Part 43: Omni's Asides - RedPokemon Special Differences: Red
Red. Where do I even BEGIN with Red? Lets try from the beginning.
Red is a trainer from Palette Town, and by the standard of his little podunk community he's pretty great, and he thinks of himself as the top shit. He's not stupid, but he's very arrogant and full of himself, after all, he's never suffered a defeated in his small bubble and didn't think there was anything he HAD to learn to remain the 'best'. This all changed, when he met Green and when he met Mew.
That was when Red learned that if he ever wanted to improve, he had to leave Palette, and he had to eat a big helping of humble pie. Oak entrusted him with the second Pokedex, and instructed him to go out into the world and learn, but not before leaving him with Bulbasaur. See Red does have a redeeming trait, the fact is that for all his showboating and grandstanding, he has an caring heart. And emphasizes deeply with Pokemon even if he's just met them or they've been used in experiments.
He is the Jonathan Joestar of PokePoke's Bizarre Adventure, but a bit more of a brat at the beginning. He's got a heart large enough to accept anyone and everything, from strangers to his foes. He's a little boring when you compare him to Gold or Ruby or Diamond or really the other protagonists, but Red really is still very much a favorite for his heart and his arc. Starting off a brat with more guts than actual skill, and eventually taking the best traits of his rival to become the best trainer he can be. Even Giovanni recognizes him as someone he wants to stand at his side, specifically for all of his positive traits.
And while Red was the first protagonist, and his arc is rather small (only 40 chapters) compared to the stories of his compatriots (even Yellow's story is longer) His actions have such far reaching consequences and he's just so charming of a protagonist that going back to his adventures is never a chore. Red became the youngest champion of the Pokemon League, which would directly inspire and drive Sapphires motivations, he is always held to a standard, and the people he meets and forms connections with find themselves changed. Sabrina describes his presence as being intoxicating and charismatic, a lot like Giovanni, he naturally draws people to his side and it never happens in a way that feels off or sueish. Red acts a lot how I consider a well written Paladin, he's not the person who's going to give out a length sermon about why being a good guy is the right thing to do. He lives it, he fights and will even die by his morals.
It also helps that he's not a complete idiot.
Giovanni is the first to bring it up, but many times over the course of the series is it said that a trainer who simply commands pokemon is a bad trainer, the mark of a good trainer is someone who not just orders their pokemon to fight, but fights with them. And none of the trainers who bring forth this philosophy sit back in their battles, they are taking the attacks right along with their Pokemon.
Speaking of which, this would probably explain why Red has his Pokedex title, the Battler. See, Red is best trainer in the entire manga when it comes to fighting, and it isn't unearned. It's not that he simply fights like everyone else and they all sing his praise, he's legitimately cunning and strategic, and is never overwhelmed by his foes. It's an earned title, even from the beginning Red showed a lot of intuition for battle, he just never had the smarts to back it up, but it was Green and Giovanni who taught him to be an intelligent trainer who considers all the options and angles.
Of course that doesn't mean shit when you get ganged up on.
And that's what happens in his battle against Bruno, he is surrounded by Agatha and Lorelei, crushed, and then frozen alive when he refuses to join them. Pika escaped to be found by Yellow, and Red would only return after being freed by Giovanni (Who can't seem to decide if he's a good guy or a bad guy these days) to have a proper showdown with Bruno. The attack of Lorelei's ice however left him a cripple, his limbs going limp at any sensation and immense pain flooding his body, despite that he pushed himself to become the Viridian Gym Leader to fulfill his promise to Yellow... However Green arrives, informing him of the springs of Mt. Silver that would be able to heal him, trading him Charizard for Gyadados to give Red a way to access the mountain, as he healed, he met Sabrina once more, she instructed him that the springs higher up on the mountain would heal him faster, and urged him to hurry, as they would need him once more for the battle against the Mask of Ice.
Red does make it back, teaming up with Green and Blue once more atop the Legendary Birds (Red Teaming with Articuno who he'd previously connected with on the Seafoam Islands) and helping to take down Ho-Oh and Lugia, afterwards, healed up you think he'd be primed to take his Gym Leader spot right? Well... then Blue drops that he should settle the whole "Misty/Yellow" love triangle thing by just getting a house with all of them and Gold bails him out. After all, he needs to learn how to be stronger, and Red can teach him.
