Pokémon started on a journey that would make it one of the biggest franchises in the world back with the release of Pokémon Red & Blue in the late ’90s. Trainers embarked on a journey that would test their skills as a trainer as they competed to collect all of the Pokémon who called the Kanto region home.
Out of the original 151 creatures, there’s a good number of them that have become lifelong fan-favorites since their release in the ’90s. Let’s instead look at the 15 most underrated Pokémon from Kanto, who originally debuted in Pokémon Red & Blue.
Updated October 22nd, 2020 by Morgan Austin: With the new DLC for Pokémon Sword and Shield, many fans are excited to see new areas to explore to catch plenty of Pokémon. This new Crown Tundra DLC will add some returning Pokémon to the games, including some underrated members of the Kanto region. While some Kanto Pokemon might still be missing from the newest games, others have been added or given different forms, but that does not make them any less underrated among some fans.
Kabutops might not be the prettiest Pokémon to look at, but can pack a punch in battle. Its presence is very intimidating, especially considering how many of its Pokédex entries across the series discuss how it swims incredibly fast and details how it attacks its prey.
With arms that look like sickles and many other sharp-looking parts of its body, its appearance alone could strike fear into the heart of an opponent. It’s definitely a Pokémon that players would want to have fighting for them instead of against them.
Magmar sometimes gets overlooked by many players who prefer the cuteness of its Magby stage or the strength of its Magmortar evolution. Not only that, but many players focused on using other Fire-type Pokémon in the series since some others have two types (like Fire/Flying for Charizard) while Magmortar only has one.
However, Magmar can still be useful in a battle and it has decent defense since it can use Flame Body. This ability gives Magmar a chance to burn any opponent that uses a physical attack on it since Magmar’s body gives off so much heat.
13 Mr. Mime
Mr. Mime tends to get a bad reputation because so many fans think that it’s a really creepy Pokémon, which can be understandable. Many people are scared or uncomfortable around mimes in real life, so one would think that a Pokémon would give fans a similar reaction.
Despite its appearance, Mr. Mime still has very cool abilities that not enough fans appreciate. After all, wouldn’t it be fun to pantomime something and have it feel like a real object?
Though Drowzee is underrated, there’s no denying that it’s a pretty gross and weird Pokémon. From the appearance of its body that looks like it’s been sitting in mud to its Pokédex entries that describe how it likes to eat dreams through the noses of sleeping people, it’s not really a Pokémon that one might want to hang around while taking a nap.
Still, Drowzee can be useful for many trainers, especially against Pokémon that might try to make it fall asleep, since Drowzee uses the Insomnia ability to stay awake. Plus, Drowzee can use Forewarn to discover what strong move an opponent might have, and it’s fairly easy to evolve as it only needs to reach level 26 before it can evolve into Hypno.
There’s something about Slowpoke that is so cute that it feels like it should be an overhyped kind of Pokémon instead of an underrated one. Unfortunately, many fans usually want to get Slowpoke just to evolve it into a Slowbro and Slowking.
Slowpoke also is known to be oblivious, but that can help it in a fight because it keeps Slowpoke from becoming distracted. Overall, while its evolution stages might be more helpful to players in a battle, Slowpoke is still a valuable starting point and it’s sure to bring a smile to any trainer’s face.
Does Magikarp suck and is arguably the most useless Pokémon to ever exist? Yes, it’d be dishonest to deny the truth in that statement. Magikarp is the base form of one of the most dope Kanto region Pokémon in Gyarados though, so it is a means to an end.
If Magikarp didn’t exist then chances are the designers wouldn’t have created such a powerful and sought after evolution, to force players into working for the evolution. Some could argue that Magikarp being the king of lame helped bolster Gyarados’ reputation and prestige with pokémon trainers.
Golem had a rough go back in the late ’90s and early ‘2000s, since it was only obtainable by traded your Graveler and hoping your friend would trade it back. Unlike Gengar or Machamp, thankfully Golem was less desired and your chances of getting ripped off were much slimmer.
If you take a second to look at Golem for more than half a second you’d realize how reptilian his head and extremities look. It may not be the most aesthetically looking Pokémon out there, but it’s biggest design crime is that they made it a ground-type and not rock.
