Meowth, known as in original Japanese language versions, is a Pokémon species in Nintendo and Game Freak's Pokémon franchise. Created by Ken Sugimori, Meowth first appeared in the video games Pokémon Red and Blue and subsequent sequels, later appearing in various merchandise, spinoff titles and animated and printed adaptations of the franchise. Meowth is voiced by Inuko Inuyama in Japanese, and Maddie Blaustein in English.
Known as the Scratch Cat Pokémon, it spends most of the daytime sleeping and prowls the city streets at night. Meowth is among the most recognizable Pokémon, largely due to the fact that it is a central character in the Pokémon anime series. This particular Meowth, belonging to Team Rocket, the anime's major antagonist, is one of the few Pokémon that have the ability to speak human language. Meowth has had mixed reception, Game Daily describing him as "adorable" and saying he should have his own game, while GamesRadar described it as "not all that useful" and said that Meowth would not have stood out if it did not have such a large role in the anime.
Meowth was one of several 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 of Japan as Pokémon Red and Blue. Called "Nyarth" 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. Due to its appearance in the anime series as a speaking character, the species was renamed Meowth, a combination of the words "meow" and "mouth".
Meowth has a distinctly feline appearance, resembling a small housecat. It has cream-colored fur, which turns brown at its paws and tail tip. Its oval-shaped head features prominent whiskers, black-and-brown ears, and a koban, a gold oval coin (also known as "charm") embedded in its forehead. Meowth are valued for their ability to collect coins using their signature move, "Pay Day", as it is the only Pokémon that learns it. Meowth's coloration, its love of coins, and its charm indicate that Meowth is based on the Japanese Maneki Neko, a cat-shaped figurine that is said to bring good luck and money to its owner. Aspects of Meowth were drawn from a Japanese myth dealing with the true value of money, in which a cat has money on its head but does not realize it.
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Official Site: Nintendo
Links: Wikipedia Entry Meowth's Origin Episode Guide Pokemon's Official Site