paul beating GARY!!! how....
someone not listed
paul beating GARY!!! how....
Get your game on!
Gotta say...Paul. As much as I don't like DP, he was one of the few things that kept me along for the ride. He has a cool rivalry, and it's VERY well done to show the sharp contrast between Ash and himself. I enjoyed the Ash v. Paul parts the most out of anything in DP. :D
Gary all the way!
I was split between my faves, Georgia/Burgundy (sig implies it), yet I could not choose, so I chose Harley for his jokes.
I got a scum result on that bush! LYNCH IT LYNCH IT LYNCH IT!
I choose Paul or Barry because Barry was the 1st funny rival and Paul brought the best battles.
Paul(the jerkass) and harley(the tricky, evil who basically hold grudge against someone even for the smallest thing).
#1: Gary was a jerk that was actually funny, and being Ash's childhood friend, he knew how to push his buttons!
#2: Harley is... Harley. What else needed to be said?
#3: Barry (later DP) was actually entertaining, even though his "I'M GONNA FINE YOU!" gag wore thin after a while.
#4: Langley had good interactions with Iris.
#5: Trip had the potential to be a great rival, but the writers just screwed him over.
#6: Drew is okay, but he's overrated to me.
#7: Burgundy wasn't much of a threat, she was just there so Cilan could be better than her.
#8: Nando was a guy who did both contests and gyms. He could have been good had they used him more, but they didn't.
#9: Paul was a strong trainer, but a stiff character.
#10: Barry (early DP) did nothing but kiss Paul's ass and annoy everybody.
#11: Bianca would have been way higher if she was like her game counterpart, but her anime self is just all of her worst traits exaggerated. Oh, and her pushing Ash into a fountain all the time was NOT funny.
#12: Zoey was bland and boring. She had interesting traits, but they were never fleshed out.
#13: Kenny was Dawn's childhood friend, and…that's pretty much it.
I found Stephan to be the most interesting rival. His personality that he displayed with Sawk every time they were together was fun to watch. They are so close to each other, that it really stood out. His dramatics about his name were interesting at times. I also liked how he had my two favorite Pokemon in Generation V, which helped to peak my interest in him as a character. He also had the best League battle against Ash, and it was great to see his move strategizing skills.
He helped Ash in a couple of episodes, and really was the nice and tough rival at the same time. Something I admire in rivals in general.
Most “interesting” rival, huh? In the risk of repeating what everyone else has likely said already, I’ll say Paul.
While Gary, Drew, Harley, Barry, Bianca, Burgundy, and Georgia are all entertaining characters in their own right, Paul challenged Ash on a level I’ve never seen any other character do before. Paul was kind of like the “Bizzaro” to Ash’s “Superman”, the two of them different right to the point where Paul actively called into question some of the fundamental things Ash had believed about Pokemon training since the beginning of the show. This element to Paul made him more than just the jerk who showed up every now and then to belittle and one-up the protagonist while gradually gaining some respect for them as the series goes on - and, entertaining as they could be, Gary and Drew were really nothing more than this.
And the show doesn’t take the easy way out with the character, either. It’s not as simple as “Ash in the right, Paul in the wrong” despite having seemingly set up everything to be that way in the beginning. While some of the rougher things about Paul do change over the course of the show (i.e. his releasing of Pokemon deemed “weak”, his disrespect of Ash), just as he learns to respect Ash and his training methods, Ash learns to respect and even acknowledge that Paul has qualities that he himself lacks (that line in the subtitled version of DP163 really stood out to me, but I don’t remember how the English dub played it). And I don’t think I even need to get into Chimchar, whose arc starting in DP150-DP152 really takes both Paul’s character and the Diamond & Pearl anime to the next level.
There were actual stakes when it came to this rivalry, a sense that this guy really got to Ash, and that Ash really got to Paul. It’s not as simple as the two of them needing to beat each other because one of them’s a jerk and that they naturally stand in each other’s way of winning the Sinnoh League. There was a lot of pride invested in that rivalry, which accounts for so much of the antagonism between the two and I really get the sense that the writers knew they struck gold with the character, his rivalry with Ash, and how Chimchar fit in. After all, there has to be a reason Gary got the standard two-episode conclusion to his rivalry with Ash, Trip got roughly an episode and a half, and Paul and Ash got three full episodes to resolve everything between them in (IMHO) the greatest Pokemon battle this show has ever seen, or likely will see again.
Gary wishes he could have done half that, and Trip? Please...
All that said, however, I think a special mention should go to Harley. Not only is the character awesome, but he deserves props for being a rival that’s out and out villainous. He cheats, and not only does he cheat, but he teams up with Team Rocket and endangers May’s friends. He’s hilariously petty, mean-spirited, and generally very animated.
