In the Pokemon anime, outside of gym leaders and Pokemon League battles, there aren’t that many battles. Those battles either are rather subpar on their own or overshadowed by the aforementioned gym and league battles. But among the rocks are a couple of gems and this list takes a look at the best. Note: movie battles are disqualified from this list. While they are good they will have their own category.
Honorable mention: Ash vs. Tad
This is a significant battle as it’s the first one where Charizard finally listens to Ash. However the battle is pretty much one sided and makes any strength Tad’s Poliwrath may have had null and void and Charizard would have better battles down the road.
5. Ash vs. Casey
If there was ever a sign that carrying Charizard all throughout Johto would make him superior this was it. Though the Charcific Valley proved that he was small compared to other Charizards, the young trainers starting out in the region had no chance against it. Barely attacking Casey’s three Pokemon, Charizard swept through all of them in hilarious fashion.
4. Ash and Dawn vs. Lyra and Khoury
This was a nice double battle showcasing the strengths of the three Johto starters as a nice promotion for the Gen 2 remakes. Despite it being but a hatchling, Dawn’s Cyndaquil is able to hold its own against Lyra’s Chikorita and Khoury’s Totodile with a mere three moves. Chikorita who is widely considered the worst of the three puts in some work in this battle using light screen to protect it and Totodile from Monferno and Cyndaquil’s fire type moves and even puts some good hits on the latter. Of course it sadly is the first to meet its major end by fire type move combo. Khoury’s Totodile puts in the more offensive effort being able to overwhelm Ash and Dawn’s fire types and even more so by evolving into Crocanaw mid battle. Though Crocanaw meets its end through Monferno’s hilarious slow-mo Mach Punch it still gave an excellent battle overall.
3. Paul vs. Cynthia and Paul vs. Brandon
This one is a tie because both these battles have a lot in common. Both these trainers utterly swept Paul’s team and they showcased the well-done job Paul did in raising his many Pokemon but also his weaknesses on the battlefield. Despite Paul’s rude demeanor to others he had a great deal of respect for both these trainers and for the most part paid attention to their lessons.
2. Ash and Paul vs. Blackbelt and Psychic
Yeah neither of their opponents were given actual names but the strength of this battle lies between Ash and Paul and their choices. Despite being advised to let Chimchar rest and it being very much injured, Paul chooses it anyway. Despite its injuries Chimchar does some major work throughout the battle by risking attacking its own teammate Turtwig to deal major damage to the opponents’ Metagross and Zangoose. It even intercepts a Fire Blast from the latter all the while having sustained serious damage through the battle. Perhaps the turning point of this battle is when Paul angrily gives upon Chimchar mid-battle and stops giving it commands. In a surprising twist it leads to Ash commanding Chimchar and established it as the centerpiece of Ash and Paul’s rivalry.
1. Ash vs. Paul (Lake Acuity)
Ash and Paul’s first full battle is easily the best battle outside of gym battles and matches. Paul’s choices for this battle heavily involved the past battles he’s had with Ash and they’re all Pokemon we have seen all throughout his appearances allowing the audience to see the trainer within the Pokemon. He also carefully strategized in advance throughout the battle with careful substitutions and choices that threw Ash off as well as using his Pokemon’s abilities and moves to the utmost degree. Ash was confident all throughout the battle but it clouded his judgment resulting in him only knocking out two of Paul’s Pokemon resulting in his most crushing and worst defeat. Chimchar proves to have a major role in this battle in evolving to Monferno in response to Ash’s confidence to win but despite its best effort fails to defeat Paul’s Electabuzz.
Are there any others you think deserved to make the list? Any you agree or disagree with? Well leave them in the comments below.