The Pokémon series began its worldwide multimedia domination in 1996 in Japan before expanding to other parts of the world. The first generation of the Pokémon games featured Red & Green in Japan and Red & Blue in the rest of the world.
With 151 Pokémon in total in the first generation, only a single other generation would ever match and overcome that number. With the second-largest group of Pokémon of all time and also being the first, many consider these to be the best Pokémon ever created.
But which among these iconic Pokémon are the very best? Keeping in mind design, typing, nostalgia factor, popularity, and more, these are the top 25 Generation 1 Pokémon. Note that, for the most part, only a single Pokémon will represent each evolutionary line.
Starting this list, there is Pokémon #127, Pinsir. Bug types have never been a fan favorite typing in the series, but Pinsir ensured it started strong in Generation 1. As a beetle Pokémon, Pinsir has a distinct design that almost looks like a weapon with its sharp horns.
It deserves a spot on this list because it is memorable in its menacing bug design and crazy attacks back in Generation 1, like Guillotine.
#113 on the Pokédex in Generation 1 is none other than Chansey. There is something adorable about this simple design of a round and plump pink little Pocket Monster. With an egg in the middle of its tummy, it has an instant motherly appearance, which fits its role in the Pokémon anime as the helper at Pokémon Centers.
The Ground-type Cubone is one of the most mysterious Pokémon, even this many generations later. A strange, almost Kangaskhan-like body with its mother's skull on its head makes for a haunting but unforgettable design and backstory.
While fans may never know the truth about Cubone, they won’t forget that it’s officially known as the “lonely Pokémon.”
The first of several starter Pokémon from this generation is Bulbasaur, the cutesy seed dinosaur Grass, and Poison-type Pokémon. It is also notably the very first Pokémon in the Pokédex, an honor that isn’t for nothing. It is also the best-designed and most iconic of its evolutionary starter line.
Normal types were plentiful during Generation 1, and one of the most impressive design-wise was Tauros. The raging bull Pokémon was also a fan favorite due to its inclusion on Ash’s team in the Pokémon anime. But the real draw here is the bump Tauros got in Generation 9 with its new Paldean regional forms.
The clear better choice of the two fossil Pokémon you could pick in the Gen 1 games, Kabutops was an intriguing Rock and Water-type. While the typing itself isn’t the most competitively viable, there’s something to be said about the fierce design of Kabutops. If you wanted a fearsome team, this was a must-have.
The final evolution in the only Ghost-type line that existed in Generation 1, Gengar was the sole king of the shadows in the original games. It owned it, too, with a twisted design of a creepy ghost with a wicked smile that stares deep into your soul. Gengar is still one of the best Ghost Pokémon, even in the modern series.
Though it didn’t evolve like its fellow fossil Pokémon in Generation 1, Aerodactyl didn’t need to with its brilliant design based on the real-life and similarly named pterodactyl. The Rock/Flying type combination might be awful today, but Aerodactyl was a powerhouse in the original games.
Instantly recognizable and also one of the most disturbing Pokémon of all time, Lickitung showed a glimpse of how ridiculous the series could and would be. Lickitung was simply a pink blob monster with a massive, infinitely long tongue. Meme-worthy before memes were a thing; this Normal-type Pokémon is still the butt (tongue?) of jokes many years later.
In the same vein as the last entry, Snorlax is yet another goofy Normal-type Pokémon. The difference this time is that it has even more staying power in the series for its iconic part in both the games and the anime. In the games, the infinitely drowsy Snorlax played a literal obstacle in the player’s journey while it was a precious partner for Ash in the anime.
Speaking of Ash’s partner Pokémon, Butterfree deserves mention next for its unforgettable role in the anime. As the first Pokémon Ash ever released, fans of the anime still tear up over the bittersweet goodbye.
If that wasn’t enough, it was also the far better counterpart to the Beedrill line, which Game Freak has acknowledged with unique Gigantamax forms and more for Butterfree.
The final Bug type on this list, Scyther, showed that Pinsir wasn’t the only menacing critter in the Gen 1 Pokédex. With its more flexible Bug and Flying type, it had more utility in battle while also having a terrific design with its scythe-like claws. This is all before its improvements in later generations, with its two evolutions in Generations 2 and 8, respectively.
