Ensemble Darkhorse: Pokémon

As of Generation VI, there are over 700 Pokémon in the world, along with thousands of trainers, the anime incarnations of specific mons and characters, and various AU games of Pokémon. When you have this many Loads and Loads of Characters, naturally, some will stand out better than others.

Starter Pokémon and mascot Legendaries (Pokémon that appear on the box-cover) do not apply to this list as they are purposefully designed to be popular and are the closest things to non-human main characters each Generation has. However, that doesn't mean they can't be Breakout Characters.

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Video games


General Examples

  • The homeless fat guys that usually hang around starter towns and rave about technology. No seriously, just listen to starter town tunes on Youtube, and count how many times you see someone comment on the fat guy standing there.
  • In a similar vein, the guys that greet the players in every Gym with "Yo! Champ in the making!" It's unclear if it's a different guy each time or the same one, but either way, he's as beloved as the fat technology guy.
  • "Hi! I like shorts! They're comfy and easy to wear!" A "Youngster" character saying something along those lines have appeared in every single game since he first was introduced.
  • The Hex Maniac trainer-class in the X and Y games has quickly become popular among the fandom, already getting more fanart than the Gym Leaders, which is saying something. It probably has something to do with her likeness to Tomoko from WataMote.

Generation I

  • Blue. Smell ya later!
  • While fans may argue about which generation is the best, there's no denying that Professor Oak is the most iconic and popular Pokémon Professor in the franchise.
  • Misty and Brock are this in the games due to their anime and Pokémon Special counterparts. In the games themselves they're just early gym leaders, with Misty having a slightly larger role than most gym leaders in the Johto games. However, thanks to their counterparts, they've become amongst the most popular characters in the franchise.
  • Team Rocket; the mainstream of all evil in the Pokémon universe which many will agree has yet to be topped in the evil department throughout the latter five generations so far.
    • What about that clumsy Team Rocket Grunt from the Celadon City Hideout? "Oh no! I dropped the LIFT KEY!"

Generation II

  • Joey, whose Rattata is in "THE TOP PERCENTAGE OF ALL RATTATA!"
  • Kris, the very first playable heroine, is not lacking in popularity either, despite only appearing in one game before being replaced by Lyra.
  • Jasmine is a pretty popular Gym Leader, even getting a cameo in Gen 4. It helps that she's the only one of the three female Johto Gym Leaders who doesn't get obnoxious about losing.
  • Eusine, a trainer introduced in Crystal introduced the idea that the third version of a given generation will have plotline differences. He was popular enough to be included in the remakes Heart Gold and Soul Silver.

Generation III

  • Wally from Ruby and Sapphire is well-liked for being adorable and a surprisingly good opponent despite only battling the player twice in the main story. He has a fanbase among disabled fans for being a disabled character whose disability isn't Played for Laughs or otherwise overshadows his character. Many fans were happy when he Took a Level in Badass in the remakes.
  • Leaf, the Distaff Counterpart to Red, hasn't appeared in any game besides her debut and is mostly forgotten by Game Freak nowadays but has quite the following. People are always begging for her to cameo or be fightable in games, potentially being a higher level than Red too.
  • Steven Stone is one of the more popular regional Champions — helped by being a Memetic Badass and Pretty Boy.

Generation IV

  • Riley from Diamond and Pearl is also rather popular, at least compared to his fellow "Stat Trainers". It helps that he's a major Bishōnen.
  • Looker of the International Police is well-liked. It helps that he bears some resemblance to David Tennant of Doctor Who fame. He was popular enough to be included somewhere in every generation since his introduction in Platinum (usually in the post-game). In addition, his return and post-game Side Quest in X and Y is considered to be much more interesting than the main-story for some players.
  • Cynthia, the Champion from Diamond and Pearl, has also become quite popular. She's managed to appear three times after her debut, which isn't bad considering that Pokémon has non-linear sequels.
  • While she's sometimes thought of as a Replacement Scrappy, Lyra does have a fanbase of her own and liked for different reasons then the way Kris is liked (Lyra is sometimes depicted as a Yandere).

