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Webcomic / Nuzlocke Comics

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This doesn't even cover what happened beforehand.


Nuzlocke Comics is a retelling of the author's playthrough of Pokémon Ruby, Pokémon FireRed, and Pokémon White. Seeking a new challenge, he decided to play the games with some additional rules.

  1. First, he is only allowed to capture the first Pokémon he encounters on a route or location. If he fails to do so, tough beans.
  2. Second, if a Pokémon faints, it is considered "dead" and released (or boxed and never used again).

Through these rules, he found a new respect for Pokémon that he originally considered trash. The webcomic details his playthrough with more dramatic and comedic emphasis.

The comic itself has spawned many fan comics hosted on its site as well as becoming a popular Self-Imposed Challenge among the Pokémon fandom.

Apart from the name of the comic and the nickname of the author, the original set of the rules is also known as Nuzlocke. The fans are encouraged to do the same, and the most widely accepted rules are: the original two, with the exception to the first one that if you have already caught the first Pokémon you encounter on the location, you're allowed to safely ignore it, you are allowed to catch all shinies (because they are so incredibly rare you may not even see one); and last, but not least, you should nickname everything.


Starting in September 2012, the website introduced two new non-Pokémon-related comics: Space Cat and SpeedRun (canceled as of April 2013). Space Cat may get its own page some time in the future.

Also see the list of fan runs. A character Page is now under construction.

This webcomic provides examples of:

