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Characters / Pokémon Protagonists and Rivals: Johto

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The protagonists and rival of Pokémon Gold and Silver and its remake.

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    General Tropes 
  • Badass Adorable: Adorable children who manage to take down a resurgent Team Rocket, beat the Pokémon League, and even defeat Red.
  • Defeating the Undefeatable: They can optionally battle and defeat Red, the highest leveled trainer in his respective game and a legend for his deeds in the previous games.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: In HeartGold and SoulSilver, there's a sequence that requires them to dress up like a Rocket Grunt to get into the Radio Tower.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Actually averted in a rather interesting way. The protagonist's talent as a trainer and love for Pokémon in general is recognized by the elder of the Dragon Clan, and they get accepted as a member of the clan and given a Dratini in the process. Blue will also refer to them as the Johto Champion just before his fight in Crystal.
  • Heroic Mime: Copycat still somehow manages to mimic their speech, suggesting that they do speak but are not heard by the player.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Implied, as the protagonist. They pass the Kimono Girl's Secret Test of Character, and are praised for their compassion and pure heart.
  • Kid Hero: They're not even teenagers yet when they start their journey, though their exact age is never given.
  • Little Miss Badass: Both female protagonists, as usual; they take out Team Rocket, beat the Pokémon League, and even defeat Red at the ripe old age of 11/12.
  • MacGuffin Escort Mission: At the beginning of the Johto games with a Togepi egg, which kickstarts their fateful encounters with Oak and Silver as well as starting off their journey.
  • Nice Hat: Ethan wears a black and yellow baseball cap, while Lyra wears a large white hat, and Kris has a yellow skull cap.
  • Nice Guy: Their characterization as NPCs has them as nice and supportive. They're still this if they're the player character, as their influence on Silver helps him learn to treat Pokémon as friends, and they pass the Kimono Girl's Secret Test of Character about their kindness.
  • Oh, Crap!: While overworld sprites don't show facial expressions, the protagonist clearly has one after Silver sees through their disguise in Goldenrod Tower, judging by the exclamation mark and way they hurriedly try to turn around.
  • Rivals Team Up: The player and the rival are forced into an impromptu double battle against Clair and Lance while training in Dragon's Den.
  • Schrödinger's Player Character: Just like in the Generation I remakes, played straight in Crystal, averted in HeartGold and SoulSilver where the one you don't pick shows up as a recurring NPC.
  • Secret Test of Character: The Kimono Girls subject the protagonist to one, arranging for Togepi's egg to be delivered to them to see if they had the 'right bond' necessary to summon Ho-oh or Lugia.
  • Spanner in the Works: If the Celebi event was any indication, they were most likely the direct factor that caused Giovanni to realize that his dreams at re-establishing Team Rocket were a hopeless endeavor, and immediately abandon his station in Tohjo Falls after the battle ends, leaving the rest of Team Rocket in past-day Goldenrod City during the takeover of the radio tower completely dumbfounded at his supposed inactivity... all of this happening while their present-day counterpart is still curbstomping the rest of Team Rocket at the Goldenrod Radio Tower, no less.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: In HeartGold and SoulSilver, whoever you didn't choose says the gender equivalent of this to their grandma when you're with them in the daycare.
  • The Unchosen One: The protagonist is tested by the Kimono Girls to see if they could bring back Ho-oh or Lugia, but there's no grand destiny or prophecy saying they can. They earn that right just by being themselves.

    Ethan (Hibiki) 

Ethan / Hibiki (ヒビキ hibiki)
Voiced by: Ted Sroka (Pokémon Masters - EN), Daisuke Hirose (Pokémon Masters - JP)

Three years after Red defeated Team Rocket and won the Pokémon League, a new Pokémon trainer from New Bark Town in the Johto region was given his first Pokémon. He was given the same task to catch them all, although now there are more species to find.

Just like Red, he was the sole protagonist in Pokémon Gold and Silver, although that changed when Pokémon Crystal came out. You could now choose him or the female protagonist of that game. When his games were given remakes, he was given another female counterpart named Lyra, along with updating from his version name (Gold) to a new canon name (Ethan) and a new design.

