Hope everything has been going well for everyone! I've been working hard on a big video project I have in mind with the small amount of free time I have when I'm not working or playing softball. Today I thought I would entertain a list I have been wanting to do forever. Shows based on video games are so few and far between anymore, which is really sad. I am an absolute junkie for the Pokemon anime, and I have been watching it tons and tons since it was released in the US. One of the biggest aspects in the Pokemon anime has always been the focus on companion characters accompanying Ash on his multi-regional journey to bring everyone's attention to the fact that he is training to be a Pokemon master and that he is, indeed, from Pallet Town. Some are memorable, some are flat out awful. I wanted to provide a personal list (for once) of which members were either the best or just impacted me the most through the years of watching the show.
Note: I only included the one's that were considered long term companions, so characters like Bianca and Korrina don't apply unfortunately.
Cilan always came off to me as a guest character that had some funny joke about him that was charming for a few episodes and he went off his own way after Ash and Co. reached the next gym. Call it the circumstance requiring another companion, but when Cilan declared he would join in on the journey in Unova. I was remarkably disappointed. There wasn't enough to the character to develop him in any particular way. Iris grew throughout the Unova exploration in such a way it only made it more obvious how out of place Cilan was as a main character. I could tolerate him for a good thirty or so episodes, but his one dimensional design ran dry for an entire one-hundred thirty five episodes he was in. There have been worse characters in shows, but compared to the others on this list, he was at the bottom. Speaking of thirty episodes...
10. Tracey Sketchit
Tracey was a bit of a blunder by the writers, honestly. Maybe it was their idea of adding something new to the show to keep it fresh that turned awry, but this poor guy never really got a real chance to shine in the show. He never over-stayed a welcome, so it's not fair to put him last even if he only was in thirty two episodes. It's okay to gamble twenty on black, as long as you know when to walk away from the roulette table when you lose (compared to Cilan, whom I see more as spending the whole night on the table betting a specific number because “It's bound to get there sooner or later, right?”). While he didn't bring a whole lot to the show, Tracey was the trailblazer for memorable guest companions for the Advanced Generation series onward. The biggest redeeming quality, if any, is that the team learned their lesson of longevity on characters and how to make the most out of the series as a whole from what the experiment with Tracey brought. Also, his name is absolutely hilarious given the fact he's into drawing.
It's difficult to differentiate between these two characters as they are essentially the same in their importance and meaning to the respective journeys they are a part of. Younger siblings of other companion characters that have traits that make them very memorable would be the most fitting way to describe them both. Max is a super intelligent young boy who takes after his father in many ways, while Bonnie is a super cheerful young girl that brings light on troublesome situations in the Kalos journey. What might give Max the (current) edge over Bonnie is the fact there is more to go off of in his particular impact of the show since his tenure is done and Bonnie is still in the new episodes. For their limitations in age, the youngsters really shine.
This might sound odd since he's in the back of the pack of listing, but if I were a trainer, I would probably be Clemont. I love electric Pokemon with a passion (Emolga after all), and because of that I have a soft spot for this guy's team. It's further elevated because I chose Chespin as my starter in Kalos, too. I loudly quote the catchphrase “THE FUTURE IS NOW, THANKS TO SCIENCE!” while I am talking to Rachel “The Nintendette” about Pokemon. All that being said, that's all the more I can really say about this character. He doesn't do anything really bad, but he kind of suffers from the same shortcomings his sister does. There hasn't really been a big enough splash yet for him to become memorable. Maybe I can revise this some other day and he'll be much higher than the others.
I like the amount of development the team put into Iris's character. She took the snarky attitude that Misty occasionally sprinkled and just dumped it all out to eleven early on. Everything about her was polarizing from the start; she was nothing more than a wild girl who seemed to just be running away from her responsibilities. As she goes with Ash, she actually finds it in her to grow into an adult and face her demons head on. Compared to the other Poke-girls to the point she was introduced, Iris' conflict is more inter-personal and her growth is a lot more off screen with huge moments in-between. The most evident in this is how she raises her obstinate Dragonite. I loved how well she was developed, however it fell short in the end. It was almost like there was one more event needed to complete the package.
*Blowtorches steel doors shut from angry mob* Okay, okay. Let me explain. Misty tops everyone's lists any given Monday through Sunday, but I never bought the hype. Misty was great character, yes, but she didn't really impact me the way she did others. Maybe I just didn't connect in the same way as the people who loved her, but to me Misty was always just the strong support character that hated living in her sister's shadow. I could relate to her in that sense, and I would still call her more memorable than over half of the other characters on this list. I feel like people get far too nostalgic about the old series when they recount the characters. What I always hated was when I asked people why they loved Misty the most, they always just said she was the original. People are entitled to their own personal lists, but I feel like it's not fair to the other Poke-girls that they are considered out of the running because their time they were made.