Generation V

  • Hilbert and Hilda of Pokémon Black and White are probably the most popular protagonists ever since Red and Leaf due to their overall Bad Ass designs (Hilda being a Tomboy) and the fact that they're teenagers rather than children like the previous playable heroes. Not to mention that Hilda is very frequently shipped with N (see above).
  • One of your rivals, Bianca is considered to be pretty adorable and has an interesting side-plot where she's Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life.
  • In Japan, the Subway Masters Ingo and Emmet from Black and White are ridiculously popular, ranking second and third on a popularity poll despite not having any major role in the story. They've gotten so popular that they've gotten quite a lot of official merchandise, more than even the protagonists. It's surprising considering they have no real personalities and are barely in the games.
  • Elesa and Skyla, two gym leaders from Black and White, are also popular despite not being more important than any of the other gym leaders. They were even ranked fifth and fourth respectively in a popularity poll. This is largely due to their designs.
  • Team Plasma is led by several ensemble darkhorses in their own right (N, Ghetsis, ect) and work to question the fundamentals of the game itself.
  • Roxie, the new Poison-type Gym Leader for the sequel games, has been especially well-received by the fandom having a character-design that appeals to western audiences.
  • Yancy and Curtis from Black 2 and White 2. Their main purpose in the games, after a lengthy sidequest is to trade you rare Pokémon with hidden abilities and items. However, they're both pretty popular since they serve as an (Implied) Love Interest for your character. It helps that they're both likeable and pretty cute, especially in Yancy's case.

Generation VI

  • Professor Sycamore from Pokémon X and Y has arguably become the most popular professor since Oak, likely due to his design and being the first professor to actually battle you.
  • Strangely, Tierno was ranked 3rd in popularity polls in Japan, but this doesn't seem to apply in other regions. The anime makes him far more interesting then he is in the games though.
  • The Furisode Girls from the Laverre Gym have a following, in part, because each one has a different unique sprite; making these trainers highly memorable for some players.note 
  • Malva from the Elite Four mainly since she's also a member of Team Flare, something that reminded a lot of fans of a certain plot twist in Pokémon Adventures as well as proving Evil Is Sexy quite well.
  • Siebold has quite a strong following for his philosophical words about Pokémon and the art of battling.
  • Emma, whose story made more than one person break down in tears.

Other Game Examples

  • Spinoff game Pokémon Colosseum has Miror B. Crazy Awesome, literal Disco Dan with a Pokč Ball-shaped afro as the first villain team boss. He never cares about his duties as a boss of a crime syndicate and prefers to practice his dance moves. His Latino-sounding battle theme also contributes to his popularity. In fact, he was so popular that he is the only Cipher member from Colosseum to reappear in the sequel, where you could battle him as often as you want (or until you got all the Shadow Pokémon, whichever came first).
  • Also from Colosseum is the protagonist, Wes, a Badass Longcoat Defector from Decadence Anti-Hero whose introduction is considered one of the biggest Crowning Moments of Awesome in the entire franchise.
  • Cipher is appreciated for being such an evil team that has no redeeming qualities and played completely seriously as a threat.
    • Some of Cipher's admins stand out on their own even if they don't quite reach Miror B.'s level. Special mention goes to Ein, Nascour, Lovrina, Ardos, and Eldes.
  • Silver from Pokémon Vietnamese Crystal, where the Translation Train Wreck results in him becoming unquestionably the largest ham in the Pokémon world, and beloved for it. His famous "trashy man" speech has reached the point of becoming emblematic of the game (well, that speech and Volcano Bakemeat).

