One of the things both me and my boyfriend Kirby enjoy is Pokemon. It was a part of both of our childhoods and, through better or worse we’ve stuck with the franchise for years and years. Because of that it’s also something we like to talk about, but what we’ve discovered is that we tend to have very different opinions about not only which Pokemon are the best, but also why our favorite Pokemon are great.
To spare you a long and probably biased view of our differing opinions, I tend to care a lot more about a Pokemon’s design and my own personal experience with it than Kirby does. Kirby, on the other hand, likes to prefer Pokemon that are competitively special, with good stats or movepools or typings while that doesn’t matter quite as much to me.
So I thought it might be fun to compare our favorites lists. Below is a list of both my and Kirby’s top 20 favorite Pokemon, in no particular order, as well as a quick little list of reasons we love that Pokemon. In addition, we commented on each other’s favorites.
I was actually surprised how similar our views of Pokemon are, and we even had the same favorites and reasonings, in some cases.
- Great typing (Water/Ground, only weak to Grass)
- First starter I used in Sapphire (2nd favorite gen)
- Starter I most often use in Sapphire
- Bulky and hits hard and decent movepool
Gillian Says… I know this Pokemon’s pre-evolution Mudkip much better than its final version, and looking at it now it looks a lot more like a middle evolution than a final one. But still I like its more froggy features – the silly open mouth and the simple color palette that makes good use of a nice contrast of orange and blue. The orange spots on it make it look like it’s wearing floaties, which is cute.
- Sinnoh boy
- First starter I used in Platinum, my favorite game and region of all time
- Sorta challenging to use but really fun. Learns earthquake naturally in a game where TMs aren’t infinite use.
- I like his design (as it references the common trope of world turtles).
Gillian Says… It’s honestly a shame that I love Empoleon so much because if Torterra didn’t have to compete within the Sinnoh starting trio with literally my favorite Pokemon of all time I think I would have it much higher on my favorites list. Not only are all three of its evolutions appealing design-wise, I think Torterra is so beautiful. It looks like it has such dignity and grace, but it’s also very powerful. I love that.
- I like the lake trio, but this one is my favorite
- Adorable and is a great special sweeper
Gillian Says… I wouldn’t know much about the battling talents of any of the Lake Trio because I managed to faint both Uxie and Azelf in my playthrough of Diamond, and I never caught Mesprit. (I was a talented 8-year-old.) Honestly I really like the Lake Trio though. Azelf in particular has a very striking design. The expression on its face is definitely cute but also somehow a little creepy? Not in a bad way, but it almost seems like it’s seen some things and it has come to warn us.
…Or maybe that’s just me.
- While it’s probably not the empirically best Eevee evolution, it’s the one I like the best.
- I really like it’s design, as it strikes me as really confident and charming in a way.
- Bulky, saved my butt in White 2 multiple times.
Gillian Says… I really love all the Eeveelutions. Vaporeon doesn’t crack my favorites list, but I remember finding it really adorable as a kid. I liked that it could fade into mist and blend into any water source. That made it seem really mysterious and cool. Also Water types are always solid faves.
- Your friendly neighborhood ghost snake thingy
- Poster legendary of Platinum, my favorite Pokemon game.
- Love the design. It’s menacing and powerful, fit for a ruler of the distortion world.
- Love the lore of it with Palkia and Dialga. I dig Platinum’s lore in general.
Gillian Says… Hey! One of the two Pokemon we have in common. Scroll down a bit further to see my impressions on this one.
- Fluffy cloud dragon boy
- I like the cloud aesthetic.
- Really bulky
- Helped a lot in my Alpha Sapphire playthrough. Became my highest-leveled Pokemon.
- Takes some grinding to evolve it, but it’s worth it.
Gillian Says… Altaria is one of those Pokemon that without fail gives me trouble whenever I meet it in battle. I can definitely attest to its strength, as it has a tricky typing that I never seem to have a good counter for. I’m sorry to say that that has made me less of a fan, but I still think I’d like to train one up some day. It certainly has a really pretty design.
- Great type, good enough move pool
- It’s sorta adorable with how blobby it is? I prefer the pink design for it over the blue and green design.
