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Nickname

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A Bulbasaur being nicknamed "Bulbagarden"

A nickname (Japanese: ニックネーム nickname) is a name given to a Pokémon by its Original Trainer. Every time a player catches, hatches, or is given a new Pokémon in a core series game, he or she is able to nickname the Pokémon to a maximum of six characters in Japanese and Korean and twelve characters in Western languages (five and ten, respectively, prior to Generation VI). In addition to the games, nicknamed Pokémon have also been shown in the Pokémon anime and several manga series. Nicknames serve as a means of personalizing one's Pokémon, and distinguishing them from other individuals of the same species.

In the games

Players are given the option to nickname their Pokémon immediately after receiving them in any manner, such as receiving it from an NPC, hatching from an Egg, or capturing in a Poké Ball.

The only way to change the nickname is by taking the Pokémon to a Name Rater. Starting in Pokémon Black and White, whenever a player catches a Pokémon and decides to nickname it right afterwards, he or she may tap the Pokémon's sprite or model on the nickname screen to reset the nickname back to the generic name of the species of Pokémon.

Limits on nicknames

Comparison of the same English Mewtwo in Japanese and English Generation III games

In Generation I to V, nicknames have a maximum length of 10 characters in Western languages and 5 characters in Japanese and Korean. In Generation VI, nicknames have a maximum length of 12 characters in Western languages and 6 characters in Japanese and Korean.

These characters are in turn limited by the character palette in the games, which varies between game languages. The characters available have expanded over the generations: in Generation I it was impossible to use numbers in nicknames, while later generations allowed both numbers and non-alpha-numeric symbols.

In Generation I, a name consisting of only spaces can be used. In subsequent generations, this is treated as entering no nickname: a newly obtained Pokémon will use its species name, and a Pokémon at the Name Rater will keep its current name.

Pokémon can only have their nickname changed by their original Trainer; if an outsider Pokémon cannot be moved to its original Trainer's game, it cannot be renamed at all. If an outsider Pokémon is taken to a Name Rater, he will say the name is "perfect" and refuse to change it. The game checks the original Trainer name, gender (Generation III onward), Trainer ID number, and Secret ID (Generation III onward).

In the Generation III games, a Pokémon named in a Western game traded to a Japanese game will have its name rendered in fullwidth characters, making it impossible to display the full name if it is longer than five characters.

In the 1.0 release of the English versions of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, the nickname flag of Japanese Pokémon is not set when they evolve so the Pokémon's species name will be adjusted accordingly (e.g.: Pichu's Japanese species name is ピチュー and the player nicknames it PICHU, then trades it to an English version and evolves it, causing its name to become PIKACHU). However, since the English games still render the name in the Japanese font, an evolved Japanese Pokémon that has a name longer than five characters will cause a crash while attempting to load the Pokémon List or send it out to battle (in the aforementioned case, the game will try to render it as PIKACHU instead of PIKACHU). This was fixed in the 1.1 release by adding an additional check to the name function used during evolution so that the Japanese Pokémon's name is not altered, effectively treating it as if it were a nickname. The European releases and subsequent Generation III games also have this check.

In Generation IV and later games, non-nicknamed Pokémon with a language of origin different to their current game will update their name to their current game's language upon evolution.

In Pokémon Colosseum and Pokémon XD, a Shadow Pokémon cannot be nicknamed if it has not been purified. Immediately after this happens, the option will be given. Wild Pokémon caught from a Poké Spot in Pokémon XD can be nicknamed as they are normally in the core series.

In Generations V and VI, the game will recognize when a nickname is profanity, and will not allow the player to use this as a nickname. If a Pokémon transferred via Poké Transfer has a nickname that would not be permitted to be entered in Generation VI, the Pokémon's nickname is removed and it uses its species name instead.

In Generation V, nicknames the player enters can only contain up to 4 numeric characters. In Generation VI, nicknames the player enters can only contain up to 5 numeric characters. However, Pokémon transferred from previous generations can violate these limits, and their names will not be changed upon transfer.