    Pokémon - Generation I 
  • Cubone and its evolution Marowak are remembered partially because of their interesting design, use of bones as clubs, tearjerking backstory, and the fact that they're the only Pokémon in Gen I to have actual story relevance (the next closest to having to do with the plot was Snorlax, who simply was a Broken Bridge).
  • Pidgey. Still liked by many fans despite its shortcomings for being the original Com Mon bird. Perhaps it's the fact that it may have been the very first Pokémon to actually be caught by the first Pokémon trainers, or simply because it's cute.
    • Add to that the fact that it evolves into the badass-looking Pidgeotto, which was also heavily featured in the anime early on. Its final evolution, Pidgeot, is also not actually a bad Pokemon in the endgame.
  • Similarly, Ratatta is liked due to the top percentage meme mentioned above, and the fact that it's also the center of the "FEAR" strategy from Gen IV.
  • Meowth, probably because of its appearance in the anime. That's right!
  • Vulpix/Ninetales. You don't have to go far to see the MANY fanfics that claim this to be Naruto's favorite Pokémon. Even if you're not familiar with Naruto, these Pokémon are still considered very elegant. Add in the fact that the fox Pokémon were given Groudon's Drought ability, bringing about its usage in Sunlight teams.
  • The Oddish family have always been considered pretty cute looking in the simplistic sense. It even gained an alternate evolution in Gen 2 where it became even cuter.
  • Jigglypuff was popular enough to get an appearance in every installment of Super Smash Bros., even returning when Mewtwo was left out in Brawl. It's not so bad in Smash, either.
  • Gyarados, simply for being that Badass Pokémon that evolves from Magikarp, the very first (intentional) joke Pokémon. It's also very strong despite its Achilles' Heel to electricity.
  • Psyduck, thanks to the anime, where it is depicted as Misty's Cloud Cuckoolander Pokémon that provides several good Funny Moments. It was adored enough to appear in all of the Pokédexes, and be considered one of the "cute" Pokémon for Amity Square.
  • Koffing is fairly popular for being a Perpetual Smiler. While there are several others in this series, what puts Koffing above the others is its theme of smoke, causing many to interpret it as stoned. Its status as Smogon's mascot is further testament to its popularity. Weezing, despite its depressing face, still has its fans as a Mighty Glacier whose Levitate ability allows it to No Sell the more threatening of its two weaknesses.
  • Gengar has always been considered one of the more powerful and cool looking Ghost-types. In Gen I, it was the only fully evolved Ghost type. Even with the introduction of other ghosts, it has always managed to remain in the higher tiers, and is the only Pokémon to be in Smogon's OU tier in every generation. Its Mega Evolution is no joke either due to its ability becoming Shadow Tag, and is also considered better than most Legendaries.[1]
    • Its pre-evolution Haunter is quite popular as well, often considered more visually threatening. In fact, say what you want about the quality of Red and Blue's art sprites, but Haunter's original sprite was perhaps the one image that people preferred over it's latter design compared to other Pokémon that were redrawn.
  • Magnemite gained in popularity over the years. First, becoming a Steel-type in the second generation, which greatly increased its usability. Then, it gained a secondary evolution in Generation IV which made it a powerful Steel-type special user. In Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, Magnemite were used in the Magnemite Coil, a form of Emergent Gameplay, in Join Avenue. note 
  • Scyther the raptor mantis. One of the few awesome bug types of the first generation.
  • Pinsir was another well-liked Bug Pokémon from the first generation, but lost a lot of support over the years due to being overshadowed by the likes of Scyther (Scizor), Heracross, and Scolipede. Generation VI, however, finally throws Pinsir a bone and bestows upon it a Mega Evolution, putting Pinsir back on the map for the fan-base.
  • Slowbro got nicknamed as "Funbro" in Generation VI thanks to the discovery that he can obtain a move-set that would force players to be stuck in a never-ending battle. Slowbro is now basically considered to be the king of trolls in the Pokémon world. Even before battle strategies, the Slowpoke line was always popular due to their dopey looks and persona.
  • Starmie. A (mostly) unique dual-typing and incredible stat distribution / move-pool has Starmie in Smogon's OU Tier; being able to pull off any role that the player wishes for.
  • Before it gained an evolution, Chansey was greatly appreciated for being the only Pokémon that could actually stand a chance against Mewtwo (besides fighting it with another Mewtwo) due to its high HP stat. And even after it's evolution was introduced, Chansey would later receive a gift from the gods in the form of the Evolite item which skyrockets its defensive stats to levels Blissey could only ever dream of having; giving competitive players a tough choice as to whether evolving Chansey is worth it or not.
  • Kabutops for being a rather scary, but well designed Pokémon that's held usefulness throughout the generations and meta-game.
  • Eevee for inaugurating the concept of split evolutionary lines.
    • Jolteon for being one of the few Pokémon that could take down Psychic types in the first generation due to its blazing speed. Competitively, it has the honor for always being in the Overused tier prior to Gen VI.
    • Flareon gained quite a following other the years mostly for being the underdog of the Eeveelutions; getting constantly screwed over for never receiving any moves to take advantage of its monstrous attack stat until Generation VI. And even then...it still suffers a lot of problems.
      • Also, it's considered the cutest of all Pokémon by most fans.
    • Vaporeon as a highly competent Bulky Water competitive use Pokémon.
  • Arcanine, despite getting overshadowed by Charizard, has always been a fan favorite. Both because of its Canis Major design, and because Heroes Love Dogs.
  • Ditto has always been considered the ultimate pimp of the Pokémon universe due to its nature of being able to breed with any other Pokémon that can breed. In addition, its popularity drastically increased after it gained the Impostor ability from the Dreamworld in Generation V; buffing the pink-blob from a useless gimmick, to one of the best revenge killers in the game.
  • Dragonite, Generation I's Pseudo-Legendary and the only Dragon-Type at the time. Dragonite waned in popularity as the generations went on due to being overshadowed by Salamence and Garchomp, but once Generation V bestowed upon it the hidden ability Multiscale, its usability skyrocketed.
  • MissingNo, in a mixture of Good Bad Bugs and Memetic Mutation. The fact that his presence glitches the world in a hilarious manner and replicates the item in the 6th slot (useful for Master Balls and the like) helps a lot, too.
  • Mew, the kitten-like predecessor to Mewtwo, is popular due to its rarity (being an event-only Pokémon, unless glitches are used), cuteness, and overall versatility, as it can learn every single move that can be taught with an item in the game.
  • Mewtwo is never left out whenever the subject of legendaries comes up.
  • The baby Kangaskhan holds has a large popularity. If someone is creating their own fan generation and Pokémon, the baby is a popular choice for a Pokémon. IT got a Mega evolution and not its mother, which is by far the most powerful of all the megas.
  • Thanks to Twitch Plays Pokémon, Omanyte and its evolution Omastar have become this in the form of Lord Helix.
  • The Abra line, particularly in the first generation where the Psychic type was nearly unbeatable. It required a little patience, but almost everyone had an Alazakam on their team. It's since gotten a Mega evolution and a few Expies for later generations.