Gillian Says… I actually used a Gastrodon back when I first played Diamond, but I never really put much effort into training it up, mostly because I had a very limited idea of the type matchups and I already had a Water type. (Guess who?) But as I’ve gotten older I’ve come to admire these squishy little friends. I’ve also heard they’re pretty good in battle, though I wouldn’t know. I do admire this design for managing to make a slug cute, and for making it so there are two designs! (I also prefer the Pink one. Gotta love that brown/pink color combo.)
- Awesome typing, destroys Fighting and Grass types
- Love the sleek, semi-menacing design
- The fact it’s a friendship evolution makes fully evolving a tiny Zubat into the awesome Crobat feel rewarding
Gillian Says… Another one of those Pokemon that I always have trouble beating up, so you’re probably right on the “awesome typing” thing. Zubat is annoying and a pest but I’m glad that its evolution is such a champ. I also think the double wing thing it has going on is pretty cool looking. It’s like a butterfly bat.
- It’s a dinosaur thing
- Interesting typing
- Haven’t actually used it yet, but I’m planning to
- One of my favorite designs from Gen 6
Gillian Says… According to Wikipedia this Pokemon is based on a sauropod, but “dinosaur thing” is pretty close too. Schooling aside, I’m honestly a little surprised this one made the list for you. You have barely used it, and it’s just super pretty and yet here it is! A Pokemon you enjoy just because of its looks! Say it ain’t so.
- The main Fire type I’d use in Platinum due to the relative lack of Fire types in Sinnoh.
- In general I like Pokemon based on dogs.
- Fire/Dark is a fun type
Gillian Says… What a good doggo! I don’t have a lot of experience using Houndoom but I’m sure I considered training one of these at some point. I love how they communicate the skeletal design elements of this Pokemon without it just outright being a skeleton dog. Plus the long whippy devil tail is simultaneously cute and devillish and I love that.
- Interesting type of Water/Grass
- Its design conveys Ludicolo being super energetic and fun which is awesome and I don’t know why but it makes using it super fun.
- I enjoy using it, especially after animated sprites were added.
- Common one I use in Sapphire
Gillian Says… This is one of those Pokemon I often forget exists. But when I am aware of its existence, it does bring a smile. I agree that the animated sprites really enhanced the personality of a lot of Pokemon, including Ludicolo. Also it’s wearing a leaf sombrero and that’s pretty great.
- Simple but nice design
- Haven’t used it that much, but the few times I have it was fun
- Great bulk, decently hard-hitting
Gillian Says… I’ve always really liked Lapras, and I think it’s cute that it’s the quintessential Surf Pokemon, to the point where in X and Y when you Surf with a Lapras it has its own model instead of the default vague shape. It just looks so serene and kind, a perfect companion to anyone hoping to cross a river or lake.
- It has a harem of male Salandits…
- Fire/Poison is a fun type
- Really enjoyed the trial for it in Ultra Moon (Kiawe is one of my favorite captains)
- Cool design based on femme fatale
Gillian Says… I tried really hard to get one of these in my playthrough and never did because I, honestly, kind of lost interest. It may have been partly because I spent an embarrassing amount of time attempting to train up a male Salandit thinking it would just evolve. So uh… this Pokemon was always a little out of reach for me. But it’s fun, and the Dex episode about it taught me about a species of lesbian lizards, and I’m into that.
- The lore of it appearing right before a natural disaster is interesting.
- Love the design of it, with the white coat over a pitch black face and head point thingy.
- Fun to use, although Dark as a type was special in Sapphire so it was sort of a challenge to use. I’d basically always give it Shadow Ball, as Ghost as a type was physical in Sapphire.
Gillian Says… I think one of my favorite parts of Pokemon is the amount of backstory and lore goes into each species of Pokemon, making them all feel like real creatures. Absol in particular has a fun set of lore behind it, going so far as to establish symbolism of it. Think about that! In our culture animals symbolize all sorts of things, and in some cases are considered clairvoyant. And the same thing happens in the Pokemon world! Isn’t that so cool? When making a real-feeling species in a made up world I don’t know if your first move would be to establish symbolism and superstition about that species, but Pokemon goes there and it’s awesome. Phew, that got a little long-winded.
- 1st starter I used in Ultra Moon, which I’m nearly done with.
- His archer design is super unique and I love it. It reminds me of Robin Hood.
