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Legendary Pokémon are a group of extremely rare and powerful Pokémon.

In the Japanese franchise, there are three distinct terms used to refer to those Pokémon which are collectively called legendary in English. One, 伝説のポケモン (densetsu no Pokémon, lit. Pokémon of legend), refers to those which are featured prominently in legends, such as
Kyogre and Groudon. The second, 幻のポケモン (maboroshi no Pokémon, lit. Pokémon of illusions, translated as mirage Pokémon in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl), refers to those so rarely seen that some question their very existence, such as Mew and Lugia; an alternative definition restricts it only to Pokémon not available in normal gameplay. The third is 神話のポケモン (shinwa no Pokémon, lit. Pokémon of myth), which is a term applied to some of the legendary Pokémon of Sinnoh

Characteristics of legendary Pokémon In the
games, the player typically has only one chance to capture a legendary Pokémon, but the same species have appeared in more than one game. Their genders are usually unknown, with the exception of Latios, Latias, Heatran and Cresselia. With the exception of Phione and Manaphy, they will refuse to be bred by Trainers, and, for similar reasons, they are often banned from competitions. They are statistically some of the most powerful Pokémon in the game. They never evolve, and many are one third of a legendary trio or half of a legendary duo. They always are featured in the end of a regional Pokédex.

In the
anime, legendary Pokémon are generally held in higher regard than they are in the games, nearing a god-like reverence. They appear only to special Trainers (usually the case of Ash Ketchum). Very few people have actually seen legendary Pokémon. Because of their rarity, they are sought after by trainers and collectors, especially by villainous teams like Team Rocket.

It has been predicted (and demonstrated) that the capture of certain legendary Pokémon can lead to great catastrophe, as they often hold a pivotal role in nature. But some speculate that if a Trainer were to "play by the rules," the results would not be as chaotic.
Noland, for example, befriended and fought official battles with an Articuno and its power never exceeded him. It should be noted, however, that Noland is a very skilled Trainer.

As seen with
Lugia, some breed in the wild; as seen with Celebi and Arceus, they are neither immortal nor invincible; and only very few (notably Mewtwo) are thought to be unique.

List of legendary Pokémon
There are 35 Pokémon considered to be legendary Pokémon, and there are several more with certain characteristics of legendary Pokémon. Every generation of
Pokémon has featured at least one legendary trio and one legendary duo.

Generation I The legendary Pokémon of Generation I can be broken into two groups: the legendary birds and the Mew-based legendary Pokémon.

Legendary birds Zapdos, Articuno, and Moltres as shown in a promotional jumbo card There are three legendary birds, also referred to as winged mirages. The legendary birds are each based off a mythical bird.

As shown in the
second movie, should the three birds be disturbed and turned against each other, they will fight over territory, and, left unabated, their battles will ultimately cause the end of the world. They represent nature's balance and are tied to Lugia. They are strongly linked to the elements ice, lightning and fire - forces that when combined are believed to yield both the origin of life and the cause of apocalyptic weather disasters. Some fans believe that this scenario applies only to the three birds found near Shamouti Island in the Orange Archipelago, and that this characteristic does not extend to their species.

In
Pokémon Snap, it was shown that the legendary birds could breed, as the player could hatch them from eggs around Pokémon Island by introducing the eggs to their corresponding element. In Pokémon XD it's possible to snag all three birds, whom are all under the ownership of Greevil. Each of the birds can also be found roamingSinnoh in Pokémon Platinum, once the National Pokédex has been obtained.

Mew duo Mewtwo and Mew Generation II Generation II featured the advent of three new groups of legendary Pokémon, consisting of a total of six.

Legendary beasts Raikou, Entei, and Suicune in the Brass Tower basement The legendary beasts have variously been referred to as legendary dogs or cats, but beasts is the accepted neutral title. These speedy, powerful creatures were created by Ho-Oh after the burning of Brass Tower. Because they are unable to restrain their extreme power, they race headlong around the land. They can be found racing around the Johto region in the Generation II games and their remakes. One can also be found roaming Kanto, after the player gets the National Pokédex, in Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, depending on the starter Pokémon the user chooses at the beginning of the game. In Pokémon Colosseum, it is possible to snag all three legendary beasts from Cipher admins.

