- 0% Approval Rating: By the end of the series, absolutely no one in the Kanto region likes him and blames him for all of their problems (which is actually true).
- Ambiguous Innocence: Completely and blissfully ignorant of everything as he destroys everything in his path.
- Anti-Role Model: Hes an example to show gamers and newcomers to the franchise how not to be a Pokémon trainer.
- Bad People Abuse Animals: Apart from getting his Pokémon killed or injured through incompetence, he at one point states that he throws them away when they're injured.
- Because Destiny Says So: Rusty is utterly convinced that he is destined to be the greatest Pokémon master ever and he will insist any coincidental happenings as proof that he must fulfill his destiny.
- Blank White Eyes: Subverted. He appears to have those, but they're actually glasses.
- Butt-Monkey: The second biggest butt monkey right next to his own Pokémon. He gets his head slammed into a tree by his Geodude, attacked by an Eevee, beaten to near death by Battle Bart, and tasered by a cop.
- Chronic Pet Killer: He always manages to get his Pokémon killed on one way or another.
- Combat Pragmatist: He wins a battle against a bug catcher by throwing his Kakuna at his opponent's Rattata.
- Deconstructed Character Archetype: Of the player character in each of the games. Rusty has very little knowledge of Pokémon, straight up abandons his home after his parents forbid him from going on a journey, and has to sleep in the woods and eat garbage to survive.
- The Ditz: He's not the sharpest tool in the shed.
- Downer Ending: He's forced to give up on his dream and work at his dad's deli forever. However, this is only a downer ending for him. For literally everyone else, his suffering equals a Happy Ending.
- Enfant Terrible: For a ten year old, he does a lot of things to earn everyone's ire and disdain.
- Fastball Special:
- His first Pokémon battle involved throwing Pikachu the Kakuna at his enemy's Rattata.
- He instructs his Geodude to throw him over the tree blocking his path after teaching his Geodude strength. The Geodude throws him at the tree.
- Genius Ditz: He does come up with the genuinely clever idea of healing his dad after he got in a car crash when Team Rocket burned down the only hospital by putting him in a Poké Ball and taking him to a Pokémon Center.
- Gosh Dang It to Heck!: He occasionally swears but replaces a swear word with Pokémon names, for example; "God Diglett!" or "Son of a Bisharp!".
- Heel Realization: During the finale, when Peanut Butter threatens all of mankind, Rusty finally comes to the realization that everything that happened was all his fault and actually experiences empathy for the first time.
- Hidden Depths:
- As noted in No Social Skills, he never really grew up without friends and given the relative isolation of Beige Town compared to everywhere else, it's likely his issues come from being raised with little interaction outside his family.
- He's an exceptionally talented chef. While he will accept compliments on his cooking, he became annoyed when the prisoners tried to encourage him into opening a restaurant or deli. He expresses a hatred of cold cuts and earlier when he accepted the compliment on his cooking, he noted that he would've stayed home if he wanted to "serve bad meat to worse men." As such, this implies that his disdain for remaining at the deli comes from a belief of a lack of fulfillment there (likely cheap ingredients and rude customers.) This actually explains the ending when you realize what he does.
- High Hopes, Zero Talent: Aims at being a Pokémon master, but knows absolutely nothing about Pokémon in general.
- Improbable Infant Survival: He gets hurt a lot throughout the series, but never are they enough to kill him.
- Insufferable Imbecile: Not only is he an idiot to the point of being a danger to himself and others, he's also an egotistical, self-centered prick.
- Iron Butt Monkey: Gets smacked by his Beedrill, mauled by a kid's Eevee, beaten up by Battle Bart, and electrocuted by a police officer, but none of the injuries he got last very long.
- It's All About Me: He shows little to no care for anyone other than himself.
- Jerkass: Not only does he lack intelligence, he lacks common decency as well.
- Lack of Empathy: He is incapable of understanding the feelings and thoughts of others, human or Pokémon, and is more or less in his own little delusional world of being "the very best Pokémon trainer." He could hardly care less what happens to the Pokémon he owns and hasn't been home in months (essentially abandoning his parents and putting them in debt since he purchased a million dollar bicycle using his dad's credit card).
