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Characters / Pokémon Professors

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Professors are considered experts on Pokémon in their respective regions. They are often researchers and are the ones responsible for distributing Pokédexes and starter Pokémon. The professors also introduce and guide the player throughout the games. In Western languages, they are all named after trees.


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Main Professors

    General Professor Tropes 

  • Floral Theme Naming: They all have trees for surnames. Juniper is the only one to be named after a coniferous tree, everyone else is named after a deciduous one. In Japanese, their names up until Rowan are all that of flowers.
  • Mr. Exposition: They introduce the world of Pokémon to the protagonist (and the audience).
  • Only One Name: The only ones who subvert this trope are Samuel Oak, Aurea Juniper (in English at least), and Augustine Sycamore, played straight with the other main professors.
  • Recurring Element: The professors are a mainstay in the games. They're the local experts on Pokémon, and the player will get their starter Pokémon and Pokédexes from them.

    Professor Oak (Dr. Ōkido) 

Professor Samuel Oak / Dr. Yukinari Ōkido (オーキド・ユキナリ博士 ookido yukinari hakase)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/prof_oak_lets_go.png
Voiced by: Tadashi Wakabayashi (JP, The Two Professors), Ben Diskin (EN, The Two Professors)

The Pokémon Professor native to the Kanto region who specializes in the study of the relationships between humans and Pokémon. He is the grandfather of the player character's rival in Pokémon Red, Blue, Yellow, and their remakes. He has a cousin named Samson.


  • Absent-Minded Professor: He doesn't even remember his own grandson's name, and has to be reminded by the player (who he also can't remember the name of) at the beginning of the game. He apparently also has problems with telling the difference between male and female children.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: Just look at them!
  • Cool Old Guy: He's a Nice Guy, a skilled Pokémon Professor, and a Retired Badass. Can't get much cooler than that.
  • Improbable Age: Canonically, he's 47 years old with an 11 year old grandson in the first game. By no means impossible biologically, but sociologically both he and his child must have been parents at an uncomfortably young age — not to mention uncommon for someone with college credentials.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: According to Agatha.
  • Mr. Exposition: At the beginning of the games, setting a tradition with succeeding Professors.
  • Nice Guy: He adores Pokémon and people alike, and gives the player their starter.
  • Odd Name Out: In the original Japanese, he was the only one to avert Only One Name until his cousin came along in the seventh generation. In the English translation, the professors of the fifth and sixth generations also have first names. note 
  • Retired Badass: According to Agatha. It's also implied he was the Champion at one point since he can enter the Hall of Fame.
  • Theme Naming: Oak kicks off the tradition of naming the regional professors after trees.

    Professor Elm (Dr. Utsugi) 

Professor Elm / Dr. Utsugi (ウツギ博士 utsugi hakase)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/prof_elm_hgss.png

The Pokémon Professor native to the Johto region who specializes in the study of Pokémon breeding. According to Professor Oak, in Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, he's also "the best when it comes to the research of Pokémon evolution."


    Professor Birch (Dr. Odamaki) 

Professor Birch / Dr. Odamaki (オダマキ博士 odamaki hakase)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/prof_birch_oras.png

The Pokémon Professor native to the Hoenn region who specializes in the study of Pokémon habitats and distributions. He is the father of the player character's rival in Pokémon Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, and their remakes.


  • Ditzy Genius: The third and fourth times he is chased and calls for the player's help, he's mistaken the moving company Machoke and his wife for wild Pokémon.
  • Geek Physiques: The rotund/chubby type.
  • Happily Married: And has a kid (two in Pokémon Emerald).
  • Nature Lover: In comparison with the other professors. He studies Pokémon behavior in the wild, so his research often takes him outside, where he stays for long periods.
  • Nice Guy: One of the nicest of the professors. That said, he is the only Professor to get snarky with the player if they decide not to give the starter a nickname (in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire).
    "Oh, so that's how you like to do things? Not even going to give it a nickname, are you?"
  • Off-Model: His introduction sprite in RSE makes him a lot slimmer compared to the official art.
  • Only One Name: We don't get his first name.
  • Renaissance Man: Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire show that he's written books on Hoenn's history in general as well as on its Pokémon.
  • Running Gag: Getting chased by something north of Littleroot Town and yelling for the player's help in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, each situation more ridiculous (and non-threatening) than the last. His artwork even shows him running.
    • The first time it was a wild Poochyena, which is a fairly vicious dark-type dog Pokémon.
    • Then it was a stirred-up wild Shroomish, an easier to handle grass-type.
    • Then it is a Machoke from Pokémon Postal Service, a captured Pokémon.
    • Then it is his wife.
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    Professor Rowan (Dr. Nanakamado) 

Professor Rowan / Dr. Nanakamado (ナナカマド博士 nanakamado hakase)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/prof_rowan.png

The Pokémon Professor native to the Sinnoh region who specializes in the study of Pokémon evolution.