  • Awesome Backpack:
    • Downplayed in the original games, where the backpack he used had pockets that various items could be sorted into, giving him four times the carrying capacity of Red's.
    • In HeartGold and SoulSilver, thanks to the mechanics introduced in Diamond and Pearl, it has no limit on the number of items it can carry, unlike in the original games.
  • Canon Name: The manual for Gold Version refers to the player as "a boy named Gold", and the manual for Silver refers to the player as "a boy named Silver," implying that his name should just be the default Version name-Gold, like Red. He was named Jimmy (Kenta in Japan) in the anime. In Generation IV, he was finally given a in-game name: Ethan.
  • Expy: His original design looked very similar to Red's. Lampshaded by Blue in HGSS.
  • Dumb, but Diligent: He's pretty headstrong and oblivious to most social cues when he's in pursuit of a goal. He accosts Valerie thinking she's a Kimono Girl without even pausing to ask.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: From his natural ability to hatch eggs and bond with newborns, to helping redeem Silver, and just his general exuberance in Masters, many people take this as a given when it comes to Ethan.
  • In Harmony with Nature: Pokémon Masters portrays him as a skilled survivalist who knows everything from how to navigate a forest to identifying edible mushrooms and berries.
  • Keet: He is portrayed this way in Pokémon Masters. As a result, he stands out as the most extroverted of the male player characters currently in-game.
  • One Steve Limit: In the original Gold & Silver, a Pokémaniac on the S.S. Aqua had the name Ethan. In the remakes, said trainer is renamed Morgan to adhere to this trope.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: During the Ho-Oh event, Ethan suggests going to consult Valerie, believing her to be a Kimono Girl that would have knowledge on the Legendary Pokémon he and Silver are pursuing. While Valerie is, in truth, not a Kimono Girl, she does reveal she knows a good deal about Ho-Oh from doing personal research on it.
  • Signature Mon: In official art for the games he's usually depicted with either the Chikorita or Totodile lines. However, in most adaptations, his Kotobukiya ArtFx J figure, and in Pokémon Masters, he's given Cyndaquil, and as such he tends to get heavily associated with it. They also have similar color schemes. In HeartGold and SoulSilver, it's Marill if he fills the NPC role.


Kris (クリス kurisu)

Introduced in Pokémon Crystal, Kris was the very first protagonist you could choose who was female. Before this, the only option was a boy. However, unlike some later games, this was purely aesthetic and had no bearing on the plot, and her story is identical to Ethan's.

  • All There in the Manual: The back of the box for Crystal gives her Canon Name as Kris.
  • Badass Bookworm: In Pokémon Masters, Kris says she's thought about becoming a researcher, despite having a promising battling career.
  • The Bus Came Back: After a years long absence since being replaced by Lyra, Kris returns in Pokémon Masters.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Was not revamped for HeartGold and SoulSilver, instead being replaced by Lyra.
  • Depending on the Artist: Her hair color in some of her Gen II artwork, her Pokémon Stadium portrait, and her model in Pokémon Masters is teal, while in her sprite in Crystal and in other official artwork it's navy blue.
  • Distaff Counterpart: A possible reason why she wasn't in the HGSS series is that she's essentially just a female version of Ethan.
  • Girliness Upgrade: In her first digitized appearance Pokemon Masters Kris's color palette gains a lot more pink. She also talks in a more girly fashion "I'm tearing up" when Totodile evolves and even has a Girly Run. Her hair more matches Marina, her more girly Anime counterpart.
  • Improbable Hairstyle: Her spiky pigtails completely defy the laws of gravity. Also in the center of her head there is an "M" formed in her hair, it is more visible with Marina but Kris still has it.
  • Meaningful Name: Kris as in Crystal. Her names in other languages takes the same inspirations.
  • Mythology Gag: Pokémon Masters she's conflicted whether she wants to continue to pursue battling, or if she wants to be a scientist. This may be a nod to both her anime counterpart who is a Teen Idol Battler and Coordinator in contrast to her manga counterpart who becomes Oak's aide and literally catches them all to complete the Pokédex for him (minus a few legendaries).
  • Signature Mon: Averted. She's had three known counterparts in adaptations, and they've each had a different Johto starter. The closest thing we had for years in accordance with the games is Suicune, as seen in the credits to Pokémon Stadium 2, but even that is most likely a reference to it being the version mascot for Crystal. Pokémon Masters finally tips the scales in favor of the Totodile line.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: The Tomboy to Lyra's Girly Girl. Also applies to Kris and her own Mother, where Kris is adventurous, active, and wears more unisex clothing her mother is a stay at home mom who wears dresses and enjoys shopping.
    • This can also apply to Kris and her own Anime counterpart Marina, who is visibly more girly in personality and design than Kris.
    • This trope also has become a bit more loose, as Kris's Girliness Upgrade in Masters has her acting very feminine and even has a girly way of moving and speaking.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: To match the color of Crystal, and to stick out in the overworld.
    • Can be averted through a glitch so Kris has the male color scheme in the outworld, making her red.

