And here we are, about to investigate the Grass-type specialists. Sorry it took a long time since my last article, folks! The reason I didn‚Äôt do an ‚ÄúOrdinary trainer classes‚ÄĚ version of the Grass-type is there‚Äôs only one trainer class that qualified in that list, so instead, I went straight for the celebrities. Alright, enough introduction; let‚Äôs move on!
The Nature-Loving Princess
Every trainer in Kanto is based on some kind of stereotype, like Misty being based on a swimmer and Blaine the scientist (I am not sure about Brock but I think he‚Äôs a builder in Red and Blue). As for Erika, she‚Äôs obviously a Japanese beauty (or a princess). Maybe if she has a Leafeon, she can join the Kimono Sisters gang who possesses Eeveelutions, but I am sure there‚Äôs more to her than that one-shot posse. Normally, she‚Äôs the fourth Gym Leader, but the non-linearity when it comes to Gym clearance in Kanto meant that it may not be true. Still, beat her in a battle and win a Rainbow Badge.
Erika definitely shows that she loves kimonos, but I felt that her sense of fashion is too bland and doesn‚Äôt stand up to this era‚Äôs trend, because it doesn‚Äôt have a lot of standouts. I also felt that Erika‚Äôs beauty is not my type, because her cuteness is not that interesting, to be honest. However, I do credit the simplicity in a time when video game characters are striving to have extreme fashion choices (I think it happens now too).
Erika demonstrates the behaviour of dozing off at times, which I am guessing is supposed to make her look cute, since I can see how girls sleeping are cute in a way. One theory about this is how the Grass-types usually have sleeping powder, so that would explain the narcolepsy. Erika is also implied to be a quiet person, and I think it‚Äôs because silence is golden, because if Erika is chattier (like another Erika from Medabots), maybe she wouldn‚Äôt be as attractive to the Easterns, and Erika is clearly a Japanese lady.
As for talents, Erika also demonstrates the art of flower-arranging, and from hearing this, I am led to believe that she just arrange them as bouquets. However, I like to see the term used for plantation, because to me, this form of flower arrangement is more attractive than bouquets, since those are highly temporary compared to planting them. Not that there‚Äôs anything bad about it, since it is great for decoration. It also never appeared that Erika took up gardening, so that‚Äôs too bad.
There are some cards that might have told us about Erika. Erika‚Äôs Maids may imply that she is rich and can afford the maids to do her bidding. Erika‚Äôs Kindness, Good Manners and Charity show that she has the virtue of benevolence. And well, Erika‚Äôs Perfume is pretty much what she is known for, especially in the anime. Aromatherapy is a Grass-type status move, so it should make sense for scent to be used from the Grass-types. One such Grass-type family is the Gloom family. However, Gloom is based on the rafflesia, a flower that has a pungent smell, which wouldn‚Äôt make a good scent, but that‚Äôs what Erika used to make the perfume, so I wouldn‚Äôt complain since it‚Äôs implied to be sweet anyway.
In the manga, Erika is one of the good Gym Leaders and being the leader of the Gym Leaders (Wow! What a change of pace!). Reading about Erika‚Äôs stories in the ‚Äėpedia is really interesting, because it seems that despite her looks, she does a lot of stuff, like practicing archery and defending Celadon City from Lorelei. In the anime, however, Erika‚Äôs only featured in an episode, where her posse refused to let Ash at the Gym for disrespecting their property. Not as interesting, but still OK.
Erika‚Äôs Pok√©mon group consists of Grass-types, obviously. The games gave her different Pok√©mon, but generally, Tangela is kept, which is great, because Tangela is one of my favourite Grass-types. In the Generation 1 and 3 games, she has both version exclusive Grass-types of Kanto (Weepinbell & Gloom in Yellow and the anime, and Victreebel & Vileplume elsewhere). Generation 2 gave her Jumpluff and Bellossom (which if going by Yellow and the anime‚Äôs canon, makes sense) in her arsenal. HeartGold and SoulSilver‚Äôs ability to have Gym Leaders request rematches allowed her team to be expanded. Her team is centred on the use of Sunny Day, and five of her new lineup has Chlorophyll, in which one of them is Tangela ‚Äď I mean Tangrowth. That‚Äôs right, if you noticed, her Tangela in the remake has AncientPower, which is what Tangela needs to evolve. Her new Pok√©mon not featured before are Shiftry and Roserade, who are both decent Pok√©mon in the own right, and they are featured in Generation 3 and 4 respectively. Who knows what kind of Pok√©mon she would pack in the World Championship tournament in Black 2 and White 2?
