From Bulbapedia, the community-driven Pokémon encyclopedia.
A player character in the world of Pokémon is the protagonist of the games, the avatar of the player. Player characters are usually remarkably silent, only able to answer yes and no to questions. This is so that the player can "fill in" what they imagine the character is thinking, feeling and acting, thus immersing the player within the world of the game.
In the mainstream games, they are always Pokémon Trainers. At the conclusion of their journey, most will have conquered a Pokémon League's eight Gym Leaders and Elite Four, and become the Champion.
Those who do the above will most often start their journey in their hometown by getting, or shortly before getting, a starter Pokémon, a Pokémon that appears very early in their native region's Pokédex, and is of the Grass-, Fire-, or Template:Type2. The region's native Pokémon professor will always give them this, as well as a Pokédex.
In Pokémon Crystal, and each game in the main series which followed it, players were also able to pick the gender of the lead, more often than not to match their own.
Aside from the standard that many of the games' player characters take in their journey, there are also several other ways in which other player characters complete their journey, such as Wes and Michael who must defeat Cipher and free all of their snagged Pokémon from their Shadow state.
To date, only one player character has reappeared from an older generation. In Generation II, when Gold or Kris travels to Mt. Silver and reaches the deepest point of the cave, Red is found, utterly silent as he was under the player's control, to challenge to the second highest-leveled Pokémon battle that has appeared in the series (it eventually was surpassed by Pearl in Platinum). The original games from Generation I also got remakes in Generation III, with Red as the male protagonist. Red also reappeared in Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, serving the same role as he did in Generation II, only this time, Red's Pikachu is now a whopping Lv.88, regaining his honor as the highest leveled opponent in the main series games.
In the Pokémon Ranger series, Solana, Lunick, Kellyn, and Kate are not Pokémon Trainers, but instead Pokémon Rangers. They use the Pokémon they have captured with the Capture Styler to help them along the way. They also have partner Pokémon that follow them wherever they go. In Ranger, this partner Pokémon depended on who you chose. Solana exclusively gets Plusle while Lunick exclusively gets Minun. In Shadows, you can start off with one of three Pokémon but gain more as the game progresses.
In the Mystery Dungeon series, players play as actual Pokémon for the first time. Unlike most other Pokémon games, the player actually talks, but is given pre-generated phrases to say to questions.
In the Card GB series, Mark and Mint do not use actual Pokémon themselves, but cards instead.
In Pokémon Snap, Todd Snap must strive for something different from Trainers. He must capture all the Pokémon on Pokémon Island — on film.
In Pokémon Trozei!, the main protagonist is Lucy Fleetfoot. All the player has to do is tap the stage and Lucy accesses it. The player then plays the stage.
Card GB series
Mystery Dungeon series
- See: Starter Pokémon
In the anime
In the anime, five of the player characters have been given major roles, three of them in the main anime series. Ash and Ritchie represent Red, being based on him in appearance as well as basic history. At the beginning of Advanced Generation, May was introduced in order to better represent Generation III to viewers, as both Misty and Brock are characters native to Generation I. Likewise, at the beginning of the Diamond & Pearl series, Dawn joined Ash.
Jimmy and Marina appeared in The Legend of Thunder! special, taking a similar role to Ash and his companions, fighting Team Rocket members to protect legendary Pokémon. While the protagonists of Generation II were not represented in Ash's party, these two filled the roles as the anime counterparts to Gold and Kris.
Kotone appears in DP143, and joins the group for a brief time.
So far, Brendan has only made a few select cameo appearances in the anime, while Lucas made a cameo at the beginning of Giratina and the Sky Warrior battling Brendan.
- Despite the fact Generation I had no female playable character, there have been more female protagonists than male, with four boys and five girls throughout the main series.
- None of the male player characters from the main series (or their counterparts) have encountered Ash. Jimmy was the only one besides Ash to have more than merely a cameo. The only male player character in all of the Pokémon games to have encountered Ash is Kellyn of Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia.
- Leaf is the only player character from the handheld games so far not to appear in the anime either through a cameo or a counterpart.
- Kellyn, Kate, Todd, and Wes are the only player characters who do not wear any sort of headgear.
- Red's dialog during his appearance as an NPC in Generation II and Generation IV references the Pokémon games' player characters' status as silent protagonists. His dialog with the player character(s) of those games consists only of ellipses and an exclamation point when he is defeated.