Like many people, Pokémon Go has reignited my childhood love for Pokémon and reacquainted me with the first (and best) generation of Nintendo’s little monsters in the process. The original 150 (151 if you include Mew) features some of the greatest Pokémon ever created and while later generations would bring a whole slew of just plain terrible character designs, there are a fair number of stinkers in the first generation too. Everyone has their own preferences and while you may not agree with all of the following Pokémon being declared the worst of their respective generation, it’s hard to see any of them being among anyone’s favorites.
The evolved forms of Caterpie and Weedle, respectively, Metapod and Kakuna are two of the most useless and uninteresting first generation Pokémon. There’s nothing particularly offensive about either Pokémon’s design and as far as cocoon Pokemon are concerned, they’re probably about as creative as you’re going to see. It’s a bit of a toss up as to which one is worse; on a conceptual level, Metapod makes a lot more sense, as bees don’t hatch from cocoons, but Kakuna does turn into a Beedrill, who is a much better Pokémon than Butterfree, Metapod’s evolved form. However, at the end of the day, Metapod and Kakuna are just stopgap Pokémon that everyone wants to get rid of as soon as possible. At least they can use Harden to protect themselves against threats. That’s useful, right?
Besides being the bane of every Pokémon Go player’s existence, I had to include both Rattata and its evolved form Raticade in the same position on this list because they both suck equally. Rattata is a rodent Pokémon that can be found in pretty much every location imaginable and seems like it would be more apt to give you rabies than be an effective member of a good trainer’s team. If Rattata was at least cute, this could be forgiven (after all, Pidgeys are just as commonly found, but their adorableness makes up for this), but Rattata’s giant teeth and mean-looking eyes make it hard to love. Then, take everything you hate about Rattata, multiply it by 10, and you get Raticate, who is both uglier and meaner than its smaller counterpart. These two are Pokemon that only Wormtail from the Harry Potter series could love (although that Hyper Fang attack saves them from being a total write-off.)
Gloom is the emo middle child of the Oddish family. Although you have to give some credit to her creators for turning the cute, happy little Oddish into a depressed, drooling bipedal flower, Gloom is a total drag. Gloom is like a sad teenager who just wants you to hear the poem she just wrote and as if she wasn’t already unbearable to be around, Gloom also produces a repugnant odor as a defense mechanism. Thankfully, Gloom’s two potential evolved forms, Vileplume and Bellossom, have much sunnier dispositions, so at least trainers who are turned off by Gloom’s sad eyes and incessant drooling can rest assured that it’s a phase she’ll eventually outgrow.
Kangaskhan is perhaps one of the most overlooked first generation Pokémon and while it’s difficult to say why, it could be because her design is just plain boring. A normal-type Pokemon that also happens to be female-only, Kangaskhan’s only real function is being a mother. That is most certainly not a knock against motherhood, but considering every other female Pokémon is ostensibly capable of being a mother, it’s a strange trait to build an entire Pokémon concept around. Kangaskhan also looks a bit too derivative of Rhydon’s design, which also hurts its appeal. At least its offspring is cute.
On a conceptual level, Voltorb is actually kind of interesting. According to Pokémon lore, Voltorb is believed to have been created when a Poke Ball was exposed to an energy pulse, which would of course explain why the two look nearly identical. However, besides its possible origin story, there’s really not much to like about Voltorb. It’s an electrical Pokémon that explodes when it gets pissed off. I don’t know about you, but if I was looking for a new Pokémon, I would not seek out one that could blow up in my face at a moment’s notice. Voltorb’s evolved form, Electrode, is slightly more appealing thanks to having actual eyebrows and a mouth, but it still shares the same drawbacks as its counterpart.
It’s hard not to imagine that the conceptualization of Exeggcute evolved out of a particularly bad set of rotten eggs that was lying around the Pokémon offices back in the day, as this is easily the laziest Pokémon design found in the entire first generation. Nothing about Exeggcute is appealing. The idea of sending a half dozen, anthropomorphized eggs into battle against another Pokémon is already a worrisome prospect (even more so when the majority of them are cracked eggs) and the knowing expressions on each egg’s face give the impression that they’re probably plotting to kill any trainer who happens to catch them. Exeggcute’s evolved form, Exeggutor, is thankfully a vast improvement (legs and palm leaves are a nice touch) but I still don’t know why anyone would go out of their way to seek out either Pokémon unless they really needed a grass/psychic type.
On some level, you have to kind of admire just how pathetic Magikarp is. The fact that Magikarp has no actual offensive capabilities and looks like it’s constantly struggling just to live automatically makes it one of the worst Pokémon, but it turns out that Magikarp is actually kind of invincible. Very much the cockroach of the Pokémon universe, Magikarp has a ridiculously strong immune system and can use its Splash ability to literally scale mountains. Unfortunately, none of these traits are much use to a trainer, making Magikarp one of the least appealing Pokemon in existence. Fortunately, it will eventually evolve into the ridiculously overpowered and awesome Gyarados, so all the frustration of dealing with Magikarp’s very existence is definitely worth putting up with.
What the heck is a Tangela anyway? Is it a small child that got wrapped up in some vines and decided to live out the rest of its days as a grass-type Pokémon? With its gigantic eyes, lack of arms, and bright red shoes, Tangela looks like a Pokémon that was thrown together at the last minute to reach that original 150 count. You can tell not much thought was put into Tangela’s design when its biography states that “it is unknown what it looks like without [its vines].” I’m sorry, but are we really supposed to believe that no one has ever bothered to cutaway the vines to see what’s hiding in there? It could be someone’s lost child! With so many better grass-type Pokemon included in the first generation set, there’s no other reason to seek out a Tangela than just to fill out a Pokédex.
2. Mr. Mime
Humanoid Pokémon are simply not a good idea. Case in point: Mr. Mime. Setting aside the strange gender dynamics of giving a Pokémon a “Mr” designation when it’s capable of being both male and female, Mr. Mime is a clown Pokémon and that is an unforgivable offense as far as I’m unconcerned. He also resembles a ventriloquist dummy, which means that Mr. Mime is a ventriloquist clown that also likes to practice pantomime. Is Mr. Mime the devil incarnate? I have no way to prove this but yes, yes he is. Another “fun” fact: according to the official Pokémon Wiki, Mr. Mime is a rare Pokémon that can be found in suburban areas. Yeah … let’s move on.
Look at this stupid thing. Jynx is a conceptual nightmare from top to bottom, to the point where her original blackface design had to be altered after critics called it out for being racially insensitive. As a psychic Pokémon, Jynx is at least somewhat proficient in battle, but why would anyone want to use this nightmare creation when they could just go with a Kadabra? You know what? The character description on Bulbapedia says more than I ever could: “Jynx is a bipedal, humanoid Pokémon that resembles a bulky woman. Jynx wears a red gown that hides its feet and has white arms with purple hands. There are golden circles on the chest area of its gown. Jynx has a purple face, pink lips, saucer-like eyes, and long blonde hair.” Yeah, no thanks. I think I’d be more apt to scream and run away than try and catch one of these things.