The world of Pokémon began its journey in 1996, marked by the release of the groundbreaking video games “Pokémon Red” and “Pokémon Blue,” along with the immensely popular Pokémon Trading Card Game. Since its inception, this $92 billion franchise has enchanted generations of kids and gamers alike. In this article, we present a list of the top five Pokémon, revered by fans and experts alike.
The Pokémon universe boasts a vast array of adorable creatures, spread across nine generations, each with its unique region, as of 2023. These regions are inspired by real-world locations, with the first four generations being set in fictionalized regions of Japan, including Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, and Sinnoh. Subsequent generations explored regions inspired by the United States (Unova and Alola), France (Kalos), the United Kingdom (Galar), and the Iberian Peninsula reimagined as Paldea. This global diversity has only added to the series’ international appeal, captivating fans across the world. Throughout these generations, certain Pokémon, notably Pikachu, have risen to iconic status as beloved fan favorites.
In 2019, Pikachu took the spotlight in its very own feature film, “Detective Pikachu,” voiced by the talented Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds. While this film received mixed reviews from critics, it proved to be a box office hit, grossing over $450 million. Pokémon, including individual Pokémon characters, have become lucrative merchandising opportunities, ranging from coffee mugs to sports car wraps.
Amidst the extensive roster of over 1,020 unique Pokémon creatures, it becomes a challenge to determine the top five. Therefore, we turned to expert sources to compile this ranking of the best Pokémon. We welcome your feedback and your personal favorites in the comments below!
Pikachu stands as the undisputed face of the Pokémon franchise, easily the most recognized Pokémon in the series. This endearing electric rodent serves as the emblematic mascot for all things Pokémon. GameRant lauds Pikachu’s iconic status, stating, “The most iconic and well-known Pokémon by far is Pikachu. Even if you hardly know Pokémon at all, it’ll be shocking if you haven’t heard of the cute electric yellow rodent. Pikachu has been a part of Ash’s team since day one, despite a rocky start, where Pikachu was badly injured by a flock of Spearow.”
Pikachu’s prominence extends to its role as Ash’s Starter Pokémon in the anime series, a move that catapulted it to the forefront of the franchise. In tribute to its popularity, Game Freak even released the exclusive Generation 1 game “Pokémon Yellow.”
“Who else could claim the top spot but Pikachu? Serving as the mascot for the entire Pokémon franchise, this Electric Mouse Pokémon has journeyed alongside Ash Ketchum through every region of the anime. Over 20 years since its inception, Pikachu remains the most recognizable creature in the Pokémon catalog. Pikachu even received a Gigantamax form in Pokémon Sword and Shield, paying homage to its original design, which was rounder than the icon we know today,” remarks Press Space to Jump.
Charizard, the final evolution of Charmander, reigns as the most iconic Fire-type Pokémon, resembling a majestic dragon. Since its introduction in the first generation of games, Charizard has been a formidable and sought-after addition to any well-rounded Pokémon team. ScreenRant highlights Charizard’s significance, noting, “Charizard is not only a crucial part of the gaming series but also the anime. Hence, it has become a legendary figure from the first generation, earning its place here. Charizard is a monstrous flying beast with a formidable arsenal of powerful fire attacks. Its ability to fly further enhances its prowess in battle, making it one of the standout Pokémon in the series.”
Charizard’s popularity transcended the games and anime, with its defiant attitude in the anime mirroring how Pokémon behave in-game when a player lacks sufficient badges to control them. In 2020, a rare card, the 1999 ‘Shiny Charizard’ (First Edition Shadowless holographic Charizard #4), fetched an astounding $220,000 at auction, reflecting its enduring appeal.
As the cover mascot for “Pokémon Red,” Charizard played a pivotal role in the original trilogy. Its role in Ash’s journey and its two Mega Evolutions further solidified its place in the hearts of fans, with many considering it the Pokémon they first fell in love with.
Mewtwo, the powerful psychic clone of Mew, stands out as one of the most formidable Pokémon from the first generation. GameRant recognizes Mewtwo’s might, explaining, “Mewtwo is one of the most powerful Pokémon in all of Gen 1. This Pokémon is a clone of the Mythical Pokémon Mew, created through DNA extraction from a rare Mew fossil. Giovanni, the eighth gym leader and leader of Team Rocket, funded the scientists who engineered Mewtwo, and he used this exceptionally powerful Pokémon to achieve unrivaled dominance.”
Mewtwo’s popularity extends beyond its strength in battle, making it equally iconic in the Pokémon world. It made its debut in the original “Pokémon Red” and “Blue” games, lurking in the Cerulean Cave. The lore and mystery surrounding Mewtwo were captivating, and its appearance in the memorable film “Pokémon: The First Movie” left an indelible mark on fans.
Few Pokémon have received as much attention on the big screen as Mewtwo, serving as the main antagonist in Pokémon’s inaugural movie in 1999. Fans admire the Psychic-type Pokémon for its power and its representation in both games and film.
Rayquaza, featured in generation three’s “Pokémon Emerald,” takes the form of a legendary sky serpent, characterized by its striking black and gold design. The announcement of Rayquaza’s release for the 2023 Pokémon GO Fest delighted fans worldwide. The Gamer observes, “Rayquaza holds a significant place in the lore of the Hoenn region, and its presence on the cover of ‘Emerald’ undoubtedly boosted its popularity. Like most legendary Pokémon, Rayquaza is challenging to encounter, and its limited availability adds to its allure.”
Wonderlist acknowledges Rayquaza as one of the game’s strongest Pokémon, particularly in “Emerald.” This Dragon/Flying-type Pokémon possesses powerful Dragon moves and can Mega Evolve, further enhancing its formidable abilities.
Rayquaza’s significance goes beyond its in-game prowess. For many longtime fans, “Emerald” marked the beginning of their Pokémon journey, creating fond memories of the creature featured on the game’s box art. Additionally, Rayquaza appeared as a fightable boss in the story mode of “Super Smash Bros. Brawl,” adding to its enduring appeal.
Mew, one of the series’ earliest “secret” Pokémon, holds a special place in the hearts of fans. Unlocking this elusive and powerful Pokémon was a rewarding achievement for many young gamers. GameFAQs explains, “[Mew] played a role in the first Pokémon movie, where it was cloned, leading to the creation of Mewtwo. Mew played a crucial role in guiding Mewtwo towards kindness and compassion. Both Mew and Mewtwo were prominently featured in the TV show’s intro.”
Mew’s legendary status is further accentuated by its elusive nature. In “Pokémon Red” and “Blue,” players rumored that Mew could be found beneath a hidden truck, a tantalizing red herring. The only legitimate way to obtain Mew was through a Gameshark code, adding to its mystique.
Mew’s significance extends to the silver screen, where it shared the spotlight with its clone in the first Pokémon movie, and fans who attended screenings received special Ancient Mew cards. Furthermore, Mew served as the “boss” in Pokémon Snap, using a force field to evade the camera’s gaze. While its position as the ancestor Pokémon remains uncertain, Mew was the first trademark ever filed by Game Freak.
In conclusion, these top five Pokémon have left an indelible mark on the Pokémon universe, captivating fans with their unique characteristics and enduring appeal. Whether through their presence in the games, the anime, or the big screen, these iconic creatures continue to be beloved by fans of all ages.