- Laser-Guided Karma: The original timeline Rusty ends up having to spend the rest of his life working at the deli, with Pikachu as his boss. Meanwhile, the "good" Rusty who became a deli owner gets to go on adventures with a newly reformed Peanut Butter forever.
- Lethally Stupid: How bad is his stupidity? Well...
- He doesn't understand how HM moves work and tries Strength, Flash, Fly, and Surf to get around a tree that you use Cut on, but, predictably, none of them do the job. He finally refers to Red's twitter and, ignoring the obvious clue to use Cut, lights the tree on fire. This causes a massive wildfire that levels the forest and a nearby town.
- He puts a Grimer into a bath and tries to wash it off in hopes of there being a legendary bird underneath. It gets Grimer washed down the drain and killed.
- He plugs in a Tentacool, thinking its tentacles are wires and thus thinking it's en electric type. This gets the Tentacool electrocuted.
- He stuffs sixteen Bidoofs in one Poké Ball simply because he "ran out." They die as a horrible mass of Bidoofs.
- He tries to teach Zubat how to use Surf and doesn't realize that Surf and Zubat are incompatible. This leads to Zubat drowning.
- Despite causing the Bidocalypse and being sent back in time to Set Right What Once Went Wrong, he opts to play out everything exactly the same way, enslavement to Peanut Butter and all.
- Literal-Minded: He takes the phrase "Gotta catch 'em all" all too literally, as in he captures every Pokémon he sees. Case in point, he captures a number of Zubats and put all his captured Bidoofs in one Pokéball because he ran out of Pokéballs.
- Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: Without even realizing it, he's caused a massive wildfire on Route 17, trained a Beedrill to be a cruel hate-filled boss of Team Rocket, and caused a demigod Bidoof to enslave humanity.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: When he's sent back in time in order to stop himself from becoming a Pokémon trainer, he ends up staying in the past and repeats the exact same mistakes he was sent back to fix.
- Nerd Glasses: Official art reveals that he wears these, though unlike most examples he's not very smart.
- No Social Skills: The Celadon Mall episode hints that Rusty never had any friends, and he thinks that he would "catch" them.
- Obliviously Evil: Rusty is convinced he's some kind of hero and is completely unaware of just how destructive his actions are.
- Pet the Dog: Rusty uses a Pokéall to catch his father after a car crash injures him, then has him healed at a nearby Pokécenter.
- Reality Ensues: Rusty is a good (if a tad exaggerated) example of why sending children out on their own without knowing hardly anything about taking care of animals is a terrible idea. Not to mention, because he pretty much straight-up abandoned his home, Rusty lives like a homeless person as he claims that he sleeps in the woods and eats out of the trash.
- Right for the Wrong Reasons:
- He's able to easily capture a Snorlax because he thinks it's weak to cars, ignoring the fact that the Snorlax was too injured to fight back because Rusty's dad crashed their car on it.
- He summons a Cubone (an underleveled one) against Blaine's Growlithe. Blaine praises him for finally getting the Elemental RockPaperScissors mechanic of Pokémon (Ground types being strong against Fire Types). Rusty then corrects him because Cubone is a "bone type" and dogs (like Growlithe) obviously have a weakness for bones.
- Small Name, Big Ego: He's very self-centered and doesn't seem to care about anything beside being the world's greatest Pokémon trainer.
- Supreme Chef: He's actually a genuinely good cook and it's implied he'd be well-suited to working at a restaurant or the deli. However, he refuses to do so to chase his dream.
- Too Dumb to Live: Many times has put him in situations where he could have easily gotten killed, but somehow made it out okay.
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Lots of bad things happen to Rusty, but it's really hard to feel bad for him given what a clueless, insufferable prick he is.
- Villain Protagonist: Rusty is responsible for all the misery that befalls every other character in the series, be it human or Pokémon. While originally portrayed as just abnormally stupid, later episodes depict Rusty as a borderline sociopath, with the final episode suggesting that he never felt empathy at any point in his life.
