Pokemon / Tropes S to Z

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    S 
  • Saharan Shipwreck: In Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness, Shadow Lugia lifts an ocean liner straight out of the sea in the opening cutscene. As the story progresses, you get hints that something went wrong, and later discover that Shadow Lugia wigged out at some point in transit and dropped the liner into the desert.
  • Satanic Archetype: If Arceus is the top God of the universe, then Giratina, who was banished to the Reverse World for its violent behavior, is Satan. Darkrai and a few others also less common contenders for being Satan of the Pokemon universe.
  • Save Scumming: You can do this with any one-time-only Mon, allowing you to get an ideal nature, or even a Shiny. Let's see if your patience holds out.
  • Save the World Climax: Every single Pokémon game since Gen III, barring remakes of Gens I and II. Your protagonist always starts out as some kid living in a small town who sets out on a journey To Be a Master. They always end up having to stop the regional criminal organization from using the version legendary to Take Over the World (or at least reshape it). After that's done, they can finally get their final gym badge and/or take on the Pokémon League in order to finish the game.
    • This is in spite of the fact that you are a relatively young, newbie trainer (who is adolescent). Gen IV is worse, where it ups the ante to the point where you are forced to intervene in order to save all of existence.
  • Scavengers Are Scum: It is almost guaranteed Pokémon based off of Real Life scavengers are Dark-typed. At this moment we have the hyenas Poochyena and Mightyena (Dark/Normal), the vultures Vullaby and Mandibuzz and the crows Murkrow and Hunchcrow (Dark/Flying), and the weasels Sneasel and Weavile (Dark/Ice). On the other hand, many other Pokemon that look like Real Life predators don't always fall in this type. For example, the lions Litleo and Pyroar are dual type Fire/Normal Pokemon, whereas the Shinx evolutionary line, regardless of its black fur, is Electric-typed. It is subverted with the Carvanha and Sandile lines, though.
  • Schmuck Bait:
    • Played with. As cool as the Fire-type starting Pokémon may look, generally speaking, they're the worst ones to start off with, and more often than not picking them will result in you getting absolutely slaughtered as soon as you run into that game's Wake-Up Call Boss. However, with the relative rarity of Fire-types compared to the plethora of Grass and Water-types usually available, they may make for a better long-term option.
    • The Magikarp salesman in the R/B/Y games (and the remakes.) For $500, he'll sell you the most useless Pokémon in the game... unless you think that getting the trope namer for Magikarp Power well before you can fish it up normally is worth the extra $300.
  • Schrödinger's Player Character:
    • Played straight in Crystal, where the female character option was first introduced, as well as in FR/LG; averted in the subsequent main games, where the character you don't choose becomes an NPC.
    • Partly played straight in HG/SS which, despite Leaf being playable in LG/FR (leaving Red in purgatory), has Red as the Bonus Boss while Leaf is nowhere to be found.
  • Schrödinger's Question: Most often used for naming the characters around you.
    • Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire have you chasing down Latias and Latios depending on the version. When it comes to Pokémon Emerald, however, you're allowed to pick which one it is; you see it on TV, and your mom asks what color it was. The color you pick confirms which one you'll be after, and neither will actually be present in your game until the moment you answer this question.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: Well, whoever it is that writes the Pokedex sure doesn't have one. Pokedex entries regularly say things like "Gardevoir can create black holes" and "Alakazam has an IQ of 5,000". The height and weight estimates they give fare no better; most infamously Wailord can be calculated to be less dense than air. And then you notice it is the Float Whale Pokémon...
    • The best examples of Pokémon weight being screwy are the Steel and Rock types, which are often made of materials that are incredibly heavy in Real Life. Examples include Regirock and Registeel: Regirock is 5'7note  and weighs 507.1lbs.note . Due to the density of rock, Regirock should actually weigh about One-Thousand Two-Hundred-Thirty-Nine pounds, Three Ouncesnote , which is almost triple how much it weighs. Registeel is 6'3note  tall and weighs 451.9lbs.note . If the metal it's made from is about as heavy as iron, it should be at least 625lbs., unless Registeel is actually hollow.
  • Scissors Cuts Rock: In general gameplay, you can override type advantages by simply being much stronger than all opponents. Even the Elite Four can be defeated by a single starter if it's at level 100. There's also the common tactic of giving a Pokémon moves that can trump its type weaknesses (say, a Psychic-type Reuniclus beating a Dark-type opponent with the Fighting-type Focus Blast).
    • The ability Tinted Lens, which increases the power of ineffective attacks back up to the power of a neutral hit, can lead to this.
    • Literally, as the Rock-type is weak to Steel.
    • The Generation VI move Freeze Dry is an Ice-type move that is super-effective against Water-type Pokémon, which other Ice-type moves would normally be less effective against.
    • Inverse battles, introduced in Generation VI, reverse the type matchups. So, in an inverse battle, Fire beats Water, Water beats Grass, Grass beats Fire, and so on and so forth.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: Snake and cobra Pokémon Ekans and Arbok, and Technology Haunter Rotom. Taking Engrish and romanization into account, "Lucario" is supposed to be "oracle" (o-ri-ca-lu) in reverse.
