Series-wide: Ash Ketchum and Pikachu | Team Rocket Trio | Team Rocket Organization
Original Series: Ash's Pokémon (Kanto, Orange Islands, Johto)
Supporting Cast | Gym Leaders | One-shot Characters
Advanced Generation: Ash's Pokémon (Hoenn) | Supporting Cast | Gym Leaders and Frontier Brains
Diamond and Pearl: Ash's Pokémon (Sinnoh) | Supporting Cast | Gym Leaders | Villains
Black and White: Ash's Pokémon (Unova) | Supporting Cast | Rivals | Gym Leaders | Villains
XY: Ash's Pokémon (Kalos) | Supporting Cast | Gym Leaders | Mega Evolution Special | Rivals | Villains
Sun and Moon: Ash's Pokémon (Alola) | Supporting Cast | Kahunas and Guardian Deities | Aether Foundation | Villains
Movies: Movies 1 to 19 | I Choose You! | The Power of Us
Ash Ketchum (Satoshi)
In the 20th anniversary retelling of the start his journey, Ash's adventure ends up diverging a lot from the original tale.
- Adaptational Badass: Zig-Zagged. Ash has only three Pokémon confirmed (with one being released later in the film) on his team rather than the 5-6 he had in the original series. However, he adapts far quicker in Pokémon battles, allowing him stack up numerous victories with just those three Pokémon alone and having a more consistent and skilled showing than his main series counterpart at the same point in his journey. He evolves Charmander all the way to Charizard at a faster rate and manages to retain its obedience. Additionally, Ash actually defeats Erika in a proper Gym Battle and earns the Rainbow Badge, rather than it be given to him for saving Erika's Gloom from a fire that he unwittingly help started (as depicted in the original series). Before her, he already won two other badges with only Pikachu and Caterpie.
- Adaptational Intelligence: The absence of Misty, Brock, and the Pokédex means that Ash can act more intelligently despite still being not all too bright. For example, after he made a mistake of attempting to capture a wild Pidgey without weakening it first, Ash doesn't forget that lesson when he encounters Caterpie (unlike the original Ash, who simply threw a Pokéball and caught it by dumb luck, this Ash uses Pikachu to battle Caterpie and throws his Pokéball after it has been significantly weakened). Also, this Ash looks knowledgeable enough to teach Pikachu Iron Tail early in their journey.
- Breaking Old Trends: When it comes to Legendary Pokemon, this Ash actually tried to catch one in the form of Entei, after hearing that it was in the forest near the Pokemon Center he was in. This is not like his main series self who doesn't even consider doing so whatsoever even when befriending one.
- Catch and Return: More on catching than returning, but Ash catches a lemon that a kid throws angrily at Largo in the 21st movie.
- The Chosen One: As always, but not as world-breaking this time. According to legends, whomever has the Rainbow Wing can summon Ho-Oh by placing the feather on Rainbow Rock in Mt. Tensei and receive its blessing if they are pure of heart, becoming the Rainbow Hero. Ash got the Rainbow Wing on his first day as a Pokémon Trainer, and wishes to fulfill that prophecy in order to have a battle with Ho-Oh.
- Disney Death: His body is destroyed by combined blast of Marshadow's corrupt Pokémon army but Pikachu manages to bring him back from the spirit plane and Ash rematerializes without much of a scratch.
- Go Through Me: Like in the original series, Ash does this to protect Pikachu from a flock of Spearow at the beginning of the adventure. He does it again at the climax of the film against Marshadow's rampaging Pokémon army, but this time, Pikachu is unable to protect his Trainer and Ash gets killed in the process.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Realizing that Pikachu is too weak to fend off the Pokémon under Marshadow's influence, Ash puts Pikachu in his Pokéball just as the blast engulfs him. This saves Pikachu at the cost of Ash's own life.
- Made of Iron: He fell down steel stairs twice and didn't get a single bruise.
