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- For the Elite Four Champion in Pokémon Stadium, see Blue (game).
- For the Japanese opening theme, see The Rivals.
's first battle against his rival Blue
A rival (Japanese: ライバル rival) is one of the main characters in the Pokémon games that is well known to the protagonist and has similar skills, goals and achievements. Rival characters appear frequently during the hero's quest, having a role in several of the games' events, and often challenges him or her in battles. Defeating a rival may be a primary or necessary goal of said character. Like the player character, some rivals have a chance to be named; the rivals that cannot be named are Brendan/May (if the other character is chosen), Wally, Cheren, and Bianca.
In the games
In the main series, a rival is a recurring opponent to the player throughout the game. This class of characters has appeared beginning in Generation I, and in every main series game since. Typically, rivals will be met by the player early in the game, usually around the time the player receives their starter Pokémon. In most games, the rival will also obtain a starter Pokémon, and will usually participate in the player's first Pokémon battle against a Trainer. From then on, rivals will appear frequently throughout the player's journey, always being one step ahead of the player as the player moves through the region, meeting and battling the player at various points in the game with a progressively stronger and diversified party. Usually they must be defeated in order to continue the game; the most important of these battles happening either right before or during the player's challenge to the Elite Four. After the defeat of the Elite Four and the Pokémon Champion, the rival can usually be battled at the player's leisure, but only at certain times with increasingly powerful Pokémon. More often than not, they will have the starter Pokémon of their home region that weakens the one the player chose at the beginning of the game, though Wally, Bianca, and Blue in Pokémon Yellow are exceptions.
The following are the characters considered to be rivals in the games. It should be noted, though, that only Blue and Silver have ever received the Rival Trainer class; all others have been referred to as PKMN Trainers. Additionally, for one battle in Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, Blue is referred to as "Champion Blue".
In the anime
Ash and his main Unova rival, Trip
Various rivals for the main characters have also appeared in the anime.
- Ash has had Gary Oak, Paul, Barry and Trip as his major rivals. Minor rivals include Nando and Conway who, while they battled Ash more than once across an entire saga, have a smaller role than the other four. Many other characters also collect Badges and may be counted as rivals in the future. He also has friendly rivalries with Stephan, Bianca and Cameron.
- May has Drew, Harley, and Solidad.
- Dawn has Kenny, Ursula, and Jessilina. She has a friendly rivalry with Zoey. A minor rival included Nando.
- Johanna had a childhood rivalry with Lila.
- Brock had a friendly (and short-lived) rivalry with Suzy.
- Jessie and James have a rivalry with Cassidy and Butch, respectively.
- Iris has a rivalry with Georgia.
- Cilan has a rivalry with Burgundy.
- Ash's Krookodile saw Pikachu as a rival until becoming allies following his capture in Battling the Bully!.
- Stephan's Sawk engaged a rivalry with Montgomery's Throh.
- Dawn's Piplup had a rivalry with Ash's Oshawott over the affections of a Meloetta during his stay in the Unova region.
In the manga
In the Phantom Thief Pokémon 7 manga
In the Pocket Monsters Zensho manga
Several of the characters in Pokémon Adventures have been rivals to each other.
In the Pokémon Diamond & Pearl Adventure! manga
Hareta and his rival, Koya
Several characters have rivals in this series.
In the Pokémon Get Da Ze! manga
In the Pokémon Gold & Silver: The Golden Boys manga
In the Pokémon Pocket Monsters manga
In the Pokémon RéBURST manga
- Ash has at least one species of Pokémon each of his major rivals own. Gary captured a Krabby and uses a Blastoise, Paul uses a Torterra and Gliscor, Barry uses a Staraptor and Heracross, Trip uses a Serperior and Tranquill, and Bianca uses an Emboar.
- Ash also has at least one species of Pokémon that some of his minor rivals own. Ritchie owns a Pikachu, Charmeleon and a Taillow while Morrison owns a Gligar and Tyson has a Sceptile and a Donphan.
- The rivals in the games are usually from the protagonist's hometown. Only Silver and Wally come from other places, with Silver's hometown being unknown and Wally hailing from Petalburg City.
- Brendan and May are the only rivals who can also be player characters.
- A powerful enemy in the Battle Royales of Pokémon Rumble and Pokémon Rumble Blast are called rivals as well.