    • A common joke in the fandom is to suggest this trope applies to Muk, as well.
  • Sealed Good in a Can: Pokémon can become this in their Poké Balls, especially if their Trainer deposits them indefinitely into the Pokémon Storage System.
  • Second Person Attack: Done in a lot of the 3D games, because battle animations weren't built for two Pokémon to ever hit each other or even be on the same side of the arena. Battle Revolution is the first game in the Stadium series to have some moves avert this trope.
  • Secret Character: At least one every generation. However, Mew, the original Secret Character, was apparently so secret that not even Nintendo knew at first that it was programmed into the original Red and Green Versions.
  • Seldom-Seen Species: Quite a few Mons are based off animals rarely seen in real life.
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike: Due to the amount of Pokémon and the ways of finding/evolving them going up every game, along with the various sidequests and challenges.
  • Serpent of Immortality: The game has "Shed Skin", an ability that can cure status ailments that are inflicted to the user. This ability is the main ability of Seviper.
    • Zygarde is a literal example being a Legendary.
  • Shed Armor, Gain Speed:
    • The move Shell Smash is inspired by this trope. All of the user's defensive stats drop by one, but their offensive stats (including speed) increase by 2.
    • The ability Weak Armor represents this similarly. Every time a Pokémon with the ability is hit with a physical attack, its defense drops a stage, but its Speed increases one. Its Japanese name, Broken Armor, makes it even more apparant.
    • If you trade a Shelmet for a certain other Pokémon, when the trade is concluded, the other Pokémon will have his shell-helmet and Shelmet will evolve into Accelgor, who has insane speed but lower defensive stats.
    • The move Autotomize decreases weight and causes the user to "become nimble," increasing speed.
  • Short-Range Guy, Long-Range Guy: The series has two types named Fighting and Psychic, and Psychic-type attacks are super-effective to Fighting type Pokemon. Fighting-type attacks are usually physical (eg. Karate Chop, Brick Break), while Psychic-type attacks tend to be Special.
  • Shout-Out: Now has its own page.
  • Side Quest: Pokémon contests. And various others in individual games.
  • Sigil Spam: Poké Balls appear on a ton of buildings, signs, and even floors of important buildings. Taken even further with the artificial Mythical Pokémon known as Magiana, whose creators gave its "dress" and torso Poké Ball designs.
  • Signature Roar: All Pokémon have their own call in the games. How realistic and distinctive they sound is a sort-of Vocal Evolution reflecting the improving sound quality of the Game Boy and later the DS; Pokémon from earlier generations had electronic beeps and buzzes as their cries, and many were recycled from mon to mon even for those you definitely would not expect to sound alike—Seaking the goldfish had nearly the same call as Scyther the praying mantis, for instance. By generation 4 all the new Pokémon had cries that actually sounded like animals. (Monferno sounds like a monkey going OOH EE OOH EE OOH EE). Generation 6 updates most of the older cries to sound more natural and, in such cases as the Seaking and Scyther example above, less similar to each other.
  • Single Specimen Species: Zigzagged with Legendary and Mythical Pokemon. Most people assume that this is true with all Legendary and Mythical as you normally only encounter one during a playthrough of a given game. However, many have Pokedex entries or other details that suggest that there are more then one (such as Latias, and Heatran) while others have entries that suggest that they're unique individuals rather then entire species (Mewtwo, The Swords of Justice and Arceus). As later games give you chances to capture or obtain Legendaries and Mythicals from previous games, this trend is becoming increasingly averted.
  • Situational Damage Attack: The games have many attacks that fall to this, such as Knock Off (damage increases if Knock Off removes the target's item), Acrobatics (damage increases if the user is NOT holding an item) or Pursuit (damage increases if the target tries to switch out). The Dark type is particularly prone to these attacks, with them amounting to about half of all Dark-type attacks.
  • Sliding Scale of Continuity: The games mix level 2 (Status Quo Is God) with level 0 (Non-Linear Installments). There is continuity in the world, with references to events from previous games and some recurring characters, but every new game starts with you being a new rookie trainer in a new region fighting a new evil team, and knowing where the recurring characters came from is more a bonus than anything else.
  • Sliding Scale of Turn Realism: Turn by Turn. It is also a moderately Justified Trope in that Trainer Battling goes by rules, so doing one move per turn is actually an in-universe law. Although that doesn't help in explaining why the villainous teams follow these "rules"... and wild Pokemon as well...
  • Smart Animal, Average Human: Pokémon practically feeds off of this trope where average humans train their pets, or "Pokémon", to become stronger and presumably smarter with each battle. Their intelligence could even surpass that of humans, although this is more of an Informed Ability as they'll still follow a competent trainer's orders despite their intelligence. In general Pokemon intelligence ranges from dog-like to the same level as a human child or a chimpanzee.
  • Socialization Bonus: This is actively encouraged by the One Game for the Price of Two mechanic, as it is the easiest way to complete your Pokédex.
