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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 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 Pokémon 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, Trip and Bianca. as his major rivals. Minor rivals include Nando, Conway and Kenyan, 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.
- May has Drew, Harley, and Solidad.
- Dawn has Zoey, Kenny, Ursula, and Jessilina. 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 Langley.
- Cilan has Burgundy.
In the manga
Phantom Thief Pokémon 7
Pocket Monsters Zensho
Hareta and his rival, Koya
Several of the characters in Pokémon Adventures have been rivals to each other.
Pokémon Diamond & Pearl Adventure!
Several characters have rivals in this series.
Pokémon Pocket Monsters
- 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 Servine and Bianca uses a Pignite.
- 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 the rivals in the games are 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.
- Pokémon Black and White are the only Pokémon games where the player has two rivals.