Outcomes of nicknaming

Nicknaming Pokémon rarely has any effect on gameplay, and is simply an element of customization that players are free to use or ignore. The only games in which nicknamed Pokémon are treated differently are Pokémon Stadium and Pokémon Stadium 2. In these games, when nicknamed Pokémon are transferred from a core series game they have a chance of being alternately colored. This coloration is not the same as being a Shiny Pokémon. This feature has not been included in any later games.

Sometimes, in Pokémon Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald, when the player gives a previously caught Pokémon a nickname at the Name Rater's house, the Hoenn TV network will report the nickname chosen. The host will always commend the player on his or her choice of name, even if the player decides to leave the Pokémon's name as it was. When records have been mixed with another save file, the television network may report on the other Trainer's choice of nicknames.

With Generation IV's Global Trade System, some naming issues may arise. The main issues are receiving Pokémon with nicknames in a foreign language and receiving Pokémon whose nicknames are threatening, inappropriate, racist, vulgar or pointless (for example, a name consisting of random characters). As the chances of matching both the Trainer ID and Secret ID are near impossible, these nicknames cannot be changed.

In Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, there is a Medal awarded for having nicknamed Pokémon 10 times.

Pokémon with nicknames deemed "inappropriate" may show up in Battle Videos as Pokémon without a nickname: a Staraptor named inappropriately would have its nickname reverted to "STARAPTOR". It is unknown if this censoring is automatic or done on a case-by-case basis by Nintendo employees.

In Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, a BuzzNav program called The Name Rater Show tells a Pokémon's fortune based upon the first letter of its nickname.

Non-player characters and nicknames

NPC-nicknamed Pokémon are somewhat rare, and almost never encountered in battles. However, all Pokémon acquired from in-game trades have nicknames, as well as all Pokémon used by NPC Coordinators prior to Generation VI. Likely to emphasize the color change effect, most of the Pokémon encountered in Pokémon Stadium also have nicknames. Team Rocket's nicknamed Pokémon have numbers in their nicknames (which was impossible on hand-held games at the time).

In Black and White, the player can trade a PetililW or CottoneeB to Lass Dye for the opposite Pokémon in Nacrene City. If the player returns to her after defeating Ghetsis at the end of the game, they can battle her, and she will use the player's former Pokémon, now fully evolved. If this Pokémon was given a nickname by the player before being traded, it will appear with the nickname in this battle, marking the first time in the main series that the player can battle a nicknamed Pokémon used by an NPC.

In Black 2 and White 2, due to NPC and player switching one of their Pokémon in PWT's Mix Tournament, it is possible to fight a nicknamed Pokémon if the Pokémon chosen by opponent had a nickname.

Nicknames for the player

In Pokémon X and Y, the player is referred to by a nickname by Calem/Serena, Shauna, Tierno, and Trevor. The player can choose from three suggestions, based on the first two characters of the player's name if playing in Japanese or the first character if playing in other languages, or enter a nickname of their own choice.

For example, a male player named "Calem" could choose from "Li'l C", "C-Meister", "Big C", or a nickname of their choice in the English versions of X and Y.

Language Male Female
Japanese <chars>タロ <chars>-taro
<chars>やん <chars>-yan
<chars>P <chars>-P
<chars>っち <chars>-tchi
<chars>ーな <chars>-na
<chars>りん <chars>-rin
English Li'l <char>
<char>-Meister
Big <char>
Li'l <char>
Lady <char>
<char>-kins
French P'tit <char>
Mister <char>
Sieur <char>
P'tite <char>
Miss <char>
Dame <char>
German Mini-<char>
Monsieur <char>
Lord <char>
Mini-<char>
Madame <char>
Lady <char>
Italian Super <char>
Mr. <char>
Magico <char>
Super <char>
Lady <char>
Magica <char>
Spanish Peque <char>
Super-<char>
Mr. <char>
Peque <char>
Super-<char>
Lady <char>
Korean <char>군 <char>-gun
<char>돌이 <char>-dori
미스터 <char> Mister <char>
<char>양 <char>-yang
<char>순이 <char>-suni
스위트 <char> Sweet <char>