  • Solar and Lunar:
    • Solrock and Lunatone.
    • Espeon and Umbreon, who evolve from Eevee depending on the time of day when its happiness is high enough.
    • The two recovery moves Moonlight and Morning Sun.
    • Pokémon Sun and Moon, the seventh generation titles.
  • Something Completely Different: Pokemon ReBurst
  • Sound-Coded for Your Convenience: During battle, whenever one Pokémon strikes another Pokémon with a damage-dealing offensive move, one of three sound effects will play, depending on whether the move used was "not very effective" (dealt 1/2 damage or less), dealt normal damage, or was "super effective" (dealt x2 or more damage).
  • So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear: Pokémon released into the wild or traded over to someone else will take their held item with them.
  • Spike Shooter: Any Pokémon with the moves Spikes, Toxic Spikes, Spike Cannon, Twineedle, and/or Pin Missile. There are also Icicle Spear and Icicle Crash for the Ice-types.
  • Spinning out of Here: Escape Ropes, the moves Teleport and Dig, and teleport pads cause the player character to spin in place before teleporting.
  • Spin-Off: Along with the ones listed at the top of the page and their sequels, there is Pokémon Trozei, Pinball, Pinball: Ruby and Sapphire, Dash, Box: Ruby and Sapphire, and Puzzle League/Challenge.
  • Spin-Off Babies: A few Pokémon families have younger versions of the basic stage. In earlier games, they could only be obtained through breeding, but later games have you finding them in the wild. The defining trait they have is that they're unable to breed due to being too immature.
  • Spiteful A.I.: There are a few moves in the games that allow the AI to qualify as this. Selfdestruct and Explosion both deal massive damage at the expense of the user fainting; Destiny Bond makes sure that if the user faints, so does the opponent; Perish Song adds a counter to everyone out in battle that makes sure that everyone faints in 3 turns. Often when fighting a trainer, their last mon will use one of those moves. The Aftermath ability chips off 1/4 of the opponent's HP if the user faints by means of an attack that makes contact.
    • Starting from Gen 3, Double-Battle oriented moves. These are moves that are either completely useless (Helping Hand) or subpar (Tail Whip) in single battles, but they range from useful to plain broken in these battles. When you have to deal with the one-in-fifty Double Battle throughout the storyline, you can expect your opponent to not only have an arsenal of these moves, but also having been hand picked to complement each other and whoop your ass. Gen 5 made it way worse with Triple Battles, where the hax potential of a couple hand picked moves (which your opponent WILL have) goes through the roof in them.
  • Spoony Bard: Several novelty or gimmick Pokémon, like Ditto (makes a Mirror Match), Wobbuffet (can only counterattack), Unown (for collection, not battling), Smeargle (blue-mage-like attack copying), Spinda (every one has a different spot pattern), Shedinja (One-Hit-Point Wonder that's completely immune to any (direct) attack that's not super-effective), Castform (changes shape and type based on weather), and Kecleon (changes type to whatever hit it last). Wobbuffet is a noted game breaker, Shedinja has some effectiveness on scrubs or for catching Kyogre, Smeargle can basically have any possible combination of moves, and Ditto Took a Level in Badass when he got his own unique Ability in Black and White, but the rest... they may have niche uses due to type, ability, and/or move combinations, but many of those niches are so specific as to seem deliberately contrived. And some of them don't even have that much.
  • Standard Status Effects: Pokémon splits them into two categories: volatile and non-volatile. Volatile status conditions (such as Confusion) either wear off after a few turns, wear off if the user is switched out, or both. They don't have a HUD indicator and there's no limit to how many a Pokémon can have at a time. Non-volatile conditions (such as Burn or Poison) do have a HUD indicator, can only be cured with items or specific moves, and a Pokémon can only have one at a time. This can be abused by certain 'mons to deliberately afflict themselves with conditions that don't mean much (such as Burn on a Magic Gaurd Alakazam) to make themselves immune to more debilitating ones (such as Sleep or Freeze).
    • Non-volatile status conditions:
      • Poison comes in two flavors: regular and "bad" poison. While regular poison just inflicts 1/8 of a Pokémon's max HP in damage each turn, bad poison, which the move Toxic inflicts, starts at 1/16 and increased the damage by another 1/16 each passing turn, making it eventually impossible to stall out, although the counter resets if the Pokémon switches out. There's a way to tell the difference: regular poison has white lettering in its icon, bad poison has purple lettering. Poison and Steel-type Pokémon are immune to getting poisoned.
      • Burns also inflict 1/8 of a Pokémon's max HP each turn. They also halve their attack stat, making burn-inflicting moves good at crippling physical attackers. Obviously, Fire-types are immune to burns.
      • Paralysis cuts a Pokémon's speed down to just 1/4 of its usual value. Additionally, there's a 1/4 chance each turn that a paralyzed 'mon can't move. Electric-types are immune to paralysis (as of Generation VI). While Ground-types aren't, they are immune to Thunder Wave, the most common paralysis move, making them difficult to paralyze.
