#124 - Jynx
The origins of Jynx are complicated and controversial. I’m not going to go into great depth on any specific piece of Jynx’s inspiration, but will provide links for more information on each.
Also, Bulbapedia has a GREAT article on the origins of Jynx, which I suggest reading.
Jynx is possibly based on blackface, a form of theatrical makeup that created a stereotypical caricature of black people. Blackface made its way to Japan, and lost most of its racial connotations, which may explain how a potentially offensive design was created in the first place. Once Pokemon was released, there was a fuss about this possible connection and the design of Jynx was promptly changed (You can see the original design vs. the current design above).
Jynx may have taken some inspiration from blackface, but it certainly is not the only thing that inspired the Pokemon.
Jynx could be based on the Japanese fashion trend Ganguro, which is “an alternative fashion trend of blonde, pink or silver hair and tanned skin among young Japanese women that peaked in popularity around the year 2000”. This actually makes sense when you remember Jynx has blonde hair.
The design of Jynx was also likely influenced by various legends and folklore.
There is the Yama-uba, or “mountain hag”.
"The yama-uba’s traits included white-blonde hair, a tattered red kimono, a large, prominent mouth and a penchant for entrancing and seducing unwary travelers." -from the Bulbapedia article
Here is another good article on the Yama-uba.
Because of her Ice typing, Jynx is very likely inspired by the Yuki-onna, or “snow woman”. Another good article on the Yuki-onna is here. The Yuki-onna is even known to freeze men with sex or a kiss. I don’t know about the sex part, but kissing certainly sounds like Jynx to me.
With Jynx’s Ice typing, possible blackface connections, and the fact that Jynx were seen as Santa’s helpers in the anime episode “Holiday Hi-Jynx”, it is also a possibility that Jynx is based somewhat on Zwarte Piet. Zwarte Piet is the companion of Saint Nicholas in Dutch folklore and plays a similar role to Santa’s elves. Zwarte Piet is also often depicted using blackface, which makes it seem like less of a coincidence.
And the last piece of inspiration for Jynx comes from opera. The stereotypical “fat lady” in Nordic or Viking dress is a possible inspiration for this enigmatic pokemon. This can be seem in Jynx’ dress, hair, and size. Also, the sprite for Jynx in Pokemon Emerald depicts her singing.
Jynx is not based specifically on any one of these, but I strongly believe that Jynx took at least a little bit from each one. Again, I highly recommend reading this great article on Bulbapedia.
jinx (A person or thing that brings bad luck)
This is literally my most favorite scene in any anime, ever.