An argument can be made that the evolutionary line from Bellsprout to Victreebel is the most consistent and inspirational in all of Kanto. From one pokémon to the next you can clearly see where and how it evolved and the relationship between the three pokémon is very clear.
Victreebel is based on a pitcher plant, which is a real-life carnivorous plant that’s shaped like an open vase. If Vileplume isn’t to your tastes, Victreebel is the more badass alternative you likely never gave a second thought to.
This may be a bit of a cheat considering the coolest version of this Pokémon is the Alola Islands regional variant that sports a long giraffe-like neck, but Exeggutor originated in Kanto, so it’s fair game.
It’s hard to deny that its design is a little dumpy and gives off strong Slowpoke energy which is upsetting, but having a combination of psychic and grass in its typing is a huge plus. Dual-types offer their trainers versatility when it comes to battle strategy and moves usage against other trainers. It can turn a marathon like the Elite Four into a walk in the park.
Did you know that Rhydon was the first pokémon ever created? That’s why a statue of it can be found at the entrance of every gym in Kanto. Almost all young boys growing up who have a fascination with animals go through a rhinoceros faze at some point.
The giant armored and horned cattle-like creatures represent the coolest parts of nature. As odd as this sounds, there’s a strong case to be made that turning a rhino into a bipedal creature was the reason Rhydon was overlooked and traded out in favor of other pokémon.
The Pokémon franchise is home to a number of ocean and fresh water-dwelling creatures who happen to just be water-type. That’s why when a Pokémon is a water dual-type it should be appreciated and celebrated for being such.
Dewgong is the evolved form of Seel, and is a water and ice-type that can be found during the later stages of a trainer’s journey through the Kanto region. Its clean white design is partially responsible for fans overlooking Dewgong in favor of pursuing either Walrein or Sealeo, who sport a more visually interesting design.
Beedrill suffers mostly from the fact that humans have a general fear of and discomfort with bees and wasps. Like spiders and snakes, the moment you’re something that happens to be feared by a large portion of the population, the likelier it is that you’re avoided at all costs.
Beedrill is an effective fighter who can strike fear into their opponents simply by the way they look. When people evolved Weedle they were expecting to get a beautiful alternate version of Butterfree, but instead, they were gifted with a bipedal bee armed with weaponized hands.
Starmie is the pokémon on this list that easily had the most screen time in the anime. Throughout the Kanto region adventures, Ash’s friend Misty used Staryu, who ultimately evolved into Starmie, on a pretty consistent basis.
The rich purple coloring alongside the golden accents surrounding its beautiful optical gem had it sporting a pretty nifty design. It also happens to be a dual-typed Pokémon capable of dealing out great psychic and water-type moves. For a Pokémon with the word star in their name, Starmie has been treated as anything but that.
You may be wondering why a middle evolution like Ivysaur is on the list, but a closer look will define why this blooming buddy is deserving of a spot. Ivysaur happens to be part of a starter pokémon evolutionary line with the worst final evolution out of the 3 found in Kanto.
Ivysaur, however, is clearly the best-designed middle evolution of the bunch, and gives off young adult vibes as opposed to an awkward teenager. The everstone item was created for a reason, and you should give one to your Ivysaur so it may never turn into that hideous toad.
The frustrating thing about Primeape being underrated is that any kid who avidly watched the anime could tell you about the episode that featured the Pokémon. It was an emotionally resonant story that taught kids about the pitfalls of uncontrolled anger and how letting it sit with you and manifest wasn’t exactly the healthiest decision.
The pig-nosed primate does a great job of encompassing everything cool about fighting-type Pokémon and its design is simple and easy to read. Maybe try rolling with a Primeape in your next Pokémon Red/Blue playthrough.
NEXT: Pokémon: Pairing Every Avenger With Their Perfect Pokémon Partner
Jerrad Wyche is a writer, designer, and producer hailing from Albuquerque, New Mexico. His favorite video games include Mass Effect 2, Inside, Pokémon Soul Silver, Spelunky, and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. He hosts his own weekly video game podcast at Controlled Interests and is a dedicated writer for TheGamer.
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