The Pokémon franchise is one of the biggest names in the video game industry. The lovable monsters you can battle, capture, and train have achieved a level of fame on par with that of international celebrities. Each new entry in the franchise introduces new creatures, and today, there are over 1,000 Pokémon for fans to collect. With how many fans there are worldwide, every Pokémon, even the most obscure, is bound to be somebody’s favorite. But in the midst of this immense roster are some creatures that rise above the rest. Here are ten of the most iconic and beloved Pokémon that you can encounter today.
Mimikyu is the newest Pokémon on this list, debuting in Generation 7’s Pokémon Sun & Moon. Despite its young age, Mimikyu’s popularity has really taken off since its first appearance. The creature is a shy, lonely ghost type. It has dressed up as the more popular Pikachu in order to make friends. This sad and endearing backstory has earned it quite a few admirers. Its costume’s unique blend of creepy and cute also helps it stand out, even among the long line of Pikachu copycats like Dedenne which have appeared over the years. Everyone loves an underdog, and the sorrowful Mimikyu is one Pokémon who likely won’t be hurting for friends ever again.
Generation 1 introduced a great many Pokémon who are still beloved today, and Meowth is no exception. This normal-type Cat Pokémon is instantly recognizable by the lucky golden coin on its forehead. Unlike the other Pokémon on this list, Meowth’s biggest claim to fame isn’t actually from the games themselves. Most fans will instead recognize this Pokémon from the animated TV show. There, a unique Meowth with the power of speech serves as a henchman and teammate for Jessie and James, members of the villainous Team Rocket. Meowth plays an integral role in the group’s harebrained schemes and wacky disguises. The comic relief provided by this inept hench-cat has cemented the character’s place in the Hall of Fame. Meowths the world over have benefited from this celebrity status.
Lucario was first introduced in Generation 4. This fighting/steel Pokémon became an instant classic due to its impressive design. The creature’s humanoid stance, muscular physique, and battle-ready attitude earned it a lot of respect and admiration. This popularity has suited Lucario well over the years. When Generation 6 introduced the Mega Evolution mechanic, Lucario was one of the most prominent Pokémon to benefit. In-lore it’s been recorded as one of the first Pokémon to ever receive a Mega Evolution at all. The popularity of Lucario can even be observed outside of the main series Pokémon games. Nintendo’s beloved fighting game franchise Super Smash Bros. also features the creature as a playable fighter. It debuted in 2008’s Brawl and has been present in every Smash Bros. game since.
While Lucario became an icon for its fierce, battle-ready nature, Snorlax became famous for the opposite reason. This massive Normal-type Pokémon loves sleeping above all else. Its lazy attitude is apparent in many of its in-game interactions. In Pokémon Red & Blue, you can encounter a Snorlax sleeping peacefully in the middle of the road. This creature blocks your path until you find a way to wake it up and capture it. Its soft, huggable appearance has made it a particularly merchandisable Pokémon as well, and many Snorlax plushies can be purchased worldwide. Like Lucario, Snorlax also makes an appearance in the Super Smash Bros. series, but it’s more in line with the creature’s lazy attitude. When you summon Snorlax from a Pokéball, it simply falls down from the top of the screen, crushing any unlucky fighters who happen to be in its way.
The legendary Arceus changed everything when it debuted in Generation 4. This powerful being holds a particularly special place in Pokémon lore, serving as creator deity for the Pokémon world. This omnipotent being’s role in the Pokémon mythos is reinforced by its power over the Creation Trio, godlike legendary creatures that control time and space itself. While these beasts are iconic in their own right, Arceus towers above in all its deific glory. understandably, the literal god of the Pokémon world is an iconic figure in the franchise. It was famous enough to receive its own namesake title with 2022’s Pokémon Legends: Arceus, which sends you back to the ancient history of the Pokémon world and brings you face to face with the deity itself. This game was a landmark success for the franchise, further cementing Arceus’ significance.