Rusty's first Pokémon which, despite it's nickname, is actually a Kakuna. Constantly abused by Rusty, it evolved into a blood-thirsty psychotic Beedrill who would eventually become the new boss of Team Rocket.
- Ax-Crazy: A member of Team Rocket openly calls him the most sociopathic, cruel, hate-filled Pokémon they've ever seen.
- The Bad Guy Wins: By the end of the series, Rusty is forced as a slave to work at his dad's deli, with Pikachu being his boss.
- Big Bad: For season 3 after he takes over Team Rocket, he drives certain events, including the kidnapping of Pokémon that includes Julian's perfect Cleffaye Valentine, and calling in all debts, including Battle Bart's.
- Demoted to Dragon: After "Peanut Butter" enslaves the humans, he is now watching over human slaves as they make a rock statue of Peanut Butter. Considering he gets to whip Rusty, it's not a bad life.
- Disney Death: Was thought to have been killed after Red showed up and destroyed the truck he was riding in.
- Foreshadowing: His ghost doesn't appear at Lavender Tower with the rest of Rusty's Pokémon, hinting he's not dead.
- Freudian Excuse: His issues are explained by Rusty's terrible training, including chucking rocks at him in the hopes one of them was a Sun Stone (which don't evolve Kakunas).
- Fully Dressed Cartoon Animal: As the boss of Team Rocket, he wears a suit and tie.
- Intelligible Unintelligible: After becoming a Beedrill, he "speaks" by buzzing (with subtitles translating what he's saying), yet everybody seems to understand him just fine.
- Karma Houdini: Became a crueler mob boss than Giovanni, frequently tortured people, worked as a slave master during Peanut Butter's reign of terror, and is made Rusty's boss in the deli, were he continues to whip his former trainer. All with no punishment whatsoever.
- Man of Wealth and Taste: After taking over Team Rocket, he put on a suit and tie.
- The Sociopath: Surprisingly cruel and sadistic for a Pokémon.
- Worth It: Even though he knows he's in for trouble when caught by the police in the last episode of season 3, his expression as he watches Rusty get arrested and electrocuted by cops seems to say that he's fine with it.
A shiny Bulbasaur which is, unfortunately, defective, as it is missing a bulb on its back.
- Body Horror: Everyone but Rusty and Peanut Butter find it difficult to look at. This isn't a Informed Deformity either - there's a large cut where his bulb should be.
- Bury Your Disabled: Its kidneys shut down mid-battle.
- Ill Girl: It is extremely sickly and deformed due to a birth defect.
- Long Bus Trip: Introduced in the third episode, "Team Rocket," but doesn't appear again until episode 17, "The Elite Four."
When Rusty thought Pikachu the Beedrill died from a truck accident, he caught a Bidoof to be his replacement.
- Slasher Smile: He does this when he watches Rusty get beaten to a pulp by Battlebart.
- Kill It with Fire: Rusty accidentally burns Pikachu Two to death while helping Battlebart commit insurance fraud.
- Replacement Goldfish: To Rusty's Beedrill named "Pikachu", despite him claiming Pikachu can never be replaced.
The result of Julian and Rusty's attempt to make a perfect Pokémon. They stopped halfway when Team Rocket busted into the Day-Care Center and killed all the Pokémon used for breeding, but little did they know that they succeeded.
- Affably Evil: Despite causing all manner of horror and carnage in his short life, Peanut Butter seems to genuinely care for Rusty (at least until Rusty causes him to have a FaceHeel Turn), treats his fellow Pokémon well and only acts maliciously for specific reasons (like murdering all of the trainers in Kanto with Pokémon badges to obtain them for Rusty).
- Ascended Extra: Only has a brief appearance in The Stinger of the "How To Breed the Perfect Pokémon" episode, but then becomes the Big Bad of Season 4.
- Baleful Polymorph: He is capable of transforming people into Bidoofs. He demonstrates this on Professor Tree.
- Big Bad: For Season 4, helping Rusty escape from prison and live out his dream only for him to decide to enslave the humans after Rusty makes him forget Compassion and learn Thirst for Vengeance.
