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This doesn't even cover what happened beforehand.

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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.

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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:

  • Age Lift: In canon Black and White, Word of God puts N's age at 18-20. This comic makes him about 24.
  • Anyone Can Die: Inherent in the After-Action Report format, the webcomic chronicles the artist's playthrough of the Pokémon games, with each Pokémon who faints in battle dying in the comics.
  • 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."
  • Advertisement:
  • Art Evolution: Characters in the Ruby arc were drawn with very rudimentary sketches. By the time the Firered arc started, characters more closely resemble their game counterparts and the Pokémon designs got more stylized as well.
  • 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.
  • Attention Whore: While other comics show Burgh as Camp Gay, the main one went a different route and made him this instead.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Mewtwo in Firered is just a wild, territorial animal. In the comics, he is a genocidal, malicious monster bent on wiping out mankind.
  • 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's psychopathy is explicitly stated to be a result of the torturous experiments he went through at the hands of the scientists who created him.
    • Squirtle grows increasingly more sadistic as he starts to envy Bruce's friendship with Ruby, compared to Gary's own mistreatment of him.
  • Big Bad:
    • Maxie in season 1. Closely following his role in the original game, he wishes to awaken Groudon to expand the continents, but loses control of the creature and nearly causes the destruction of Hoenn.
    • Mewtwo in season 2. He lures Ruby to Kanto to trick him into breaking his seal, allowing him to leave Cerulean Cave and go on a killing spree.
  • Big "NO!": Used by Gary, when he loses his final battle with Ruby. Fittingly enough this makes Ruby reply with a Big "YES!".
  • Bittersweet Ending: In the Fire Red run, Mewtwo kills Sawyer, and his defeat sends Bruce 40 years into the past, while Ruby is teleported to 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 Knight:
    • Misty really enjoys battling, like Desmond. Fitting seeing as how she was the reason he died.
    • Lt. Surge, who also killed Kadabra.
    • Victini's only desire is worthy opponents upon whom he can unleash fire and death.
  • 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: Senor Fluff 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. And then he dies just as he starts to earn some respect by winning his first battle.
  • Call-Back: In Kanto Episode 1, Mew and Mewtwo's conversation ends with Mew telling Mewtwo that "I'll see you around", and Mewtwo retorts with a threatening "Sooner than you think..." In Kanto Episode 32, Mewtwo leaves the imprisoned Ruby with the parting words "...I'll see you around", and Ruby retorts with a threatening "Sooner than you think."
  • 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: With the exception of their final confrontation, all of Ruby's battles against Gary are incredibly one-sided in the former's favour, who refuses to take the latter seriously.
  • Darker and Edgier: The webcomic is much darker than the games, as the Pokémon die instead of simply fainting as the result of battle.
  • 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: Maxie wanted to awaken Groudon so the Pokémon could summon intense sunlight to expand the continents. He gets exactly what he wanted.
    "What? It's really hot and everyone is dying? I don't understand... how could water be GOOD?"
  • Disney Death: Mew is apparently incinerated by Bruce late into the Firered arc, but is revealed to have survived during the epilogue.
  • 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 he 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.
  • 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, with the exception of, ironically enough, Ghetsis.
  • 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 Nuzlocke.com."
    • 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 Blamo.
    • In the White Run, Senor Fluf, right after his first victory. His words before going don't make it any better.
  • Grimmification: For Pokémon. Depending on the Writer, most of the runs really are no darker than the Pokémon Adventures manga series.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Gary's Blastoise pulls one off at the end of the Firered arc, finally turning against his master after all the months of abuse.
  • 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.
  • Knight of Cerebus: N is this in the White run. He causes several deaths to Ruby's team across battles, 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.
  • Meaningful Name: Ruberto Normanson is the son of a guy named Norman.
  • Mood Whiplash: Many of the runs will poke fun at exaggerated character traits of trainers and the more absurd aspects of Pokémon plots, 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.
  • 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.
    • Bruce's request during the fight with Gary was the reason Buddy and Doakes died.
    • 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.