    Pokémon - Generation II 
  • Crobat is one due to being a stage 2 Pokémon that can be acquired early due to evolution through friendship and also has a higher BST (and much higher speed) than most other Flying-types.
  • Heracross retains a high level of popularity, partially due to Ash's Heracross, and partially due to its unique typing, good stats and cute design. It even got a Mega Evolution. This is in spite of the fact that in Gen II it was not only hard to find, but also pretty useless with a very weak movepool and almost no STAB moves. It may also have something to do with the face that Rhinoceros Beetles are popular in Japan and Beetle Fighting is a popular pastime.
  • The two Eeveelutions of this generation, Espeon and Umbreon, are also immensely popular. They are competitively useful, have powerful stats, and are Wes's starter and signature Pokémon. They're also badass researchers in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity.
  • Blissey. The ultimate high-HP defender against Special Attackers...but took a notable blow when Generation V's Psyshock came along.
  • Scizor. An evolution to a Pokémon that was already a Darkhorse. Gains a Steel-Typing and new design to make it even more Badass, and then gains an ability a few generations later that makes its Bullet Punch one of the most feared attacks in the game, even in Ubers.
  • Forretress. Created specifically to Stone Wall the Normal-Type kings from Generation I, and the only Pokémon that can set up all entry hazards (before Gen VI introduced Sticky Web, which it didn't get).
  • Politoed. Long forgotten as that random green toad from Johto, the moment it was given Kyogre's Drizzle ability, people went nuts to have it added to their Rain teams. It also turned Gen V's competitive scene into nothing but Weather Wars.
  • Quagsire. While not particularly great in-game or stat-wise, Quagsire's laid back nature and goofy smile has made him a mainstay in forum/imageboard threads about pokemon best suited to being a "bro". It got so popular on one board that it became its mascot, and is featured in most of the banners concerning said board.
  • Skarmory, considered to be one of the best physically-oriented Stone Walls in the game.
  • Tyranitar, Generation II's Pseudo-Legendary. It helps being one of the only one, apart from Metagross, that's NOT a Dragon-Type. Gaining Sand Stream to summon instant Sandstorms (and give it a free 50% boost to its already good Special Defense as of Gen IV) certainly helped his cause in competitive play.
  • Nobody is quite sure why Dunsparce is as popular as it is, yet people demand that it gain an evolution.
  • Ampharos may be slow but its bulk, high defenses (both Defense and Special Defense), high Special Attack, and its diverse movepool more than make up for it. It helps too that it remains cute even after evolving from Flaafy and Mareep. And when Generation VI rolled along, it gets a much-deserved Mega Evolution; sure, Mega Ampharos does become slower, but who the hell cares when it gets Dragon as its second typing?

