For over two decades, the Pokémon franchise has captured the hearts of fans young and old, with its charming creatures, epic battles, and thrilling adventures. But what’s a great story without a great villain? Throughout the years, the Pokémon games, anime, and movies have introduced a colorful cast of antagonists, each with their own unique motivations and personalities. Whether they’re seeking to dominate the world, harness the power of legendary Pokémon, or simply cause chaos and destruction, these nefarious characters have left a lasting impression on fans of the franchise. From bumbling baddies to sinister masterminds, in this article, I’ve ranked the 20 best Pokémon villains based on just how bad they really are. So, get ready to dive into the world of evil organizations, dastardly plots, and dangerous battles, as I count down the most infamous and notorious Pokémon villains of all time.
In the Pokémon Sun and Moon video games, Lusamine serves as the president of the Aether Foundation, a charitable organization in the Alola region, which is one of the main regions in the Pokémon world. Lusamine initially appears to be a kind person who is dedicated to protecting Pokémon. However, it is later revealed that she has a darker side. Lusamine becomes obsessed with the Ultra Beasts, mysterious and powerful Pokémon-like creatures from another dimension, and her behavior becomes increasingly erratic. She is depicted as a complex character who is driven by her desire to preserve Pokémon, but her methods and actions become harmful. Lusamine’s actions include capturing and experimenting on Ultra Beasts, endangering Pokémon, and causing disruption in the Alola region. She is also revealed to have mistreated her own children, Gladion and Lillie. Ultimately, however, she was beaten and recovered to her previous state.
19. Butch and Cassidy
Not quite as popular as the Jessie, James, and Meowth trio, but not less entertaining, Butch and Cassidy are members of the nefarious organization Team Rocket. Butch and Cassidy are known for their exaggerated personalities, with Butch being portrayed as more aggressive and brash, while Cassidy is often portrayed as more cunning and strategic. Although most of their evil plans seem superior and more well-thought-of than the ones the trio comes up with, their plans are also usually foiled by Ash and his companions. While Butch and Cassidy are portrayed as antagonists, their actions are often more comedic than malicious, so they wouldn’t get a high ranking on this list. It would have been nice if they had more screen time, though!
18. Baron Alberto
In the movie “Pokémon: The Rise of Darkrai”, Baron Alberto is portrayed as a chauvinistic and arrogant nobleman who exhibits creepy behavior. What particularly troubled me was how he unilaterally expressed his desire to marry Alice and persistently pursued her despite her lack of romantic interest. However, the satisfying part was seeing Alberto receive his just desserts when he was transformed into a Pokémon as a result of Darkrai’s Dark Void, Palkia’s spatial interference, and Lickilicky’s dream of becoming like him. It was a fitting outcome for his actions! Unfortunately, Later on, he returned to his normal form when the effects of Dark Void faded.
17. Jessie, James, and Meowth
Jessie, James, and Meowth are a trio of members of Team Rocket, an organization that attempts to steal rare Pokémon for their nefarious purposes. James is a somewhat bumbling, yet well-intentioned man who often serves as comic relief. Jessie is a confident, ambitious, and determined woman who is often the brains behind Team Rocket’s operations. Meowth is a unique Pokémon who can speak and act like a human. The trio is portrayed as comedic villains rather than truly evil characters. While they are constantly attempting to capture Ash’s Pikachu and other rare Pokémon, their plans are often foiled by Ash. Despite their repeated failures, they remain persistent in their efforts to please their boss, Giovanni. Since this trio of misfits are more goofy than truly malevolent, they cannot rank high on this list of Pokémon villains. However, they do make the show a lot more interesting.
16. The Iron Masked Marauder
In Pokémon the Movie: 4Ever, the Iron Masked Marauder takes on the role of the antagonist. As a prominent member of Team Rocket, he has created his own Poké Ball known as the Dark Ball, which has the ability to make any Pokémon caught with it hyper-aggressive and obedient to his commands. The Iron Masked Marauder’s plan is to use the Dark Ball to capture the legendary Pokémon, Celebi, and utilize its power to overthrow Giovanni, showcasing his cunning nature. The concept of the Dark Ball and its ability to alter a Pokémon’s personality is truly terrifying, illustrating the Iron Masked Marauder’s sinister capabilities. Despite his dark persona, there are hints of a more complex character as he is shown to have moments of remorse, suggesting a glimmer of goodness within him. Since he is not all evil, he only gets the 16th spot on this list of Pokémon villains.
Necrozma is a Legendary Pokémon that appears in the Pokémon games “Pokémon Ultra Sun” and “Pokémon Ultra Moon.” It is a Psychic-type Pokémon with a unique ability called Prism Armor, which reduces the damage it takes from super-effective moves. Originally a kind Pokémon that spread life throughout the universe, Necrozma became corrupted shortly after being imprisoned by the Ultra Megalopolis. Upon its release, Necrozma drained the light from his entire homeworld before escaping to space. This sets off a series of events that the player character must navigate, including battles against Necrozma. Necrozma’s revenge on the universe makes it one of the most dangerous villains ever depicted in the franchise. However, Necrozma’s actions are not necessarily portrayed as purely evil, but rather as driven by its need to regain its lost light, so I wouldn’t rank him too high on this list of Pokémon Villains.