List of characters

Generation I

Nicknaming I.png
Western versions
  • Uppercase Latin alphabet letters
  • Lowercase Latin alphabet letters
  • Space:  
  • Multiplication symbol: ×
  • Parentheses: (, )
  • Colon: :
  • Semicolon: ;
  • Brackets: [, ]
  • Pokémon abbreviation: PK, MN
  • Hyphen-minus: -
  • Question mark: ?
  • Exclamation mark: !
  • Gender symbols: ,
  • Slash: /
  • Decimal point: .
  • Comma: ,
German versions
  • Letters with umlauts: Ä, Ö, Ü, ä, ö, ü
Japanese versions
  • Hiragana (excluding を)
  • Katakana (excluding ヲ)
  • Yōon: , , , , ,
  • Sokuon: ,
  • Kana with dakuten (only ka, sa, ta, and ha-column kana)
  • Kana with handakuten (only ha-column kana)
  • Chōonpu:
  • Space:  

Note: Internally, no distinction is made between the hiragana へ he and the katakana ヘ he and their variants, or between the hiragana り ri and the katakana リ ri.

English, French, Italian, and Spanish*
Nicknaming German I.png
German
Nicknaming Japanese I.png
Japanese

Generation II

Nicknaming II.png
Western and Japanese versions
  • Question mark: ?
  • Exclamation mark: !
Western versions
  • Uppercase Latin alphabet letters
  • Lowercase Latin alphabet letters
  • Hyphen-minus: -
  • Slash: /
  • Decimal point: .
  • Comma: ,
  • Multiplication symbol: ×
  • Parentheses: (, )
  • Colon: :
  • Brackets: [, ]
  • Pokémon abbreviation: PK, MN
English, French, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, and Korean versions
  • Space:  
English, French, Italian, and Spanish versions
  • Semicolon: ;
German versions
  • Letters with umlauts: Ä, Ö, Ü, ä, ö, ü
Japanese versions
  • Katakana
  • Hiragana
  • Yōon: , , , , ,
  • Sokuon: ,
  • Chōonpu:
  • Small vowel katakana: , , , ,
  • Kana with dakuten (only ka, sa, ta, and ha-column kana)
  • Kana with handakuten (only ha-column kana)

Note: Internally, no distinction is made between the hiragana へ he and the katakana ヘ he and their variants, or between the hiragana り ri and the katakana リ ri.

Korean versions
  • Hangul
  • Hangul jamo
English, French, Italian, and Spanish*
Nicknaming German II.png
German
Nicknaming Japanese II.png
Japanese
Nicknaming Korean II.png
Korean

Generation III

Nicknaming III.png Nicknaming English Colo.png
Nicknaming Italian Colo.pngNicknaming Spanish Colo.png
Nicknaming English XD.png
Nicknaming Italian XD.pngNicknaming Spanish XD.png
All versions
  • Uppercase Latin alphabet letters
  • Lowercase Latin alphabet letters
  • Space:  
  • Digits
  • Exclamation mark: !
  • Question mark: ?
Western versions
  • Period: .
  • Comma: ,
  • Gender symbols: ,
  • Slash: /
  • Hyphen-minus: -
  • Ellipsis:
  • Single quotation marks: ,
English, Italian, and Spanish versions
  • Double quotation marks: ,
French versions
  • Double guillemets: «, »
German versions
  • Letters with umlauts: Ä, Ö, Ü, ä, ö, ü
  • Double quotation marks: ,
Japanese versions
  • Katakana
  • Hiragana
  • Yōon: , , , , ,
  • Sokuon: ,
  • Chōonpu:
  • Small vowel kana: , , , , , , , , ,
  • Kana with dakuten (only ka, sa, ta, and ha-column kana)
  • Kana with handakuten (only ha-column kana)
  • Period:
  • Interpunct:
  • Ellipsis (fullwidth):
  • Double quotation marks: ,
  • Single quotation marks: ,
  • Slash: /
  • Gender symbols: ,
English, Italian, and Spanish*
Nicknaming French III.png Nicknaming French Colo.png
Nicknaming French XD.png
French
Nicknaming German III.png Nicknaming German Colo.png
Nicknaming German XD.png
German
Nicknaming Japanese III.png Nicknaming Japanese Colo.png
Nicknaming Japanese XD.png
Japanese

