Thursday, January 1, 2015

Top 10 Pokémon Video Game Characters

Top 10 Pokémon Video Game Characters
Written by: ClayDragon & Shiggins

Happy New Year, everyone! We decided to do something special for the New Year, and after wracking our brains we came up with something a little different for this Top 10. In this list, we’re going to be looking at the Top 10 Pokémon characters. There were only two (and a bit) rules for this list:
1: The character must be human.
2: This list will only look at characters in the main video game series.
2a: Player characters such as Brendan and May are excluded from this list.
Normally, we would include anime characters as well. But given the sheer number of characters in the anime (and the fact that Shiggins and I both stopped watching it a number of years ago), making an anime version of this list would take far too long. So read on, and enjoy your trip down nostalgia lane…

As is this the case with many of these lists, SPOILER ALERT. You have been warned.

10.)        Archie & Maxie (Team Aqua/Magma Leaders) (Written by ClayDragon & Shiggins)

Debuted In: Pokémon Ruby & Sapphire (2003)

Archie: “Hey! You read me, little scamp? We’re getting readings up here that look as though Kyogre’s appeared. Don’t be afraid, scamp! You leap right onto that beastie’s back!

Maxie: “Even I, the great Maxie, have found myself wishing for something I cannot justify.”

Oh the irony. I, the great and wacky Shiggins, picked up the version of the new Pokémon remake that makes you fight the nerdy guy while ClayDragon, the nerdy one, picked up the version that has you battle the wacky guy. Team Aqua and Magma are two polar opposites in every way who battle each other and the player for almost the exact same goal, but they each seek to resurrect a different Pokémon to make it happen.

The Team Aqua Grunt on the far left is my spirit animal.

Maxie is the leader of Team Magma and wants to create more land using the raw power of Groudon, which will of course never backfire. Summoning a massive creature from eons ago to make the sun as bright as possible so water will dry up and land will form? It’s practically fool proof! Maxie has the definite advantage of actually being intelligent and smug, so if I were going to start a team of villains I’d probably hire him over Archie (I’d still rather be buddies with pirate Archie though).

Seriously Maxie, would it kill you to show a little more enthusiasm?

On the other side of things, I, ClayDragon, picked up Alpha Sapphire and I do not regret my choice. Archie is different from Maxie in every way – whilst the leader of Team Magma is calm and calculating, Archie is much more emotional and hot-blooded (ironically). He seeks to expand the seas to make more habitats for Pokémon, despite the small side-effect of destroying cities on the shoreline. Whilst both leaders aren’t fully evil, Archie still seems like the nicer of the two – he realises his mistakes a lot sooner and gives you words of encouragement when you have to go and fix the mess he made.

9.)           Professor Oak (Kanto Pokémon Professor) (Written by Shiggins)

Debuted In: Pokémon Red & Blue (1998)

“Are you a boy? Or are you a girl?”

An obvious quote? Yes but in our defence, this is an obvious entry for this list. Thousands of fans all around the world have the exact same first memory of Pokémon: We pressed the start button and Professor Oak himself stepped out to teach us about Pokémon. He asked us our name, he gave us our starter and he sent us on our way.

Only one with eyebrows that large could have such power in the Pokémon universe.

Now, we all know that I could have spent hours getting all the memes related to this guy. How he gives you your empty Pokédex, despite supposedly working on Pokémon his whole life, or how he has to ask you for his own grandson’s name, which implies he’s going senile. The senile claim is only made worse when he has to ask you for your gender.

There is no escape!

Making appearances in all the adaptations – be it the anime, the first ever video games or the manga itself, Professor Oak is one of the most significant and recognisable characters of the entire Pokémon franchise. If Pokémon ever decided to create a prequel series, it would have to be about Oak. If Ash Ketchum ever finally finishes his fucking journey, it will have to end with Professor Oak telling us about Pokémon. And if they ever made a live-action series, Oak would have to be played by someone amazing and symbolic… I want Stan Lee.

8.)           Red (Strongest Trainer) (Written by ClayDragon)

Debuted In: Pokémon Gold & Silver (2000)


If you’re looking at this entry and thinking ‘but ClayDragon! You said that no playable characters would be in this list, and I believed you!’, then you are right. Red only makes it into this list on a technicality – in Gold & Silver, he isn’t actually a playable character. Yes, he’s playable in Red & Blue and their remakes, but in Gold & Silver (and HeartGold & SoulSilver) he’s an NPC with a pre-programmed team, just like anyone else, and therefore perfectly eligible for this list.

