All about Zygarde: Science, Lore and More

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After a loooooonnnggg wait, the legendary Zygarde has finally made its way into Pokémon GO! With cells and various forms in tow, Zygarde is one of the most unique legendaries out there. So Pokémon fans have always been curious about the science and lore behind this amazing monster.

So in honor of Zygarde’s debut in the game, let’s check out its science, lore, and so much more! But first, we will know all about Zygarde cells, cores, and all three forms. 

The Science of Zygarde

Understanding Zygarde Cells, Cores & Forms

Zygarde cores act as the brains of Zygarde and Zygarde cells are, well, cells that constitute the Pokémon. Unlike biological cells that form your body, Zygarde cells are macroscopic. While the cores have their own willpower, the cells lack any self-awareness or sentience. Both the cores and cells serve no purpose in battle and are only meant to combine together to make up different forms.

There may be many Zygarde cores and cells out there, but we need five Zygarde cores to make up 100% Zygarde. 

  • Zygarde 10% is formed when a Zygarde core combines with 10% of the total cells present in the world
  • Zygarde 50% is formed when half of all Zygarde cores combine with half of all Zygarde cells
  •  Zygarde 100% is formed when all cores and cells come together

These cells, cores, and forms are illustrated below:

zygarde pokemon go
Zygarde cell, core, 10%, 50%, and 100% forms.

Zygarde and Order: Second Law of Thermodynamics

I won’t get into thermodynamics jargon too much, but the second law of thermodynamics (2LOT) essentially talks about the tendency of order to form into disorder. The universe is continuously expanding and entropy (a term to describe chaos or disorder) is increasing. That’s how the universe is cooking, y’all. But, but, but… physics is amazing and it’s possible for an external agency to reverse engineer the process for a system in the universe. This concept is the exact interpretation of 2LOT, and examples of systems doing this are refrigerators and engines. In the Pokémon world, this ‘external agency’ is Zygarde.

That’s why Zygarde is the lord of order, and it does all it can to maintain and/or restore order in its universe (the Pokémon world). One of the ways it does this cool stuff is by maintaining the balance between two omnipotent forces in the world: life and death, or in other words, Xerneas and Yveltal. In thermodynamic terms, Xerneas and Yveltal are the Source and Sink of the system, and Zygarde keeps this system running. So, Z governs X and Y in the Pokémon world.

Zygarde and Cellular Biology: Transformation to Different Forms

All of us are made up of cells, duh. And so does Zygarde.

But, as mentioned previously, Zygarde’s cells are macroscopic. It means that they’re huuugggeeeee when compared to our cells, haha.

Regardless of which form Zygarde adopts, the common ground is the fact that Zygarde cells combine with the core to form Zygarde forms. But how does this happen?

By communication.

Yes, cells communicate with each other. Cells don’t ‘speak’ as such, but it does so by sending proteins to each other. These proteins are intercepted by the cell walls and a cell in question gets the ‘message’ from other cells about thir health, status, and the possible presence of any foreign bodies. 

This communication between cells is shown in the anime as well:

Zygarde cells communicating with each other.

In Zygarde’s case, the cells signal each other to combine when they’re under some attack or there’s a threat to the world looming. But hey, cells can communicate but how do you govern them? What’s the authoritative figure that can control cellular activity?


The brain!

This is where a Zygarde core fits into the picture. To combine cells in adequate proportions and coordinate their activate, a Zygarde cell is necessary. And that’s why all Zygarde forms require at least one Zygarde core along with a certain percentage (10%, 50%, and 100%) of Zygarde cells. 

So a Zygarde core combines with, say 10% of Zygarde cells, to form Zygarde 10%. But what if it’s not powerful enough? Then it summons more cores and cells to form Zygarde 50%. Okay, now Zygarde is doing good. However, the situation is apocalyptic and the world is at stake. Then what would Zygarde do?

Easy. Get to its full power.

Zygarde cores and cells… Assemble!

And boom! We get the complete or the 100% form of Zygarde.

All of the stuff above make up the majority of Zygarde’s science.

Its essence, derived by cellular transmissions and neuron activity…

Its purpose, derived by the second law of thermodynamics…

Chaos unified to form balance and order.

