Any franchise that’s spanned more than a single decade is going to have an imbalanced cast. That’s just the natural course of writing a serialized story for so long. Characters come and go, dynamics change, and audiences move on along with time. With a series like Pokémon, that often means that once beloved characters go ignored for years at a time.
Some have been ignored in the anime, in the games, and others shortly after their introduction. There are certain trainers on this list who exist to fill such specific roles, they can’t possibly appear again in a logical capacity. For most fans, this is business as usual. For those whose favorites have been forgotten by time, however, it’s a pain unlike any other.
Game Freak had actually intended to include Green as a female counterpart to Red from as early as Generation I. She’s even featured in concept art for the game and her design was later reused for the manga’s Green. Although Green recently appeared in Pokémon Let’s Go, she’s one of the most neglected characters in the series.
This is largely due to the fact that Green didn’t appear in Generation III. Rather, Leaf took her place while Red has remained Red. With Leaf becoming the modern Green, the once intended female protagonist faded from the games’ history, only existing in the side-manga for years.
Far and away the most neglected of the Hoenn Gym Leaders, Juan is the only Gym Leader from a Generation with a remake to not be in the remake. He likely just doesn’t exist anymore, removing some genuinely interesting backstory. Juan was Wallace’s teacher and he returns once his pupil becomes Champion.
That adds quite a bit of depth not only to their relationship, but to their status as individual trainers. Unfortunately, Emerald fails to do much with him and outside of a few exceptions, Game Freak treats things as if Juan doesn’t exist. The Hoenn remakes only drove that point home.
As the first playable female character in the series, Kris deserves way more fanfare than she gets. Like Green, the remake of her game removed her in favor of a brand new female protagonist, Lyra. What’s worse is that Kris was actually playable unlike Green. She had a cool design, was likable, and had a well written manga counterpart.
This is to say nothing of the fact that Kris isn’t treated equal to Gold— although that makes sense since Gold was introduced first. Kris recently made an appearance in Pokémon Masters, but Lyra’s presence in the main games likely means that Kris won’t be returning. (Not that playable characters who aren’t Red ever return.)
7 Every Elite Four Member In The Anime
With rare exceptions, the anime handles the Elite Four very poorly. They’re certainly contextualized as important trainers, but they’re handled so jarringly differently. The goal isn’t to fight them at the end of the League, they don’t all just hangout in one giant tower, and it seems like they never participate in Pokémon battles.
The few times an Elite Four members appears, it’s usually pretty underwhelming. They’re never able to show off their true skills due to the nature of the anime, making any brief appearances totally unmemorable. It’s bad enough that Elite Four members barely appear in the games, the anime doesn’t make it any easier.
While Juan may be too unimportant to exist in Hoenn’s remade timeline, he does at least appear in the anime. No, he likely won’t be appearing in the games again anytime soon, but he’s immortalized in the adaptation. Every Gym Leader is. Except one— Janine. Koga’s daughter, Janine replaces him as Gym Leader in Generation II.
Given that the Johto anime can’t logically adapt the post-game since Ash already tackled Kanto’s League, there’s no logical reason for him to return. Not just that, the games were on the cusp of a new Generation. By the time Ash could have met Janine, it was time for a new region. She’s been casually ignored since.
5 Professor Elm
Professor Elm should be one of the most important characters in the franchise. He should be remembered with the same passion and fondness as Professor Oak. But shoulds are just that: “shoulds.” Even in his own game, Professor Elm is overshadowed by Oak, being the only professor not to introduce players to his game.
In the original canon, Elm was at least known for discovering Pokémon Eggs and his research on baby Pokémon, but the Generation IV remakes take place in a new canon where these concepts existed long before Elm could have discovered anything. As a result, he’s even more ignored in the remakes.
Silver is one of the most important and in-depth characters in the Pokémon franchise who, for whatever reason, Game Freak just does not want to use. He appears when his presence is absolutely mandatory, but the most Game Freak has ever liked Silver is when they gave him Ho-Oh, Lugia, and Mewtwo in Stadium 2.
As Giovanni’s son, Silver should logically have more of a presence. Fire Red and Leaf Green added references to him after the fact, but later games aren’t keen on fleshing out this thread even with modern Pokémon embracing nostalgia harder than ever before. Maybe Silver’s problem is that he’s not from Gen I.
3 Everyone From Colosseum And Gale Of Darkness
Time has been especially kind to the GameCube duology. As the main series fail to innovate and genuinely bring the series into 3D, both Colosseum and Gale of Darkness offer more traditional turn based RPGs with less of an emphasis on monster catching and greater focus given towards battles.
These two makes arguably makes the best use out of Pokémon’s combat, and they both feature fairly charming casts. Mirror B appears across both games and he’s far & away the duology’s staple character. Incredibly weird, he manages to feel out of place that’s totally in place with Pokémon. Too bad he’ll never show up again.
Barry is still the strongest Rival character in the series with the second strongest starter right behind Red’s Pikachu at Lv 88. He’s absurdly powerful, gets a considerable amount of character development unlike most rivals, and was actually adapted as one of Ash’s rivals in the anime. But that was during Barry’s cross promotional era when Gen IV was relevant.
Barry, like many Rivals before him, exists to disappear once the new Generation begins. Only Blue gets the honor of serving as a constant presence. What makes Barry different, however, is how fleshed out he is as a character and his status as the strongest Rival. At least Masters gives him something to chew on.
When all is said and done, Gold should be just as fondly remembered as Red. After all, Gold canonically defeats Red on Mt. Silver. The game isn’t truly over until the credits roll for real, and the only way to do that is to defeat Red. Unfortunately, Gold suffers the fate that every Pokémon protagonist does and therefore never reappears outside of remakes and Masters.
It’s disappointing considering how well of a foil Gold serves for Red without having to speak a single line of dialogue. They’re two sides of the same coin, but Gold has to push himself harder and further than Red. It makes the final battle between the two of them cathartic with no need for build up. Bring back Gold!