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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.
In the games
In the core series, a rival is a recurring opponent to the player throughout the game. This character class 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, often 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 is strong against the one the player chose at the beginning of the game, though Wally, Bianca, Shauna, and Blue in Pokémon Yellow are exceptions.
Like the player character, some rivals have the option to be named by the player.
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* or Pokémon Trainers*.
Additionally, in Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, Blue is referred to as "Champion Blue" during the Champion battle and rematch.
Pokémon Card GB series
In the Card GB series, Ronald does not use actual Pokémon themselves, but cards instead.
In the anime
Ash and his main Unova
Various rivals for the main characters have also appeared in the anime.
- Ash's main rival in the original series was Gary. They were close when they were younger, but their friendship ended when they argued over a Poké Ball and broke it. Eventually, Gary gained some respect for Ash, and after losing to him in the Silver Conference, they became friends again altogether.
- Paul is Ash's main rival for the duration of the Diamond & Pearl series. When they met, Paul despised Ash due to his approach to Pokémon training and friendship, constantly insulting him every time they crossed paths. However, he eventually grew to respect Ash after losing to him in the Lily of the Valley Conference.
- Barry is Ash's secondary Sinnoh rival. Unlike Ash's other major rivals, the two have a friendly rivalry, though on occasion Barry did comment that Ash was weak and made rude comments about him.
- Trip was Ash's only unfriendly rival in the Best Wishes series. The rivalry formed when Trip found out that Ash was from Kanto, a region Trip thinks very little of. Trip believed Ash to be a redneck from the boonies who needed to go back to the basics of Pokémon, causing a heated rivalry. However, they were shown to respect each other to some extent in various episodes. The two became friends when Ash beat Trip at the Vertress Conference.
- Ash's 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 Ritchie, Morrison, Tyson, Tobias, Stephan, Bianca, Virgil, Cameron, Tierno, Trevor, Sawyer, and Alain.
- May has friendly rivalries with Drew and Solidad and an unfriendly rivalry with Harley.
Dawn's recurring Contest rivals
- Dawn has friendly rivalries with Zoey and Kenny and unfriendly rivalries with Ursula and Jessilina. She also has Nando as a minor rival.
- Johanna had a friendly rivalry with Lila when they were younger. Lila was the first person to defeat Johanna in Contests, but she gave up coordinating and eventually became a Stylist.
- Brock had a friendly and short-lived rivalry with Suzie.
- Jessie and James have a rivalry with Cassidy and Butch, respectively.
- Iris has an unfriendly rivalry with Georgia. They despise each other due to Iris being a Dragon Master in training while Georgia focuses on defeating Dragon-type Pokémon.
- Cilan has an unfriendly rivalry with Burgundy. This rivalry comes from when Cilan defeated Burgundy at the Striaton Gym, and from Cilan's better reputation as a Connoisseur.
- Stephan engaged an unfriendly rivalry with Montgomery during the Clubsplosion.
- During the Pokémon Summer Camp, Ash, Serena, Clemont, and Bonnie from Team Froakie developed a friendly rivalry with Tierno, Shauna, and Trevor from Team Squirtle.
- As a result of the above, Tierno was Ash's primary rival for the first part of the XY series, with Trevor serving as a minor secondary rival. During the second part of his Kalos journey, however, Ash struck up serious rivalries with Alain and Sawyer. Alain wished to test the unique power of Ash and his Greninja, while Sawyer looked up to Ash and made it his goal to surpass him.
- Serena has friendly rivalries with Shauna, Miette, Nini, and Aria.
In the manga
In the Phantom Thief Pokémon 7 manga
In the Pocket Monsters Zensho manga
In the Pokémon Adventures 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 Gotta Catch 'Em All! 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, Paul uses a Torterra and Gliscor, Barry uses a Staraptor and Heracross, Trip uses a Serperior and Tranquill, Bianca uses an Emboar, and Sawyer uses a Sceptile.
- 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. In Pokémon X and Y, this also happens with the minor rivals, with Trevor's hometown being Lumiose City and Tierno's hometown being unknown.
- A powerful enemy in the Battle Royales of Pokémon Rumble and Pokémon Rumble Blast are called rivals as well.
- In every generation, at least one of the player's rivals can be battled at the Pokémon League and/or Victory Road.
In other languages