      • Sleeping Pokémon won't be able to act for 1-3 turns. Self-inflicted sleep (i.e. Rest) always lasts for 2 turns. In Generation V, the counter for Sleep reset when a Pokémon was switched out. Generation VI changed it to no longer reset its counter when a Pokémon was switched out.
      • Freeze is by far the most dreaded status condition of any of these, but is also the rarest, as it has no move which guarantees it. Frozen Pokémon can't act, similar to Sleep, but instead of operating on a set counter, there is a 20% chance that the Pokémon will unthaw each turn, meaning a frozen Pokémon may very well stay like that for the rest of the match... or unthaw and attack as soon as it's inflicted. Getting hit by a Fire-type move, or using the move Scald, Flame Wheel, or Sacred Fire, removes this condition. Ice-type Pokémon are always immune to being frozen.
    • Volatile status conditions:
      • Confusion causes a Pokémon to damage itself 50% of the time it tries to act for 1-4 turns. Its presence is always indicated by circling birds and a message, as is snapping out of it. Interestingly, the game treats the self-damage as a typeless, physical, base-power 40 move aimed against itself, causing Pokémon with high Attack to take more damage. This is why Swagger is so widely hated, since it increased the confusion damage taken on top of confusing the target.
      • An infatuated Pokémon cannot attack 50% of the time. It is caused when Attract is used on a Pokémon of the opposite gender. Genderless Pokémon cannot be affected with it.
      • Flinch is a special, one-turn status condition that prevents all movement for that turn only. It only occurs if the Pokémon has yet to act that turn, meaning it has no effect on one that's already gone. Can potentially lead to hax if it's spammed and the RNG hates you. (God help you if it's combined with paralysis, as seen above.)
      • Taunted Pokémon can't use status moves for 3 turns. Similarly, tormented Pokémon can't use the same move twice in a row.
      • Partial trapping keeps the Pokémon from switching out for 4-5 turns, and most moves that inflict it also deal some damage after each turn (but end early if the user is KO'd or switches out). Full trapping just keeps the Pokémon from switchin period, unless the inflictor is KO'd or switches. Ghost-type Pokémon can't be trapped.
      • The move Encore makes a Pokémon only use their last used move for 3 turns.
      • There's also a few other, generally move-specific ones besides the ones listed here, like Perish Song, Telekinesis, and Curse.
  • Starter Mon: Every main-series game with the exception of Pokemon Yellow offers you a choice between a grass type, a water type, and a fire-type sstarter. Spinoff games also like giving you Eevee as a starter, giving you a choice in a different manner.
  • Stock Femur Bone: Cubone and Marowak carry one with them at all times. There's also the hold item Thick Club that doubles their Attack.
  • Stock RPG Spells: Obviously covers a lot of the Elemental Powers, and has Status Buffs and Standard Status Effects. Compared to other RPGs, though, curative moves are very rare, making Pokémon with the move Wishnote  the only way to heal many Pokémon's HP in PvP, where use items like Hyper Potions aren't allowed.
  • Stone Wall:
    • Two of the most popular are Skarmory (against physical attacks) and Blissey (against special attacks, with the additional bonus of having the highest possible base HP in the game), often used together for the lockdown Skarmbliss strategy. The other extremely popular walls now include Forretress, Ferrothorn, and Reuniclus for their excellent defensive stats and typings. This is also, arguably, parodied with Shuckle, which combines absurd stats in both defenses with an immunity to One-Hit KO moves, but has horrifically abysmal attack stats. (Strangely, it also has pitiful hit points, so it can be taken out in two or three shots of Seismic Toss or Night Shade, if your opponent uses them.)
    • You can also adapt several others for this role, with the moves Cosmic Power or Stockpile.
    • Beyond them, Lugia and Cresselia qualify. They have titanic defensive stats and middling offenses... the catch is, the former is banned and the latter isn't used very often because of her unreliable recovery.
    • Wobbuffet, also banned in competitive play, has the third highest base HP in the game (over 500 at max level), but literally can't attack. It has no offensive moves, only counter-attacks. (Which are, admittedly, pretty powerful.)
    • Despite having rather poor natural defences, Furfrou seems to likewise be designed to be one. It has a signature ability that halves all physical damage, and it learns/can learn/can be bred to know a number of moves designed to either raise its own attack/defence, or decrease the opponent's, as well as lower their accuracy or even desire to attack. Its actual weakness lies in its Special Defence, since the only way to teach it a move to increase that stat is to breed it.
  • Strictly Formula: For the first four generations, at least. Battle through one or two gyms, encounter the evil team, dismantle their first plot, battle through a few more gyms, encounter the evil team again, dismantle their second plot and battle their leader, battle through the seventh gym, the evil team begins their endgame, defeat their leader (in 3 and 4, battle the legendary they hoped to control after this), battle the eighth gym, beat the Elite 4 and Champion. And then maybe encounter some stragglers from the evil team after.
    • Generation 5 subverted this, in that the evil team's endgame really took place as the Champion's Battle (and after).
