House Bisharp: Make Your Move
Good news, I found an explanation for Pawniard and Bisharp! Pawniard is an ashigaru, a japanese foot soldier that serves under a samurai characterized by their rounded helmets, while Bisharp is the samurai itself. It would explain why Bisharp are described as commanding armies of them. The chess puns in the English names are probably just an attempt to localize them, but it does make some sense since pawns can be promoted into bishops. What do you think?
Well, there is a chess pun in the Japanese too, because Pawniard’s Japanese name references the word for a game piece (koma), so it still seems likely to me that they were influenced by the appearance of pawns in European chess. But it does make a lot of sense – maybe someone at Game Freak thought that pawns in Shogi could be imagined as ashigaru, and then made a connection with the shape of European pawns?
It was, of course, a statistical inevitability that we would eventually get a set of chess-themed Pokémon – and here they are, the sword-wielding Dark/Steel Pokémon, Pawniard and Bisharp. In fact, not content with merely using bladed weapons, these Pokémon are literally made of interlocking blades, just to make absolutely sure that they can cut you to ribbons just by running into you. As always, the first question is: what were Game Freak thinking here? I don’t mean that rhetorically or sarcastically, I’m genuinely curious. This design seems to be going in a couple of different directions and I’m not sure which one they started from or where they’re trying to take them or how they’re supposed to fit together. Their vicious and aggressive personalities seem to follow sensibly from the blade theme, which seems to be Pawniard’s main schtick (or alternatively, simply from the fact that he’s a Dark-type; the vast majority of them are born to be jerks). Then, on a completely different tack, we have the chess idea, with their names referencing the pawns and bishops of European chess. Continue reading “Pawniard and Bisharp”