Pokémon Go has broken records and taken over lives, and now that obsession is trickling into the next generation—according to Babycenter, Pokémon-related baby names like Roselia, Ash, and Ivy are on the rise. Babycenter’s editor-in-chief Linda Murray recently told BuzzFeed, “Millennials are particularly attracted to technology and ’90s nostalgia, which is one of the reasons we think Pokémon Go is already having an impact on baby naming trends among pregnant women.”
In a few years, daycare centers could be full of Charmanders and Chanseys, but there are already a few fully grown adults walking around with Pokémon-esque names right now. So how have these doppelgangers been affected by Pokémon Go, and what do they think of the baby-naming trend? This seemed like a culturally significant question to answer.
Seadra Chagolla, who lives in Monterey Park, California, has never met another person named Seadra before, but she does share a name with Seadra, the water-type Pokémon that strongly resembles a seahorse. Mercifully, Chagolla is not named after Pokémon, per se; she is actually named after her godfather, Isidro. “[My parents] just changed my name to the feminine version and then changed the spelling. I’ve never heard of anybody else having the name spelled exactly the same way.”
When Pokémon first came out as a card game in the ’90s, Chagolla remembers learning that one of the game’s creatures shared her name, right down to its atypical spelling. “I’ve never played [Pokémon], ever, but I remember when I was younger and it first came out, I just looked at the pictures and thought it was hilarious.” As far as Pokémon-related names go, Seadra is much subtler than, say, Jigglypuff, at least. “I have a lot of friends playing [Pokémon Go], and I’m like, ‘Oh, you should go find me! I’m a seahorse! It’s pretty cute!’ ” Chagolla says.
Onyx Mueller of Denver, Colorado, writes mobile apps for a living, but he says he hasn’t yet tried Pokémon Go: “It’s one of those things that generationally kind of missed my interest.” Still, the people he works with are well aware that he shares a name with Onix. “The first day the game launched for the iPhone, a co-worker walked by my desk looking kind of bewildered and kept staring at me, and I couldn’t figure out what was going on,” he said. “As he was looking at the game, he told me that there was an Onix right next to me.”
Onyx is one of the names that has surged since Pokémon Go’s release, especially for girls, jumping 2,659 spots on Babycenter’s charts in 2016. While “Onix” has also seen a (very slight) bump in popularity this year, its alternative spelling is significantly more trendy. “Even before Pokémon Go came out, someone brought it to my attention that there was a Pokémon called Onix, but that it was spelled a little bit differently,” said Mueller. “I wonder, are people naming their child Onix and then converting the ‘i’ to a ‘y’ because they think it looks better?” Mueller himself is named after the mineral onyx, the result of having a geophysicist father. (His siblings’ names are Emery and Agata, the Spanish equivalent of agate.) And it’s no coincidence that the Pokémon he shares a name with is also rocklike—Onix, which resembles a series of boulders strung together, also takes its moniker from the mineral.
“I guess the uniqueness of Onyx will start losing its luster here once [all these babies] start all growing up,” Mueller said. And while he thinks it’s “crazy” that people are naming their children after video game characters, he also said that he’s fine with sharing the identity.
Another Pokémon name that has skyrocked in popularity recently is Eevee, the name of the bushy-tailed, squirrel-like fan favorite. Yvette Saucedo, of Los Angeles, California, has gone by the name Eevee for almost a decade. “I’ve had the nickname for about nine years, so anybody who has entered my life since then knows me by that.” Unlike Chagolla or Mueller, Saucedo, a “ ’90s baby,” takes her adopted name directly from Pokémon—she used to play the Nintendo DS game in high school, and now she’s reached Level 17 on the mobile app.
Saucedo said that while usually it has only been twentysomethings who make the connection between her name and Pokémon, lately the frequency has gone up. “My co-worker came up to me the other day and said, ‘Did you know there is a Pokémon with the name Eevee? And it’s spelled exactly the same way!’ Little did he know that’s where it comes from.” And though she originally chose the name for its uniqueness, as well as its symmetry, she’s thrilled that it’s now taking off. “My first thought was ‘Yes, finally they will spell my name right at Starbucks.’”