzaki Shigeru, the Japanese singer and actor, which is creating some amusing memes.
Other Japanese fans have already taken to wondering what Samuel and Samson would have looked like when they were young... and how they might have interacted.
What type of role will Samson play in the series?
We have absolutely no idea.
Not much has been given so far on his actual character aside from the gratuitous sight gags in the latest anime trailer. Will he play an integral role in the anime and games? Seems it's just another one of the mysteries we'll have to wait to find out.
One thing's for sure—the Alola region is full of surprises! Whether or not Samson becomes as iconic as Professor Oak, his meme-legacy, no doubt, will surely live on...