Ranking the Pokemon Rivals – Part Two

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday, everyone!

It’s crazy that it’s already December! Can you believe that 2019 is almost over?

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Continuing last week’s post, this is the second half of my personal ranking of the Pokemon rivals from the video games. Having been so focused on Pokemon Sword and Shield lately, I’ve been really thinking about all the characters that we meet as the avatar player. The rivals are always some of the most important characters in the games, after all, so it helps when they’re well-developed.

Like on my previous post, please remember 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.

09. Barry (Diamond/Pearl/Platinum)

This kid amused me to no end. Honestly, his boundless energy reminded me of Rachel and after having a couple of generations of more serious and dedicated rivals, Barry’s enthusiasm was refreshing. True, at times it was a touch annoying, but it was still nice to see a rival character act like the kid he actually is (despite, you know, these children training beasts who breathe literal fire and create tsunamis while saving the world because the adults are incompetent).

08. Gladion (Sun/Moon/Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon)

Having a rival who, once again, was a little snarky towards you and claiming to the better trainer was a great motivation to strengthen your own team so you could always kick his butt. His story was decently interesting as well, and I probably would have been more invested in him if I was more interested in the Alola games. He honestly seemed to be one of the sanest members of his family, and cared for his Pokemon.

07. Cheren (Black/White)

Despite the Unova region not being my favorite, I did enjoy the rival characters. Cheren being a studious rival, always wanting to better himself, and then eventually becoming a gym leader in the sequel games showed his character development. He was also one of the better rivals battle-wise, if I remember correctly.

06. Hau (Sun/Moon/Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon)

I laughed out loud when Hau showed up at my character’s house and said, “Meow to you, too!” at the mother’s Meowth! As a character, Hau spoke to me at that moment. Because, come on, who doesn’t meow back at cats? He’s another enthusiastic and supportive rival, yes, and completely endearing in a region that I didn’t find to be the best. He was a bright spot during the trials that I found tedious and the convoluted so-called story line.

05. Brendan (Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald/Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire)

Brendan is here probably more so for nostalgic purposes than anything. Being the first “helpful” rival, it was interesting having him give you a hand once in a while despite always pushing you to grow more as a trainer with battles. With Emerald being one of my favorite games in the franchise, Brendan will have a special place in my heart as a solid character in the game.

04. Bianca (Black/White)

At first she seemed to be a typical, somewhat-ditzy female character, but Bianca did grow on me during the time I played Black and White. Her reason for going on a journey was to grow and figure out who she was rather than just wanting to be the best battler. Getting out from under her father’s thumb, Bianca had the courage to go and live her own life, eventually becoming the professor’s assistant in the sequel games. As someone else who is continuously trying to figure out her own path in life, I can respect Bianca’s character.

03. Hop (Sword/Shield)

This poor child needs someone to tell him that he is perfect the way he is and to help him get rid of his inferiority complex. He reminded me of Barry and Hau when he first appeared to us in the Sword and Shield games, but Hop grew into his own character as the game went on. His character development did seem to grow rather quickly, but that could also be due to the speed at which I went through the game. Still, Hop was endearing to me, and I admire the growth he’s shown throughout the main game and the post-game events.

02. Blue (Red/Blue/Yellow/FireRed/LeafGreen)

The first original rival, Blue is a classic character. Snarky and defensive, Blue helped eight-year-old me learn how to develop my own team so I could always defeat him and wipe the smirk I’m sure was on his pixelated face. I failed in my first Yellow runthrough because I didn’t understand how to have a balanced team back then. I focused on training Pikachu over the rest of my team, and it was one of the later battles you have with Blue that made me rethink how I was playing the game and start over completely. Blue’s character throughout the series has always been a fun throwback as well, to seeing him as a gym leader in the later Kanto games and vacationing in Alola with Red.

01. Silver (Gold/Silver/Crystal/HeardGold/SoulSilver)

Silver was a little punk when you first meet him, the kid having the audacity to steal a starter from the professor’s lab in the Johto region. He’s always on par with you throughout the game, citing how much he hates weaker trainers, but is an anti-hero in that he wants to get rid of Team Rocket. You can see his character development throughout the game, his defeats against your avatar and other NPCs making him think about his actions. The change in the way he treats his team of Pokemon during his own journey is evident when his Golbat eventually evolves into Crobat.

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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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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