Personality & Development: Misty's Psyduck

Reviewing the characterization of anime Pokémon
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  • Friday, June 24, 2011

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This column has been written by Thomas Smithurst. It expresses the views of the columnist, not necessarily those of Bulbagarden networks.

Now, a lot of people say that the Pokémon not belonging to Ash have an unnotable personality; of course I disagree, I’d say since most people don’t pay as much attention as I do, to recognize most of the things I have noticed before and have not applied knowledge of the social sciences, either because they have no clue as regards to the subject or they had no reason to study anime characters in my manner of absurdity, to properly understand them. However, Pokémon like Misty’s Goldeen and Horsea seems to be considered as bland and as if they have never shown consistent defining features of their personality, but the truth is that they have, and yes will have their own columns. None of this applies however, to the subject of this column; comic relief character and fan favourite, Psyduck.

Your not going to dive are you?

Now as easy as you’d expect it to be for me to write a column about a comic relief character, it’s not. Notice that in all of my previous installments; a lot of what I wrote was about the Pokémon’s introductory episode but if you remember Psyduck’s, he hardly had a chance to get featured. So I have to work with his other appearances; luckily he got some notable screentime.

Classic Psyduck comedy

Now if I was going to analyse Psyduck’s behavior in his debut, I’d say that the way Psyduck investigated Misty’s dropped Poké Ball, which subsequently led to his capture, was the first time we recognized Psyduck’s obvious curiosity. Curiosity is a trait innate to all humans (innate means natural and common) and Pokémon often have personalities similar to humans, so it is not strange that Psyduck was interested in the Poké Ball. So his curiosity gives no indication of how Psyduck was growing up, but it proves he is normal or at least more normal than we all thought. The fact he has that innate emotional drive to want to learn and discover, makes him quite credible. The fact he allowed himself to be captured was the comic relief.

Don’t call me stupid!

Although I’ve tried to portray Psyduck as normal, I cannot deny the fact that he has some abnormal traits as well. If I was going to choose a definition of abnormality best suited to Psyduck; I’d say "Deviation from social norms", "Deviation from mental health" and "Failure to function adequately", yes all of them and I’ll tell you why in three well-written paragraphs.

An example of deviance from social norms in Psyduck’s behavior is the sheer ignorance that lead to a lack of compassion on the gang’s vacation when he ate the apple Togepi clearly wanted and that Pikachu and the others clearly were trying to get for her. This is one of Psyduck’s least likable traits in the interest of his peers, but I do not believe Psyduck is a horrible Pokémon: the reason Psyduck may sometimes ignorant and nasty is because he is not at all socially aware of other people, due to a deviation of mental health.

Like most Psyduck, our favorite three haired duck bill has a constant headache, meaning the headache cannot be classed as mental health. However, the intensity of Psyduck’s headaches appears to me as some sort of mental condition. Especially when you consider that Psyduck cannot use any of its Psychic powers until its headache is so monumentally painful it blasts out of him, sometimes uncontrollably. The strain that is put on Psyduck should at least gain him some understanding when he forgets how to treat others and as I’ve often pointed out at the compassion the others show, it does.

A capable Psyduck

Finally, the way in which Psyduck fails to function adequately is his inability to swim. Seen as other Psyduck have been shown swimming in the series, including newly hatched Psyduck proving that swimming is innate for them, one can conclude Psyduck was perhaps depraved as a child. Depraved in the sense that he may have had little, maybe no, experiences with the water. When an innate skill is not performed during an earlier period of life, it can be forgotten and that’s how I’d explain Psyduck not knowing how to swim. Of course it could also be explained by a million physical illnesses, but I don’t know much about that.

So that’s Psyduck’s installment of Personality & Development and I certainly hope you can recognize he is much more complex of a character then just “The comic relief Pokémon”.

You may have noticed reading these articles that I name Pokemon 'he'. That's because I believe all the characters I've analyzed so far to be male. I do not put my reasoning for my decisions on the Pokemon's genders because I feel in most cases they are understandable. However, if you feel I should explain these decisions in my columns, please don't hesitate to tell me on the forums.

Personality & Development
By Thomas Smithurst
Ash's PikachuAsh's SquirtleAsh's BulbasaurAsh's Charizard
Misty's PsyduckMisty's HorseaMeowthMisty's Togetic