The Pokémon series has developed several odd traditions over its 24 years of existence. Swapping out the main characters with each new generation of Pokémon is one of them. With each new game and region, a new kid from that region embarks on their journey. And, because Ash Ketchum will always remain the protagonist, the female version of that new character will join him on his journey in the Pokémon anime. But of all the girls who've joined Ash over the years, Serena may be the most unique. She's certainly the female companion that breaks the mold in the most ways.
Serena was the female player character in the Generation 7 Kalos Region games Pokémon X & Y, and Ash's companion in the anime episodes based on them. While her game incarnation was nothing too out of the ordinary, the Serena of the anime was a bit more out there in comparison. In fact, the writers almost seemed to have it out for her. They wrote Serena as more of a girly-girl than Ash's earlier companions, making her more aimless and prone to bouts of insecurity. Doing so did endear her to the audience, even all that mold-breaking put Serena through some odd experiences. Experiences that will leave you kind of scratching your head.
There seemed to be a determination to make Serena different than previous female companions and player characters in all her various incarnations. We've looked over the versions of her from the anime, the games, and even the manga to put this list together. What we've learned is that Serena is original in many unexpected ways.
These are 25 Ridiculous Things About Serena That Shows Pokémon Makes No Sense.
Chalk this up as one of the weirder things in the Pokémon anime, there's a Mirror Universe. Like the Star Trek one but without the goatees. In the episode "The Cave of Mirrors," Ash is exploring the Reflection Cave full of mirror-like crystals. One of Ash's reflections actually pulls him through the mirror into another world.
How is never explained.
Everybody's personality is reversed there. The Mirror World's Ash is a timid wimp and Serena is an arrogant battler in contrast to her more polite usual self. Serena never met her doppelgänger, so one wonders how she would have felt about that.
The Pokémon Adventures manga always has some of the more curious interpretations of the source material. Being based more on the games than the anime is partially responsible for that. Those eyebrow raising elements came back around again when Adventures adapted Pokémon X & Y. The manga's version of Serena is named Y. Like the letter Y. In fairness, it is short for something: Yvonne.
That was actually Serena's name in early development of the game. Given that Kalos is supposed to be France, she was given a French name. Nice little easter egg, but seriously? Y?
The most important thing that separates Serena from Ash's many other female companions is that they knew each other before they embarked on their journey together. As a child, Serena was sent to Kanto to attend Professor Oak's Pokémon summer camp. While there, she got lost and was rescued by a young Ash. He helped Serena when she hurt herself and instilled in her the never give up motto she still follows. She never forgot him when she back to Kalos. But when Ash came to the region years later, he told her that he didn't remember her. Poor girl.
Being able to ride Pokémon outside of fast travel was a new addition to X & Y. The new mechanic introduced the concept of Rhyhorn racing to the series. Not that Serena is a big fan of the sport. She hates Rhyhorn Racing. This is because her mom Grace is a champion Rhyhorn racer. She tried pushing Serena to follow in her footsteps which Serena had no interest in doing. Though she despises the sport, Serena is a decent racer thanks to her mom's training. She even gained an appreciation for it in the episode "Giving Chase at the Rhyhorn Race."
Usually when the anime reaches a new region, there's not a lot of waiting around. Ash gets one of the new starters, he gets some new traveling companions, and they're off. But for the Kalos Region, the anime slowed down and took its time. Serena took four episodes to choose her first Pokémon, five to actually meet Ash in person, and seven before she joins him on his journey. That's pretty long for a fast-paced series like Pokémon. It is accurate to the X & Y games though. You have to visit Lumiose City a few times before things begin.
Ash has changed his outfit a few times, but Serena is the only character to have her new design acknowledged in-universe. The writers even gave it a backstory. After failing in her Pokémon Showcase debut, Serena felt low about herself. This was her life's goal and she failed. Comforted by her Fennekin, Serena found her courage and cut her hair short to show her resolve. She got herself a new outfit too. Amazingly, she stuck with this design for the rest of the series and never changed back. That's a first for Pokémon. Her look can be recreated in-game too.
While she can battle, Serena is a Pokémon Performer, not Trainer. Pokémon Performers are more like Dog Show trainers, their Pokémon do routines and impress judges. Unfortunately for Serena, Pokémon Showcases are more cutthroat than Pokémon Battles. While Ash only had Gary as a rival, Serena has at least three.