I also thought it was pretty cool to have a recurring rival who wasn’t superior to the protagonist. Of all the times Harley and May battled, Harley has been seen winning a grand total of once. After all, Drew already filled the niche of being May’s biggest obstacle. Why did Harley have to do the same? I like Barry, Ursula, and Bianca for the same reason. I’ve seen complaints about the treatment of these characters, but when Ash already had Paul in DP and Trip in BW, and Dawn already had Zoey, as their benchmarks, why do those rivals need to do the exact same thing? Instead they have a role opposite to the likes of Drew or Paul, Trip, or Zoey... and that’s to make May, Ash, or Dawn actually look good.
Call me old school(though im of belief how new=/=necessarily better), but in terms of overall comedy, divergent and rich characterization asccompanied with raise of heated atmosphere someone presence brings i would say Gary and Harley were two most enjoyable rivals so far.
Harley was just plain malicious not hesitating in performing most scurvy tricks and sabotage to stop his opponent from achieving its aims. In this case poor May resorting to embarassment card playing on bad mermories from her childhood, straightforward lying in her face several times wanting to "start over new leaf" and become friends just to work behind her back playing on people naivety. And even going as far to collaborating with TR in order to prevent his opponent from entering competitions. He was mean, calculated and egoistic but in lovable, relaxing way making viewer actually being able to experience humor and enjoy in his highly vibrant, peculiar characterization. Despite being on negative, antagonistic side of spectrum.
I liked how he had collection of pokemon which perfectly reflected his dark side and weren't ones you would usually choose for contests where pokemon exterior and beauty can often play more importance in passing appeal round or outmatching opponent in battle field, rather than act of defeating someone itself through brute strength. With likes of Ariados, Cacturne or Bannete reflecting well his obscure, rather twisted side of character being person which you would try to avoid offending being capable of holding grudge and developing downright hatred for smallest, most meaningless reasons revealing characteristics of socipath(when showing to have actually photos of people he hates and performs personal vendeta against) which has no mercy or sympathy for anyone.
Such unique and highly creative rival i doubt we will ever get again being truly one of a kind.
Next is Gary. What to say, i always liked Gary. He maybe didn't had such well structured and plot based rivalry like Paul had, but he was entertaining, gave spirit to this show making it more intense and thrilling to follow. Not counting main characters like Misty, amongst rivals and most characters in general Gary truly managed to extract from Ash many of his top qualities like bratty and impulsive side in charming way of naive young boy leading to various spats and humor. But also in invoking his trainer qualities like devotedness, depth and unselfish, caring side in working with his pokemon in best way as he can serving as motivation, push through which he was influenced as trainer trying his best to catch up with those which portrayed themselves as "better" shining as trainer because of that.
His arrogance and tendency to diddle Ash added that much needed spark and extra push through which Ash could grow going beyond basic stage of growth. In attempt of proving him wrong and showing how he can do better than he is by choosing way of training by creating friendship with his pokemon treating them as partners. I liked how they shared past coming from Pallet slowly developing healthy, competitive adversary ever since early childhood days and how they came to respect each other with time with official rivalry ending in Johto league. Adding to realism and importance of competing fire existing between them.
Gary was definitely prodigy as far as his battle abilities go, he showed remarkable and higgly innovative level of strategy and quick thinking taking best use of his pokemon, resorting to smart planning ahead in sense of constantly rotating his pokemon team so that not just one or select few pokemon become fully developed and ready for combat but as many as possible. Thus giving him balanced, versatile and ready for every task and obstacle pokemon roaster to choose from.
He had fast learning curve being ahead most of not just peers, but tenagers and adults as well with his character development while being inconsistent and dispersed due to rare appearances having endearing and beliavable note to it.
Becoming more wise, nicer developing humble side of his and respect of others(especially Ash) strengthening value of their friendship which always existed but their pride and desire to surpass each other made them overlook it. With this continuing to later grow even more in DP adding extra dimension to friendship with his more respectful and mature approach mixed with slight arrogance and tendency to make fun of Ash trainer abilities in joking way strengthening their bond deepening admiration and respect living among them. As noted when working as team in saving kidnapped pokemon from Huntzer J liking how regardless of change career Gary didn't lost his baddas side knowing how to battle.
Making him in my opinion most developed rival(not in clash of battle styles or trainer aspect of someone, that title obviously would go to Paul) but in personality, character sense going through significant change for better imo and reflectiong what many of us in real life experience at some point clashing with doubt of whether path we follow is one which truly makes us happy and fulfilled as person. Which hapopened with Gary in Johto coming with terms how his journey as trainer is over and new chapter just began deciding to follow his grandfather Oak steps with new discoveries about pokemon spoecies, fossils and unique way of evolving they experience being career he finds himself in the most.
I only wish we see this great character comeback at some point again restiring on relationship he builded with Ash, revive some of spark and fierce fire smoldering between them and see his contribute to plot through his newly learned skills and knowledge as researcher(like maybe whole mystery behind mega upgrade).
Paul who had a great backstory and he had many pokemons and good strategies so his battles were interesting too.
I know all your secrets!
BECAUSE I AM THE SPYPITOAD!
Paul then Harley. I like how both are almost anti-hero like characters plus they both push their rivals to develop more.