If you’re of a certain age—let’s say late 30s, early 20s—chances are, you’ve played a Pokemon game at some point in your life. Be it the OG titles, like Pokemon Red and Blue (Or Yellow, if you’re one of the cool kids), to the more recent Pokemon Go and Pokemon Sword and Shield, Pokemon was almost certainly a part of your life in some time of your existence as it’s just been ubiquitous over the past 26 years. And with the brand-new game, Pokemon Legends: Arceus now out, which takes place before the events of Pokemon Red and Blue, well, we here at CinemaBlend thought, “You know what? It’s time”. And by “It’s time”, we mean time to talk about the Best Pokemon characters out of the original 151!
Why the original 151, you ask? Well (and don’t hate us!), but we kind of stopped playing Pokemon after the first generation. That’s not to say that we don’t like Pokemon anymore. We enjoyed Pokemon Detective Pikachu. Some of us even think it’s the greatest video game movie ever, and we definitely want to see another one of those. But as for the games, well, our fondness mostly lies in those original 151 Pokemon.
Now, this list isn’t based on the strongest Pokemon (we mean, duh, Mew and Mewtwo), but rather, the Pokemon we would run into the fire with if Pokemon were actually real. So, here are the 12 best Pokemon out of the original 151. How many of these little Pocket Monsters did you take into battle?
Look, I know most of you chose Charmander or Squirtle as starter Pokemon, but honestly, Bulbasaur was where it was at, and it’s mostly because of his final evolution, Venusaur. A grass-type powerhouse, Venusaur looks more like a Godzilla villain than any other Pokemon.
Not only that, but he’s so freaking cool because he’s unassumingly powerful. He doesn’t have the dragon-look like Charizard or the canons like Blastoise, but he would mess you up good if you took him for a joke. Venusaur forever.
Okay, let me just get the little electric rodent in the room out of the way, since you knew Pikachu had to be on this list. As an electricity-type, Pikachu was pretty much dead meat if he went up against any ground-type Pokemon, like Onyx or Cubone, but that didn’t stop me from charging into battle with him like William Wallace in Braveheart anyway.
And it’s probably because he’s the face of Pokemon, which definitely elevates his clout. More importantly, though, is his overall importance to the brand. If there was no Pikachu, then Pokemon likely wouldn’t be as big as it is today. I mean, for crying out loud, Pikachu is a float in the Thanksgiving Day Parade. If that doesn’t earn him a spot on this list, I don’t know what does.
When asked about my favorite Pokemon, I typically talk in terms of unique skills, combat ability, or interesting aesthetics. Nidoking, on the other hand, makes my top list almost solely out of practicality. This poison and ground behemoth always ended up in my main lineup simply because his initial form, Nidoran, is one of the first pokemon you can catch. After some battles and training in the Safari Zone and a Moonstone later, the initially annoyingly prevalent Pokemon has evolved into a cornerstone of many lineups that can’t be ignored.
Elegant, mysterious, and absolutely brutal, I liken Ninetales to Medusa, a mermaid, or a drug sniffing dog at the airport that I am 95% in danger of getting arrested and/or bitten because less face it, I’m going to try to pet it. It's said to be able to understand human speech, live for over 1,000 years, and curse those who mistreat it. Hell hath no fury like a fox-lookin’ thing scorned, I guess. Combine its speed with scorching attacks like Fire Blast and Inferno, and your lineup is certified fire.
There’s something about a Pokemon with a large mustache who specializes in causing confusion and chaos that just really speaks to my childhood. Alakazam, a psychic-type is the final evolutionary form, evolving from the appropriately named “Abra” and then “Kadabra” when being traded. He wields two metal spoons which now is giving me serious The Matrix vibes. With attacks like Psychic, Psyshock, and Future Sight, your opponents won’t know what hit em, literally.
Slowbro is unique in that it’s both a water-type as well as a psychic-type, but that’s not why he’s on this list. He’s here because he’s probably the cutest and most lovable Pokemon out there. I mean, look at that smile on his face. How could you NOT love him? Slowbro has like a shell biting his tail, and he’s still smiling, AS IF HE LIKES IT. And you know what? I'm not going to harsh his vibe. The heart wants what the heart wants.
