Urshifu is a large, bipedal Pokémon resembling a humanoid black bear with a wushu motif. It has a muscular build with long legs and long arms with large paws and claws for striking. Its body and head are covered in gray, black, and white fur, minus the yellow muzzle. The front of Urshifu's pelt slightly resembles a traditional frog buttoned/braid buttoned hanging off ends on both front and back. The fur on Urshifu's head is spikier and flares into a flowing white and black headband. The backs of Urshifu's hands, its knuckles, and the tops of its feet are also white-colored.
Appearance-wise, the fur on top of Single Strike Style Urshifu's head and on its legs flows up, while its headband flares upward and backward. Meanwhile, the fur on top of Rapid Strike Style Urshifu's head and on its legs flows down, while its headband flares forward and outward. The two styles also have different default poses: Single Strike Style Urshifu has its front fist raised, back fist lowered, and both feet planted, while Rapid Strike Style Urshifu has its back fist raised, front fist lowered, and front foot lifted off the ground. Otherwise, the two forms appear nearly identical.
Urshifu's style and personality are determined by how it trained as a Kubfu and the scroll it reads from either of the Towers of Two Fists. Urshifu is known to enjoy eating honey, particularly Max Honey. It lives in the mountains of a distant region. Urshifu trains its legs and moves by racing across sheer cliffs.
Single Strike Style Urshifu prefers battling without holding back, and often employs one-hit KO strategies. If enraged, it will mercilessly attack the opponent until utterly crushed. Its movements are direct and involve rushing in a straight line. When it is a certain distance away from an opponent, it quickly leaps in to unleash a powerful blow.
Rapid Strike Style Urshifu prefers calmly observing the opponents and their strengths while dodging. It uses flowing movements to ward off an opponent's attack before overwhelming them with rapid strikes. Rapid Strike Style Urshifu's movements and attacks have been compared to a river, flowing but unyielding.
When Urshifu Gigantamaxes, the patterns on its fur become significantly accentuated, its headband lengthens, and its eyes and mouth take on a white glow. In general, parts of its fur that used to be gray are now white, and parts that used to be black are now its signature color (red for Gigantamax Single Strike Style and blue for Gigantamax Rapid Strike Style). In addition, Gigantamax Single Strike Style Urshifu's leg fur and headband become spikier, while for Gigantamax Rapid Strike Style Urshifu they become rounder and less spiky.
Gigantamax Single Strike Style Urshifu has been called "the very embodiment of rage" and "a divine emissary that banishes evil spirits with its fury." It is believed that Gigantamax Single Strike Style Urshifu can rid the world of its malevolence through its terrifying expression and shouting. The shockwaves released from its fists can blow away Dynamaxed Pokémon with just one hit.
Gigantamax Rapid Strike Style Urshifu maintains a perfect one-legged stance in a calm, unflinching manner. Opponents who face it may either feel greatly agitated or experience a sense of relief as if freed from evil spirits. Gigantamax Rapid Strike Style Urshifu could supposedly destroy those with evil in their hearts by simply glaring at them.
Urshifu and its forms have several signature moves:
- Single Strike Style Urshifu is the only known Pokémon capable of learning the move Wicked Blow.
- Rapid Strike Style Urshifu is the only known Pokémon capable of learning the move Surging Strikes.
- Gigantamax Single Strike Style Urshifu is the only known Pokémon capable of using the G-Max Move G-Max One Blow.
- Gigantamax Rapid Strike Style Urshifu is the only known Pokémon capable of using the G-Max Move G-Max Rapid Flow.
Additionally, Urshifu is the only known Pokémon that can have Unseen Fist as an Ability.
- Urshifu and its pre-evolution were designed by Yusuke Ohmura.
- Urshifu is the only Legendary Pokémon that has a Gigantamax form, and consequently the only Legendary Pokémon that can use a G-Max Move.
- It is also the only Pokémon with more than one Gigantamax form, and consequently the only Pokémon with more than one G-Max Move.
- It is also the only Pokémon with a Gigantamax Form whose Shiny form is unavailable, not counting Melmetal, as Melmetal has been made legitimately available in Shiny form, albeit without the Gigantamax Factor, which it cannot gain from Max Soup.
- Urshifu Single Strike Style and Rapid Strike Style share the same model in game, and are only animated differently.
Urshifu may be based on an Asian black bear and a wushu fighter.
Single Strike Style may have been based on a mixture of Tiger style and Leopard style, styles based on precise, strong and direct strikes which can give meaning to Single Strike's unique move, Wicked Blow; which always lands in a critical hit and described to be a singular, strong punch and references both Leopard style's way of looking to take down opponents as swiftly as it can and Tiger style's direct attack with overwhelming strength and power.
Rapid Strike Style may have been based on a mixture of Crane style and Seven Star Mantis style, styles based around flowing movements, balance, dodging, deflecting, and tactile overwhelming blows, just like Rapid Strike and its signature move, Surging Strikes, which is given a further nod to the movements given and flowing, flurrying strikes delivered in the Japanese name: Streaming Strikes. Its Water typing may also be a reference to the "flow like water" quote by famous actor and martial artist Bruce Lee.
Their Gigantamax forms may be inspired by fierce deities, transformed Buddhas with terrifying appearances yet noble hearts, that judge and punish the spirits of the dead, and additionally, quell evil. Alternatively, they might have been influenced by Nio, Agyō and Ungyō, a pair of viciously powerful Buddhist deities that ward off evil spirits and protect good spirits, as Urshifu is also capable of doing both. Typically, statues depicting Agyō will have its mouth open as a sign of violent aggression, while Ungyō will have its mouth closed to represent latent strength. Gigantamax Urshifu's forms seem to reverse this, as Rapid Strike Style's mouth is closed and it attacks its foes relentlessly, while Single Strike Style's mouth is open and it confidently delivers a single punch to a weak point. Additionally, the statues are often colored red and blue, though the color is not a prominent trait of either, as they can each be red or blue, and sometimes both.
Urshifu may be a combination of ursus (Latin for bear) and shifu (Chinese for master). It may also involve kung fu.
Wulaosu may be a combination of wushu (Chinese martial arts), 老師 / 老师 lǎoshī (Chinese for teacher), and possibly ウラー urā (hurrah, battle cry) and 押忍 osu (interjection used in Japanese martial arts).