  • Badass Beard: This professor can fight hand-to-hand.
  • Badass Bookworm: Takes on a load of Galactic Grunts in order to stop them from overpowering Dawn/Lucas, much to their fury. With his bare hands!
  • Badass Longcoat: To contrast with the previous professors, who all had labcoats.
  • Badass Mustache: He's the only Professor to date with one.
  • Badass Normal: When he fights a load of Galactic Grunts, he does it with his bare hands.
  • Cool Old Guy: He's an old guy, but won't hesitate to go out in the field and help you.
  • Death Glare: Presumably what the menacing ellipses are meant to represent.
  • Genius Sweet Tooth: The fridge in his lab is filled with nothing but sweets. In the post-game, you can also meet him in Veilstone Department Store, where he complains about how they're sold out of Rage Candy Bars.
  • The Mentor: X and Y reveals that he was one to Professor Sycamore.
  • Only One Name: We don't get his first name.
  • Retired Badass: Stated in the English localization to be sixty at the very least, yet can put up a good fight. It's also implied he was the Champion at one point since he can enter the Hall of Fame.

    Professor Juniper (Dr. Araragi) 

Professor Aurea Juniper / Dr. Araragi (アララギ博士 araragi hakase)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Professor_Araragi1_9253.png

The Pokémon Professor native to the Unova region who specializes in the study of the origins of Pokémon. She is the first female Pokémon Professor in the main series.


  • Adorkable: Owing to her Ditzy Genius status.
  • All There in the Manual: According to the official English guidebook, her first name is "Aurea". This isn't mentioned in-game until Pokémon Black 2 and White 2.
  • Brainy Brunette: Ditziness aside.
  • Ditzy Genius: She's bright, but not always focused.
  • '80s Hair: It thumbs its nose at gravity. When viewed from the right angle, it looks like soft-serve ice cream.
  • Generation Xerox: Apparently she is very similar to her father in terms of looks, personality, and general work.
  • Genki Girl: She is very energetic and acts on something she has decided immediately. This is noted by the Player Character's mother in Black 2/White 2 where she is happy that Juniper offers their child a Pokémon and Pokédex, but gets annoyed she already sent Bianca before informing your mother.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Fennel, as they used to be college buddies.
  • Hot Scientist: Being the first female scientist of the series, it'd be hard to believe if the creators had passed this trope up.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted in the in the Japanese version, where she and her father are both referred to as "Araragi." Played straight in the English version, as her father is given a first name — Cedric.
  • Signature Mon: While she's never actually seen battling, she seems to have an affinity for the Minccino line. As a Minccino shows up in the introduction to Pokémon at the beginning of Black and White (which strangely has a chance to be generated as a shiny) and it appears in her lab. It appears again as a Cinccino in Black 2 and White 2.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Out of the eight main professors, she was the only woman until Magnolia was introduced.

    Professor Sycamore (Dr. Platane) 

Professor Augustine Sycamore / Dr. Platane (プラターヌ博士 purataanu hakase)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/prof_sycamore.png

The Pokémon Professor who resides in the Kalos Region who specializes in the research of Mega Evolution. He was once studying under Prof. Rowan, who also shares a similar research approach.

In Pokémon Sun and Moon, it's revealed that he discovered the Zygarde Cube that Dexio and Sina give to the player.