Generation IV

Nicknaming IV.png
All versions
  • Uppercase Latin alphabet letters
  • Lowercase Latin alphabet letters
  • Digits
  • Space:  
  • Comma: ,
  • Period: .
  • Gender symbols: ,
  • Colon: :
  • Semicolon: ;
  • Exclamation mark: !
  • Question mark: ?
  • Parentheses: (, )
  • Ellipsis:
  • Interpunct:
  • Tilde/wave dash: ~
  • At sign: @
  • Percent sign: %
  • Plus sign: +
  • Hyphen-minus: -
  • Slash: /
  • Equals sign: =
  • Shapes: ◎︎, ○︎, □︎, △︎, ◇︎, ♠︎, ♣︎, ♥︎, ♦︎, ★︎
  • Music note:
  • Sun: ☀︎
  • Cloud: ☁︎
  • Umbrella: ☂︎
  • Snowman: ☃︎
  • Faces: neutral face, happy face, sad face, angry face
  • Sleeping symbol: zz
  • Arrows: ⤴︎, ⤵︎
Western and Korean versions
  • Number sign: #
  • Asterisk: *
  • Double quotation marks: ,
  • Single quotation marks: ,
French versions
  • Letters with diacritics: À, Ç, É, È, Ù, à, â, ç, é, è, ê, ë, î, ï, ô, ù, û
  • Double guillemets: «, »
German versions
  • Letters with umlauts: Ä, Ö, Ü, ä, ö, ü, ß
  • Double quotation mark:
Italian versions
  • Letters with diacritics: À, É, È, Ì, Ò, Ù, à, é, è, ì, ò, ù
Spanish versions
  • Letters with diacritics: Á, É, Í, Ñ, Ó, Ú, Ü, á, é, í, ñ, ó, í, ñ, ú, ü
  • Inverted exclamation mark: ¡
  • Inverted question mark: ¿
Japanese versions
  • Hiragana
  • Katakana
  • Small vowel kana: , , , , , , , , ,
  • Yōon: , , , , ,
  • Sokuon: ,
  • Kana with dakuten (only ka, sa, ta, and ha-column kana)
  • Kana with handakuten (only ha-column kana)
  • Chōonpu:
  • Period (fullwidth):
  • Comma (fullwidth):
  • Single quotation marks: ,
  • Double quotation marks: ,
  • Multiplication sign: ×
  • Division sign: ÷
Korean versions
  • Hangul
  • Hangul jamo
English
Nicknaming French IV.png
French
Nicknaming German IV.png
German
Nicknaming Italian IV.png
Italian
Nicknaming Spanish IV.png
Spanish
Nicknaming Japanese IV.png
Japanese
Nicknaming Korean IV.png
Korean

