The Pokémon anime has been on the air for over twenty years, amassing over 1,000 episodes, 8 TV specials, and twenty-plus movies. In terms of popularity, it’s right next to the games. The anime follows the adventures of young trainer Ash Ketchum and his Pikachu, accompanied by a small group of companions as they explore, battle and discover new things across various regions in the Pokémon universe.
Ash has had plenty of companions throughout the anime. With each region, old faces move on and pursue their own adventures while fresh new faces take their place. Sometimes the changes are good while other times they just don’t measure up to their predecessors.
Introduced in the Best Wishes series, Cilan was a companion that never left that big of a mark on fans. Much like Brock in the original anime, Cilan is introduced as a Gym leader who leaves his post to accompany Ash on his journey.
Cilan is presented as a “Pokémon Connoisseur” in the anime, and proves to be very knowledgeable about Pokémon in general. But things never really clicked with him and he was, for the most part, a bland character.
Along with her brother – who will be covered fairly soon – Bonnie was part of Ash’s group for the XY series. Though the series promised to be full of new and interesting adventures, the choice of companions was subpar on the whole, with Bonnie being one of the weaker pieces of the cast.
Bonnie is a cheerful character with a knack for befriending Pokémon. She’s a very energetic character who’s always thinking of her brother. While not bad traits, they just didn’t culminate into an all that memorable character.
Another Best Wishes companion, Iris was certainly a much more interesting character to watch that Cilan. While she did have her fair share of moments and memorable quirks, she ultimately falls flat compared to other companions on this list.
Iris is a very outgoing character who’s shown to be incredibly active, with a fondness towards Dragon-type Pokémon. Her most memorable running gag is her lack of direction, which is often used as comic relief by the show’s writers.
Clemont served as Ash’s companion in Kalos along with his sister Bonnie. Though the siblings weren’t bad characters by any means, they didn’t leave all too much of a mark on the show as companions. Clemont, at least, was a little more memorable than his younger sister.
Clemont is shown to be very knowledgeable when it comes to Pokémon and takes great pride in being an inventor. His faulty gadgets were a great running gag, though sadly served as one of his few memorable aspects.
Unlike most companions on this list, Tracey isn’t a carry-over character from the games adapted into the anime setting. He was brought over in Johto on order to replace Brock. It wasn’t the smoothest transition, and for the most part, Tracey felt too much like Brock’s replacement rather than his own character.
Tracey shares a lot of similarities with Brock, such as his affinity for women, and his knowledge of Pokémon. It just feels as though it would’ve been better to keep Brock in the anime instead of creating another character that was all too similar to him.
Dawn is similar to Tracey in how she’s very much like another one of Ash’s original companions from the anime. Of course, the comparison everyone makes in Dawn’s case is Misty. Though not overtly the same character, they do share some similarities, such as her bike being destroyed by Pikachu’s Thunderbolt.
Unlike Misty, Dawn never held a grudge. She was a very cheerful and optimistic character and was easy to root for throughout her stint as a part of the main cast.
6 The Sun & Moon Gang
Along with a new artstyle, the Sun & Moon series introduced fans to a different format that had Ash stay in one place rather than explore the given region as he did in the past. Also different is the dynamic between Ash and his companion in this series.
The Sun & Moon gang just feel like a closer-knit unit, rather than individual characters. Though they do each possess their own unique characteristics, they’ve got great chemistry and are a ton of fun to watch each episode.
Serena was first introduced in the XY series, and unlike Bonnie and Clemont, proved to be a fan favorite as well as one of the most memorable companions in the series thus far.
Serena is revealed to be a childhood friend of Ash’s in the anime, a popular trope that surprisingly hadn’t made its way into the show at that point. Serena has had the most character development in the series, and by the end of her stint had cemented herself as one of the series’ best companions.
Another anime-only character, Max is introduced as May’s brother and is pegged as the know-it-all type character. Though a little bratty at times, Max really developed into a likable and interesting character throughout his time as part of the main cast.
It didn’t take long in the series for Max to grow under Brock’s tutelage. Though they would go on to share some similar traits as a result, Max still brought a lot to the table in his own right.
May is an easy character to like. As is the case with her game counterpart, May is a very kind and optimistic character that is shown to be a little more “girly” than other female companions. But that doesn’t mean that she’s lacking any fire or spunk, as May has proven to be one of the most competitive characters on the show.
She and Max have a great dynamic, as is the case with her and Ash, as well as Brock. May was just a great character that many fans of the anime wish would make a return sooner rather than later.
Misty is the first ever companion fans of the animated series were introduced to, and as a result, is fondly remembered by many. Misty is shown to be a bit of a tomboy, especially when compared to her sisters.
Her fear of bug-types is one of the most memorable character quirks in the series. Though she left original series, she’s been mentioned multiple times and even made reappearances every so often.
Throughout the entirety of the Pokémon anime, one character that has either been featured, mentioned or modeled after the most has to be Brock. Though shown to be very mature, and serving as a mentor a lot of the time, Brock is also depicted as being very passionate once he meets a beautiful woman.
It’s a running gag throughout the series, with the end result often being either rejection or harsh reprimanding, usually by one of the female companions. It’s all of these amusing characteristics that makes Brock the most memorable companion in the series.