Gym leaders

"The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses,
It is won behind the scenes, in the gym, and out there on the road,
Long before I dance under those lights."
- Muhammad Ali

In the journey to become Pokemon Master, 8 main challenges lie in the way. They are the gym leaders. Each has a type they prefer, a badge they protect and a gym they lead. By beating the gym leaders, you can get their badges and enter Pokemon League.

Here are the gym leaders. Most of the information is from the game, but each leader has a section on them from the anime.

The introductory thing says the gym leader's name, their gym, their badge and what Pokemon they like to use. Then underneath is the same info for the Japanese version.

Brock - Pewter Gym - Boulderbadge - rock
Takeshi - Nibi Gym - Greybadge - iwa

Brock Brock

The sign outside Pewter Gym describes him as 'The Rock Solid POKéMON trainer!'

Pewter Gym has no puzzles.

For beating Brock, you get the power of all your Pokemon increasing a little, you can use FLASH when you get it, and you also get the TM Bide.

His technique is a strong defense. Brock can be difficult to defeat, particularly if you don't have a Squirtle or strong Bulbasaur, because any other type attacks you might have - electric, flying, normal, poison and fire - are weak against rock Pokemon.

My suggestion is, if you don't have a Squirtle/Bulbasaur, either be confident with your Charmander or get a Butterfree to at least L12, so it'll learn a psychic attack, Confusion. Or in Yellow, try a Mankey.

Brock is one of the few serious trainers around the Pewter Gym area... most people are just bug catcher or something, but Brock is really into training.

In the anime, Ash's Pokemon have no chance against Brock, but after being powered up, Pikachu manages to take out Geodude, and nearly gets Onix after weakening it with water from a sprinkler system. However, Ash decides it's not fair to win that way, and forfeits the match. Brock gives him the badge for beating him in 'caring for Pokemon'.

Then Brock joins up with Ash on his Pokemon journey. More info about Brock on his profile page.


Misty - Cerulean Gym - Cascadebadge - water
Kasumi - Hanada Gym - Bluebadge - mizu

Misty Misty

The sign outside Cerulean Gym describes her as 'The tomboyish mermaid', and when she battles you, she's wearing a swimsuit.

Cerulean Gym has no puzzles.

For beating Misty, you get Pokemon up to L30 obeying you, ability to use CUT and you also get the TM Bubblebeam. (A cool technique!)

Her technique is an all-out offensive with water Pokemon. Misty's a bit easier than Brock in that by this point in the game, you've had the opportunity to capture a few different Pokemon, so you're not so disadvantaged.

Of the Pokemon you'll have encountered so far in the game, Pikachu is the best to use. Bulbasaur is very good too, if you chose it.

Misty's quite a respected trainer around the area, and is considered cute by many. ^_^.

In the anime, she uses Staryu and Starmie against Ash's Butterfree and Pidgeotto. Her Staryu is successful but Ash manages to beat her Starmie. Their battle is interrupted by Team Rocket, but Pikachu electrifies the water in the gym and sends Team Rocket flying. Misty's sister Daisy gives Ash the Cascadebadge, because if Ash had used Pikachu in the first place, Misty's water Pokemon wouldn't have stood a chance.

(Fact was, Pikachu refused to fight against a friend.)

So it was never really decided if Ash beat Misty or not, although Ash thinks he did and Misty thinks he definately didn't. ^_^.

In the anime, it's actually Misty's sisters who are leaders of Cerulean Gym. Misty has been travelling with Ash, and is reluctant to go back to Cerulean, because she told her sisters she was leaving and wouldn't come back 'til she was the world's greatest Pokemon trainer.

However, after Misty's sisters refused to fight Ash (their Pokemon were weak and they were sick of battling after losing to some kids from Pallet - Ash's rivals), and Daisy was about to give Ash the Cascadebadge for nothing, Misty jumped in and said that was wrong, and she'd fight Ash herself, since she was technically a gym leader too.

For more info on Misty, check out her profile page.


