A Pokémon Trainer (ポケモントレーナー, Pokémon Trainer) is a human from the Pokémon series. The vast majority of human characters in the series are Pokémon Trainers, including the player characters in the main games. Trainers debuted in the series' first generation, and Red and Leaf represent them as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate under the name "Pokémon Trainer".
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, while named by the player, 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 Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, he has a female counterpart who is named Leaf in the internal data and official merchandise, but is alternately referred to as Green in Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!. Red, Leaf, and their counterparts across various media have trained the evolutionary lines of the Kanto starter Pokémon Bulbasaur, Charmander and Squirtle; in the Super Smash Bros. series, the Pokémon Trainer "fights" by sending these starter Pokémon out to battle, with the Bulbasaur line represented by Ivysaur and the Charmander line represented by Charizard.
Nonetheless, the Pokémon Trainer in Smash solely represents the playable versions of Red, Leaf, and the concept of Pokémon Trainer protagonists in general, eschewing Red's later appearances as an NPC and his incarnations in other media. As such, the Smash Pokémon Trainer is nameless, and their dialogue lines are heavily based on the HUD dialogue that appears during Pokémon battles in the main series.
As a playable character
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.
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)
As a playable character
Main article: Pokémon Trainer (SSBU)
Pokémon Trainer makes a return in Ultimate, as with all previous characters, meaning Charizard is no longer a standalone character. In addition to Red reappearing as the default Pokémon Trainer, Leaf, the female Pokémon Trainer from FireRed/LeafGreen, makes her first appearance as an alternate costume. The Pokémon Trainer has been reworked in order to streamline their unique gameplay style. The Stamina mechanic has been removed, which means the player is no longer required to regularly switch Pokémon to fight at full effectiveness, and Pokémon Change has been sped up drastically and made available in the air, effectively allowing the Trainer to rotate between Pokémon at will and use their unique attributes to adapt to different situations without any need for resource management. This time, Pokémon Trainer is an unlockable character instead of a starter like in Brawl.
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