While Pokéfever never truly died down, it’s certainly more noticeable these days. With rumors circulating around the upcoming Switch game, interest is at an all-time high for the now 20-year-old franchise. Everyone is excited to see where Pokémon is going next. Is it gen 8? Is it a remake of Pokémon Yellow? Are we about to see a total rehaul? For the first time, no one is really quite sure what could happen with the move to a home console.
Because of this hype, we’ve been counting down the top 10 most notable Pokémon from each generation. This time we’re looking at gen 2, which is an odd generation. It was the first sequel for Pokémon, so gen 2 was a transition era for a lot of kids. A lot of kids who grew up with Pokémon were starting to get a little old for it, but by the time Gen 2 came around, those same kids probably knew some of the new monsters. As a result, Gen 2 is probably the last generation that your most casual of fans will recognize any Pokémon from.
Tyranitar thrives in the mountains. It has the ability to summon a sandstorm wherever it comes out, making it difficult to land a proper hit. With the sandstorm cover and its naturally high defenses, Tyranitar is about as impervious as a Pokémon can get. This bulkiness makes raising a Tyranitar difficult by nature, as Tyranitar knows it can take on anything thrown its way. It takes a truly powerful trainer to contain Tyranitar’s raw destructive power.
Its strength is also what makes Tyranitar so popular. Until Tyrantrum in Gen 6, Tyranitar was about as close to a real Tyrannosaurus as a Pokémon fan could get. And really, what self-respecting 8-year-old at the time didn’t want the awesome destructive power of a giant dinosaur? Tyranitar also solidified the tradition of the “pseudo-legendary” Pokémon; a fan term designating super-powered Pokémon that were caught late-game but could evolve into creatures on par with legendaries. It was technically started by Dragonite, but Tyranitar made it clear this would be a pattern for the series to follow.
You’re never going to find Delibird used competitively. With low stats and only being able to learn 2 moves without the use of TMs, Delibird isn’t what you’d call the most useful of Pokémon. Heck, even Delibird’s signature move Present has a 1 in 4 chance of healing its target! It’s the definition of a novelty Pokémon, originally created as an exclusive for Silver but eventually transitioned into the equivalent of Pidgey or Zubat in icy areas of later generations.
However, Delibird serves a very important function for Nintendo. It’s their one Pokémon created for the sole purpose of being a holiday promotional character, brought out around the winter time to get kids excited for Christmas. In the anime, it mostly shows up during Christmas specials to play the role of Santa (naturally), but it has some use in the games as well. Delibird is occasionally given out during promotional events towards the end of the year along with a valuable item. After all, Delibird is the Delivery Pokémon! What good would it be if it didn’t at least come with some sweet gifts!
Aww, it’s a baby Pikachu! Pichu was created to market two new features of Pokémon Gold and Silver. First of all, it was there to get people to test out the new breeding system. If you wanted to complete the ever popular Pikachu evolutionary line, you’d have to breed a female Pikachu with a male of the same egg group. It was the only way to obtain a baby Pichu. The second feature was the invisible friendship scale. If you wanted to evolve your Pichu into a Pikachu and get moves it could only acquire as a Pichu, you’d have to make your Pichu love you. And, really, who wouldn’t want to befriend it?
Pikachu’s popularity has transcended its relation to the other members of its evolutionary line, so it’d be easy to forget about poor Pichu. It’s also the only character from Super Smash Bros. Melee, Pokémon or otherwise, to have not made a reappearance in later games. However, Pichu remains a beloved Pokémon with a history in the Pichu Bros. animated specials. These shorts aired at the beginning of new movies, where two Pichu brothers would get into silly adventures around Big Town.
Did you know some Pokémon have the power to transcend time? Well, really, there’s just the one. Celebi is known as the voice of the forest, spending its days wandering the woods and using its time abilities to revive dead wildlife. In fact, Celebi never showed up in the original Gold and Silver games! Fans that followed the anime got their first glimpse of the creature in the fourth movie, Celebi: Voice of the Forest… or just checked the programming code to find the sprite work hidden within.
Celebi was created to follow up on the white-hot popularity of the previous generation’s Mew and serves a very specific niche. However, while the hype for Mew was a little more organic, Celebi showed a lot more planning in its inclusion. The anime actually hyped up the mystery a bit by introducing the method of acquisition as early as the Orange Island arc where Ash was sent to retrieve the GS Ball from Professor Ivy. The GS Ball would later be included in Pokémon Crystal and would start an event to catch Celebi. Unfortunately, though, you could only acquire the GS Ball through a Japan-exclusive cell phone attachment to download it. This feature was dropped in the international release, so Westerners never saw it.
One of the 3 Legendary Beast Pokémon, Suicune is the most popular of the trio. Maybe it’s because Suicune serves more of a distinct niche, carrying itself with more grace and elegance than your average Pokémon. Or maybe it’s because it’s the only one of the three that’s not a headache to obtain. If you’ve got a copy of Pokémon Crystal, you don’t even have to hunt it down. Instead, you’ll have an event with Eusine where Suicune will approach you for a battle without any tricks.
However, what Suicune really represents within the Pokémon franchise is the wandering legendary mechanic. This was introduced in Gen 2 where you could encounter Entei, Raikou, and Suicune during a completely random battle while wandering through tall grass. However, they’d run at first sight, so you have to wear them down slowly over the course of several encounters. The frustration of trying to catch a legendary beast in Gold and Silver made the Suicune event in Crystal all the more satisfying. It was a lot more manageable to only track down 2 rather than 3!
