8 Pokemon Characters With Interesting Backstories


hugh n silver pokemon rivals with interesting backstories

The Pokemon series isn’t necessarily known for layered and complex human characters, though there are a few that stick out from the bunch. Every once in a while, a character will come around in the Pokemon games that carries a lot of baggage, which adds to the overall experience of the Pokemon games.

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These eight characters in particular are some of the more interesting among Pokemon’s typically one-dimensional or cookie-cutter character roster. They have fascinating backstories, which tie into how and why they do what they do. As a result, they’ve become either celebrated, maligned, or something in between among many a Pokemon fan.


8/8 Cheren And Bianca

The Black and White games are known to deal with the conflict of ideals and truth, and that reflects not only in the main plot and box art Legendaries, but in your rivals as well. Cheren represents those who pursue ideals, while Bianca represents those who pursue truth.

Cheren starts his journey off as an unusually knowledgeable Trainer with the goal of becoming the Champion of Unova. As the plot progresses, he finds himself questioning why he pursued those goals in the first place. These questions later lead to him finding solace in becoming a Gym Leader.

Bianca, on the other hand, grew up with a strict father and had to deal with his disapproval of her going on a Pokemon journey. She also deals with the truth that she isn’t as good as the player character or Cheren, and explores how she can contribute to the world without the gift of excellent battling abilities.

7/8 Bede

Bede is just one of the many examples of Sword and Shield’s stronger focus on character development, adding a few extra wrinkles to the rival formula of an arrogant Trainer humbled by the player before becoming a Gym Leader.

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According to his Normal League Card, Bede was an orphan and always ended up in fights at his orphanage. That was before Rose visited, though, and gave him his first Pokemon. Bede later helps Rose in his pursuit of harnessing power from Wishing Stars, until he destroys a historical site on Stow-on-Side and is disqualified from the Gym Challenge by Rose.

He later comes under Opal’s wing, primed to become the successor of her Fairy-type Gym. While he’s hesitant at first and later plans on quitting, a scintillating battle with the player changes his mind, and he manages to find humility and a noble personal goal.

6/8 Silver

At first glance, Silver is simply the prototype for edgy, mean-spirited rivals that later games would follow. However, a deeper look into his backstory, especially in the HeartGold and SoulSilver games, would tell you why he ended up that way.

Silver is the son of Giovanni, as seen in a flashback shown to the player when you bring a chance-encounter Celebi to Ilex Forest Shrine. He is abandoned after Giovanni’s loss to Red, which is why Silver hates Team Rocket, seeing them as weak. He hates weak Trainers in general, which is what he thinks of the player until he is beaten in several battles. Those defeats eventually humble him into treating his Pokemon better, as seen when his Golbat evolves into Crobat — something only achievable via friendship.

5/8 Hugh

Despite his seemingly cranky demeanor, Hugh is a kind person. He cares a lot for his childhood friend (the player) and his sister, who lost her Purrloin to Team Plasma. In fact, Hugh’s main reason for training and challenging Gyms is so he can be strong enough to topple Plasma and get his sister’s Purrloin back.

While his causes were noble, there still remains some room for character development. He treats Rood and other former Team Plasma members who regret their old ways with the same animosity. While he eventually saves his sister’s Purrloin and helps the player defeat Team Plasma, he learns to forgive Rood and the others — helping them give Pokemon stolen by Plasma back to their respective Trainers.

4/8 Guzma

Our boy Guzma sets a new standard for evil team leaders. Rather than a universe-shattering goal, the leader of Team Skull is just looking for validation; he just goes about his search in the unruliest way possible.

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He is an excellent battler, and wants to become a captain, but fails to do so. This leads him to run away from home, forming Team Skull from what remains of a former kahuna’s group. He has a history with Professor Kukui, whom he calls a “fellow reject who could never become a captain”.

It’s his search for validation that ultimately causes him to help Lusamine, one of the few people who acknowledges his strength as a Trainer. After that ends in disaster, though, he disbands Team Skull. He does take on the responsibility of protecting those close to him, though, and takes his status as a Trainer more seriously.

3/8 Lusamine, Lillie, And Gladion

Talk about family counseling… Lusamine’s family needs a lot of that. How the story between them plays out depends on if you’re playing Sun and Moon or Ultra Sun and Moon, but either way, it all starts when Lusamine’s husband disappears after studying Ultra Wormholes.

Lusamine starts to obsess over Ultra Wormholes and Ultra Beasts herself, and at certain points in the story, ends up acting dismissive and sometimes even abusive towards her children — Lillie, who steals Nebby the Cosmog to keep it safe, and Gladion, who steals Type: Null and gets involved with Team Skull.

It’s ultimately time spent in Ultra Space that brings Lusamine to her senses, after she either merges with Nihilego (Sun/Moon) or unleashes Necrozma, who steals all of Alola’s light (Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon). Once all the hubbub is over, Lusamine is either sick to the point of needing treatment, or otherwise remorseful and more caring to her children.

2/8 Ghetsis And N

If Lusamine needs family counseling, then Ghetsis needs to be arrested and banned from adopting children. He is the closest thing the series’ antagonists get to pure evil, manipulating his foster child to become the puppet king of Team Plasma — and calling him a disappointment when his plan falls apart.

Natural Harmonia Gropius, or N, grows up away from humans and around Pokemon, eventually learning how to communicate with them better than other humans can. That is all part of Ghetsis’ plan, though, along with positioning Team Plasma as a pro-Pokemon liberation group to take over Unova — to the point where only he has Pokemon. Once Team Plasma fall at the end of the Black and White games, N has to find a purpose for himself, having been manipulated into doing evil for most of his life.

To further prove Ghetsis’ truly evil heart, when he reappears in Black and White 2, he has basically lost whatever sense of goodwill he had left. He straight-up attempts to attack the player with Kyurem’s Glaciate. It’s a final interaction with N and a loss in a battle with the player that ends him, leading him into having a mental breakdown.

1/8 AZ

AZ not only has eternal life, but such a history encompassing the more than 3,000 years that he has lived. He was a man who loved Pokemon first and foremost, but was blinded by rage.

The unfortunate victim of a great war that occurred during his time, his Floette was taken away from him to be used in battle and eventually killed. He creates Kalos’s ultimate weapon to bring Floette back to life, and out of revenge, ends up using the weapon to destroy both sides of the war. It took the lives of many other Pokemon to power the weapon, and once Floette found out about this, she left him.

Given eternal life thanks to exposure to the weapon, AZ spends his eternity in despair. Having had a change of heart after all that time, he is thankful towards the player after Team Flare’s downfall, and thankful that the weapon isn’t used again. After a battle with the player, Floette finally comes back to AZ, sensing a change of heart and creating one of the more emotional moments in the Pokemon series.

NEXT: Pokemon With The Darkest Origin Stories

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