  • Super Breeding Program: Once you gain access to the daycare, you can drop off any two compatible Pokémon together to produce offspring. Depending on who you drop off, you can end up with a superior creature with all the best traits of both parents. Breeding is essential if you want to compete with other players and win against them.
  • Super Cute Super Powers: The Fairy type, despite its name, tends to be not The Fair Folk, but rather a mix of moon-based moves, such as Moonlight and Moonblast, and cute moves that invoke this trope, such as Charm, Sweet Kiss, Baby-Doll Eyes and Disarming Voice.
  • Super Mode: Mega Evolutions, introduced in Pokémon X and Y. Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire introduces a variant called Primal Reversion, exclusive to version mascots Groudon and Kyogre (the main difference aside from this exclusivity being that Primal Reversions activate immediately when one of those two is sent out while equipped with its appropriate Orb, whereas Mega Evolutions can be activated during any turn).
  • Supernatural Is Purple: Different shades of purple represent Ghost and Psychic types.
  • Super Strength: The Pokédex claims this for quite a few Pokémon, especially Fighting types.
  • Suspicious Videogame Generosity:
    • In each game, right before facing the Elite Four, you'll find a Pokémon Center and Pokémart, as well as a PC so you can switch out your HM Pokémon needed to navigate Victory Road with the absolute best Pokémon in your arsenal.
    • Many games combine this with Convenient Weakness Placement, most commonly before gyms. For example, you can trade for a Machop before facing Whitney, Elesa and Clemont are electric-type leaders whom you reach by going through routes largely populated with ground-types, and the path to Valerie's gym is populated with several poison-types such as Haunter.
  • Switch Out Move: The moves Whirlwind, Roar, Dragon Tail, and Circle Throw (all of which have decreased priority), and the Red Card item forces the opponent to switch out. The moves Baton Pass, U-Turn, and Volt Switch, and the item Escape Button allow the user/holder to switch out.
  • Sword Beam: Psycho Cut, especially when used by Gallade, who has swords for arms.

    T 
  • Taking You with Me:
    • The entire purpose of Destiny Bond, with Explosion and Self-Destruct also acting like this unless you're extremely defensive or lucky with evasion moves.
    • The Aftermath ability can do this, if the other 'mon is weakened enough when yours faints.
    • Perish Song can do this, if one or both don't switch out.
  • Take That, Audience!: Anytime someone talks about people treating Pokémon like they're tools and nothing else.
  • Teach Him Anger: When the player allows a Pokémon to learn Rage or Frustration.
  • Teaser Equipment: Inverted in all the main series Pokémon games. Even if you have the money to do so, shops refuse to sell you the higher level PokéBalls and healing items until you've advanced the plot and obtained sufficient Gym badges.
    • Taken Up To Eleven in the Pokeball store in Lumious City in X and Y, you can buy almost any kind of Pokeball, except for Apricorn Balls and Masterballs. Which they keep behind the counter where the players can see them.
      • The Apricorn Balls are especially bad because unlike the Master Ball, they cannot be acquired and used through normal gameplay outside gen 2 and their remakes, despite not being overpowered and possibly being the ball you are using to send out your Pokémon.
  • Technicolor Fire: Sacred Fire and Blue Flare, as well as many Dragon-type attacks, especially from the fourth gen onwards.
  • Technicolor Toxin: The poison type element is purple, and many poisonous attacks and/or poison type Pokémon are violet in color.
  • Tempting Fate: Gardenia in Generation IV states that she hopes that there is and will not be a Grass/Ghost type Pokémon. Come Generation VI, when 4 Pokémon have this type, more specifically Phantump, Trevenant, Pumpkaboo, and Gourgeist
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Played much more realistically than usual (e.g. different marking, horn sizes). Of course, there are also female Wobbuffet, who wear bright red lipstick.
  • Theme-and-Variations Soundtrack: Listen closely to the music that plays in each of the Gen IV Battle Frontier facilities (minus the Tower). You'll notice that they all share a different remix of a certain part. (And as a bonus, so does the beginning of Puella's Theme from Battle Arena Toshinden 4.)
  • The Medic: Any Pokémon with the move Wish can potentially be this, though the effectiveness varies based on the user's HP stat. In addition, the moves Aromatherapy and Heal Bell cure the entire party of status ailments, and the move Heal Pulse lets the user heal any Pokémon but itself (which is useless in single battles, where the only other target is the opponent).
    • Pokémon with the Healer ability can cure their allies of status conditions.
  • Tiered by Name:
    • Many Pokémon have a two-part name with one part changing to reflect a higher power level upon evolution, such as Machop - Machoke - Machamp or Larvitar - Pupitar - Tyranitar
    • All Mega Evolution forms in Pokémon X and Y officially have the name "Mega <mega evolved Pokémon>".
  • Time Travel: Mentioned a few times in the series.
    • Celebi is the most well known for being able to do it (and it takes the player character on a trip through time during an event in Heart Gold and Soul Silver).