- Nice Hat: His hat (also known as Partner Cap in the games) is essentially the original Pokémon League Expo cap with a Sun and Moon-stylized "L" symbol in the center. It is the only clothing gear that remains unchanged in Pokémon: The Power of Us.
- OOC Is Serious Business:
- Ash Ketchum in the main series would never wish he had another starter other than Pikachu. So when this Ash, after losing badly to Cross, starts musing if he would fare better if he had Squirtle instead of Pikachu, it is treated as a horrifying corruption with the Rainbow Wing losing its colors and Marshadow subjecting Ash into a dream-like world where no Pokémon exists.
- As mentioned under Heroic Sacrifice, Ash recalls Pikachu to save him. While he's considered doing so in the main series before when things get dire, this is the only time he's actually gone through with it.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: As in the original anime, Ash and Pikachu initially don't get along at all.
An energetic and tomboyish trainer from Twinleaf Town.
- Action Girl: Not at the same vein as Iris, but Verity has no problems leaping around and getting her hands dirty.
- Composite Character: As the other examples show, she's essentially a combination of Misty and Dawn.
- Expy: She bears more than a passing resemblance to Dawn, with both being Twinleaf Town natives who chose Piplup as their starter.
- Disappeared Dad: Considering she has a mother yet it is never mentioned who her father is.
- Making a Splash: Both her Pokémon are Water-types.
- Meaningful Name: Her English name is a nod to Lake Verity, a significant location in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl that's close to her hometown of Twinleaf.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: A tomboyish girl who trains water Pokémon and is hinted to have issues with her family, much like Misty in the original series.
- Utility Party Member: Aside from Piplup, she also has Lapras in her party. She sends it out when her group need to cross a lake.
- "Well Done, Daughter!" Gal: The reason why Verity went on a Pokémon journey in the Kanto region is because her mother is a famous Pokémon trainer and she could not live up to her expectations.
A young trainer from Veilstone City aiming to be a Pokémon Professor.
- Flat Character: Not him, given his status as Mr. Exposition. His Lucario, though... Make a Drinking Game and take a sip whenever it's not sitting, walking, or standing around doing nothing. His assumed ace gets less scenes than Verity's Piplup even after the trio travels together.
- The Medic: He is able to make medicine for rain-stricken Charmander, though he admits it tastes bitter.
- Mr. Exposition: As an aspiring Pokémon researcher, Sorrel is well familiar with the myths and lore behind Legendary Pokémon. He tells Ash and Verity the legend of Ho-Oh and the Three Beasts, and the prophecy of the Rainbow Hero.
- Noodle Incident: Meeting Lucario restored his faith in making friends with Pokémon...and that's it. Ironically, the cataclysm for his lack of faith has more explanation.
- Posthumous Character: His family's Pokémon Luxray, who died warming him from snow.
- The Power of Friendship: After his family's Luxray froze to death, he distanced himself from Pokémon as he feared he would lose them until he met his Lucario. Sadly, he offers no more explanation about this encounter than the incident, ironically.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: A serious young man who acts as the voice of reason between Ash and his female companion, is knowledgeable about Pokémon in general and has a goal that involves the study and care of Pokémon, much like Brock in the original series.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Mistakenly calls Ash out on leaving Charmander in the rain until Verity tells him that it was abandoned by another trainer.
An arrogant trainer who believes strength is everything and aims to become the ultimate Pokémon master. He is Ash's main rival in the movie and is the former owner of Charmander.
- Cats Are Mean: His main Pokémon is Incineroar, a Heel-Wrestler tiger that fights with no mercy.
- Composite Character: He's a combination of Gary (Ash's rival during his travels through Kanto), Paul (believes a Pokémon's strength is everything, will release them if they fail to meet his expectations, and even released a Fire-type starter Pokémon that Ash later captured), and Damien (Charmander's previous owner who abandoned him for being weak).
- Evil Redhead: Subverted. He has orange hair and a Jerkass. But in the end, underwent a HeelFace Turn.