    Pokémon - Generation III 
  • Ludicolo has been one ever since it was solidified as Miror B.'s (a Darkhorse in his own right) signature Pokémon. In addition, it's a popular Pokémon in competitive play due to its abilities synergy with Rain teams, and it's only weaknesses being to three uncommon offensive types (Flying, Poison, and Bug).
  • Aggron, who restores mountains and looks like an even more Badass metal version of another Darkhorse, Tyranitar. The fact the Aron and Larvitar lines are version exclusive counterparts for the Generation VI games furthers this connection that people make towards Aggron.
    • Its first form, Aron, has a following amongst "FEAR" strategists who use the Sturdy/Sand Stream ability combo with Endeavor.
  • Gardevoir is a Rule 34 magnet and would often place high in popularity polls. Pretty looks isn't all it has going for it, though. Gardevoir is also an extremely effective battler, having excellent Special Attack and learning all kinds of useful attack and support moves. Gardevoir got even better in Gen 6, with it's new Fairy Typing eliminating two of it's weaknesses (Dark and Bug), granting a very useful Dragon Immunity and getting a Mega Evolution on top of it.
  • Shroomish is considered to be a very cute walking mushroom, reminiscent of Mario's Goomba. Then it evolves into a vaguely dinosaur-like Breloom, becomes part fighting and gains an absurd attack stat. Combined with Spore (one of the best sleep-inducing moves in the game) and Focus Punch (a really strong attack that requires the user not to get hit) and it's a nearly killer combo.
  • Flygon; its unique typing and design stood out amongst all other Dragon Pokémon...at least before the Gible line was created. This, however, did not diminish its popularity; a dedicated and strong fan following still prefers to use it over Garchomp. It's still useful as a scout that's immune to Earthquake (something Garchomp does not have) and entry hazards like Spikes and Toxic Spikes, and its design is still considered quite unique.
  • Milotic, the Distaff Counterpart to Gyarados, was also another favorite pokemon from the Gen. It was also one of the most notoriously hard pokemon to get.
  • Absol, the Dark Is Not Evil doom sensor Hero with Bad Publicity. Its Mega Evolution only made it more popular by expanding its competitive usage.
  • Although rarely used in competition, Mawile is adorable and popular enough to be given a Mega Evolution.
  • Mawile's version counterpart, Sableye is also similarly popular due to strangely cute and at the time, having no type weaknesses (although low stats kept it from being a top tier threat).
  • Metagross, the only Pseudo-Legendary that's not Dragon-like and from the only generation to release more than one Pseudo-Legendary. Its duel Steel/Psychic typing is also quite a god-send in competitive play; rivaled only by Bronzong which was introduced in the next generation.
  • Salamence, Generation III's other Pseudo-Legendary, a Blood Knight of endless destruction. Competitively, it's most famous for the MixMence set, that would use its great mixed offensive stats and screw up your team.