  • Ascended Meme: A running joke amongst the fanbase is that Professor Oak sent the player on his or her journey, just to give him romantic alone time with their mother. In X and Y Professor Sycamore sends a letter to the player character's mother informing her that he is sending her child on a Pokémon journey, which she thinks is a love letter. He's also one to the rumor that you could battle Professor Oak as a secret, being the first Professor that you actually battle against.
  • "Awesome McCool" Name: Augustine Sycamore is one classy name.
  • Badass Bookworm: He battles the player during the game, a first for Professors. The first time you battle him he admits he's not very good at it, but he challenges you again much later, where he is pretty tough.
  • Badass Labcoat: Like the other Professors, he wears a labcoat. Unlike the other professors, he battles the player in friendly matches and has fairly strong Pokémon.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Anyone who knows French may be somewhat amused to see his first name, since "Augustine" is actually a feminine name. It even has Spear Counterpart in "Augustin", with the "e" at the end having a similar effect to an "a" at the end of an English name.
  • Gratuitous French: More than any other character in X and Y.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: He seems to have no problem with Lysandre's speech about making the world beautiful by cleansing it from filth and in fact praises the man for his burning passion.
  • Hot Scientist: He's pretty young for a Professor and quite attractive.
  • It May Help You on Your Quest: He gives you a Gen 1 starter holding a Mega Stone in addition to the normal one fairly early into the game.
  • It Was a Gift: He gives you one of the three Kanto starters early on in the game.
  • My Greatest Failure: He feels that he could have prevented his former pupil Lysandre's descent into villainy himself years ago.
  • Nice Guy: This guy is probably the most pleasant person to be around in the Pokémon World.
  • Perma-Stubble: Easy to miss, but the opening sequence shows a bit of it.
  • Recurring Boss: Faced once early in his lab packing all three Kanto starters, and once much later in the game, where he has the Kanto starters' fully evolved versions.
  • Unfortunate Names: His Japanese name sounds very similar to the Spanish word for "banana", "platano".

    Professor Kukui 

Professor Kukui (ククイ博士 kukui hakase)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/prof_kukui.png

The Pokémon Professor who lives in the Alola Region who specializes in researching Pokémon moves up-close.