    • 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, impressing him so much he became obsessed with Pokémon.
    • During the battle at Nacrene City, N coldly blames Ruby for Hank and Fluf's deaths, saying that wouldn't have happened if Ruby hadn't made them fight in the first place.
  • 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.
  • Older Than They Look:
    • The Kanto starter Pokémon don't look very old, but they're all at least 40.
    • N dresses and acts like a teenager, but he's actually 24 and change.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Until Chapter 7 of White, the protagonist 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: Surprisingly averted; most of the Pokemon in this comic are capable of full, coherent sentences and regularly hold conversations with humans.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Ruby beats Gary, but Bruce and Sawyer are the only survivors. Pony, Blamo, Doakes, and Buddy are all dead.
    • In the Firered finale, Ruby thwarts 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.
  • 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 before he met his untimely demise.
  • Running Gag:
    • Ralph: "Man, they don't pay me enough..."
    • Munna's/Musharna's Dream Mist making people halluci- AAAH IT'S SATAN!
    • The Unova residents reacting to Ruby being from Hoenn with disdain.
    • Victini claiming to be 200 years old.
  • Rule of Funny: The only reason Nuzlocke made Ruby pick Oshawott as his starter in White is because his girlfriend convinced him it would be funny.
  • Self-Deprecation: Ruby the artist knows he tends to fall into schedule slip frequently, and uses it as a joke.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: In-universe, this is the idea behind the comic. Deconstructed because N questions why Ruby continues to put himself through all of the pain and get his Pokemon killed.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Lieutenant Surge subverts this: 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 gives a horrifying one when Ruby falls into his trap and executes Mew.
  • 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:
    • Ruby's "Destiny Red" strategy consists of a Pokémon with a type advantage spamming an attack they get STAB from.
    • Ruby loves ordering Charizard to use Blast Burn. It gets lampshaded by one of the newcasters in his E4 battles.
  • Spoiler Cover: 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.
  • Stable Time Loop: At the end of the Kanto arc, Bruce is sent back in time to 40 years in the past. He is seen flying around by Norman, who decides that Pokémon are more important than family; this leads him to spurn Ruby in the modern day, leading to the Nuzlock challenge that would result in Bruce being sent back in time.
  • The Stoner:
    • Erika, the Gym Leader who specializes in Grass-types, is reimagined as a pothead.
    • Fennel used to do "experiments" with Dream Mist with Juniper.
  • Tempting Fate: "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.
  • The Unfavorite: Luke (Oshawatt) is this to Ruby, at least compared to past starters. Ruby tells to his face that, albeit he has warmed up to him, it's Vincent (the Lillipup) who is his favourite.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Luke finishes off Lenora's Watchog by hurling his shell blades at his opponent.
  • Tonight, Someone Dies:
    • At the end of Chapter 10 in the Ruby run:
      "Next... A party member will fall."
    • In the Pokémon White run:
      As the party looked out upon Nacrene City... They knew not it was death that awaited them.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Buddy started out as a hippie-like Oddish, but then Ruby shoved a Rare Candy, Leaf Stone, and a couple TMs down his throat, and he became one of the most intimidating Pokémon in his team.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • "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 wants to prove himself to Ruby. His evolution and being used to fight Lenora for the victory have achieved this.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye:
    • Juliet the Spearow only shows up for a single chapter, where her death sparks a conflict between Ruby and Sawyer.
    • The Medicham Ruby caught before the Elite Four gets killed mere panels after its introduction.
    • 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 gives the Eevee away and Hugo is only used once to move some boulders. And very briefly with an unnamed Kabuto when asked about the fossil he got at Mt. Moon. Fortunately, they are all released instead of dying in battle.
    • A rare human example would be Hilbert, who is only seen at the beginning of the White run hanging from a noose.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Episode 31 of Fire Red. Some people guessed Nuzlocke was evil/pulling the strings for Mewtwo, but the names crossed out was a special touch.
    • Episode 12 of the White run. Charizard was murdered by Ghetsis, who used the event to manipulate N into becoming the unstable youngster he is today. Also, turns out Isis was incarcerated for opposing her husband, going insane over Bruce's promise that Ruby would save them as she slowly starves to death.
  • 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 gets a victory a page before getting attacked from behind by N's Tympole and dying.

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