A battle judge (Japanese: バトル審判 battle referee), also known as a referee, is a person who presides over the judgment of Pokémon battles between Trainers in official, designated challenges in the anime. They are identifiable by the Poké Ball symbol on their shirts.
A battle judge is responsible for determining whether or not a Pokémon is able to continue battling. They can be found in Pokémon League Conferences and several other Pokémon competitions featuring battles. They are in charge of officially beginning a match and upholding its rules, such as how many Pokémon a Trainer is allowed to use and if there are any substitution limitations.
Battle judges have to make it clear to all of the Trainers involved what the parameters of the match are. The terms for a win are also in their ruling, as in what is required for a Trainer to lose the match. In general practice, the default appears to be until all of the available Pokémon on one side have fainted.
Pokémon battles conducted at Gyms and Battle Frontier facilities are also observed by an appointed judge. These are, most of the time, a capable student, intern, assistant, or even a relative to the Gym Leader or Frontier Brain who assist in calling battles against the challenger. Robots can also referee battles, as seen in the Battle Palace, the Sunyshore Gym, and the Lumiose Gym. In a similar capacity, it is shown in Destination: Coronation! that official battles in the World Coronation Series are presided over by a Drone Rotom.
The calls made by a referee are official and determine the outcome of the battle. This is not the case in most Kanto Gyms, where there is no referee present to rule, except in the case of Agatha in the Viridian Gym, who allowed Scott to judge her match against Ash; the Gym Leaders primarily self-judged the match.
Gym Leaders themselves are qualified judges. Brock has provided judgment for many battles over the course of the series, Roark presided over an official Gym match between Byron and Ash, and Flannery's grandfather—the former Lavaridge Gym Leader—took up the position as the judge for Flannery's match against Ash.
According to Brock, there are not many judges capable of evaluating a battle at the level necessary for battles sanctioned by the Pokémon League. Max hints at the profession's prestige and esteem: given that so few are capable of judging a League battle, simply being able to is an honor.
In Alola's trials, the residing island kahuna typically watches over the Trainer's battle with the Totem Pokémon. During Ash's grand trials against Hala and Olivia, Professor Kukui has judged in the kahuna's stead. In his grand trials against Nanu and Hapu, Acerola and Kiawe took on the role of referee, respectively. During the Manalo Conference, all four kahunas serve as referees.
Judges are trained to critically evaluate the battlefield, which includes the Pokémon, the Trainers, and the field itself, if the terrain is not ordinary. They have to be able to recognize when a Pokémon has fainted and announce a winner through defeat, by determining all aspects of a Pokémon, including its type-cast and what a species as a whole is capable of.
The training a person must go through to become a judge was shown in Judgment Day!. In the Hoenn region, aspiring battle judges study at the Pokémon Battle Judge Training Institute located on Bomba Island, where Serena teaches and Jimmy studied.
Their ruling is usually absolute, so making the correct call is imperative to the eventual announcement of a match. A wrong call might lead to the questioning of a judge's abilities to referee, especially in a professional setting. According to Serena, a battle judge must have confidence that the decision and ruling they are making is correct, otherwise it leaves room for error.
Notable battle judges
Jamero is a robotic Gym assistant used to judge Spenser and Ash's battle over an area that encompassed an entire section of land with various environmental terrains and obstacles. Scott described its abilities as being able to hit high speeds in the air or underwater, and is capable of making decisions in less than a split second. Also, what Jamero views is fed back through a laptop, which was in the balloon that Scott and Ash's friends were riding in during the match. It declared Ash the winner when his Sceptile defeated Spenser's Claydol.
Drone Rotom (Japanese: ドローンロトム Drone Rotom) are Rotom inhabiting drones that act as the official judges for World Coronation Series battles. Like the Rotom Pokédex, the Rotom Phone, and Rotomi, this form of Rotom cannot be used in battle.
As soon as a battle appointment between two Trainers is made for a World Coronation Series match, a Drone Rotom is sent flying to the location where the battle takes place. The Drone Rotom can display a hologram picturing the participants in the battle and how many Pokémon they can send out. Like regular referees, it also explains the battle rules to Trainers. After the battle, the Drone Rotom will announce that the rankings have been updated and then leave the site.
In the games
In the anime
A Drone Rotom first appeared in Destination: Coronation!, where it judged the battle between Ash and Visquez. It since judged almost all of Ash's World Coronation Series matches. In Curtain Up! Fight the Fights!, five Drone Rotom flew over Wyndon while expelling colored smoke to form the logo of the World Coronation Series in the sky, in order to celebrate the start of the Masters Eight Tournament.
In the manga
Pokémon Journeys: The Series
Other notable battle judges
- See also: List of Gym assistants
In the TCG
- Main article: Judge (Unleashed 78)
Judge was introduced as a Supporter card in the Pokémon Trading Card Game during the English HeartGold & SoulSilver Series (the Japanese LEGEND Era). It was first released in the Japanese Leafeon vs Metagross Expert Deck and the English Unleashed expansion, with artwork by Kouki Saitou. It has been subsequently reprinted in the English XY Series (the Japanese XY BREAK Era), the English Sun & Moon Series (the Japanese SM Era), the English Sword & Shield Series (the Japanese SWSH Era), and the English Scarlet & Violet Series (the Japanese SV Era). Full Art versions of the card were included in the Lost Thunder expansion (Thunderclap Spark in Japan), the Silver Tempest expansion (VMAX Climax in Japan), and the Japanese Shiny Treasure ex subset, with artwork by Sanosuke Sakuma, Ryuta Fuse, and Hideki Ishikawa respectively. It forces both players to shuffle their hand into their deck, and draw four cards.
Drone Rotom was introduced as an Item card in the Pokémon Trading Card Game during the English Sword & Shield Series (the Japanese SWSH Era). It was first released in the Japanese Amazing Volt Tackle expansion and the English Vivid Voltage expansion, with artwork by 5ban Graphics. It forces the opponent to reveal their hand, and lets the player look at the top card of the opponent's deck.
The Team Up expansion (Tag Bolt in Japan) included the Judge Whistle as both a Regular card and a Full Art Secret card. Both versions feature artwork by Ayaka Yoshida. It lets the player either draw a card, or put a Judge from their discard pile into their hand.
In the TFG
In other languages
|The Pokémon League|
Trainer • Battle • Gym Leaders
Gyms • Badges • Referee
Elite Four • Orange League
Pokémon League Conferences
Indigo • Silver • Ever Grande • Lily of the Valley
Vertress • Lumiose • Manalo
|Regional Pokémon Leagues|
Indigo • Orange* • Johto • Hoenn • Sinnoh
Unova • Kalos • Alola • Galar • Paldea
Areas of jurisdiction
Pokémon League Reception Gate • Hall of Fame
Palace of Victory • Cerulean Cave
Pokémon Association • PIA
World Coronation Series
(Masters Eight Tournament)
|This article is part of Project Anime, a Bulbapedia project that covers all aspects of the Pokémon anime.|