  • The Ace: He is the Alola region's most prominent and respected researcher (and at a fairly young age, too; he appears to be in his early 30s and becoming an academic of similar standing usually takes at least a full decade more than that.) On top of that, he's also a famous pro wrestler and is on familiar terms with most of the kahunas and Trial Captains of his region, all of whom are fairly important and influential individuals. He's also one of the region's strongest trainers and is powerful enough to serve as the storyline's Final Boss, and was also strong enough to make it to the Final Elite Four or Champion battle of the Indigo League as well.
  • Audience Surrogate: For the people who first played Pokémon 20 years ago. Like them, he went though the Kanto League and knows how hard it was, but still has fond memories of it, to the point of bringing a Pokémon League to Alola while using the island challenge in place of Gyms. He also enjoys sharing his love of Pokémon battles and teaching the younger generation about them, just like most people passing down their love of Pokémon. On top of that, his team is properly IV'd like any older, competitive Pokémon players, and he uses legitimate competitive strategies.
  • Badass Bookworm:
    • Watch Pokémon moves to study them? He takes them at times. He's also badass enough to try and take the title of Champion from you and it's hinted that he was able to put up a fight against Lance.
    • In Hau'oli City's Trainer School you can find a blackboard on the top floor that has battle damage calculations even taking into account items and Abilities, all written out by him.
  • Badass Labcoat: Noted as having it unbuttoned to show his torso and his unique style.
  • Big Brother Mentor: Breaking tradition from past games, Kukui actually spends a good chunk of the story traveling alongside you on your quest to complete the Alola Challenge. Kukui acts as a guide, teaching you about Alolan culture and mentoring you through the challenge. In hindsight, Professor Kukui takes the mentor role that many Champions in the former games have had which is appropriate when he's the closest thing Sun and Moon has to that kind of character. In fact, he even calls the player character "cousin." Helps with his being an Audience Surrogate for the older players since Generation I.
  • Bonus Boss: Is one of the challengers you can meet when defending your Champion Title after defeating the Elite Four again. He's also the strongest of them all (in Sun and Moon), and like in his first battle, he carries a full team of six Pokémon. In Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, he's now on par with Guzma and Lusamine, and below Hapu, Hau, and Gladion, but also is the only trainer to use a full team of 6 besides Hau and Gladion.
  • Combat Pragmatist: If you don't screw up his strategy by one-shotting either Pokémon before they can act, his first tactic will be to have his Lycanroc set up Stealth Rock, then spam Whirlwind with his Braviary for free damage on your entire team as long as the bird can keep it up.
  • Exposed to the Elements: Male example — he retains his getup on snowy Mt. Lanakila. You can even lampshade it with "Aren't you cold?"
  • Final Boss: He's the final trainer you have to beat to keep your title as Champion in Sun and Moon, though Hau takes his place in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon.
  • The Glasses Come Off: He takes off his sunglasses when he battles you for the spot of Champion.
  • Happily Married: To Professor Burnet. (Sorry, fanboys and fangirls.)
  • Hidden Badass: Kukui usually only talks about his battling skill self-deprecatingly, mentioning how he was no match for the gym leaders of Kanto, and talking about how the Kahunas are too tough for "normal people" such as himself to defeat. Turns out he is actually one of the greatest trainers in Alola, and strong enough to challenge your character for the title of Champion. The only time he hints at his true prowess prior to the League is when he is confronted by Guzma, and even then he quickly lets the player character handle the situation as soon as they show up.
  • Interface Spoiler: The first time you meet his wrestling alter-ego, the first time you get a choice popup, one of the options is "Professor Kukui?"
  • Kayfabe: He keeps his Masked Royal persona separate from his normal life as the Professor. The game itself is ambiguous about whether his own wife Burnet is in on it. The ending gives her a "Wait, could he be...?" realization moment, but she shrugs it off.
  • Mad Libs Catchphrase: He tends to count things in fours, holding up four fingers to drive his points.
  • Made of Iron: The official description details how he sometimes takes the hits from Pokémon moves himself if there is something to be learned from them.
  • Masked Luchador: His identity as Masked Royal is such.
  • Meaningful Name: Like all professors, he's named after a tree, in his case the Kukui or Candlenut tree, a tree found throughout the tropics and the state tree of Hawaii.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Young and tanned professor? Wears an open shirt showing his bare torso? Doesn't fear taking Pokémon hits himself? Sheds his top completely when he wrestles? Oh yeah.
  • No Shirt, Long Jacket: He does have his lab coat, but it's completely open, and there's no shirt underneath. In fact, when you meet him at the Pokémon League sitenote  one of the responses is "Aren't you cold?". It's also lampshaded in Lillie's diary where she wonders if everyone from Alola wears outfits like that.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: His Masked Royal wrestling persona. Heck, one of the first things you can say to him is "...Professor?".
    • Funnily enough, of all people, his own wife can't make the connection. She appears to in the ending cutscene, but just as quickly laughs it off as coincidence.
  • Only One Name: We don't get his first name.
  • Parental Substitute: Lillie is living with him at the beginning of the game.
  • Patriotic Fervor: Mentioned as his motivation for building the Alolan League. He wants to show the world how good his beloved archipelago's Trainers truly are, and what better way is there than turn the Island Challenge tradition into something officially recognized worldwide?
  • Shown Their Work: He uses actual competitive strategies when you battle him in the end.
  • Signature Mon: He has two when fighting you for the spot of Champion, Midday Form Lycanroc, and the starter that's strong against yours, which carries over to Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon during the Title Defense. Interestingly enough, his appearance as a tag partner in the Battle Tree sees his Decidueye with no Z-Crystal while his other starter Pokémon do.
  • Verbal Tic: He often uses the word "Yeah" like a punctuation, occasionally switching things up with "Oh yeah". He's also prone to let out a "Woo!"
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: And the game loves to lampshade it. Lillie even writes in her diary that "he walks around half-naked all the time!" His Masked Royal persona forgoes the jacket completely.
    Olivia: Still haven't found a shirt that goes with your labcoat?
  • Weak, but Skilled: Compared to other recent Final Bosses in the series, Kukui's team is rather unremarkable on paper, having no pseudo-legendary (unlike Steven, Cynthia, Ghetsis or Iris) or a Mega Evolution (unlike Diantha), yet he makes up for it in strategy. To summarize, he leads with a Pokémon that can set up Stealth Rock (and is so fast it will almost always be set), another one has Tailwind to turn Kukui's Mighty Glaciers into Lightning Bruisers as well as Whirlwind to take advantage of Stealth Rock, another one has Safeguard to protect his team from status and another has Sturdy and Mirror Coat to surprise special attackers. Furthermore, his team is almost entirely made of Pokémon the player can obtain very early in the game, with only Ninetales not being available to obtain before defeating Hala the first time.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: Is secretly a pro-wrestler; he refers to this identity as the Masked Royal.

    Professor Magnolia 

Professor Magnolia (マグノリア博士 magunoria hakase)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/professor_magnolia.png

The professor of the Galar region who specializes in researching the Dynamax phenomenon.


  • Classy Cane: She walks with a cane topped with a wooden carving of a Corviknight.
  • Cool Old Lady: Not the first female professor (Juniper already beat her there), but she is notable in that she's the first elderly female professor, and the first elderly professor since Rowan back in Generation 4, which ended back in 2009/2010 with HeartGold and SoulSilver and technically earlier than that in 2008/2009 with Platinum.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Her character design looks very similar to Queen Elizabeth II, the queen of Britain. Fitting, since the Galar region is based off of the United Kingdom.
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Other Professors

    Cedric Juniper (Dr. Araragi) 

Cedric Juniper / Dr. Araragi (アララギ博士 araragi hakase)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Black_White_Cedric_Juniper_1317.png

Professor Aurea Juniper's father. He was once a Pokémon researcher.