- Crippling Overspecialization: He's so powerful that actually battling a Pokémon is beyond his ability. It's either nothing or horrible death when you're up against Peanut Butter.
- Exact Words: Peanut Butter shows the Elite 4 a big sack fully of bloody badges and then states "Behold. All the badges in Kanto from any trainers who held them". The thing is that his words are vague enough to interpenetrate this two different ways. Either he took the badges from any gym leader that held them (it's been established in canon that there are more than just the 8 gyms from the video games) or Worse he litterally took the badges from every trainer that had badges. The blood should tell you how he took them.
- Fluffy the Terrible: He's a monstrous, unnatural, reality warping abomination that Rusty nicknames "Peanut Butter".
- HeelFace Turn: After eating the sandwich by "Good Rusty", he turns good and undoes all the damage his apocalypse has caused.
- Invincible Villain: Everything opposing him fails (often horrifically) and he's only stopped because he chooses to undergo a HeelFace Turn and undo the damage he caused.
- Offscreen Villainy:
- Peanut Butter murdered all the trainers in Kanto who held any badge so Rusty could challenge the Elite Four.
- When he started his world conquest, Red organized all the elite Pokémon trainers to fight him. Peanut Butter killed them all.
- Pet the Dog: Despite Peanut butter acting like an amoral Übermensch, he does do some kind things in the series.
- He frees Rusty from jail and helps him get the badges he needs to fight the Elite Four and despite slaughtering innocent people for them, he makes Rusty close his eyes the whole time to spare him the horror.
- Offers to take over the fight against Agatha from Rusty's seriously ill Bulbasaur, telling it to rest and calling it "brother".
- Physical God: The attempts to create the perfect Bidoof made him a humanoid, reality-warping, talking abomination of nature.
- Reality Warper: Seems to be able to teleport, manipulate matter and energy at will, and also making other Bidoofs emerge from Agatha's skull through her eyes and mouth.
- Super Power Lottery: Peanut Butter is the biggest winner in the Pokémon world. He's super intelligent, can speak in human language, telekinetically levitate himself or others, can teleport, and (if Agatha's demise is any indication) warp reality. He's also shiny.
- Tastes Like Friendship: When Good Rusty gives him a sandwich, he immediately has a HeelFace Turn and undoes the entire Bidocalypse.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Peanut Butter and Rusty only needed eight badges to challenge the elite four. Instead Peanut Butter gives them "All the badges in Kanto, from any trainers who held them!". Said badges were covered in blood, with obvious implications. Then during the battle with Agatha he kills her, even though he only needed to defeat her Pokémon to win the fight. It only gets worse from here.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: He helps Rusty achieve his dream of being a Pokémon master through atrocious acts, such as murdering all the trainers in Kanto with Pokemon badges to get Rusty to the Elite Four and brutally murdering Agatha so that Rusty would win his battle against her.
Groups and Organizations
- Affably Evil: For an organization centered around stealing Pokémon, they're shown to be pretty upbeat people.
- Bad People Abuse Animals: After stealing an Eevee, one Team Rocket member claims they're gonna sell it to a place that makes shampoo. note
- Darker and Edgier: In addition to stealing Pokémon, Team Rocket is also shown peddling drugs, extorting people, physically assaulting people, murdering people, and burning down homes and businesses as intimidation. They even get into a massive shoot-out with the police at Viridian Gym.
- Combat Pragmatist: When challenged to a Pokémon battle, they'll pull out a gun and murder the trainer.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Two of its members are disgusted by how Rusty treats his Pokémon, one of them even calling him a "dumb monster".
- Pet the Dog: When they see how terribly Rusty treats his Beedrill, they rescue it and promise to treat it better.
- You Monster!: They outright call Rusty this when they saw for themselves that he just throws away injured Pokémon and has no idea how Pokémon Centers work.Female Team Rocket Grunt: You. Are a dumb. Monster!
- Subverted the second time they meet Rusty. They declare that a blackhearted trainor like him always has a place at Team Rocket.