Tower duo Lugia and Ho-Oh These two additional magnificient birds of legend are referred to as the tower duo due to the fact that before the burning of the Brass Tower, they each perched atop a tower. These powerful legendaries are thought to be closely related, although they are also polar opposites. Ho-Oh is based on the Chinese phoenix, or Fènghuáng凤凰 and Lugia on the Japanese sea-kami Ryūjin.

Celebi Celebi on its shrine in Ilex Forest Although it has no relation to Mew, Celebi was dubbed the "New Mew" because of its similar size, shape, stats, and National Pokédex number. Because of this, it is commonly listed with Mew (and later Jirachi, Phione, Manaphy, and Shaymin) in lists of legendary Pokémon.

Generation III The Generation III games feature a total of 10 new legendaries.

Legendary golems (From left to right) Regice, Registeel, and Regirock The legendary golem-like Regis were featured in the eighth movie as the protectors of the Tree of Beginning, but the true story of their history remains a mystery. They have a strong connection to the fourth Regi and their keeper, Regigigas.

Eon duo Latias and Latios Latias and Latios (sometimes referred to, collectively, as Lati@s) are twin Dragons (one female, one male, respectively) featured in the fifth movie. Special abilities they share include: Sight Sharing, an act where one twin can portray what he/she is seeing to the other twin and taking the shape of humans. According to legend, they guard the water city of Alto Mare, and are revered as gods. They have a strong connection with the Soul Dew.

Weather trio A depiction of the cataclysmic battle between Groudon, Kyogre, and Rayquaza Also known as the Elemental trio, the weather-related legendary Pokémon represent the balance of nature and play a major role in the storyline of the Hoenn-based Generation III games. It is said that, early in time, Groudon raised lands and expanded continents as Kyogre expanded the seas. These Pokémon took to a deep sleep after a cataclysmic battle, soothed by Rayquaza. All feature a unique pattern of lines around their bodies.

They are based on the
behemoth, leviathan, and ziz of Hebrew legend.

Outer space Pokémon Though the two aren't considered a duo, they are occassionally grouped together duo to the fact that they both are related and come from outer space, are next to each other in both the National Dex as well as the Hoenn Dex, are both event Pokémon and both have a base stat total of 600.

Generation IV The Generation IV games feature a total of 14 legendary Pokémon, the most of any generation.

Lake guardians Uxie, Mesprit, and Azelf together Also known as the Pixie, Spirit or Lake trio, these Fairy-like creatures that each dwell in a trio of three lakes. Believed to have been birthed from Arceus, each represents a different aspect of the human mind. They were created to give "spirit" to the world.

Uxie is located in the Acuity Cavern, Mesprit will roam Sinnoh after the first encounter in the Verity Cavern, and Azelf is found in the Valor Cavern. In Pokémon Platinum Version, Cyrus takes each of their jewels to create the Red Chain which he uses to capture Dialga and Palkia in his plot to recreate the world without spirit.

Legendary dragons Dialga, Palkia, and Giratina artwork from Pokémon Platinum The three Pokémon Dialga, Palkia, and Giratina, known as the Dragon Trio are the mascots for Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum versions, respectively, and have the ability to warp the fabric of reality. Birthed from Arceus to create matter, they battle for all of eternity in a different dimension. Dialga and Palkia were featured in the tenth movie, and Giratina was featured in the eleventh movie. All three had their final encounter in the twelfth movie.

  • Dialga controls time.
  • Palkia controls space and dimensions.
  • /Giratina controls antimatter, the antithesis to the material world created by Dialga and Palkia together.
Depending on the game version, Team Galactic will try to gain control of one using the power of the lake trio. Their goal is to use their power to destroy the universe and rebuild it with Cyrus as a god.

Lunar duo Darkrai in Newmoon Island Based on the crescent and newmoon, these two Pokémon seem to be complementary of one another. Cresselia can cure the permanent nightmares that Darkrai causes people to suffer.

Sea guardian Pokémon Other legendary Pokémon Shaymin running down Seabreak Path Arceus Other Pokémon of myth
 

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