The best times the abilities were used in the Pokemon Anime

The best times the abilities were used in the Pokemon Anime

When you watch a Pokémon anime battle, the first thing you notice is the moves. It makes sense, of course, as moves are how a Pokemon deals damage, and how a battle ebbs and flows.

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On the other hand, an aspect of fighting that is extremely important in the games, but that the anime’s writers slept on, is abilities. It also makes sense, though. Some abilities just don’t translate into anything tangible in anime. Let’s face it: how would you animate No Guard? There are some who manage to sneak into the anime. In particular, the thirteen abilities listed below have been identifiably used in key moments of the Pokémon anime.


13/13 Color Change: Harrison’s Kecleon

This instance occurred during the Johto League, and was the very first time an ability was shown in anime. The ability to gain that honor was Color Change, used by Harrison’s Kecleon. Although instead of working like it does in the games (changing Kecleon’s type to the enemy’s move), the ability made Kecleon literally blend into the environment like a chameleon.

Ash had some trouble fighting Kecleon, Harrison’s lead for the quarterfinal match. Kecleon took advantage of its ability to hide in tall grass and perform stealth attacks, until Pikachu finally caught its tongue and knocked it out with a Thunderbolt.

13/12 Rock Head: Paul’s Aggron

Ash and Paul’s battle at the Lily of the Valley convention has a lot of fodder for those looking for ability usage in anime, which you’ll see later. The earliest instance was with Paul’s lead in that battle, Aggron.

Paul’s moveset is thoughtfully curated, and Aggron was no exception—a Pokémon with Rock Head as an ability was taught Double-Edge to deal maxed, no knockback damage. It was seen when Paul let Aggron use it and collide with Infernape’s Flare Blitz; while Infernape suffered from recoil damage, Aggron was unaffected.

13/11 Speed ​​Boost: Jessie’s Yanmega / Paul’s Ninjask

Speed ​​Boost is one of the more popular abilities out there, and it also happens to have solid representation in the anime.

The first instance of its use was on Jessie’s Yanmega. Contesting as Jessilina, Jessie took out Yanmega for the Appeals round, advancing to the last eight with an appeal that used Silver Wind along with Speed ​​Boost.

Speed ​​Boost was also used by another of Paul’s Pokémon, Ninjask. In that league match against Ash, Ninjask used Speed ​​Boost to dodge a series of attacks and repeatedly hit Ash’s Gliscor with Fury Cutter. After taking a Flare Blitz from Infernape, Ninjask’s speed dropped noticeably, allowing Infernape to knock it out with a deftly timed Mach Punch.

13/10 Snow jacket: Pauls Froslass

Right after Paul’s Ninjask came his Froslass and he wasted no time in using her abilities. Froslass had the Snow Cloak, the elusive tendency that more or less translated nicely from the games to the anime.

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Against Ash’s Pikachu, Paul immediately had Froslass use Hail. Snow Cloak activated, making her harder to hit, causing her to appear and disappear in splashes, and even allowing her to phase through an oncoming Volt Tackle. It wasn’t until the hail managed that Pikachu was able to easily land a Volt Tackle and knock Froslass out.

9/13 Flame Body: Ash’s Fletchinder

Although never actually seen in battle, Ash’s Fletchinder had an ability that was specifically used outside of it.

In the games, if you have an Egg in your party, you can reduce the time it takes to hatch if you also bring a Pokemon with Flame Body. It was also shown to be in the anime, where Ash’s Fletchinder used that ability to keep an egg warm until it hatched into what would become Ash’s Noibat. However, as noted, no Pokémon has been visibly burned by physical contact with Fletchinder in battle, even after it evolved into Talonflame.

8/13 Prankster / Keen Eye: Olympia’s Meowstic

Ash had a tough dual against Anistar Gym leader Olympia, mainly due to the chemistry between Olympias two Meowstic and their mastery of their respective abilities.

Olympia’s male Meowstic had Prankster, an ability that prioritizes status moves. It showed as he quickly performed a light screen, deflecting Talonflame’s flame charge and Frogadier’s water pulse from him and his partner. The female had Keen Eye, an accuracy-enhancing ability, which allowed her Psyshock to follow Talonflame and Frogadier even as they tried to avoid it.

