Zapdos /ˈzæpds/, known in Japan as Thunder (サンダー, Sandā) is a Pokémon species in Nintendo and Game Freak's Pokémon franchise. Zapdos is one of the legendary bird trio along with Articuno and Moltres. It was created by Satoshi Tajiri. Its English name is a combination of "zap" and "dos", the Spanish word for two.

Pokémon series character
Pokémon Zapdos art.png
First gamePokémon Red and Blue
Designed byKen Sugimori
Voiced byKatsuyuki Konishi

Its first appearance was in Pokémon Red and Blue, where it acts as one of the rarest Pokémon, appearing only once in the entire game. It has made several appearances since, including in the video game Super Smash Bros. Melee, and it was prominently featured in the theatrical anime film Pokémon The Movie 2000 as a central character to the plot.

Design and characteristicsEdit

Zapdos was one of 151 different designs conceived by Game Freak's character development team and finalized by Ken Sugimori for the first generation of Pocket Monsters games Red and Green, which were localized outside Japan as Pokémon Red and Blue.[1][2] Originally called "Thunder" in Japanese, Nintendo decided to give the various Pokémon species "clever and descriptive names" related to their appearance or features when translating the game for western audiences as a means to make the characters more relatable to American children.[3] Zapdos' English name comes from a combination of Zap, relating to electricity, and dos, the Spanish word for two.[4]

Zapdos, known as the Electric Pokémon, is a legendary Pokémon,[5] one of the legendary birds, along with Articuno and Moltres. It may be based on the thunderbird. Zapdos has the form of a large bird with black and yellow plumage, with its spiky feathers make it look as if it were made of lightning. Its tail feathers stick out in several directions, furthering this illusion. A large crest of feathers decorates its head, and distinctive black rings encircle its eyes.

Zapdos is always seen in conjunction with thunderstorms, because it gathers energy from the electricity in the atmosphere, and is said to live in such clouds.[6] It also causes massive crackling and snapping sounds when it flies;[7] these are contributed to the lightning bolts it is said to shed when airborne.[8]


In the video gamesEdit

Zapdos is found in a Power Plant off the coast of the Rock Tunnel near Cerulean City in Pokémon Red and Blue. It is a highly rare Pokémon; similar to its counterparts Articuno and Moltres, Zapdos appears only once in the game in a fixed location, the Power Plant, and is difficult to defeat or capture. If it is defeated, it disappears and trainers have no way of running into it again. It later appeared in several sequels, including the Red and Blue remake Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, Pokémon Platinum, Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, and Pokémon X and Y. In many of these appearances, Zapdos will appear flying over the different regions after you complete the main game.

Outside of the main series, Zapdos has appeared in the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games, Pokémon Snap, Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs, and in Super Smash Bros. Melee.

In the mobile app Pokémon Go, Team Instinct is represented by Zapdos as a mascot.[9] Zapdos was originally only available during the game's raid feature, and was first released in August 2017.[10] In May 2018, Zapdos was made available to players as a reward for a research breakthrough.[11] July 21, 2018 was "Zapdos day" within the Pokemon Go game, with three hours of Zapdos raids occurring across all gyms and a chance for players to catch Zapdos in its shiny form.[12]

In other mediaEdit

Zapdos plays small roles in the anime and manga. It is featured in Pokémon The Movie 2000 along with the other two Legendary birds, Articuno and Moltres. It appears that Zapdos communicates through electricity as it shocks Pikachu to communicate. Zapdos also appeared in the credits for Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea in which it was captured by Jackie.

In Pokémon Adventures, Lt. Surge appears with Zapdos in his team during the events of Volume 3, using it as a neverending power source for his Electric-types, until Red uses Saur's Razor Leaf to cut the supply cords. After having been merged with Articuno and Moltres, the three Pallet Town trainers are able to defeat the combined monster. Green later captures Zapdos and uses it against Will and Karen. During this battle, it is lent to Blue.