"Hey, I wonder who this oddly-familiar person is?"

Despite being tucked away in a hard-to-reach mountain and having no speaking lines, Red earns his place on this list for two simple reasons. The first is that meeting him is possibly the most dramatic moment in any Pokémon game so far. After climbing the maze-like Mt. Silver, you emerge on the peak of the mountain and walk forward across a narrow walkway. You’ve trained your Pokémon to be the best, and as soon as you see the Trainer at the top of the mountain, you realise just what you’re about to go up against.

"...I'm going to die."

When you finally work up the courage to speak to Red, you’ll find out the second reason: he has the highest-levelled Pokémon team in the entire game series. In the original Gold & Silver, his Pikachu was at level 81, and in the remakes it’s been increased to a terrifying level 88. He has a team consisting of the aforementioned Pikachu, the final forms of the Kanto starters, a Snorlax and (depending on what game you’re playing) either an Espeon or a Lapras. It’s only fitting that the strongest Pokémon and one of the most well-balanced teams would go to Red.

7.)           Cheren (Unova Rival) (Written by ClayDragon)

Debuted In: Pokémon Black & White (2011)

“We’re all different, and we should do the things that we can do. There are as many truths and ideals as there are people and Pokémon.”

The second rival in the Black & White games, Cheren is in many ways Bianca’s opposite. At the start of your journey, he is determined to become the Champion no matter what, and he thinks a lot more about strategies and team-building than Bianca does. In fact, Cheren could be seen as an in-game representation of many people who play Pokémon competitively, and this is highlighted over the course of his development.

He's like Uryu Ishida, if Uryu trained Pokémon.

Similar to Bianca, Cheren begins to think about his journey and what he wants to do with his life when he meets Alder, the Unova League Champion. When Cheren talks to him about his ambition to become the strongest Trainer in the region, all Alder does is ask him one simple question- ‘and then what?’. Cheren is taken aback at this question, as he believed that becoming strong was all that there is to it. After this conversation, Cheren begins to examine himself and what it means to be truly strong. By the time of Black 2 & White 2, he’s become a Gym Leader as well as a teacher.

Teacher, Gym Leader, a snazzy watch... the guy has it made.

Cheren’s main appeal is his determination, in that when he sets his sights on something, he very rarely gives up or pauses to consider his actions. Even when it looks as though Team Plasma are about to succeed in their plans, he refuses to give up fighting them. In many ways, he resembles a typical Pokémon player – he aims to constantly get stronger, become the Champion and have the best team. However, once his motivations are brought into question, his development becomes more subtle and nuanced than you would expect from a Pokémon game.

6.)           Steven Stone (Hoenn Champion) (Written by Shiggins)

Debuted In: Pokémon Ruby & Sapphire (2003)

“Ah… Yes… I suppose I should welcome you to my home. Please forgive the rather sparse décor…”

Are these remakes the best things to happen to Pokémon since the trading cards? Maybe because almost every character in the ORAS games has gotten an amazingly interesting upgrade which has made the entire franchise even better than before. And nowhere is that more apparent than with Steven Stone, the champion of the Hoenn Pokémon League.

My favourite Pokémon is Metagross...I sense a kindred spirit in this man.

When all the previews and teasers for ORAS were first released, fangirls and I went nuts over the new design and feel to Steven. He became smooth, cool, elegant and full of charisma. Characters like Wally and Wallace got lovable upgrades too of course (huh… a Wally and a Wallace in the same game. Not confusing at all) but Steven stood out above them due to more screentime and knowledge.

No! You never need to apologise to someone as inferior as us! Never!

Steven spends the game being helpful, giving you tips about Mega Evolution, how to treat your Pokémon with care, all about Pokémon friendship and the other information that most epic Pokémon characters give you. He’s a gentleman and scholar who has friends, enthusiasm and a love for discovery and science. Too bad he’s not higher on this list really…

5.)           Bianca (Unova Rival) (Written by ClayDragon)

Debuted In: Pokémon Black & White (2011)

“You know, since we left Nuvema Town, I’ve met a lot of people and I’ve been thinking about what I want to do in life! When you look at it that way, Pokémon have given me a lot of new experiences. Having my Pokémon stolen was just really hard, and I felt really unsure... Still, I gotta say I'm really glad I went!”