    • The ability to trade between the first two generations is achieved by the "Time Capsule".
    • Similarly, if a Pokémon that originated in Generation III is brought to Generation IV through Pal Park and then to Generation V through Poké Transfer, it will be noted as having arrived "after a long travel through time". In Generation VI, all previous-gen Pokémon are noted to have traveled "across time and space" from their native regions. In Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, you earn a "Time Travel Award" for showing the game director a Pokémon caught in the original Hoenn games.
    • Dialga is the master of time, but no actual Time Travel is ever brought into play with it outside of the twelfth movie.
      • Though in Explorers of Time/Darkness/Sky Dialga has the power to give his head minion the power to time travel at his own will.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Many Pokémon will do this as they evolve. (Tiny red lizard into giant fire-breathing dragon, friendly-looking alligator into a giant hulking leviathan, small turtle into a monstrous tortoise with an entire forest on its back, etc.)
    • Probably the most famous example is Magikarp. Magikarp goes from an Joke Character idiotic fish to a giant leviathan, and there's plenty of other examples, like Horsea being a tiny, cutesy seahorse, and its final form Kingdra being a watery dragon seahorse with the ability to create whirlpools by yawning. And Starly, Diamond and Pearl's Com Mons early bird, finally evolves into one of the strongest birds of prey in the entire series.
    • Ditto did this when it got its own unique Ability in Black and White, as did many others with the introduction of "Hidden Abilities".
    • The Fighting-type. In Gen 1, it was not only weak to Psychics, but their terrible Special stats guaranteed that any Psychic (or any half-decent Special Attacker for that matter) will easily OHKO them. Fighting type moves were neither strong nor accurate. In Gen 2, the Special stat split gave them decent Special Defense and an advantage over the two types introduced to Nerf Psychics. Later generations would give them better Fighting-type moves, and Gen 4's Physical-Special split expanded their movepools to make them one of the most powerful attacking types in the game.
  • Too Awesome to Use: PP Ups, Max Ethers, Elixirs, Max Elixirs, Rare Candies, and Max Revives are hardly used by most players due to how rare the items are and are never sold in shops. The burden of the trope is slightly reduced if a Pokémon has the ability to scavenge items on the field and may scoop up rare items such as those.
    • The Master Ball is also never used on any Pokémon except for legendary Pokémon or ones that are difficult to catch. Most people in Gen I used the Master Ball on Mewtwo, but by Gen II and later, the series started to add multiple legendary Pokémon.
      • It's possible to get more by winning the Pokémon Lottery. This requires presenting a Pokémon with the exact 5-digit trainer ID that's announced by the lottery attendant. Black and White added a man who gives you a second Master Ball if you trade with 50 different trainers (good luck with that, though it's not too difficult if you utilize the GTS). Black 2 and White 2 have the Join Avenue Raffle, a shop you can add to your avenue that has the Master Ball as a grand prize; you can also get one in the post game by beating Colress aboard the Plasma Frigate on Route 18.
  • Tornado Move: Multiple moves are depicted as this, including Gust, Twister, and Whirlwind. These moves do double damage to Pokémon that are on their first turn of Fly/Bounce.
  • Treacherous Spirit Chase: Several examples; see the trope page for details.
  • Trying to Catch Me Fighting Dirty: The Dark type, who do this more often than Casting a Shadow, as it has "dirty" moves with unusual effects like Taunt, Torment, Thief, and Fake Tears.
  • Turns Red:
    • All Starter Pokémon (as well as a few others) have abilities that increase the damage of their respective element's attacks when their HP is low.
    • Inverted with Archen and Archeops. They have the ability, Defeatist that cuts its normally high Attack and Special Attack by half if its HP is down to half or less.

    U 
  • Unblockable Attack:
    • Giratina's Shadow Force attack.
    • Feint bypasses Protect moves, and lifts the effects of those moves for the remainder of the turn to boot.
    • As of Generation 6, Phantom Force, which is essentially a downgraded version of Shadow Force.
    • Sound moves note  in Generation 6 now bypass Substitute.
    • Hoopa's two Secret Arts, Hyperspace Hole and Hyperspace Fury, both get around Protect moves on top of never missing bar the opponent using Fly, Dig or Dive, and the latter also ignores substitutes.
  • Uncommon Time: Junichi Masuda appears to have a love of these extending to few other video game composers but the almighty Nobuo Uematsu. The X & Y Pokémon League, Lumiose City, and Wonder Bridge themes are perhaps the greatest examples of this trope, scarcely following one meter for too long. Lesser ones include the X & Y Victory Road (7/4) and Relic Forest (7/4 and 6/4) themes. More examples can be found at the Uncommon Time page.
  • Unique Items: Certain Pokémon (the most well known of them being Mew, Mewtwo and the fossils) don't appear in the wild and you only have one shot at obtaining them during a scripted event. Some items like the Master Ball are only given to you once (save the Gen V games, which have two Master Balls each).