Promotion and receptionEdit

Since appearing in Pokémon Red and Blue, Zapdos has generally received positive reception. Nintendo Power conducted a contest where readers could win a Pokémon-themed costume, which included a costume of Zapdos.[13] According to Janine Mellini of the Daily Record Zapdos was a popular costume choice amongst Pokémon characters for Halloween in 2000.[14] Zapdos has been featured in several pieces of merchandise, including cards in the Pokémon Trading Card Game, figurines, plush toys, and others. A special Zapdos card was given away to those who saw the film Pokémon The Movie 2000.[15]

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer editor Paula Nechak compared the legendary bird trio as well as Lugia to the creatures found in Igor Stravinsky's The Firebird.[16] Author Loredana Lipperini stated that while Zapdos was not very strong, it was her favourite Pokémon.[17] GameAxis Unwired praised Zapdos along with Articuno and Moltres for making Pokémon Red and Blue "cool."[18] The Daily Texan criticized Zapdos' appearance in the film Pokémon 2000, stating that it lacked the "human personality that make the other Pokemon so endearing".[19] Reeling Reviews editor Robin described the battle conducted between Zapdos, Articuno, and Moltres as being similar to battles from the film Godzilla on Monster Island.[20] Access Atlanta editor Bob Longino criticized the birds' sounds, commenting that the squawking was "way too much for adult ears."[21]


  1. ^ Staff. "2. 一新されたポケモンの世界". (in Japanese). Nintendo. p. 2. Retrieved September 10, 2010.
  2. ^ Bishop, Stuart (May 30, 2003). "Game Freak on Pokémon!". CVG. Archived from the original on January 16, 2008. Retrieved February 7, 2008.
  3. ^ Chua-Euan, Howard (November 22, 1999). "PokéMania". TIME. Archived from the original on September 13, 2008. Retrieved September 15, 2008.
  4. ^ "Pokemon Red Version Guide/Walkthrough - GB, Game Boy Walkthrough - IGN". Retrieved September 24, 2010.
  5. ^ HAL Laboratory. Super Smash Bros. Melee. Zapdos trophy: It's said that you can hear this legendary Pokémon coming, as its wings make a very distinctive popping sound as it flies.
  6. ^ Pokédex: A legendary Pokémon that is said to live inside thunder clouds. It can freely control thunder. Game Freak (April 22, 2007). Pokémon Diamond. Nintendo DS. Nintendo.
  7. ^ Pokédex: One of the legendary bird Pokémon. While it is flying, it makes crackling and snapping sounds. Game Freak (September 9, 2004). Pokémon FireRed. Game Boy Advance. Nintendo.
  8. ^ Pokédex: A legendary bird Pokémon that is said to appear from the heavens while dropping enormous lightning bolts. Game Freak (September 9, 2004). Pokémon LeafGreen. Game Boy Advance. Nintendo.
  9. ^ Allegra Frank (July 11, 2016). "Which Pokémon Go team should you join?". Polygon. Retrieved July 13, 2016.
  10. ^ Tassi, Paul (August 6, 2018). "How To Beat And Catch Zapdos, Pokemon GO's Most Valuable Legendary So Far". Forbes. Retrieved July 21, 2018.
  11. ^ Knezevic, Kevin (May 3, 2018). "Pokemon Go: Get Zapdos Through New Research Quests". Gamespot. Retrieved July 21, 2018.
  12. ^ "Pokemon Go Shiny Zapdos Day: Start time and Raid news for big event". Gary Jones. Daily Express. July 21, 2017.
  13. ^ "Pokémon Costume Contest - News at GameSpot". October 3, 2000. Retrieved September 24, 2010.
  14. ^ "Costume Favorites Fill Racks". October 15, 2000. Retrieved September 24, 2010.
  15. ^ Staff (July 5, 2000). "Introducing Pokemon's Articuno". Chicago Sun-Times.
  16. ^ "More is less in ho-hum, moralistic 'Pokémon 2000'". July 21, 2000. Retrieved September 24, 2010.
  17. ^ Lipperini, Loredana (2000). Generazione Pókemon: i bambini e l ... - Google Books. ISBN 9788882102494. Retrieved September 24, 2010.
  18. ^ GameAxis Unwired. December 2004. Retrieved September 24, 2010.
  19. ^ Ashley, Robert C. (July 25, 2000). "Film Review: 'Pokemon 2000' can't even Pika-please Poke-maniacs". The Daily Texan.
  20. ^ Chris Zell. "Show #234 of Reeling: The Movie Review Show with Robin & Laura Clifford". Retrieved September 24, 2010.
  21. ^ "Atlanta Movie Theaters/ Movies in Atlanta". accessAtlanta. Archived from the original on February 17, 2006. Retrieved September 24, 2010.

External linksEdit