How Well Do The Gym Leaders Represent Their Regions – Part 1

I apologise for the long-winded title, but here is a brand new idea, inspired by the Pokemon GO Throwback event. As you may be aware, certain ‘Catch a ____ Type’ tasks were actually based on the region’s Gym Leaders. But owing to the difficulty of some of the tasks (especially the Ground- and Ghost-type Sinnoh tasks), I wanted to make this essay about how well each Gym Leader represents their region in the Pokemon that they choose. Today I will be discussing the regions from Kanto to Sinnoh, with Unova, Kalos and Galar coming next week.

We will also be focusing on their original teams instead of remakes, and we will not be revisiting Kanto’s teams in the Johto games.


Kanto

It’s clear that, as the first ever games, the teams are going to be all representing Kanto. However, for formalities’ sake, I’ll list the teams from the Red/Blue games and see how each type is represented.

BrockMistyLt. SurgeErika
GeodudeStaryuVoltorbVictreebel
OnixStarmiePikachuTangela
RaichuVileplume
KogaSabrinaBlaineGiovanni
KoffingAbraGrowlitheRhyhorn
MukKadabraPonytaDugtrio
KoffingAlakazamRapidashNidowueen
WeezingArcanineNidoking
Rhydon

I have to say that the least varied teams in these games are Misty’s and Sabrina’s, owing to the fact that they only have one evolution line in their teams – Staryu and Abra lines respectively. This is remedied in the Let’s Go games, with Misty having Psyduck instead of Staryu, and Sabrina has Mr. Mime, Slowbro, Jynx and Alakazam in her team, a far cry from just using each of the Abra line.


Johto

Well this is interesting. I can give a little bit of room for this as Johto does connect to Kanto, but I digress. This was God-awful.

FalknerBugsyWhitneyMorty
PidgeyMetapodClefairyGastly
PidgeottoKakunaMiltankHaunter
ScytherGengar
Haunter
ChuckJasminePryceClair
PrimeapeMagnemiteSeelDragonair
PoliwrathMagnemiteDewgongDragonair
SteelixPiloswineDragonair
Kingdra

Oh dear…I didn’t expect to have to tear apart the Johto Gyms, but I can give allowances to Clair and Jasmine at the very least – Kingdra was the only new Dragon-type to be introduced into the games, while Magnemite utilised the newly-introduced Steel-type. I do think that Jasmine should have had a Skarmory, at the very least. Whitney’s only Pokemon could be Miltank and it’d still be a problem.

Morty could have easily replaced one of the Haunter with a Misdreavus, while Chuck could have thrown in a Hitmontop, as it can be obtained from level 20. Having two Pokemon as a fifth Gym Leader is a disgrace. He, Falkner and Bugsy do not use any Johto Pokemon, despite there being plenty of Pokemon to use from Johto. Replace Pidgey with Hoothoot and Metapod with either Ledyba or Spinarak.


Hoenn

Well this could have been a lot worse, I might add. I’m adding Juan in here because Emerald isn’t a remake, plus it’s for extra coverage. I like how Hoenn feels like a soft reset on the franchise, as an attempt to glide gently away from the Kanto and Johto regions, and making it on its own.

RoxanneBrawlyWattsonFlanneryNorman
GeodudeMachopMagnemiteSlugmaSlaking
NosepassMakuhitaVoltorbSlugmaVigoroth
MagnetonTorkoalSlaking
WinonaTate & LizaWallaceJuan
SwellowLunatoneLuvdiscLuvdisc
PelipperSolrockSealeoWhiscash
SkarmorySeakingSealeo
AltariaWhiscashCrawdaunt
MiloticKingdra

Wattson, you let me down, man. Way before Mauville City, you can obtain a Plusle, Minun and Electrike (all on Route 110).

Aside from that, I like the variety of all of the teams that we have here – I still favour Norman’s team, though, for its difficulty despite it being Normal-type.

Winona’s team is beautiful though. I like seeing Skarmory representation that should have been in the Jasmine’s team from earlier.

Juan’s Kingdra still haunts my nightmares though.

Sinnoh

This is an interesting one. With teams represented without many Pokemon to represent it (aside from evolved forms of pre-existing Pokemon), it’s clear that the Sinnoh region had to dive into other regions for their Pokemon choices.

RoarkGardeniaMayleneC. Wake
GeodudeCherubiMedititeGyarados
OnixTurtwigMachokeQuagsire
CranidosRoseradeLucarioFloatzel
FantinaByronCandiceVolkner
DrifblimBronzorSnoverRaichu
GengarSteelixSneaselAmbipom
MismagiusBastiodonMedichamOctillery
AbomasnowLuxray

Okay, for Candice’s team, replace Medicham with Froslass (as in Platinum), evolve Sneasel and evolve the Piloswine from Platinum into Mamoswine, replacing Snover, and that’s a better team. Volkner’s team in Platinum is better though. Everything else is a bit meh, with the exception of Fantina and Gardenia – Gardenia actually uses a starter, while Fantina has Drifblim and Mismagius.

2 thoughts on “How Well Do The Gym Leaders Represent Their Regions – Part 1

  1. Tim

    Kanto – I agree with all your points. I personally feel like Lt. Surge should have had Magnemite instead of Pikachu, but that’s just me. Especially since the anime only gave him a Raichu.

    Johto – I’ve always been bothered by the fact that Whitney’s gym didn’t put a second Gen II normal type in there with Clefairy and Miltank. You’ve got Furret right there. And Bugsy…where’s the love for Spinarak? Just me?

    Hoenn – Meh. No issues here, aside from Tate & Liza. I feel like they should each have two Pokemon instead of two total. But that’s not what your post is about.

    Sinnoh – Gardenia is one of the most underrated gym leaders for the exact reason you state. She’s one of the very few to actually use a starter on her team. I think that’s a nice touch.

    Like

    1. thatlittlelola

      Tate and Liza did have extra Pokemon in Emerald, although I did this post based on everyone’s original teams, so couldn’t include that particular team. Also I really loved Gardenia for her Gym layout, aesthetic and Roserade.

      Also, I mean, I kinda like Spinarak. It’s definitely cute!

      Like

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