The Pokémon franchise has been around long enough now to have generated over 20 seasons of the anime, through 8 generations. Although Pokémon has always had Ash at the center of its focus, there have been hundreds of additional characters that have been introduced over the years.
Not all of these characters have been well-received by fans. Some are given unlikable traits on purpose to generate hate and boost their stock as a villain or a serious rival with an attitude problem. However, there are also those that were intended to be “good guys” but had questionable character traits that ended up rubbing people the wrong the way.
10 Jessie Has Rarely Shown Any Redeeming Qualities
Team Rocket appear in the anime almost as often as Ash, essentially making them main character status. The trio of James, Meowth and Jessie have been after Pikachu since the beginning, trying and failing with every scheme and plot under the sun, but still persisting nonetheless.
While they arguably overstay their welcome on occasion, as the viewer knows that they ultimately won’t succeed, there are several storylines that prompt Team Rocket to act differently and show a more relatable side to them. James and Meowth especially have had moments where they don’t want to go through with criminal plans, further endearing themselves to the fans. However, Jessie always persists with her bossy and selfish ways, and rarely comes across as likable, even when she’s donning her Coordinator persona, Jessilina.
9 Ursula Was All Talk
Introduced in Diamond & Pearl, Ursula was an intentionally arrogant Coordinator and rival to Dawn and Jessilina. Her way of making excuses, not owning up to mistakes or admitting defeat, and her unnecessarily harsh personality didn’t leave anything for fans to like.
Ursula would label Dawn winning as a fluke, but at the Wallace Cup, she didn’t even make it past the Appeals round. Fans generally do not like characters that say something harsh but are unable to prove or back up their words, or even admit to being wrong.
8 Paul’s Harsh Treatment Of His Pokémon Angered Fans
Ash’s main rival during the Diamond & Pearl series, Paul’s quest for power and success saw him forsake any outward care or love for his Pokémon, which would always infuriate Ash, his friends, and fans of the show. While this made Paul an excellent rival for Ash, giving him extra incentive to emerge victorious, Paul releasing his Pokémon and berating them for being weak always seemed a bit much.
His treatment of Chimchar was especially brutal, with him subjecting it to intense training and hurt in order to get it to activate Blaze and show its true strength, before eventually growing tired and releasing it. This does not mean that Paul was a poor character, just that his evil tendencies would often steer him towards villain status.
7 Hunter J Was Inherently Evil
In contrast to Team Rocket, whose overall plans beyond stealing Pikachu never made complete sense, Hunter J was a villain who knew what her role was. Like Team Rocket, she would steal Pokémon, but she would do it in a more professional way with more supporting firepower, with the actual objective of selling Pokémon of value to clients. This arguably made her a competent villain, but she was and still is naturally disliked due to the nature of her job and her generally malicious intent.
6 Iris Could Be Overbearing
In the Black & White series, Iris was Ash’s new female traveling companion, following in the footsteps of Dawn, May and Misty. There was never a real reason given for her joining Ash, compared to Misty’s bike, or May and Dawn being encouraged to go with him.
She mainly annoyed fans because of her hypocritical interactions with Ash, with her often remarking “You’re such a kid,” despite her often acting even more immature and obnoxious than Ash. Her love of Dragon-type Pokémon would eventually inspire her to raise a strong team and move on from her childish nature, but she arguably should never have been annoying in the first place when compared to how widely respected she is in the games.
5 Goh’s Hurried Approach To Catching Pokémon Didn’t Sit Well With Many Fans
The introduction of Goh to Pokémon Journeys has not been overly well-received by the masses. Goh’s main goal of catching every single Pokémon is a new concept to Ash and his traveling group, despite the anime’s catchphrase “Gotta Catch ‘Em All,” and takes attention away from Ash’s quest to become the strongest trainer and defeat Leon.
Fans generally feel that Goh tends to catch Pokémon too quickly, undoing all prior knowledge regarding weakening Pokémon before catching them, with him often not using the Pokémon again after capture. Although fans have been calling for years for Ash to catch more Pokémon, catching hundreds without establishing close bonds goes against what Ash has stood for over the years.
4 Harley Went Out Of His Way To Sabotage May
During May’s Hoenn Contest adventure, she encountered a shady character named Harley. Harley held grudges for small and mundane things, which would propel him to plot against and sabotage May whenever he could.
The Pokémon Harley used almost reflected his sinister nature and were perfect tools for him to enact his plans. His scheming wound fans up – not in a good way that would get them excited for a rivalry, but instead bringing an annoyance that they would rather Harley not interfere with May and her Contest dream.
3 Burgundy Was Needlessly Rude To Cilan
During Ash’s journey through Unova, there were many characters that fans were not too fond of, with his traveling companions Iris and Cilan even being among them. However, a rival of Cilan’s would become one of the most disliked characters during Black & White, and that was Burgundy.
Often in Pokémon, a bad attitude can be slightly forgiven if the words can be supported with actions. However, in the case of Burgundy, she would berate Cilan for being a terrible Connoisseur, but then would never be able to prove that she was better.
2 Trip’s Arrogance And Rudeness Seemed To Be More Forced Than Paul’s
While Paul was a good rival for Ash and his personality only accentuated the rivalry, Trip felt like a Paul rip-off. There was always an air about Paul that he wasn’t necessarily a bad guy, but had just been consumed by his quest for success. However, Trip’s attitude seemed to pale in comparison to Paul’s and didn’t even offer any other redeeming qualities to justify him as a character.
In contrast to Paul, Trip treated his Pokémon relatively well, but his disdain for Ash just felt unwarranted and unnecessary. After his Pokémon League loss to Ash, he suddenly changed and became friends with Ash, implying that one battle’s worth of respect was enough to undo the hostility.
1 Damian Left Charmander Out In The Rain To Die
Damian was a minor character, but the impact he made is why he is one of the most hated characters ever to appear in the Pokémon anime. He was introduced as an arrogant and horrid trainer who abandoned his Charmander and left it out in the rain.
Not only did he abandon Charmander, but he also laughed about it, all while Charmander was nearing death, due to its flame almost being extinguished. Damian even sees Charmander defeat Team Rocket and has the nerve to claim that he was training it by leaving it alone outside, but is subsequently rejected by Charmander. Naturally, this meant that Charmander could join Ash’s team, but the events that led up to that moment were both memorable and upsetting to watch, making Damian universally hated.
NEXT: Pokémon: 10 Times Ash Earned The Respect Of His Pokémon
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