  • '80s Hair: Although not as much as his daughter.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: Not as big as Oak's, but they're still pretty large.
  • Cool Old Guy: Or middle-aged guy, anyway.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: You don't actually see him, but if you check out one of the pictures in his daughter's lab, it mentions her standing with a smiling man hinted to be him.
  • Mid-Season Upgrade: He's the one who upgrades the Pokédex (not to National-level, though; that's for after finishing the game) upon first meeting him in Mistralton City.
  • One Steve Limit: In the Japanese version, both he and his daughter are referred to as "Araragi." In the English localization, he has a first name of "Cedric" to avoid having two characters being referred to by the same name.
    • Lampshaded in the anime, where Ash says "Professor Juniper" and, after both respond, realizes that that's both of their names.
  • Only One Name: Played straight in the original Japanese, averted in international releases. For example, the English translation gives him the full name and title of Professor Cedric Juniper.
  • Parents as People: Well, his role sure isn't limited to the backstory!
  • Theme Naming: Just like his daughter.

    Professor Burnet 

Professor Burnet (バーネット博士 baanetto hakase)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Burnet_2247.png
Sun/Moon 

The professor in charge of the Pokémon Dream Radar application, who specializes in the relationship between Pokémon and alternate dimensions. She searches for abnormalities in different spaces where Pokémon and items dwell. She makes her first main series appearance in Pokémon Sun and Moon.


  • The Bus Came Back: Returns in Sun and Moon having married Professor Kukui between appearances.
  • Dark-Skinned Blonde: Keeps her white hair but gains a tan in Sun and Moon, likely due to the tropical climate.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: She built the radar so she could study Pokémon and the Dream World. She ended up helping catch the Kami Trio. And, if the player has any of the Generation IV game cards, she thinks about a theme, builds a new extension, and lets you catch the title Legendaries for those games.
  • Einstein Hair: Female variant, less balding.
  • Failed a Spot Check: She's apparently unaware of the fact that her husband is the Masked Royal. Or she might be in on the Kayfabe. It's a bit ambiguous.
  • Fangirl: Of The Masked Royal. Not surprising, given that she's married to him, although the ending implies she may or may not actually be aware of his real identity.
  • Goggles Do Something Unusual: They are presumably the same type of goggles the player uses to interact with the Interdream Zone.
  • Happily Married: To Kukui. Although they work on different islands, there's a lot of affection there.
  • Hot Scientist: Look at her suit. If you don't get it, look again.
  • Latex Space Suit: Never actually explained... In Alola, it's tied around her waist, indicating she probably wears it when having to interact with the Interdream Zone (or other dimensions).
  • Like a Son to Me: Implied to feel this way towards Lillie, whom she and Kukui took in prior to the events of the game, which is only compounded by the fact that Lillie sees her as an actual mother figure. (This is all the more tragic considering Lillie's actual mother). Burnet is so upset by Lillie's departure that she couldn't bring herself to see her off.
  • Married to the Job: She makes a point of mentioning that she needs to go outside. Averted by the time of Sun and Moon; although she and Kukui are dedicated to their research and work on different islands, there's nothing to indicate that this gets in the way of their marriage.
  • Minimalist Cast: Unless you count the Kami Trio, she is the only character in the Dream Radar application.
  • Parental Substitute: She discovered Lillie on a beach some 3 months before the game begins, and took her in alongside Kukui. This ends up becoming more tragic in hindsight when more about Lillie is revealed later in the game.
  • Younger Than They Look: May have all-white hair, but was in college with Fennel.

    Samson Oak (Nariya Ōkido) 

Samson Oak / Nariya Ōkido (ナリヤ・オーキド nariya ookido)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/samson_oak.png

This Oak is the cousin of Kanto's Professor Oak. Samson Oak is a researcher who is studying Pokémon who have taken on Alolan forms.


  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: A trait he shares with his cousin.
  • Going Native: Most evident in Japanese, where he writes his given name first instead of his family name. That is, he goes by Nariya Ōkido, while his cousin goes by Ōkido Yukinari.
  • Meaningful Name: The name "Samson" is not only similar to his cousin's name "Samuel", but it could also be a reference to the Biblical Samson and his long hair.
  • Shaped Like Itself: Samson researches Alolan forms, and he can be seen as (and has even officially been joked to be) Professor Oak's Alolan form.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: A "variant" of a Kanto Professor who studies variants of Kanto Pokémon. Hmm.
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance: Apart from the tanned look and mullet, he could be mistaken for his cousin.

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