- Its design being based on a now extinct type of owl is really cool and helps explain its Ghost typing.
- Was always super reliable during my ultra moon playthrough. Defeating two trials single handedly
Gillian Says… I think if Primarina had not ended up as gorgeous (and Fairy typed) as it was, I probably would have gone for Rowlet as my starter in Sun and Moon. Decidueye is a really cool Pokemon and I totally get the appeal. It’s mysterious and cool, and I love how it seems to have a hoodie.
- One of the stronger Bug types
- I like it’s simple but effective design that always seems ready for a fight.
- Used it in one of my few playthroughs of Soul Silver to pretty good effect. Beat Whitney’s Miltank with it.
Gillian Says… In my list (no spoilers), I praise a certain other bug type Pokemon for being surprisingly cute, but I do want to shout out to Heracross and actually most bug Pokemon for also being pretty cute. Heracross in particular has big yellow eyes and the lines on its face mimic a tiny little smile. So even if it is ready for a fight, it’s also pretty cute. I’m also a fan of the little antennae.
- One of my favorite Sinnoh Pokemon
- It’s sprite in Gens 4 and 5 depicts it as pretty arrogant but that endears it to me.
- I like Dark types in general.
- I’d actually use the action replay cheat of catching other trainers Pokemon to steal a Murkrow from Team Galactic grunts to get one, as normally it’s unavailable in Platinum.
- Using one on my current run of Ultra Moon and it’s been great
Gillian Says… Wow! You stole Pokemon! How very Team Rocket of you. Though I guess you were stealing from the bad guys, so maybe it isn’t so bad. Is it ironic that you stole the Pokemon that is supposed to look like a mob boss from the closest thing to a Pokemon mob in game? (I guess Team Rocket is more of a mob than Team Galactic, but still). That’s gotta be some fun irony. Kidding aside, I like Honchcrow. It’s so chubby and bossy-looking, and it has a little hat. Adorable.
- I like the bell design.
- Best of all, you get to choose whether or not it has a Ground or Fire weakness by choosing it’s ability.
- Awesomely bulky
- It’s always a pain to beat NPC ones so I’ve gained even more respect for it.
- I plan to use one next Platinum playthrough.
Gillian Says… You can say that again about it always being hard to beat trainer Bronzongs in game. I don’t know if I ever really had much of an opinion on this Pokemon besides that, though. It’s one of those inanimate object Pokemon but it’s not even the most interesting one. I do remember as a kid imagining the dull ringing sound of my Empoleon Hydro Blasting one of these guys. So… there’s that?
- Initially I only respected it because Cynthia’s was a beast.
- I eventually decided to use one in a Platinum run and after using it wished I had used it earlier.
- Design-wise I feel it’s kinda bland. Nice, but bland.
- Its great Special Attack and bulk, move pool, ability to learn Aura Sphere naturally, and using it in Platinum sold it for me.
Gillian Says…. Aww Togekiss is cute. There’s actually a pretty interesting video the Dex did on its resemblance to planes and how that connects to the peace-bringing motif of its character. Interesting stuff, and not at all bland, in my opinion. I also kinda like the white-blue-red color scheme. It’s mostly white, but the little pops of color are cute.
- I really like it’s design, primarily the red accents, yellow bead, and confident face.
- Fast and hard hitting with decent coverage
- Combines two of my favorite types (Ice and Dark)
- I enjoyed the one I used in Platinum. It’s currently residing in White 2.
Gillian Says… Weavile is another Pokemon who also made my list! Not much else to say besides what I already said below, but boy do I love Weavile. What a tough lil cutie.
- My boy
- My favorite ever Pokemon, period.
- The first ever Pokemon I trained, first ever pokemon I raised to lvl 100
- My original Empoleon from my first playthrough now lives in Pokemon X
- Has such a neat design that splits between cool-looking and adorable (just look at the haughty pose… it’s obvs pumping itself up). Such personality. Love the tuxedo. Stylish.
- Based on a historical figure and an animal species that lived near where that historical figure was exiled. Can your fave even be that specific in its design influences?
Kirby Says… When I didn’t know the background on its design (based on penguins that were near Napoleon) I thought it was okay but nothing special design-wise. Now that I know that, I really appreciate the regal, almost emperor-like aesthetic on it. Gameplay-wise I have only used it once but it was pretty good when I did use it. It’s a shame Empoleon is in the same region as my turtle boy Torterra, and to a lesser degree Infernape, because otherwise it’s a really cool starter I’d use more.