Guzma is the leader of Team Skull, an antagonistic group in the Alola region of the Pokémon world. In the episode “The Dealer of Destruction!”, Guzma is portrayed as a ruthless, arrogant, and sometimes cowardly man who is known for his villainous acts, such as stealing Pokémon, using them for illegal battles, and causing trouble in the Alola region. He also opposes the Alola League and its traditions, seeking to disrupt and destroy the Pokémon League Championship tournament. However, I have to give it to him that he does have style!
Appearing in the Pokémon animated series “XY”, Malamar is a villainous Pokémon. It is a Dark/Psychic-type Pokémon known for its hypnotic abilities. In the series, Malamar serves as the leader of a group of evil Malamar known as the “Malamar Gang.” Malamar is shown to have a sinister personality, often using its hypnotic powers to manipulate other Pokémon for its own nefarious purposes. In the storyline of “XY,” Malamar and its gang are shown to have committed various heinous acts, such as kidnapping Pokémon, brainwashing innocent creatures, and causing chaos and destruction in their pursuit of power. They engage in devious schemes to further their own goals and are willing to go to great lengths to achieve their malicious objectives.
Colress is a mad scientist who works under Ghetsis by designing devices for Team Plasma to control any Pokémon’s anger levels. While in an enraged state, Pokémon would become aggressive mindless slaves, and be submissive to every command. Corless is depicted as the kind of person that is totally indifferent to the suffering his experiments cause, and all he cares about is gathering the data. All for the sake of what Corless refers to as “progress”. In the anime, Colress serves as a rival to the main characters, Ash and his friends, and engages in battles with them to test the strength of their Pokémon.
The star of Pokémon’s sixth film, Jirachi: Wish Maker, Butler is a magician and a former Team Magma Scientist. His singular aim is to exploit the legendary Pokémon Jirachi’s power to fulfill his own desires. Obsessed with harnessing Jirachi’s ability to grant wishes, Butler becomes fixated on creating a new world that aligns with his own vision. With Jirachi’s help, Butler manages to create a pseudo-version of a Pokémon, but his plans take an unexpected turn when the fabricated Groudon absorbs his beloved. Forced to abandon his original goals, Butler joins forces with Ash to defeat the monstrous creation. However, throughout the movie, we see how Butler is willing to go to extreme lengths, including endangering others, in order to achieve his goals, which shows just how evil he is.
Appearing in the Pokémon movie Pokémon Heroes, Oakley is a former scientist of the “Team Rocket” organization and the younger sister of the film’s secondary antagonist, Annie. Oakley is depicted as a malevolent character with a cunning and manipulative personality. In the movie, Oakley seeks to capture the legendary Pokémon Latios, who possess powerful abilities. She plans to use its powers for her own nefarious purposes, which include taking control of the city of Alto Mare, where the movie’s storyline takes place. Oakley is shown to be ruthless in her pursuit of power, using various traps, schemes, and Pokémon battles to achieve her objectives. Throughout the movie, Oakley’s actions result in chaos and danger for Ash and his friends and the city of Alto Mare. Ultimately, Ash manages to stop her, but she still managed to wreak a devastating amount of havoc.
Appearing in the Pokémon movie “Pokémon: Giratina & the Sky Warrior, Zero is a human scientist who seeks to control Giratina, a legendary Pokémon. Zero is obsessed with harnessing the power of Giratina for his own gain, regardless of the consequences. He captures Giratina and attempts to control and manipulate it in order to establish dominion over the Reverse World and gain ultimate power. He uses advanced technology and devices to try to control Giratina’s abilities and bend them to his will. His actions result in chaos and conflict in the Pokémon world, endangering both humans and Pokémon alike. Throughout the movie, Zero is shown to be cunning, deceitful, and willing to use force to achieve his nefarious objectives. He poses a significant threat to Ash and his allies and creates obstacles that must be overcome in order to thwart his evil plans. In other words, this guy is evil!
Mewtwo is a legendary Pokemon. It is a genetically engineered clone of the mythical Pokemon Mew, created by scientists in an attempt to harness Mew’s power. Mewtwo is a powerful and intelligent creature with psychic abilities, and it has appeared in various Pokemon games, movies, and other media. In the original Pokemon games and anime, Mewtwo is a somewhat antagonistic character, seeking revenge against humans who had mistreated it during its creation. However, as the franchise has evolved, Mewtwo’s character has become more complex and nuanced, with various depictions showing it in both heroic and villainous roles. Overall, Mewtwo is not inherently evil, but it can be driven to do evil things under certain circumstances, such as when it feels threatened or mistreated. In some depictions, Mewtwo has been portrayed as a sympathetic character, while in others, it has been a formidable and dangerous adversary.