Generation V

Nicknaming English V.png
All versions
  • Uppercase Latin alphabet letters
  • Lowercase Latin alphabet letters
  • Digits
  • Space:  
  • Comma: ,
  • Period: .
  • Gender symbols: ,
  • Colon: :
  • Semicolon: ;
  • Exclamation mark: !
  • Question mark: ?
  • Parentheses: (, )
  • Ellipsis:
  • Interpunct:
  • Tilde/wave dash: ~
  • Percent sign: %
  • Plus sign: +
  • Hyphen-minus: -
  • Slash: /
  • Equals sign: =
  • Shapes: ◎︎, ○︎, □︎, △︎, ◇︎, ♠︎, ♣︎, ♥︎, ♦︎, ★︎
  • Music note:
  • Sun: ☀︎
  • Cloud: ☁︎
  • Umbrella: ☂︎
  • Snowman: ☃︎
  • Faces: neutral face, happy face, sad face, angry face
  • Sleeping symbol: zz
  • Arrows: ⤴︎, ⤵︎
Western and Korean versions
  • Number sign: #
  • Asterisk: *
  • Double quotation marks: ,
  • Single quotation marks: ,
French versions
  • Letters with diacritics: À, Â, Ç, É, È, Ê, Ë, Î, Ï, Ô, Ù, Û, à, â, ç, é, è, ê, ë, î, ï, ô, ù, û
  • Double guillemets: «, »
German versions
  • Letters with umlauts: Ä, Ö, Ü, ä, ö, ü, ß
  • Double quotation mark:
Italian versions
  • Letters with diacritics: À, É, È, Ì, Ò, Ù, à, é, è, ì, ò, ù
Spanish versions
  • Letters with diacritics: Á, É, Í, Ñ, Ó, Ú, Ü, á, é, í, ñ, ó, ú, ü
  • Inverted exclamation mark: ¡
  • Inverted question mark: ¿
Japanese versions
  • Hiragana
  • Katakana
  • Small vowel kana: , , , , , , , , ,
  • Yōon: , , , , ,
  • Sokuon: ,
  • Kana with dakuten (only ka, sa, ta, and ha-column kana and katakana ヴ vu)
  • Kana with handakuten (only ha-column kana)
  • Chōonpu:
  • Period (fullwidth):
  • Comma (fullwidth):
  • Single quotation marks: ,
  • Double quotation marks: ,
  • Multiplication sign: ×
  • Division sign: ÷
  • At sign: @
Korean versions
  • Hangul
  • Hangul jamo
English
Nicknaming French V.png
French
Nicknaming German V.png
German
Nicknaming Italian V.png
Italian
Nicknaming Spanish V.png
Spanish
Nicknaming Japanese V.png
Japanese
Nicknaming Korean V.png
Korean

Generation VI

Nicknaming English VI.png
All versions
  • Uppercase Latin alphabet letters
  • Lowercase Latin alphabet letters
  • Digits
  • Space:  
  • Comma: ,
  • Period: .
  • Gender symbols: ,
  • Exclamation mark: !
  • Question mark: ?
  • Colon: :
  • Semicolon: ;
  • Parentheses: (, )
  • Ellipsis:
  • Interpunct:
  • Tilde/wave dash: ~
  • Percent sign: %
  • Plus sign: +
  • Hyphen-minus: -
  • Slash: /
  • Equals sign: =
  • Shapes: ◎︎, ○︎, □︎, △︎, ◇︎, ♠︎, ♥︎, ♦︎, ♣︎, ★︎
  • Music note:
  • Sun: ☀︎
  • Cloud: ☁︎
  • Umbrella: ☂︎
  • Snowman: ☃︎
  • Faces: neutral face, happy face, sad face, angry face
  • Sleeping symbol: zz
  • Arrows: ⤴︎, ⤵︎
Western and Korean versions
  • Double quotation marks: ,
  • Single quotation marks: ,
  • Number sign: #
  • Asterisk: *
English versions
  • E with acute accent: É, é
French versions
  • Letters with diacritics: À, Â, Ç, É, È, Ê, Ë, Î, Ï, Ô, Ù, Û, à, â, ç, é, è, ê, ë, î, ï, ô, ù, û
  • Double guillemets: «, »
German versions
  • Letters with diacritics: Ä, Ö, Ü, É, ä, ö, ü, é, ß
  • Double quotation mark:
Italian versions
  • Letters with diacritics: À, È, É, Ì, Ò, Ù, à, è, é, ì, ò, ù
Spanish versions
  • Letters with diacritics: Ñ, Ç, Ï, Ü, Á, É, Í, Ó, Ú, À, È, Ì, Ò, Ù, ñ, ç, ï, ü, á, é, í, ó, ú, à, è, ì, ò, ù
  • Inverted exclamation mark: ¡
  • Inverted question mark: ¿
Japanese versions
  • Hiragana
  • Katakana
  • Small vowel kana: , , , , , , , , ,
  • Yōon: , , , , ,
  • Sokuon: ,
  • Kana with dakuten (only ka, sa, ta, and ha-column kana and katakana ヴ vu)
  • Kana with handakuten (only ha-column kana)
  • Chōonpu:
  • Comma (fullwidth):
  • Period (fullwidth):
  • Single quotation marks: ,
  • Double quotation marks: ,
  • Multiplication sign: ×
  • Division sign: ÷
Korean versions
  • Hangul
  • Hangul jamo
English
Nicknaming French VI.png
French
Nicknaming German VI.png
German
Nicknaming Italian VI.png
Italian
Nicknaming Spanish VI.png
Spanish
Nicknaming Japanese VI.png
Japanese
Nicknaming Korean VI.png
Korean

