Articuno is a large avian Pokémon with predominantly blue plumage and large wings said to be made of ice. It has a head crest that consists of three, darker blue rhombus-shaped feathers on its forehead and circular red eyes. Its beak is short and gray, and its long, thin legs are the same color. It has a long, streamer-like tail that is longer than its body and the same shade of blue as its crest.
When Articuno flaps its wings, it can chill the moisture in the air around it, making snow fall. It flies from icy mountain to icy mountain. According to legend, it appears before doomed travelers lost in icy regions. As seen in the anime, Articuno sometimes aids travelers and guides them to safety. Articuno lives in cold, isolated locations, such as mountain peaks.
Articuno made its main series debut in Moving Pictures, where it was seen flying at a distance. It reappeared in the same way in Spring Fever. Todd had gone to search for Articuno in the Johtoregion so he could add its photograph to his photo album, and followed it to a tall mountain. Articuno appeared once again in Freeze Frame, where it appeared to Team Rocket early in the episode, and then to Ash, Todd, Misty, and Brock.
Articuno appears in the eighth chapter of the Magical Pokémon Journey manga, The Legendary Articuno!. In The Legendary Articuno!, there is an Articuno atop a mountain used by a ski resort. This Articuno is rumored to spirit away the lives of lost travelers, but in reality, it is a friendly Pokémon that runs a Snowcone shop. Pikachu, Clefairy and Jigglypuff enter a Snowcone-eating contest at Articuno's shop, and Articuno also rescues an injured Hazel.
Articuno first appeared in You know... Articuno! where it was being chased by several Team Rocket Grunts. It is shown to seal itself in a block of ice when it senses the presence of an enemy. It strongly dislikes confrontation. However, in Pokémon Adventures volume 3, Team Rocket was able to temporary get hold of it, together with Moltres and Zapdos. It was used by the then-Rocket Executive Koga to try to finish Red and Blue and succeeded in freezing them, but that turned out to be a strategy to let the ninja master's guard down and attack him from behind when Blue's Charizard unfroze them. After his defeat, it is called upon by Sabrina's Kadabra with Zapdos and merged to form Thu-Fi-Zer, a combination that proved almost unstoppable until Saur, the Ivysaur it knocked out of the wall, saved its Trainers with a web created using Vine Whip and evolved to Venusaur to deliver the final blow with Charizard and Blasty. It at last regains its freedom after the defeat and splits from its fellow birds.
Much later, in the Gold, Silver, & Crystal chapter, it reappears under Green's possession with its fellow birds and is lent to Red in the battle against Will and Karen, who nearly overwhelmed the three with Ho-Oh and Lugia. Since it has not been seen since, it has either been kept in the box or released, its true status unknown.
In the Pokémon Gold & Silver: The Golden Boys manga
Articuno was one of the first four Pokémon designs revealed when the Pokémon 151 brand was first announced. In the shirt design, an Articuno is rising out of the right side with the number 144 on its chest.
When released from a Poké Ball, Articuno will use a Blizzard attack that freezes any opponent that is caught in it for a few seconds.
"Clouds gather, the barometer plunges, and fresh snow falls from the frigid air when this legendary Pokémon takes wing. Graceful and elegant, it boasts long tail feathers that flap in the wind and are lovely to behold. As would be expected, its combat moves are based on its cold nature; they include Ice Beam and Blizzard."
NA: The air around Articuno is always cool, and it can make snow fall on even the hottest of days. It must be the perfect Pokémon to have around in summer! Then again, do you really want to be the one to use a Legendary bird Pokémon as an ice machine? Let's just think this through for a minute.
PAL: The air around Articuno is always cool, and it can make snow fall on even the hottest of days. It must be the perfect Pokémon to have around in summer! Then again, do you really want to be the one to use a Legendary Bird Pokémon as an ice machine? You'd just get the cold shoulder from the whole Pokémon community.
In the second episode of the anime, there is an engraving on a wall in the Viridian City Pokémon Center that depicts the Legendary birds. Ash mistakes the Articuno engraving as Ho-Oh. While the blue coloration of the stone indicates the Ice type, and the wings and crest feathers are those of Articuno, the multiple tail feathers look nothing like Articuno's tail, being more similar in appearance to those of Ho-Oh.
Articuno was the last Generation I Pokémon to be introduced in the anime, and the only one that did not appear in Season 1, if movies and banned episodes are included (Mew is the last if its appearances in movies are not counted).
This Pokémon's appearance may be based on the Simurgh, deriving from the Persian رخ rokh, which is that of a giant arctic bird. Also, its long tail and small body may be reference to the rare bird, the quetzal. It is also anatomically very similar to the White-throated Magpie-jay.
Articuno is a combination of arctic (far northern regions of the globe) and uno (Spanish for one, indicating that it is the first in the series of KantoLegendary birds).
Freezer is literally freezer (that which freezes).