Lt. Surge - Vermilion Gym - Thunderbadge - electric
Matisse - Kuchiba Gym - Orangebadge - denki

Surge Surge

The sign outside Vermilion Gym describes him as 'The lightning American'.

Vermilion Gym's puzzle is to find two switches hidden in rubbish bins, which open a door leading to Surge.

For beating Surge, you get the speed of all your Pokemon increasing a bit, and ability to use FLY when you get it. You also get the TM Thunderbolt.

Surge's technique is using electric Pokemon to paralyse.

In my opinion, Lt. Surge is the easiest gym leader of all. Why? Because right next to Vermilion City, in easy reach, is Diglett Cave. Catch a Diglett, or even better, a Dugtrio, and you can wipe Surge out easily.

Lt. Surge had his electric Pokemon in the army, and he said they saved him many times, through paralysing the enemies. In the Vermilion Gym is a gentleman who says Surge was his CO (commanding officer) in the war.

In the anime, his attitude is very arrogant and condescending. He calls Ash 'baby' and insults Pikachu. He says the best way to go is to evolve your Pokemon as soon as possible. He likes cute girls too. ^_^.

Ash finds him very difficult to beat. For some reason, he chooses Pikachu to go up against Surge's Raichu. (Hello, wouldn't Bulbasaur be better?) Pikachu is absolutely thrashed, and it looks like the only way Pikachu can win is if it evolves into Raichu itself. But Pikachu says it'll win as itself.

Cheered on by Team Rocket and given a strategy by Brock, Pikachu successfully defeats the Raichu and earns Ash the Thunderbadge. Raichu had been evolved as soon as Surge got it, which meant it couldn't learn the speed and agility only acquired in the Pikachu stage. By using its superior speed, Pikachu managed to win.

However, surprisingly, Surge is gracious in defeat, even congratulating the victor on a match well won.


Erika - Celadon Gym - Rainbowbadge - grass
Erika - Tamamushi Gym - Rainbowbadge - kusa

Erika Erika

The sign outside Celadon Gym describes her as 'The nature loving princess!'

Celadon Gym doesn't have a puzzle, it is just a little awkward to get to, and it's so full of trainers (all women) that you can't reach Erika without having several battles. You also need CUT to get through, 'cos there are lots of plants in the gym.

Because the gym is full of women, it has its share of admirers. When you go to Celadon Gym, there's a perverted old man outside peeping through the windows. ^_^.

For beating Erika, you get Pokemon up to L50 obeying you, and the TM Mega Drain. You can also use STRENGTH when you get it.

Erika's technique... well, with grass Pokemon, there are all sorts... sending you to sleep, poisoning, paralysing...

The girls in Celadon Gym all respect her as a super nice and talented leader. She is nice, too. Quiet, soft spoken, but nice. She teaches flower arranging, so she's obviously an artistic type, as well. She says she's impressed with you for cataloguing Pokemon. Then she says she'd never bother with an unattractive Pokemon. How shallow! (I think Erika is supposed to be the idea of a typical feminine girl...)

From Surge onwards, most gym leaders are easy enough to beat because there will be plenty of Pokemon around strong against the leaders' types. You can use a Growlithe/Vulpix depending on which version of the game you have, a Charmander if you chose it, or any flying Pokemon.

Erika is supposedly nice in the anime too, although she didn't think much of Ash, because he criticised her perfumes. Her favourite Pokemon is Gloom because it saved her from a Grimer when she was a little girl.

In the show, Erika runs a perfume shop, and takes offense at anybody who criticises perfume. Ash did (saying it turned guys into zombies, which is true, looking at Brock!), and was forbidden from entering the gym, which manufactured perfume! Poor Ash had to employ Team Rocket's help to sneak in. Erika still disliked him, but accepted his challenge to battle.

She was arrogant about her training skills and told Ash that he would never be good until he learned about empathy with Pokemon (this judgement of Ash is a bit premature; Ash is incredibly empathic), but he earned her respect after Team Rocket set Celadon Gym on fire. Ash ran into the burning building to save Gloom.


