Within the Pokemon community, it’s a mutual agreement that the Gen 6 Pokemon games are disappointingly forgettable, but for some reason the character designs in that generation are insanely well made.
Being the first ever mainline set of games to be in 3D, Generation 6 introduced some pretty cool in game mechanics like the improved online feature, and of course the fan favourite Mega Evolution.
List of Generation 6 Games
I wanna be the very best, at character design
It’s strange that people tend to associate Generation 6 as an overall “Bad Generation” but skip out on the Character Design that both Pokemon X/Y and Pokemon ORAS have in their games.
Instead of spending the entire week gushing about all the cool and interesting designs that Gen 6 Pokemon have to offer, I’ll be hand picking a few character designs that I especially enjoy the most.
In my opinion, one of the hardest designs in Gen 6 goes to their Elite Four members. While their names may be forgotten, their designs definitely don’t.
First of four, Malva the fire type specialist, her overall character design is really hot and that’s not because she only has fire type Pokemon.
Having those diamond shaped leggings that she has going on, along with the turtleneck-esque sleeveless hoodie is just such an interesting combination of clothing.
And the final touch to this god-tier design is those shaded sunglasses she has, as she can hide her tears from being shafted of having only 4 Pokemon on her team, and one of them is a torkoal. No hate for torkoal though.
I believe Malva is the least forgetful of the Elite 4 members in terms of her presence in the game. Aside from being a radio talk show host, Malva was also openly a member of Team Flare.
The gall of Game Freak for giving the Steel-type Elite four member a literal suit of metal armour. I absolutely love it. It’s such a simple design, yet fits perfectly for Wikstrom since his ace Pokemon on his team is Aegislash.
Not to mention, it’s interesting to note that his absurd hairstyle also resembles how Aegislash rests its hands while in Shield Form and the star shape in the middle of his hair might be related to the design on Aegislash’s shield.
Step aside Daenerys, there’s a new mother of dragons in town and she goes by the name Drasna. Can we have a moment to appreciate how metal her design is?
Having literal dragon fangs on both her necklace and armbands while being a dragon-type specialist is a statement by itself. I love to imagine that she’s not afraid to break the fangs off her own Pokemon and use it as a fashion accessory.
Her tribal-like appearance might also be a reference to how her grandparents hail from Sinnoh’s Celestic Town, a place that is known to preserve the history of Sinnoh and the old ways of life.
As a fellow dragon-type user, Drasna’s design is pretty unique if you were to compare it to other notable dragon-type users such as Clair and Lance and their similarities of having a sports-like jersey outfit and capes.
Elegant and flamboyant are two words that I would describe the water-type Elite Four member. Siebold has this certain charm to his design that I can’t quite pinpoint. It might be because of how his hair is styled in a way that resembles the waves in an ocean or his ridiculous collar that looks like the tip of a coral.
In my opinion, Siebold has an extremely underrated design as I believe his character design as a Water-type user is pretty top tier, even rivalling other more well known Water-type users such as Wallace and Juan from Pokemon Emerald.
The way his outfit is designed gives off such a unique flair which reminds me a lot of Kill La Kill’s Inumata Hoka vibes in terms of outfit designs.
Diantha has a pretty top tier design going on for her. But I guess it’s kind of expected since she is a movie star anyways, I am also extremely biased to characters wearing coats.
Game Freak has a tendency to have the trainer’s design have some elements of similarity to their ace Pokemon. For example, Alder from Pokemon B/W with his ace Volcarona, Pokemon X/Y with Lysandre and his ace Pokemon Pyroar.
With that being said, Diantha also has similar design aspects to her ace Pokemon – Mega Gardevoir. Diatha’s flow-y parts of her coat closely resembles how Gardevoir’s mega form looks with its poofy dress design. And not to mention the similar colour schemes that both trainer and pokemon share with white being the dominant colour.
I also loved how Game Freak paid tribute to the late actress – Audrey Hepburn by having Diantha have Audrey’s hairstyle and eyelashes as well as Diantha being a famous movie star in the game. (Source: Pokemon Fandom Wiki)
Starting off with the Pokemon ORAS remake territory, I think the Pokemon community unanimously agrees that the character designs go hard too, especially Team Magma Admin Courtney’s redesign. Back in the original games of R/S/E, Courtney’s design was nothing to write home about, she shared a very similar design to the normal female Team Magma grunts which made her design unmemorable.
Her ORAS design on the other hand makes for a more memorable character design, only to be enhanced in the animated short-story spin offs – Pokemon Generations, where we were greeted with Courtney going full on yandere mode where she faced off against Brendan.
Giving Courtney a whole new hair colour makes her stand out more in comparison to other Team Magma members and her whole overall outfit design also gives her a lot more flair. Her unnecessarily complex jacket design also makes her feel more of an authoritative figure and worthy of the Team Magma Admin title.
Game Freak finally did justice to Archie’s character design in Pokemon ORAS. Archie’s redesign actually makes him look like a terrifying Pirate Captain rather than some dude with a bandana.
They also made him extremely jacked out (in terms of Pokemon standards) than he is in his original design, which was entirely unnecessary to do but they goddamned did it anyways and I will be forever grateful for the decision behind it.
Archie’s overall jagged designs from his sharp facial features to his cape of his outfit, along with the “x mark” on his forehead perfectly synergises with his ace Pokemon being Mega Sharpedo.
One thing that I am grateful to the design team that came up with Archie’s redesign is that they kept from Archie’s original design and how they kept the V-neck collar that shows off a bit of his chest area. Paired that along with his new built body in the redesign, it makes it infinitely better.
Why I think Gen 6 is forgettable
Character designs aside, the plot for the gen 6 of Pokemon games however, is infamously known for being lackluster. (Yes, even ORAS with its Delta Episode).
The overall story isn’t the only part that tends to be forgotten: the characters that we were introduced to tend to be very unmemorable. One instance being that, we have 4 different “Rivals” in Pokemon X & Y.
We had Calem/ Serena depending on which gender the player picks, who I stand by to be the actual Rival of the games where their strive and goal is to be an overall better trainer.
We had Shauna who was there just to follow around the main character. Trevor, who doesn’t have much going on for him other than wanting to be the first in the group to complete the Pokedex.
Tierno had some bit of personality going on with his love for dancing, and it shows even with his Pokemon team with them having a dance-type move such as Teeter Dance and Swords Dance.
Another example of a forgetful character is the region’s very own Champion – Diantha. One of the main contributing factors to why Diantha is such a forgetful character is her lack of appearance in the main story.
The first time that we got to meet Diantha in Pokemon X & Y was in Cafe Soleil in Lumiose City, she introduced herself as a famous movie star instead of being the Champion.
I think they wanted to set up Diantha just like how they did with Cynthia back in D/P/Pt as a twist reveal champion character, but wasn’t as involved with the overall plot of Pokemon X & Y as how Cynthia was in Pokemon Platinum where she was there throughout the incident with Giratina in the Distortion World.
I really wished Game Freak paid more attention to the overall plot, especially for Gen 6. It would’ve been an amazing generation of Pokemon games if the same amount of care went into the story as they did for the character designs.