13/7 Hydration: Ash’s Goodra

Abilities involving all kinds of weather are fairly easy to tangibly translate into anime, and there are several examples of such. Ash’s faithful Goodra used Rain Dance as a regular battle tactic, thanks in large part to Ash-Greninja’s compatibility with it, but also thanks to the benefits it would bring to itself.

Goodra has Hydration as an ability, which removes status effects in rain. This played into Ash’s fight against Clemont, where he had Goodra use Rain Dance to cure the paralysis. It fueled Goodra for the rest of the match, where it gave Ash the win thanks to a flawless execution of Bide.

6/13 Illusion: Gladion’s Zoroark

Zoroark’s Illusion is a similarly simple ability to translate from the games. Although there is an entire movie out there featuring a Zoroark and its ability, its first major appearance in the Gladions series was in Sun and Moon.

Originally owned by Gladion’s father, Zoroark joined Gladion’s team and was eventually used against Ash in the Manalo Conference finals. It came out disguised as Gladion’s Midnight Forme Lycanroc, and although it got away with it for a while, the effect of the Illusion wore off when it was hit with Pikachu’s Thunderbolt.

13/5 Snow forecast: Wulfric’s Abomasnow

Wulfric’s ace is one of the stronger Pokémon Ash has faced in a training match, and is capable of Mega Evolution. Even without Mega, though, Abomasnow was a big reason why Ash lost his first battle against the Ice-type Gym Leader.

Abomasnow has Snow Warning, which creates hail the moment it enters the battlefield. That hailstorm was too much for Ash in the first battle, and even though Wulfric later lost the rematch, Abomasnow was still a tough fight, not only thanks to Mega Evolution, but also the hail that kept chipping away at Ash’s team.

4/13 Motor Drive: Paul’s Electivire / Volkner’s Electivire

Ash has fought two Electivire in key battles, both with Motor Drive. Ash had Pikachu use electric moves on him anyway, with varying results.

The first was against Paul’s Electivire in the aforementioned Sinnoh League match, and it was a more outright failure on Ash’s part. Ash made Pikachu use Volt Tackle for some reason and as expected Electivire got an extra jolt and would eventually knock out Pikachu.

The other notable instance was in a World Coronation Series match against Volkner, who would trade in Electivire before Pikachu performed an Electric move. Although Ash eventually got Pikachu to use 10,000,000 Volt Thunderbolt, the power of which would end up supercharging the Electivire, knocking it out and giving Ash the win.

3/13 Swift Swim: Ash’s Buizel

Another rain-activated ability, but instead of a healing one, Ash’s Buizel has one that enhances its offensive abilities: Swift Swim. It’s only been seen in the anime a few times, but one of those times led to an instant classic Gym battle.

This match was against Maylene’s Lucario at the Veilstone Gym, which literally blew the roof off and caused rain to fall onto the battlefield. With the added speed and after learning Water Pulse, Ash’s Buizel was able to land a few more key blows on Lucario and force a double knockout. Although the match ended in a draw, Buizel had a strong enough proof that Maylene found Ash worthy of her Gym badge.

2/13 Blaze: Ash’s Infernape

Of course, starters activating either Overgrow, Blaze, or Torrent are a somewhat common occurrence, but Blaze on Ash’s Infernape basically served as a character development barometer at several points in the Diamond and Pearl plot.

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At first, as Chimchar, he went into uncontrollable rages whenever Blaze was activated, causing Paul to bring him to a breaking point in every battle just to activate it.

Joining Ash’s team, his rage softened and he gained control over it as he received more compassionate training. It all culminated in a nice bit of poetic justice, as it was Infernape’s Blaze that gave Ash the final push to beat Paul in their Sinnoh League match.

1/13 Battle Bond: Ash’s Greninja

Yes, if you don’t remember, the Ash-Greninja transformation happens using abilities. It’s probably the most prominent use of an ability in the entire anime, and it appeared in the anime first. Greninja with the Battle Bond ability came to the games after its time in anime, as a kind of tribute.

It lines up pretty well with how it works in the games too. In Ash-Greninja mode, Greninja gets a bigger stat boost than for a Mega Evolution. Ash, despite not having a Mega through the Kalos Gauntlet, had used Greninja as a kind of check to Mega Evolutions, and was the main answer to Pokemon like Alain’s Mega Charizard and Sawyer’s Mega Sceptile.

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