The Black & White games were the first games in which you have two rivals (discounting the debatable status of Ruby & Sapphire’s Brendan/May). When you started your adventure, you did so with your two neighbours, Bianca and Cheren. Unlike every rival up to this point, Bianca was never aiming to collect gym badges or challenge the Champion. All she wanted to do was have a good time on her adventure and gain some independence away from her overprotective father.

Hey, at least she isn't running on ahead like some other rivals.

Of course, this didn’t work out too well in the short term. No matter how hard she tries, she keeps losing to you, her Munna got stolen temporarily by Team Plasma and halfway through the game her father shows up to try and drag her back home. Thankfully, she manages to convince her dad to let her keep travelling, and at the end of her journey she decides to try and become a Pokémon researcher. Not that this doesn’t mean that she’s weak – in Black 2 & White 2, she enters into the Pokémon World Tournament in a class normally reserved for Gym Leaders.

Over the timeskip she got glasses. Maybe she stole them from Cheren...

Bianca’s best quality is undoubtedly her optimism and upbeat attitude. When her Pokémon was kidnapped and when she met her father again, she never lost faith in the belief that things would turn out alright. Even at the climax of Team Plasma’s plans, she remains confident that her friends will come out victorious. Given how the events of Black & White are a lot murkier in terms of morality, Bianca’s unwavering faith and positivity stand out all the more, and earn her a place on this list that she should be proud of.

4.)           Wally (Hoenn Rival) (Written by Shiggins)

Debuted In: Pokémon Ruby & Sapphire (2003)

“That promise that we made back then… Thank you for keeping your end of it. It was really all thanks to you that I could make it this far.”

So I have a Tumblr page (link below in my personal description), and I got the honour of being asked a question by a follower one day: “Who would you rather fuck? Hisoka or Wally?”. I picked Wally because Hisoka is a terrifying and all too amazing character for me, and also because Wally might be the single cutest character in the entire series of Pokémon.

Look at his cute face! I just want to squeeze his little…uh…*awkward silence* Don’t look at me!

Perhaps the most underused character on our list, we first met Wally in the same city where our dad owns a gym in the Ruby & Sapphire games and their remakes. Weak, shy and actually extremely ill, Wally met us when he help him to catch his first ever Pokémon, a Ralts. For the rest of the game, he gives you the occasional battle whenever you bump into him and flashes puppy-dog eyes during it all.

These ORAS images of Wally… My heart can’t handle it.

Meeting Wally just in front of the Pokémon League brings a surprising amount of satisfaction, and not just because he’s fucking adorable. It’s because he developed from this tiny, insecure little child into a badass fighter with proper skill and determination to prove himself to his hero… you! My biggest complaint about the newest games is the lack of an interesting, fierce rival and although Wally isn’t the antagonist type of rival I desire, I’ll never deny that I loved getting to fulfil his wish of taking him on as an equal.

3.)           Silver (Johto Rival) (Written by ClayDragon)

Debuted In: Pokémon Gold & Silver (2000)

“I don’t want to understand you! I will never become someone like you. A coward when you’re alone and acting like a tyrant in front of other cowards! I will become strong! I will become a stronger man all by myself! All by myself!

Nearly fifteen years after his introduction, there still hasn’t been a rival who has been as nasty as Silver. For context, he remains the only character to have stolen a Pokémon who isn’t part of a villainous team. First encountered shortly after you choose your starter in Gold & Silver, Silver had just stolen another starter from Professor Elm’s laboratory. At first, he seems borderline sociopathic, what with his burning hatred for Team Rocket and his tendency to see his Pokémon as tools. However, this can be somewhat explained by one simple sentence.

Somehow, I can't picture Giovanni being in a relationship long enough to have a child.

He’s Giovanni’s son. When he was nine, Silver was abandoned by Giovanni as he went into hiding following his defeat during the events of Red & Blue. Seeing this as an act of weakness, Silver decided to become strong at any cost, and vowed to wipe out Team Rocket. These character traits continue for most of the story until Silver meets Lance, the current Pokémon League Champion. After getting his ass handed to him in a battle, Silver begins to rethink his actions and motivations, and after you encounter him a few more times, he’s completely reformed.

Well, he won't be handing out hugs any time soon, but he's still a lot nicer than he was.