    Pokémon - Generation IV 
  • Starly, a Com Mon similar to Pidgey who quickly becomes a Disc One Nuke. It learns great moves like Wing Attack early on, and eventually evolves into the Big, Badass Bird of Prey Staraptor, one of the rare Flying-Types capable of learning Close Combat. In fact, many have considered it one of the best Pokémon for completing the main story, period.
  • Lopunny. It's subpar in the competitive scene, but really popular among fan-artists for some reason.
  • Glaceon. It's like an Ice-type Espeon, except that it's a LITERAL Mighty Glacier.
  • Its counterpart, the long awaited Leafeon, isn't that far behind in popularity.
  • Hippowdon use caught on post-Generation IV with the many additions made in Generation V; increasing the utility of using Sand teams to take advantage of Hippowdon's ability to summon instant Sandstorms. Unlike Tyranitar (who also gets Sand Stream), it has Slack Off, much more physical bulk, and FAR fewer weaknesses (3 as opposed to Tyranitar's 7), making it a very good wall.
  • Abomasnow is often overlooked, but has its own loyal fanbase following amongst competitive players; particularly for being the staple of Hail teams as the only Pokémon that can summon instant Hail. Its typing sure doesn't do it any favors; having seven weaknesses turns many players away at first glance. However, it turns out that the weaknesses consist primarily of the lesser-used offensive types in competitive play, such as Poison, Steel, and Bug, and that the resistances Abomasnow does have are actually quite useful in competitive play; Water, Electric, and Ground specifically. The fact Abomasnow was one of the few Generation IV Pokémon to receive a Mega Evolution is no coincidence. On a side note, it's also quite prone to Barack Obamasnow jokes.
  • Garchomp, Generation IV's Pseudo-Legendary. Particularly popular with the older crowd because of its incredible power, and popular with the younger crowd because it resembles what you'd get if you combined a Dragon, a shark, and a jet-engine fighter plane. It's also famous for being one of the first non-Legendary Pokémon to be banned by Smogon.
  • Electivire, despite its questionable use in the metagame, has proven quite popular compared to other evolutions. Its design is quite appealing, and its move pool is still noticeably large compared to other Electric-types.
  • Gallade, another evolutionary option for the popular Ralts family It lost attention when Gardevoir received the Fairy-type and a Mega Evolution, but receiving its own Mega Evolution later has helped.
  • Weavile, for having a cool design and being very useful in battle. The fact that it debuted in the same generation as the Physical/Special split helps too.
  • Darkrai is immensely popular for its design, battle style, and two WIDELY different depictions (The Movie Darkrai and the Mystery Dungeon Darkrai have virtually no similarities).
  • Arceus earned its popularity very, very quickly.

    Pokémon - Generation V 
  • Deerling gained quite a following over the years for changing colors, being cute, being a deer, being a grass type, holding its own in battle, and for having an awesome evolution.
  • A LOT of fans wish Joltik was the most well-known Electric-type.
  • Excadrill, one of the most annoyingly powerful non-legendary Pokémon you'll ever fight against. Their existence (along with Garchomp) are the reason sand teams became such a threat in the Generation V meta-game.
  • Darumaka and Darmaitan are really well liked due to their adorable design and skull-breakingly strong attacks. They're one of the better fire types in the main campaign as well.
  • Scrafty is also a very well-liked Pokémon from Generation V. It looks cool, has an interesting theme, and is uniquely useful in competitive play; it and Scraggy (its previous form) are the only dark/fighting types, which means they're the only fighting type Pokémon immune to psychic attacks note , and they get STAB on two very useful types. Scrafty's possible abilities are also very good. Moxie increases its attack every time it defeats an enemy, making it a good sweeper. Shed Skin has a chance of removing a status effect, so it's great for a defensive set. The official Nintendo 2011 Black and White tournament gave out a fairly decent Scrafty as a nod to its popularity as a team fighter. It likely helps that Scrafty is really useful in-game as well, with its typing rendering it good against three of the Elite Four.
  • Chandelure. Right up there with Gengar as one of the best Ghost types of the game thanks to its god-like special-attack and amazing type coverage. Which is ironic considering the status most other Pokémon based on inanimate objects get.
  • Volcarona and its pre-evolution Larvesta. Thanks to it being an excellent Pokemon battle-wise, possessing a unique type combination (Bug/Fire), and for being a fluffy moth.
  • Golurk is a freaking Humongous Mecha! The moment people figure out it can learn Fly ups anyone's view of the giant robot. Also has the unique typing of Ghost/Ground.
    • In addition, it's Iron Fist ability makes punching attacks more powerful and it get the never-miss Shadow Punch naturally. Golurk is basically the Pokemon equivalent of a Jaeger.
  • Haxorus, a Dragon dinosaur with axes for teeth?!?! Yes please!
  • Bisharp, a Badass blade fighter with a cool Dark/Steel type.
  • Braviary is A TRUE AMERICAN EAGLE.
  • Hydreigon, Generation V's pseudo-legendary and the signature 'mon of the aforementioned Ghetsis.
  • Genesect, a prehistoric insect-turned-cyborg weapon of mass destruction. Based on the trailer for the next movie, a Transformer too. This only served to increase its popularity.

