Ranking the Pokemon Rivals – Part One

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday, everyone!

We’ve been having a great time with Pokemon Sword and Shield! Like all core Pokemon games, it has some great characters, like the player’s rival trainers. It got me thinking of all the rivals we’ve had over the course of the franchise’s lifetime.

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Pokemon rivals are a staple to the core Pokemon games. They’re the characters that are always one step ahead of you, their purpose described as wanting to make you become an even better trainer than them. Pokemon rivals can be a bit of a hit or miss, though. There are some characters that I really like while others… Well. Let’s say we didn’t hit it off.

Considering there are about twenty rival characters in the games, this particular post will consist of the rival characters that I consider to be the bottom half of my favorite. Note that this is all my personal opinion of these characters, and I did not include Serena and May since… I never played the games when they were considered my rivals considering I play as the female avatar. There also may be small spoilers regarding Sword and Shield rivals.

18. Bede (Sword/Shield)

I am not a fan of this character. The constant belittling regarding my Pokemon when there have been plenty of battles where his team didn’t even touch mine, combined with the fact that the kid wanted to destroy national landmarks gave me a bad taste in my mouth. While I was really amused at Opal’s reaction to him and I’m learning more about his backstory, I have yet to find anything redeeming about him. I’m not done with the story of the games just yet, so maybe my reaction will change. At the moment, though, this kid’s arrogance and single-mindedness to please the chairman ranks him down at the bottom of my list.

17, 16, & 15. Shauna, Tierno, & Trevor (X/Y)

Instead of elongating this list any more than it already is, I pretty much just lumped these three characters together. While I enjoyed the idea of the main avatar having a bunch of friends to meet up with here and there throughout the region — and I loved seeing them all meander about in the forest in the beginning of the games — I feel as if these three weren’t needed in the game. It was great seeing them all eventually get their own ambitions and try to follow their dreams, but I didn’t see the point of having so many extra characters cluttering the game as the avatar’s friends.

14. Hugh (Black 2/White 2)

I’ll admit, Black 2 and White 2 are my least played when it comes to the core Pokemon games. Unova wasn’t a setting I fell in love with. If I had played the games more, I may have a stronger reaction to Hugh, but I really don’t remember much of him. Rather, he seemed to be a typical rival in which he just strongly disliked the remnants of Team Plasma. There was nothing special to cement him in my mind.

13. Wally (Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald/Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire)

I feel a little bad putting Wally so low on my list. He wasn’t a bad character, far from it. I had sympathy for his situation and rooted for him to get better, both health-wise and as a trainer. Yet, he was a bit bland and he wasn’t too pivotal to the avatar’s plot rather than, perhaps, being used as a semi-tutorial when it came to catching Pokemon.

12. Trace (Let’s Go Pikachu/Let’s Go Eevee)

Trace was amusing, but that was pretty much it. He was a good kid, always eager and willing to encourage you. I love him because he adopted that Cubone during the Pokemon Tower segment in Lavender Town, but that’s kind of all he’s got going for him in my opinion.

11. Calem (X/Y)

Calem was your true rival in the X/Y games, as much of a rival as he could be. He was the one who traditionally battled you occasionally to help assess your team’s strength, and was a pretty good friend to boot, helping you defeat Team Flare and all. Yet, he didn’t have a true, final battle with you as per tradition during the Pokemon League. I missed that. Also, I very  much prefer his artwork with his hat on. He needs to keep it on.

10. Marnie (Sword/Shield)

I don’t know too much about Marnie, and I’m hoping she has a bigger part in the latter half of Sword and Shield. Her design is pretty cool and I’m curious as to why she has a team of fans even before the gym challenge. I’m definitely more interested in her story rather than Bede’s at this point, but I’m aware that may change once I finish the game. Who knows, she may be moved farther down the list once I hit the post-game section of Sword.

What do you think of these Pokemon rival characters? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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