The companion characters of Pokémon have been a staple since episode one when Ash destroyed Misty's bike. Since then, aside from the occasional episode when he gets separated from his friends, Ash has always had at least one person by his side. Similar to Doctor Who, Ash's female companion changes each season as he continues his attack against all two-wheeled engineless vehicles.
Out of all of his female companions, Dawn was definitely the most interesting as she was the first to actually have some interesting character development and much like Ash wanted to compete competitively. Although their goals were different, Ash wanted to become a Pokémon master and Dawn wanted to win Pokémon Contests, their fiery spirit was the same.
Our pair of hapless adventurers had a lot of things going on during Diamond and Pearl after her introduction but out of all the companions aside from Misty, Dawn is probably the most memorable.
Her trusty Piplup by her side and her creative ways of matching moves up together in order to create new techniques made her indispensable to Ash and he learned an incredible amount of things from her.
Below we've collected the twenty things you probably didn't know about Dawn that proves (in Pokémon at least) she really was Best Girl.
20 That's Not My Name
Name changes are an unavoidable thing during localization. For some reason, production companies think our heads will explode if we try and pronounce the silent T in Tsubaki.
Dawn's name was changed from Hikari, which honestly isn't that bad of a change, as Hikari at least means light. The localization teams on Pokémon have done far worse, like changing Cold Flare to Ice Burn or changing a Pokémon type from "Darkness Pokémon" to "Pitch-Black Pokémon".
Or those "Doughnuts" Brock was eating.
While we glad Hikari's name didn't get changed to something like Stacy, we've gotta wonder why the name was changed in the first place. Surly Hikari wasn't too hard to pronounce and now all that leads to is people arguing over which name is better.
19 Your Footsteps
Dawn's goal of becoming the top Coordinator stems from her being a Mama's girl. Her mother, Johanna, was her generations most talented competitor and Dawn seeks to follow in her footsteps.
Something that was difficult thanks to her attitude when she started her journey. Her mother had to replace the large suitcase of clothing and jewelry Dawn wanted to take with her, with a small and more practical backpack.
Johanna would become a recurring figure in the anime, showing up to offer words of encouragement and to test her darling daughters skills. While Dawn never did beat her, she gained invaluable life lessons and advice each time.
Sometimes being a mama's girl isn't a bad thing.
18 Smell Ya Later
Where Ash normally has the one rival, Dawn had a whole collection of people she wanted to beat. Taking a page from Arya Stark's book, Dawn had a list that started with Zoey and ended with her Mother.
Zoey is her main rival though.
Thankfully, the much more experienced Coordinator was never hurtful or rude towards Dawn and instead actively gave her advice and helped her improve loads. Ash and Dawn even managed to teach her a thing or two and helped her overcome her dislike of people who wanted to be both Trainer and Coordinator.
Dawn's drive to defeat Zoey carries her throughout the season until she has a heartbreaking defeat to Zoey at the very end.
17 Still Not My Name
Embarrassing nicknames from schooldays can be hard to shake, especially if they rhyme or are catchy. I know a guy who still to this day gets called "Puddles" because of how often he needed to use the restroom during practice.
Dawn is no stranger to embarrassing nicknames and for much of the season, she kept it secret for why her childhood friends called her DeeDee.
The story came out eventually, however, that in kindergarten she'd been shocked by the class pets, a Plusle and Minun which made her hair poof out and gave her the appearance of having Diamond Dandruff.
Diamond Dandruff may be an incredibly creative name for kindergarteners but it stuck and to this day she suffers from the embarrassment of the name.
It's a little upsetting on how bad a trainer she starts as considering how empathetic towards Pokémon she is. Dawn has the unique ability to be able to sense what Pokémon are feeling... just in the first half of the season, she ignores that ability entirely.
This empathetic sense she has is so strong, she's been proven to have a connection with the legendary Pokémon Mesprit thanks to it.
Mesprit is the Pokémon who governs emotions by the way, which makes the fact that it's continuously chosen to appear to her so important. Hopefully, Dawn starts actually paying attention to these abilities as they'd likely help her on her way to becoming the top Coordinator like she wishes.
Dawn's recklessness gets shown a lot over the season. She's incredibly restless and foolhardy, with a tendency to overestimate herself and her Pokémon, this causes her a lot of trouble.