I especially like his thousand-yard stare. He reminds me of a character out of a Stanley Kubrick flick or something. Jack Torrance from The Shining, Gomer Pyle from Full Metal Jacket, and Slowbro from Pokemon. They’re all pretty much the same character. Or not. I'm just having fun here.
What can I say, I love scary things. This ghost/poison Pokemon has a permanent sinister grin on his face and the way he says his name still haunts me from somewhere way back in my childhood. It is even rumored that Gigantamax Gengar's mouth doesn’t lead into its body, rather, it leads one to the afterlife. How brutal is that? Mischievous, malicious, and a morbid prankster. A Pokemon after my own heart, Gengar always makes his way onto my team and into my nightmares.
I’m a millennial, so, of course the most emo Pokemon who also happens to have a complicated relationship with his mother is going to hit annoyingly close to home.
For those who might not know, this “Lonely Pokemon” wears the skull of its deceased mother and when not wielding a bone as a boomerang (or “bonemerang”), this ground-type will often cry in mourning over his loss. He also tends to avoid social situations and mostly keeps to itself. I don’t think any Pokemon could be any more relatable. Also, we have upcoming horror movies about everything else- when can I get a dark or scary Pokemon movie?
As far as animals go, I'm not even really sure what Hitmonlee (or his boxing counterpart, Hitmonchan) actually is. But out of the two fighting types, I'm putting Hitmonlee on this list because he’s all about the kicks and he looks like he’s into Muay Thai, and I like that. He’s like Tony Jaa , but in Pokemon form. How could you not love that?
One other thing: Think about it. You have Hitmonchan and Hitmonlee. That’s no coincidence, as Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee are two of the most famous martial arts stars of all time. I love me some Jackie Chan, but if you were to put a ninja star to me, I'm going to pick Bruce Lee over Jackie Chan in a fight, so Hitmonlee gets the pick. Ipso facto.
Yes, I know. Magikarp, like Goldeen, seems pretty worthless upon first inspection. I mean, one of his “attacks” is called Flail for crying out loud. But one of the best things about Pokemon is the potential, and no Pokemon has a better evolution than Magikarp, which turns into a FREAKING SEA MONSTER when it evolves into Gyarados.
And I love this! Gyarados looks like he could be the symbol for Mortal Kombat, he’s so badass. And you might wonder, why pick Magikarp instead of Gyarados then, and my answer is… I don’t know. But I just love the fact that one of the most useless Pokemon turns into one of the most intimidating, and for that, Magikarp makes the cut!
A “normal-type” Pokemon (meaning he’s only really weak against fighting types), Snorlax is just so huggable, we could cry. Like his name implies, Snorlax is a sleepy boy that likes to snore. And that’s it. But when he’s actually awake, well look out, since he always packs a wallop.
Snorlax is one of the best Pokemon out of the original 151 since he actually plays into the plot of the early games. Snorlax would be deadass asleep in the middle of the road, and you have to actually wake him up with the Pokeflute. And any Pokemon that directly impacts the plot is aces in my book.
One of the three Legendary Birds, Articuno is one of the last Pokemon you can catch in the original games, but that doesn’t take away from the serious damage you can do with this bird before all is said and done. Articuno can create its own blizzards and also appears to doomed people who are lost in cold or icy mountains, as either a beacon of hope, or your worst nightmare.
While capable of flying, water, and even psychic attacks, I’m going to be honest and let you know I just use Icebeam 100 times because let’s face it, it’s awesome and devastating. Make your way to Seafoam Island and bring along a ton of Ultra Balls if you’re going to go up against this legit legend.
And that's it. Yes, there are a number of great Pokemon that COULD have made the list (it was kind of hard leaving Mr. Mime and Ditto off of here), but we decided we would only pick 12, and 12 is what we picked! But what are your favorite Pokemon out of the original 151? For all things Pokemon, or other things TV-related, make sure to stop by here often!
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Morbidly curious pizza enthusiast with a heart of gold. Has no time to hear why you think The Office is overrated and is pretty sure the meaning of the Universe can be found in the movie Cats. Co-host of American Hauntings Podcast. Inaugural class of Enstitute, an entrepreneurial alternative education program written about by Forbes, The New York Times, and PBS.