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Pokémon Characters We Desperately Need More Info On

The lore of the "Pokémon" universe is expansive. It extends across video games, anime, movies, manga, and an entire trading card game. Most of the focus is usually reserved for the pocket monsters themselves and it's easy to see why. They're the centerpieces of the franchise and there are hundreds thousands of them, each with their own Pokédex entries and backstories. With so many cute creatures, it's easy to overlook the fact that there is an immense cast of human characters coexisting in this world as well.


Many of these characters have surprisingly intricate storylines. This is especially true when it comes to gym leaders and Elite Four members as they tend to enjoy a bit more character development than most NPCs. Challenging such intriguing characters to Pokémon battles is part of what makes the games interesting, but some of their backstories have been more than a little ambiguous, leaving fans with questions about who they are and how they became the powerhouses they are today. There are a few Gen 1 characters in particular who fans have been wondering about for decades. Here are four "Pokémon" characters with mysterious pasts that players are still waiting to get more info on.

What war did Lt. Surge fight in?

The third gym leader in "Pokémon Red" and "Blue" is an Electric-Type trainer named Lt. Surge. Player's need to defeat his Voltorb, Pikachu and Raichu in order to earn the Thunder Badge, which can be quite difficult in the early game, (especially for those who chose Squirtle as their starter). It's also the first time players will have to deal with status effects being inflicted on their Pokémon during a gym battle.


Here's the interesting part, though. Right after the player challenges him, Surge says, "You won't live long in combat! That's for sure! I tell you kid, electric Pokémon saved me during the war! They zapped my enemies into paralysis! The same as I'll do to you!" This is the only time that this war is mentioned in the game. In fact, the good Lieutenant appears to be the only military officer in the game.

Even more curious, the gym guide in the original games tells the player that he has the nickname: "The Lightning American." This is especially odd since America doesn't canonically exist in the "Pokémon" world. The Kanto and Unova regions are heavily inspired by Japan and the U.S., but they aren't the same. Still, it's probably not a coincidence that the circumstances of Surge's presence bears a striking resemblance to the real-life military presence that America has maintained in the region ever since the American occupation of Japan following WW2.


How did Sabrina establish the Saffron City Gym?

Of all the trainers in the "Pokémon" franchise, there are few more challenging or mysterious than the Saffron City gym leader, Sabrina. She is a Psychic-Type trainer who has several psychic abilities herself, which she developed as a child. She claims during the game to have foretold the player's arrival and that she can bend spoons with her mind. These abilities aren't seen in the games, but there is an episode in the anime where she shrinks Ash, Brock and Misty to the size of toys so she could play with them in her doll house.


One of the strange things about Saffron City is that there are actually two gym buildings side by side. One of them belongs to Sabrina, while the other is a Fighting Dojo. It's established in the game that these two gyms once competed over the right to be the Indigo League's sixth gym. Psychic Pokémon have a type-advantage over Fighting ones, which likely contributed to Sabrina's victory, but there is very little information about who challenged whom or how the battle played out. It seems particularly strange that she fought a turf war to become Saffron's official gym leader when she admits herself that she actually doesn't enjoy Pokémon battles. Some fans have even suggested that she probably built the complex warp system in her gym to prevent trainers from being able to reach her so she wouldn't have to fight them.


How did Giovanni come to found Team Rocket?

Players have a rival in "Pokémon Red" and "Blue" who believes that strength is all that matters when it comes to raising Pokémon. This character's philosophy serves as the antithesis to the player-character and the primary antagonist – but he isn't really the villain. There is only one truly villainous character in Gen 1, and that's Giovanni. He is the founder and leader of the criminal organization Team Rocket – the first of many Pokémon gangs that players will have to face throughout the series. The player encounters this group multiple times throughout the game. They are seen harassing people, stealing their Pokémon, and even attempting to take over the Silph Co. building to steal its technology. Players later discover that Giovanni is actually the eighth and final gym leader who has been missing from Viridian City. But who is he and how did he come to amass the resources to build such an organization? Unfortunately, players are left with few answers at the end of the game.


Giovanni goes on to be a recurring character throughout the series, returning in generations 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7. He also plays an important role in the anime, notably being responsible for the creation of Mewtwo in "Pokémon: The First Movie." A handful of details about his life are revealed throughout all of these appearances, but his origins are never explained.

Who is Ash Ketchum's dad?

This last one is specific to the anime, but it also speaks to a peculiar trend in the "Pokémon" universe. There is an alarming shortage of player-characters in the games who have fathers present. Fans have concocted a number of theories as to why there are so many missing dads in the "Pokémon" universe. Some have suggested that many of them went away to war (like the one Lt. Surge fought in) and never returned. Others believe that this is simply a reflection of traditional Japanese culture, where men are typically expected to work long hours for their respective companies and children are more likely to see their mothers around the home.


But the most conspicuous missing father in the franchise is Ash Ketchum's. Some have speculated that Ash's father is, in fact, Giovanni. This is supported by the fact that Delia Ketchum was revealed to have once dated the infamous mobster in the "Pokemon Live!" musical and the fact that he was the gym leader of the neighboring town to where Ash grew up. Others have pointed to the novelizations by Takeshi Shudo, where Delia states that Ash's father was no one important and that he left on his own "Pokémon" journey after getting her pregnant.

Neither of these sources are strictly canon to the anime, however, and so the mystery of Ash's parentage still remains.