    Pokémon - Generation VI 
  • The Kalos bird, Talonflame, picked up a fanbase on the competitive side of things the moment people realized just how good its signature Hidden Ability, Gale Wings, is; giving it +1 priority to all Flying-Type attacks, including Brave Bird, Tailwind and Roost.
  • Vivillon, a bug type whose region varying colors have created such high demand people will trade legends for them. They even created a special variation that can only be acquired through a Pokemon GTS event.
  • Skiddo and Gogoat. Both can be ridden on in game. Skiddo is a cute little goat kid, while Gogoat is cross between an adult goat and a motorcycle with good stats and a surprisingly large movepool when compared to other Grass-types.
  • Espurr and Meowstic, the Creepy Cute cats. Especially Espurr, whose Thousand-Yard Stare quickly achieved meme status and recently had a whole range of merchandise revolving around it released.
  • Despite a rough start regarding Honedge and Doublade's shallow designs, the possessed sword's final evolution, Aegislash more than made up for it with an Awesome McCoolname in every language, a cool semi-humanoid design, and great viability in competitive play; giving the Pokemon swords as-a-whole a much better reception amongst the fans.
  • Goomy, whom some internet users are jokingly worshiping as a God, might just be one of the most adorable Pokemon, period. Its final form, Goodra, is the first pseudo-legendary since Dragonite to be a happy-go-lucky friendly creature (that still kicks a lot of ass) rather than a vicious bloodthirsty beast.
  • Hawlucha, the Masked Luchador hawk whose Secret Art is the only dual-typed move in the series. While Hawlucha is quite prone to Mucha Lucha! jokes, it's also developed a massive fanbase with Pro Wrestling Fans.
  • Tyrunt and Tyrantrum, the first true Tyrannosaurus rex Mons in the series - not just by virtue of being clearly based on a popular dinosaur known for being supremely Badass, but also by virtue of being Dragon-types! In fact, Tyrantrum was voted the second-best Pokémon of Gen VI by Dorkly users, ahead of Yveltal, the more popular version mascot, and only behind Greninja, the Breakout Character of the generation.
  • The sauropod Ice fossils Amaura and Aurorus didn't go unappreciated, either. You'd be lucky to come across a Pokémon forum that hasn't made a The Land Before Time or Jurassic Park joke with the new Poké-dinos.
  • Pumpkaboo and Gourgeist, one of two new Ghost/Grass type families introduced this generation clearly saw more popularity than the Phantump/Trevenant line for their adorable, unique, and creative design (Halloween and pumpkins) and for coming in four different and unique sizes ranging from small to super size which isn't simply a cosmetic difference, but also are seperated from one another from how one uses them (small tends to be speedy sub-seeders whilst the Super-Size are very bulky).
  • Sylveon is a Memetic Badass since Fairy-types are strong against Dragon-types, which used to be Game Breakers back in the day. Also, it's a Badass Adorable Eeveelution.
  • Mega-evolutions
    • In general, Game Freak claims that on of the main factors behind who received Mega Evolutions was popularity.
    • Mega Kangaskhan is popular due to its ability, Parental Bond, allowing most moves to hit twice.
    • Mega Mewtwo X. The smaller, less menacing and much more widely-marketed Mega Mewtwo Y got a mixed reception from fans, with its portrayal in the divisive 16th anime movie not helping matters. Then, Mega Mewtwo X was revealed, and fans adored it for its tougher and more masculine design, despite only getting a tiny percentage of its Y counterpart's publicity even to this day.note 
    • Mega Garchomp is considered to be a huge darkhorse amongst all the other Mega-evolutions (with the exception of Mega Kangaskhan). The reason being that while all Mega-evolutions are usually just significant stat-buffs, Garchomp's Mega-evolution actually has a completely different play-style compared to its normal form; allowing for Garchomp to utilize Rock and Steel-type moves over its normal move-setsnote  thanks to the Sand Force ability Garchomp switches to in its Mega-evolution.


