Like Darkrai and Shaymin before it, Arceus was not officially recognized by Nintendo until February 14, 2009, the year of its debut movie. It was officially revealed to international audiences on August 3, 2009.
It is the trio master of both the lake guardians and the creation trio.
Arceus is a white equine resembling a qilin or centaur with a gray, vertically-striated underside. The striated pattern has similar recurrences on the underside of its mane, tail, and face. Its four pointed feet are tipped with gold hooves. Its long mane juts away from its head, and its face is gray, with green eyes and red pupils, and a green circular pattern below its eyes. Arceus also has a streak of gold coloration on its head, and ears that point upward. Its neck is fairly long, with two pairs of extrusions to the sides, and a flap-like feature on the neck's underside that is colored white like much of the body. Arceus also has a golden cross-like wheel attached to its body by its round abdomen, which changes color along with its eyes and hooves based on its current type, which depends on the plate or type-specific Z-Crystal that it wields. The wheel also has four jewels attached to it. The pattern of striated gray of Arceus's underbelly resumes past Arceus's waist. Its limbs have gray undersides and extrusions at the tops of the legs. Arceus's tail is fairly like its mane in terms of shape and coloration. According to legend, it shaped the Pokémon universe using its 1000 arms.
Arceus is thought to have created the Sinnohregion and possibly the entire Pokémon world, the lake guardiansUxie, Azelf, and Mesprit; and the creation trioDialga, Palkia, and Giratina. Because of this, Arceus is thought to be one of the most long-lived of all Pokémon species. It has the power to recreate the creation trio as well, presumably to guard the dimensions when a Trainer has caught one of them. According to the anime, its power can also bring back things that it once destroyed, make certain things vanish into thin air, or to halt time.
Arceus is shown to care for and safeguard the planet in ancient times and protected it from cataclysms such as meteors, and it would show gratitude and compassion in return to those who treated it with equal kindness. Arceus does not suffer fools gladly, and it will attack in a violent rampage if betrayed or deceived. It also holds long grudges if betrayed by those it considered friends. In Arceus and the Jewel of Life, it is said to "feed" off the energy of the elemental plates. It is the only known Pokémon that can learn Judgment.
Arceus debuted in Arceus and the Jewel of Life. It was angry at the people of Michina Town for Damos's unwitting betrayal of it in ancient times, and so it attempted to destroy the land. When Ash, his friends, and Sheena were teleported by Dialga to ancient times, they directly influenced the event, changing the future for the better so that Arceus will stop its destruction.
Arceus appears as a central character in the Arceus and the Jewel of Life manga adaptation, reprising its role from the movie. After Arceus saved the world from a meteor, Damos took care of it. It gave Damos the Jewel of Life to make the land of Michina Town rich and fertile. Damos then "betrayed" Arceus, and it has been outraged ever since.
Arceus appears in the TCG in all types but Dragon and Fairy, and a player can have as many Arceus cards in their deck as they like, unlike all other cards in the game (besides Basic Energy cards). Cards based on Arceus first appeared in the Arceus expansion set.
Arceus was originally intended to appear in Pokémon Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum in the Hall of Origin when summoned using an event item called the Azure Flute. However, the Azure Flute was never distributed, although the text seen when receiving the 20th Anniversary Arceus states that Arceus could first be obtained in Diamond and Pearl in the Hall of Origin.
In its debut generation of Generation IV, it was impossible to legitimately give Arceus more than 100 EVs in any stat, since it was only ever distributed at level 100. Prior to Generation V, level 100 Pokémon could not gain EVs through battling since they could not gain experience.
Arceus is the only pre-Generation V Pokémon to never officially receive a DPBP number. Kadabra, which was not released as a TCG card during the DPBP era, is assumed to be #070, as Abra and Alakazam are #069 and #071, respectively.
This has been remedied in Pokémon Platinum, however, as the player can no longer freely move in the "void".
Arceus is particularly based on a creator deity, present in many world cultures. Arceus's stance and general form are similar to Egyptian bull and calf idols, particularly Apis. Based on its appearance and attack movements in the 3D games, Arceus may be modeled after a horse or qilin. The arc on its back may be inspired by the Dharmachakra, or the Bhavacakra, used to represent a concept similar to the reincarnation in Hinduism.
The conception of the first god might be influenced by the Shinto gods Kunitokotachi and Amenominakanushi, who summoned Izanami and Izanagi to create Japan with the spear. It may also be a reference to the qilin, a Chinese mythical creature. Its myth is nearly identical to the Cosmic egg, found in creation myths of many cultures and civilizations. Arceus may also represent or be inspired by the bodhisattvaAvalokiteśvara, who, in Buddhism, is either pictured with eleven heads and one thousand arms (the latter of which is mentioned in Arceus's Pokédex entry) or in a white, four-armed manifestation (which could look similar to Normal-type Arceus).
Arceus may be a combination of arch- (most extreme, highest), archon (a Greek word that means "ruler" or "lord"), arcanus (Latin for secret, mystery), archaic (ancient), αρχή arkhē (Greek for beginning), or archetypus (Latin for original), and deus (Latin for god). It may also derive from aureus (golden, in reference to its hooves and wheel), arc (round or ring), arcessere (Latin for to summon), or Archeus (an aspect of the astral plane).
In other languages
From a combination of arch, archon, arcanus (Latin for secret/sacred mystery), archaic (ancient), αρχή arkhē (Greek for beginning), or archetypus (Latin for original), and deus (Latin for god). May also derive from aureus (golden), arc (round or ring), or Archeus (an aspect of the astral plane).