- The one shiny I would die for
- The pokemon I’ve most strongly considered dressing as for Halloween
- E D G Y but also cute
- Sleek, simple design. Love the pop of the yellow against the mono-black body.
Kirby Says… I mostly like Umbreon for it’s design. The simplicity and overall semi-edginess (without going to far into being edgy) of it is really appealing. It having a nice shiny sprite is always a bonus. Haven’t used it much but it was super reliable when I did. Espeon and Umbreon are also a really nice pair, design wise.
- I was a weird horse kid back in the day
- FIRE PONY
- Ponyta, its pre-evolution, is adorable.
- Sinnoh doesn’t have many fire types so Sinnoh girls make do
- I used to really, really wanna ride one of these things. Can you IMAGINE how amazing that would be.
Kirby Says… I have contemplated using Rapidash in Platinum, as Fire types are super limited. Looks-wise I think it’s pretty cool actually. Real pointy and firey. The main reason I haven’t used one yet is the super late level it evolves, meaning I’d have to use Ponyta until level 40. Wish it evolved a little sooner, then I’d probably use it. A fire horse is a cool design though.
- I’m still a weird horse kid
- I saw its pre-evolution in the wild for the first time and I screamed “PONY!!” out loud
- Big stronk defensive horsey child
- Took many hits, kept going
Kirby Says… It’s a big strong horse that, at least Hapu’s one, has its own charm to it. Can’t say that much on it, since I haven’t used one yet in Ultra Moon. Like the hair design of it though.
- Best birb, hands down
- First pokemon I ever caught. Kept breaking out of the Pokeball, so I named it “Tuffy” because it was tough to catch.
- I love how tough and confident it looks in all official art. Plus, that black/white/red color scheme is maybe one of my favorites.
Kirby Says… Probably the best birb (at least in Platinum) ever from the starting route. It’s always a reliable partner in any Sinnoh adventure. Doesn’t take long to get it, as it evolves into Staraptor at level 32 and immediately learns Close Combat and then Brave Birb pretty soon afterward. I also really like the design of it, as it seems super confident and ready to fight anything for it’s trainer. I can attest to its toughness, as Barry’s Staraptor is always an issue to fight, even if I’m over it’s level.
- I never played Platinum, so my only experience with this child was it randomly appearing inexplicably at the end of a secret forest path I discovered all by myself.
- So, needless to say, I thought it was the coolest and most mysterious thing ever and I loved it.
- Now that I know the lore, though, it’s super cool that it’s like, the god of antimatter and chaos.
- CATERPILLAR SATAN
- Gen 4 has the coolest legendaries, and this one takes the cake.
Kirby Says… Giratina is probably either my favorite legend period or tied with, funnily enough another Sinnoh legend, Azelf. I’ve never played Diamond or Pearl myself so I’ve always seen Giratina as the main force in Sinnoh, residing in it’s own awesome world. The fact that it can boss around Palkia and Dialga, super strong legends (level 70 when you fight them in platinum) in their own right just adds to Giratina’s own power. It’s caterpillar-esque design (and it’s origin form design) are awesome, being poth beautiful, powerful, and a bit creepy. I also wish Game Freak kept Phantom Force signature to Giratina itself, as the move kinda represents Giratina’s own lore of keeping to its own world and only striking when necessary.
- A new favorite, since I just now am playing Black for the first time. Needless to say, this fluffy boy is my MVP.
- They somehow managed to make this boy and his pre-evolution adorable even though they’re SPIDERS.
- Also, two excellent electricity puns for their names.
Kirby Says… One of my favorites from Unova, pretty sure I used it in my first run through White. Really happy that you’ve discovered it by playing through Black. As you’ve pointed out, it’s just a super adorable spider boy. The fact that it’s good gameplay wise is an added benefit. Unova gets, in my view unfairly, its designs deemed “uncreative” or “dumb” (largely due to like 3 Pokemon I can think of that are pretty simple) and everytime I hear that I want to throw awesome designs like Haxorus, Galvantula, Hydreigon, or others at them. #unovahasgreatdesignsguys
- When I entertained trying to raise some Pokemon for competitive battling, this was the first one I attempted to breed and train.
