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Best Gen I Gym Leader

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The Pokemon franchise is one biggest franchise in the history of popular culture. What started off as a simple GameBoy game series became a multimedia franchise known and loved around the globe. The Pokemon franchise has since produced an anime series, several movies, a trading card game, and numerous other pieces of merchandise, both standalone and in collaboration with other brands. Pokemon has definitely become a household name that everyone knows, whether they’re actually fans or not.



Now, in order to honor that amazing legacy, we have decided to compose a little article for you to enjoy, an article in which we are going to go back to where it all started – Generation I. Namely, in this article, we are going to try to ascertain which Generation I Gym Leader was the best in both the video games and the anime series, so we’re going to talk about them in the upcoming paragraphs.



We’ll start off with Pewter City and it’s Gym Leader Brock. Brock uses Rock-type Pokemon and if you chose Charmander as your starter, you probably had some problems with him, but aside from that, he is not that tough. In the games, Brock doesn’t really stand out much – it’s a straightforward fight – but his anime story gives him a lot of depth because he goes on to join Ash and Pikachu on their adventures. In that aspect, anime Brock is a solid candidate, whereas game Brock doesn’t stand out.



The same thing can be said about Misty, the Cerulean City Gym Leader who specializes in Water-type Pokemon. Misty has a great anime story that involves her and her three sisters, which is also one of the reasons why Misty joined Ash and Brock, but in the games – she’s just a regular Gym Leader. You don’t have to do much sans have a Grass- or Electric-type Pokemon and you’re good to go. So, anime Misty – yes, video game Misty – no.



We continue with Lt. Surge in Vermilion City, who specializes in Electric-type Pokemon. Now, Surge is an interesting guy in both the games and the anime. His Gym is one of the first real challenges the player will face in the game and although the solution is not difficult, it is quite entertaining; not to mention that you have to do the S.S. Anne sub-quest to access the Gym. In the anime, Surge actually discusses Evolution with Ash and whether a Pokemon does get stronger with Evolution, which is a rather philosophical debate that we did not expect. Both Surges are, thus, candidates.



Celadon City’s Erika is a relatively insignificant Gym Leader. Her Gym is slightly interesting in the video games, but is not a challenge, while in the anime, she was somewhat important only to Brock. Sadly, neither version of Erika is intriguing enough to be a serious candidate.



Fuchsia City should be next, but players will know quite well that they can pick Saffron first. We’ll stick with the official order and talk about Koga. Koga is an interesting guy but he never got too much space in the anime, sadly, and his in-game Gym is only interesting until you actually notice the floor patterns. Once that is done, Koga cannot really become a serious candidate in this category.



Sabrina is a completely different story. She had one of the darkest and best stories in the anime, which involved a creepy doll, a powerful Kadabra and three Ghost-type Pokemon. It was absolutely amazing and it really added depth to her as a character. In the games, her Gym is also one of the most challenging ones, as you have to maneuver your way around the teleportation pads as you fight powerful Psychic- and Ghost-type trainers. Sabrina is definitely a strong candidate in both categories, which is why we’re putting her in both pots.



We now reach Blaine. Blaine is a quirky guy. He is special. In a lot of ways. And while the original Gen I games didn’t do him enough justice, the Let’s Go! remasters actually did. In the original games, you simply have to go through the Mansion first, which is okay, but it’s not much of a challenge, really. As for the anime series, he had a much better story and a more intriguing one. This is why we’re inclined to consider the anime Blaine as a candidate, but not the in-game one. Sorry.



And finally – Viridian City. This is a weird Gym. First, you find it closed off, and then the Gym Leaders change like it’s Wheel of Fortune. Generally, Team Rocket’s leader Giovanni is your opponent and you’ll have to fight a diverse set of his Pokemon to win. You could also encounter your rival from the game, as well as Jessie and James (in the anime only). Be that as it may, none of them pose any specific challenge if you have a strong team, so the enigmatic story surrounding this Gym doesn’t really live up to the hype and we cannot really consider Viridian Gym as a candidate.



And with this, we’re done with our walk down memory lane and we can finally summarize what we have found. As far as the video games are concerned, we’ve singled out Lt. Surge’s Vermilion City Gym and Sabrina’s Saffron City Gym as potential candidates and these two are the only challenging gyms in the series. Our winner? Well, it has to be Sabrina, since her Gym is one of the strongest in the series and is definitely more of a challenge; not to mention that you can wander around those rooms for ages, whereas Surge’s gym is a problem, but one that is solved relatively quickly.



As for the anime, the competition was a bit tougher. We singled out Brock, Misty, Surge, Sabrina, and Blaine. Surge didn’t have a long-lasting effect, and Brock somehow cancels out Misty and vice versa, which leaves us with Sabrina and Blaine. We couldn’t really decide between the two so we give them a shared first place.
But, if you ultimately combine both categories, you’ll get that Sabrina is certainly the Gen I Gym Leader that offered the most wholesome experience, both in the games and in the anime.

@"everyone"
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