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Gotta Meme 'em All: Mudkip and Marshtomp, here in the track

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The history and spread of Pokémon memes
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  • Wednesday, January 14, 2015

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This column has been written by ShinyLinoone. It expresses the views of the columnist, not necessarily those of Bulbagarden networks.
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  • [url=//bulbanews.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Gotta_Meme_%27em_All:_Mudkip_and_Marshtomp,_here_in_the_track] Gotta Meme 'em All: Mudkip and Marshtomp, here in the track[/url]
  • <a href="//bulbanews.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Gotta_Meme_%27em_All:_Mudkip_and_Marshtomp,_here_in_the_track"> Gotta Meme 'em All: Mudkip and Marshtomp, here in the track</a>
Lucky Ash didn't get shot, or else we'd have a scene way too intense for youngsters... This article contains material that may not be suitable for young readers.
Viewer discretion is advised.


Not all memes are similar. They come in different media, places of origin, and levels of popularity, and can differ in numerous other ways. The two memes discussed in this edition of Gotta Meme 'em All are similar in the respect that they feature Pokémon species from the same evolutionary chain, but are different in many other aspects. These differences define why they have become what they are today, and why they have thrived in their own areas of the internet.

i herd u like mudkips

Considered to be one of the most iconic and influential internet memes from the Pokémon franchise, "i herd u like mudkips" is a catchphrase that has been used frequently on internet communities of all kinds since its rise to fame in the mid-2000s, and has managed to retain its relevance for nearly ten years now, an eternity in internet time. It is made, of course, in reference to Mudkip, the Water-type starter Pokémon from Pokémon Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald and Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire.

The exact spelling of this catchphrase can vary between different uses, but is usually mispelled for comedic effect. "i herd u liek mudkips", "i herd u like mudkipz", and other spellings can be found throughout the internet, but the original spelling of the catchphrase is "i herd u like mudkips."

MudKipClub began to post this on the comments sections of other DA users' walls in early 2005

The meme's true origin is from an online group on the art-sharing website DeviantArt named "MudKipClub". Created on October 4, 2004, the group shared various fanart from the Pokémon franchise. The artwork was not exclusive to the Pokémon Mudkip, but Mudkip was rather used as the group's mascot.

Beginning in February 7, 2005, MudKipClub began to post comments on the walls of other users on DeviantArt to invite them to the group. These comments were the first use of the catchphrase " i herd u like mudkips" on the internet.

The meme had its first surge in popularity after a user on the imageboard 4chan posted a story where the poster's mentally handicapped classmate attempts to have sexual intercourse with a plush Mudkip doll. In the story he quotes himself saying, "So I heard you like Mudkips...", and ends the story with, "So I ask you: do you like Mudkips?". This copypasta is often erroneously referred to as the meme's first use on the internet.

Mudkip Copypasta.jpg
The original 4chan post
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Throughout the next year or so, this story was spread throughout 4chan, making it a copypasta. A copypasta is when a story is reposted on different pages and websites, the name being a corruption of the words copy and paste, as the story is literally copied from one page and pasted to another. In the following years, the Mudkips copypasta was posted on other various imageboards and forums, eventually being added to the Copypasta Archive in 2010.

The link to the Memes Portal on Encyclopædia Dramatica

Not too long after the story's original post, the catchphrase "i herd u like mudkips" began to spread throughput the internet. Its use eventually granted it an entry on Urban Dictionary, an online dictionary which defines modern lingo that is often not considered to be real words.

Despite losing relevance a few years after its rise to fame, the meme has never truly died. It has left behind a long-lasting legacy in not just the Pokémon fandom but also in the communities online that share and document internet memes. Encyclopædia Dramatica, a wiki with many internet-centric articles, uses a silhouette of a Mudkip to represent its memes portal. On April 1, 2008, DeviantArt replaced all users' avatars with pictures of Mudkip as an April Fool's Day joke.

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Mudkip Obey.jpg
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4-1-08 deviantART.png
The Mudkip profile picture used in DA's April Fool's 2008 joke.
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Creepy Marshtomp

Creepy Marshtomp, also known as Emotionless Marshtomp, is recent meme that came into being shortly after the release of Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. It is much more popular in Japan than anywhere else, but is used on an international scale nonetheless.

This meme is centered around the 3D model of the Pokémon Marshtomp, the first evolution of Mudkip, in the Generation VI core series Pokémon titles. The meme is that Marshtomp's face in these games appears expressionless and even creepy to many people. The first notable mention of Marshtomp's disconcerting countenance was when Japanese Twitter user @kuroarivega described Marshtomp in the new games as having "the eyes of a killer" on November 22, 2014, the day after Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire saw its official release in all regions other than Europe.

Marshtomp Gen VI.jpg
Does this look like the face of mercy to you?
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The tweet from November 22nd.
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Marshtomp's model, like all Pokémon forms that exist in both games, is the same between Pokémon X and Y and Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. This observation of Marshtomp's facial expression did not become popular until after the latter games were released, most likely because in the former games Marshtomp can only be obtained by transferring it from a previous title, whereas in the latter games its pre-evolved form is one of the starter Pokémon.

Soon after, other Japanese Twitter users begin to jokingly speculate as to what personal experiences Marshtomp has had that may attribute to the expression on his face. Then, on November 27, user @Seo_f tweeted a picture of the Splash Mountain log ride from Disney World with the same in-game image of Marshtomp edited into all eight visible seats on the ride.

On the same day that the Splash Mountain picture was posted on Twitter, a new user with the handle @numa_kuro and the name 「感情を失ったヌマクロー」 tweeted a screenshot from the end credits of anime series Yo-Kai Watch. This tweet was been retweeted over 4,600 times and favorited almost 4,000 times the week it was posted.

Marshtomp Splash Mountain.jpg
Wheeee!
Marshtomp Yo-Kai Watch.jpg
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@numa_kuro, which appears to have been created solely for posting Marshtomp-related images, is named 「感情を失ったヌマクロー」 kanjō o ushinatta Numacraw, which translates literally to "Emotionless Marshtomp". The handle, @numa_kuro, is a romanization of 沼黒, which means "swamp black". 沼 numa comes from Marshtomp's Japanese name, ヌマクロー Numacraw; 黒 kuro has a connotation of dark, evil, or corrupted, so the handle is actually read as "Evil Marshtomp", and is a pun on horror movie titles in Japan.

This Twitter account popularized the trend of editing the Generation VI model of Marshtomp (sometimes a digital drawing of the model, bearing the same facial expression) into various images that usually justify its blank facial expressions, including screencaps from anime and video games, and also stock images. As of this article's publication, the account is still active and has over 23,000 followers.

Marshtomp Solar System.jpg
Marshtomp Digital Art.jpg
Even the official Pokémon Twitter account for Japan has acknowledged this meme.
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Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori
Diamond & Pearl print
Illus. bp:Ken Sugimori


Closing

This was the second article of Gotta Meme 'em All, a column whose purpose is to provide in-depth explanations on the origins and spread of various Pokémon memes. If you have any suggestions as to what future articles should feature, as well as any general questions, comments, and criticism, the author can be contacted here.

A special thanks to the Japanese translation team of Bulbanews.

References


Gotta Meme 'em All
By ShinyLinoone
SmugleafMudkip and MarshtompVietnamese Crystal
PokéGods7.8/10 Too Much WaterTwitch Plays PokémonPokémon Bank Delay
Youngster Joey and Youngster BenDitto