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Character Examination: Dawn

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To start things off, I will examine a character who is, by far, my least favorite main character. However, I will try to be as unbiased as I can with this, but I will drop a few opinionated remarks from time to time. I'll also have be focusing on my own take on the character, suggesting some fanon to fill in some blanks, and see where that gets us. I'll consult Bulba's pages on the characters, but I'll try to put my own spin on things.Please tell me of any errors or concerns you may have.

Feel free to bring up any questions, concerns, or corrections. Also, I wrote this twice because it deleted itself. As such, a few details I had in the original daft probably aren't included, and some things might be repeated. But I'll try to remember everything. ^^'

Dawn, spotlight!

Dawn's look emphasizes her most obvious traits: it features a lot of pink and has a scarf, which shows off her girliness. Her skirt especially sets her apart from the other girls, since it shows that she's more feminine than the others (Misty and May had shorts, Iris had pants.) Perhaps her skirt is a little too risque for her.

Credit: @Human;

Honestly, I think lengthening her skirt would have been a good choice. Sure, it would have cost some money if it was a dub edit. And rarely do we ever see anything. But I think a Tori-esque lengthening would make it more appropriate. On a mostly unrelated note, Pokemon Learning League changed her look quite a bit.Her design isn't a big deal for me, really. I actually prefer her design to Iris, one of my favorite main females. Also her hat is a condom, which is pretty awesome.

As for why I have a whole section dedicated to her looks...

[4:37:46 PM] Ruben Galea: Talk about her skirt.

...Well why not? And I'm glad I did, too. Examining her design helped me focus on her character.

Character Overview
First off, let me say that I won't be using phrases like "Mary Sue "or "Deus ex Machina." These are things I'll specifically try to stay away from. Whether or not I view Dawn as a Mary Sue is irrelevant, since I'm trying to be unbiased when I examine her. And these terms have really been abused. But I'll probably get into that if and when I examine Iris and her story, since I feel these terms will come up.As for her growth, I'm going to have to reference the other girls here. Whereas Misty and May had notable changes in their behavior (Misty mellowing out over time after getting Togepi, and May learning to enjoy Pokemon, among other things), Dawn starts off as a bubble, happy-go-lucky person and stays like that through most of the show. Sure, she had her bumps, but for the most part her outlook stayed the same. Don't mistake this for her being a mostly static character. This really isn't helped by the fact that she doesn't really grow too much after DP124.

To contrast May, Dawn is a natural Coordinator: she grew up with Contests, her mother was a superstar Coordinator, and she started off her journey with the goal of being a Top Coordinator in mind. Whether that makes Dawn a better Coordinator is up for debate. She did beat May once, but that was just a battle. It didn't say who was a better Coordinator, just that she and Piplup were stronger in battle than Glaceon. But Dawn does use many complex routines in her Contest. (Which, imo, got tedious after a while.)

Character Interaction
One thing many people have noted, and I feel this is very common in all of DP, but Dawn wasn't really known for her interactions with others. Indeed, a lot of her strengths comes from her battling, skills as a Coordinator, and personality. If her interactions with people are actually remembered, it's mostly for how she got along with everyone. Or because of shipping fodder.










Character Development

Part of her backstory is how she got her nickname, Dee Dee (Short for 'Diamond Dandruff.' Her nickname is Pikari in the original Japanese, a combination of Pikapika (an onomatopoeia for sparkling) and her Japanese name, Hikari.) It comes from her being electrocuted by Plusle and Minun when she was a kid, causing her hair to sparkle. Her friends taunt her, and Dawn feels bad. To add some fanon into this, I think this is what made Dawn so obsessive over her appearance. In the episode she got Pachirisu, she spends quite a bit of time redoing her hair after Pachirisu electrocutes her. Many, many times. When you consider her past history when people laughed at her, coupled with her occupation as a Coordinator, it makes me think that she tries to clean herself up to keep people from making fun of her. As I'll get into later, Dawn seems to be a bit of a people pleaser.

I'm going to assume that most people reading this are anime fans, thus familiar with Dawn's character mini-arc, where she suffers a string of Contest losses and loses all confidence in her abilities. She gets over when she defeats May in the final round of the Wallace Cup. She went from being at her peak, to her hitting rock bottom, to her struggling and getting back to her old self, if not better. But was this arc really necessary? I'll cover that in the next section.

Have Their Character Changes Been Good?
Had Dawn's growth as a trainer been good? Of course. It's easy to write a trainer who's just starting off: you start with a clean slate, have them learn the basics, and take off from there. It's a formula already done with Ash and May before; now they have more room to work with because Dawn's backstory, personality and goals were quickly established. And yes, she grew believably as a trainer.

Was the aforementioned spirit-breaking arc necessary? Yes and no. Yes, because not only was it nice padding that entertained the audience (especially me, since I hated Dawn and wanted to see her suffer), it also showed that Dawn wasn't just some bland, happy person all the time. We learned that she had deep insecurities and fears. I know many people who were sick of Dawn just being so confident all the time, as it came off as shallow. No, because it didn't really affect her in the long run. Sure, she never moped about her losses after it, but she never really did before. If you took the arc out of her story, you wouldn't miss anything. In the end, she remained mostly the same, so it wasn't anything too important. This is my main problem with Dawn: she changes, but she also stays the same.


Dawn's team has been somewhat controversial, arguably only being less of a hot topic than Ash's and Iris's teams. She had a Pokemon with an interesting personality (Pachirisu), a Pokemon who liked Contests but preferred to destroy the competition (Mamoswine), a whored out, bratty mascot who was in love with her (Piplup), and Quilava. I'll examine three of her Pokemon.