One is Aria, Kalos' reigning Pokémon Performer champ, but there's also Miette who is probably the closest to Serena's Gary, and her friend Shauna who made Serena want to be a Performer in the first place. Not to mention Jessie of Team Rocket is a Performer too. Good Luck Serena.
Serena is probably closer to Ash than any of his other female companions. It might explain how she could pretend to be him so easily. In the episode "Battling at Full Volume," a guitarist named Jimmy challenges Ash to a Pikachu on Pikachu battle. Ash agrees, but catches a cold before the fight. Serena steps in, disguising herself as Ash, and with Pikachu's help, they beat Jimmy. Her deception would have worked completely if Team Rocket hadn't seen through her disguise. Leave it to the only people who've known Ash longer than Serena has to not to be fooled.
Not Ghost Pokémon. Actual ghosts. Several times in the anime, it's shown that Serena is superstitious when it comes to haunted houses and forests. She'll let her reason get away from her and speculate wildly about horrible things. Now this is something that has never made sense in Pokémon, from the very beginning.
How can you be afraid of ghosts in a world with Ghost Pokémon? The Ghost Pokémon we meet are all friendly, if a bit mischievous. A Silph Scope will actually show you what any kind of ghost looks like. What exactly is there to be afraid of?
The amount of leeway Ash gives his Pikachu is a joke. Not only does he keep it outside a Pokéball, he lets the yellow mouse shock anything it darn well pleases. In fact, Pikachu has electrocuted everyone of Ash's previous female companions, or electrocuted their property. That was why Misty was following Ash, remember? Pikachu shocked her bike. He did the same thing to May and Dawn. Iris and Bonnie got sparks right in the face. But Serena avoided this fate. Maybe it's because she gets along better with Ash than the others, or maybe Pikachu just likes her more.
As the eternally 10-year-old protagonist of a series aimed at children, Ash has never shown much interest in girls. He's certainly had many close female friends, but no girlfriend. But that may change thanks to Serena. At the end of the X & Y anime, she gave Ash his first kiss. Well, it's implied she did anyway.
The kiss isn't shown on-screen, but the characters' reactions make it pretty clear what happened. This was a good-bye kiss though, as Serena was leaving for the Hoenn region when she gave it to him. And Ash, the poor dope, just stood there stunned.
Across her multiple incarnations, Serena's Pokémon team never stays the same. Heck, her anime version doesn't even have a full team. That Serena only has three Pokémon; a Fennekin, a Pancham, and a Sylveon. Of those three, her game counterpart only has one. Sort of. Game Serena can have a Fennekin, but only if the player character is male and has a Chespin. Her manga counterpart, Y, seems to mix the two together. Y has Anime Serena's Sylveon and Game Serena's Absol, but her starter is the water-type Froakie. She also seems to have stolen her mother's Rhyhorn. Nice girl.
Sky Trainers were introduced in Pokémon X & Y. They specialize in flying-type Pokémon, wear wing suits, and are found in the high mountains. Most people don't end up battling them, though, as Sky Battles only use flying or floating Pokémon. It's a neat idea, just not well-executed. Also kind of surprising that Serena is a Sky Trainer. She doesn't seem the type for thrills like that. Granted, it's more prominent in her manga counterpart Y. She became a Sky Trainer to get back at her mother the Rhyhorn racer for trying to dictate her life. Swapping the ground for the sky.
Serena's skill as a trainer is not... great. She improves over the course of the anime, but in the beginning she let her emotions influence her Pokémon too much. Once she got upset with her Fennekin after a bad Performance rehearsal, her Fennekin responded by shooting her with Flamethrower. Serena wasn't injured though and the two made up later.
Weirdly, this is a tradition in the anime. Trainers getting burned in the face by their starter Fire Pokémon. Previously it happened to Dawn with her Cyndaquil and it started way back with Ash and his Charizard. What an odd tradition.
As one of the first new Pokémon introduced for X & Y, it makes sense Serena and Fletchling would have some connection. But the fact that it carries over into every incarnation of the character is nuts. Game Serena has Fletching as her first Pokémon, though it disappears from her team later in the game. As a Sky Trainer, Manga Serena of course has a Fletchling. She nicknamed it Fletchy. But Anime Serena probably has the most embarrassing connection. Her first appearance has her mother's Fletching waking her up in bed by attacking her. Apparently it does this whenever she oversleeps.
Anyone familiar with Pokémon knows what the game's setup is supposed to be. Kids leave home at age 10 to travel the world and catch Pokémon. Serena must not have gotten that memo though. The version of her from the games didn't set out on her journey until she was 16 years old. For this series, 16 is basically old age.
