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Theory about Shinies


Starly Fan
Apr 15, 2016
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I have a theory on Shinies in Pokémon Lore that might make sense as to why they appear more frequently in this game, in comparison to the modern games.

First, during the time period of Legends Arceus, surprisingly few people were even remotely comfortable with catching Pokémon. So, it makes sense that Shinies would be more commonly found. Plus, not everyone in the games even know about Shinies. For instance, let’s take a brief look at the Red Gyarados portion of Gold, Silver and Crystal. One NPC comments that they thought Gyarados were usually blue. I think it’s an interesting comment, since in the Anime, I think it’s Ash who wonders if Gyarados is red due to being really angry. In any case, back to Legends Arceus, if you are in the Crimson Mirelands, a Diamond Clan Member will tell you they thought they saw a Pokémon of different colour in an Outbreak. That’s all they say.

Now, as far as I know, the people of the Hisui Region were very hesitant about getting anywhere near a Pokémon. So, say that John Doe is just swimming at Lake Verity, he will probably be there only every once in a while, and only to get some underwater plants, or something. If he sees a Gyarados, he will panic, right? So, seeing a "red Gyarados", aka, a Shiny, imagine how the poor guy’s friends would react? They would probably laugh at the claims that John Doe would be making.

Now, since hardly anyone does have any Pokémon, the chances are very slim that there are any Shiny Hunters, aside from the player. Let’s remember something. In this game, we’re actually compiling the very first Pokédex. As a result of that, over time, people would start warming up to Pokémon to the point that we all know in the modern games. During that time, at some point, people who were more serious than the average person would eventually seek out "differently colored Pokémon", such as the red Gyarados as I mentioned earlier. But, comes the time of Red, Blue, Yellow, Gold, Silver, Crystal, etc, the Shinies are far less common. My guess is, someone who probably meant well might have tried to get the mystery of Shiny Pokémon solved. But, then, a rogue Pokémon Scientist would discover something about a mutation in the Pokémon's DNA that would cause the difference in the coloration. However, instead of doing the right thing, that Scientist would probably establish an organization that would seek out only Shinies. As a result of this, wild Pokémon would eventually catch on, and some of them would probably restrict breeding to only the non Shinies, and that’s why in the modern timeline, Shiny Pokémon are far more difficult to encounter.

What do you think about my theory?
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Bolt Strike

Bringing the Thunder
Mar 20, 2013
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I mean it's possible, but that could all be thrown out the window if a main series Pokemon game makes shinies equally as easy to obtain. And I think they will, given how wildly inaccessible shiny collection is. I think LA handles shinies much better, they're just rare enough that you have to work to find them but not so rare that you could waste hundreds of hours and come up empty.
Mar 23, 2020
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The thing is, shininess does not impact the chances of breeding a shiny. So seeking out a large number of shiny pokemon would not diminish the number of shiny pokemon born into the next generation, and only breeding non-shinies or whatever wouldn't either. Furthermore, if breeding DID have an impact, any organization dedicated to shinies would likely Increase the number of shiny pokemon in the world, much like having Golden Retriever breeders increases their relative presence. After all, they'd trade away some of the shinies they bred, as a way to maintain and increase power and resources.

I look at it like this instead - in this game, as with most games, the way you increase your shiny odds is via a better Understanding of Pokemon - a full Pokedex and a full Pokedex entry for the Pokemon make it more likely you'll encounter them, and that implies you better know what to look for and have a better chance of spotting that rare Pokemon instead of yet another one of standard coloration. So it's not that they're getting more common, it's that you're getting better at finding them. The same logic could readily apply in a future game in a modern setting as well. The MC in PLA is just a better shiny hunter than the MC in X / Y, simple as that.

If you want a more complex 'lore' explanation, you could also go with this - the Matsuda method shows us that interactions with parallel universes, and mixing timestreams, increases the odds of a shiny. Since PLA is full of space / time distortions, it's like the Matsuda method gone wild. Of course that doesn't explain why you have better odds after completing the Pokedex entry in full for a Pokemon and would get tossed out the window if and when a modern setting has equal odds, but as far as a fun 'explanation' that currently works and isn't just 'the MC is just that good', it makes sense to an extent.


Active Member
Nov 3, 2019
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Of course that doesn't explain why you have better odds after completing the Pokedex entry in full for a Pokemon and would get tossed out the window if and when a modern setting has equal odds, but as far as a fun 'explanation' that currently works and isn't just 'the MC is just that good', it makes sense to an extent.
Regarding this part, my personal theory is that all Pokemon are at least somewhat irregular (much like real animals, they all have very slight phenotype variation), and that with enough knowledge of what constitutes an 'average' Ponyta (for example), the MC is then able to distinguish a 'non-average' Ponyta. For example, if Ponyta flames typically ranged from red to yellow (but could vary, and were on average orange), then a blue-flamed Ponyta would only be unusual if the person observing knew that this fell outside the typical range of colors.


Chilling on a Beach somewhere.
Apr 4, 2022
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It is interesting, and their don't appear to be any loose threads to this theory.