In spin-off games

Pokémon Channel

In Pokémon Channel, the player has the option to nickname his or her companion, Pikachu, once they become familiar enough with each other.

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series

In the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series, the player has the option to name their player, which is defaulted to the Pokémon they transformed into. They also have the option of nicknaming any Pokémon that joins their team upon recruiting. Unlike in the core games, however, nicknames cannot be changed, as there is no service akin to the Name Rater in the series.

In Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon only the player and partner can be named, and they can be changed any time, along with their team name, from the main menu.

In the anime

Ritchie's Pikachu, who is nicknamed Sparky

As in the games, nicknaming Pokémon is optional. It is very seldom that main characters have nicknamed their Pokémon, leaving nicknaming largely unique to one-time characters. Often, these characters possess more than one of a species of Pokémon, and nicknaming is to provide distinction, such as in Get Along, Little Pokémon. At other times, the nicknames help to drive the plot, as in Wherefore Art Thou, Pokémon.

The only main characters to possess a nicknamed Pokémon are Misty, who has a Luvdisc known as Caserin, and James, who has a Growlithe called Growlie. Ritchie, a recurring character, also uses nicknames. Marina from The Legend of Thunder! and Mairin from Mega Evolution Special I also have nicknamed Pokémon.

Nicknamed Pokémon still say their species name as their cry in the anime instead of their nickname. For example, Sparky still says "Pikachu" and variants of it.

Bonnie, who is a current travelling companion of Ash, nicknamed a Zygarde Core, Squishy in the XY series.

In the manga

In the Pokémon Adventures manga

Some Pokémon manga series use nicknames as a way to differentiate and individualize Pokémon characters. At least two Pokédex holders in each region name their Pokémon. Quite often, the Trainer will nickname his or her Pokémon with a particular pattern, such as how Crystal ends most of her Pokémon's nicknames with the "e" sound, and Gold ends most of his Pokémon's names with "bo". Brock's six Geodude are each named after a number, from "Geoone" to "Geosix".

Unlike in the games, nicknames can be changed by other trainers. Examples of this include Mr. Stone's Castform being named Fofo by Ruby, Pokémon that are given away such as Gurkinn's Gengar to Garma, and Grace's Rhyhorn to Saisai by X and Y respectively. As well as removing nicknames made by others as Silver's Kingdra was nicknamed Tat-chan when she was under Green's ownership.

In other languages

Language Title
Chinese Cantonese 暱稱 Nīkchīng
Mandarin 暱稱/昵称 Nìchēng
The Netherlands Flag.png Dutch Bijnaam
Finland Flag.png Finnish Lempinimi
France Flag.png French Surnom
Germany Flag.png German Spitzname
Italy Flag.png Italian Soprannome
South Korea Flag.png Korean 닉네임 ningneim
Spain Flag.png Spanish Mote
Vietnam Flag.png Vietnamese Biệt danh


Pokémon training
CatchingNicknameBattlesEvolution (Mega Evolution) • Trading (Outsiders) • BreedingReleasing