The email was innocuous enough. “Meet Sirfetch’d!” the subject line read, excitedly introducing the newest addition to the Pokemon Sword and Shield games. The internet went wild, as a neglected Generation One Pokemon was finally getting a handsome, powerful new evolution.
But folks? You don’t want to meet Sirfetch’d. You really, really don’t. Somehow, in a universe where animals wear their own parents’ skulls and ghosts carry around the desiccated faces of their own corpses, the greatest, most existential horror is a duck carrying an onion.
The Behavior of a Sirfetch’d
To get across the unique threat that Sirfetch’d poses to the Galarian region, I’ll compare it to a creature from our own world. According to the Pokedex, Sirfetch’d, like Farfetch’d, is a “wild duck” Pokemon. Commonly called mallards, wild ducks can be found in most temperate and subtropical parts of the world, and are officially considered a “species of least concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to their ubiquity.
Because mallards often mate with domesticated ducks, many mallards aren’t truly wild, and are comfortable with human interaction. This is why large populations of these ducks make their homes in city parks and ponds where they can count on visitors to feed them often. Cross-bred mallards in these environments can be socialized, and are generally happy to interact with humans so long as they get some bread scraps out of it.
But don’t be fooled. The mallard may not have an entire video game devoted to exposing how much of an asshole it is, but it easily matches the goose in the aggression department. Though wild ducks are social animals, they’re also incredibly territorial and aggressive. This behavior manifests in a variety of ways, perhaps most understandably in the way male mallards protect their mate and clutch from other birds and predators by running at threats, puffing out their chests and pecking at them, tearing out feathers and breaking skin. But this aggression is not always defensive. Mallards have been known to attack humans, shredding their ankles with merciless pecks either because they want to assert dominance over territory, or because that’s the way they deal with sexual frustration. This even happens with mallards raised as pets.
Game Freak saw this animal, this ubiquitous, aggressive, territorial creature, and thought “hey, a cool and good thing to do would be to give it a sword.” But it gets worse. Much worse.
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A Sirfetch’d’s Anatomy
According to The Pokemon Company, Sirfetch’d weighs in at a whopping 258 pounds and stands at a stout 2-foot-7. You might think that this is absurdly heavy for a duck, and that’s because it really, really is. If we use the 2’7” figure to estimate Sirfetch’d’s volume, we can try to figure out how dense Sirfetch’d is — a good way to estimate its strength, given the fact that muscle is denser than fat.
Now, the math isn’t perfect, but given the official art it can be assumed that Sirfetch’d is about twice as tall as it is wide, meaning that we can estimate its volume as an ellipsoid where the two radii we’re concerned with are .411 meters (for the height) and .205 meters (for the width). This gives us a final volume of 0.0724 meters cubed. Using the equation density=mass/volume, we can then estimate Sirfetch’d’s density at a staggering 1616.4 kg/m3. This means that the entirety of Sirfetch’d’s body is just slightly less dense than bone matter, and denser than normal muscle mass by a significant degree. In other words, Sirfetch’d isn’t just an ornery duck. It’s an angry duck with a weapon made up entirely of abnormally powerful muscle tissue.
This analysis gets even more terrifying if you consider the possibility that the Pokedex has included Sirfetch’d’s leek shield and sword in its height and weight calculations.
According to Clove Garden, most leeks found in grocery stores are cut to a height of 13 inches, and weigh around 9 ounces. Using some simple math, we can deduce that a 2’7” leek sword would weigh 20.8 oz, or just around 1.3 pounds. The leek shield looks to be about half the sword’s height, and if we make the reasonable assumption that the shield is formed from one distinct leek, we can estimate the weight of the shield at .65 pounds, meaning the entirety of Sirfetch’d’s equipment would make up a negligible amount of the Pokemon’s body weight even if it were included in the calculations.
The key change here is in Sirfetch’d’s height. If we assume that that 2’7” figure is the height of the sword Sirfetch’d is carrying and not the Pokemon itself, its volume will be significantly lower than previously assumed, which means its density will be significantly higher, since those 257-ish pounds are being crammed into an even tighter space. The new figure we come up with is 13099.2 kg/m3, putting Sirfetch’d’s density somewhere between Rhodium and Tungsten carbide, the stuff they make mining drill bits out of. It’s the only Pokemon in history literally capable of a drill peck.
Taken together, my findings paint a pretty bleak picture. Sure, the Galarian environment is littered with danger, as wild Pokemon roam the countryside. But these flocks of territorial, temperamental mallards are incredibly strong even in the fantasy world of the Pokemon games.
This, combined with their apparent ubiquity, means that no place is truly safe in Galar. The land is presumably strewn with the destroyed bodies of joggers that unknowingly wandered too close to Sirfetch’d territory. Buildings in the region must literally be made of uranium in order to keep Sirfetch’d from breaking down the walls and making a nest out of the rubble. Every single cute Farfetch’d splashing in a pond is a ticking time bomb, an indeterminate number of defeated lizards or bugs away from becoming a creature powerful enough to destroy cities. The ability to trade across the games means that even the world of Pokemon Shield is unsafe, given that mallards are literally invasive species that quickly take over most environments they’re introduced to.
There is no choice but to surrender. We must remake Galarian civilization from the ground up, with the aim of appeasing and socializing these horrific beings by sitting on park benches all day, throwing stale bread at them, and hoping to stave off the destruction of all we hold dear for one more day.