Erika mentioned how she wouldn‚Äôt collect Pok√©mon she deemed unattractive, which would probably be biased based on her specialism, since not every Grass-type is attractive. I guess she would not like to have Amoonguss and Ferrothorn, as those Pok√©mon are generally deemed as hideous. Ironically, those two Pok√©mon are great Grass-types in battling. On the other hand, Victreebel is ‚Äúhideous‚ÄĚ, so her specification could not have been about appearances.
I like how Erika demonstrated different roles across the media, with her flower-arranging activity in the games, perfume business in the anime and generally her leadership in the manga, and all of them still preserved their Gym Leader status. Erika may not look attractive to me, but it‚Äôs her qualities that count that make her great.
8 kimonos out of 10!
+ Different roles in different media
+ Great selection of Grass-types
+ Alright behaviour
- Relatively bland appearance
Master of Vivid Plant Pok√©mon
In Diamond, Pearl and Platinum, Gardenia is the second Gym you encounter in your journey, where you will get your Forest Badge. If the player went for Chimchar, this wouldn‚Äôt be a problem, but because I never chose Chimchar for my starter (I boxed that ape in the PC before even the first gym), I have somewhat of a hard time, as I only had Bidoof and Cleffa with me. Enough of my story (or else I might ramble); moving on!
Gardenia‚Äôs sense of fashion is, in my opinion, much better than Erika. I feel that Gardenia‚Äôs is a more natural fit for a Grass-type, because her style is more nature-oriented. Her umbrella-like hair is something I like, and that poncho of hers looks natural because it looks like a leaf worn over her body and it‚Äôs not a shirt. She also wears cargo shorts and boots, which are great for the great outdoors, so this means she generally travel outdoors. Generally, I am more pleased with her fashion choices, since it‚Äôs more exotic and tough at the same time. Maybe some think she has ‚Äútomboy‚ÄĚ vibes, but I don‚Äôt think that‚Äôs necessarily true.
Gardenia‚Äôs main Pok√©mon is clearly Roserade, who is one of the new evolutions in Generation 4. This is because that Pok√©mon is clearly the strongest Pok√©mon when you battled her, as her other Pok√©mon are Turtwig and Cherubi, both basic-staged Pok√©mon (she have Cherrim in Platinum, but that‚Äôs not her strongest). When you have a rematch with her at the Battleground, you can bet that her team undergone some changes. First of all, her team‚Äôs fully-evolved, and she has two new additions: Bellossom and Jumpluff. Those two Pok√©mon are also Erika‚Äôs additions in the Generation 2 games. I would have gone for more interesting suggestions, but I suppose that if the designers wanted those choices, they can do it.
One thing I find amusing is while I say ‚ÄúBring it on!‚ÄĚ for a Grass/Ghost combination, which I brought up in my Unexplored Grass-type Beings and Things article, Gardenia is like ‚ÄúWhat then?‚ÄĚ, implying her uncertainty, which is because she has a fear of ghosts, as evidenced by her words at the Old Chateau near Eterna City. In fact, I can see why she has Shadow Ball on Roserade as well as Crunch on Torterra. Speaking of that, it would be interesting if this Grass/Ghost Pok√©mon has some immense benefits over other Grass-types besides the Ghost-type, like maybe immunity to Fire or have the ability Thick Fat, which could be qualities that will win her over.
Anyway, in the anime her obsession with Grass-types is wilder than Erika (some scenes depicted this as… exaggerating). Also, James gave her his Cacnea he caught in the same episode as Weezing‚Äôs departure, in order that it mastered Drain Punch, which was revealed to be successful. She also appeared to have more than the selection there, as she is mentioned to have Bellossom, Victreebel and Vileplume, which were version exclusive Grass-types in Generation 1 (especially the last two).
As for the manga, she is shown to also have a fear of ghosts, as was mentioned when she was supposed to investigate the Old Chateau nearby. The manga also demonstrates something I am generally not satisfied with the type chart, because there, a Water-type used an Ice attack on her Pok√©mon. Maybe I shouldn‚Äôt root for the main character because of that, so… yeah.
All in all, I have to say that Gardenia is somewhat opposite from Erika. Gardenia has the looks and the fashion, but in terms of active roles, she is the lesser, because I don‚Äôt recall her being fit, which I am to believe from the way she dressed (cargo pants and boots!). Maybe her top portion is not suited for that kind of activity, but I thought it‚Äôs really disappointing, though, because if she looked fit, then this would break the mould for girls, since the main ones are skinny and not muscular.
8 ponchos out of 10!
+ Amazing fashion sense
+ Good selection of Pok√©mon
+ Has some character
- Doesn‚Äôt have the slightest buff
And the next one on the list happens to be the only male character here, so it‚Äôs a breath of fresh air since he‚Äôs the only one that looks different because of that. Cilan is basically the Gym Leader of Striaton City, which is the first place with a gym in it. Do note that Cilan‚Äôs review will be longer that the last two people (and the next one), so brace yourselves!