Meowth is still, to this day, the only Pokémon to get not one but two regional forms in the games. But it all started in Generation 1, where the Normal-type Pokémon gave us this funky but adorable little cat. Where Meowth stole fans’ hearts was in the anime as a constant nuisance for Ash and friends to deal with as part of Team Rocket.
Though the Ice type was minimally used in Generation 1, Lapras showed its potential in a single-stage Pokémon that was gloriously designed. Even ignoring Lapras’ part in Ash’s team in the anime, it looked like the beautiful Loch Ness monster the world will never get with its angelic imagery.
In battle, Ditto has almost no use in the slightest. However, the use for Ditto comes in the form of breeding. Though breeding isn’t as common these days, Ditto still plays a massive role there. Being a blank slate, you can pair almost any non-legendary Pokémon with Ditto, and you’ll get the partner every time.
Though Generation 1 had a plethora of Fire types for you to choose from, one of the very best was Ninetales and even its pre-evolution, Vulpix. There is no Pokémon more majestic in the first generation than Ninetales, with its long-flowing titular nine tails and Japanese legend-inspired backstory. It was only enhanced in Generation 7 with the superior Alolan form.
Generation 1 might have had some of the most Pokémon in a generation, but it was pretty reserved on the legendary front. Of the five legendary Pokémon, Articuno is one of the best and, indeed, the jewel of the bird trio. The gloriously elegant design showcased its icy fury in complete form. It only helps that it received an equally brilliant Galarian form in Generation 8.
The Pokémon that should have been a Dragon type but never was outside of its welcome Mega form, Gyarados, is the story of hard work paying off. It starts as the ugly and forgettable Magikarp but turns into the strong and loyal Gyarados if you spend enough time with it. Gyarados was a trusty member of many Trainers’ teams back in the day.
The Water starter for Generation 1 was a reminder of how just amazing the starters were at the beginning. Though all three of the Pokémon in its evolutionary line are fantastic, Squirtle remains the strongest. Sure, it has a classic cute turtle look, but it hints at the immense power that awaits.
The first and only Mythical Pokémon in Generation 1, Mew was the stuff of legends. You couldn’t even obtain Mew legally in the games, though rumors certainly pervaded the early internet nonetheless. The small flying pink plushie in the making packs a punch as the only Pokémon capable of learning almost every single move.
Mewtwo might have been the failed recreation of Mew, but the Psychic type legendary is no slouch itself. In fact, Mewtwo has a stronger resonance with the series of its somewhat unnerving appearance and immense power. It cemented itself as one of the best Pokémon of all time with its inclusion as the main talking villain in the first anime film.
When it comes to the single Dragon-type line in Generation 1, there is much debate over the three, but Dragonair is arguably the best of the bunch. Though Dragonite gains the Flying type, it loses all of the beauty and charm that Dratini, and especially Dragonair, has. There still isn’t a stunning Dragon Pokémon like Dragonair in the series to date.
In the same category of the dragons that never were, Charizard is the most memorable of the original starter trio from the Kanto region. The Fire/Flying lizard Pokémon has a terrifying but immensely cool design that is so iconic.
Understandably so, The Pokémon Company shows a little bit too much favoritism to Charizard over the others, including it in games that the others aren’t in and even giving it not one but two Mega Evolution forms.
In its own way, a starter after the Let’s Go games on Switch, Eevee is the secondary mascot of the series. The brilliant idea of showing off branched evolution in Generation 1 was Eevee’s job, but it still remained better-looking and more interesting than its three evolutions.
Since Gen 1, it’s gained a whopping five more evolutions, and fans are still clamoring to see more from the cuddly little Pokémon. It is the only Pokémon on this list that even comes close to matching the number one spot.
Unsurprisingly, there is no topping the greatest Pokémon of all time, Pikachu. The Pokémon Company struck diamonds with this Electric-type starter Pokémon, turning a little mouse with a lightning bolt tail into a billion-dollar money maker.
Pikachu isn’t just Ash Ketchum’s trusty partner in the anime but the face of the entire franchise across every medium. It outshines the other Pokémon in its evolutionary line and even has haters in the form of Pokémon like Mimikyu. That’s all before even noting how strong the Pokémon itself is, being a worthy addition to any Gen 1 team.
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.