Sabrina - Saffron Gym - Marshbadge - psychic
Natsumi - Yamabuki Gym - Goldbadge - esper

Sabrina Sabrina

The sign outside Saffron Gym describes her as 'The master of psychic POKéMON!'

Saffron Gym's puzzle is composed of lots of warp tiles which lead to different rooms. Each room has a psychic Pokemon trainer, but you can easily avoid battling them, and have to find the right warp system to reach Sabrina's room.

For beating Sabrina, you get Pokemon up to L70 obeying you, and the TM Psywave.

Sabrina is young but the other psychic masters have great respect for her. She says that everyone has psychic power, they just don't realise it.

Few Pokemon are strong against Sabrina's psychic type. The game suggests using bug or ghosts, but ghosts are part-poison and thus weak to psychic, lick won't affect psychics, and all the bug moves are pathetic, not to mention learned by only a handful of Pokemon. On the bright side, most psychic Pokemon have bad defense, so if you use a strong normal move, or any non-special attack really, you should be able to win easily.

In the anime, Sabrina is extremely strong, and rather enigmatic. She carries around a doll which talks in a childlike voice, but Sabrina's own voice is cold and adult.

Sabrina's doll saves Pikachu from Team Rocket. Ash then goes to challenge Sabrina. Before they battle, Sabrina makes Ash promise that if he loses, he will play with her. Ash, thinking the doll is just being a typical little girl, agrees.

However, after Ash loses (he's absolutely THRASHED... Pikachu is totally and completely smashed up by Sabrina's Abra, which evolves into Kadabra during the battle), he finds that she was serious when she said 'play with him!' Sabrina uses her experienced psychic powers to turn Ash, Brock and Misty into doll-size people, and they find themselves in Sabrina's dollhouse!

Sabrina's doll gets a ball and is about to play bowling using Ash-tachi as the pins, but just in time, a man teleports in and takes Ash-tachi back to the real world. This man's identity is not known, but he warns Ash to give up, because Sabrina's psychic powers are extremely dangerous. Ash refuses to give up, so the man gives him the advice that a ghost Pokemon would be a good way to win.

After Ash gets Haunter, he rechallenges Sabrina, only to find that Haunter has disappeared. He escapes, but Misty and Brock are turned into dolls before they can.

Ash now has to rescue his friends and beat Sabrina. He talks to the man who helped him out before. The man says Sabrina got into psychic powers at a young age and soon became obsessed, as she got more and more powerful. She was extremely mature for her age - too mature. She pushed her parents away.

The man is Sabrina's father.

Ash finds Haunter again and goes to battle Sabrina a third time. Haunter won't fight, but instead goes and starts pulling faces at Sabrina, while Kadabra beats up on Pikachu. Sabrina's icy exterior suddenly breaks down and she bursts out laughing - the first show of emotion!

Brock, Misty and another doll they met - Sabrina's mother - are returned back to human form.

Kadabra, who is psychically linked to Sabrina, also rolls around the ground laughing. Kadabra can't fight any more, so Ash has won the battle. But Sabrina's won a lot more - her family back, a human side, a sense of humour AND a new Pokemon, Haunter.

Sabrina's doll is no more. The doll was the manification of her suppressed human side... her child side. But it is needed no longer.


Koga - Fuschia Gym - Soulbadge - poison
Kyou - Sekichiku Gym - Pinkbadge - doku

Koga Koga

The sign outside Fuschia Gym describes him as 'The poisonous ninja master!'

Fuschia Gym's puzzle is a maze made up of invisible walls.

For beating Koga, you get the defense of all Pokemon increasing a bit. You can use SURF when you get it, and you also get the TM Toxic.

Koga's uses poison and sleep techniques.

Of the Pokemon you'll have encountered so far in the game, several are good to use against Koga. Ground Pokemon, like Cubone, Dugtrio and Sandslash (blue version), are all great, as are psychic Pokemon like Kadabra or Hypno. (I'm assuming most of those Pokemon would've been caught by you by this stage in the game. ^_^.)

In the anime, Koga lives in a traditional ninja-style mansion, where Ash-tachi come across, looking for Fuschia Gym. They find the mansion full of dangerous pitfalls and traps, everything from invisible walls (play on the game!) to lots of dangerous Voltorb...

