As we count down the days until Pokémon X and Y releases worldwide, we've decided to take a look back at the gym leaders and protagonists who stood above others in generations past.
To be specific, we're counting down ten gym leaders who stood out the most in terms of gameplay, appearance, or how they tied into the main storyline.
First up we have the fire-type gym leader Flannery from Lavaridge Town, which is located in the Hoen region. She gives players the Heat badge upon defeating her team of Slugma and Torkoal.
Flannery has a passion for Pokémon that burns stronger and hotter than a volcano. This rookie gym leader does try to act intimidating but can't quite get it right. After she loses to the protagonist she has a realization that she was trying too hard to be someone that she wasn't and takes her life in a positive direction from then on out.
Having grown up with a grandfather who was a member of the Hoenn Elite Four, Flannery must have tried to emulate his attitude and strength. She has found inspiration in fellow Gym Leader Norman, the player's father. Not only does she have an interesting personality, but her character design has a fiery hair style that sets her apart from the other Hoenn leaders.
All the way from Unova comes the Mistralton City gym leader Skyla. Players will win the Jet Badge from this gym. She specializes in flying-type Pokémon such as Swoobat and Skarmory. Mistralton City has the very first airport in a Pokémon game and this leader owns the establishment.
Skyla and the other gym leaders of Unova play a big part in the events of Black and White and Black 2 and White 2, as they help hold off the Seven Sages. Skyla is good friends with the fashion model gym leader Elesa and supports her when she confides in her about changing her image. Skyla is defintely one of the most reliable of the past gym leaders and her fashion sense is quite fitting for this highflying girl.
Whitney, oh Whitney"¦ There is much to say about Goldenrod Cities pink haired gym leader. For one thing the inside of her gym is shaped like a Clefary and this acts as a small maze for the player. She specializes in cute Normal-type Pokémon. Whitney's Miltank is the powerhouse behind her teams and many players find it challenging taking on its Rollout attack. When they do finish her off the feeling is so satisfying and they win a shiny new Plain Badge.
This "tomboyish mermaid" from Cerulean City uses her Water-type Pokémon to wipe trainers out in an all-out attack. Misty looks for ways to improve her skills and does this by rigorously swimming and training her Pokémon at the Seafoam Islands.
Misty names the north cape by Cerulean City her romantic date spot and gets pretty sensitive when others bother her on dates. Misty worships Lorelei of the Elite Four and looks up to her as a role model. Her dream is to travel the world meeting many strong trainers much like the protagonists from the second gen games. Misty is the first of the many most recognized gym leaders in Pokémon history we will cover in this list.
Clare is the Dragon-type gym leader of Blackthorn City, home of the Dragon Clan. Upon defeating her, trainers will be tasked with taking on the Dragon User's Challenge before they are to win the Rising Badge, the 8th and final badge.
In a scene in Heart Gold and Soul Silver, Clare tries to partner up with Silver, the player's rival, after he challenges Lance who has asked the player to be his partner. Silver insults her outfit and instead insists that that player partners up with him. Clare originally fights with three Dragonair and a Kingdra. Each of the Dragonairs has different primary attacks and focus in on exploiting weaknesses. Clare's encouraging words and awesome dragon heritage places her at 6 on the list.
Sabrina has had Psychic powers ever since she was a child when she unwillingly bent a spoon. She has a distinct dislike for battling, but it is said that she can communicate with her Pokémon on a telepathic level so she isn't so easy to defeat.
Once there were two gyms in Saffron City, a Fighting-type Gym, and the Psychic-type gym we know today. Using her powers and knowledge of psychic Pokémon, Sabrina used this advantage against the rival Gyms and stripped them of their gym status. Sabrina is the only gym leader to go through two different character design changes from her classic red and black ensemble, to a more casual look with strange wrist bands, and finally in a Pokestar Studios movie as a villous character Magic Queen Bellelba.
Blaine is the Cinnabar Island's gym leader and he's one hotheaded geezer. He also has a habit of quizzing the player on Pokémon trivia before challenging him. Once upon a time Blaine was lost in a dangerous, and freezing mountain range. Just when all hope was lost for him, the legendary Pokémon Moltres guided him out of the mountains.
Apparently this was the exact moment that inspired him to train Fire-type Pokémon. In Gold, Silver, and Crystal the volcano on Cinnabar Island erupted destroying the town around it, leaving Blaine and his Pokémon homeless. For the entire year after the destruction of his gym, Blaine resides in the Seaform Islands where he waits for challengers, with plans of rebuilding his gym one day. Truly one of most tragic plot points in the Pokémon games revolves around this veteran Kanto gym leader.
Giovanni is the head of Team Rocket and secretly the Viridian City gym leader. He specializes in ground-type Pokémon and gives trainers who best him the Earth Badge.
His plan doesn't revolve around becoming a powerful trainer, but it's to collect rare Pokémon of all types. As the leader of Team Rocket Giovanni and his team of Grunts take over Silph Co. only to be defeated by the eleven-year-old protagonist. Giovanni flees to the one place the player wouldn't expect, the Viridian City gym.
He vanishes after his loss not to be seen again for quite some time. Years later in Johto, a group of Team Rocket members attempt to relaunch the old team. Wanting to send a message to their missing boss they take over the Goldrenrod Radio Tower. It is known that Giovanni does receive this broadcast from his hideout in Touji Falls. With the power of Celebi, the protagonist travels back in time to battle Giovani learning about his past and about your rival, Silver, the son he abandoned. Giovanni is the main villain of the original Pokémon games and the only one to become a gym leader as a part of their plan.
Brock is the Rock-type specialist from Pewter City, but this gym leader also has a soft spot for Pokémon breeding and archeology. As one of few truly serious professional Pokémon Trainers in Pewter City, people young and old respect and look up to him.
He also doesn't seem to have a big sense of humor because of his rock solid serious demeanor, but when he does he can't stop laughing. Brock often hangs out around Mt. Moon digging for fossils, and this is probably why he has a Kabutops and Omastar in generation 2. Before Pokémon breeding was even a feature in the Pokémon series, Brock speaks directly to the player in Yellow Version about his training to become a Pokémon Breeder. This is a direct reverence to the goal of Brock's anime counterpart.
Green or Blue as he is known in the English versions of Pokémon Red and Blue, was once a rival to Red and made his way to the top of the Elite Four. He is a very cocky and ignorant boy, who wants nothing but to become the greatest Trainer in the world.
When Team Rocket took of Sliph Co, Professor Oak, his grandfather enlightens Green that he has not realized how to properly care for Pokémon, thus taking him down a peg. After his defeat and loss of his championship title at the Elite Four, Green returns to Pallet Town eventually taking the vacant position at the Viridian Gym once held by Giovanni.
Green doesn't specialize in one type of Pokémon for his team, but does seem to value all fully evolved forms of powerful Pokémon such as Pidgeot, Gyarados, and Arcanine. Trainers such as Green prove to be a true challenge and another important mixed type trainer would not be seen again until generation IV in the form of the champion Cynthia. Green evolved from a rude young boy to a confident gym leader and will always live in Red's shadow.
A character who pressured the player to become the best and surpass him clearly is disserving of the number one spot on our top ten Pokémon gym leaders.
As we look back at the past generations of the Pokémon video games we take notice of the influential and awesome characters who reside in its universe. A new pair of games, Pokémon X and Y releases later this week filled with brand gym leaders. Although it probably will be difficult for them to ever match the trainers mentioned above.