Buneary is probably the most like Dawn: she set herself apart from the others (with her crush on Pikachu) and had skills that would be great for Contests (Ice Beam and the fact that she wore this ugly vest all the time.) And like Dawn, she mostly remained the same throughout her journey. She never learned nor forgeot any moves since her debut, much like Dawn didn't really change in the end. She remained the same Pokemon throughout.

Togekiss, as we all know, was obtained when Princess Saliva Salvia gave the Pokemon to her. Dawn spent the episode pretending to be a princess while Salvia pretended to be Dawn and participated in a Contest. The fact that Dawn was given a strong Pokemon just before the Grand Festival rubbed people the wrong way. And indeed, Togekiss didn't really seem to belong at some points. Whereas Iris worked to help and interacted with her Dragonite before catching it, Dawn just got Togekiss. Now I'll draw comparisons between Dragonite and Togekiss in the Iris examination, so I'll stop there.

I was just starting to get over my hate of Dawn when something happened: Ash traded Aipom to her. I was livid: I really liked Aipom, and to see Ash give it to HER?! And on top of that, she evolved it! I really wanted Ash to evolve it for some reason. But don't worry, Ambipom was written out! She suddenly gained a new life passion: ping pong. Despite only playing it a couple of times, and only having it alluded to in a last-minute Contest battle, Ambipom eventually leaves to become a ping pong star. In a way, this completely goes against Dawn. Whereas Dawn remained the same, Ambipom went through wild, fast changes.

Is This Character Memorable?

This is a tough one for me, because I mostly found her bland. But looking at the anime forum, it's pretty clear she made a big impact: she was a skilled Coordinator and battler. May set the trail for Coordinators, but Dawn nearly perfected it. Her matches were memorable (well, not to me) and she was very, very close to reaching her goal, moreso than any of the past girls. And I will always remember her as that boring girl I hated. I can honestly say that Dawn is a memorable character.

How They Rank
Now, how does she rank next to the other characters I've reviewed? Considering she's the first I've reviewed, she's at the top of the list. I can assure you that this won't last long, assuming I do another character examination.

Are They a Good Character?
Dawn may not exactly be incredibly deep, but she is a subtle character. As I mentioned, she remained mostly static. But she is memorable, we did see growth in her, she had an interesting team, and she has a lot of facets to be explored in fanon. So I very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very begrudgingly admit that she is a good character. But I still dislike her.

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Updated 30th August 2012 at 12:01 PM by Karamazov

Character Examinations


  1. Froakie's Avatar
    I've not really bothered to catch up or involve myself in anime stuff anymore but

    They were in the same group!
    Has always bugged me. It shows people didn't pay attention close enough because there actually was many things between them you could have mentioned, but didn't, because of course "dp group chemistry sucked!!"

    Anyway, good review, even if I liked Dawn.
  2. Karamazov's Avatar
    @Croag; Actually, I wrote that as a joke. In the original, undeleted draft, I added much about the episode where Pachirisu got sick, and how the episode Mamoswine learned to obey Dawn was influenced by Brock and what he taught Dawn. I'm sorry, I forgot to re-add that part.
  3. Tsutarja's Avatar
    This was a good article, looking forward to more! :D
  4. Fennel's Avatar
    I'm a Dawn fan and I still found this informative (horrible word, I know, I couldn't think of anything else) and fun to read. Pretty detailed. Nice stuff.
  5. HumanDawn's Avatar
    The main problem I have with Dawn is that I've seen her before. Going into some meaningless depression was also way too predictable like the entirety of the DP saga. Her character suffered from lacking anything unique to set her apart from the many other anime girls who had the same girly interests. The backstory with her hair being messed up felt shallow, and the resolution to her humility issues(and tbh, every one of her plots) was crappily handled and "resolved". Dawn also became an evil bitch in her episode where Mamoswine obeyed:

    Thank you, TvTropes: Pokémon Anime - Television Tropes & Idioms

    I don't want a debate or some lengthy counter

    Btw, here's the Skype convo I had with Karamazov:

    Updated 28th August 2012 at 02:43 AM by HumanDawn
  6. Chiplet's Avatar
    This was a really good article!

    I could relate to so much of your own personal thoughts, and it was really interesting to read. I'm really looking forward to read your examinations of Cilan and Iris!
  7. The Fighting Misty's Avatar
    Good article. Admittedly I really did like Dawn a lot for about the first 50 or so DP episodes, but my interest gradually declined as DP progressed. I think it was because I was still a big fan of the Contests in the anime at the time, so I thought I would enjoy Dawn's arc like I did with May's. While I can still say I liked most of the DP contests, my interest in Dawn's personality fizzled over time. And honestly I never liked any of her rivals besides Ursula.

    She was an alright character for me, but I definitely wasn't as big a fan as say...Hellion. Still I understand what people really liked about her and can see their point of view. :)
  8. Bluelatios's Avatar
    I'm not really a Dawn fan either, certainly not a DP fan for that matter, but its good to see an honest opinion of her. I never really had a problem with Togekiss, even though its a 2nd evolution it never seemed THAT powerful. I agree with everything on Ambipom, it's goodbye was completely random and uncalled for. It showed so much love for contests and then randomly decides to pong!?
  9. Trainer Yusuf's Avatar
    Even though Dawn is still my favourite character, and I disagree a lot of this post, I found this to be incredibly honest, geniunely funny, and very well written. I won't obviously go a massive counter-rant against this, especially since I am planning to make a huge rant about her myself, after I rewatch the entire, or at least most of the DP. And especially since this is considerably short and undetailed, though I of course know why.


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