The gang end up encountering Aya, a ninja girl (who Brock likes ^_^.). Aya challenges Ash with a Venonat and loses. Then Koga appears and tells Aya she needs more practise. Aya is Koga's sister.

Koga challenges Ash with his own Venonat, which is more experienced than Aya's. The battle is interrupted by Team Rocket, but they're sent packing by Psyduck, of all Pokemon. ^_^;;

Then, the two trainers resume their battle. Ash uses Charmander and defeats Koga's Golbat and Venomoth (Venonat evolves) and Golbat to win the Soulbadge.


Blaine - Cinnabar Gym - Volcanobadge - fire
Katsura - Guren Gym - Crimsonbadge - honoo

Blaine Blaine

The sign outside Cinnabar Gym describes him as 'The hot-headed quiz master!'

Cinnabar Gym doesn't have a puzzle, but you need to beat trainers to get to the next part of the gym. In addition, before you can get into the gym, you need to find a key, which is hidden in the burnt out mansion next door to the gym.

For beating Blaine, you get your Pokemon's special abilities increasing a bit. You also get the TM Fire Blast.

Blaine's technique is burning.

Blaine is unbelievably easy to beat. This is because Pokemon strong against him abound abundantly. ^_^. Dozens of water Pokemon just next to Cinnabar, on Sea Foam, and ground Pokemon, also effective, have all appeared by this point in the game.

On the show, Blaine runs a hotel. He wears a long blonde wig, and loves telling riddles. He shut down Cinnabar Gym because Cinnabar Island turned into a tourist trap, and he didn't care to have the gym open to all those people who didn't know anything about *real* Pokemon training.

However, he has a gym that the tourists never see. After Ash helps him out, Blaine tells him a riddle to help him find the secret gym, and the two battle. He uses Ninetales, Rhydon and his strongest Pokemon, Magmar. The gym is inside a volcano, which is where he first found Magmar.

He beats Ash, but after Ash and his Pokemon help prevent the volcano from erupting, rewards him with... no, not a badge (finally, a gym leader who doesn't just hand over such things!), but another opportunity to battle. Ash's Charizard beats Magmar and gets him the Volcanobadge.


Giovanni - Viridian Gym - Earthbadge - ground
Sakaki - Tokiwa Gym - Greenbadge - jimen

Giovanni Giovanni

The sign outside Viridian Gym does not describe him. Nobody knows who the Viridian Gym leader actually is.

Viridian Gym's 'puzzle' is just the same moving platforms as seen in Team Rocket's hideout. It's not a puzzle really.

For beating Giovanni, you get all Pokemon obeying you! You also get the TM Fissure.

Giovanni doesn't seem to have a technique.

Giovanni's a bit of a joke too, considering ground Pokemon's weakness is so pronounced - water and lots of it. (Ice too, is good.)

Giovanni has not been in Viridian Gym for a long time. In fact, very few people actually know who the Viridian Gym leader is. He returns to the gym after you've beaten the other 7 gym leaders. Most convenient of him. ^_^.

An interesting thing about this gym leader is that you've encountered him before. He is the boss of Team Rocket, and you've beaten him a couple of times before. However, once you beat him in his own gym, he decides that he can't face his underlings having lost so much, so Team Rocket is finished!

The Team Rocket boss is surprisingly polite, although he can be a bit condescending of Ash for being just a kid. He conducts himself with dignity, I suppose.

Giovanni is also the inventor of the TM, Fissure. (Doesn't work 90% of the time. ^_^.)

In the anime, Giovanni's not shown very well. Glimpses of him are shown here and there when Jessie, James and Meowth report back to their boss. Everyone's a bit nervous of their boss, because Giovanni seems to command respect.

Giovanni's favourite Pokemon is a Persian, which he cares for deeply. It used to be Meowth, but Meowth got replaced. Now Meowth is bitter against Persian.