Once found on the top of Brass Tower before it burned down, Lugia now resides deep within the Whirl Islands. However, it will only appear to someone with the Silver Wing. Lugia is known as the Guardian of the Sea and is considered the parallel to the firebird Ho-oh. It’s a tankier Pokémon than its sibling and can take way more of a beating. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t hit back! Its signature move Aeroblast hits hard with a high chance of scoring a critical hit.
Lugia was the beginning of the “trio master” tradition as dubbed by the fandom. For every Legendary trio that exists, there’s an even stronger, more fearsome leader above them. Technically Ho-oh is also a trio master, but Lugia is more notable for the position since it’s the head of the very first set of legendary Pokémon from Red, Blue, and Yellow! While it was never addressed in the games, the second Pokémon movie The Power of One centered its plot around Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres being used to summon Lugia to destroy the planet. This solidified Lugia’s authority over the original trio, and for that alone it’s noteworthy.
Hey does this guy look familiar? Marill is known as the Aqua Mouse Pokémon, and despite its Water-typing, is generally found on land. Think of it like any other water mammal-like otters or beavers that live around water but still reside on land from time to time. You’ll occasionally find one out in the water though, as Marill stays afloat using that giant bulb on its tail. But Marill doesn’t need to rely on its tail too much, as it’s quite the talented swimmer. Marill can even swim against currents with ease thanks to its heavily resilient fur!
Marill was the center of a ton of strange rumors regarding the first generation. Once called “Pikablu” by the fanbase, there was some confusion surrounding what the Pokémon was when Japanese promotional images were floating around the internet. This was before the news was standardized online, so people concocted the wildest tales about where you could find Marill in your Red, Blue, and Yellow cartridges. People were not aware that Gold and Silver were getting prepped for release in Japan. Marill was even showing up in anime specials long before they came out in the US. Finally, though, people were introduced to Marill’s proper name and origin when it showed up as one of Tracy’s Pokémon during the Orange Islands arc.
Gen 2’s favorite gag Pokémon, Wobbuffet looks as if it’s happily suffering through a migraine. It’s actually a pretty passive Pokémon, only attacking when it’s attacked. In fact, Wobbuffet can’t actually learn any offensive moves for itself! Wobbuffet’s only measure of defense is reflecting whatever damage it receives back at its attacker, and even then will only do so if it fears its tail is in danger. If you happen to encounter 2 Wobbuffet staring each other down in the wild… you’re better off leaving them be. They’re trying to fight, but can’t to figure out how to do it.
Most anime fans who stuck through Pokémon Johto will recognize Wobbuffet as one of Jessie’s Pokémon. It was used as the butt of many a joke, popping out and shouting its name to the annoyance of his owner. The irony was that Jessie could never accept Wobbuffet as her most reliable Pokémon, as it would tend to fail whenever she entered it in contests. However, battle-wise, Wobbuffet would generally come through in the end.
Beyond that, Wobbuffet is notable as the only Pokémon to have ever been outright banned from competitive play. This is because no one wants to watch 2 Wobbuffets waste their PP until someone can finally finish someone off with Struggle. It’s just not exciting.
It may seem like Togepi didn’t fully hatch, but we assure you that’s not the case. For whatever reason, Togepi’s shell is actually part of its body, making it this strange half-broken egg creature. But maybe that’s why it’s so cute. After all, Togepi’s design just makes it so fit for babying! All Togepi can do is waddle around with those nubby legs. It’s a total crybaby too, which just makes it the perfect Pokémon for mothering.
More to the point, Togepi was introduced in the anime fairly early on, before even the very first storyline in Kanto ended. This means for many people who stopped watching the Pokémon anime past the first generation, Togepi is perhaps the only Gen 2 Pokémon they’re intimately familiar with. Considering how much The Pokémon Company pushes the original games and anime, Togepi is in a very unique position for any generation past that. Togepi prepped people for the new games before most were even aware they were being worked on, and that accounts for a lot of Togepi’s popularity.
This legendary Phoenix lives at the top of Tin Tower, but will only show itself to someone if they approach with a Rainbow Wing. If you manage to summon it, watch out! This angry bird is scorching hot, housing one of the strongest Fire-type moves in the entire series in Sacred Fire; an attack once exclusive to Ho-oh until Entei received it as a special event distribution. Even with what’s considered to be an unfortunate typing combination in Fire and Flying, Ho-oh remains one of the strongest Pokémon in the competitive game.
You may not realize it, but Ho-oh was one of the first Gen 2 Pokémon you knew. In the very first episode of the Pokémon anime, Ash sees a strange Pokémon fly over the rainbow after the thunderstorm passes. This was before anyone even had any idea that there would be a sequel to the original Pokémon games, creating even more of a sense of mystery. This Pokémon turned out to be none other than Ho-oh, who ended up symbolizing the intrigue and wonder surrounding the franchise. Literally anything could be out there, even beyond the games.
Gen 2 proved Pokémon was not a simple one-hit wonder. It could sustain itself long after the mega success of the prior generation. Maybe it wasn’t as popular, but then, what series really could maintain such fervent fandom for so long? At the very least, Gen 2 provided us with plenty of new Pokémon that would gain popularity in their own right without nostalgia tinting fans’ views.
Did we miss any of your own favorites? Please, don’t hesitate to let us know! With 100 new Pokémon added in Gen 2, we’re sure we missed someone!