- Evil Virtues: Despite starting as an arrogant jerk, the foil for the good-natured Ash, Cross actually shows some desiderable traits for a Pokémon trainer.
- The Ultra Moon Pokedex index for Lycanroc Midnight form states that They will only listen to orders from Trainers who can draw out their true power. There's no doubt, and it's made evident in the climax, that Cross trained his Lycanroc as good as he could, even bonding with him.
- Cross actually has every bit the passion of Ash Ketchum, just he utterly lacks, or rather lacked, his kindness, playing favorite with his best Pokémon and throwing away the weakest.
- After his HeelFace Turn he accepts to part in a civil way from Ash Ketchum, expressing the desire to have a better, less anger-fuel rematch.
- Flat Character: His Incineroar has no characterization beyond only appearing for battles. His Midnight Lycanroc has more, but it's not enough to write home about.
- Foil: To Ash, in the same vein as his Expy Paul. Both aim To Be a Master, but while Ash treats his Pokémon with love, Cross does not prioritize bonding with his own Pokémon and sees strength as more important. He's also a foil to the main series version of Ash in a different way. Both saw Ho-Oh early in their journey but didn't receive a Rainbow Wing. Cross grew to resent this and train for strength alone, but for Ash it was an inspiration to explore and meet new Pokémon.
- Freudian Excuse: He also saw Ho-Oh, but it never left a Rainbow Wing for him like it did Ash, which led him to train Pokemon for strength alone.
- HeelFace Turn: After accidentally corrupting the Rainbow Wing, he manages to get Lycanroc to snap out of its possession by Marshadow and helps fight off the other Pokemon.
- Jerkass: There isn't really a traditional human villain in the movie, so this guy is there to be a humongous jerk.
- Kick the Dog: Or rather, Kick The Charmander.
- Might Makes Right: His entire philosophy revolves around this: as long as you have power, nothing else matters. He even says this word-for-word in his last battle with Ash.
- Noodle Incident: He notes that the day he obtained his Lycanroc, it bit him.
- The Perfectionist: He has incredibly high standards for his Pokémon, to the point where he'll abandon those who don't live up to his expectations.
- The Social Darwinist: He picks only the strongest Pokémon for his team, releasing those he ultimately deems to be weak.
- Savage Wolves: He owns the wolf-like Midnight Lycanroc, which ends up possessed by Marshadow in the climax and becomes part of its rampaging army.
- Sore Loser: After Charizard defeats Incineroar, he steals Ash's Rainbow Wing and tries using it to summon Ho-Oh.
- You Bastard!: Cross is every bit what a Competitive Player is while playing every single Pokémon game strategically. But while the strategically oriented player is incensed for it, Cross is painted as the Heel, if not the outright antagonist of the story.
- Catching multiple Pokémon of the same type to release the weakest and the ill-natured? Check.
- Grinding mercilessly your Pokémon and end up boxing or releasing the ones not living to your standard as soon as you can get the hands on something better and/or get a Ditto with perfect IV and rebreed your whole adventure team with perfect pups? Check.
- Choosing always strength over friendship? Check.
- Basically, Ash is the kid every competitive or strategically oriented player used to be when the first movie aired, Cross is what 20 years of competitive gaming did to him. Feel old yet?
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Releases Pokémon he deems to be weak, such as Charmander.
An old researcher who has been chasing Ho-Oh for 20 years.
- The Hermit: He's been traveling alone in search of Ho-Oh around Mount Tensei.
- I Choose to Stay: While Ash and friends return back to civilization at the film's end, Bonji remains back at Mount Tensei waiting for the next Rainbow Hero.
- Miniature Senior Citizen: He's fairly weathered and is just as short if not shorter than our ten-year old protagonists.
- Mr. Exposition: His book covers the various legends regarding to Ho-Oh and the Rainbow Hero, including what happens when a Rainbow Wing is touched by someone with an evil heart. He himself explains Marshadow's role in the movie.