    Lyra (Kotone) 

Lyra / Kotone (コトネ kotone)
Voiced by: Della Saba (Pokémon Masters - EN), Sayaka Senbongi (Pokémon Masters - JP)

Rather than re-using Kris for the remakes of Pokémon Gold and Silver, the game designers created a new female protagonist for HeartGold and SoulSilver. Lyra is a young girl who resides in New Bark Town and is just starting out as a trainer... If you're choosing her as the player character. Like most of the later games in the series, the protagonist that the player didn't choose will still show up as an NPC. In this case, she'll be a friend who shows you the ropes on catching Pokémon. She appeared in the anime as a trainer who traveled with Ash and friends for a time to promote her (then newly released) games.

Her version name is unclear, potentially Soul, Heart, or in the context of Adventures merged with Crystal.

  • Awesome Backpack: Same as Ethan, having no limit on items it can carry, although for her it's more of a purse.
  • Badass Adorable: Cute as a button, but able to beat all manner of powerful trainers, including Red.
  • Curtains Match the Window: She has brown hair and eyes.
  • The Ditz: NPC Lyra, during the portion of the tutorial where you learn how to catch Pokémon, will have to do so twice because she forgot to show you properly the first time.
  • Girly Girl with a Tomboy Streak: She wears overalls befitting a rural, outdoorsy girl, but also has a giant hat with a ribbon and a pink Pokégear.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Her signature hairstyle is a pair of pigtails.
  • Hidden Depths: In the "Summer Superstars" event of Pokémon Masters, Lyra demonstrates a natural talent for singing rock music when she decides to roll with her Jigglypuff's new style.
  • Iconic Item: Her Nice Hat and overalls.
  • Red Is Heroic: Red hoodie, red shoes, red bow on her hat...
  • Sempai/Kohai: Downplayed in Pokémon Masters. She attempts to have this relationship with the player, with her acting as the former, but despite being more seasoned, she finds herself unable to adequately fulfill the role. Not that this discourages her.
  • Signature Mon: Marill if she fills the NPC role. Adaptations and her Kotobukiya ArtFx J figure give her the Chikorita line, and it serves as her partner in Masters.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: To Kris as the new female counterpart to Ethan. She has an appearance that's close enough to be considered a redesign although with brown instead of blue hair, but Word of God says she was designed from scratch. Picking up on this in the Adventures manga adaptation Kris was simply given Lyra's outfit instead of creating a new character for her. Pokémon Masters depicts them as two separate characters.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: The Girly Girl to Kris' Tomboy.


Silver (シルバー shirubaa)
"I hate the weak. Pokémon, trainers. It doesn't matter who or what. I'm going to be strong and wipe out the weak. That goes for Team Rocket too. They act big and tough in a group. But get them alone, and they're weak. I hate them all. You stay out of my way. A weakling like you is only a distraction."

The Rival in Gold, Silver, and Crystal. He is a selfish thug whose first act is to steal his starting Pokémon from the Elm Research Lab. Fuelled by a hatred towards Team Rocket, he is obsessed with growing stronger as quickly as possible and sees his Pokémon as mere tools to his ascent. After being defeated by Lance, Silver begins to realize the folly of this approach and slowly turns over a new leaf.

He's the only non-Kanto trainer to use his version name as his canon name as of Gen IV onward.