  • Ash, or rather evil Ash, who is popular enough to allow the writers to fool the fans in a trailer for a Pokémon movie.
  • Some of the Characters of the Day get this as well. Gligarman (an obvious Batman and superhero parody) was popular enough to frequently get requested to return to the show, especially when Ash had a Gligar/Gliscor of his own.
  • Sidestory characters such as Jimmy, Marina, Alain, and Mairin all have rather sizable fanbases.
  • Conway, an intended one-shot who was added to two other story arcs (the Pokémon Summer Academy and the Sinnoh League) due to fan popularity.
  • Pokémon Hunter J, for really pushing the envelope in terms of how dark the anime can get. She is a No-Nonsense Nemesis and also one of the very few villains who actually tries to murder Ash as opposed to just getting rid of him.
  • Harley, because he's such a Jerkass and yet so damn FUNNY at the same time. He was also the first genuinely antagonistic rival in the series who remained an antagonist and not change his behavior, which the fans greatly appreciated.
  • Ursula, a one-shot character of the day that becomes a full-fledged rival for Dawn in the next season due to fan popularity for being an antagonistic rival; separating her from Zoey, Kenny, and Nando.
  • Byron. Oh, dear god, Byron.
  • Maylene for good character development, though getting voiced by Misty's English Voice Actor probably doesn't hurt.
  • Burgundy only appeared in one episode originally. Immediately after her design was shown, fanart exploded, and she became a Launcher of a Thousand Ships. Then during the Club Battle arc, she had some Character Development, and later developed a hilarious Vitriolic Best Buds relationship with Georgia.
  • Georgia, Iris' "Dragon Buster" rival, is well-liked for having a rounded character and Jerk with a Heart of Gold tendencies.
  • Amongst Ash's numerous rivals, Stephan has become one of these. Being less prominent than Trip or Bianca (among others), he nonetheless has a lively and likeable personality, as well as being a Badass battler from what we get to see of his skills. It also helps that he gets what is, hands down, the best battle in the entire Unova League.
  • The Club Tournament contestants - many don't even get any lines, but their character designs are regarded as among the best parts of those arcs (Antonio and Jimmy Ray/Watchog Guy especially). Some of these characters, like the aforementioned Antonio, return for the Unova League.
    • Edmund the "Rain Man", who's an (almost literal) One-Scene Wonder (he appears momentarily before battling Stephan, and disappears altogether afterwards).
  • Despite only appearing in one game and a single episode, Lucy the Frontier Brain is very popular and one of the main characters shipped with Brock.
  • Similar to the above Lucy example, several girls are this for shippings with Ash despite not being one of his primary traveling companions.
    • Melody from Pokemon 2000 for cheek-kissing Ash, though this act also makes her very, very, very hated by Pokeshippers.
    • Bianca from Pokemon Heroes for, again, cheek kissing Ash at the end of the movie. (Though, if this was actually Latias has always been up for debate)
    • Frontier Brain, Anabel, maintains a fanbase for Abilityshipping
    • Angie, a tomboy from the Sinnoh Summer Academy arc for Morpheusshipping.

  • Ash's team is filled with these: Heracross, Swellow and Staraptor. Even Ash's unofficial Pokémon, Haunter and Larvitar, have a place in fans' hearts.
    • Ash's Gliscor. What wins a lot of people over towards this Pokemon was how utterly cute the anime made the flying scorpion out to be despite its supposed god-awful design.note  If any Pokemon ended up getting a better reception compared to when they were introduced in the game beforehand, it's this one.
    • Ash's Gible. There's just something about it's blank, wide-eyed, personality that draws people to adore the tiny land-shark. Also helped by the fact that its capture was Ash's first legitimate pseudo-legendary Pokemon.
    • Snivy, beloved for being an Action Girl Team Mom with a Sugar and Ice Personality; Krookodile, a Dark Is Not Evil Cowardly Lion who's also a powerful Boisterous Bruiser; and Palpitoad, the underused but strange and powerful trump card...especially Palpitoad. Just read the comments of fans, disappointed by his lack of screentime, miniscule development, and rare victories.
  • Misty's Psyduck and Jesse's Wobbuffet, two very similar, dopey Pokémon who just won't stay in their Poké Balls.
  • Brock's Croagunk. Ineffectual Loner, Evil Laugh, Ass Shove, Not So Stoic, Croagunk holds a lot of Diamond and Pearls funnier moments. In addition, a majority of people find that its rendition of the Running Gag to keep Brock away from women he hits on to be the best version.
  • The Ducklett trio from an early Best Wishes episode, who caused bizarre, yet adorable chaos and trolled the characters several times. Ask any Pokémon forum about them, and you'll see they're almost universally loved.

Currently, the only works with Ensemble Darkhorse pages are Pokémon, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, and Transformers. see here for a list of anime darkhorses or here for darkhorses from video games.