- Mythology Gag: The hat he is wearing is Red's original hat from Generation I, complete with a leaf badge symbol at the left corner. Kinda fittingly given that he's been searching Ho-Oh for the past 20 years, which happens to be a year after the franchise debuted.
- The Nose Knows: Bonji can literally sniff out the presence of Ho-Oh, best demonstrated when Ash arrives with the Rainbow Wing.
A trio of no-good criminals consisted of Jessie, James and a talking Meowth. They've been trailing Ash and friends in the hopes of capturing rare and valuable Pokémon, but are always a step behind and often find trouble waiting for them instead.
- Adaptational Comic Relief: They were always comic relief villains in the original series, but they had their moments of seriousness as a major threat and as characters. But thanks to being reduced to glorified cameos, this incarnation of Team Rocket is just comic relief, only there to provide levity from the more heavy moments of Ash's journey. They don't even talk to Ash at all and instead exist in the background, stalking him and making goofy quips.
- Adaptational Wimp: Not that they were all that capable in canon, but here they get beaten by wild Pokemon easily and never once engage Ash in battle.
- The Artifact: The only reason they are even in the movie despite contributing nothing to the story is because it wouldn't be a Pokémon movie starring Ash and Pikachu if their recurring arch-nemesis that is the trio didn't make an appearance.
- The Chew Toy: Nearly their entire role in the movie is to be hilariously beaten up by the Pokémon that Ash and friends just barely escaped.
- Demoted to Extra: They appear sporadically through the movie, but they never personally interact with the heroes in any way like they do in the original anime.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Jessie's Wobbuffet makes an appearance with Team Rocket in the Meowth hot-air balloon during the credits, despite the fact that Jessie only got him in a trade mix up during the Johto saga in the original series.
- Goldfish Poop Gang: They've been following Ash and friends in the hopes of capturing rare and powerful Pokémon, but always find misfortune waiting for them.
- Unknown Rival: They never confront Ash face to face despite looking for the same Pokémon, and it's not even clear if Ash knows they exist at all. Averted in The Power of Us, where Ash instantly recognizes them, showing he at least had a few encounters afterward.
Ash's starter Pokémon and main partner.
- Adaptational Badass: In the anime, Pikachu only learned Iron Tail once Ash journeyed to Hoenn during the Advanced Generation series. Here, Pikachu already knows Iron Tail and puts it to good use. Pikachu's also a more consistently powerful battler and more eager to jump into the fray much quicker than the original series counterpart at the time.
- Adaptational Nice Guy: While Original Series Pikachu was prone to give Ash problems (like refuse to battle, or even side with other characters against Ash), even after they become friends in the first episodes, this version is loyal to Ash soon after they defeat the Spearows, with their only serious fight being after Ash's first defeat to Cross. Even after, Pikachu forgives Ash when he shows he's really sorry about his petty behavior.
- Angst Nuke: After Ashs supposed death, Pikachu unleashes a gigantic Thunderbolt blast in a moment of Unstoppable Rage so powerful it clears every cloud in the sky.
- Berserker Tears: Sheds them when he realizes Ash is dead, complete with a huge Thunderbolt that mirrors the one it gave the Spearow flock.
- Say My Name: Screams "PIKAPIIIIII~" as he mourns Ash's death.
- Suddenly Voiced: When Ash asks why Pikachu wouldn't go into the Pokéball despite being a safe cover from the Pokémon energy blast, Pikachu suddenly replies in human language.
The first Pokémon Ash caught.
- Adaptational Badass: Unlike the anime where Caterpie put up no resistance to being caught, this one gave Pikachu a challenge. He also won many battles against the likes of Pinsir, Primeape and Fearow, something that Caterpie from the original series struggled with even as a Butterfree. Most visibly demonstrated with Pinsir, which Caterpie defeated. By supplexing it.
