Raikou (pokémon) – bulbapedia, the community-driven pokémon encyclopedia gas kansas

Raikou is a quadruped, yellow, tiger-like Pokémon with black stripes and a white underside. It has a thin, light blue tail with sharp angles and a spark-shaped formation at the end. Most of its face consists of thick, white fur and shorter yellow fur around its red eyes. Raikou’s muzzle is a light blue "X" and it has a black faceplate with two bumps that covers its forehead, nose, and ears. Raikou has two long fangs that make its appearance similar to the saber-toothed cat. Its large claws each converge to form a single point and never retract. Extra fur hangs off its body in front of its thighs. Raikou has a mane across its back that resembles dull purple rain clouds and allows it to shoot bolts of lighting.

As seen in the anime, Raikou is able to fly by creating storm clouds. It is shown to be distrustful of humans, though it may form some friendship with those who help it. Raikou tends to appear during thunderstorms and when other Electric-type Pokémon are in danger. Raikou races across grasslands while barking cries that sound like thunder.

Raikou appeared as a beam of light in Slugging It Out With Slugma. Its first real appearance was in Really Raikou & Entirely Entei I, where it along with Entei tests Falkner and were joined by Suicune in Really Raikou & Entirely Entei I, discussing about Ho-oh. It was revealed in a flashback in Hello, Lickitung, where it was awakened by Yellow along with its two counterparts, and the three raced around Kanto and Johto looking for Trainers to help them defeat the Masked Man to free Ho-Oh and repay the debt of the latter for saving its life. Nearing the end of the chapter, Raikou eventually pairs up with Lt. Surge after encountering and escaping Falkner, and later Gold. Once Ho-Oh is freed and Pryce, the true identity of the Masked Man, is defeated, it once again roams the lands of Johto with Suicune and Entei. Anabel later captures Raikou in the Battle Frontier saga.

These Thunder Pokémon travel near and far, blasting out electrified whirlwinds. They carry storm clouds on their backs, so they can produce lightning regardless of the local weather; it’s even said that they descended to the earth with via lightning bolts. Their extreme quickness lends itself to flight, so they’re very hard to capture. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U

NA: Was that a bolt of lightning flashing by, on the ground instead of the air? Then it could have been Raikou. A rumble of thunder in the distance, but not a cloud in the sky? Sounds like Raikou’s roar to us. It is said that this wild Pokémon perished in the Johto region once, but Ho-Oh was so filled with sorrow at the loss that Raikou was resurrected.

PAL: If you see a bolt of lightning flash across the ground instead of from the sky, you may have just caught a glimpse of Raikou. And if you hear a peal of thunder that lasts longer than it should, that may be Raikou’s roar. It’s said that this wild yet majestic Pokémon once perished in the Johto region, but Ho-Oh, filled with sorrow, resurrected it. Game data NPC appearances

• Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon: Raikou first appears alongside Suicune up on Revelation Mountain where they confronted Krookodile believing he turned Entei to stone but discovered Nuzleaf was responsible and was turned to stone. Raikou later helped the player and partner escape from the Voidlands.

Raikou may be particularly based on the Thunder and Lightning gods of most cultures surrounding the world, mostly the 雷獣 raijū (lit. thunder beast), a thunder demon of Japanese lore and is said to be Raijin’s companion. It is said to be a creature that could take the form of a tiger, monkey, blue wolf wrapped in lightning, and many other animals. Raikou is specifically based on its tiger form, while the Pokémon Manectric is based on its wolf form.

In terms of physical build, Raikou may be based on the Smilodon fatalis, a well-known but extinct species of wildcat often referred to as a saber-toothed tiger. Its color and pattern scheme are reminiscent of that of a Bengal tiger. The stripes that decorate Raikou’s body also can be compared to zigzagging thunderbolts and perhaps even scars from claws. The white ruff around Raikou’s face is akin to the Siberian tiger’s thick fur around its neck. In the anime, Raikou is shown to be very agile, swift, stealthy, and a powerful attacker, just like a tiger. The gray "plate" atop its head may be similar to Entei’s head ornament, being either a helmet or crown that signifies courage and power.

Raikou could be taken to mean 雷光 raikou (lightning), which is also the inspiration for the name of raijū, or it may be a combination of 雷 rai (thunder) and 皇 kō (emperor). It may also derive from 雷公 raikō (thunder duke), the on’yomi reading of Lei Gong, a Taoist/Daoist deity.