  • Anyone Can Die: Inherent in the After-Action Report format.
  • Apocalyptic Log: As in the games, Ruby finds one about the creation of Mewtwo, narrated by Gym Leader Blaine. Except he falls asleep during it.
  • Arc Words: "It's all happening for a reason."
    • "That's against the rules."
  • Art Evolution: Compare any given recent chapter with the first one and dare to say there's no improvement.
  • The Artifact: Ruby still lacks a nose, though everyone else is now drawn with one.
  • Art Shift: A trademark visual of the main comic (which sometimes appears in the fancomics) is Pokémon randomly taking on the facial features of characters from different series, primarily Lost. The name Nuzlocke comes from one such instance.
  • Advertisement:
  • Attention Whore: While other comics show Burgh as Camp Gay, the main one went a different route and made him this instead.
  • The Berserker: Buddy the Vileplume. Desmond the Mankey
  • Beehive Hairdo: The guard of Cerulean Cave. A reference to the fact that his placement in front of the cave made it look like his hair was really tall in the older games.
  • Being Tortured Makes You Evil: Mewtwo, Lampshaded. Also Gary's Squirtle to a lesser extent.
  • Big Bad: Maxie in season 1, and Mewtwo in season 2.
  • Big "NO!": Used by the protagonist several times.
    • Also used by Gary, when he loses his final battle with Ruby. Fittingly enough this makes Ruby reply with a Big "YES!".
  • Bittersweet Ending: Most end this way, or with a Downer Ending.
    • Played straight in his Fire Red run, during the fight Mewtwo kills Sawyer and when Bruce finally defeats him, he and Ruby are caught in the explosion of energy, Afterwards Bruce is sent 40 years in the past and starts flying around, looking for Ruby. And then the last scene in the epilogue shows a blast of energy, in Nuvema Town.
  • Black Comedy: Hilbert killed himself after Cheren and Bianca pushed him too far. They get over it quickly and adopt Ruby as their new BFF.
  • Bland-Name Product: A main source of background humor is the highly creative use of this trope along with No Celebrities Were Harmed. Examples include: Vanniluxe Ice, Weepin Bell (Taco Bell), Mon Of Steel, and many more.
  • Blood from the Mouth: A sure way of knowing when things are not looking good for a Pokemon.
  • Blood Knight: Misty really seems to enjoy battling, like Desmond. Fitting seeing as how she was the reason he died.
    • Another one worth mentioning is Lt. Surge, who also killed Kadabra.
    • Victini's only desire is worthy opponents upon whom he can unleash fire and death.
  • Break the Cutie: Squirtle, along with Freudian Excuse.
  • Brick Joke: In Part 2 of the White Nuzlocke, Vincent says that Route 2 is a myth to tick off Ruby. At the start of Part 3, we find that Vincent actually believed it was a myth.
  • Butt-Monkey: All the Pokémon Ruby keeps in his PC.
    • Senor Fluff seems to be quickly getting this treatment. He does poor damage and has nearly died in all the matches he's been in. It's so bad that Ruby taught him Cut, effectively making him an HM Slave.
  • Catchphrase: Ralph's. "Maaaaan, they just don't pay me enough......"
  • The Cameo: Most comics give a nod to others, often the original, but the original comic finally threw one in during Episode 26- the viewers of Ruby's battle include Hale, Robot, Nya, Kotone, Locke and a number of other popular forum comic leads.
    • The end of episode 31 gives us another - Mewtwo has the names of many Nuzlocke trainers including the above, written on the wall of Cerulean Cave... And all of them are scored out, except Ruby, which is in the centre, enlarged.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: In a series surrounded by dead pokemon, the story gets somewhat heavy in Fire Red Hard Mode: Gary was the first realized rival in story, and he verbally abused his Squirtle; A Dark Knight motif creeps up along with the Lost References; Compared to the videogames, Team Rocket and Giovanni are given more motivation than being evil for the sake of it; their goal is to stop Mewtwo, who manipulated Ruby into killing the legendary birds and Mew.
  • Creepy Child: Cheren and Bianca are so annoying they drive Hilbert to suicide. They are mostly unfazed when they find out, uttering only a quiet "oh darn" and lamenting that they now need to find a new best friend... To love forever.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Nearly all of Ruby's battles with Gary.
    • Subverted in their last battle where Ruby easily beats Gary's first four Pokémon, but when Gary calls out Arcanine, it manages to kill both Buddy and Doakes, and later Blastoise manages to kill Blamo as well.
  • Darker and Edgier: Naturally, making the Pokémon die instead of faints creates this. However, it can sometimes veer into parody given how over the top it is.
    • And, as noted below, it's usually about equally dark with the Pokémon Special manga, so YMMV.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Sawyer the Pidgeot(to) has shades of this.