- The cutest pseudo-legendary
- It’s purple and goopy so what’s not to love
- I have tiny versions of all three of its evolution line sitting on my bookshelf at home. I got them at a con and they’re adorable.
Kirby Says… Another one of my favorite designs from Kalos. Purple is always a great color to choose for a Pokemon and combining it with the goopy, friendly looking design puts it over the top. I highly considered using a Goodra for my first Kalos run (it lost out to another favorite dragon type from Sinnoh) but it’s definitely high up on Pokemon to use for the second run through Kalos.
- The popular fandom interpretation of this guy being so desperate for its trainer’s attention that it mimics its trainer’s favorite Pokemon is nice and all but consider… Mimikyu mimicking a beloved Pokemon to lull its future prey into a false sense of comfort…
- No but seriously Mimikyu as a cute and misunderstood softie who just wants to be loved or a malevolent trickster are both great interpretations.
- Also its design is so meta. It’s as if Mimikyu peeked into the real world, saw that Pikachu was the mascot Pokemon, and decided to alter its disguise accordingly.
- Fun to use, great typing, neat ability, cute design with a touch of spooky and dread… perfect. Lovely. 10/10
Kirby Says… I really like the creepy yet charming design of this little meta Pokemon. Beyond its design, which is great for all the reasons already listed above, I feel Mimikyu’s typing is also neat, as you wouldn’t think ghost and fairy would go together yet it works perfectly. Battle-wise my only experience was against the totem Mimikyu that was bested by my lovely Decidueye Hermes and that was still a challenge so it has earned respect from me.
- I got this child in an event as a kid and thought it was the coolest.
- I used to torture my opponents with Darkrai by putting their Pokemon to sleep, then use the combo of Nightmare and its ability Bad Dreams to slowly chip away its HP while it helplessly sleeps.
- It also has the best movie ever. “Rise of Darkrai” is a cinematic MASTERPIECE.
- Love its Yin and Yang relationship to Cresselia, though I wish they interacted more in-canon.
Kirby Says… I missed out on getting one of these through events and I’ve always been haunted by that fact. Darkrai is easily my second favorite Sinnoh legend so the fact that I don’t have one is really annoying. Its design is great, mixing an element of formlessness, matching the lore of it giving people nightmares and (I think this part is true) appearing in those dreams not fully formed, and blacks, reds, and white is 10/10. Darkrai is one of the few Pokemon that the actual in-game/competitive use of it I really don’t consider (a surprise I know). Cresselia and Darkrai, as mentioned above, make a great pairing. Given that I have a Cresselia all that’s left is to get a Darkrai.
- Dark types are great because they’re all such tricksters, and Weavile is, I think, the greatest example of it
- It’s wild to me that Sneasel was a one-stage evolution for so long. I feel Weavile was absolutely needed to flesh it out.
- It has such a cool, slick design. I love the ruffle of pink feathers and the smirk and the determined eyes.
- Also I feel like I never like Ice types very much, so I’m glad I have this one.
Kirby Says… Hey another one we both like! Agree with all the points, just going to add that the smirk is justified since Weavile is a great physical sweeper.
- Another cute lil purple friend
- I love how surprisingly terrifying the lore behind this lil guy is. It tries to carry away CHILDREN. That’s horrifying.
- I also like Drifblim a lot but Drifloon is my favorite for sheer cute factor and how much I wanted one in my original playthrough of Diamond.
- I love the yellows and purples
- I have a crocheted Drifloon in my dorm I got from a really cute gaming store in Indianapolis.
Kirby Says… The lore on this little balloon of terror is downright frightening. Just imagining a child innocently grabbing this “balloon” and slowly floating away is terrifying. The simplistic coloring of purple and yellow is great also. In all of the sinnoh games you can find a Drifloon out in front of the Valley Windworks on Fridays I believe so the lore is extra creepy since the trainer character could easily try and grab it and float away themselves.