  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Same as with Blue, Silver was considerably prettied-up in the remakes. He was made taller and slimmer, and his new expression is slightly less thuggish/bratty-looking.
  • Ambiguously Related: His hair color and hairstyle are similar to Rocket Executive Ariana's, leading some to speculate that she is his mother, but nothing is confirmed.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: A loner that prides himself on his power and looks down on weaklings. He can back up his talk too; the Victory Road in Gold and Silver and its remakes is the only Victory Road in the series devoid of trainers. The reason? Silver defeated them all.
    Silver: Man, they were all spineless!
  • Artistic Age: His HeartGold and SoulSilver art makes him look more like a teenager, but he is stated to be Ethan and Lyra's age.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: With the player when Lance and Clair decided to challenge them to a tag battle in HeartGold and SoulSilver.
  • Bad Boss: Towards his Pokémon pre-Character Development.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Team Rocket pisses him off to no end, and that's mostly because their leader is his father.
    • His philosophy of being strong by himself puts him at odds with trainers that are weak but decide to gang up on someone. He sees them as weak, admitting they're cowards.
  • Bishōnen: His remake design, slightly.
  • Blood Knight: He loves to battle, if just to prove his superiority over others.
  • Broken Pedestal: Giovanni is this to him. He used to admire his father and believed him to be the strongest person in the world until he got his ass kicked by a 10 year old despite gathering so many followers. This event made him resentful towards his father and triggered his journey to become strong on his own to not be weak like him.
  • Character Development: At first, he's by far the nastiest rival in the whole series, but by the end he's completely reformed (further highlighted by him eventually using a Crobat, a Pokémon that can only be obtained through maxing a Golbat's happiness). More is added in the remakes, featuring a new double battle against Clair and Lance after his turn. Also upon visiting the Elm Pokémon Lab afterwards, you discover that he tried to return his starting Pokémon, but Elm let him keep it since the Pokémon loved him so much. Not to mention his Freudian Excuse is fully revealed and explained.
  • Children Are Cruel: He's either abusive or borderline-abusive.
  • Continuity Cameo: He appeared in the Japanese The Legend of Thunder special's intro.
  • Crash-Into Hello: In HeartGold and SoulSilver, as a reference to Barry's usual way of meeting you. Unfortunately, he isn't anywhere near as kind as Barry is.
  • Curtains Match the Windows: Only in the opening of the remakes, where for some reason he has red eyes rather than silver. Art for Gold and Silver also has him with red eyes, so the shift to silver eyes may have been last-minute.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Or king. Basically his character arc; by the end of it, he has taken multiple levels in kindness and openly shows respect to the player, a huge shift from the cruel, harsh loner he was at the beginning of it.
  • Disappeared Dad: His dad up and left him when he wasn't even nine. Add to the fact that his father is Giovanni...
  • Demoted to Extra: His appearance in the anime is a mere cameo in the opening.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Your first clue that he's a darker rival than Blue is the revelation that he stole his Starter Pokémon. Even before then, he shoves you away rudely when you talk to him outside Prof. Elm's lab.
  • Evil Redhead: He's evil at first, but then he settles for being a noble rival.
  • Fiery Redhead: Quite short-tempered and haughty, though while still pretty abrasive, he does get better later on.
  • Final Boss: Of Pokémon Stadium 2.
  • Freudian Excuse:
    • He's Giovanni's son. It was first implied in FireRed and LeafGreen, but for whatever reason, the outright confirmation in HeartGold and SoulSilver was edited out (a line literally translating to "I don't understand you, Dad!" dropped the "Dad" in the English version).
    • His issues with strength and weakness also stem from him feeling like Team Rocket and his father were weak and fearing his own weakness. Before you head off into Victory Road, the last trainer you battle mentions Silver and notices how he has the feeling he has to win at any cost, having a deep fear of failure and being weak.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Silver has developed into this by the time of his appearance in Masters. He is recognized as being pure of heart, though he still detests weakness in both Pokémon and their trainers, and will threaten to leave behind any of his Pokémon should they not reach the high standards he expects of them.
  • Hate Sink: Before his Character Development, he's actually more the antagonist than Team Rocket! The player is pretty much meant to hate his guts early on.
    Excerpt from Nintendo Power : What is this guy's problem? If you ask him, the problem is YOU. ... Settle your conflicts with Pokémon.
  • Haughty "Hmph": Much of his dialogue consists of this, befitting his arrogant personality.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: In ''Masters', he sees himself unworthy of his friends and Pokemon's attention, and certainly not pure enough to be chosen by a legendary. Lance, and Ethan especially continue to believe in him until he's finally accepted by Ho-Oh.
  • Hey, You!: He never refers to the player by name during his first few encounters with them; once he starts calling them by their name, it's a clear indication that he's started to respect them.