One of the best dynamics to May was she was so open to being adventurous that she took a lot of spot light (far more than most of the others). Whether it be being the first Poke-girl to enter contests, or partaking on various battles, May didn't settle short on one goal. Indeed her biggest goal was being a Pokemon Coordinator, but she had a lot more to her as well. Personally I related to her because when she was first introduced, she carried a lot of doubt in her own self. It always helped to see a character with traits you see in yourself at a young age because those are the ones that carry the most weight on your young developing mind. In a lot of ways, she represented the protagonist of generation 3 games so well. Her Pokemon even mirrored (or copied) Ash's own team throughout Kanto. Torchic that grew into a Blaziken, Wurmple that grew into a Beautifly, Squirtle, Bulbasaur, and Munchlax all could draw similarities to Ash's Charmander that grew into Charizard, Caterpie that evolved into a Butterfree, his own Bulbasaur and Squirtle, and Snorlax. It's a bit of a stretch, but on paper it might make sense. Seeing as Johto didn't bring in a protagonist character, it's only reasonable to say May was a milestone for generations to come with Dawn and Serena.
Brock is the rock to the entire series. Okay I needed to get that out of my system. If you were to watch any random episode of Pokemon, there would be an 75% chance Brock would be in it. In a lot of ways, Brock was the voice of reason and understanding for the various characters including Ash. If someone needed an ear, Brock listened and provided insight (whenever he wasn't falling head over heels for that episode's given woman he was crushing on). What makes Brock unique is he didn't just mentor Ash, but he also mentored Misty, May, Max, and Dawn all the meanwhile also. With the exception of Ash, Brock has impacted the most amount of characters in the entire series. I still hope for a meet-up later on with the X/Y crew, but I wouldn't be mad with the team for deciding to leave that bridge old and crossed long ago. Until then, every woman will always be Brock's future wife in our memories.
You didn't think I would write a blog without some kind of personal story that became a bit of a trademark of mine, would you? By the time Diamond & Pearl was released in the US, I was going through a really tough stretch in my life that left me often disinterested in a lot of things. I didn't enjoy next to anything and often just locked myself up in my room after school. I didn't even write, play Pokemon or watch the series, which to that point those were anchors in my childhood. I had the irrational concept that depression was something no one else could understand but me and that it didn't matter what anyone else said to try to help. One fateful day by chance I had my room's television on and a particular few episodes of Pokemon were playing. Dawn, the newest companion to the show, had just lost a contest and was absolutely crushed. It wasn't just the one episode cheer up resolution, either. Dawn legitimately was depressed for a stretch of the show. I found myself entirely fascinated in the heavy topic in a usually uplifting show. Ash and Brock got through to Dawn and I saw her blossom back into a self-confident figure. I aspired to rise back up just as she did and face life's challenges. To this day, if I am going through a tough spot, I just watch those few episodes and remember the hope they brought me. As far as the actual character is concerned, Dawn takes the idea with May and really makes it work. Ash takes a back seat practically in these seasons as he helps Dawn become the deep character she actually is. Even when she shows up in the Best Wishes series, her experiences help Iris realize things as well. Maybe to some she can come off as a bit too confident and polarize others, but I see Dawn as the kind of companion I really wish stuck around for as many seasons as Brock.
Almost as if every character's development led to making this particular journey, Serena exceeds any other companion in the amount of detail is placed into her own adventure. What really spoke to me about her character in the beginning was as they went from place to place, she pieced together what she wanted out of life. She didn't settle for one specific goal (which most companions and Ash loved to do and shout at everyone) until pretty far into the life so far of the X/Y anime. Even while she was deciding, she had a lot of introspection and consideration into the fact she had not established a set objective in her life but wanted to keep searching for it. When she fails at obtaining victory in what she decides on, Serena, in her own company, cuts her hair short to signify all of the maturity she's gone through thus far in her journey. The entire reason I left my home on my own was to begin my own life journey and embrace the hardships to find myself and whatever goal it may be I can commit myself to. I have yet to find it, but watching a character as well written as Serena struggle and find her way in a similar matter really is a refreshing thing to see every week. Not to mention the show is still going strong and there should be plenty of time left before the conclusion of the adventure in Kalos. With any luck, Serena will continue to outshine the rest even more at that point.
Who are your favorite companion characters, whether it be from the Pokemon anime or just in general? Please share! I hope that you enjoyed reading this, and I want to say a bit out of the blue that whoever you may be reading this, remember that you're the best there is and never give up! Thanks and have a wonderful day!