Pokemon isn't a franchise locked to a single medium. In addition to video games, there are trading cards, books, toys, and, of course, the anime. What's fascinating is the large discrepency regarding power between all of these different platforms. For example, Wailord isn't really that great in the video game, but it has an entire deck built around it in the trading card game. And the anime is no different!
Since the anime is predetermined and has a lot more animation, different Pokemon are free to try tasks that they could never possibly do in the game. And right here, we're going to celebrate them!
Let's start with the obvious, shall we? As the face of the entire franchise, Pikachu is obviously going to be able to do things that it can't do in the game. And that's not for lack of trying! They've given Pikachu stat boosts, as well as unique forms, moves, and items to make it stronger than a lot of other Pokemon, including its evolution Raichu. However, nothing can match what it can do in the anime.
Besides the usual plot armor that all main characters get, the most ridiculous thing that Pikachu has ever done was when it used Thunder to strike itself and Swellow. This was to grant them Thunder Armor to defeat Tate and Liza's Solrock and Lunatone. It's absolutely ludicrous, and it's a real shame a tag team card wasn't made of this.
Rowlet is one of the most adorable starters in all of Pokemon, since it has those big eyes and those leaves on its neck that look like a bowtie. Unfortunately, none of this cuteness translated to competitive prowess, mostly due to its mediocre stats and low Speed.
However, in the Sun and Moon anime, Rowlet is one of the staples of Ash's team. It hits hard, is incredibly fast, and can really take a beating. This is most evident in its battle against Hau's Decidueye, where it falls asleep instead of being knocked out. Rowlet should have genuinely been defeated about four times in that battle, but constantly lived to fight another day. For that, it makes its way onto this list.
Regigigas is one of the weakest legendaries of all time. It has an incredibly high base stat total, including a massive 160 base Attack, but it is held back by Slow Start. This ability ensures that its Attack and Speed are halved once it enters the battlefield. After five turns, these stats return to normal. This ruins an otherwise incredible Pokemon.
Obviously, abilities aren't really a thing in the anime, so Regigigas doesn't have to worry about Slow Start. Instead, it is free to use Hyper Beam on anything it sees, and completely control the original Regi trio.
Originating from the first games, Muk is pretty lackluster. It's pretty much just a big, stinky blob, and its stats reflect that with pretty decent bulk all around. It has also recently been completely left in the shadows of its Alolan form, which has the incredible Dark/Psychic dual-typing.
However, Muk is much more interesting in the anime. Not only is it much more affectionate, but its durability helped it hold its own against difficult trainers like Gary Oak and Jeanette Fisher in the fourth round of the Indigo League finals. Muk may not be the strongest Pokemon on Ash's team, but it has definitely earned its place.
Gible may evolve into one of the best competitive Pokemon of all time, but at this point it is still just a baby. And while it has a decent Attack for Little Cup competition, it's still fairly weak, and often takes a long time to get it to achieve Garchomp glory.
Gible in the anime is an absolute beast. Not only does it eventually master Draco Meteor (after accidentally hitting Dawn's Piplup multiple times with it), but it also becomes integral to Ash when battling Conway, defeating both his buffed up Shuckle and Dusknoir. Seriously, Gible catches a Gyro Balling Shuckle in its mouth, and launches it into the air with Draco Meteor. It can never reach that glory in the game.
Psyduck is a silly looking duck that is constantly suffering from headaches, and when compared to other Water-types, it seems fairly lackluster. It has middling stats all around, and doesn't have anything that makes it stand out. It's not terrible, but there are just a lot of other Pokemon that can do what it does, but better.
In the anime, Psyduck shines because of the aforementioned headache. Psyduck has latent psychic abilities, and they are astronomically powerful. While there are many examples of this with Misty's Psyduck in the anime, the coolest version of this is from Detective Pikachu, where it sends out a massive psychic shockwave that defeats multiple Greninja at once. This type of thing happens all the time to Psyduck — if only it could be repeated in the actual game.
Onix is probably the most glaring example of a Pokemon being phenomenal in the anime and terrible in the game. It has great Defense and decent Speed for a Rock-type, but everything else is atrocious. This is especially true when you look at its truly awful base 40 Attack stat. That's embarassing.
Brock's Onix in the anime is a completely different story. This thing is terrifying. It helps the protagonists in numerous ways, mostly as a ramp to get to a higher place. Plus, there's the Onix that had spent so much time underground that its rock body became crystal. Where's that in the game?
Unown is well known as one of the weakest fully evolved Pokemon of all time, with a low base stat total and only a single move. Its most memorable experience in a video game is as a collectible in Pokemon Legends: Arceus. Otherwise, it is useless and completely forgettable.
Unown's film appearance is a completely different story. Not only do they suck Pokemon researcher Spencer Hale into another dimension, but they grant wishes for his daughter. This includes bringing an Entei into existence and mind controling Ash's mom, Delia. They can literally alter reality, which is waaaaaay more powerful than they are in the Ruins of Alph.
Bellsprout has always been a goofy Pokemon, no matter what medium it's in. And guess what? It's pretty weak, too! Bellsprout's most memorable moment in the game is probably just the fact that it has an entire tower named after it. Seriously. There's the Tin Tower where Ho-oh resides, the Burned Tower where Lugia used to live, and Bellsprout Tower. One of these Pokemon is clearly not like the others.
In the anime, Bellsprout is also usually pretty weak. There is one battle, however, where that is absoluely not the case. Bellsprout proceeds to beat seven shades out of Bulbasaur and Pikachu, and then is narrowly defeated by Ash's Muk. This is all due to Bellsprout's strange movements and immense strength. It's shocking, no pun intended, and a blast to watch.
Blissey and Chansey are some of the greatest walls that have ever existed in Pokemon. Their astronomical HP and Special Defense stats are unmatched by pretty much every other Pokemon. The baby form of this evolution line leaves a lot to be desired, though. While Happiny also has good HP and Special Defense, the rest of its stats are atrocious. This is especially true for its Attack and Defense, which both come in at just five points. That's why it's so surprising to see it throw a boulder in the anime.
Brock's Happiny is a beast of a Pokemon, often wanting to battle, and is able to lift things that are many times her own weight. This includes Brock, Grotle, and a boulder. What makes this even more surprising is that she does it with one arm. This penchant for battling doesn't leave when she eventually evolves into a Blissey, but nothing beats seeing a Happiny absolutely wreck shop against her opponents.
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