  • Determinator: Ruby. No matter what the challenge throws at him he simply will not give up, because if he did, all the allies he's lost will have died for nothing.
  • Didn't Think This Through: "What? It's really hot and everyone is dying? I don't understand... how could water be GOOD?"
  • Disney Death: Mew.
  • Disney Villain Death: Sawyer loves pulling this one on Team Rocket mooks. Hell, he does it to the same mook twice.
    • While not a villain, Pauly the Timburr dies like this.
  • Downer Ending: Season 1, in which Ruby loses the championship match against Steven, which causes him to become a Failure Knight.
  • Driven to Suicide: After showing up in Hilbert's house at the beginning of White: Hard Mode Ruby finds a suicide note where he says he had to get away from "Them". Then finds Hilbert's hanged corpse in the closet.
  • Dynamic Entry: Performed by Burgh here.
  • Eagle Land: Unova being a stand-in for America makes this trope inevitable, though in their defense, they're no more idiotic than Hoennites or Kantonians were in previous seasons.
  • Fake Difficulty: Due to the random nature of the game playing a big part of the game, the Nuzlocke challenge tends to involve more grinding and random deaths.
  • Fanservice: Naked college-age Professor Juniper.
  • Fantastic Racism: Ruby's new "friends" don't seem to think too well of Kanto or Hoenn. As well as most Unova residents when he brings up his Hoenn origins.
    • Shockingly enough, not Ghestis. The Sages on the Other Hand...
  • Fire-Forged Friends
  • Follow the Leader: Many other players made their own comics of playthroughs with these same rules with one or two added ones. This became known as the Nuzlocke Challenge.
  • Foreshadowing: Mewtwo creating the Nuzleaf ghost for Ruby has been hinted at since the start. He is clearly only visible from Ruby's POV as shown when he question's the Nuzleaf in the first episode, showing that Ruby was talking to a empty chair, later on he ask why he can see partner's ghost without the Silph Scope which Nuzleaf dismisses as their extremely close bond making him visible, and to hammer it into the ground that there is something not right with his ghost when he's talking with Meowth's ghost in Pokemon Tower it switches to a similar point of view from the start of Fire Red. But unlike Nuzleaf, you can see Meowth's ghostly shape on the tombstone.
  • Freudian Excuse: Parodied with Maxie, who wants to expand the land because a wave destroyed a sandcastle he made. Played a little more straight with Giovanni, who was constantly beat in battle by Professor Oak as a child and wants to prove himself.
  • Funny Background Event: Look very closely in the stands of Kanto's stadium after Ruby defeats Lorelei. One of the signs reads "UPDATE FASTER."
    • In the news broadcast after Ruby beats Bruno, the newsticker at the bottom reads "Scientists yet to find slower source than"
    • Whenever the creator makes a creative Bland-Name Product, it tends to get the attention of the fandom.
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: Ruby has these. The angel is, of course, Nuzleaf. The devil is Gary. He... isn't very good at his job.
  • Go Out with a Smile: Buddy, who knows he won't be able to survive the next turn, but that his death will buy Ruby time to heal.
    • Desmond as well, seeing as he knew he did enough damage on Misty's Starmie for Ruby to take it out with his next Pokémon.
    • And in the White Run for Senor Fluf too, right after his first victory. His words before going don't make it any better.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Groudon in season 1.
  • Grimmification: For Pokémon. Depending on the Writer, most of the runs really are no darker than the Pokémon Special manga series.
  • Harder Than Hard: Especially when you add even more rules, such as never using items or never using Pokémon Centers.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Gary's Blastoise seems to be pulling one off.
  • Heel Realization: After Ruby defeats Mewtwo and seemingly dies in the energy blast, Giovanni finds a photo of Ruby and his Sceptile. Overcome with guilt, he turns himself in to the police and confesses everything.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Several of Ruby's Pokémon give their lives to keep him safe in the more dangerous battles.
    • Sawyer's corpse saves Ruby from falling to his death.
  • Hulk Speak: Bruno.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Erika only collects beautiful Pokémon. For example, Victreebel.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: "I guess that makes you my "WING MAN."
  • In the Back: N's Nacrene team seem to be fond of trying to do this on Ruby's mons. One of them succeeds in slaying Fluf this way.
  • Ironic Echo: "...That would be breaking the rules."
    Giovanni: What rules?!
  • Jerkass: Gary Oak is this, hands down.
    • Burgh. He constantly talks down to Ruby and steals credit for defeating Team Plasma in Navreene.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Ruby himself.
