You can tell a lot about someone by the kind of Pokémon they like. With this in mind, I decided that discussing my personal favorites would make for a fitting topic for an early post. Because honestly, what better way is there to get to know someone?
Most kids during the late 1990s experienced the Pokémon phenomena one way or another. Whether they were a fan of the video games, the cartoon, or the incomprehensible card game, there were plenty of ways to experience the franchise. Everything boiled down to one straightforward concept, collecting a crap-load of monsters! While the original 150 Pokémon was an impressive enough list, the number of Pokémon has since grown to over 600 critters of various shapes and sizes.
While the Pokémon slogan might be “Gotta Catch ‘Em All” I’d much rather focus on the Pocket Monsters that are the most memorable to me. So without further blathering, here are my top ten favorite Pokémon of all time!
# 10 - Cyndaquil
Now this little fella’ proves that you should never underestimate anything for how small or cute it is. Ash’s Cynadquil always came through in the cartoon, including taking down a freaking Steelix 20 times its size! Cyndaquil also gets points for having a much more bearable character than its fellow Johto era starters. Its occasional timidity is far more forgivable than Totodile’s compulsive dancing and Chikorita’s clinginess.
# 9 - Scyther
Looking at Scyther, it’s easy to see why it was one of my favorites as a boy. The thing’s a giant praying-mantis that looks like a Dinosaur, sporting not two but four wings, and has razor blades for arms! Everything about its design is kick-ass, and it’s by far the most dangerous looking of the original 150 Pokémon. Unfortunately, Game Freak decided to give Scyther a pointlessly evolution but not even that can diminish Scyther’s lethal reputation.
# 8 - Golduck
Besides MagiKarp’s transformation into Gyrados, Psyduck’s evolution into Golduck is the greatest example of a Pokémon taking a level in badass. Golduck’s former life as a brainless yellow penguin-duck thing is imperceptible in its slick new blue design. Misty’s Psyduck never getting the chance to evolve to this level is one of many missed opportunities in the Pokémon anime.
# 7 - Ho-Oh
Like the mythical phoenix it’s based on, Ho-Oh is a powerful symbol; one that manages to represent the key themes of the entire Pokémon franchise. It appeared in the very first episode of the cartoon, flying majestically into the distance leaving a trail of golden light in its wake. It is this legendary sighting that inspired Ash Ketchum to journey far and wide in search of the rarest of Pokémon and it set us viewers up for the adventures that followed.
# 6 - Gengar
I really don’t think I need to say a lot about why Gengar is awesome. Seriously, just look at this guy! Though its ghost type attacks are more than persuasive, Gengar need’s only its terrorizing gaze to cause its opponents to crap themselves.
# 5 - Mew
I’m not ashamed to say that adorable things can really pull at my heartstrings and Mew is practically the living breathing definition of adorable. All it needs to do is give one cry of “Meeeewww” and you’ll have even the most jaded gushing over its supreme cuteness. As lovable as Mew is on the outside, it is completely capable of dishing out some serious physic punishment and can easily stand toe to toe with its stuck up doppelganger MewTwo.
# 4 - Umbreon
Umbreon is by far my favorite of Eevee’s evolutions. Its jet black coat covered in golden rings gives it an aura of coolness that complements its calm personality. Umbreon was the perfect starter to give the badass protagonist of Pokémon Coliseum, a game whose darker take on the Pokémon universe was the perfect setting for the Moonlight Pokémon.
# 3 - Mudkip
Pokémon Ruby was the first Pokémon video game I played and I choose Mudkip as my starter. As officially my first Pokémon ever, it really shouldn’t be a surprise that its one of my favorites. Besides the nostalgia factor, Mudkip also gets on my list for having an interesting and balanced design.
# 2 - Pikachu
Okay, I admit this is a pretty cliché pick, but it was simply impossible for me to exclude Pikachu from the list. As the mascot of the entire Pokémon series, Pikachu pushed fellow cartoon rodent Mickey Mouse to the side as a childhood icon and continues to be the most recognizable Pokémon to this day. With tremendous electric power hidden just beneath an adorable surface, Pikachu has everything it needs to win both hearts and battles.
# 1 - Charmander
For me, Charmander has always been the standout of the three original Pokémon starters. As a boy the reason for this was clear-cut. Fire was simply a lot cooler than water and plant stuff. Today I have more meaningful grounds for liking Charmander. Just as intense as its flame tipped tail is his spirit and we see his loyalty come through time and again in the cartoon. How such a friendly, kind, and energetic Pokémon could evolve into a prick like Charmeleon is beyond me.
All pictures are the work of Ken Sugimori