As I mentioned in my journal postings for Pokémon Soul Silver, that was the first core title in the franchise that I had played since the original release of Generation II on the Gameboy Color. Since then, my obsession with the Pokémon games has only grown. I’ve made it my goal to play at least one game from every generation, and Platinum is the next one I intend to tackle as a sort of bridge until the release of X and Y (I’m still not certain as to whether I want to pick up X or Y at this point). Among my most memorable moments in the games have been the intense battles with legendary Pokémon, as well as subsequent attempts to catch them. In order to prevent this list from becoming lopsided toward one generation or another, I will be selecting a single legendary Pokémon from each of the current five generations of games, labeling it as my favorite of Generation I, II, III, IV, and V repectively.
Generation I (Red, Blue, and Yellow) – Mewtwo: There were only a few legendaries available in the first Pokémon games, due primarily to the limited roster of 151 slots. While Zapdos, Articuno, and Moltres were all cool in their own right, Mewtwo was my favorite of the bunch. I’ve always had a soft spot for Psychic type Pokémon, but my appreciation for Mewtwo was not immediate upon my first seeing him in any of the games. Rather, it developed over several years as I witnessed his origin in the first Pokémon movie, as well as the side games that the whole concept of Mewtwo being among the smartest and most capable of Pokémon eventually culminated in me genuinely liking it – not just as a potential team member within the games, but as a character within the anime. He may not be my favorite legendary of all time, but there is something unique about Mewtwo’s presentation that practically sets him in his own category, distinct from all other legendary Pokémon.
Generation II (Gold, Silver, and Crystal) – Raikou: My love for Raikou originates from his being the underdog (no pun intended) of Johto’s legendary trio. As a kid, everyone I knew was a fan of either Entei or Suicune – Entei because it was a beastly looking fire-type, and Suicune because it was an elegant looking water-type as well as the version mascot for Crystal. Hardly anyone I knew cared much to bother tracking down Raikou, but he was the one I sought out first and foremost. I really enjoy using Raikou in battle, as his defense is significantly better than most electric types like Magneton or Ampharos. At the same time, Raikou does not feel terribly overpowered – rather, his effectiveness in battle seems to fall somewhere between other legendaries and the rest of the Pokémon of the Johto region.
Generation III (Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald) – Deoxys: My reaction toward the Generation III legendaries was a bit mixed from the outset, admittedly. I found the Regi trio to be decently interesting from a conceptual standpoint, but the routine of three legendary Pokémon who were very aesthetically similar had largely worn off its charm by the time Ruby and Sapphire came around. Groudon, Kyogre, and Rayquaza weren’t bad by any means, but to this day I have never considered any of them particularly outstanding. Deoxys, on the other hand, was a fresh new idea – a single Pokémon that had four different forms. Granted, you couldn’t have Deoxys changing between Normal, Attack, Defense, and Speed on the fly, but that was more or less the point – it granted players some freedom in planning their strategies while also holding them accountable for setting Deoxys to one of the four aforementioned states.
Generation IV (Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum) – Giratina: Ghost Pokémon have become something of my specialty over the past year or so, and I really wish Game Freak would add another Ghost-type to the current pool of legendaries. That said, Giratina is possibly the single most intimidating legendary Pokémon based on looks alone, and has a very curious dual-typing: Ghost and Dragon. Holding dominion over antimatter, Giratina is certainly a force to be reckoned with.
Generation V (Black, White, Black 2, and White 2) – Genesect: This one was a really close call with Zekrom, who I used for the majority of the White version post-game. However, Genesect was one of my core team members during my playthrough of Black 2. A dual Bug and Steel type, Genesect has a little extra defense and a highly adaptable moveset. Each time I play a Pokémon game, I try to have at least one jack-of-all-trades member on my team, and (alongside Lucario) Genesect performed that role masterfully in Black 2.