In other words… Zygarde.

The Lore of Zygarde

Zygarde has rich lore to its credit. It goes to seriously interesting things like Norse mythology and Hindu mythology. Stick with me because you are going to love this!

Norse Mythology

Loki’s children

In Norse mythology, Loki is the god of mischief. And Loki has three children with a well-known jötunn (meaning a giant basically), Angrboða: Fenrir, Jörmungandr, and Hel. 

Check them out below and I bet you can see the connection.

Jörmungandr, Fenrir, Hel. Credit: Jason-Lenox on DeviantArt

Fenrir, wolf. Jörmungandr, draconic serpent. Hel, a human-like entity

Fenrir, 10%. Jörmungandr, 50%. Hel, 100%

All these three aim to maintain balance/order when Ragnarok (catastrophe) arises in the world. Also, this trio is usually constrained and they break free to overturn Ragnarok. To sump it up, the three children of Loki signify balance, or order which they bring forth with sheer force.

And what does Loki signify? Mischief… chaos… disorder.

Hmm… so disorder (Loki) leads to order (children). The second law of thermodynamics. Cool, eh?!

Yggdrasill and Nidhogg

Norse mythology mentions the World Tree that essentially comprises the entire world:

Credit: The Norse Gods

While this writing isn’t really about Xerneas and Yveltal but I can’t help but point out the stag and bird right at the top of the picture above. Yes, they signify the X and Y Pokémon themselves!

Now you’ll find the dragon Nidhogg when you dig into the ground. Do you see that? I italicized dragon and ground… Dragon and Ground… Zygarde’s typing!

But Nidhogg represents Zygarde more than just its dragon/ground typing. You see, Nidhohgg is a vicious dragon located in Niflheim, the world of the dead, and like any underworld creature, it punishes sinners. In the mortal world above, people live in fear of Nidhogg’s justice and so they try their best to maintain order in their world. 

Hindu Mythology

In Hindu mythology, there are three gods that represent life, death, and the balance between the two: Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu.

Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva. Credit: Yash Deval on Pinterest

Once again, I have to mention Xerneas and Yveltal.

Brahma is the god of life or creation. Xerneas.

Shiva is the god of destruction. Yveltal.

Vishnu maintains order and balance in the universe. Zygarde.

So Vishnu literally represents Zygarde and if it wasn’t obvious to you already, look what Vishnu has behind him.

Credit: Issuu

There’s a snake deity known as Sheshnag, a multi-headed serpent that adorns Vishnu like a halo. 

Or, in this case… Zygarde 50% and 100%, both depicting snake-like features in their design.

And that’s not all when it comes to Vishnu inspiring Zygarde’s lore. So Vishnu is also one of the Hindu guardians of directions, and Vishnu represents Nadir, the direction in which gravity pulls. In other words, Nadir represents downwards, or underground. So, Zygarde gets the Ground typing.

It doesn’t end here.

Vishnu is known to have multiple avatars or forms, each of whom comes to earth when there is chaos or trouble present. 

The avatars of Vishnu.
Credit: HinduPad

Vishnu, in essence, has various forms. So does Zygarde.

Parting words

The Pokémon franchise is amazing at drawing references for their Pokémon from all across the world and from various cultures. This is especially true for legendary, pseudo legendary, and starter Pokémon.

Zygarde holds one of the richest and most diversified lores in the Pokémon world. I’m sure you are going to appreciate this phenomenal Pokémon more than ever! For more science and lore articles, be sure to check these out:

Garchomp’s Science & Design: A Military Dragon Force | Pokémon Pet Sematary: Hydreigon | The Natural Habitat and Feeding Habits of Dragon Types

Author & tags

My name is Niladri Sarkar. A Team Valor Trainer, I'm a Pokémon Battle Mechanics Specialist & a Dragon Master on Smogon's Pokémon Showdown where I particularly excel with Dragon types and Weather teams in Ubers / OU. I love to apply my vast knowledge and experience to the ever changing meta of Pokémon Go, specialising in DPS/TDO math, movesets, the Master League and Dragon types. Garchomp is my best Pokémon pal through and through.

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