Cilan, unlike the previous two, doesn‚Äôt have the same fashion sense (being a guy and all), instead going for something simpler, which is to dress formally as a waiter. In fact, his two brothers also have the same idea, but they agreed that they should have different hairstyles, bowties and faces, otherwise you can‚Äôt tell who is who. However simple he may dress, it‚Äôs surprising very effective, because not only does he look very elegant, he‚Äôs got the hots for the ladies as well (as the anime and the forums have shown). Cilan‚Äôs green eyes, green bowtie and green, grass-like hair is a match for his type specialty, but he lacked the sclera that pretty much everyone has, which makes him seems like the odd one out, but I imagine that he looks more handsome and calm because of this (especially the last one).
Cilan‚Äôs Pok√©mon selection is appropriately limited for a first Gym, in which he only has Pansage and Lillipup (only Pansage in the anime). This is not particularly impressive (though understandable), but thankfully, he‚Äôs not limited to them in the anime, since he should have been able to get more Pok√©mon in the journey. So far, Dwebble is the only one he got, which shows that type diversity is necessary and entertaining. There‚Äôs hope that the third version will provide Cilan with a wider variety of Pok√©mon in a rematch, though. To Cilan credit though…he is only up for battle when Oshawott is chosen (the starter that is weak to his main Pok√©mon), presenting a challenge to the player. However, if they chose to get a Pansear in the Dreamyard, that‚Äôs another story.
In terms of personality, Cilan is shown to be meek and afraid to offend others, which would be a reflection of the type, as brothers Chili and Cress has both a fiery and smooth personality respectively. Somehow, I felt that the subdued personality is something that girls like, because he seemed incomplete as far as character goes. However, his personality isn‚Äôt like this in the anime. Over there, he never shows any signs of meekness, but instead, he‚Äôs more flamboyant, arrogant and outgoing (and maybe sinister too, but we will get to that later), which is the Cilan we are more familiar with. Did I mention that he loves to speak things plant-related?
Cilan‚Äôs more well-known in the anime, so I believe that a larger portion of this review will be dedicated to it. In the anime, Cilan is a Pok√©mon Connoisseur, or in the Japanese version, a Pok√©mon Sommelier. Basically what Cilan does is to compare a Pok√©mon‚Äôs compatibility with their trainers, which he did when he first met Ash and Iris, in a similar way a connoisseur judge art or even food based on taste, quality and authenticity. It certainly is a more fitting description than sommelier, which is usually associated with wines. Speaking of that, there is a popular line by Cilan in the Japanese version, where he said ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs tasting time!‚ÄĚ, which I think is funny, but to some it‚Äôs campy. As for the English version, Cilan mentioned the less dramatic ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs time for the battle to be served!‚ÄĚ.
In ‚ÄúTriple Leaders, Team Threats‚ÄĚ, he met Ash and Iris in the streets of Striaton City, where he was impressed by both of their partner Pok√©mon Axew and Pikachu, especially the latter. Shortly after this, Ash was sent to a restaurant, which also happens to be where the gym is held (like the games), although there is no quiz involved to get to them. Like the games, Cilan battled Ash‚Äôs Oshawott (his pseudo starter), which he got from Professor Juniper from request. After Ash‚Äôs victory, Cilan began to take a liking on Ash, and when that time came, Cilan decided that he wanted to travel with Ash, which means we have ourselves another travelling partner in Unova.
During the travels, we get to learn more about Cilan as the episodes gone by. Cilan is revealed to be a very good chef, where he prepared food for the main heroes with equipment you never thought he will carry in his small bag. He is also rather sceptical to anything mystical, which is rather strange because this is the Pok√©mon World, where mystical things can happen. In fact, Cilan seems like a contrast to Iris, who believes in the more mystical stuff, and the fact that Cilan is the urban boy and Iris being the rural girl. It sort of hits him back when he was possessed by a Yamask‚Äô mask. Cilan‚Äôs also a rather experienced person, where his knowledge is really broad, sporting fascinating hobbies like fishing, trains and detective deduction. In fact, it must be the reason he‚Äôs a Class A connoisseur, which is the second-highest rank.
Amusingly, Cilan‚Äôs English voice is Sonic‚Äôs previous voice actor Jason Griffith, which I find funny, because I imagine that if Cilan says something similar to ‚ÄúSonic‚Äôs my name, speed‚Äôs my game‚ÄĚ, there will be someone out there fawning over his words (maybe something like ‚ÄúCilan‚Äôs my name, tasting‚Äôs my game!‚ÄĚ). I really liked the thought that Ash is travelling with Sonic around Unova, and it definitely is something to compare with Sonic and Chris Thorndyke. Cilan‚Äôs Japanese voice actor is also popular, since he‚Äôs the voice actor of the famous villain protagonist Light Yagami, which raised the theory within the fandom that Cilan got more screen time because of that celebrity status.