7. Hunter J
In the Diamond & Pearl arcs of the Pokemon anime series, J is a notorious hunter who captures Pokemon for profit. She operates as a poacher, capturing rare Pokemon to sell them to the highest bidder, regardless of the harm it may cause to the Pokemon. J views Pokemon as mere tools to be exploited for her financial gain and is willing to go to extreme lengths to capture them, including using force and violence against them and trainers who stand in her way. In the Diamond & Pearl arcs, J becomes a prominent antagonist, frequently clashing with the main characters, Ash, Pikachu, and their friends, who strive to protect Pokemon and thwart her plans. Her ruthless pursuit of capturing rare Pokemon and her willingness to harm others make her a formidable adversary and a symbol of greed and exploitation in the Pokemon world.
Nothing’s more petrifying than an evil Pokémon! Giratina is a Legendary Pokémon that first appeared in the fourth generation of Pokémon games. It is a dual-type Ghost/Dragon Pokémon, and it is known as an enigmatic Pokémon with a connection to the Distortion World, an alternate dimension that exists alongside the regular Pokémon world. It has a dark nature, and it can be hostile toward humans when provoked. Giratina is known for its role as a balance keeper. It is said to be the embodiment of antimatter and serves as a counterforce to Dialga, the Time Pokémon, and Palkia, the Space Pokémon. Giratina is known for being banished to the Distortion World due to its violent and destructive nature, as it posed a threat to the fabric of reality in the Pokémon World. True to its violent nature, Giratina has antagonized Ash and his friends on more than one occasion.
Leader of Team Flare, Lysandre came up with a really original way to purify the world of wrongdoing – by exterminating all life on the planet! For that aim, he tried to harness Mega Evolution energy from the legendary Pokémon Zygarde, and if it wasn’t for Ash and his friends he would have succeeded. In terms of evilness, Lysandre can be considered one of the more sinister villains in the Pokemon series. His plan is not only destructive, but it also shows his disregard for the lives of both Pokemon and humans, and his belief that he alone knows what is best for the world. He is willing to go to extreme lengths to achieve his goals, including sacrificing innocent lives and manipulating others for his own gain.
With the goal to rule over Unova with absolute authority, Ghetsis secretly uses Team Plasma to carry out his evil plan. He is so cruel that he doesn’t hesitate to mind-control Pokémon instead of capturing them in the traditional way, demonstrating that he sees them only as tools to achieve his ambitions. The way he manipulates N, his adoptive son, into supporting Team Plasma shows that he is willing to exploit anyone to achieve his selfish desires. His ultimate goal is to become the only trainer in the world with Pokémon, which would give him the power to become a dictator. In summary, Ghetsis is a megalomaniac who is willing to do whatever it takes to achieve his goals, regardless of how cruel his actions may be.
The nihilistic boss of Team Galactic, Cyrus absolutely despises the concept of the human spirit and prefers the company of machines over humans and Pokémon. His main goal is to create a world without emotions and spirit. The very concept is terrifying and would rob both Pokémon and people of something so vital. Despite hating the human spirit, Cyrus understands how to use emotions to get others to do what he wants. He is a phenomenal motivational speaker who lies to his followers, convincing them that they were all making a better world for Team Galactic when his true intentions are to create his ideal version of reality. Basically, Cyrus is pure evil, however, his unfortunate past makes fans feel sympathetic toward him. Because in his own twisted mind, Cyrus does seek to create a better world, he only gets the third spot on this list of Pokémon villains.
Not many franchises can boast of having a villain as their “creator god”. Arceus is the god of the Pokemon world and is considered to be the most powerful Pokémon. Once a generous divine being who doted upon Pokémon and humans alike, Arceus fell victim to humanity’s greed and became spiteful to the point that it once desired to destroy humanity. If it wasn’t for Dialga, Palkia, and Giritina, the Pokemon of time, space, and antimatter, and for Ash, humanity would be doomed. So, for being omnipotent AND evil, Arceus hets the 2nd spot on this list.
The leader of Team Rocket, Giovanni is the most famous crime lord of the show. His goal is to amass power and wealth by exploiting Pokémon for his own gain. He seeks to become the most powerful trainer and dominate the Pokémon world. He often utilizes ruthless and unethical methods to achieve his objectives and employs several foul strategies, such as Pokémon Theft, creating Artificial Pokémon, and Manipulation and Intimidation. Despite his many crimes, Giovanni consistently avoids capturing thanks to his ability to run the operations from the shadows. Giovanni is portrayed as a manipulative character who constantly hatches schemes to achieve his goals. He often sends his agents to carry out his plans, which usually involve capturing rare Pokémon, conducting illegal experiments, or stealing valuable resources. All of these make Giovanny the most evil of all Pokémon villains and for that, he wins the top spot on this list.