Several times she's lost Contests or screwed the pooch in general thanks to her overreacting to small things.
This is a really stark contrast to the other Companions we've seen who tend to really underestimate themselves and are far too humble.
This attitude was the main reason also for why she didn't really ever get along with her Pokémon until after she finally began to be humbled a bit. It's great that the show's creators gave us a character that has a lot of "flaws" when going after her dreams. It gives people something to aspire for and shows that you really can change for the better.
14 Saving Private Pikachu
At the beginning of Diamond and Pearl, Pikachu was separated from Ash thanks to Team Rocket and ran into Dawn. The young girl assumed he was a wild Pokémon and attacked him (which is when he destroyed her bike). The fight was called off when Team Rocket caught up to their target and Dawn realized the truth.
The brave Coordinator could have fled and left Pikachu to fend for himself but instead set to rescuing the stranger's Pokémon.
The pair worked together for a full episode, fending off the thieves and searching for Pikachu's owner before tracking him down next episode and returning it to Ash. That was Ash and Dawn's first meeting that caused them to decide to travel together. She didn't even tell him about the bike until thirty episodes later.
13 Whip Crack
Dawn used to be a bit of an aggressive trainer back before her Pokémon and her started working together. She wouldn't accept anything less than absolute perfection from her team and as such practiced endlessly, drilling routines into her Pokémon's heads.
This caused her to overwork her Pokémon severely while training for the Contest in Celestic Town.
Thankfully, they managed to correct their training issues in time and dialed it back enough to be able to take home the ribbon they were after.
It really shows again though how far she's come, from a whip-cracking tyrannical director to a far calmer and more willing to accept mistakes of a Trainer. Dawn's character is all about growth over the season and it really shows.
Thankfully she starts to get better. After a nearly Ash worthy losing streak, Dawn falls into a depression. She only manages to pull herself out of the rut she was in thanks to the help of her friends and rivals. With a new attitude and strategies on how to handle her Pokémon, Dawn began to win some small victories again which restored her confidence.
She wasn't ever as reckless or stubborn as before though, showing she'd learned a lot from her time spent moping. Dawn threw herself back onto that horse and then trained it to do a contest-winning backflip through a flaming hoop. She may have seemed annoying in the beginnng but she quickly became a fan-favorite thanks to her turn around.
11 Not Very Good
While Dawn is a fine coordinator, she's not a very good trainer and gets frustrated when her Pokemon ignore her or do the opposite of what she says (which at the start of the series was often). Even her starting Pokémon, a Piplup, would bicker and argue with her constantly and her Pachirisu would hit unintended targets when it attacked.
While she did slowly get better, it was clear she wasn't really cut out for training Pokémon at her journey's start. She preferred to just stamp her feet until she got her way, rather than listening and trusting in them. This made her Pokémon, in turn, unable to trust her and lead to all sorts of problems before she finally turned her attitude around.
10 Five To Life
Ash loses a lot. Poor guy hasn't won a Pokémon League yet, conversely, Dawn has won five ribbons and placed as the runner-up in her first grand festival.
Which is much better than Ash has ever done. On her first journey, she did extremely well competing and placing in a diverse and numerous amount of Contests. It's interesting to think where she'll be in a few years once she's got as much experience as Zoey under her belt, there's no doubt she's going to go places.
The amount of progress she showed in such a short time is truly outstanding, especially since she only lost the Grand Festival by a single point (which could be attributed to a judge playing favorites).
9 I've Got Your Back If You've Got Mine
Teamwork and friendship is a huge component in Pokémon and considered the key to becoming a Pokémon Master. Not only between Pokémon but also keeping your friends close and trusting in them is essential to success. Ash has learned this lesson dozens of times and yet each season he seems to learn it again.
It's like they're beating us over the head with a big stick labeled "FRIENDSHIP."
Much like all the others, Dawn and Ash's friendship leads them to new heights. When Dawn was depressed Ash helped to cheer her up, and when Ash was at a loss on how to proceed it was Dawn who managed to show him the way forward. Without the other, both would have given up during this leg of their journies.
It's surprising at how many life skills these kids have mastered before even turning thirteen. Meanwhile, I still have trouble making my bed. In addition to being able to survive in the wilderness and navigate via map, it turns out Dawn is good at making snacks.