Mew is the franchise’s very first Mythical Pokémon, a classification even more elusive than the Legendaries on the front of the box. In the beginning, the only way to capture Mythical Pokémon was to earn them from special promotions or real-life events. Some can be caught through normal gameplay today, but they remain extremely rare. Mew isn’t just rare, though, it’s a veritable urban legend. As you come to learn in Pokémon Red & Blue, Mew factors into the creation of man-made legendary Pokémon Mewtwo. The power of this imposing being had many fans wondering what Mew was like, but the elusive creature remained impossible to capture in the base game.
This scarcity led to rampant rumors and speculation. Since these games predated the internet, false rumors abounded. One of the most infamous rumors insisted that Mew could be found under a truck, and that carefully exploiting the game could help you capture it. Of course, the only real way to capture Mew was to attend an event and get the creature from an official Nintendo employee. Since then, however, Mew has had many appearances both in and out of the mainline Pokémon franchise, and its legend has only grown.
Of course, Mew’s legend wouldn’t have grown nearly as much if Mewtwo hadn’t become such an icon in its own right. The dark backstory of this sinister Psychic-type legend is explored in detail, both during the events of Pokémon Red & Blue and in the first-ever Pokémon movie. Its intimidating appearance and boundless Psychic power made it a fan favorite. The creature’s gradual realization that, in spite of its tortured upbringing, humanity still has value also touched the hearts of many players. The creature’s popularity has made it a mainstay of Pokémon canon, to the point that it has two distinct Mega Evolutions. Like Lucario, Mewtwo is also playable in the Super Smash Bros. series, where fans can wield its potent psychic abilities for themselves.
Charmander, Squirtle, and Bulbasaur, the Pokémon series’ very first starters, are all indisputable icons in their own right. These adorable creatures are with you from the very beginning of your Pokémon journey. They grow and evolve with you into mighty and imposing beasts. Any one of them would have been a good fit for this list, but when it comes down to picking just one, it’s hard to argue with Charizard.
Charmander’s final evolution is a mighty draconic beast that makes for an imposing presence on the battlefield. The simplicity of its design is a big part of what makes Charizard stand out. It’s been an indisputable fact since long before Pokémon began that dragons are cool, and Charizard takes full advantage of that, despite not being a Dragon type itself. The choice of best starter largely comes down to personal preference, but even after all these years, Charizard still stands out.
This fluffy and huggable Pokémon is one of the cutest creatures on the roster, and many fans need no more reason than that to adore it. Eevee has another special quality that helps it stand out, though.
Unlike most Pokémon, whose evolution follows a strict linear path, Eevee can evolve into one of eight different creatures depending on the circumstances. This broad versatility makes Eevee a huge priority for most trainers. It doesn’t hurt that the creature’s evolutions (or “Eeveelutions”) retain the charm of its original form, either. When the original Pokémon games were remade for Switch, Eevee’s popularity led to it being chosen as one of the mascots. Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee may not have been the most beloved Pokémon games ever released, but it did help cement Eevee’s popularity in the mainstream.
Pikachu is the undisputed champion of iconic Pokémon. This adorable electric-type is the series’ official mascot, as well as a figurehead character for the Nintendo company as a whole. Like Meowth, it owes some of its popularity to the anime. Protagonist Ash Ketchum’s steadfast Pikachu companion is arguably as much of a main character as he is. Outside of the TV show, though, Pikachu’s popularity is evident no matter which way you turn. The creature is playable in Super Smash Bros., and it even starred in a live-action film adaptation called Detective Pikachu, where the iconic beast was voiced by none other than Ryan Reynolds.
Like Eevee, Pikachu is one of the mascots of the recent Red & Blue remakes, starring as the title character of Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu. Like Ash Ketchum himself, this game allows you to recruit a Pikachu companion of your very own and travel the Pokémon world with the famous yellow rodent by your side. Pikachu is arguably synonymous with the Pokémon brand itself. As long as new games in the franchise are released, Pikachu is sure to keep standing proud in the spotlight.