- I used to desperately covet one of these in Diamond but they were impossible to get
- Basically you first had to catch a Feebas, which was already pretty hard to find, then you had to max out its beauty by feeding it a bunch of poffins, and THEN you could evolve it
- I’m assuming it’s easier to get a hold of nowadays, but that rarity and the fact I never got one has given this Pokemon a mythic quality
- Also it’s super pretty and nicely designed – love the stained-glass tail
Kirby Says… Getting one of these is a chore, that I have yet to do myself, in either the Sinnoh games or the original Hoenn games. Despite the difficulty in getting one the effort is worth it from what I can tell, as all of the ones I’ve fought are always a challenge. There’s one in particular I remember from Sapphire on route 122 or 123 that always seems to knock out at least one my team members when I fight it. Design-wise I think Milotic is flawless with the simple beauty of it. The design also sorta justifies the evolution method, maxing out beauty on it, as turning a not-beautiful Feebas into the beautiful Milotic would certainly demand a lot of work.
- Another Pokemon I haven’t used yet but I would like to
- It’s got kind of a fun typing that’s been enhanced since the introduction of Fairy types
- I really like how simultaneously creepy-looking and adorable this thing is
- That big scary mouth tho
- I like that fairies aren’t just pretty and cute, they’re also mischievous. Mawile is a great example of that property.
Kirby Says… Beyond talking more about the great combination of mischievousness and cuteness of Mawile I can’t add much as I’ve never used it despite wanting to. You can’t get one of these in Sapphire or Alpha Sapphire I believe so there’s that.
- My second-favorite Eeveelution by just a hair
- Spiky boy
- My favorite part of this design? It’s weird but it’s the fact it doesn’t have a tail. I can’t explain why, but I love the fact that it’s just got a spiky butt and that’s it
- I have a plushie of this guy sitting on my desk in my dorm and it has a Japanese tag (Fun fact: Jolteon’s Japanese name is “Thunders”)
Kirby Says… I can’t place Jolteon on my list of favorite Eeveelutions, so I’m not sure the exact order beyond Vaporeon, but it’s definitely one of my faves. It’s a cute yellow spiky boy, what’s there not to love about it? I’ve used it multiple times throughout various pokemon games and it’s always been great. I think I’m using one on my current run of Leaf Green right now. You can’t really go wrong with this spiky yellow boy.
- When I first saw the starters in Moon and Sun I hoped and prayed that Popplio’s final evolution would be fairy type
- GUESS WHAT??? It was!
- Primarina is just so pretty and graceful and I love the concept – using singing as a weapon and also tying it to the bubbly water motif
- I also like that they made a super feminine starter. Even if the starters are generally male, they weren’t afraid to make Primarina look the way it does.
- (Also its Z-move is……..brutal)
Kirby Says… Fairy type in general I have . . . mixed feelings on. Some of the new fairies introduced, like Florges, Primarina, Klefki, or Carbink I really like the designs of but the type as a whole seems unnecessary and… mean to innocent Dragon types. So my opinion on Primarina is pretty similar to my feelings on Fairy as a whole: some individual Fairy type designs I like but the type as a whole I have a . . . negative opinion of.
- Another Pokemon I’ve never used but always wanted to
- People who know me know I love flowers more than any normal person really should, so this design is so up my alley
- Graceful… classy… beautiful
- I wanna be Florges when I grow up
Kirby Says… As mentioned with Primarina above, my views on Fairy types are slightly negative as a whole. Florges is a great flower-based pokemon though.
- Okay look, there’s a lot of Pokemon I’ve never used but I want to
- I used to watch this one Pokemon Youtuber who hated Lopunny because of its design inspiration coming from Playboy… which, though I get, felt a little unfair since it’s just a Pokemon… so I just doubled down on loving this Pokemon and its design
- (To be fair, that Youtuber also hated Gen 4 with a passion, so we could never get along.)
- Playboy is trash but this Pokemon is the purest and most good thing that has come from it
- Also it has a cool-looking mega
- Another flower Pokemon because flowers are great
- Roserade also takes design inspiration from Shakespeare which is pretty gosh-darned cool
- I used to get #rekt a lot by Cynthia’s Roserade in Diamond, so I’ve always admired this Pokemon
- One of the best evolutions added in Gen 4 next to Weavile.
- Wow I almost made this entire list without a shout-out to the time child
- Palkia is trash, Dialga is treasure
- Such a cool, ornate legendary design.
- I already said this but Gen 4 has the best legendaries EVEN with Palkia bringing it down
- Steel/Dragon is another cool typing.