Something I really love about Cilan is how he always dressed formal to wherever he goes, which is something I did not expect. I thought he will have an exclusive travelling outfit when he‚Äôs not in the gym, but he sure loves his attire a lot, and the best part is that it never seems to wear and tear, even when exposed to destruction like Axew‚Äôs Dragon Rage. Another thing I liked about him is how well he‚Äôs handled. To tell you the truth, I never thought that Cilan will even be remotely interesting, but good to know that I am wrong here. Before I forget, I was surprised to see that Cilan’s quite a tall guy (I assumed that he was going to only be slightly taller than Ash).
By the way, there‚Äôs an interesting theory that the Striaton trio are the Shadow Triad, since both trios are never on-screen at the same time. Even in the final showdown against Team Plasma, the Striaton Trio are the only Gym Leaders to be absent, which raised the possibility that they are the Shadow Triad. Since the trio are not Gym Leaders anymore, the possibility is more evident, although we won‚Äôt know until the games are released. It would be amazing if that were true.
Thanks to promotion to being the main character in the anime, Cilan is much more appreciated as a character. This is great, because it seems to me that the manga only gave Cilan appearances only within the gym battle. Because there is yet some more anime to go, whatever said here will be less and less complete as the series goes on. However, for now, I would say that Cilan‚Äôs one of the best things that happens to the Grass-type in Generation 5, because as Ash‚Äôs travelling partner, expect to see him more in the episodes to come. Only thing is, in the anime, he‚Äôs more Connoisseur and less Grass-type specialist.
9 bowties out of 10!
+ Has the flair and style
+ Popular with the ladies
+ Great voice actors
+ Ash‚Äôs travelling partner
+ The intrigue that he is possibly a Shadow Triad member
- Lack of Pok√©mon variety (for now)
Finally, we have Nikki, who only made her appearance in the TCG video game, where she is the Club Master of the Grass club. Technically she‚Äôs not a trainer, but since she specialise in the Grass-types with her deck, she‚Äôs in this group. Like Erika, her club is an all-female cast.
When first going into the club, you won‚Äôt see her there, but only two of her members nearby. In order to meet her, you must first battle her cohorts, defeating them at least once each. Remember that she has¬†three cohorts, where two are in the grass portion, and one is in the lounge. If you managed to defeat them all, you would go to Ishihara‚Äôs house (which is named after the TCG‚Äôs designer) to meet Nikki. She will then return to the club, where you can battle her. Beat her, and you can claim the Grass Medal.
Nikki herself looks like a typical teacher, which I guess isn‚Äôt what she do, but I thought that her carrying a book and wearing a collared shirt suggested this. However, she is said to be a researcher as well, since she was doing research at Ishihara‚Äôs house. Because none of the characters are fleshed out in the TCG video game (with the probably exception of Ronald, your rival), it‚Äôs hard to see her character.
Her deck‚Äôs strategy is, as you would expect, focused on the Grass-types. It has the Bulbasaur families, Oddish families (no Bellossom) and Exeggcute families. The three fully-evolved Pok√©mon provide some synergy with each other, since they are all pretty hard-hitters, and they all have can perform a certain role. Vileplume provides some healing with its Pok√©mon Power, as it can be done every turn. Exeggutor is perhaps the one you need to look out for, for if it manages to get hold of a lot of Energy Cards (because each Energy does a potential 20 damage), it might even be able to KO the Defending Pok√©mon (a term used for the opponent‚Äôs Active Pok√©mon that is attacked), not to mention the ability to get out of the scene when the going got tough. Venusaur is used for his Energy Trans Pok√©mon Power, which is used to be able to move the Grass Energy around for strategic purposes, like dumping all on Exeggutor for a potentially one-shot KO. That‚Äôs not to say the other members should be ignored, as they all can be dangerous too. Gloom and Ivysaur are able to Poison the Defending Pok√©mon, Bulbasaur and Exeggcute can use Leech Seed to be able to sustain their survivability, Exeggcute can Sleep the opponent too, and Oddish can multiply and paralyse.
All in all, Nikki is just alright, with her reasonable physical appearance and a decent deck, but her lack of real character may have hurt. Still, I do like her, because she has somewhat green hair and a round face.
6 books out of 10!
+ Nice Deck
+ Good looks
- Not enough character
So, that‚Äôs it for the Grass-types specialists. However, there‚Äôs another article about Grass-types I am going to cover, and that‚Äôs going to be the final coverage of all things Grass-types. I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I have writing it.
Thanks for reading.