If you think that ending is a really cool call back to how GSC starts and and an appropriate ending you have no idea it would be used to introduce the manga's worst character... Red appears of course, in the FRLG arc, having returned to Palette town along side Green, and encountering a very familiar scene, the arc deals with Red coming to doubt his own strength after 6 years, believing that he's relied on the Pokedex so hard that he's lost his strength, It also introduces us to Deoxys and the bond that Red shares with him.
And of course, it leads to probably the most amazing showdown in the series. Mewtwo vs Deoxys. So first things first Giovanni transforms his airship into a mid-air stadium because he's not going to fight the greatest trainer he's ever faced without making it appropriately amazing. Seriously there's not much to say, I'm just going to post some pages from it, and leave you to track down and read it, it's worth reading.
Red learns that it is he himself who gives Deoxys form, as when Giovanni was trying to turn the space DNA into a Pokemon itself, he decided that it would be poetic or something to make it out of Red. What can I say Giovanni's big on messing around with nature and playing God. It is after this hard fought battle that Red finds himself turned to stone by Sird, only to be revived during the Emerald Arc by Jirachi's wish. And from there, he's been brought up in flashbacks in the HGSS arc and has appeared (Out of fucking nowhere) with Blue during the ORAS arc.
Ultimately Red is a charming, lovable rascal who becomes the embodiment of heroics and friendship, he's what Ash should be, the hero became champion and is still one of the very best, but he doesn't take the spotlight from the others. His heroics inspired Sapphire, Diamond, and set the bar by which all other protagonists would be measured. And the fact that almost all of them come to his level or surpass them says more about the great writing of the series than it does about Red. But like Jonathan Joestar compared to the more bizarre, colorful protagonists who come after him, he can be a bit boring, especially as an older man.
Now then, lets run down his team
Venusaur - Red's Starter, which is seen as the 'Easy Mode' pick for RGB, but it's also very nice because damn it the big flower dinosaur never really gets the respect he deserves. Also Red uses him really interestingly, and he fits into the core trio of Saur/Poli/Pika as being the Technician.
Poliwrath - Red's FIRST pokemon, his most loyal and unfortunately his biggest Jobber. Red almost always goes to Poliwrath and almost always winds up getting the poor frog knocked out, but still, I like it, and Red's usage of him is what lead to my own usage of him. in the core trio, he's the Power, even if he is getting his ass kicked all the time.Red relies on him for muscle.
Pikachu - Red's Pikachu is still his very close buddy, even if he isn't fucking the electric rat like Ash is. Pikachu remains a mischievous little brat and doesn't hog the spotlight of Red's team, he wont be the go-to option and he doesn't solve everything. But you also don't feel like he's only around because Red HAS to have a Pikachu. He forms the Speed of the core trio, and while he's won some bullshit fights that came from the early game playing fast and loose with typing, he's much more grounded now that types are hard adhered to.
Snorlax - I love Snorlax as a pokemon, and Red's is just as cool and awesome, captured on the Cycling road, Lax fits Red's team whenever he needs to absolutely smack a motherfuckers face in. He feels like the big guns, a support pokemon outside the core trio but when he comes out watch out. And hell even with his limited moveset, Red finds unique uses for him.
Gyarados - Red met this Gyarados early on, and it originally belonged to Misty, who wound up trading it for his Krabby once the HM for Surf was destroyed by Dragonite. Gyara is one of the first Pokemon to show Red's caring nature as his pokemon fear it but Red himself will never abandon or throw him away even when he's rampaging from remembering the torture he underwent beneath Team Rocket. Gyara is more of a Utilitymon or, expectedly a "Fuck you Hyper Beam" button when Red wants something gone.
Aerodactyl - Created to battle Moltres and a gift from Giovanni (Man Gio is all about giving Red the tools he needs to beat him) Aero is probably the least developed of Red's pokemon, but it doesn't matter because as a flyer, he gets a tonne of screen time, and he's still used plenty in battle. He used to also be a Hyper Beam machine until he was given the Rock Head ability, now he's a suicide rock-bird.
Like with Blue, there's a lot I could continue to ramble on about and for the sake of time (and giving you a reason to read the manga yourselves) I'm cutting it here. Please go read the manga, even from the beginning, it's worth it and incredibly enjoyable. So, we've met the original Trio, seen them as a group of children, growing into mature adults to ultimate self-sacrifice, becoming legends in their own world who support their allies in the background, while letting the new cast take the stage.
Speaking of which. Next time, we go over another of my favorite protagonists. Yellow. See you all for what's probably going to be my final update for this LP, and I hope Cross isn't kidding about doing ORAS, mostly because that lets me gush about the Ruby and Sapphire arc.