  • Hypocrite: Before starting your first battle with him in Cherrygrove City, Silver mocks the player for receiving their first Pokemon in Professor Elm's lab, despite how that's where he stole a Pokemon earlier.
  • Idiot Hair: In the remakes. It's no indication of his character, however.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: All his obsession with being strong really amounts to this. He didn't want to be weak like his father, so he strives to be a good battler.
  • Jerkass: Until later in the game, when he loosens up. There are several trainers throughout the game pre-Kanto who mention the guy curb stomping them in a battle and taunting on how lame they were, and at least one even had his Pokémon stolen by him.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Becomes one later on.
  • Knight of Cerebus: He is much darker than other rivals, having stolen his starter rather than being given one, forcing another trainer into handing over his Pokémon, being Giovanni's son, and treating his Pokémon like tools rather than friends.
  • Leitmotif: Whenever he approaches you in the game, his unique song plays.
  • Loners Are Freaks: He does everything on his own, and is an exceptionally crude and ruthless boy. The player is probably the only human friend he has, but just that fact helps him become a much kinder person.
  • Meaningful Name: His name directly comes from Pokemon Silver Version's title.
  • Missing Mom: Unlike the player, who has a dad who is never mentioned, his mother is never mentioned ever.
  • My Name Is ???: Trope Namer. In Gold and Silver, he tells you this verbatim after your first fight.
  • No Name Given: For years he had no known Canon Name. In Gen II, fans assumed his version name "Silver," to match the version names with Red, Blue, and at the time "Gold." However as of the Gen IV remakes Gold's name became Ethan, but there was no word on if Silver's name had changed. Years later via figures and eventually Masters it was confirmed that it didn't.
  • No Social Skills: He often has to be told when people care about him when he's at first completely dumbfounded some even like him.
  • Only the Pure of Heart: Despite his lineage, and his early transgressions, Silver proves himself to be pure of heart after all. Masters cements this further by having Ho-oh deem him worthy of being his trainer over Ethan.
  • Privileged Rival: He's the son of Giovanni, the Viridian Gym Leader who leads a double life as the boss of Team Rocket, however, by the time of the story, he's disowned his family and is trying to be strong and independent of his father's resources and ideology.
  • Recurring Boss: Again, Silver is the first trainer the player is forced to fight in Gen II, and is fought multiple times throughout the game, including at the end of Victory Road. The last forced encounter with him is in Mt. Moon.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Has red eyes in the originals, as well as in the opening of the remakes, despite official artwork giving him silver eyes.
  • The Rival: Silver ignites a bitter rivalry with the player, hoping to prove he is better than them.
  • Sequel Escalation: It wasn't until Generation III that the developers decided to make The Rival a more friendly endeavor, and they were coming off the Jerkass Blue. Thus was born one of the darkest characters in the series.
  • Signature Mon: As far as starters, most adaptations give him the Totodile line.
    • He is also associated with Sneasel, who has the honor of being the only member of this Silver's party (besides the starter) carried over to his Adventures team. They even share a color scheme. Sneasel was also his sync partner in Masters before syncing with his legendary below:
    • Masters oddly opts to give him Ho-Oh, despite his namesake invoking Lugia. He had all three ubers at the time, Lugia, Ho-Oh, and Mewtwo, in Stadium however.
  • Slasher Smile: At least in Masters, his grin can be unsettling.
  • The Social Darwinist: He states he only has time for strong Pokémon, the others are worthless to him.
  • Sore Loser: Despite being defeated by the player a number of times he calls you out for being pathetically weak.
  • Spanner in the Works: The infamous event where he strips the character of the Rocket disguise right before you could get the infiltration plan going is this. Unlike other examples of the trope, he soon realizes why you wore the outfit but calls you pathetic for resorting to disguise before walking off.
  • Stock Shōnen Rival: Very much so. He starts out as an Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy before mellowing out by the endgame.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Resolves to be a kinder Trainer to his Pokémon after having his brutish behavior spelled out as the reason for his failures as a Trainer. This is even exemplified in-game by having his Golbat evolve into a Crobat, which can only evolve with extreme happiness.
  • Tsundere: Some of his post-Character Development dialogue implies he's a type A. This is even a Fan Nickname for him in the Japanese fandom.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Towards Ethan in Masters, but it's somewhat one-sided as Ethan has nothing but goodwill towards him. He's either oblivious to Silver's snark, or just sees through the facade so well he doesn't feel the need to address it.
  • Worthy Opponent: In HeartGold and SoulSilver, it's implied that he feels this way about the Player Character.
  • Would Hit a Girl: If you play as a girl. He also shoves Clair away when she offers to team with him against Lance and the player.


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