    • Ruby's newly caught Victini as well.
  • Knight of Cerebus: N is this in the White run. All the deaths in the team so far have been in battles with him, and he deconstructs the very idea of the comic.
  • Loophole Abuse: Many people were surprised when Ruby caught Victini, since he'd refused to catch any other Legendaries up to that point. As it turned out, Ruby refused to catch earlier Legendaries because they weren't the first Pokemon encountered in their respective areas. Victini was.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Mewtwo, who seems to have created the spirit of Nuzleaf as a psychic projection.
  • Meaningful Name: Ruberto Normanson. This is the name of the main character, Ruby, who is the Son of a guy named Norman.
  • Mood Whiplash: Many of the runs will poke fun at exaggerated character traits of trainers and general Fridge Logic, then hit you with a tragic death scene immediately after.
  • Mushroom Samba: One of the (ab)uses of the Dream Mist as one of Fennel's "experiments" with Juniper in their Castelia University days can attest.
  • My Own Grandpa: Sort of. The reason Norman prefers Pokémon to family is because Bruce flew past his window as a child while HIS father was attempting to say that family was more important. Because of this, Ruby turned out the way he did, and would eventually end up taking the Nuzlocke challenge, resulting in the events of the Ruby and Fire Red comic, which caused him to attempt to attack Mewtwo with Bruce, causing the rift in the space-time continuum that made Bruce go into the past.
    • Repeated AGAIN with the same Pokémon in the last part of the epilogue: Bruce flies around more, and his faaaar past self sees him... and comments on how that will be him. If only he knew...
  • Mythology Gag: In Epilogue 6, Blastoise finds Mew inside of a truck.
    • The guardian of Cerulean Cave having comically large hair, which is a joke about the positioning of his sprite in the Gen 1 Games making it look like it was his hair instead of the entrance to the cave.
    • Burgh lets Ruby pick the Radio station on the way to Castelia City, it turns out to be a radio station devoted entirely to Trumpets.
      Burgh: "Oh God, you're from Hoenn, aren't you?"
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Part 31 reveals that the Legendary Birds were keeping Mewtwo's power in check and Ruby was being manipulated by Mewtwo to kill them by talking through an illusion of his Nuzleaf. Also Bruce's request during the fight with Gary was the reason Buddy and Doakes died. And remember Team Rocket's efforts to steal and take over? Turns out that they were researching ways of finally stopping Mewtwo before he got free and Ruby ruined their efforts. Oops.
    • In a more humorous version, the reason Norman considers Pokémon above his own family? Bruce flew past his window as a child while looking for Ruby in the past.
    • During the battle at Nacerene City, N coldly blames Ruby for Hank and Fluf's deaths.
  • Nobody Calls Me "Chicken"!: In season 3 Cheren and Bianca imply Ruby isn't up for the challenge to get him to participate in the Unova league.
  • Oh, Crap!: Ruby has a major Oh, Crap! moment moments after leaving Victory Road and learning that Gary has just become the new Champion.
  • One-Liner: Ruby hands these out like candy.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Until Chapter 7 of White, he was always called "Ruby" when his actual, full name is "Ruberto Normanson".
  • Patriotic Fervor: Vincent the Lillipup is a proud supporter of... Route 1, to the point that he doesn't even believe ROUTE 2 exists.
  • Pokémon Speak: Averted; most of the Pokemon in this comic are capable of full, coherent sentences and regularly hold conversations with humans.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Yeah, Ruby beat Gary, but Bruce and Sawyer are the only survivors. Pony, Blamo, Doakes, and Buddy are all dead.
    • The finale also counts, He thwarted Mewtwo's plan to escape from the cave But He and Bruce get separated by the explosion while Sawyer dies in the fight.
    • Senor Fluff dies after avenging Hank AND after his first victory
  • Raptor Attack: Those Scythers during Safari Zone.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: The comic is based on the author's actual experiences in the game.
  • Related in the Adaptation: In the original games, N's true father was never revealed and Ghetsis simply took him in. In the webcomic, Ghetsis is N's birth father who abandoned N and his mother before N was even born.
  • Retirony: Poor Loudred was just one level away from evolving.
  • Running Gag: Ralph: "Man, they don't pay me enough..."
    • Munna's/Musharna's Dream Mist making people halluci- AAAH IT'S SATAN!
    • The reactions of Unova residents to Ruby being from Hoenn.
    • Victini's claim of being 200 years old.
  • Rule of Funny: Apparently, the only reason Nuzlocke made Ruby pick Oshawott as his starter in White.