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Hinted at. One of the things the Day Care man says about compatible Pokémon is something along the lines of 'they don't like each other'. These Pokémon will still produce an egg, and the message will even be the same after they've had it.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Going with only 1 or 2 Pokémon will result in you having a massive level advantage even without grinding, which lets you steamroll most NPC teams even if Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors is against you.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Nobody seems to care what Pokémon you use in battle, even if it's extremely rare and mythical.
    • Hell, you can even take Arceus to get a massage, or put him in a Contest or Pokémon Musical. The script is still the same. Even the NPCs who want to see a Genesect or Kyurem in X and Y, won't question why you have them, or how you caught them, but simply nonchalantly hand you over the add-on items.
  • Unwinnable by Design: Averted, and for a good reason. Pokémon games have insane amounts of content which to achieve 100% completion requires not only months of gameplay, but also trading with other people and, if you want some legendaries, going to one-time events. Now imagine if all the results of work were Lost Forever because of one single misstep. As such, Game Freak goes to insane lengths to ensure the player can never lock themselves into a corner. For example, this is why you can't release Pokémon or delete HM moves on the field: ending up without Surf could strand you on an island if there was no PC, making you a prisoner of your own poor swimming ability.
  • Unwinnable by Mistake: Has its own page.
  • Updated Re-release: Every pair of Pokémon games that isn't a Video Game Remake has had at least one, with the exceptions of Pokémon Black and White. (In Japan, Red and Green had two; first Blue improved the graphics and sound, then Yellow improved the graphics further and introduced elements from the anime series.)
  • Utility Party Member: Some players call these "HM slaves." It's because with few exceptions (notably Strength and Surf) the HM "field moves" these Pokémon specialize in are only useful as methods of navigating the overworld, with minimal utility in battle. You can designate one party member to handle this stuff so the other five can maintain skills that are useful in battle.

    V 
  • Vendor Trash: Gold Nuggets, Star Pieces, Stardust, Big Pearls, and Small Pearls.
  • Vengeful Vending Machine: Inverted, the player occasionally get a bonus drink from the vending machine.
  • Versus Character Splash: Shows up in important battles, starting with the third generation.
  • Victor Gains Loser's Powers: After the player defeated a Gym Leader, the player is given the TM of one of the moves their Pokémon had.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Some Pokémon can only evolve by being especially happy with you. Also, the move Return is stronger the more your Pokémon likes you.
    • Generation VI has expanded on this feature greatly with the introduction of Pokémon-Amie. This allows you to pet your Pokémon, feed them Poke-Puffs, and play mini-games with them. Doing so increases their affection toward you, which actually provides benefits in battle. That Power of Friendship thing the series has been espousing since day 1? They've turned it into a full-fledged mechanic. Pokémon with high affection will have cosmetic effects during battle, such as causing the Pokémon to turn and look at you when you send it out, and changing the battle text. Maxing out their affection will cause them to land critical hits more often, dodge attacks more often, shrug off status effects so that you, the player, won't worry, and survive with 1HP after being hit with an attack that would otherwise KO them, because they love you that damn much. In addition, if such a Pokémon has their health reduced to nearly 0 under any other conditions, the text mentions that they look like they are about to cry. Just try to let your beloved partner faint after all of this has happened.
    • The Wonder Trade allows this between players. A generous player can hand out good Pokémon holding rare items to random trainers in the world. The only returns are likely going to be a bunch of Com Mons, but if you feel like being a Nice Guy, you can do it. With the return of secret bases in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, many players have taken it upon themselves to make secret bases, give themselves a trio of Level 100 Blisseys as a team, and then send the QT code for the base, giving other players an easy and quick way to level grind by fighting them in their base.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • Like Return, the move Frustration gets stronger the less your Pokémon likes you. This can be accomplished by deliberately letting it faint in battle and force-feeding it bitter herbal medicine.
    • Getting the best possible stats on a Pokémon without resorting to cheating/hacking or drawn out Save Scumming involves abandoning a lot of newborns when they don't have the base stats you want.
  • Video Game Remake: FireRed and LeafGreen for the Game Boy Advance are remakes of Red and Green/Blue for the Game Boy, HeartGold and SoulSilver for the Nintendo DS are remakes of Gold and Silver for the Game Boy Color, and Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire for the 3DS are remakes of Ruby and Sapphire for the GBA.

    W 
  • Wakeup Call Boss: In the Gen I, Gen III, and Gen IV games, the first Gym Leader uses Rock-types. Most early Pokémon likely learn physical Normal moves, and Rock-types resist Normal attacks and have high Defense. Time to start learning type advantages and what the difference between physical and special attacks is, because the game is done holding your hand on such things. Black and White have the Striaton Triplets choose which of them will battle you based on your starter, again tutoring you on type advantages and how to build a diverse team. Averted in Gold and Silver with Falkner's Flying-types, since all the new Gyms use a type the original eight Gyms didn't, in Black and White 2 the first leader is Cheren with Normal-types, becoming a Warm-Up Boss instead, and in X and Y the first leader uses Bug-types.
  • Water Is Blue: Most Water Pokémon are blue-colored.