This level of development is especially impressive when you consider that he started off as the most antagonistic rival yet, and eventually matures to the stage where he considers you to be his only friend. His boasts of wanting to become strong aren’t completely unfounded – Gold & Silver remain the only games in which the Victory Road is devoid of trainers. This is because Silver had already defeated them all before you arrived. His sheer power, as well as his gradual development as a character, cement him as one of the most memorable rivals.

2.)           Blue (Kanto Rival) (Written by Shiggins)

Debuted In: Pokémon Red & Blue (1998)

“Smell ya later!”

The ultimate rival and in my opinion, the very best like no one ever was. The first ever character in the franchise to even call you a rival, Blue/Gary/Douche or however you named him managed to gain more personality than half the characters we see these days, especially those wimpy “best friend” rivals the series seems determined to lumber you down with now.

Fuck off Serena! This is how a real rival looks!

The grandson of Professor Oak, Blue takes the starter who has the type advantage over yours, instantly creating tension and trouble along the path. As time goes on, Blue gets annoyed because you keep beating him and blames it on bad luck and his Pokémon instead of his own lack of skill and care. A character with so much denial and pettiness is hard to forget and even harder to ignore.

I don’t even need to tell you why this makes his anime counterpart such a badass.

Do you know what I love about Blue the most though? He’s selfish and flawed. He’s not some sort of gentle soul who wants to be your friend and have friendly battles with you, as if he wanted to have a tickle fight or some other childish crap. No no no, Blue actually wants to fight you! He doesn’t win because he doesn’t care enough about his Pokémon and cares only about being the best through any method. That alone is what a rival should be and it is the best way to send a clear message to you about the value of Pokémon!

1.)           N Harmonia (Team Plasma King) (Written by ClayDragon)

Debuted In: Pokémon Black & White (2011)

“It’s not by rejecting different ideas, but by accepting different ideas that the world creates a chemical reaction. This is truly the formula for changing the world.”

Abandoned in a forest at a young age, N (full name Natural Harmonia Gropius) was raised by Pokémon, and so grew up being able to understand their language. He was found by a man called Ghetsis who claimed to be his father, and who took him in and raised him to be the king of Team Plasma. When he was being raised, Ghetsis would only let N interact with Pokémon who had been hurt by humans, and so N grew up under the impression that all Pokémon should be separated from humans. Throughout Black & White, you meet N several times as he works towards the ultimate goal of Team Plasma.

What I want to know is where he got that awesome necklace.

However, your repeated meetings and battles with him eventually causes him to rethink his opinions on whether people and Pokémon should be separated. He then decides to capture one of Unova’s Legendary Dragons, with his logic being that if you were worthy enough to capture the other one, then you could have a battle as true equals to determine which of you is right. After your victory, Ghetsis reveals that he used N as no more than a pawn, and that his true goal was to ensure that he was the only person in Unova that could use Pokémon.

He also has an awesome battle theme.

N is pretty much the definition of an anti-villain, as he’s doing the wrong thing but for the right reasons. Even though he’s an antagonist for most of the game, by the time he changes sides he’s shown to be a very nice guy. He treats all of his Pokémon friends with the utmost care, and even though he becomes the Champion and succeeds in capturing a legendary Pokémon, he only does so because he honestly wants to help everyone. His objectives and motivations are given so much depth and his characterisation is done so well that there was no doubt – N is the best character in Pokémon so far.

Honourable Mentions:

Wallace (Hoenn Gym Leader)

Giovanni (Team Rocket Boss)

Lance (Johto Champion)

Professor Sycamore (Kalos Pokémon Professor)

Looker (Private Detective/Time Lord)
Is there a character that you feel we missed out? Or do you have any suggestions for another Top 10 list? Let us know in the comments below!

I just got chills...

Thanks for reading!

ClayDragon is currently studying Physics at university, and is constantly bewildered by it. The main method of contacting him is his Gmail account at The alternative is his Skype account at kyleroulston1993, but he doesn’t use it that much. When not playing games or reading, he can be found with his head in his hands whilst trying in vain to understand quantum physics. Pokéball image in the logo comes from CcPerch.

Shiggins:[Admin]   .
Shiggins enjoys many strange forms of communication, especially those including cosplayers or presents or videos. However, until that wonderful day comes when people care enough to give him things for being him, you can contact him on his Skype; shigginsishere. He can also respond to you if you contact him through GMails at, and you can find out about him or ask him stuff on

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