- All Webbed Up: Knows String Shot and is very effective at it, ensnaring targets from Ash Ketchum (on their first encounter) to a troop of Primeape. Notably, Caterpie retains this move as a Metapod, something that the original series did not show.
- Ambiguous Gender: Averted, unlike the original series. Taking advantage of Gen IV's gender differentiation, the movie indirectly confirms that Butterfree is male by giving the Pink Butterfree two dark scales on her lower wings, a trait only found in female Butterfree.
- Foregone Conclusion: Considering that Butterfree from the original series was Ash's first Pokémon to be released, it was inevitable that the same happened here.
- Rite of Passage: As the first Pokémon caught, he serves as marker for Ash's progression as trainer, especially when Ash has to finally let him go to be with the Pink Butterfree.
- Standard Status Effects: As a Butterfree, he knows Sleep Powder and uses it to put a bunch of angry Primeape to sleep.
A Pokémon abandoned by Cross who, after being saved by Ash, joins his team.
- Adapted Out: His original trainer Damien does not appear, and is replaced by Cross.
- Adaptational Badass:
- Charmander evolves at a faster rate than the original series.
- He also learns Seismic Toss as a Charmeleon, whereas in the original series he didn't learn it until he evolved into Charizard.
- Adaptational Nice Guy: Charmeleon (and later Charizard) actually stays loyal to Ash after evolving, unlike the main series.
- Composite Character: Charmander's story borrows a bit from Ash's Infernape arc in Diamond and Pearl, namely encountering his former trainer as Ash's opponent several times before finally winning the last battle as payback for being called weak.
- Our Dragons Are Different: While he's not technically a Dragon-Type, Charizard certainly resembles a dragon, and he learns Dragon Rage after evolving.
- Save the Villain: He is willingly to protect his former trainer from Marshadow's rampaging Pokémon army despite the fact that Cross cruelly abandoned him and was responsible for the Marshadow disaster in the first place.
A mysterious Pokémon that appears with Ash sometimes during his journey to Mt. Tensei. Legend has it that it serves as a shadow guardian, making sure that the Rainbow Wing is not at the wrong hands.
- Ambiguously Evil: Marshadow's motives are not clear until the very end of movie. It also sends Ash into a nightmarish Dream World without Pokémon. But that event also made Ash realize the errors of his ways, and Marshadow does not attempt to interfere further. Turns out, according to Bonji, that Marshadow is merely observing Ash to see if he is pure enough to hold the Rainbow Wing. This turns tragic, however, when Cross steals the Rainbow Wing from Ash and attempts to summon Ho-Oh himself but thanks to his impure heart, the Rainbow Wing gets corrupted beyond what Marshadow is able to fix and Marshadow begins to attack everyone on sight, which indicates that the Rainbow Wing itself may have an effect on it and is basically the one thing keeping it good and stable.
- The Watcher: Its purpose is to judge whether a trainer has a good enough heart to summon Ho-Oh at Mt. Tensei.
The Legendary Rainbow Pokémon that Ash saw on his first day of his journey. Unlike the original series, a single feather known as the Rainbow Wing falls from Ho-Oh and ends up in Ash's hands. Ash and Pikachu vow to meet and battle Ho-Oh one day, kicking off the main plot of the movie.
- Ascended Extra: Ho-Oh had a minor role in the main series, being the first Pokémon beyond the original 151 seen in media and a symbol of Ash's journey in the original series. Though there have been hints to a larger subplot, Ho-Oh never got a bigger appearance beyond brief cameos, was never featured in any of the previous Pokémon movies, and was quietly dropped off while other Legendaries took its place starting with Diamond and Pearl. This movie changes all of that by making the main story be about Ash and Pikachu finding Ho-Oh again.
- For Want of a Nail: The reason why this Ash's journey is radically different from the main series? Ho-Oh dropped a Rainbow Wing as it was flying over Ash. The Rainbow Wing fueled Ash's desire to see it again rather than treat it as a special moment, and thus he took a different path than the Ash from the main timeline did.