  • Wave Motion Gun: Some of the stronger special attacks, like Solar Beam and Dragon Pulse, take this form. Of special mention is Hyper Beam, which does one of the highest amounts of damage for a single attack and resembles a Shoop da Whoop.
  • Weak, but Skilled:
    • Technician is an ability that raises any attacking moves that has 60 Power or less by 50%.
    • For a specific Pokémon example, Smeargle, who has all-around poor base stats, but through its move Sketch, can permanently learn any move in the entire game bar two, Chatter and Struggle.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: The Dragon type is overall the most powerful Pokémon type, as it resists many of the most common mon types, Dragon type mons tend to have very high stats, and can learn an extremely diverse and large number of moves. On the other hand, the Ice type is one of the weakest, as there are very few Ice type mons to begin with (it is tied with Ghost as the rarest of all Pokémon types), Ice type mons don't tend to have particularly good stats, and the type has four weaknesses while only resisting itself. However, many fully evolved Dragon types have Flying as their secondary type, which gives them an absolutely crippling dual weakness to Ice type moves. Ice-type Pokémon may not be very useful, but a Pokémon of a stronger type that knows an Ice-type move can sweep a Dragon type team with almost no effort.
  • Weaponized Offspring: The move "Egg Bomb" is naturally learned by Chansey, Blissey, and Exeggutor.
  • Weapons-Grade Vocabulary:
    • There's several sound-based attacks in the Pokémon series, varying in type between Make Me Wanna Shout, Brown Note and this.
    • An example of this type is 'Snarl', a Dark-type attack that seemingly involves the Pokémon ranting and shouting at the target for a while, inflicting damage and lowering their attack-power.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Team Plasma, with a side of Knight Templar and Hypocrisy.
  • Whale Egg: All Pokémon hatch from Eggs, even the mammalian, human-shaped, and mechanical ones (not to mention the Hot Skitty-on-Wailord Action). Even Arceus, hailed in Sinnoh legend to be the creator of all Pokémon, was born from an egg that emerged within nothingness/a swirling vortex of chaos.
    • Mewtwo is an exception. In the Pokémon games, documents within the Cinnabar Pokémon Mansion state that Mew gave birth to Mewtwo, while the Pokémon anime implies that Mewtwo is a unique Pokémon, being cloned on a New Island laboratory from a fossilized eyebrow of Mew.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: Averted; where else can you befriend trash bags, snakes, ghosts,mantises, bees, spiders, lizards, salamanders, bats, coelacanths, jellyfish, bag worms, sharks, mudfish, kappa, cacti, psychic mirrors, barghests, eels, antlions, anomalocaris, scorpions, crabs, skunks, piranhas, toads, sea slugs, hellhounds, crocodilians, weasels, venus flytraps, pistol shrimps,cephlopods,masses of vines, giant moving stomachs, lumps of sludge, levitating sea mines, crows, rhinoceroses, magnets, exploding spheres, and living iron and mineral?
    • However, the fourth gen's Amity Square plays it straight, only allowing certain Pokémon designated "cute" to walk with their Trainers inside. A nearby Trainer lampshades it, calling "discrimination."
  • Will-o'-the-Wisp: Will-O-Wisp exists as a status move that inflicts the Burn status on the target Pokémon if it hits. It is commonly learned by Ghost-type and Fire-type Pokémon.
  • Wingdinglish: Unown in Generations II and IV and the Braille in Generation III. The Abbyssal Ruins in Gen V has this written on parts of the walls. Good luck figuring out what the hell it means.
  • The World Is Just Awesome: Unless they're of the mad variety, most scientists express this sentiment.

    X 
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz:
    • A few Pokémon use these in their names, such as Krokorok and Krookodile.
    • The French translation also frequently uses these for Pokémon and attack names, often veering into Perfectly Cromulent Word.

    Y 
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: Generation III had four "Formes" for Deoxys, and Platinum introduces Giratina's "Altered Forme" and "Origin Forme", and Shaymin's "Land Forme" and "Sky Forme". The Pokédex still uses "forms" for its tab for viewing alternate forms, as well as for individual entries for most Pokémon, such as Unown's 28 forms (each labeled "one form" in the Pokédex, as opposed to "one forme").
  • Yet Another Stupid Death: There are several idiotic ways to lose a Pokémon or the entire match, such as using Selfdestruct or Explosion on a Ghost-type Pokémon or worse, when it's the last of your Pokémon that's using one of those moves.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Most of the player characters in the games have fairly normal black or brown... except Kris, the female player character from Crystal, who has dark blue hair. However, Lyra, her replacement from HeartGold and SoulSilver, is brown-haired.
    • All of the Team Galactic members except for Mars and Jupiter have blue hair.
    • Several Trainer classes have odd-colored hair, like the Ace Trainers in games past the first two generations.
  • Youkai: The basis for several different Pokémon species. Pokémon seem to take on the same roles that Youkai do in Japanese mythology and culture (both as animals and as nature spirits that cause natural phenomenon).

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Pokemon/TropesSToZ