  • Schedule Slip: From April 2014 to Christmas 2015. This also is not the first time that the author was unable to keep up with an update schedule that he had made for the site.
  • Self-Deprecation: Ruby the artist knows he tends to fall into Schedule Slip frequently, and uses it as a joke.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: The idea behind the comic. An in-universe one as well, deconstructed because N questions why Ruby continues to put himself through all of the pain and get his Pokemon killed.
  • Sequel Hook: Used in most instances where a writer does multiple runs, to justify using the same character.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Lieutenant Surge.
    • Subverted, he's fully aware that the war is over and he's never going to relive those days again. However his flame is lit very briefly when he fights Ruby.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: After Surge kills his Kadabra and launches into a speech about how fighting makes them both feel more alive, Ruby cuts him off.
  • Slasher Smile: Mewtwo sports one of these.
  • Sorry That I'm Dying: Pony, The Silent Bob, is the first to fall in Ruby's FireRed League challenge. As he dies, he speaks for the first and last time, apologizing to Ruby.
  • Spam Attack: MAGNITUDE
    • "Destiny Red" consists of a Pokémon with a type advantage spamming an attack they get STAB from.
    • Ruby loves using Blast Burn. It gets lampshaded by one of the newcasters in his E4 battles.
  • The Lancer: Sceptile in season 1, Sawyer in season 2.
  • The Merch: Lampshaded In-Universe in the comic "Nuzlocke Sells Out".
  • The Stoner: Erika.
    • Fennel used to do "experiments" with Dream Mist with Juniper.
  • That Came Out Wrong: "Okay, Buddy... suck 'em dry."
  • Tempting Fate: Ruby seems to do this from time to time, which happens right before another mon dies.
    • "There is nothing wrong with people from Hoenn" said by Ghetsis with Ruby about to break into a window from behind while on a vehicle.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The picture for Season 2 shows Nuzlocke and Mewtwo side by side, with the same glowing eyes, even though the reader isn't supposed to make that connection until after Mewtwo says "I believe all this is happening for a reason.
  • The Unfavorite: Luke (Oshawatt) is this to Ruby, at least compared to past starters. He's starting to warm up to him though. Especially so after evolving and being a key player in his team, so he might have molded out of this.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: How Luke finishes of Lenora's Watchog.
  • Tonight, Someone Dies: In the Pokémon White run:
    As the party looked out upon Nacrene City... They knew not it was death that awaited them.
  • Too Dumb to Live: "GODDAMMIT RALPH!"
  • Took a Level in Badass: Buddy, quite literally. He started out as a hippie-like Oddish, but then Ruby shoved a Rare Candy, Leaf Stone, and a couple TMs down his throat...
    • Then there is Luke who goes from being The Unfavorite on Ruby's teams to evolving into a decent fighter who can take on Lenora's Watchog.
  • True Companions: If you're doing the challenge right, your Pokemon are like this.
  • Unbuilt Trope: Ruby lost the Nuzlocke Challenge that started it all, his Fire Red run ended in a Pyrrhic Victory, and N flat-out called him out in the White run for playing by rules that get his Pokemon killed. To contrast, many of the spinoffs have happy endings.
  • Wham Episode: Episode 31 of Fire Red... Oooh, boy. Okay, some people guessed Nuzlocke was evil/pulling the strings for Mewtwo, but the names crossed out was a special touch.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: One of Ruby's biggest reasons for taking the challenge is to impress his father, Norman, who always valued "Good-Ruby" the Slakoth/Vigoroth over him.
    • Luke the Oshawott also seems to want to prove himself to Ruby. His evolution and being used to fight Lenora for the victory may have achieved this.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Every one of Ruby's Pokémon that dies from Poison.
    • Juliet the Spearow.
    • The Medicham he caught before the Elite Four.
    • Hugo the Snorlax, Keith the Hitmonlee, and the Unnamed Eevee and Alexi the Rhyhorn in a more humorous example as Ruby leaves them in the box and gave the Eevee away and Hugo was only used once to move some boulders. And very briefly with an unnamed Kabuto when asked about the fossil he got at Mt.Moon.
    • A rare human example would be Hilbert.
    • Hank the Pansear.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: Ruby wonders this about Hilbert... Until he looks in the closet.
    • Burgh wonders if Ruby's real name, Ruberto, is even a real name.
  • X Called; They Want Their Y Back: Ruby to Norman: "Sonic Team called, they want their '''suck''' back."
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Fluf finally got a victory a page before getting attacked from behind by N's Tympole and dying.
  • You Should Have Died Instead: Appears rather often.


Example of: