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So ... how do you pronounce Arceus?

What is a mob to a king? What is a king to Arceus? What is Arceus to a nonbeliever?

the godlike Pokémon Arceus on a rainbow background in Pokémon Legends: Arceus Image: The Pokémon Company
Petrana Radulovic is an entertainment reporter specializing in animation, fandom culture, theme parks, Disney, and young adult fantasy franchises.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus is a major departure for the Pokémon games, bringing a whole host of new game mechanics to the traditional Poké-format. There are plenty of new elements to dive into, but seeing the game’s title float around brings a very pertinent question to mind: How the heck do you pronounce “Arceus”?

This is not a new question. The all-powerful mythical Pokémon was introduced with Generation 4 (so, 2006 in Japan, and 2007 in America and Europe), with the Pokémon Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum games. Arceus is basically a Poké-god, one who shaped the Pokémon universe with its 1,000 arms. This powerful friend has been around for 15 years, and as the literal creator of the Pokémon world, it demands respect. So really, any Poké-fan should know the proper way to pronounce the name of the almighty. But is it a soft lowercase c or a hard one? Where is the emphasis? Why does Dr. House of House say ar-SEE-us in this clip when you remember them saying ar-KEY-us in one of the movies?

The answer is actually quite simple: In Japanese, it is are-say-us, while in English, it is ar-KEY-us. You can hear the English pronunciation in this old Nintendo Direct, as well as the trailer for Pokémon: Arceus and the Jewel of Life, and the Japanese pronunciation in this Pokémon Legends gameplay trailer. According to the Pokémon wiki, the voice director of the anime at the time opted for the hard-c pronunciation because the Japanese version could be mistaken for “arse.” But there have definitely been moments in official Poké-media where this discrepancy has been a bit muddled. For instance, in 2019’s Detective Pikachu, Ryan Reynolds’ Pikachu says “sweet mother of Arceus” with the soft c.

But when it comes to Pokémon Legends: Arceus, the answer is clear: ar-KEY-us in English, and are-say-us in Japanese.

(As for why Dr. House says it the Japanese way, we can only theorize.)

Pokémon Legends: Arceus is out now on Nintendo Switch.

Correction: A previous version of this article included the wrong pronunciation for the Japanese version of Arceus. We’ve updated to reflect the proper pronunciation.