We're not certain how Poffins are made but Dawn certainly is, she's got a talent for creating the delicious treats that inspire Pokémon to do even better.
While Poffins are meant for Pokémon, hers look nearly good enough for us to eat. It's clear her Pokémon love it too as even Ash's rush to have a taste of her sweet treats. Giving another reason for why he's lucky to have her traveling with him.
7 One Fish, Two Fish
Making Poffins for her Pokémon isn't her only hidden talent, Dawn is also quite the skilled Fisherwoman. Which is, to be honest, a little weird considering how inexperienced she seemed in regards to the outdoors at the start of her journey.
Turns out though her skills are as varied as her Pokémon and when the gang hears about a Buizel nearby that's rumored to be uncatchable, she proves to be the first to hook it, outfishing both Ash and Zoey. Although the trainers are unable to catch it right then and there, she winds up proving her worth to the Buizel.
It decides to give her a rematch and this time her Piplup proves victorious and she adds Buizel to her list of Pokémon.
6 By Design, My Design
Fishing and making Poffins isn't enough for Dawn, she has to be good at everything. To complete her trifecta of skills nobody expected, Dawn is also an expert dress designer.
She actually designs all of her contest outfits and even has made a few cute creations for her Pokémon.
While she might not be the best at sewing, and so must rely on Brock or her Mother to handle all the sewing for her, she's still quite good at the creative part. She'll come up with a design for something that looks nice and then gives it over so Brock can actually do the hands-on work.
These outfits have in part helped her to secure her ribbons and win contests.
Her Pokémon began to trust her a lot more after she changed up her training style, but even then she had difficulty controlling her Mamoswine.
After being separated from the group though and with the big pig injured, Dawn used the skills she'd learned traveling with the ever useful Brock to bind and fix its leg. Finally bonding and connecting with her unruly Pokémon, the pair manage to find common ground.
Once they're out of danger she then demonstrates that Mamoswine is actually willing to listen and try and contain its temper from now on. This moment would prove invaluable to Dawn's growth and her future Contest victories as previous losses had been attributed solely to the Mamoswine.
4 Clever Girl
Dawn has a talent for coming up with ideas to use moves in unthought of ways to make them far more beautiful than they have any right to be. During the times she can have two Pokémon performing at once, this can get even more outstanding as she combines elements to create works of art.
This has given Ash ideas on how to improve his own battling technique as he begins using her tactics which were used to be beautiful on the battlefield bringing a new level of art to his fights.
Her repertoire includes mixing Fire and Ice moves as well as freezing massive spouts of water to create an impromptu ice fountain.
3 Bicycle Attack
What is with Pokémon and the destruction of young girls bikes? Each female companion (aside from Iris) has had their bike completely destroyed shortly before or after meeting Ash.
Dawn was no exception to this terror plaguing the bicycles of the Pokémon universe and after saving Pikachu, found her favorite mode of transport destroyed beyond repair. Unlike her predecessors, however, Dawn doesn't actually seem to mind that her bike was an unfortunate casualty of Pikachu's rescue and is just glad the electric mouse is okay.
This gives her no reason to travel with Brock and Ash and yet she does so anyway.
Following them around as she goes from Contest to Contest.
2 Creative Spark
Dawn's many talents are thanks to her creativity and her endless enthusiasm. She wouldn't be able to make Poffins, dresses, or come up with new moves, without it.
You could say her creativity is her best trait and it really shines when she's helping Ash or when she's trying to accomplish her own personal goals.
She always has her own personal style or flair and rarely marches to anyone else's drum. It helps her to stand out and serves as an inspiration to her Pokémon and her companions. I would have liked to have seen more of Dawn throughout the series instead of the kinda boring characters who came after her, nobody could match her level of originality.
1 Weird Phobia
Everyone has a sorta weird phobia. I don't like the color Purple for example, but Dawn's is really strange considering it's a fear of a pair of incredibly cutesy Pokémon.
Plusle and Minun, the cutesy baby-like Pokémon who are super cheerful.
Thanks to the incident when they harmlessly shocked her (but ruined her hair) when she was a child, earning her the nickname Diamond Dandruff, Dawn has a fear of the little guys. She doesn't like being near them for fear of getting shocked again and yet for some reason has no problem with any other electric type Pokémon, just those two.
Poor Plusle and Minun! We know you didn't mean to scare anyone!