He's shown as Team Rocket's boss more than as a gym leader. He challenges Gary, who easily beats his first two Pokemon, before being KO'd by Mewtwo, who he was experimenting with. He even hands running of the gym over to Jessie and James just for a short while (long enough for Ash to win an Earthbadge from the pair, anyway).

It's important to get all the badges so you can gain access to Pokemon League... you can't get in without having earned all the badges. Then, you face the toughest trainers yet - The Elite Four. Beating them will allow you to become a Pokemon Master.

Lorelei - her specialty is water and ice Pokemon. In my opinion, she's the hardest to beat. Bring in a good electric or fighting Pokemon. Grass and fire are okay but not brilliant, because ice is strong against grass and fire is weak against water. ^_^;; She uses Cloyster, Dewgong, Slowbro, Jynx and Lapras. Only Jynx is not part-water.


Lorelei seems slightly uppity. ^_^. She's the first of the Elite Four you encounter.

Bruno - he likes rock and fighting Pokemon... 'cos he's a tough man, yeah. ^_^. Take along a water/ice and psychic/flying Pokemon and you'll do fine. He uses two Onix, Hitmonlee, Hitmonchan and Machamp.


Bruno's a tough sounding guy... he even weight trains with his Pokemon. But, sadly, he's not as strong as he thinks he is. And he looks like a caveman. ^_^. In the show, he appears briefly, training in the mountains, and shows a good understanding of Pokemon. He said the ticket to being a good trainer is to understand Pokemon, and catch powerful ones. He caught one of his Onix in this episode.

Agatha - she likes poison Pokemon. She uses two Gengar, a Haunter, Arbok and Golbat. Simply, take along a psychic Pokemon (or preferably a ground one, as they're not weak against ghosts) and you'll win no problems. Oh, but ground Pokemon are useless against Golbat.


Agatha's an old lady who's an old acquaintance of Professor Oak. She used to admire him for being tough and handsome, but disagrees with his role as a Pokemon researcher, taking the stance that Pokemon are for fighting.

She's not too difficult if you have a cool ground Pokemon. However, there is one problem... if your Pokemon's initial attack misses, YOU ARE IN TROUBLE. I find battling Golbat and ghosts absolutely infuriating, because they love to

  • paralyse
  • hypnotise
  • poison
  • and confuse
    and they have no qualms about doing so. I loathe battles which consist of:
    Gengar used HYPNOSIS. Cubone fell asleep! Ash played Pokeflute. All sleeping Pokemon woke up! Gengar used HYPNOSIS! Cubone fell asleep! Ash played Pokeflute. All sleeping Pokemon woke up! Gengar used HYPNOSIS!...

    Okay, I think you get the point. Take Agatha's Pokemon out quickly, if possible.

    Lance - ooh, he thinks he's a big shot, using the mythical dragon Pokemon. He even says he's nearly invincible. But, even with a fairly weak ice Pokemon, all his Pokemon can be wiped out in one hit! He uses Gyarados, two Dragonair, Aerodactyl and Dragonite.


    All his Pokemon are weak against ice, so that's a good thing. But if you miss, the dragon's attack, Hyper Beam, can be pretty strong.

    After beating the Elite Four, you have one more step to becoming a Pokemon Master. Lance admits you've beaten him, but says you have one more challenge... your old pal Gary who's just beaten the Elite before you!


    When you face him for the last time, he wears a different outfit than usual. Maybe that's the Pokemon League champion outfit?

    Gary's Pokemon are quite strong, and his team is reasonably tough because it's well rounded. Just choose your Pokemon wisely and it'll be a skate.

    Gary doesn't take losing well, but oh well. May he learn his lesson. Less bragging and more training. ^_^.

    Of course, becoming a Pokemon Master is not the goal of the game. The goal of the game is to get all 150 Pokemon. But you have to become Pokemon Master before you can do this, because otherwise you'll never get the 150th Pokemon.

    Mewtwo lives in a cave above Cerulean City. However, a man guards the door and says the only person allowed in the cave is the Pokemon League champion. Once you've become Pokemon Master, only then can you enter that cave and find Mewtwo.

    And then, then your journey is complete.

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