And while her anime counterpart is closer to Ash's age, that Serena seems to have inherited the same lateness. It took her 47 episodes to figure out what her actual goal in life was. She'd mostly just been following Ash around before then.
Unlike all his other female companions, Serena never really argues with Ash. They don't butt heads or get into petty fights. While this is partly because Serena is just a kind, polite person in general, it's also because she has a crush on Ash. She has since they were kids. Ever since he rescued her at Professor Oak's summer camp. When Ash first appeared in Kalos, on the news, Serena was intent on tracking him down to thank him. The anime often shows her blushing when Ash does something cool, and when anyone brings up her feelings for him.
It can seem like Ash's female companions are interchangeable, but the writers do their best to make them different from one another. Some similarities do still make it through though. Serena, for example, is a lot like Ash's old companions May and Dawn. All three are the female player characters of their respective games. Like May, Serena chose her generation's fire starter and went into a performance-related field. Like Dawn, Serena was defended from wild Bug-types by her Pokémon, has numerous rivals in her field, and became famous through the media. But while they're similar, it's what's different that's important.
Because Serena was Ash's first companion to show romantic feelings toward him, a massive shipping community called AmourShipping sprang up. They made a ton of fan art and speculated about when Ash and Serena would get together. The name comes from "Amour," the French word for Love.
Because Kalos is supposed to be France, don't you know! Needless to say, the kiss in the finale stoked the fires. Even when Serena left and the anime moved on to Sun & Moon, fans wanted her to return and make the pairing official. There's even an IRL petition to bring her back.
Almost as surprising as the longevity of Pokémon is the longevity of its Trading Card Game. Much like the video games and the anime, each new Generation gives the Trading Card Game a shot in the arm. New cards based on all the new Pokémon and characters get added. Except for Serena. When the cards for X & Y rolled around, she was one of the few characters without a card based on her. What's more, she is the first main character in the series to not have a card based on her in the expansion. No one is sure why either.
Pokémon X & Y included a lot of experimentation and new ideas. One of those new ideas was Mega-Evolutions, powered-up forms of already evolved Pokémon that could be used for a brief advantage. Overall, the idea went over pretty well. And as the player character/companion of X & Y, Serena was one of the first to access it. Of course, this only applies to Serena from the game and only if the player chooses her at the beginning. Otherwise, players have to defeat her to unlock Mega-Evolutions for themselves. Still, that's closer to Mega-Evolution than a lot of other characters get.
Being more feminine than other female companions of Ash, Serena shows some interest in fashion during the anime. Her stylishness even helps capture her second Pokémon. When a wild Pancham was disrupting a Pokémon Showcase, Serena discovered it was stealing items to perform itself. She offered it her red sunglasses, which got it on her good side enough that Pancham let her catch it. Believe or not, Pokémon wearing sunglasses is a tradition in the anime. Ash's Krookodile from the Black & White anime wore them, and the tradition was started by his Squirtle way back in the original Indigo League.
Serena left on her journey not really knowing what her goal was. It took nearly 50 episodes for her to decide to be a Pokémon Performer. She set her sights on being the Kalos Queen, the champion performer in the region. Surprisingly enough, she didn't succeed. Not that Serena didn't try.
She actually reached the top and competed against the reigning Kalos Queen Aria. It was close, but Serena still lost. Many people though, including Aria, recognized her talents. They suggested she go to Hoenn and hone her skills before returning to Kalos. At the series' end, Serena did just that.
Getting a Pokémon to fully evolve is the goal of most Pokémon Trainers. Pikachu aside, Ash certainly tries hard to strengthen his Pokémon and get them to evolve. It's one reason why the anime exists, to show off all these different forms. That's what makes it all the more notable that Serena's Fennekin doesn't fully evolve. By the time the X & Y anime ends, she's only evolved it to its second form Braixen. But that just shows the difference between her and Ash. Serena isn't really a battler, she's a performer. Her Pokémon don't need to be in their strongest forms.
It's something of a running joke in Pokémon about Eevee and its numerous possible evolutions. While it started out with just three, it has since gained new ones seemingly every generation. Ash himself has never caught an Eevee, though some of his companions like Serena have. What makes Serena's Eevee and its evolution notable is that it's the first time we see a main character's Eevee evolve onscreen. Appropriately enough, it evolved into a Sylveon, Eevee's Fairy-type evolution and the best for performances. Fairy-Type Pokémon were introduced in X & Y, giving Serena another connection to her home region of Kalos.