A Pokémon Trainer (ポケモントレーナー, Pokémon Trainer) is a human in the fictional world of Pokémon whose hobby, pastime, or profession is the collecting, caretaking, and competitive battling of any of the eponymous Pokémon creatures. The humans directing their trained Pokémon in battles are as important as the abilities of the Pokémon themselves in all forms of Pokémon media.
From the very outset of the Pokémon franchise, the world of Pokémon had been established as an Earth-like world populated by humans and a diverse set of creatures called Pokémon. In this world, humans are referred to as Pokémon trainers if they collect, take care of, and train Pokémon for use in competitive matches with those of other trainers called Pokémon battles. While most games focus on the battling aspect, other Pokémon-related hobbies and professions exist in the world, such as Pokémon Breeders, who focus on raising Pokémon, Pokémon Coordinators, who train Pokémon for contests, and Pokémon Professors, who focus on studying various aspects of the Pokémon themselves. Nevertheless, raising and training a team of Pokémon is the main activity/quest that the main Pokémon RPGs feature; as such, a player of a Pokémon RPG is considered a Pokémon trainer themselves.
All main Pokémon games cast the player as a young Pokémon trainer ready to set out on a Pokémon journey across that game's region of the Pokémon world, on a quest to capture many species of Pokémon and, from them, train a team of Pokémon proficient enough in the sport of Pokémon battling that they may carry the trainer to victory against that region's Pokémon League. The trainer's traditional tool for capturing Pokémon is the Poké Ball, which is sold at Poké Marts in the game's various cities and comes in many distinctive varieties; new trainers also receive a piece of high-tech equipment called the Pokédex, which functions as an encyclopedia for the Pokémon in that region which the trainer must fill up, among other adventuring gear.
Throughout each journey, the trainer will battle hundreds of other trainers as well as encounter countless Pokémon in the wild, and the trainer will be involved in subplots involving thwarting the schemes of criminal organizations of trainers, known generally as villainous teams. While the Pokémon Trainers have been depicted as boys in every installment, from the Crystal Version of the second generation onward, the player has had the option to choose the gender of the trainer; while each game's protagonist options are similar, they are all distinct characters in-universe. Player trainers also have one or more rival characters, whose motivations and characterizations vary significantly.
The first playable trainer of the series is the male protagonist of the Kanto games, who has since become a recurring character known as Red. He went on to appear as the final boss of the Johto games atop Mt. Silver, an opponent in the Pokémon World Tournament in Pokémon Black and White Versions 2, and as the co-leader of the Battle Tree in Pokémon Sun and Moon. In all cases, his team consists of Pokémon that were caught during major events of his original quest, with his Pikachu serving as his signature Pokémon.
In Super Smash Bros.
In Super Smash Bros. Melee
No player trainers from the Pokémon games appear in this game, although there is a trophy of Misty, a Gym Leader.
In Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Main article: Pokémon Trainer (SSBB)
The Pokémon Trainer makes an official appearance as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. The Trainer used in Brawl is Red, the protagonist of the Red, Green, Blue, and Yellow Versions and the male protagonist of FireRed and LeafGreen Versions, though he is simply referred to as Pokémon Trainer to reflect how players can name their trainers within each of the Pokémon games. Additionally, he uses his design from FireRed and LeafGreen Versions for his appearance in the Super Smash Bros. series. It should be noted that it would be rather inaccurate to call the Trainer himself a playable fighter, as selecting him is akin to selecting a Zelda/Sheik-style character with three interchangeable forms, which are the three Pokémon the Pokémon Trainer has in his collection: Squirtle, Ivysaur, and Charizard. The Trainer visually issues commands in the background of the stage to the Pokémon in the foreground, corresponding with the actions input by the player to the current Pokémon as the real fighter. Conversely, one can say that the player controls the Trainer, who in turn commands the Pokémon.
Pokémon Trainer is ranked 29th on the current tier list in E tier. His tournament results have been surprisingly high due to the efforts of TheReflexWonder, but when he is excluded, he has had barely any tournament success.
In Super Smash Bros. 4
As the game does not support mid-match character changes, Pokémon Trainer does not return as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. 4. While Charizard became a standalone playable character, Squirtle and Ivysaur did not make such a transition. However, Red, under the name Pokémon Trainer, makes a cameo as a collectible trophy alongside both Squirtle and Ivysaur. Calem and Serena, the playable trainers from Pokémon X and Y, also appear together as a singular trophy under the name Pokémon Trainer (Pokémon X & Y).
Main article: List of SSB4 trophies (Pokémon series)