In its normal state, Darmanitan is a mainly red, squat ape-like Pokémon. It has long, bushy flame eyebrows that curl at the base, and round, black-ringed eyes. The upper portion of its tan face is separated from the lower portion by a diagonal red stripe, and its large mouth sports spiked teeth. All these facial features give the impression of a manic or angered expression. Its head has no discernible neck to distinguish it from the rest of the body and its rounded back, which culminates in a stubby tail. It has long arms with spiky hair fringes on the wrists and large tan hands, with a similar arrangement for its hind limbs. Additionally, Darmanitan has three tan ovals on its underside and two wavy lines on its back. In its normal state, it has immense physical strength; a single punch can destroy a dump truck. Its power level scales with the temperature of its internal fire, which can be as hot as 2,500 °F (1,400 °C).
During Zen Mode, which is accessed by Darmanitan with the hidden Ability Zen Mode, its red fur and tan skin changes blue as it bears the resemblance of a Daruma doll. Its eyes turn blank, and its limbs fuse with its body, rendering them immobile. It also only has three toes, as opposed to normal Darmanitan having five. In this state, it is hard as a rock. As it is rendered immobile, it enters a meditative trance to sharpen its mind, using it as strength emotionally and spiritually to battle and to perform everyday activities such as gather and eat food.
Galarian Darmanitan has blue skin and a thicker coat than Unovan Darmanitan. Its fur is white, and is adorned with several ice gems; on its face, its fur makes the shape of a beard. Atop its head is a giant snowball that resembles an afro, which is also dotted with several ice crystals. Galarian Darmanitan's biology is the result of it adapting to the cold of the Galar region. It develops an organ that produces cold air, while its flame sac becomes dormant. This also causes its nature to change, from a belligerent personality to a gentle and timid one. It becomes so timid that it will pretend to be a snowman when it senses humans nearby. It uses the snowball on its head to store food and other things it finds, preserving them for later. When in battle, it freezes its giant snowball in order to release powerful headbutts.
Galarian Zen Mode Darmanitan resembles a snowman. Its false "head", located above its actual head, has glowing red-yellow eyes, a warped smile, and a flame sticking out at the center as its "carrot nose". Its face sports blank white eyes surrounded by a red mask-like pattern, and an angry grin showing razor-sharp teeth. Its hands become larger and orange, resembling mittens, and it has additional glowing red-yellow spots on its belly. When Galarian Darmanitan enters Zen Mode, its dormant flame sac reignites back to life. This causes Galarian Darmanitan's disposition to change into a maddened rampaging state. It hops around in battle and unleashes fire everywhere without any care for its surroundings, nor if its body starts to melt, making it a threat to others and itself. It will continue rampaging indiscriminately until its rage is completely gone.
Darmanitan debuted in Saving Darmanitan From the Bell! alongside two Darumaka. Darmanitan and the Darumaka lived in a clock tower. When the tower started to break, Darmanitan stopped the loose bell from collapsing. However, due to fatigue, it transformed into its Zen Mode and used its Psychic to keep the bell in midair, while the Darumaka stole food to keep its energy up.
Ryouga and Miruto were pushed into the home of some Darmanitan by Yappy so he could get pictures of Ryouga's Burst form. After finding out the Darmanitan were protecting some sick Darumaka, they healed them and left.
Both of Unovan Darmanitan's forms were designed by Mana Ibe.
Darmanitan appears to be based on a Daruma doll and an orangutan. It may also be based on the adage of the three wise monkeys—"See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil"—as Darmanitan in their Zen Mode have their eyes become blank, their mouths shut tightly and their ears covered, sitting patiently in contrast to their bold posture in Standard Mode. Its Zen Mode may be based on Bodhidharma, achieving enlightenment. The varying presence of pupils between its Standard Mode and Zen Mode reflects the practice of painting in the eyes of a Daruma doll, and their symbolic value in relation to goal fulfillment.
Galarian Darmanitan seems to be a mixture of a snowman, known as a 雪だるま yukidaruma in Japanese, and a yeti. Where its original form draws its origin from Buddhism, Galarian Darmanitan's design may be influenced by other Dharmic religions, with its 'beard' and 'headpiece' bearing resemblance to those of Hindu and Sikh elders. Its Zen Mode appears to be based on a snowman with a firecracker for a nose. Its Fire-type may be a reference to atavism, the reappearance of an ancestral trait after having been lost through evolutionary change in previous generations.
Darmanitan may be a combination of Dharma (alternate spelling of daruma) and orangutan.
Hihidaruma may be a combination of 火 hi (fire), 緋 hi (scarlet), 狒々 hihi (baboon), Daruma, and 火達磨 hidaruma (the state of being on fire).
In other languages
From 火 hi, 緋 hi, 狒々 hihi, Daruma, and 火達磨 hidaruma