The highest branch of government in Kanto, the Elite Four consist of Agatha, Lance, Bruno, and Lorelei.
- Mood Whiplash: During her "fight", Agatha starts by lightheartedly joking about her ghost Pokémon being spooky. Cue Rusty choosing Burbasaur.
- Know When to Fold 'Em: After seeing Peanut Butter cause smaller Bidoof's to emerge from Agatha's mouth and eyes, the rest of them wisely decide to forfeit the champion's title to the oblivious Rusty and his "scary, magical, murder Bidoof".
Other Pokémon Trainers
The true legendary Pokémon trainer of Kanto and the hero that Rusty looks up to.
- The Ace: Red is one of the best Pokémon trainers in the world with several powerful, high level Pokémon under his control. In Pokémon Ralphie, it's revealed that Red is in charge of a multi-million dollar company.
- Back from the Dead: Most likely, seeing as Peanut Butter undid all of the Bidocalypse after his HeelFace Turn, which would likely have included Red's death.
- Calling Card: After killing a member of Team Rocket, he leaves behind a picture of himself with the words "Don't do Drugs!" written on it.
- Drugs Are Bad: Seems to think so.
- Good Is Not Soft: Has no qualms about ordering his Pokémon to brutally murder members of Team Rocket. This includes fleeing and surrendering members of Team Rocket.
- Informed Attribute: Rusty says Pikachu is Red's favorite Pokémon. However, no Pikachu is ever seen in the series, much less under his command.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: Red brutally murders a member of Team Rocket, after that member praised Rusty for killing a child.
- Killed Offscreen: Peanut Butter apparently killed Red and most of his resistance members. All of this is explained to Rusty via an Info Dump.
- The Worf Effect: He attempted to lead a resistance against Peanut Butter, only for him and most of his allies to get killed.
Rusty's mother and father, who want him to get a "real" job.
An apparent Pokémon Professor residing in Beige Town. Spends most of his days on pot.
- Genius Ditz: He "invents" a time machine using Dialga. That is to say, he stuck Dialga and Rusty in a pool of water and electrocuted them. It worked, but probably killed Dialga.
- In Vino Veritas: Done with pot instead of liquor. Professor Tree admits to knowing nothing about Pokémon and just spends his time growing pot, then immediately lampshades that he shouldn't have told Rusty this and blames being stoned for his inappropriate honesty.
- Meaningful Name: A pothead named Professor Tree.
- The Stoner: He admits he knows little, if anything, about Pokémon. He took the job because it was the easiest grant to apply for and uses his monthly paycheck for pot. He ordered a bicycle full of illegal drugs and was seen in a smoke-laced Herb Shop toward the end of the series. He also comments that he was high when Rusty went to him and picked up "Pikachu" the Kakuna, which Tree thought was a paperweight.
Good/Deli RustyThe Rusty that ended up staying home and working at the deli after being convinced by the main Rusty, only for the present-day Rusty to repeat the exact same journey himself.
- Accidental Hero: He saves the day thanks to the extensively delicious sandwich he brought to the Resistance, only for it to be eaten by Perfect Bidoof.
- For Want of a Nail: This version of Rusty lived a life identical to his previous counterpart right up until the first few seconds of the first episode. Rather than become a Pokemon trainer, he stays behind and works at the deli, albeit by his other self telling him that he will become a great trainer by doing so. and he's technically not wrong given that he helps Perfect Bidoof do a HeelFace Turn.
- Good Counterpart: This Rusty isn't as Lethally Stupid as regular Rusty and seems content on not being a Pokémon master.
- Irony: By remaining at the deli like his parents wanted him to, he would end up getting what he wanted (albeit namely by the circumstances created by his negative self in the first place.)
- Nice Guy: He's a lot nicer than his future counterpart.
- Supreme Chef: Is every bit as good a cook as his future counterpart, only he doesn't mind doing it. Even creating a sandwich good enough to make the perfect Bidoof see the error of his ways.
- Walking Spoiler: It might be difficult to explain the ending without bringing "Good" Rusty up, given how he's the one who accidentally fixes everything and only appears in the last two episodes.